"Cap o' Rushes" Lesson Plan

Elementary, Intermediate, Junior high

by Jean D. Rusting,
Author of The Multicultural Cinderella. Rusting Educational Services (4523 Elinora Ave., Oakland, CA, 94619)


Students will: Note to teacher: there are more activities below than you will want to use. Review and highlight those most suited to your class.

Materials needed

A copy of "Cap o' Rushes" is available on the Internet from the Tales of Wonder site.

The teacher needs paper to reproduce handouts: a copy of the story for each student, newspaper/construction paper/brown paper bags/scissors/tape for the group garment-making exercise, and art materials for graphic response.

Pre-reading strategies

Pre-reading/writing prompts: Review/define these words: drama, script, radio play, narrator, choral reading, Greek chorus (spoken), dialog, fade in, fade out, announcer, artistic license, stage, live action

Read and listen/perform and present strategies

"Cap o' Rushes" is just a little over two pages long and consists mainly of dialog. Students read the story out loud in small read-around groups to get a sense of the action.

The players:

Students work in small groups to decide how many speaking parts there are to be. Although there are nine parts, some people speak together, and students may decide to have several narrators speaking at different times, or several narrators acting like a Greek chorus. Group are free to use artistic license in presenting and interpreting the story for the class.

Post-reading strategies

Post-writing prompt: In this version of Cap o' Rushes the father admits he was wrong and the daughter forgives him. What do you think about this ending? What other ways might this story end?

Spelling list exercise: Students work in small groups to develop a list of 10 or 15 words which group members believe everyone should be able to spell. In whole class students combine their lists and then play spelling games or take written test.

Compare/contrast exercise: If students have recently read another Cinderella version they discuss common elements, similarities and differences.

Graphic response exercise:

Make a comic book of "Cap o' Rushes" using one, two or three sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

  1. Fold the paper in half the long way. The folded paper is 4 1/4" by 11".
  2. Open paper out flat and fold it in half the short way. The folded paper is 8 1/2" by 5 1/2".
  3. Open the paper out flat and fold the 8 1/2" right edge into the center fold.
  4. Open the paper out flat and make the same fold from the 8 1/2" left edge.
  5. Now, open the paper out flat and look at it. Your 8 1/2" by 11" paper has 8 boxes.
Illustrate the story by drawing the action and showing conversation in each box. The first box (top left corner box) is the title box. Put the title of the story and the name of the student author/illustrator in the first box.

Before you actually begin to draw your comic book look at the text of the story and write out the captions for the remaining 15 boxes.

For example:

The above list is only a suggestion. Square One could show all three daughters talking at once, responding to the father's question.

Review the story and figure out how many dialog boxes or scenes you will want. You may find you need at least two pages and possible 3 pages to create your own unique "Cap o' Rushes" comic book.

Weaving/plaiting exercises:

Teams of students create a woven or plaited cape from materials at hand: construction paper, newspaper, brown bags. Assign someone in the group to be the historian, the person who records that actions of the others. The historian does not participate in making the cape, but simply records who said what and who did what. The challenge for the teams: make such a cape-like garment which covers the whole body of one of the members of the group. How will your team go about making one. How long does it take to create a wearable cape? The historian for each group reports on the group efforts. Whole class judges the best garment. Students listen to the report from each group and then discuss what they learned from this activity.

Post-reading discussion--a new name for Cap o' Rushes: In small groups students discuss an appropriate name and give a reason for that name. Students then share their discussions with the whole class.

Library and Research

The story of "Cap o' Rushes" is found in several picture books and in various collections. As an extra-credit homework assignment, students browse their local library shelves for these titles. Hint: look in anthologies. Extra-credit assignment: Researchers say that King Lear comes from a Cap o' Rushes story. What can you find out about the story of King Lear?

Extra-credit assignment: What do you know about the art of weaving? Macramé? Crocheting? Knitting?

Copyright © 1995 by Jean Rusting (jeanner@ousd.k12.ca.us). All rights reserved.
Converted to HTML (with permission) July 26, 1995 by David K Brown (dkbrown@acs.ucalgary.ca)