Literature Unit Study for The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you’d like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you’re reading and working on your unit study, you can download this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading. It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

Literature unit study for The Story of Ferdinand
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The Story of Ferdinand is one of my favorite kids’ picture books. Besides being a cute and gentle story, it makes a good springboard for talking to kids about being themselves- even if that means they are different from every one else. In this literature unit study, you can take a closer look at the country of Spain and learn more about bulls after reading the book.

Book Information

Title- The Story of Ferdinand

Author- Munro Leaf

Recommended ages- PreK-1

Synopsis– Ferdinand is a young bull who likes to sit alone under a cork tree and smell flowers. While all his other bull friends jump and play and butt heads, Ferdinand prefers his quiet solitude. When the bulls get older, all of Ferdinand’s friends want to be picked for the bull fights, but not Ferdinand. He wants to stay in the solitude of his tree.

Unfortunately when Ferdinand accidentally sits on a bee one day, he begins to jump and leap and snort. And the men who are there to pick bulls for the bullfights think he is just the one so they gather Ferdinand up and take him to fight.
Ferdinand has no desire to fight. When it is his turn, he stands quietly in the middle of the ring and refuses to get into the fray. The men who run the bullfights are quite unhappy with Ferdinand. They take him back home where Ferdinand heads back to his tree to lie down and smell the flowers.

Language Arts

Character description- Print this blank bull pattern. Help kids think of words and phrases that describe Ferdinand. Write these on the bull as kids think of them.

Sequencing- Print one of the sets of flowers on this page. (I think set three will work well.) Help kids think of five to ten main events of the story. Write one event on each flower. (You may need to print multiple sheets.) Example events: (1) Ferdinand lay under the cork tree. (2) Ferdinand’s mom worried about him. (3) Ferdinand’s friends jumped around and butted heads. Cut the flowers apart and then help kids put the story events in order. You could also allow them to glue the flowers in order on construction paper to make a flower chain.
Finding action words– Read through the story and let kids help you pick out words that show action- smell, grew, jumped. You can tell older kids that these words are called verbs. Write the words down as you find them and let beginning readers practice reading the words after you make the list.
Creative writing– Ferdinand’s favorite thing was lying under the tree and smelling flowers. Have kids write a story about their favorite thing to do. Younger kids can dictate the story to you or can illustrate it with a picture.

Science: Learning About Bulls and Cows

This Animal TV video has some great information about cows.
Animal Corner has information about cows, cow facts, and some good photos.
This page has information about cows and especially talks about getting milk from cows.
Homeschool Share has a free lapbook about cows.

History/Social Studies: Learning About Spain

Kids World Travel Guide has facts about Spain, its geography, its people, and its culture.
Help kids find and color Spain on a blank outline map.
Learn about Spain and see pictures of its flag, its money, and more from National Geographic Kids.
This video has fun facts about Spain for kids. (The facts are written, so you’ll have to read them aloud for non readers.)
This is a great article about real life bullfighting from Scholastic.
Activity Village has a page of information about Spain, including some printable worksheets (that will probably work best with older kids).
Homeschool Share has a free lapbook all about Spain.

Crafts and Fun

Make a bull mask with this free printable pattern.
Print this bull puzzle on card stock and let kids practice putting the puzzle together.
Use a toilet paper tube to make a cow with the free printable patterns here.
With a paper plate and the printable templates here, kids can make a cow/bull face.
Kids can make a Spanish Matador with this paper craft from DLTK.
When you talk about Spain, kids can help you make these yummy Spanish Churros. (Scroll down the page for the recipe.)
Kids literature unit study for The Story of Ferdinand

Don’t miss the other literature units in this series!

Literature units for kids

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