Fourth graders at Richards School learn about
the state of Wisconsin in Social Studies class so we looked for
a story that would also allow us to include language arts and
technology in an integrated unit. Our wonderful librarian Ms.
Roberts suggested a newly purchased book titled The Race of
the Birkebeiners, written by Lise Lunge-Larsen and
illustrated by Mary Azarian, for the project.
The Birkebeiner is a cross-country ski race that
commemorates the long-ago rescue of King Hakon of Norway from
his enemies the Baglers in 1206. There are various Birkebeiner
races around the world but only one is held in the United
States. The US race is held right here in Wisconsin each winter
in the city of Hayward. What a great connection!
We read the story together in a read aloud
format two different times – the first time to simply enjoy the
story and illustrations and the second time to work on making
connections. Students were able to make many wonderful
connections - to their own skiing experiences (text to self), to
other books about winter, skiing, and rescues (text to text),
and to Olympic ski competitions, (text to world) - among many
The class decided to write a sequel to The
Race of the Birkebeiners titled The Return of King Hakon
for the Kidspired Frosty Tales project. They met in small
groups to brainstorm ideas for the theme of their story. Their
decision was to make the main character King Hakon a four year
old boy who was still being pursued by his enemies the Baglers.
The next step was for students to again meet in
small groups to brainstorm the plot of the story based on the
four main characters – Hakon, his mother Inga, the Baglers (the
bad guys), and the Birkebeiners (the good guys). The teacher
then created a Kidspiration story map that displayed their ideas
and the connections between the characters and the plot.
Students worked with their groups to add and delete ideas,
proofread, again add and delete ideas, and proofread again.
Finally the class worked together as a group to write a sequel
using their Kidspiration story map.
During the story writing activity as students
shared ideas and the teacher again modeled the use of
Kidspiration as a tool for writing, students focused on making
connections, using interesting words and phrases, and telling
the story in a voice that matched the original story and the
times in which the story was set. They were very pleased with
These students have had very little or no
previous work with Kidspiration so the accompanying activity is
meant to introduce them to the graphics that are available in
the program as well as the features which allow them to make
connections between and among their ideas.
We hope you enjoy reading this wonderful winter
story and exploring the possibilities which Kidspiration offers
for student writing.
The Return of King Hakon
There was a fierce, winter snowstorm raging outside a large
wooden house in the mountains of
Hakon, a small boy of four and his mother, Inga, were inside
sitting by the fire, having a hot drink and talking.
“Mama, tell me a story about when I was little,” Hokum said to
right, son,” she said. “Before you were even born, your father
was killed by the Baglers. Your father was the King of Norway
but now you are the King of Norway.”
“The Baglers do not want you to be king, they want their own
king to rule our country. When you were a baby, brave warriors
called Birkebeiners saved you from those bad men.”
did they save me, Mama?” asked little Hokum.
Birkebeiners saved you from the Baglers in a very brave way.
They carried you and kept you under their shields and skied to
But the Baglers have not given up, they still want to have their
king on the throne.”
“Am I still in danger, Mama?” the boy asked.
“Yes, you are, my son. Never go with strangers even if they are
dressed as our brave Birkebeiners,” warned his mother.
few days later, Hakon and his mother were in the forest
gathering firewood. A group of men, who had been hiding in the
forest, skied up to them. They were dressed as Birkebeiners -
but we know they were really Baglers in disguise.
The fake Birkebeiners asked, “Which path is the way to
Inga was cautious of the strangers but Hakon went right up to
them because he thought they were his heroes.
Hokum remembered the story about being protected under the
shield when he was a baby. The men told the boy “If you want to
see your special shield, come with us to
The Baglers took Inga by surprise, however, so she did not have
time to protect her son. They quickly snatched Hakon and
clumsily skied away.
“I can ski myself, you know,” Hokum told the men. “But we have
to get to
a hurry, so we will carry you,” replied one of the skiers in a
While they were traveling, Hokum noticed that they skied right
Why are we passing it?” asked Hokum in a confused voice.
“Umm...., we are taking a special path which is only fit for a
king like you,” said one of the men importantly.
Hokum thought this was strange and began to wonder what was
happening. He remembered that his mother said not to go with
anyone she had not introduced him to. Who were these men?
“There is only one path to
Hokum said. “Who are you really and where are we going?”
“We are the Baglers and our king will rule the throne, not you!”
said the leader importantly.
am the true king of
shouted Hokum, pounding his fists against the Bagger who was
me down! Right now! I am the king!” he screamed over and over.
Baglers grew tired of all this screaming. The leader said “Let
us abandon him right here. He will freeze and never be found
then our man will be king.”
They left Hokum at the side of the path, without food or water.
Hokum was sad and scared but started to walk back down the path
Hokum got tired and hungry and thirsty and very cold but kept on
walking. It seemed like he was walking for a very long time.
he saw skiers in the distance. He wondered if the skiers were
Baglers or Berkibieners and didn’t know what to do. Should he
hide or should he stay there?
Because he was fooled before, Hokum hid behind a tree and waited
to see who the skiers were.
As they came closer, he spied his mother dressed in her queen’s
cloak. But were the men the Baglers or the Birkibeiners? He
couldn’t tell so he yelled “Leave my Mama alone, you bad men!”
Inga, his mama, gave him a big hug and said, “It is really me,
your mama, do not be afraid. I am so glad you are safe!”
“These brave Berkibeiners saved me from the Baglers then we
followed you by tracing the tracks made by your skis. Since you
know who the Baglers are and why they took you, always remember
to ask me before you go with anyone.”
Inga announced, “Brave and faithful friends, please come back to
our home and join us for a small feast in honor of the
Birkebeiner’s second rescue of King Hokum.”
Later that evening, everyone ate and drank and sang songs and
told stories. This was all too much for the young King Hokum who
fell asleep in his mother’s arms.
King Hokum, Inga, and the Birkibeiners lived in peace for many
years and Hokum was the king of the
But....was this the end of the Baglers? What do you think?
Written Collaboratively by 4K
Kidspired Tales Internet Project
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Kidspiration Activity File