Feb 15

Inverted Pyramid Story

Inverted Pyramid Story

What is an Inverted Pyramid Story?

News reporters use Inverted Pyramid Stories to relay information quickly to readers. Both newspapers and web writers use this approach. News is written in order of importance. The most essential information is placed in the lead paragraph. The purpose for writing using this method is to give the reader the most important information first. The reader will understand the story even if he stops reading after a few lines.

Invention

Many feel this method of writing was invented shortly after the telegraph. Reporters tried to condense their stories into as few words as possible to keep the cost of sending a story over telegraph wires low. Also if the connection was lost, the most important details would be received.

Benefits

Today this method of writing has several benefits.

  • Readers can quickly decide it they wish to read the entire article.

  • Editors who must cut down articles due to space can cut away the bottom leaving the most essential information intact.

  • Readers can stop at any point and come away with the main points.

  • Readers can skim through the article more quickly.

The Inverted Pyramid Story Structure

  • The writer begins the story by listing the most important details. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

  • The next part of the story gives important details.

 Practice using Pyramid Stories.

This download contains the beginnings of real articles from the New York Times. Students highlight ‘The 5 W’s + H’ using six different colors to determine if it is a pyramid story.

Free Pyramid Story Practice - Students highlight ‘The 5 W’s + H’ using six different colors to determine if actual New York Times articles are pyramid stories.

 

Gay Miller

Feb 12

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Katherine Applegate writes a beautiful story with a unique main character. Wishtree is told from the first person perspective of a 216 year old oak tree named Red. Red is special in several ways. People write wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches each May. Because of this, Red has witnessed a lot of sadness from humans.

Red tells stories to the animals that live in its hollows about the past. This time Red decides not to be an observer. Red jumps into action after seeing the sadness of a Muslim girl named Samar. Samar’s wish is simple. She wishes for a friend. Red enlists her crow friend Bongo to help make Samar’s wish come true.

The story teaches a valuable lesson that all students should read.

FREE Teaching Ideas for Wishtree

Activity #1 

Watch the trailer.

Activity #2 

Read a sample of Wishtree.

 Activity #3 

Check out the Wishtree Teacher’s Guide from MacMillan. The guide contains discussion questions and activities that can be done with the book.  

Activity #4

Activities to use with the book Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

As a hook activity for the book have students learn about the history behind wish trees. Four corners is also a great opening activity for this book. Click here for a handout for these activities. 

Activity #5

Free Book Unit Samples for Wishtree by Katherine ApplegateIf you would like to try out the Wishtree Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-5
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-5 
  • Constructive Response Question for Responding to Text
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate Book Unit

Wishtree Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and Google Digital versions are available.

Gay Miller

 

Feb 08

Using Animated Shorts to Teach Characters and Settings

Characters and Settings

Free Printables to Use with Animated Shorts (Characters and Setting)

If you are looking to add some high interest activities to your lessons, try using animated shorts to teach reading skills. 

This post contains animated short film “Geri’s Game” found on Vimeo and inserted in this post. Download this handout, leveled for upper elementary students here.

Great Animated Short for Characters and Setting

Geri’s Game [4:52]

Geri is an elderly man who plays a game of chess against himself. After each turn, he walks around the table to play the other side of the chessboard. Geri’s personality changes as he moves making this a great film for teaching character traits.

Film Information – Geri’s Game was released in 1997 by Pixar. The producers paired it with the movie A Bug’s Life. Geri’s Game won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1998.

 

Handout

This post is a sample of my new product Using Animated Short Films to Teach Reading Skills Part 2. Each month one additional post from this series will go live. You can find the links and post dates listed below.

Each post will contain one animated short with a printable handout. You can collect all ten by coming back each month. The full products, divided into two parts, contain over 50 student printables each for a total of 100+. 

The printables contain organizers with guiding questions to help students evaluate the short film and learn valuable reading skills. All short films will be added to a webpage on Book Units Teacher for easy access. The link to this webpage will be included in the purchased product.

Check out the products on Teachers Pay Teachers:

Part 1 – 52 Organizers

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 1 [Digital + Printable]

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 1 [Printable]

Part 2 – An Additional 52 Organizers

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 2 [Digital + Printable]

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 2  [Printable]

Blog Post Links and Publication Dates

 

Gay Miller

Feb 05

I Survived the American Revolution, 1776

I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 by Lauren Tarshis

I Survived the American Revolutionary, 1776 Teaching IdeasThe Series

Lauren Tarshis writes the fifteenth book in her popular I Survived Series. The series began with I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 in 2010. Since then, two books each year have been published. Readers can experience both natural and man-made disasters through this series. Fire, war, storms, and even shark attacks will keep the reader engaged. 

The Story

I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 tells the story of Nate. When three-year old Theo accidentally hits Uncle Storch with a stick, Nate takes the blame. As his cruel uncle begins to choke him, Nate realizes me must run away from home in order to survive. Nate stows away on a ship and winds up in New York City. The city is not the place Nate remembers. Boarded up buildings line the street. Soldiers build large earthen barricades. Not knowing what to do, Nate just walks. He observes all the preparations for war. Nate soon runs into an old friend who gets him a job as the camp helper for the Connecticut 15th. Through a series of events, Nate ends up on the battlefield. The thrilling story of courage is a must read.

Teachable Moments

The story is full of historical information including:

  • important battles
  • famous Revolutionary figures
  • trivia such was where the song Yankee Doodle came from

Accessibility

Just about any place that sells books carries this popular series. Scholastic Book Clubs are usually the most economical place to purchased the books. They run $3.00 a copy. If you buy the books in packs the cost comes down even more. 

FREE Teaching Ideas to use with
I Survived the American Revolution, 1776

Activity #1 

Check out the Revolutionary War Webpages on Book Units Teacher. Students can read information in fifteen mini-lessons. Online quizzes test students understanding of the lessons.   

Activity #2

Free Foldable Revolutionary War Timeline Organizer

Read Ten Interesting Facts … the Revolutionary War. Then download this timeline organizer.

Activity #3

If you would like to try out the I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2 
  • Constructive Response Question for Setting
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

Free Samples from I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 Book Unit

I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and Google Digital versions are available.

Gay Miller

 

Feb 01

Quick and Easy to Make Pocket Chart

Pocket Charts

 

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.Creating pocket charts from wrapping paper and cardboard is quick and easy. Make individual pocket charts for students, a series of matching charts for a bulletin board, or even a large one to hang on the wall. Be sure to check out the bottom of this post to see some ideas for using these pocket charts. 

Instructions for Making the Pocket Charts

Pocket charts can be made in many sizes depending on how you plan to use them. These instructions show how to create a small pocket chart that holds twelve index cards. I used a department store shirt box that has the lid connected to the bottom along one side. When the box is closed flat, it is double in thickness making it sturdy. The flattened box is 11 ½ by 15 inches. This is the perfect size to wrap in standard sized wrapping paper. Corrugated cardboard also works well. Cut it to whatever size you need.

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.Step #1 – Cut the wrapping paper approximately twice as long as the cardboard and several inches wider. For the 11 ½ by 15 inch box, I cut the wrapping paper 30 inches tall by 15 inches wide.

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.

Step #2 – On the back of the wrapping paper, draw folding lines using a pencil. Note: Some wrapping paper is lined on the back making this step easy. Begin approximately four inches from the top of the wrapping paper and draw a horizontal line. Measure down one inch and draw a second horizontal second. Continue to draw horizontal lines alternating between intervals of three inches and one inch. For a 30-inch piece of wrapping paper, you should have twelve horizontal lines.

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.Step #3 – Accordion fold the paper on the lines you have drawn. 

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.Step #4 – Place your cardboard in the center of the wrapping paper. You may wish to flip the cardboard and wrapping paper over to make sure you have the paper aligned. This example has a 2 ½ inch margin from the top of the first pocket to the top of the pocket chart and a 1 ½ margin from the top of the last pocket to the bottom of the pocket chart. Wrap the paper around to the back of the cardboard and tape it into place as if you were wrapping a present.

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.Step #5 – Staple a ribbon to the center top of the pocket chart so you can hang it up.

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.

Ideas for Using the Pocket Charts

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.

  • Sorting Activities

Example #1 – Create eight matching pocket charts and place them on a bulletin board. Write labels above each chart for the eight parts of speech. On index cards write words that can easily be classified by their parts of speech. Have students sort the cards onto the correct pocket chart.

Example #2 – This sorting activity is free in my The One and Only Ivan blog post. Cards can be sorted into four pocket charts in place of the four interactive notebook pockets. This would allow students to be able to read the cards after they have been sorted.

Sorting Activity

  • Matching Activities

Example – To receive the maximum score for teacher evaluations, teachers in our school must create word walls that change from unit to unit. Using pocket charts makes this a super easy process. Create a bulletin like the one illustrated above. Title the board by the name of the book your class is reading. Label the pockets by chapters instead of parts of speech. Write vocabulary words on index cards and place them in the pockets. Assign each student a vocabulary word. The student must create a definition card. Early finishers can match words to definitions.

Gay Miller

Jan 29

Wish by Barbara O’Connor Teaching Activities

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

After seeing a cardinal, close your eyes, spit three times, and make a wish. — You can make a wish if you clap three times before crossing a state line. — You can make a wish if you see a camel-shaped cloud.

The Story

These are just a few of the unusual things Charlie uses to make her daily wish; the same wish she has made every day since fourth grade. 

When Charlie’s family ‘becomes broken,’ Charlie moves to the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina to live with her aunt and uncle. She becomes friends with Howard who lives next door. The two are complete opposites — Howard’s calm easygoing personality compared to Charlie’s fiery temper. Throw in a stray dog who Charlie names Wishbone, and you have a heartwarming story that will make you tear up as you watch Charlie struggle with where she belongs. 

Accessibility

Wish by Barbara O'ConnorAll versions of this book are now available.

FREE Teaching Idea for
Wish by Barbara O’Connor

Activity – Comparing Dog Novels 

Literally thousands of great books about dogs can be found. This project centers on six novels including Pax which is the story of a fox. Students read the summaries of the six books. They then complete a chart to make comparisons. A Venn Diagram is also included for student to go into detail when comparing and contrasting two dog-themed books.

The Books 

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds NaylorShiloh  by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

As Marty walks the hills of Friendly, West Virginia, he runs across a shy beagle pup. The pup follows him home. The two form an immediate friendship. Marty names the pup Shiloh after the place he finds him. He soon learns he must return the dog to its rightful owner, Judd Travers, who is unkind to his dogs. After doing so, Shiloh turns up at Marty’s home for a second time. Marty decides to hide him on the hill behind his house. This leads to all kinds of trouble for Marty. 

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson RawlsWhere the Red Fern Grows

Set in the Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression, Billy Coleman works for two years to save enough money to buy two coon hounds. The book follows Billy and his hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann, as they confront challenges of both nature and man. Some of these include mountain lions, bullies, and a winter storm.

 

 

 

 

 

Stone Fox by John Reynolds GardinerStone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Grandfather will not get out of bed although Doc Smith says nothing is wrong with him. Little Willy takes over Grandfather’s duties and harvests the potato crop. He thinks everything will be fine, until Clifford Snyder comes to collect $500 in back taxes. In his desperation, little Willy decides to enter the adult dog sled race. Will he be able to win the prize money he needs to save the farm? 

 

 

 

Pax by Sara PennypackerPax by Sara Pennypacker

Peter and his much loved pet fox named Pax are separated because of war. The book contains chapters alternating between Peter’s and Pax’s perspectives as they make their way back to each other. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCammilo

Because of Winn-Dixie

Because of Winn-Dixie tells the story of ten-year old Opal. She has just moved to Naomi, Florida with her preacher father. On an errand to the grocery store, Opal finds a large, ugly, homeless dog. Opal is immediately attached to the dog whom she names Winn-Dixie after the grocery store where she finds him. Together they make friends with Otis, an ex-convict who runs the local pet store; Miss Fanny, the librarian who has a desk full of “Litmus Lozenges” a type of candy which her great grandfather invented; and Gloria Dump, the lady the local children think of as a witch because of her jungle-like yard. This book will make you laugh as Opal and Winn-Dixie make friends with these very likable characters in this small southern town.

 Google Docs

Free Google Digital Activity - Compare Dog Themed Books (Great to use with Wish by Barbara O'Connor)

This activity may be downloading from Google Docs here. The file includes two activities and an answer key.  

Book Unit Samples 

Wish by Barbara O'Connor -- Free Book Unit Samples

If you would like to try out the Wish Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2 
  • Constructive Response Question for Chapters 1-2
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

 

Wish Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and Google Digital versions are available.

Gay Miller

 

Jan 25

Silhouette Characterization – A Teaching Strategy

Silhouette Characterization

 

This post will illustrate how to teach character traits using silhouettes. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students. 

Instructions

Click here to download the printable. 

  1. Option 1 – Print the silhouettes found on page 8 on heavyweight paper. Cut out the patterns. Students trace the character onto a piece of ordinary paper.
  2. Option 2 – Show students the ‘Bean Character Clipart.’ found on pages 9 and 10. Students then draw their own silhouette people in a similar fashion.
  3. Option 3 – Print the sample organizers found on pages 3-7.

This post will illustrate how to teach character traits using silhouettes. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students. Activity #1 – Students draw a silhouette figure in the center of their page. Out from the silhouette, students draw rays. In each shape formed by the rays, students write facts about the character.

This post will illustrate how to teach character traits using silhouettes. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students.

Activity #2 – Students choose one character from the book or story they are reading. They draw the character as a silhouette covering the entire piece of paper. On the body of the character, students describe the character. On the arms and legs, students list four actions.

This post will illustrate how to teach character traits using silhouettes. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students. Activity #3 – Students copy the boy or the girl silhouette in the center of the page. Students then write a paragraph describing the character’s physical features. This includes coloring – hair, eyes, etc.; size – tall, short,  thin, muscular, etc.; and distinguishing features – mustache, curly hair, etc. on the left side of the figure. On the opposite side of the character, students describe inner character traits. This could be in the form of a paragraph or a list of adjectives such as absent-minded, disrespectful, humorous, immature, etc. 

This post will illustrate how to teach character traits using silhouettes. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students. Activity #4 – Students create two overlapping character shapes to form a Venn Diagram. Students then compare and contrast the two characters by telling how they are different and alike.

This post will illustrate how to teach character traits using silhouettes. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students. Activity #5 – Students draw a simple house structure. The house needs six windows. In each window, students answer Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? to explain how a specific character handled one situation in the story.

This post will illustrate how to teach character traits using silhouettes. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students.

Gay Miller

Jan 22

The Secret Garden – Chapter 27 In the Garden

Free Teaching Materials to use with The Secret Garden Chapter 27

 

The audio file for Chapter 27 “In the Garden” is 30 minutes 56 seconds in length.

 

Handouts

 

The Secret Garden

Chapter 27

In the Garden

In each century since the beginning of the world wonderful things have been discovered. In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before. In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light. At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.

So long as Mistress Mary’s mind was full of disagreeable thoughts about her dislikes and sour opinions of people and her determination not to be pleased by or interested in anything, she was a yellow-faced, sickly, bored and wretched child. Circumstances, however, were very kind to her, though she was not at all aware of it. They began to push her about for her own good. When her mind gradually filled itself with robins, and moorland cottages crowded with children, with queer crabbed old gardeners and common little Yorkshire housemaids, with springtime and with secret gardens coming alive day by day, and also with a moor boy and his “creatures,” there was no room left for the disagreeable thoughts which affected her liver and her digestion and made her yellow and tired.

So long as Colin shut himself up in his room and thought only of his fears and weakness and his detestation of people who looked at him and reflected hourly on humps and early death, he was a hysterical half-crazy little hypochondriac who knew nothing of the sunshine and the spring and also did not know that he could get well and could stand upon his feet if he tried to do it. When new beautiful thoughts began to push out the old hideous ones, life began to come back to him, his blood ran healthily through his veins and strength poured into him like a flood. His scientific experiment was quite practical and simple and there was nothing weird about it at all. Much more surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.

“Where, you tend a rose, my lad,
A thistle cannot grow.”

While the secret garden was coming alive and two children were coming alive with it, there was a man wandering about certain far-away beautiful places in the Norwegian fiords and the valleys and mountains of Switzerland and he was a man who for ten years had kept his mind filled with dark and heart-broken thinking. He had not been courageous; he had never tried to put any other thoughts in the place of the dark ones. He had wandered by blue lakes and thought them; he had lain on mountain-sides with sheets of deep blue gentians blooming all about him and flower breaths filling all the air and he had thought them. A terrible sorrow had fallen upon him when he had been happy and he had let his soul fill itself with blackness and had refused obstinately to allow any rift of light to pierce through. He had forgotten and deserted his home and his duties. When he traveled about, darkness so brooded over him that the sight of him was a wrong done

to other people because it was as if he poisoned the air about him with gloom. Most strangers thought he must be either half mad or a man with some hidden crime on his soul. He, was a tall man with a drawn face and crooked shoulders and the name he always entered on hotel registers was, “Archibald Craven, Misselthwaite Manor, Yorkshire, England.”

He had traveled far and wide since the day he saw Mistress Mary in his study and told her she might have her “bit of earth.” He had been in the most beautiful places in Europe, though he had remained nowhere more than a few days. He had chosen the quietest and remotest spots. He had been on the tops of mountains whose heads were in the clouds and had looked down on other mountains when the sun rose and touched them with such light as made it seem as if the world were just being born.

But the light had never seemed to touch himself until one day when he realized that for the first time in ten years a strange thing had happened. He was in a wonderful valley in the Austrian Tyrol and he had been walking alone through such beauty as might have lifted, any man’s soul out of shadow. He had walked a long way and it had not lifted his. But at last he had felt tired and had thrown himself down to rest on a carpet of moss by a stream. It was a clear little stream which ran quite merrily along on its narrow way through the luscious damp greenness. Sometimes it made a sound rather like very low laughter as it bubbled over and round stones. He saw birds come and dip their heads to drink in it and then flick their wings and fly away. It seemed like a thing alive and yet its tiny voice made the stillness seem deeper. The valley was very, very still.

As he sat gazing into the clear running of the water, Archibald Craven gradually felt his mind and body both grow quiet, as quiet as the valley itself. He wondered if he were going to sleep, but he was not. He sat and gazed at the sunlit water and his eyes began to see things growing at its edge. There was one lovely mass of blue forget-me-nots growing so close to the stream that its leaves were wet and at these he found himself looking as he remembered he had looked at such things years ago. He was actually thinking tenderly how lovely it was and what wonders of blue its hundreds of little blossoms were. He did not know that just that simple thought was slowly filling his mind—filling and filling it until other things were softly pushed aside. It was as if a sweet clear spring had begun to rise in a stagnant pool and had risen and risen until at last it swept the dark water away. But of course he did not think of this himself. He only knew that the valley seemed to grow quieter and quieter as he sat and stared at the bright delicate blueness. He did not know how long he sat there or what was happening to him, but at last he moved as if he were awakening and he got up slowly and stood on the moss carpet, drawing a long, deep, soft breath and wondering at himself. Something seemed to have been unbound and released in him, very quietly.

“What is it?” he said, almost in a whisper, and he passed his hand over his forehead. “I almost feel as if—I were alive!”

I do not know enough about the wonderfulness of undiscovered things to be able to explain how this had happened to him. Neither does any one else yet. He did not understand at all himself—but he remembered this strange hour months afterward when he was at Misselthwaite again and he found out quite by accident that on this very day Colin had cried out as he went into the secret garden:

“I am going to live forever and ever and ever!”

The singular calmness remained with him the rest of the evening and he slept a new reposeful sleep; but it was not with him very long. He did not know that it could be kept. By the next night he had opened the doors wide to his dark thoughts and they had come trooping and rushing back. He left the valley and went on his wandering way again. But, strange as it seemed to him, there were minutes—sometimes half-hours—when, without his knowing why, the black burden seemed to lift itself again and he knew he was a living man and not a dead one. Slowly—slowly—for no reason that he knew of—he was “coming alive” with the garden.

As the golden summer changed into the deep golden autumn he went to the Lake of Como. There he found the loveliness of a dream. He spent his days upon the crystal blueness of the lake or he walked back into the soft thick verdure of the hills and tramped until he was tired so that he might sleep. But by this time he had begun to sleep better, he knew, and his dreams had ceased to be a terror to him.

“Perhaps,” he thought, “my body is growing stronger.”

It was growing stronger but—because of the rare peaceful hours when his thoughts were changed—his soul was slowly growing stronger, too. He began to think of Misselthwaite and wonder if he should not go home. Now and then he wondered vaguely about his boy and asked himself what he should feel when he went and stood by the carved four-posted bed again and looked down at the sharply chiseled ivory-white face while it slept and, the black lashes rimmed so startlingly the close-shut eyes. He shrank from it.

One marvel of a day he had walked so far that when he returned the moon was high and full and all the world was purple shadow and silver. The stillness of lake and shore and wood was so wonderful that he did not go into the villa he lived in. He walked down to a little bowered terrace at the water’s edge and sat upon a seat and breathed in all the heavenly scents of the night. He felt the strange calmness stealing over him and it grew deeper and deeper until he fell asleep.

He did not know when he fell asleep and when he began to dream; his dream was so real that he did not feel as if he were dreaming. He remembered afterward how intensely wide awake and alert he had thought he was. He thought that as he sat and breathed in the scent of the late roses and listened to the lapping of the water at his feet he heard a voice calling. It was sweet and clear and happy and far away. It seemed very far, but he heard it as distinctly as if it had been at his very side.

“Archie! Archie! Archie!” it said, and then again, sweeter and clearer than before, “Archie! Archie!”

He thought he sprang to his feet not even startled. It was such a real voice and it seemed so natural that he should hear it.

“Lilias! Lilias!” he answered. “Lilias! where are you?”

“In the garden,” it came back like a sound from a golden flute. “In the garden!”

And then the dream ended. But he did not awaken. He slept soundly and sweetly all through the lovely night. When he did awake at last it was brilliant morning and a servant was standing staring at him. He was an Italian servant and was accustomed, as all the servants of the villa were, to accepting without question any strange thing his foreign master might do. No one ever knew when he would go out or come in or where he would choose to sleep or if he would roam about the garden or lie in the boat on the lake all night. The man held a salver with some letters on it and he waited quietly until Mr. Craven took them. When he had gone away Mr. Craven sat a few moments holding them in his hand and looking at the lake. His strange calm was still upon him and something more—a lightness as if the cruel thing which had been done had not happened as he thought—as if something had changed. He was remembering the dream—the real—real dream.

“In the garden!” he said, wondering at himself. “In the garden! But the door is locked and the key is buried deep.”

When he glanced at the letters a few minutes later he saw that the one lying at the top of the rest was an English letter and came from Yorkshire. It was directed in a plain woman’s hand but it was not a hand he knew. He opened it, scarcely thinking of the writer, but the first words attracted his attention at once.

 

“Dear Sir:

I am Susan Sowerby that made bold to speak to you once on the moor. It was about Miss Mary I spoke. I will make bold to speak again. Please, sir, I would come home if I was you. I think you would be glad to come and—if you will excuse me, sir—I think your lady would ask you to come if she was here.

Your obedient servant,
Susan Sowerby.”

 

Mr. Craven read the letter twice before he put it back in its envelope. He kept thinking about the dream.

“I will go back to Misselthwaite,” he said. “Yes, I’ll go at once.”

And he went through the garden to the villa and ordered Pitcher to prepare for his return to England.

 

In a few days he was in Yorkshire again, and on his long railroad journey he found himself thinking of his boy as he had never thought in all the ten years past. During those years he had only wished to forget him. Now, though he did not intend to think about him, memories of him constantly drifted into his mind. He remembered the black days when he had raved like a madman because the child was alive and the mother was dead. He had refused to see it, and when he had gone to look at it at last it had been, such a weak wretched thing that everyone had been sure it would die in a few days. But to the surprise of those who took care of it the days passed and it lived and then everyone believed it would be a deformed and crippled creature.

He had not meant to be a bad father, but he had not felt like a father at all. He had supplied doctors and nurses and luxuries, but he had shrunk from the mere thought of the boy and had buried himself in his own misery. The first time after a year’s absence he returned to Misselthwaite and the small miserable looking thing languidly and indifferently lifted to his face the great gray eyes with black lashes round them, so like and yet so horribly unlike the happy eyes he had adored, he could not bear the sight of them and turned away pale as death. After that he scarcely ever saw him except when he was asleep, and all he knew of him was that he was a confirmed invalid, with a vicious, hysterical, half-insane temper. He could only be kept from furies dangerous to himself by being given his own way in every detail.

All this was not an uplifting thing to recall, but as the train whirled him through mountain passes and golden plains the man who was “coming alive” began to think in a new way and he thought long and steadily and deeply.

“Perhaps I have been all wrong for ten years,” he said to himself. “Ten years is a long time. It may be too late to do anything—quite too late. What have I been thinking of!”

Of course this was the wrong Magic—to begin by saying “too late.” Even Colin could have told him that. But he knew nothing of Magic—either black or white. This he had yet to learn. He wondered if Susan Sowerby had taken courage and written to him only because the motherly creature had realized that the boy was much worse—was fatally ill. If he had not been under the spell of the curious calmness which had taken possession of him he would have been more wretched than ever. But the calm had brought a sort of courage and hope with it. Instead of giving way to thoughts of the worst he actually found he was trying to believe in better things.

“Could it be possible that she sees that I may be able to do him good and control him?” he thought. “I will go and see her on my way to Misselthwaite.”

But when on his way across the moor he stopped the carriage at the cottage, seven or eight children who were playing about gathered in a group and bobbing seven or eight friendly and polite curtsies told him that their mother had gone to the other side of the moor early in the morning to help a woman who had a new baby. “Our Dickon,” they volunteered, was over at the Manor working in one of the gardens where he went several days each week.

Mr. Craven looked over the collection of sturdy little bodies and round red-cheeked faces, each one grinning in its own particular way, and he awoke to the fact that they were a healthy likable lot. He smiled at their friendly grins and took a golden sovereign from his pocket and gave it to “our ‘Lizabeth Ellen” who was the oldest.

“If you divide that into eight parts there will be half a crown for each of, you,” he said.

Then amid grins and chuckles and bobbing of curtsies he drove away, leaving ecstasy and nudging elbows and little jumps of joy behind.

The drive across the wonderfulness of the moor was a soothing thing. Why did it seem to give him a sense of homecoming which he had been sure he could never feel again—that sense of the beauty of land and sky and purple bloom of distance and a warming of the heart at drawing, nearer to the great old house which had held those of his blood for six hundred years? How he had driven away from it the last time, shuddering to think of its closed rooms and the boy lying in the four-posted bed with the brocaded hangings. Was it possible that perhaps he might find him changed a little for the better and that he might overcome his shrinking from him? How real that dream had been—how wonderful and clear the voice which called back to him, “In the garden—In the garden!”

“I will try to find the key,” he said. “I will try to open the door. I must—though I don’t know why.”

When he arrived at the Manor the servants who received him with the usual ceremony noticed that he looked better and that he did not go to the remote rooms where he usually lived attended by Pitcher. He went into the library and sent for Mrs. Medlock. She came to him somewhat excited and curious and flustered.

“How is Master Colin, Medlock?” he inquired. “Well, sir,” Mrs. Medlock answered, “he’s—he’s different, in a manner of speaking.”

“Worse?” he suggested.

Mrs. Medlock really was flushed.

“Well, you see, sir,” she tried to explain, “neither Dr. Craven, nor the nurse, nor me can exactly make him out.”

“Why is that?”

“To tell the truth, sir, Master Colin might be better and he might be changing for the worse. His appetite, sir, is past understanding—and his ways—”

“Has he become more—more peculiar?” her master, asked, knitting his brows anxiously.

“That’s it, sir. He’s growing very peculiar—when you compare him with what he used to be. He used to eat nothing and then suddenly he began to eat something enormous—and then he stopped again all at once and the meals were sent back just as they used to be. You never knew, sir, perhaps, that out of doors he never would let himself be taken. The things we’ve gone through to get him to go out in his chair would leave a body trembling like a leaf. He’d throw himself into such a state that Dr. Craven said he couldn’t be responsible for forcing him. Well, sir, just without warning—not long after one of his worst tantrums he suddenly insisted on being taken out every day by Miss Mary and Susan Sowerby’s boy Dickon that could push his chair. He took a fancy to both Miss Mary and Dickon, and Dickon brought his tame animals, and, if you’ll credit it, sir, out of doors he will stay from morning until night.”

“How does he look?” was the next question.

“If he took his food natural, sir, you’d think he was putting on flesh—but we’re afraid it may be a sort of bloat. He laughs sometimes in a queer way when he’s alone with Miss Mary. He never used to laugh at all. Dr. Craven is coming to see you at once, if you’ll allow him. He never was as puzzled in his life.”

“Where is Master Colin now?” Mr. Craven asked.

“In the garden, sir. He’s always in the garden—though not a human creature is allowed to go near for fear they’ll look at him.”

Mr. Craven scarcely heard her last words.

“In the garden,” he said, and after he had sent Mrs. Medlock away he stood and repeated it again and again. “In the garden!”

He had to make an effort to bring himself back to the place he was standing in and when he felt he was on earth again he turned and went out of the room. He took his way, as Mary had done, through the door in the shrubbery and among the laurels and the fountain beds. The fountain was playing now and was encircled by beds of brilliant autumn flowers. He crossed the lawn and turned into the Long Walk by the ivied walls. He did not walk quickly, but slowly, and his eyes were on the path. He felt as if he were being drawn back to the place he had so long forsaken, and he did not know why. As he drew near to it his step became still more slow. He knew where the door was even though the ivy hung thick over it—but he did not know exactly where it lay—that buried key.

So he stopped and stood still, looking about him, and almost the moment after he had paused he started and listened—asking himself if he were walking in a dream.

The ivy hung thick over the door, the key was buried under the shrubs, no human being had passed that portal for ten lonely years—and yet inside the garden there were sounds. They were the sounds of running scuffling feet seeming to chase round and round under the trees, they were strange sounds of lowered suppressed voices—exclamations and smothered joyous cries. It seemed actually like the laughter of young things, the uncontrollable laughter of children who were trying not to be heard but who in a moment or so—as their excitement mounted—would burst forth. What in heaven’s name was he dreaming of—what in heaven’s name did he hear? Was he losing his reason and thinking he heard things which were not for human ears? Was it that the far clear voice had meant?

And then the moment came, the uncontrollable moment when the sounds forgot to hush themselves. The feet ran faster and faster—they were nearing the garden door—there was quick strong young breathing and a wild outbreak of laughing shows which could not be contained—and the door in the wall was flung wide open, the sheet of ivy swinging back, and a boy burst through it at full speed and, without seeing the outsider, dashed almost into his arms.

Mr. Craven had extended them just in time to save him from falling as a result of his unseeing dash against him, and when he held him away to look at him in amazement at his being there he truly gasped for breath.

He was a tall boy and a handsome one. He was glowing with life and his running had sent splendid color leaping to his face. He threw the thick hair back from his forehead and lifted a pair of strange gray eyes—eyes full of boyish laughter and rimmed with black lashes like a fringe. It was the eyes which made Mr. Craven gasp for breath. “Who—What? Who!” he stammered.

This was not what Colin had expected—this was not what he had planned. He had never thought of such a meeting. And yet to come dashing out—winning a race—perhaps it was even better. He drew himself up to his very tallest. Mary, who had been running with him and had dashed through the door too, believed that he managed to make himself look taller than he had ever looked before—inches taller.

“Father,” he said, “I’m Colin. You can’t believe it. I scarcely can myself. I’m Colin.”

Like Mrs. Medlock, he did not understand what his father meant when he said hurriedly:

“In the garden! In the garden!”

“Yes,” hurried on Colin. “It was the garden that did it—and Mary and Dickon and the creatures—and the Magic. No one knows. We kept it to tell you when you came. I’m well, I can beat Mary in a race. I’m going to be an athlete.”

He said it all so like a healthy boy—his face flushed, his words tumbling over each other in his eagerness—that Mr. Craven’s soul shook with unbelieving joy.

Colin put out his hand and laid it on his father’s arm.

“Aren’t you glad, Father?” he ended. “Aren’t you glad? I’m going to live forever and ever and ever!”

Mr. Craven put his hands on both the boy’s shoulders and held him still. He knew he dared not even try to speak for a moment.

“Take me into the garden, my boy,” he said at last. “And tell me all about it.”

And so they led him in.

The place was a wilderness of autumn gold and purple and violet blue and flaming scarlet and on every side were sheaves of late lilies standing together—lilies which were white or white and ruby. He remembered well when the first of them had been planted that just at this season of the year their late glories should reveal themselves. Late roses climbed and hung and clustered and the sunshine deepening the hue of the yellowing trees made one feel that one, stood in an embowered temple of gold. The newcomer stood silent just as the children had done when they came into its grayness. He looked round and round.

“I thought it would be dead,” he said.

“Mary thought so at first,” said Colin. “But it came alive.”

Then they sat down under their tree—all but Colin, who wanted to stand while he told the story.

It was the strangest thing he had ever heard, Archibald Craven thought, as it was poured forth in headlong boy fashion. Mystery and Magic and wild creatures, the weird midnight meeting—the coming of the spring—the passion of insulted pride which had dragged the young Rajah to his feet to defy old Ben Weatherstaff to his face. The odd companionship, the play acting, the great secret so carefully kept. The listener laughed until tears came into his eyes and sometimes tears came into his eyes when he was not laughing. The Athlete, the Lecturer, the Scientific Discoverer was a laughable, lovable, healthy young human thing.

“Now,” he said at the end of the story, “it need not be a secret any more. I dare say it will frighten them nearly into fits when they see me—but I am never going to get into the chair again. I shall walk back with you, Father—to the house.”

 

Ben Weatherstaff’s duties rarely took him away from the gardens, but on this occasion he made an excuse to carry some vegetables to the kitchen and being invited into the servants’ hall by Mrs. Medlock to drink a glass of beer he was on the spot—as he had hoped to be—when the most dramatic event Misselthwaite Manor had seen during the present generation actually took place. One of the windows looking upon the courtyard gave also a glimpse of the lawn. Mrs. Medlock, knowing Ben had come from the gardens, hoped that he might have caught sight of his master and even by chance of his meeting with Master Colin.

“Did you see either of them, Weatherstaff?” she asked.

Ben took his beer-mug from his mouth and wiped his lips with the back of his hand.

“Aye, that I did,” he answered with a shrewdly significant air.

“Both of them?” suggested Mrs. Medlock.

“Both of ’em,” returned Ben Weatherstaff. “Thank ye kindly, ma’am, I could sup up another mug of it.”

“Together?” said Mrs. Medlock, hastily overfilling his beer-mug in her excitement.

“Together, ma’am,” and Ben gulped down half of his new mug at one gulp.

“Where was Master Colin? How did he look? What did they say to each other?”

“I didna’ hear that,” said Ben, “along o’ only bein’ on th’ stepladder lookin, over th’ wall. But I’ll tell thee this. There’s been things goin’ on outside as you house people knows nowt about. An’ what tha’ll find out tha’ll find out soon.”

And it was not two minutes before he swallowed the last of his beer and waved his mug solemnly toward the window which took in through the shrubbery a piece of the lawn.

“Look there,” he said, “if tha’s curious. Look what’s comin’ across th’ grass.”

When Mrs. Medlock looked she threw up her hands and gave a little shriek and every man and woman servant within hearing bolted across the servants’ hall and stood looking through the window with their eyes almost starting out of their heads.

Across the lawn came the Master of Misselthwaite and he looked as many of them had never seen him. And by his, side with his head up in the air and his eyes full of laughter walked as strongly and steadily as any boy in Yorkshire—Master Colin.

Gay Miller

Jan 18

Choice Boards (Think-Tac-Toe, BINGO, Menus, RAFT, & 1-3-5)

Choice Boards

(Think-Tac-Toe, BINGO, Menus, RAFT, and 1-3-5)

Units of study that provide students with the option to choose tasks is a great way to differentiate instruction. Activities are placed on graphic organizers for students to select. Tasks may be organized based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, the complexity of the tasks, learning styles, or multiple intelligence.

Some advantages include —

  • The teacher can easily tier challenges based on the level of learners.
  • Students become actively engaged because they are more interested in the tasks. 

Think-Tac-Toe Choice Board 

With the Think-Tac-Toe Choice Boards, students are given a choice of nine items printed in a 3 by 3 grid to look like Tic-Tac-Toe. Students must complete three tasks in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal Tic-Tac-Toe row. The boards need to have a variety of activities that include different types of learning.

For example, for a list of vocabulary words students might:

Write the words in shaving cream. Draw a picture of each word. Divide the words into syllables.
Write sentences with the words.
Write the words in triangles. Make up a song or rap using the words.
Use the words in a letter to a good friend telling about your school. Use the words in a story.

Make up riddles or silly questions with the words.

 

BINGO Choice Board

Bingo Choice Boards are very similar to Tic-Tac-Toe boards. Students must select tasks in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row. This will include 4 or 5 tasks depending on the direction a student decides to go.

Menus  

With menus, students select activities the same way they select from a menu in a restaurant. The activities can be for a single lesson, a series of lessons, or a full unit of study.

Appetizers (Flexible – Open for Discussion)

Students must select one appetizer from a list.

The Main Dish (Required – Non-Negotiable Assignment) 

Side Dishes (Flexible – Open for Discussion)

Students must select two items from a list.

Desserts (Optional)

These are high interest challenging activities that enrich instruction.

 

RAFT 

RAFT is a writing strategy to help students focus on four areas of communication:    

Role of the Writer

Audience

Format

Topic

RAFT Example

Students select the role, audience, format, and topic from a chart listing approximately 16 categories. Within one lesson you may have a student who is a reporter writing an article for women about ways to recycle. In the same lesson, a student might be an advertiser creating an ad for youth on ways to take trash and turn it into furniture. The possibilities are great even within your structured lesson. You can read more about RAFT here and download a free sample lesson using this method.

1-3-5 Activity

Students select from a list of activities. Each activity is valued at 1, 3, or 5 points. Students must complete activities that total at least 12 points.

Give Choice Boards including Menus, RAFT, or
1-3-5 a try with these free templates.

This download includes a PowerPoint presentation with editable templates. You can change the text, format and resize the font in any of the table boxes. Click on the text to highlight the table. Then retype the text to create your own choice boards.
Free PowerPoint Choice Board Templates

 Gay Miller

Jan 15

The Secret Garden – Chapter 26 It’s Mother

Free Teaching Materials to use with The Secret Garden Chapter 26

 

The audio file for Chapter 26 “It’s Mother” is 17 minutes 44 seconds in length.

 

Handouts

 

The Secret Garden

Chapter 26

It’s Mother

The Secret Garden Chapter 26 - Story and Printable Worksheets

Their belief in the Magic was an abiding thing. After the morning’s incantations Colin sometimes gave them Magic lectures.

“I like to do it,” he explained, “because when I grow up and make great scientific discoveries I shall be obliged to lecture about them and so this is practise. I can only give short lectures now because I am very young, and besides Ben Weatherstaff would feel as if he were in church and he would go to sleep.”

“Th’ best thing about lecturin’,” said Ben, “is that a chap can get up an’ say aught he pleases an’ no other chap can answer him back. I wouldn’t be agen’ lecturin’ a bit mysel’ sometimes.”

But when Colin held forth under his tree old Ben fixed devouring eyes on him and kept them there. He looked him over with critical affection. It was not so much the lecture which interested him as the legs which looked straighter and stronger each day, the boyish head which held itself up so well, the once sharp chin and hollow cheeks which had filled and rounded out and the eyes which had begun to hold the light he remembered in another pair. Sometimes when Colin felt Ben’s earnest gaze meant that he was much impressed he wondered what he was reflecting on and once when he had seemed quite entranced he questioned him.

“What are you thinking about, Ben Weatherstaff?” he asked.

“I was thinkin'” answered Ben, “as I’d warrant tha’s, gone up three or four pound this week. I was lookin’ at tha’ calves an’ tha’ shoulders. I’d like to get thee on a pair o’ scales.”

“It’s the Magic and—and Mrs. Sowerby’s buns and milk and things,” said Colin. “You see the scientific experiment has succeeded.”

That morning Dickon was too late to hear the lecture. When he came he was ruddy with running and his funny face looked more twinkling than usual. As they had a good deal of weeding to do after the rains they fell to work. They always had plenty to do after a warm deep sinking rain. The moisture which was good for the flowers was also good for the weeds which thrust up tiny blades of grass and points of leaves which must be pulled up before their roots took too firm hold. Colin was as good at weeding as any one in these days and he could lecture while he was doing it. “The Magic works best when you work, yourself,” he said this morning. “You can feel it in your bones and muscles. I am going to read books about bones and muscles, but I am going to write a book about Magic. I am making it up now. I keep finding out things.”

It was not very long after he had said this that he laid down his trowel and stood up on his feet. He had been silent for several minutes and they had seen that he was thinking out lectures, as he often did. When he dropped his trowel and stood upright it seemed to Mary and Dickon as if a sudden strong thought had made him do it. He stretched himself out to his tallest height and he threw out his arms exultantly. Color glowed in his face and his strange eyes widened with joyfulness. All at once he had realized something to the full.

“Mary! Dickon!” he cried. “Just look at me!”

They stopped their weeding and looked at him.

“Do you remember that first morning you brought me in here?” he demanded.

Dickon was looking at him very hard. Being an animal charmer he could see more things than most people could and many of them were things he never talked about. He saw some of them now in this boy. “Aye, that we do,” he answered.

Mary looked hard too, but she said nothing.

“Just this minute,” said Colin, “all at once I remembered it myself—when I looked at my hand digging with the trowel—and I had to stand up on my feet to see if it was real. And it is real! I’m well—I’m well!”

“Aye, that th’ art!” said Dickon.

“I’m well! I’m well!” said Colin again, and his face went quite red all over.

He had known it before in a way, he had hoped it and felt it and thought about it, but just at that minute something had rushed all through him—a sort of rapturous belief and realization and it had been so strong that he could not help calling out.

“I shall live forever and ever and ever!” he cried grandly. “I shall find out thousands and thousands of things. I shall find out about people and creatures and everything that grows—like Dickon—and I shall never stop making Magic. I’m well! I’m well! I feel—I feel as if I want to shout out something—something thankful, joyful!”

Ben Weatherstaff, who had been working near a rose-bush, glanced round at him.

“Tha’ might sing th’ Doxology,” he suggested in his dryest grunt. He had no opinion of the Doxology and he did not make the suggestion with any particular reverence.

But Colin was of an exploring mind and he knew nothing about the Doxology.

“What is that?” he inquired.

“Dickon can sing it for thee, I’ll warrant,” replied Ben Weatherstaff.

Dickon answered with his all-perceiving animal charmer’s smile.

“They sing it i’ church,” he said. “Mother says she believes th’ skylarks sings it when they gets up i’ th’ mornin’.”

“If she says that, it must be a nice song,” Colin answered. “I’ve never been in a church myself. I was always too ill. Sing it, Dickon. I want to hear it.”

Dickon was quite simple and unaffected about it. He understood what Colin felt better than Colin did himself. He understood by a sort of instinct so natural that he did not know it was understanding. He pulled off his cap and looked round still smiling.

“Tha’ must take off tha’ cap,” he said to Colin, “an’ so mun tha’, Ben—an’ tha’ mun stand up, tha’ knows.”

Colin took off his cap and the sun shone on and warmed his thick hair as he watched Dickon intently. Ben Weatherstaff scrambled up from his knees and bared his head too with a sort of puzzled half-resentful look on his old face as if he didn’t know exactly why he was doing this remarkable thing.

Dickon stood out among the trees and rose-bushes and began to sing in quite a simple matter-of-fact way and in a nice strong boy voice:

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye Heavenly Host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Amen.”

When he had finished, Ben Weatherstaff was standing quite still with his jaws set obstinately but with a disturbed look in his eyes fixed on Colin. Colin’s face was thoughtful and appreciative.

“It is a very nice song,” he said. “I like it. Perhaps it means just what I mean when I want to shout out that I am thankful to the Magic.” He stopped and thought in a puzzled way. “Perhaps they are both the same thing. How can we know the exact names of everything? Sing it again, Dickon. Let us try, Mary. I want to sing it, too. It’s my song. How does it begin? ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow’?”

And they sang it again, and Mary and Colin lifted their voices as musically as they could and Dickon’s swelled quite loud and beautiful—and at the second line Ben Weatherstaff raspingly cleared his throat and at the third line he joined in with such vigor that it seemed almost savage and when the “Amen” came to an end Mary observed that the very same thing had happened to him which had happened when he found out that Colin was not a cripple—his chin was twitching and he was staring and winking and his leathery old cheeks were wet.

“I never seed no sense in th’ Doxology afore,” he said hoarsely, “but I may change my mind i’ time. I should say tha’d gone up five pound this week Mester Colin—five on ’em!”

Colin was looking across the garden at something attracting his attention and his expression had become a startled one.

“Who is coming in here?” he said quickly. “Who is it?”

The door in the ivied wall had been pushed gently open and a woman had entered. She had come in with the last line of their song and she had stood still listening and looking at them. With the ivy behind her, the sunlight drifting through the trees and dappling her long blue cloak, and her nice fresh face smiling across the greenery she was rather like a softly colored illustration in one of Colin’s books. She had wonderful affectionate eyes which seemed to take everything in—all of them, even Ben Weatherstaff and the “creatures” and every flower that was in bloom. Unexpectedly as she had appeared, not one of them felt that she was an intruder at all. Dickon’s eyes lighted like lamps.

“It’s mother—that’s who it is!” he cried and went across the grass at a run.

Colin began to move toward her, too, and Mary went with him. They both felt their pulses beat faster.

“It’s mother!” Dickon said again when they met halfway. “I knowed tha’ wanted to see her an’ I told her where th’ door was hid.”

Colin held out his hand with a sort of flushed royal shyness but his eyes quite devoured her face.

“Even when I was ill I wanted to see you,” he said, “you and Dickon and the secret garden. I’d never wanted to see any one or anything before.”

The sight of his uplifted face brought about a sudden change in her own. She flushed and the corners of her mouth shook and a mist seemed to sweep over her eyes.

“Eh! dear lad!” she broke out tremulously. “Eh! dear lad!” as if she had not known she were going to say it. She did not say, “Mester Colin,” but just “dear lad” quite suddenly. She might have said it to Dickon in the same way if she had seen something in his face which touched her. Colin liked it.

“Are you surprised because I am so well?” he asked. She put her hand on his shoulder and smiled the mist out of her eyes. “Aye, that I am!” she said; “but tha’rt so like thy mother tha’ made my heart jump.”

“Do you think,” said Colin a little awkwardly, “that will make my father like me?”

“Aye, for sure, dear lad,” she answered and she gave his shoulder a soft quick pat. “He mun come home—he mun come home.”

“Susan Sowerby,” said Ben Weatherstaff, getting close to her. “Look at th’ lad’s legs, wilt tha’? They was like drumsticks i’ stockin’ two month’ ago—an’ I heard folk tell as they was bandy an’ knock-kneed both at th’ same time. Look at ’em now!”

Susan Sowerby laughed a comfortable laugh.

“They’re goin’ to be fine strong lad’s legs in a bit,” she said. “Let him go on playin’ an’ workin’ in the garden an’ eatin’ hearty an’ drinkin’ plenty o’ good sweet milk an’ there’ll not be a finer pair i’ Yorkshire, thank God for it.”

She put both hands on Mistress Mary’s shoulders and looked her little face over in a motherly fashion.

“An’ thee, too!” she said. “Tha’rt grown near as hearty as our ‘Lisabeth Ellen. I’ll warrant tha’rt like thy mother too. Our Martha told me as Mrs. Medlock heard she was a pretty woman. Tha’lt be like a blush rose when tha’ grows up, my little lass, bless thee.”

She did not mention that when Martha came home on her “day out” and described the plain sallow child she had said that she had no confidence whatever in what Mrs. Medlock had heard. “It doesn’t stand to reason that a pretty woman could be th’ mother o’ such a fou’ little lass,” she had added obstinately.

Mary had not had time to pay much attention to her changing face. She had only known that she looked “different” and seemed to have a great deal more hair and that it was growing very fast. But remembering her pleasure in looking at the Mem Sahib in the past she was glad to hear that she might some day look like her.

Susan Sowerby went round their garden with them and was told the whole story of it and shown every bush and tree which had come alive. Colin walked on one side of her and Mary on the other. Each of them kept looking up at her comfortable rosy face, secretly curious about the delightful feeling she gave them—a sort of warm, supported feeling. It seemed as if she understood them as Dickon understood his “creatures.” She stooped over the flowers and talked about them as if they were children. Soot followed her and once or twice cawed at her and flew upon her shoulder as if it were Dickon’s. When they told her about the robin and the first flight of the young ones she laughed a motherly little mellow laugh in her throat.

“I suppose learnin’ ’em to fly is like learnin’ children to walk, but I’m feared I should be all in a worrit if mine had wings instead o’ legs,” she said.

It was because she seemed such a wonderful woman in her nice moorland cottage way that at last she was told about the Magic.

“Do you believe in Magic?” asked Colin after he had explained about Indian fakirs. “I do hope you do.”

“That I do, lad,” she answered. “I never knowed it by that name but what does th’ name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i’ France an’ a different one i’ Germany. Th’ same thing as set th’ seeds swellin’ an’ th’ sun shinin’ made thee a well lad an’ it’s th’ Good Thing. It isn’t like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th’ Big Good Thing doesn’t stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin’ worlds by th’ million—worlds like us. Never thee stop believin’ in th’ Big Good Thing an’ knowin’ th’ world’s full of it—an’ call it what tha’ likes. Tha’ wert singin’ to it when I come into th’ garden.”

“I felt so joyful,” said Colin, opening his beautiful strange eyes at her. “Suddenly I felt how different I was—how strong my arms and legs were, you know—and how I could dig and stand—and I jumped up and wanted to shout out something to anything that would listen.”

“Th’ Magic listened when tha’ sung th’ Doxology. It would ha’ listened to anything tha’d sung. It was th’ joy that mattered. Eh! lad, lad—what’s names to th’ Joy Maker,” and she gave his shoulders a quick soft pat again.

She had packed a basket which held a regular feast this morning, and when the hungry hour came and Dickon brought it out from its hiding place, she sat down with them under their tree and watched them devour their food, laughing and quite gloating over their appetites. She was full of fun and made them laugh at all sorts of odd things. She told them stories in broad Yorkshire and taught them new words. She laughed as if she could not help it when they told her of the increasing difficulty there was in pretending that Colin was still a fretful invalid.

“You see we can’t help laughing nearly all the time when we are together,” explained Colin. “And it doesn’t sound ill at all. We try to choke it back but it will burst out and that sounds worse than ever.”

“There’s one thing that comes into my mind so often,” said Mary, “and I can scarcely ever hold in when I think of it suddenly. I keep thinking suppose Colin’s face should get to look like a full moon. It isn’t like one yet but he gets a tiny bit fatter every day—and suppose some morning it should look like one—what should we do!”

“Bless us all, I can see tha’ has a good bit o’ play actin’ to do,” said Susan Sowerby. “But tha’ won’t have to keep it up much longer. Mester Craven’ll come home.”

“Do you think he will?” asked Colin. “Why?”

Susan Sowerby chuckled softly.

“I suppose it ‘ud nigh break thy heart if he found out before tha’ told him in tha’ own way,” she said. “Tha’s laid awake nights plannin’ it.”

“I couldn’t bear any one else to tell him,” said Colin. “I think about different ways every day, I think now I just want to run into his room.” “That’d be a fine start for him,” said Susan Sowerby. “I’d like to see his face, lad. I would that! He mun come back—that he mun.”

One of the things they talked of was the visit they were to make to her cottage. They planned it all. They were to drive over the moor and lunch out of doors among the heather. They would see all the twelve children and Dickon’s garden and would not come back until they were tired.

Susan Sowerby got up at last to return to the house and Mrs. Medlock. It was time for Colin to be wheeled back also. But before he got into his chair he stood quite close to Susan and fixed his eyes on her with a kind of bewildered adoration and he suddenly caught hold of the fold of her blue cloak and held it fast.

“You are just what I—what I wanted,” he said. “I wish you were my mother—as well as Dickon’s!”

All at once Susan Sowerby bent down and drew him with her warm arms close against the bosom under the blue cloak—as if he had been Dickon’s brother. The quick mist swept over her eyes.

“Eh! dear lad!” she said. “Thy own mother’s in this ‘ere very garden, I do believe. She couldna’ keep out of it. Thy father mun come back to thee—he mun!”

Gay Miller

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