Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!
Er-lang and the Suns, Retold by Tony Guo and Euphine Cheung
Er-lang and the Suns: A Tale from China is a text from the SFA Roots program. There should be one master copy of the Roots lesson plans in the bookroom. There are check for understanding questions on post-its throughout at least one of the three teacher copies.
This is an origin story covering how the Earth finally got reprieve from its seven suns that shone nonstop. There are plenty of other origin stories to compare and contrast with. As always, pre-read these texts before sharing them with students, as they are appropriate for different ages.
- The Origin of Light. Inuit myth.
- The Legend of The Cedar Tree. Cherokee legend.
- At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past. Grown-up book about how night was perceived at different points in history and in different cultures. Could be excerpted for use in class.
- Night and Day. Viking myth.
- Native American Night Mythology. A great collection of night legends.
The end of the book contains a brief history of China and the Han people.
As mentioned earlier, there are three copies of this book if you want to use them as a grade-level team mentor text.
There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:
- Make a picture or mental image. At the end of the book, there’s a brief passage that talks about how the illustrations were designed to match the tone of the story. Ask students to pick and sketch 5-7 of the most important images that they think are critical to telling the story. To take this a step further, then have them write a brief caption for each picture. Huzzah! They’ve now also used the strategy of…
- Retell the story. See above.
- Compare and contrast within and between text. See above for plenty of other origin stories. Perhaps students could select their favorite and document the similarities and differences with Er-lang and the Suns.
- Use punctuation to enhance phrasing and prosody (end marks, commas, etc). On page 6, Er-lang speaks, but the quote isn’t attributed to him in the text. Ask students who they think was speaking, and what clues led them to that conclusion. Have students find other examples of quotes that don’t include ‘so-and-so said’ in their own texts.
Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!
Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!