The Further Adventures of Joshua the Giant Frog
When I visit schools, one of my presentations includes writing a tall tale with the students. Using Joshua the Giant Frog as our larger-than-life main character, we first set the scene. Like all tall tales, there is a nugget of truth, and for these stories we use the school as our setting. Then we introduce other characters to interact with Joshua, and the students are always creative when it comes to thinking up a conflict. Along the way, we use dialogue so the characters tell their story, and exaggerate fun details. In the end, Joshua always saves the day.
I hope students and teachers will then take the opportunity to practice their skills revising the story, and even illustrating it. Have fun!
Sierra and the “Giant” Pool Party
By Mrs. Dougherty’s 5th Grade Class
The sun sparkled on the sunflowers that surrounded the pool where all the fifth graders were having a party. Sierra’s mom looked out over the pool and announced lunch was ready.
Suddenly, they heard a loud noise that sounded like a giant croaking frog. Sierra’s mom put her hands on her hips and said, “That’s silly. There is no such thing as a giant frog.”
Then the earth shook. “AHHHHHHH!” screamed Mom. “Get out of the pool!”
Joshua the Giant Frog landed, with a splash the size of Niagara Falls, into the pool. As fast as lightning, Joshua’s tongue flicked out and slurped up all of the lunch.
Then Mom screamed, “Where is Sierra?” A crack in the pool widened to be as deep as the Grand Canyon.
Hunter said, “Look, she’s trapped in the canyon.”
Joshua jumped as high as a helicopter and dove into the canyon. With his tongue he grabbed Sierra and flung her out.
As Sierra wiped frog spit off her face, she said, “Thank you Joshua for saving me.”
P.T. - You all were great to write with. Thanks for a nice classroom visit.
Charles Upson Elementary, Lockport, NY
The Literacy Night Disaster
By the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders
Promise skipped into school to pick out her favorite book. “I love Literacy Night!” she said.
“You’re too late,” said Ethan. “They are sold out.”
“That’s OK,” said Mia. “We’ll make our own.” Mia grabbed paper and started to write. Soon the story stretched to Mars.
“Wait!” said Danika. “I know where the books are.” High up at the top of the water tower, thousands of books flapped in the breeze. CRACK! BOOM! Lightning lit the sky. Rain soaked the books.
“Oh no.” yelled Juliana. “We need help.”
Mia wrote… Suddenly Joshua the Giant Frog leaped to the rescue…
Joshua's tongue flicked out faster than a cheetah made of light. He slurped up every book and spit them out in perfect order on the shelves.
“Thank you,” Promise said, picking out her favorite. “You made my night.”
P.T. -- Love that this story came full circle. If anyone revises this, remember to create a transition from the story to real life.
Riverview Elementary, Tonawanda, New York
JOSHUA AND THE CHRISTMAS TROUBLE
by the 2nd & 3rd graders
Madeline twirled in her new red dress while bringing in Christmas cookies. Yousif licked the icing from the cake that sat on the teacher's desk. Suddenly Madeline twirled right on top of the cake knocking it to the floor.
Jacob slipped on the icing and flew into the giant bowl of fruit punch sending up a flood of punch that drowned out the soccer field. Kaiden spluttered, "Oh my God! I don't know how to swim."
The the earth shook causing waves bigger than a mountain.
"Hooray, it's Joshua," said Yousif.
"Hurry, help Kaiden," said Madeline.
Like a rhino, Joshua barreled into the surf. As fast as Flash on a motorcycle, Joshua's tongue flicked out and grabbed Kaiden.
"Thank you!" Kaiden said, wiping frog spit off his ugly Christmas sweater.
"Merry Christmas everyone!"
Mullen Elementary, Tonawanda, New York
THE CHRISTMAS PROBLEM FROM OUTER SPACE
By the 2nd and 3rd graders
The red and green lights twinkled over the school entrance as Nathan skipped inside.
He hummed along to "Jingle Bells" as Joseph decorated the tree.
"Poof!" The lights went out. The music stopped and all was silent.
"Pop!" The lights flashed on brighter than the sun.
"What in the world?" asked Fiona as she grabbed her sunglasses.
Suddenly, a beam of light pulled Fiona, Joseph and Nathan up into the sky.
"Help!" yelled Joseph.
The earth shook, and a giant shadow loomed on the horizon. As fast as a falcon in a hurricane
Joshua the Giant Frog jumped to the rescue.He flicked out his tongue faster than a lightning bolt
and snatched Fiona, Nathan and Joseph off the space ship.
"Thanks you, Joshua, for the best Christmas present ever."
P.T. - What a coincidence that both groups would choose to base their stories at Christmas time. They both did a great job exaggerating Joshua's powers, and creating a conflict for him to solve. Now, the authors can become illustrators and create art to go along with the story, or revise our "sloppy copy" adding to it, and making it even more exciting.