Mrs. McGowan's First Grade
Class Page
H. W. Mountz School
Spring Lake, NJ
Stranger in the Woods

Website with all of our activities and student poems:
Winter writing: Stranger In The Woods

stranger_cover.jpg (15068 bytes)Stranger in the Woods
Class Activities and Poems

Stranger in the Woods by Carl Sams II and Jean Stoick is a wonderful book!  The animal photographs are beautiful and the story theme about caring for wildlife is appealing and meaningful to children.

Our project consisted of the following activities:

~  Multiple readings of the book for a variety of purposes, including a   comparison with another book

Making animal masks and retelling the story for our 4th grade buddies

~  Learning how to use online spelling activities using animal names from the story

Writing poems based on animals in the story and illustrating them

We considered  how Stranger In the Woods and another story, The Night Tree by Eve Bunting, were similar and different.  Here's our Venn Diagram:

Stranger In the Woods

Both Stories

The Night Tree

Photographs are used.


Drawings are used.
Animals come to a snowman for food.

They have animals that live in the woods.

Animals come to a fir tree for food.
Children put out the food.

Food is left for the animals during winter.

A family puts the food on the tree.

At first, the animals are afraid of the stranger.

Everyone is happy at the end.Animals are used to trees in the woods.
Real animals eat together.


Shows animals that would not eat together.

A quiz was made at to unscramble animal names from The Stanger in the Woods.

Animal Words Jumble

This was great fun! The students worked together on spelling the words and took turns typing in the correct letters. Our big TV screen came in handy for this whole-class activity. It helps to have read the book, but there are clues to help find the animal names. The tricky part was spelling them correctly!

Another online spelling activity was created using a drag and drop format.   In this one, students use the mouse to move words on the screen.

Animals In ABC Order

Story Masks: Retelling the Story
This was great fun! We all made masks for some of the animals in the story, with some duplicates too.
We had 3 owls and 3 mother does, but no porcupine, muskrat, or squirrel. Luckily, we did have the Stranger! Mrs. Cavallaro's 4th grade buddies were patient listeners to our story retelling.

Stranger, Dove, Chickadee

Our final activity was to write a poem in response to the story and illustrate it. Once again, the animals were the focus of our work (we are learning about animals all year as part of our science curriculum). Each student selected an animal for their poem.   Mrs. McGowan showed the class how to write a poem that just has 4 lines:

Line 1 has a describing word or words
Line 2 has a the animal's name (noun)
Line 3 has an action the animal did (verb)
Line 4 ends the poem

Owl of many questions,
Flying to warn the other animals,
There's a Stranger in the Woods!

~ Scott

Two gray,
Mourning Doves,
Cooing directions,
Looking for the Stranger.

~ Dominique

Chewing on an antler, doesn't care
About the Stranger in the Woods.

~ Thomas

Gets to the Stranger first,
Finding seeds and nuts in his hat.

~ Amy

Good children,
Put food out,
Making animals happy.

~ Hannah

This project is in alignment with the following standards:

New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards

Language and Literacy
3.2 listen actively in a variety of situations to information from a variety of sources.
3.3 write in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes.
3.4 read various materials and texts with comprehension and critical analysis.
3.5 view, understand, and use nontextual visual information.

Social Studies
5.6  gain an understanding of the structure, characteristics and basic needs of organisms.

National Educational Technology Standards for Students. (NETS)

Use technology communications tools:
Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.

© Patricia Knox & Susan Silverman - Frosty Readers 2002 - All Rights Reserved