Teaching Activities for "Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye"
"The Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye" is the first book in a series written for children ages 6 to 12. The books are written under the pseudonym Geronimo Stilton, newspaper editor of "The Rodent’s Gazette," who happens to be a mouse. The author uses an array of literary techniques that lend themselves well to cross-curricular activities in the elementary school classroom.
The Geronimo Stilton books are a great place to start when introducing students to literary devices. They include many examples of allusion: Harry Houdini in the name of the magician “Harry Ratini,” and Sports Authority in the name of the sporting goods store “Rats Authority.” Onomatopoeia is used throughout the book in phrases such as "Thump, thump, thump," and "I hissed." The author frequently uses alliteration, the repetition of initial consonant sounds. Make a chart for students to record the different literary devices they come across as they read the book. Label the columns “Allusion,” “Alliteration” and “Onomatopoeia.”
Many of the words in this book are arranged like concrete poetry, that is, the words themselves are arranged in shapes that illustrate the meaning. The words “I took the stairs two at a time” are displayed as if they are climbing a staircase. “Ocean waves” appears in a wavy pattern. Use “The Lost Treasure of Emerald Eye” as a springboard for introducing children to other concrete writing such as “Takeoff,” a poem inspired by flight and provided by NASA. In this poem, the words are arranged as an airplane taking flight. After examining these examples of concrete writing, children will be eager to write their own concrete poems
Social Studies and Science
Take advantage of the focus on cheese in “Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye” to teach a science lesson about mold. Cut a chunk of cheese, dip it in water and seal it in a glass container. Over the next few days, watch mold spread over the cheese. Use the hidden treasure theme to incorporate map skills activities. Make a copy of the school campus map for each student. Have them hide treasure somewhere on campus and mark an “X” on their maps. Then have students trade maps and see if they can find each others’ treasures. If your school does not have a campus map, a fire drill map will work.
To spread your lesson plans further across the curriculum, incorporate the pirate treasure theme in “Lost Treasure of Emerald Eye” into art projects. Have students tear the edges of the maps they made and dye them with a tea solution to make them appear to be an old pirate treasure map. Students can then make their own treasures. Gather discarded pieces of costume jewelry from thrift stores, and ask students to bring unwanted trinkets from home. Raid the art supply room for beads, gems and sequins. These items can be glued into picture frames or onto recycled cans and bottles to create one-of-a-kind treasures.
Debbie McCarson is a former English teacher and school business administrator. Her articles have appeared in "School Librarians’ Journal" and "The Encyclopedia of New Jersey." A South Jersey native, she is a regular contributor to "South Jersey MOM" magazine.