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The Four-Story Mistake - Part 6

Chapter Six: "Clarinda, 1869"

This is a mini-unit for chapter six of Elizabeth Enright's delightful story for children, "The Four-Story Mistake". Read the instructions for using this unit, if you haven't done so already.

Vocabulary Words:


Nature Study:

Look at snowflakes!

Metaphors and Similes:

"By lunchtime the valley was lightly coated like a cake with confectioner's sugar."

Literary Allusions:

There was a reference to a book - Jean-Cristophe by Romain Rolland.  Older students may want to delve deeper into this book and/or character and see why the reference may have been made.

Correcting Poor Grammar:

Cuffy: "What in the world was you doin' all afternoon?"

Science, Math or History Extras:

It was mentioned that Egyptians blew anthrax dust into tombs before sealing them.  Do some research to see if this was true or just a rumor the children had heard!  Look at a picture of a sarchophagus and learn about Egyptian burial.

Questions to Think About:

Rush said, "Give us the DOPE."  What did he mean?  What might we say today instead of "dope"?  (Hint:  Today "dope" is a slang word for illegal drugs.  Now we might say "Give us the SCOOP.")

Rush calls his brother Oliver "Fatso".  It doesn't seem to bother Oliver and even seems to be used as an affectionate term.  Why would a word like that be hurtful or harmful, especially when used outside of a loving family?  Do you think Elizabeth Enright intended it as a hurtful name or to encourage 'name calling' as we consider it today?

Discuss the idea of a "blood vow" and/or crossing one's fingers "for good luck" or under the table or behind one's back to "cancel" a lie.  Consider your own family's morals and standards (or Biblical teaching) in regard to these practices.  Discuss other "clues" about the Melendy family which shed light on their upbringing and/or worldview.

Suggested Activities:

If it is winter and you have clean, freshly fallen snow available, make some "snow ice cream"!  Use snow, heavy cream or creamy whole milk, and sugar.  Yum!  (Optional: flavor with a little real vanilla extract.)  If it isn't winter and you don't have snow, try making some snow by crushing ice.

Links to More Info and/or Pictures/Definitions:

Game - Dumb Crambo: Two teams are needed for this game. Team Two leaves the room while Team One picks a word, such as "pie", as well as a rhyming word to offer as a clue. Team Two re-enters the room and is told that the secret word rhymes with "sky". Team Two's job is to act out the secret word. If the players on Team 2 are wrong, the Team One players hiss loudly. Team Two keeps acting until the players guess the right word. Then it is Team One's turn to leave the room while Team Two picks a new word.

Click here to go on to chapter 7.


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