What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.
Annual fence-painting contests take place in Hannibal, Missouri.
|Grades||3 – 8|
|Calendar Activity Type||Author & Text|
Each year, the Hannibal Jaycees sponsor National Tom Sawyer Days during the Fourth of July weekend to celebrate the town's most well-known citizen, Mark Twain. The highlight of the event is the fence-painting contest, which begins on July 4 with local competition and advances to state and national contests over the next three days.
Mark Twain uses great detail to capture the locations of his tales. Readers feel as if they have actually traveled with Twain to the settings of his stories and novels. Choose a particular scene in one of Twain's works and do a close examination of the setting. First, have students map the story setting, using the interactive Story Map. Then discuss the setting using these prompts:
- How does Twain use extended description, background information, and specific detail to make the setting come alive for readers?
- How do the main characters fit into the setting-do they seem at home or out of place?
- How do their reactions and interactions with the setting affect the realism of the location?
Discuss the techniques that Twain uses to make the settings in his stories vivid and real to the readers and the extent to which these techniques are effective.
- National Tom Sawyer Days: A Local Legacy
Events from Twain's fiction come to life during Tom Sawyer Days. Visit the Local Legacies homepage, then discuss the local legacies of your own town.
- Meet Amazing Americans: Mark Twain
This biographical resource describes Twain's life, his writing, and his sense of humor. With the link to "What's in a Name, Mr. Twain?" your students can examine how people name one another and themselves.
- Mark Twain in His Times
Visit this archive, produced by the Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia, to find pictures, transcriptions, and analysis of Twain's writing, and information about the marketing of his books.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Imagination and application are key to this tall tale lesson in which students take what they know about tall tales to spin a yarn of their own.
Grades 6 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
In this lesson, students analyze similarities and differences among depictions of slavery in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Frederick Douglass’ Narrative, and nineteenth century photographs of slaves. Students formulate their analysis of the role of art and fiction, as they attempt to reliably reflect social ills, in a final essay.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Students capture scraps of information from a variety of Web resources and use them to create an electronic scrapbook. Emphasis is placed on evaluating and citing resources.