Are you looking for some ideas to use with The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963? This post contains several free teaching resources. Download the character trait cards. Try out a novel study sample. Check out lesson plans. It’s all here.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham reads almost like a diary detailing interesting events in the lives of what neighbors in Flint, Michigan call the “Weird Watsons.” The story is told from the perspective of fourth-grader Kenny. Many of his stories detail how Byron, Kenny’s older brother, gets into trouble. Finally, Momma and Dad are frustrated to the point that they decide to take a family trip to Birmingham. This is where Grandma Sands lives. Bryon is told he is going to live with his no-nonsense, extremely strict Grandma until he can learn to behave.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham Activities
Book Unit Samples
You will find the following in this novel study sample:
Vocabulary Practice for Chapter 1
Comprehension for Chapter 1
Constructed Response for Chapter 1 – Comparing Byron to Narcissus
Teaching Idea #1 ~ Character Trait Cards
Have students describe each member of the Watson family using these character trait cards. Both full color and black-lined copies are provided.
Here are a few details to get you started:
- father of three (married to Wilona)
- jokester – likes to make his family laugh
- likes to perform for the family
- mother of three (married to Daniel)
- born in Birmingham, Alabama
- doesn’t like the cold
- thinks people are friendlier in Birmingham
- oldest sibling
- 13 years old
- juvenile delinquent
- likes to bully Kevin
- proud of his family, but has a difficult time expressing it
- the narrator of the story
- middle sibling
- gets picked on
- smart – Teachers have him read to older students as an example.
- outsider – not many friends (must give up dinosaurs to play with LJ Jones)
- youngest sibling
- gullible – believes Byron’s tall tales
- Wilona’s mother
- strict disciplinarian
- lives in Birmingham
Teaching Idea #2 ~ The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 Educator’s Resource
This packet was released by the production company that created the Hallmark Channel movie which premiered on September 20, 2013. The resource contains the following:
- Historical Background Information
- Writing Prompts for each Chapter
- Five Text-to-Film Scenes
Teaching Idea #3 ~ A Reading Guide
This free resource comes from Scholastic. It contains the following:
- Author Biography
- Questions for Guiding Reading (3 questions for each chapter)
- Plot Summary
- Setting Information
Teaching Idea #4 ~ Movie
The Hallmark Channel created a film based on the novel The Watsons go to Birmingham in 2013 as part of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. Note: This film is rated PG due to mild language, some violent images, and thematic elements. Watch the film on Vudu which has a 4.5-star rating with over 5,000 votes. The running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
See the product that inspired this post.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.