Are you ready for an adventure that will whisk you into a world of humor, superhero squirrels, and clever wordplay? Look no further than the pages of Flora and Ulysses, a delightful novel by Kate DiCamillo that promises to captivate your imagination from start to finish. This Newbery Medal-winning book is a perfect addition to your 4th and 5th-grade classroom, offering opportunities for rich discussions and exciting learning experiences. This blog post includes Flora and Ulysses teaching ideas to help bring this delightful tale to life and deepen your students’ love for literature.
Flora and Ulysses Teaching Ideas
Book Unit Samples
You will find the following in this novel study sample:
- Vocabulary Practice
- Comprehension Questions
- Constructed Response Question
This handout contains the novel study samples and the printables for the activities described in this post.
Activity 2 – Squirrel Descriptions
- Give each student a copy of the “Squirrel Categories” chart and the “Squirrel Fact Cards.” You can either print these out or share them on Google Classroom. Alternatively, you can project these on the board or screen for everyone to see.
- Tell the students to read each description carefully and decide which category it belongs. Students should locate two cards for each category.
- If they are using the printable version, tell them to write the trait in the appropriate box on the chart or cut and paste the descriptions into the correct locations of the chart. If they use the Google Slides version, ask them to drag a box with the text to the correct place on the chart.
- Students can check their answers with a partner or another group when finished. You can also provide an answer key for them to self-check or review as a class.
Activity 3: Wordplay
Kate DiCamillo’s writing is filled with humor and clever wordplay, making Flora and Ulysses an excellent book for exploring language and literary devices.
A pun is a joke that plays on a word or phrase’s different meanings or sounds.
“Holy unanticipated occurrences!”> “Holy cow!”
Have students make up puns for the novel. Here are a few to get them started:
Flora couldn’t be-leaf her eyes when she saw Ulysses flying through the air!
Ulysses couldn’t resist a-maize-ing everyone with his superhero feats!
Ulysses has paws-itive superpowers.
The donut shop was a hole new world of sugary magic!
William Spiver’s dramatic performances were so ‘nut’s that they made everyone go ‘peanut’ butter and jelly with laughter!
Ulysses went totally a-corn-y with excitement!
Activity 4: Emojis
Combine creative expression with an understanding of the novel by having students find a collection of emojis to represent scenes from the story or characters’ personality traits. If you don’t have devices to collect emojis, have students draw their own.
Here are some examples:
🐿️💨🌀 (Ulysses being sucked up by the vacuum cleaner)
🐾🙀 (the showdown with the evil cat)
🐿️✍️📝 (Ulysses writing poetry on the typewriter)
🍩🤯🏪 (the giant doughnut incident)
Flora: a book symbolizing her love for comics, a flower for Flora’s name, and a dove representing her free-spirited nature
Ulysses: a squirrel with a burst symbol, representing his superpowers
William Spiver: a scared face with a mask, reflecting his anxious and imaginative personality
Dr. Meescham: a crystal ball with an owl representing her quirky wisdom
After the students complete their emoji creations, display them in a designated “Emoji Gallery” classroom area. Allow each group to present their emojis, explaining the reasoning behind their design choices.
Activity 5: Character Change
Have students complete the “Character Analysis Chart for Flora and Ulysses” to list personality traits and character growth for some of the main characters.
Activity 6: Flora and Ulysses Teaching Ideas- Using Videos
If you are looking for fun and creative ways to teach the novel Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo to your upper elementary students, check out these YouTube videos. They can help introduce the story, engage the students, and spark their imagination.
This is the official trailer for the Disney film adaptation of Flora and Ulysses, released in 2021. It shows some of the novel’s main characters, scenes, and themes, as well as some humor and action that make it appealing to young audiences.
You can use this video to excite your students about reading the novel and compare and contrast it with the film. You can also ask them to identify the elements of a superhero story and how they are applied to Ulysses, the squirrel.
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures – Book Trailer:
Candlewick Press, the publisher of Flora and Ulysses, created this book trailer. It features some illustrations and comic-book panels by K.G. Campbell that are included in the novel. It also briefly summarizes the plot and introduces some characters and their quirks.
You can use this video to give your students an overview of the novel and what they can expect. You can also ask them to make predictions based on the video.
Are you feeling the excitement? Flora and Ulysses offer a unique blend of humor, heart, and heroism that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. From squirrels with superpowers to donut shop escapades, this novel is a treasure trove of delights waiting for you to uncover. So, grab your book and get ready to join Flora and Ulysses on an unforgettable adventure.