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An Extraordinary Egg: lesson plan

A story about friendship and diversity, written by Leo Lionni

CEFR level: A1 – A2

Topic(s): Friendship


Language aims

  • Describing animals

  • Prepositions of place

  • Talking about past events

  • CLIL with science (Which animals lay eggs? Where do frogs live?)

The book of the story: Lionni, Leo. An extraordinary Egg. Dragonfly Books. New York. 2004

Before the story

  1. Introduce students to Pebble Island and the three frogs who live there: Jessica, Marilyn and August

  2. Elicit key words, like pebbles, island, egg, but also words indicating feelings and/or personality traits (happy, curious, arrogant, etc…) by using flash-cards or realia

  3. Describe Pebble Island and ask students how they imagine it. OR:

  4. Introduce students to story location and characters by using a story box containing a variety of materials: some pebbles, an egg, a frog finger puppet, chicken puzzle (or flashcard), bird and pond flashcards. 

  5. Pull things our of the box one by one and elicit vocabulary. Activate students by asking questions on what else do they think is in the box

A variation of the story box can be a story mystery box: students introduce their hand in the box and try to guess what it contains.

During the story

  1. Tell the story putting up flash cards to introduce the main characters

  2. Interact with students by asking questions, like “What did Jessica find?” – “Who’s in the egg?” - “Who did Jessica and the chicken meet?, or “Do you have a thinking place?”, and so on. 

  3. You can also interact with students by asking: what animal is it? what colour is it? How many legs has it got? (GESE 2) or Can frogs swim? Can chickens swim? What can chickens do? (GESE 3)

After the story

  1. Divide students in small groups and ask them to find a sequel to this story. 

  2. Students act out the different characters and tell their sequel to the story 

  3. At the end students vote the best sequel 

  4. The group of students who has invented the best sequel will receive a golden pebble  OR:

  5. Ask students to draw the animals that appear in the story in chronological order OR:

  6. Make a story lapbook illustrating characters, location, students’ favourite moment OR:

  7. Act out the story: students choose their preferred moment in the story and create the dialogues for each character. If you wish to transform this in a bigger project you can also create simple costumes with students (using recycled materials) and some background elements (a big poster with a pond and some pebbles/ a pebble mount/Jessica’s secret thinking place) OR:

  8. Students create a map of Pebble Island and mark down the frogs’ inlet, the Great Pebble Monument, Jessica’s secret thinking place, the place where the “chicken’s” mother lives. Then practise describing maps using prepositions of place.

Storytelling event video

Watch Chatterbox language schools Director, Flavia Morrone telling the story, live on Facebook, with Manuela Kelly Calzini, Senior Academic at Trinity College London and Emiliano Valtulini, Director Trinity College London Italy.


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