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Tiger in the Night

Relish William Blake's immortal poem "The Tiger!" Students select a favorite tiger species to illustrate in realistic detail.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. William Blake (1757-1827), poet and painter, was born in London. His poem, The Tiger, is probably the best-known poem that has a tiger as its subject. Provide students with opportunities to read Blake's poem, either as a whole class experience, in small groups, or individually. Students may want to act out Blake's poem with drama, pausing between questions. Discuss the mood of Blake's writing. What picturesque words and phrases does the author use to describe the tiger? Compare the poem to Blake's paintings.
    2. Provide opportunities for students to research various species of tigers. All tigers are endangered. Find out where they roam, how they live, and what they look like.
    3. Ask students to select their favorite type of tiger. Look carefully at pictures showing the colors and patterns in the tiger's coat. Use Crayola® Construction Paper Crayons to recreate the favorite tiger. Use brown or black paper to evoke night. For a soft, realistic effect, apply the crayon in strokes that travel the same direction as the tiger's fur.
    4. Students write about the tiger species on the back of their drawings. Include where it is found and other important information. Indicate which qualities that Blake described fit the tiger drawn. Which aspects are different from Blake's tiger?
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Use knowledge of language and its convention when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

    LA: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    SCI: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

    SCI: Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

    SS: Explore causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary, and emerging global issues, such as pollution and endangered species.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Tiger Rescue: Changing the Future for Endangered Wildlife by Dan Bortolotti; Endangered Tigers (Earth's Endangered Animals) by Bobbie Kalman; National Geographic Readers: Tigers by Laura Marsh

    Teachers may wish to review William Blake's poem, The Tiger, prior to the lesson and substitute other poetry on tigers.

    Students investigate various species of tigers, identifying their characteristics and habitats. Students select one species of tiger that is extinct or currently on the endangered species list. Students conclude their research with a sketch of the endangered/extinct tiger species and an original poem describing that tiger's unique qualities. Post student poems. Also consider arranging a poetry reading for all classmates.

    Investigate habitats that tigers thrive in. What other animals may be found in these habitats? Students create a diorama illustrating a healthy habitat for tigers. Create a 3-D tiger model using Crayola Model Magic. Create 3-D models of other animals that co-exist in the same environment. Display dioramas n the classroom. Students should be prepared to present their findings to classmates.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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