The Hundred Dresses tells the story of a girl named Wanda. Her classmates tease her for being different. Wanda come for a poor part of town. Her Polish name is funny. Wanda wears the same faded blue dress to school each day. One day Wanda tells the others she has a hundred dresses in her closest. This causes even more teasing. Finally, her father decides that she must leave school. Will the girls change their minds when they learn more about Wanda? Based on a true story, The Hundred Dresses teaches a valuable lesson.
Teaching Ideas for the Book
Designing a Dress
A number of years ago, I had my students complete a drawing/writing project with monsters. Students drew a monster and color it. They had to keep their drawings secret. No one was to see them until the “reveal.”
Students then had to write detailed instructions for another person to follow to draw the exact same monster. Next, students exchanged instructions and drew a second monster based on the instructions alone. Then, students revealed their original monster drawings. Students compared the two drawings to determine if the instructions gave a clear “picture” of the monster.
The project was a lot of fun. It was a real eye opener for many students whose instructions were not clear. Click here to see some examples from the project.
As I was creating The Hundred Dresses Book Unit, I thought this type of drawing/writing project would be a great activity to do with this unit, only with dresses instead of monsters. I asked the students (girls only) to keep their dress patterns every simple to make the instructions easier to write. Here are a couple of the results:
Overview: The dress is a sleeveless knee length with a wide waist band. It zips up the back. The left and right sides are described as if you are wearing the dress.
The top bodice is made of two overlapping layers. The left side begins at the left shoulder in a three inch piece and crosses over the front to the waist band where it is about twelve inches wide. The right side does the same. It begins at the right shoulder in a narrow piece and crosses on top of the left side in a diagonal to the waist band. The two pieces of the top make the neck form a V-shape.
The waist band is about six inches tall. It goes from the natural waist up. A decorative bow, shaped like a man’s bow tie, is on the center of the waist band on the left side.
An A-shaped skirt that is slightly gathered at the waist falls below the waist band to the knees.
The dress is a medium blue color with a contrasting waist band in purple. The bow is also purple.
This dress is all emerald green. The choker neck than is made with large green beads. The top goes from the choker to the waist in a plain sleeveless shape.
The bottom part of the dress is two layers that go from the waist down. The under layer goes all the way to the floor. The top layer goes from the waist to the knees. The layers are gathered at the waist and flow out in a sweeping shape. If you were to twirl, the layers are big enough to stand out from the body.
Book Unit Samples
- Vocabulary Practice for Chapter 1
- Comprehension Questions for Chapter 1
- Constructive Response Question – Character Map
- Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like
The Hundred Dresses Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included.