Mice Don't Taste Like Chicken • Vocabulary Lesson Plan by Scott Heydt

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Teachers: Use the following information to introduce the vocabulary terms to the larger group.

1. potent (adj)

The heavy aroma of the perfume counter at a department store. A cough syrup with strong taste. The overwhelming odor of a dozen animals eating, drinking, and doing their business in a confined space.  When something is potent, it is powerful and mighty. Potency doesn’t always describe smell, but is used in this way for Mice Don’t Taste Like Chicken.

Sniff the air around you. Are there any potent smells?  Where are some places in your school or home where you could find potent items?

2. dilemma (n)

In Chapter 2: “Pinkies, Fuzzies, and Hoppers”, Jackson faced a choice—tell on Clint or allow him to continue his antics.  Jackson finds neither choice acceptable or practical.  This is a dilemma

Consider this dilemma:  A friend confides to you that he has committed a crime. You promise never to tell. Later, you discover that an innocent person has been accused of the crime. You plead with your friend to give himself up. He refuses and reminds you of your promise. What should you do?

3. deduce (v)

Detectives often deduce who committed a crime by making connections between the evidence given.  Mr. Cross used the clues of the middle finger puppet show to deduce that Drew and Joe do not get along. A synonym for deduce is infer.

What can you deduce from the following statement?

“Tom is allergic to peanuts. This candy has peanuts in it.”

4. vulnerable (adj)

Soccer and field hockey players wear guards to protect their shins. Football and lacrosse players wear helmets to protect their heads.  Skateboarders wear pads to protect their knees and elbows. We protect those parts of the body most vulnerable to injury.  If we leave a vulnerable spot unprotected, we increase the chance of injuring or wounding that area.  This includes protecting vulnerable emotions.

What are some ways your teachers, parents, and family members prevent you from being vulnerable?

5. genesis (n)

The genesis of anything is its origin or beginning. The first book of the Holy Bible is named Genesis because it describes a belief about the origin or beginning of the world. In a simpler form, the genesis of Tinkle Troy’s name would be the moment students first called him that name.

Think about one of your hobbies or activities. Can you identify the genesis of this hobby or activity?  Where did it begin or originate?

6. blazon (v)

Drew suspected Ryan as similar to Joe Riaz. Not until Ryan humiliated Troy in the bathroom and blazoned his true personality to everyone could Drew confirm his suspicion.  When we blazon, we display, proclaim, or put something forth for the public to see.

Think about a sports team or music artist that you admire. What do they offer so you can blazon your support for them?

7. aftermath (n)

 In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated communities in the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas.  One of the hardest hit areas, New Orleans, Louisiana, faced an aftermath of flooded areas, uprooted trees, lost lives, and abandoned homes. 

Other natural disasters such as tornadoes, volcanoes, and floods can cause an equally devastating aftermath.  Choose one of these natural disasters and describe the potential aftermath.

8. sheepish (adj)

Sheep say “baa.”  “Baa” sounds like the beginning of the word bashful. Bashful is a synonym for sheepish.  Oftentimes, sheepish is used to describe a smile or how someone is feeling.

What about your looks or body language might show you are feeling sheepish?

9. silhouette (n)

Hank, the man crossing the street in New York, frightened Drew, Jackson, Troy, and Kim.  The four children could only see his silhouette, or outline of his body, in the darkness. 

Stand in the sun.  Try to jump over your silhouette.  How did you do?

10. unkempt (adj)

Your uncombed hair in the morning is unkempt.  The foot-high grass around the abandoned warehouse is unkempt
A child who is neglected and uncared for looks unkempt.

Why might the author describe Joe Riaz as unkempt?



Lesson Plan
Introducing and Activating Word Meanings

Vocabulary Worksheets
• Context Completion
• Cloze Paragraph Completion
• Yes, No, Why

Student Sample of Worksheets