Arthur, For the Very First Time

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Arthur Rasby is ten years old and having the worst summer of his life. His parents don't listen to him, so he writes everything down -- everything that's real -- in his journal. But when he goes to stay with his Great-Aunt Elda and Great-Uncle Wrisby on their farm, his world is turned upside down. For the first time Arthur wonders what's real and what's not.

His aunt and uncle do things Arthur's parents would never do -- like climbing out windows to sit in trees, singing to their pet pig, and speaking French to a pet chicken. Life on the farm happens much too fast to write down -- sometimes wonderful, sometimes terrible. Arthur begins to understand there is more than one way of seeing and doing and loving. And he realizes there's a whole world just waiting to be discovered.

Curriculet Details
18 Questions
22 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for elementary school students contains interactive videos exploring farming and musical instruments, as well as annotations describing figurative language, context clues, and textual evidence. Students will explore the themes of friendship and love. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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1 Moles

Here we learn a little about our main character, Arthur. Arthur smooths down the grass for a passing ant. This tells us he is very kind. Do you think he is only kind to animals or do you think he is kind to everyone? We will find out as we keep reading.  (This annotation contains an image)
How does the reader know that Arthur is excited to go to his aunt and uncle's house? 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 

2 The Far Away End

What does Arthur check off the list from Aunt Elda?  
We know a little about Arthur. Now we can learn a little about Uncle Wrisby. Think about how you would describe Uncle Wrisby as you read this chapter.  (This annotation contains a video)

3 The Mockingbird

Which word from the list below could you substitute for the word "staccato" in this sentence that keeps nearly the same meaning? 
Have you ever heard the song of a mockingbird? Mockingbirds are mostly found in the central and southern parts of the United States. If you want to learn more about this fascinating bird, click the link below.  (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the words below best describes Aunt Elda? 
In his journal, Arthur writes from his own point of view. We call this first person. The rest of the story is from a third person point of view. Have you learned about point of view in reading? Watch this video to learn more or even just to refresh your memory.  (This annotation contains a video)

4 Come All Ye Fair

Arthur said he does not want a real brother or sister. Here he says Pauline is better than a sister. Why does he think that? We can use text-based evidence to find the answer.  (This annotation contains a video)
Think about what you just learned about narrative voice. How can we tell that these three sentences are from Arthur's journal? 

5 Starlings

Can you tell why Moira's grandfather is nicknamed Moreover? Have you ever heard the term before? What does it mean? If you can't figure out what it means by using a dictionary, you can also use context clues.  (This annotation contains a video)
Chapters 1-5 Quiz 

6 Mouse

Moreover asks Arthur if he has ever thought about being a veterinarian. Do you think that is a compliment coming from Moreover? Do you think Arthur would make a good vet? Look at the evidence provided in the text to see if you think Arthur is good with animals.  
Moira frowns here because she is _____  Arthur's remark. 

7 Secrets

The narrator here compares Elda's fingers to birds. Have you ever heard someone compare two things using the word like? Here is a video about figurative language that talks about similes, the same type of language used here to describe Elda's fingers. (This annotation contains a video)
Elda prays for all of the following except 
Without telling us exactly what happens, we learn here why Moira lives with her grandfather. If you are keeping notes on Moira, it would be good to write this down.  

8 Meaningful Questions

Moira asks if Arthur has known a baby. Arthur says he has seen a baby. What is the difference between seen and known in this scene? 
Here we find out more about Moira and about her relationship with her grandfather. If we look at why Moira is upset, we can see that she has troubles with her family. We can compare this to why Arthur is upset with his family, and we can also see how much they have in common. 

9 Roses and Onions

What does Wrisby have to  worry about? 
Many of us are used to seeing onions from the grocery store, but they look very different in a garden. You can watch the video below to learn a little more about growing onions in a garden.  (This annotation contains a video)

10 Sounds

Why does Arthur keep saying his name to Moira? 
You may have seen a stethoscope at your last doctor's exam. What did your doctor use the stethoscope for? Why do you think he is using one on Bernadette? He is probably listening for something. What could he be listening for?  (This annotation contains an image)
Chapters 5-10 Quiz 

11 Five Dollars Even

The author uses descriptive words here to help us imagine what Yoyo Pratt would look like. Make a list of things you might be able to draw. Draw a picture of him in your notes based on the information you read in this paragraph.  
Using what you read in the text, explain how Arthur gets Yoyo to sell him the recorder for $1.75. 
Have you ever heard someone play the recorder? Even though the one you saw might have been plastic, some of the best recorders are actually made out of wood.  (This annotation contains a video)

12 The Casserole Threat

In this sentence, the word "rustled" means nearly the same as  
Arthur is worried that the chicken in the pot is Pauline. He was already feeling bad about her being gone, but now it looks like he has a reason to feel guilty. Still, Aunt Elda says Pauline has run away before. Do you think this is Pauline? We can only find out if we keep reading. 
List three things in this paragraph that tell you this is one of Arthur's journal entries and not the narrator telling the story. 

13 The Prism

Arthur came here thinking that the problem with his parents had to do with them, but now he is starting to realize there may be more to his summer vacation. Why do you think Arthur's parents might have sent him away? Do you think Arthur is learning and growing during his stay at Wrisby and Elda's? Take a moment to write down some of the first things you noticed about Arthur. Also, write down some of the ways you see him changing. Let's see if he changes or goes back to his old ways when the book is done. 
Why is Arthur upset? 
A prism is a piece of glass cut to reflect enough sunlight to produce a rainbow. Have you ever seen or used a prism? Do you think it is a valuable gift? (This annotation contains a video)
Who is the tall woman from Maine? 

14 Doing

Tonics were thought to aid in digestion and give the drinker an overall feeling of health. If Pauline is not feeling well, it would be natural to try to give her something to make her feel better. Today, a tonic is something that promotes a healthy feeling.  (This annotation contains an image)
The word stern could be replaced with the word _______ in this sentence and it would not change the meaning. 
Look at these three versions of the letter. What does Arthur change from the first letter to the second? What does he change in the third? Arthur realizes that he doesn't want his parents to worry. Do you think this is a good choice or would you have told your parents the truth? 
What is Arthur frightened of? 

15 Small Changes

Do you ever get so wrapped up in an activity that you forget everything around you? It is easy to do if something important is taking up your time. Even though Arthur was angry with his parents when the book began, it seems like he understands them better now. Do you think he will want to go home by the end of the book? 
Explain how the book Moira gave Arthur will help him figure out what to do in the storm as Bernadette is giving birth. 
Arthur is able to get Bernadette to do what he wants by using his head. Do you think Arthur is smart? How can you tell? Make a list of some of the things Arthur does that are smart. Is Moira also smart? How can you tell? 
Chapters 11-15 Quiz