The Jabberwocky

by Lewis Carroll

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)


`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Genres posters, including – a list of generic posters, the Readers’ Workshop genres, and the First Steps listed genres,

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Readers’ Workshop

Here are the poster PDFs. (Also, .)




Historical Fiction




Realistic Fiction

Science Fiction

Traditional Literature

Western Genre


Genre definitions at a glance

Reading Goals Chart


First Steps listed genres

Adventure Animals Crime Family Fantasy Historical Fiction Horror Humorous Love Mystery:Suspense Science Fiction Stories in rhyme Supernatural War Westerns Wordless

Reading Record

The mysteries of Harris Burdick

“The Mysteries of Harris Burdick”

Introduction to the PORTFOLIO EDITION

(by Chris Van Allsburg)

 In 1984, I wrote the following as an introduction to The Mysteries of Harris Budick.

“I first saw the drawings in this book a year ago, in the home of a man named Peter Wenders. Though Mr. Wenders is retired now, he once worked for a children’s book publisher, choosing the stories and pictures that would be turned into books.

Thirty years ago a man called at Peter Wenders’s office, introducing himself as Harris Burdick. Mr. Burdick explained that he had written fourteen stories and had drawn many pictures for each one. He’d brought with him just one drawing from each story, to see if Wenders liked his work.

Peter Wenders was fascinated by the drawings. He told Burdick he would like to read the stories that went with them as soon as possible. The artist agreed to bring the stories the next morning. He left the fourteen drawings with Wenders. But he did not return the next day. Or the day after that. Harris Burdick was never heard from again. Over the years, Wenders tried to find out who Burdick was and what had happened to him, but he discovered nothing. To this day Harris Burdick remains a complete mystery.

His disappearance is not the only mystery left behind. What were the stories that went with these drawings? There are some clues. Burdick had written a title and caption for each picture. When I told Peter Wenders how difficult it was to look at the drawings and their captions without imagining a story, he smiled and left the room. He returned with a dust-covered cardboard box. Inside were dozens of stories, all inspired by the Burdick drawings. They’d been written years ago by Wender’s children and their friends.

I spent the rest of my visit reading these stories. They were remarkable, some bizarre, some funny, some downright scary. In the hope that other children will be inspired by them, the Burdick drawings are reproduced here for the first time.

Over the past twelve years I have received hundreds of Burdick stories written by children and adults. These efforts show that the words and pictures of Mr. Burdick are indeed inspirational. Classroom teachers and aspiring writers have expressed their desire for larger reproductions of Mr. Burdick’s pictures. To that end, this portfolio has been produced. There is, however, another reason for this edition.

Peter Wenders and I were certain that the publication of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick would lead to the discovery of information about Mr. Burdick. Ten years passed without a single clue surfacing. Then, in 1994, I received a letter from a Mr. Daniel Hirsch of North Carolina. He described himself as a dealer in antique books and shared with me the following story.

In 1963 he learned of a collection of books being offered for sale in Bangor, Maine. These books were located in the library of a grand but rundown Victorian home. Mr. Hirsch remembers learning that the owner of the house, an elderly woman, had died recently, leaving the house and its contents to the local Animal Rescue League.

Impressed with the collection he found, Mr. Hirsch purchased the entire library. This included a large mirror whose wooden frame was decorated with carved portraits of characters from Through the Looking Glass.

Two years ago, this mirror, still in the possession of Mr. Hirsch, fell from the wall of his bookshop and cracked. Removing the shards of glass, Mr. Hirsch made a remarkable discovery. Neatly concealed between the mirror and its wooden back was the drawing of the “Young Magician” that is reproduced here.

This drawing is identical in size and technique to Burdick’s other pictures. Like those, it is unsigned and has a title and caption written in the margin at the bottom. The title on this piece identifies it as another picture from the story “Missing in Venice.” I have no doubts regarding its authenticity.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hirsch, who has an uncanny memory for the names and locations of the books in his shop, cannot remember the details of his trip to Bangor in 1963. In fact, he is no longer certain the old Victorian house was in Bangor. However, he is certain he still owns one of the books that came from the library where he purchased the mirror.

It is a rare early edition, in the original Italian, of Collodi’s Pinocchio. Inside the front cover is a bookplate bearing the inscription “Hazel Bartlett, Her Book.” All efforts to find information about a Hazel Bartlett of Bangor have proved fruitless. Rather than solving the mystery of Harris Burdick, the discovery of the fifteenth drawing has served only to make it more perplexing.”

Chris Van Allsburg

Providence, Rhode Island, December 21, 1995



Choose one of Harris Burdick’s pictures to write a story. You do not have to try to write what Harris Burdick might have written in his books. You can write any story you want, just use the pictures as a way of getting ideas.


Websites for Harris Burdick Mysteries

The mysteries of Harris Burdick –

Teacher’s guide to ‘Harris Burdick Mysteries’ –

Pictures available online here – also some children’s stories inspired by the pictures – the picture found in the mirror is not found on this website. –


Chris Van Allsburg is the author of many children’s books such as The Polar Express, Jumanji, and Zathura.

G3 Debate format

This is how to debate in G3. The objective of the debate is to persuade the other side to your way of thinking in a polite and precise manner.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 9.08.27 AMA debate is not an excuse to shout at each other. You are trying to persuade the other side to your way of thinking in a polite and clear way.

There are rules and a format to follow: –

  • There is always a Debate Chairperson
  • It is the role of the Chairperson to make sure the debate does not stray from the original topic, and to keep the debate going
  • Everyone must observe the rules of politeness
  • Raise your hand if you want to say something
  • Speak clearly, and in a voice clearly heard by everybody
  • Use the sentences we have learned as part of Group work and Discussions

If these rules are not observed the debate will not function.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 9.08.39 AMThis is how a debate happens: –

  1. The topic is presented
  2. You will have a few minutes to think about the topic
  3. You have to choose between For or Against the proposed topic
  4. The Chairperson begins the debate with a question directly related to the topic
  5. Listen to whoever answers the question, because the debate will go on from the answer
  6. One person talks at a time – use your persuasive vocabulary
  7. At the end of the debate we take another look to see who is on which side of the debate (For, Against, See both sides)

Sometimes the debate is not resolved. Sometimes there is no clear debate ‘winner’.

Good luck!

Story writing – from the other end

A new story to write… yey!!!!

Normally you are given a story genre to explore and then we write  story in that genre, and normally the story can be about anything (theme) you like. This time, we are going to work from the other end. I will give you the content (or theme), and you will choose the genre.

You can use any genre you like to write this story, as long as you follow the requirements for whichever one you choose (see the posters on the wall).

The theme for today is….. UNDERWATER CITY.



No doubt we’ve all heard of the legend of Atlantis, the ancient, once great city that was lost when the ocean submerged it.

To this day the legendary city has yet to be found (or proven to have ever existed) yet over the years many other underwater cities have been found, each of them as eerie as they are mind blowing. Click on each link below to learn about a real life underwater cities found at the bottom of the ocean.

1. Port Royal, Jamaica

2. The Pyramids of Yonaguni-Jima, Japan 

3. Dwarka, Gulf of Cambay, India

4. Lion City of Quiandao Lake, China

5.  Cleopatra’s Palace, Alexandria, Egypt


Port_holes Try to imagine yourself walking in these cities before they were swallowed by the sea.

Think about these questions: –

  1. ‘WHEN’ will you set your story (past, present)? This will influence what tense you write in
  2. WHERE is your story set? (Is the city a ruin of an ancient city, or is it a city underwater with magical beings in it?)
  3. WHO are your main characters? (Are you in it? Can the people breathe underwater?)
  4. USE your FIVE SENSES to describe what you see (What can you see/ hear/ feel/ smell/ taste?) Check out the video below to help you experience what you might see under the ocean waves.
  5. WHAT will your problem or conflict be? How will you resolve it?
  6. What happened? What’s the story behind these ruins? (Who lived there? What were their lives like?Why did it sink?)
  7. What vocabulary do you need for this story? Brainstorm some words and have them ready

E.g. sunken pirate ship, sea monster, gurgling, bubbles, floating, darting, graceful, mermaid, merman, trident, conch shell, turtle, dolphin, shark, cave, etc …

Ready to start?!!

remember – plan, draft, C3B4 me, edit *check for grammar and spelling), conference, refine, publish

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Cleopatra’s Palace, Alexandria, Egypt

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Just off the shores of Alexandria lies what is believed to be the palace of Cleopatra, an ancient Egyptian queen. It is believed that the ruins were cast into the sea by an earthquake over 1,500 years ago and lay dormant until recent years.

Along with the royal quarters, archaeologists also believe they have found the temple of Isis alongside them. To date, more than 140 artifacts have been uncovered from the site and experts now believe they have located the tomb of Cleopatra and an ancient museum within the ruins.

Hopefully the ruins will be opened up to divers and tourists in the years to come, allowing us all to have a closer look at the marvel that is Cleopatra’s palace.


Lion City of Quiandao Lake, China


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Hailed as the most spectacular underwater city in the world, China’s Lion City certainly is a marvel.

Built in Eastern Han Dynasty at roughly 25-200 CE and spanning about 62 football fields in area, today Lion City can be found 85-131 feet beneath the surface of Thousand Island Lake, an area that was intentionally flooded in the 1950s to create a dam.

The sculptures that decorate the city rival the beauty of even Alexandria so it’s little wonder that Lion City is now one of China’s most popular tourist destinations.

Dwarka, Gulf of Cambay, India

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The ancient city of Lord Krishna was once thought to be merely a myth but ruins discovered in 2000 seem to be breathing life into the old Indian tale.

The story goes that Lord Krishna had a magnificent city which was made up of 70,000 palaces made of gold, silver, and various other precious metals. The city was prosperous however upon Lord Krishna’s death Dwarka supposedly sank into the sea.

The ruins are situated 131 feet beneath the ocean surface in the bay of modern-day Dwarka, one of the seven oldest cities in India. Acoustic studies have shown the ruins to be amazingly geometric, stunning experts.

Many artifacts have been recovered from the site but perhaps none more important than one which was dated to 7500 BCE, supporting the theory that the ruins may well be the ancient Dwarka.

The Pyramids of Yonaguni-Jima, Japan

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To this day experts still argue over whether the Yonaguni Monument which lies underwater just off the coast of Japan is man made or simply a natural occurrence.

While there is evidence to support the natural theory, looking at the terraced stones and triangular shapes that which make up the pyramid it’s hard to believe such a monument could happen naturally. The pyramid rises a massive 250 feet from the sea floor and is a constant lure for scuba-divers for obvious reasons.

If the structure was man-made, experts suggest it was likely built during the last ice age at roughly 10,000 BCE.

Port Royal, Jamaica

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Once well known for being the center of pirate activity and raging all-night parties, Port Royal was once branded ‘the most wicked city in the world’.

That was so until June 1692 when a massive 7.5 earthquake shook the island of Jamaica, sucking Port Royal into the ocean due to its unstable foundations and killing over 2,000 of it’s inhabitants.

In the years since then the infamous city, once one of the largest European cities in the New World, has continued to sink and now it lies forty feet below the ocean. The sunken city is a hive for archaeological exploration as amazingly many near-perfect artifacts are still being found at the site.