Lesson Plan for
Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes
Franklin Middle School
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Took old Sager out a-huntin' one night.
Blind as he could be;
He treed eleven possums up a sour gum stump,
I'll be danged if Sager can't see.
Milnes, Gerald. Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes. Illus. Kimberly Bulcken Root. Little Rock: August House Little Folk, 1990.
Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes is a fabulous Appalachia Mountain rhyme book that encompasses both visual and verbal humor. Students will be drawn to the visual illustrations displayed and the similarities of country people in rural and remote areas. Based on their own preparation and presentation of choral readings from the text, students will learn to value and appreciate where they live and respect the differences present in other regions.
Grade Level: 6th
Subject: Language Arts
Time Frame: 2 to 5 days, 45 minutes each day
Materials: copy of Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes
"Gerald Milnes . . . has been collecting rhymes, ditties, verses, and riddles from his West Virginia mountain neighbors since 1975" (Note on Author). Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes offers a small sampling of Milnes' collection. "The rhymes, by unknown authors, have been passed down through an oral tradition that is kept alive by folks who are still using them in the traditional way" (Author's Note). Many of the poems contain first-person speakers, representing a variety of voices, character types, and experiences in mountain life.
After the readings, discuss with students which interpretation of a character's voice they especially enjoyed. The evaluations may be based on the student's level of preparation for both activities described above. Students will have guidelines in order to evaluate the readings.
Discuss the difference between poems that are written to entertain and poetry that is meant to teach a lesson.
Extending the Lesson:
Discuss the use of dialect in both the written and the oral presentation of poems.
Additional Applit Resource:
Appalachian Dialects by Stephanie Humphries (Includes comprehensive analysis of dialect in Cynthia Rylant's Missing May and Alan Schroeder's Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella.)
Bibliography on Appalachian Dialects by Stephanie Humphries
Dialect Links click on Dialect