Wizard of Oz Lesson Plan Suggestions

These lesson plans are not intended to be complete, but merely to suggest directions a Wizard of Oz-themed lesson can go. For this reason, I have decided not to give any sort of grade range. It is up to the teachers, who know their students and their abilities, to adapt these ideas for their classes. (It should be noted that many of these plans are based on the original novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which the famous movie is based on, but there are some differences.)

These ideas were given to me by Jane Albright of the International Wizard of Oz Club; Susan Bradshaw, a kindergarten teacher in St. Louis, Missouri; Deb Polun, a graduate student at the University of Connecticut; Sara Parker, a gifted K-5 teacher in Georgia; Merewyn DiLiberto; and the L. Frank Baum Oz Festival's Education Task Force in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I've also added a few ideas of my own, and the contributors of other individual ideas are also acknowledged. Don't let the somewhat arbitrary labels throw you, there is a lot of interdisciplinary learning here, and I give some suggestions of what other areas similar lessons can be applied.

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The Oz Project

This is a project put together in Aberdeen, South Dakota. (L. Frank Baum lived in Aberdeen for a number of years before he became an author, and his writing was influenced by the Aberdeen area.) Since this is an interdisciplinary, cross-grade assignment, there is no easy way to summarize it. Therefore, I am quoting it exactly as it appears in a pamphlet of Oz lessons for teachers, assembled and distributed by the L. Frank Baum Oz Festival.

A letter to 9th Grade Students

This project is a collaborative effort between our 9th grade Art Students and the Henry Neill 3rd grade Physical Education students. You will begin by working in groups of 3-5 students depending on the number of students in class.

Your job will be to read/research four of the Ozian character groups (some, you may not have heard of before). The group names are: The Winkies, The Gillikins, The Munchkins, and The Quadlings.

You will need to answer various questions about the character groups like, What are their personalities like, How do they act and talk, What do they look like, etc. to decide what each of the groups are like. From this information you will need to write a description of these characters for the 3rd grade students. You will need to write the information clearly and in an "easy to read" format.

You will be listening to some music from an "Oz" album — you will need to choose the song which you feel would be best for your "character group" (we will need to come to consensus with all of the 9th grade students regarding the song).

You will then draw a picture of the characters from your description. The 3rd grade students are going to read your descriptions and also draw a picture of the character. The following week we will exchange the drawings so each of you will have an individual student to write to. At that time, you will compare/contrast ideas from the drawings and we will email a note/letter back to your 3rd grade "partner." Who in turn will e-mail a note back to you. You may be able to communicate like this a few times. We'll see how it works.

Once all of the information has been shared the 3rd grade students will be creating a dance/gymnastics routine to the music you have chosen (using the dance/art information you provide on shape, line/pathways, texture, color, pattern, and space). At that time, you will be creating masks for these third graders to wear during their routine.

The final process will be a costumed dance/gymnastics routine performed by the 3rd graders. Video and still photos will be taken by selected 9th grade students. We will then do some simple editing by adding the video, the still photos, and text.

Our finished product will be our video. Hopefully, it will be aired on TV. Maybe shown at the "OZ Festival" or if you have more ideas, let me know.

The 3rd grade students are really going to "Look up to you"! Basically, you are going to be the "Producers" while they will be the "Workers". Please be polite, kind, helpful and understanding, be a good role model for these students!!!

Resources for Teachers (and others who might be interested)

  • For something a little different, there's an Oz-themed book for teachers about action research. Action Research for Teachers: Traveling The Yellow Brick Road by Joanne M. Arhar, Mary Louise Holly, Wendy C. Kasten uses Oz metaphors and themes to explain and demonstrate action research for educators. You can order it from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, or Amazon.co.uk by clicking on one of the buttons below. Finally, Shirley Antes developed a Wizard of Oz-themed skit and presentation to help kick off her school's five year strategic plan, and she has graciously allowed them to be hosted here to give other teachers ideas and inspiration.

    I know there are lots of other ideas out there for Oz lesson plans. So if you have one, or a suggestion as to how to improve this page, please feel free to e-mail me.

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