English Language Arts activities based on The Teashop Girls for your classroom

05/05/2010 11:48

English language arts activities for The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer 

Grade 5-6

  1. Author Laura Schaefer describes the setting of The Teashop Girls, The Steeping Leaf, in great detail. Begin a story of your own by describing a place you enjoy spending time. Use adjectives and sensory language to show how your setting looks, feels, smells, and sounds.
  1. Annie writes passionately about why people should spend their money at local businesses because she wants her grandmother’s shop to stay open. People often express their opinions this way in newspapers by writing letters to the editor.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about an issue that matters to you. Think about how you can persuade others with a clear argument and evidence in order to complete your letter.

  1. Annie remembers lots of fun times that she’s had at the Leaf with Genna, Zoe, and Louisa. Write a short skit about something you image them doing together before the story of The Teashop Girls begins. Act out the skit with a small group.
  1. One way small businesses like The Steeping Leaf attract customers is through advertising. With a partner, design and make a poster for something you’d like others to know about. It can be a shop, book, restaurant, movie, or anything else. Think about what sorts of ads get your attention. Be creative and use lots of color!
  1. Annie plans a poetry night at The Steeping Leaf to showcase local talent and bring people into the teashop. Using one of the illustrations in the book or a photo of your own as inspiration, write a poem for your class’s very own poetry night. When everyone has a completed poem to read, have a party and read the poems aloud—with tea, of course!
  1. The Teashop Girls has a lot of extras in it—vintage ads and quotes and drawings. Imagine that Laura Schaefer has asked you to help her with a sequel to the book. Your job is to find some appropriate “extras” to put in the book. You can put together a small collection of quotes, tea facts, advertisements from old magazines, or your own creative contribution. Put all the extras into a folder, and go through what you’ve found in small groups. Explain why you chose what you did and what it might add to a future Teashop Girls story.
  1. Sometimes you might come across a word you haven’t seen before when you’re reading a book. As you read The Teashop Girls, or another book of your choice, write unfamiliar words on an index card. Working in small groups, trade cards with other members of your group and use the dictionary to define the words. Next, put the definitions in your own words and share this definition with the rest of the class. Finally, each group has the chance to use the word in an original sentence. Best sentence (determined by the teacher and based on originality) gets a point. Play until one group gets ten points.
  1. If Annie Green were old enough to drive a car, her car might have a bumper sticker on it that says “Support local businesses!” or “Drink more tea!” Have a classroom discussion about how bumper stickers are used to persuade people. Next, come up with a clever bumper sticker slogan of your own about something you care about.
  1. An important part of writing is revising your work. Laura Schaefer revised The Teashop Girls about 25 times! Write a short story, two to three pages long, then pair up with another student. Exchange your stories, read them, and ask your partner questions about their story’s characters, setting, or plot. The questions should help your partner improve the story for the second draft. After you’re done with the discussion, revise your draft and read them again to see if the stories have gotten more interesting.
  1. Authors often communicate information about their characters by explaining how they move or talk. Pick out some descriptive sentences about Louisa, Zoe, or Annie’s brothers in The Teashop Girls to share with your class. Here is an example: “Louisa came hurrying into the room, her scarves flowing luxuriantly behind her.” What information does the author give by explaining how characters walk, sit, or speak? How does this sort of detail make the story better? Once you’ve found several examples of these descriptions in The Teashop Girls, write a one page biography of someone you know very well. Include descriptive details in your biography about how this person moves, stands, sits, or talks in order to help readers understand what they’re like.