He Lost a Tooth

[Credit: Leslie Davison, Catharina Greenberg]

lost a tooth
goes to the dentist

A dragon has lost a tooth. He goes to the dentist. He says: “Help! I have lost a tooth!” The dentist has teeth, but no dragon teeth.

The dragon goes to the Museum of Natural History. He says to the woman at the Museum of Natural History: “Help! I have lost a tooth!” The woman at the Museum of Natural History has dinosaur teeth, but no dragon teeth.

The dragon goes to the Tooth Fairy. She gives him teeth. The dragon is happy.

Catharina adds:

“We teach kids the language that they use. If you listen carefully to what little kids say you’ll hear them often talk about how many teeth they’ve lost. Kids come to class with their mouth wide open pointing to the wiggly tooth. Once it falls out it’s saved in a plastic tooth locket that hangs around their neck like a trophy. It is a big deal. A tangible sign of growing up.

“Any version of this story works well. It can be simplified greatly for the very young, with added dialogue and details for the older kids. I bought a dragon puppet on eBayt that roars with red flashing lights. Student actors would work just as well.”



8 thoughts on “He Lost a Tooth”

  1. I struggle often trying to get a subject for the main character in the story, whatever script I’m using. So I wonder, how did the dragon become the subject of this story? I think I need to help students think fantastical and imaginatively like this more.

    1. Sean, I missed Leslie’s conferences this summer, but in the notes I found online she seems to say that blood and teeth are popular themes in elementary . And kids love animals, fantasy or not.

      Lately I overheard children talk about a movie on how to train your dragon. To “personalize” the story above one could use the main characters, Hiccup and Jake? Rex the dragon? Harry Potter? Also dragon, dinosaur, dentist, museum are cognates in French.

      Martha’s story is wonderful. How engaging!

      Aya was asking for a simple story plot that would include different action verbs her students have been practicing. The bear story would be perfect! I will definitely try it. Thank you.

  2. Some of my young students don’t always want to think fantastical. Sometimes the young ones ( 1st, 2nd grade) are often happy with more tangible stories. They seem to grow ( are trained?) into being able to be more imaginative. Not true with every kid but with many of them.

    A few years ago Susie was staying with me after she did a workshop. One morning she got a phone call and we made this story about it. It’s a true story. My kids knew most of the words before so acting it out was easy and made everything very clear. Later I embedded it for the readers. I can still see her teaching it, speaking so slowly and sometimes saying the Japanese word after the English and then the English again, the kids were rapt. Everyone took turns being the bear and Michael. I use this every year, and we look at pictures of bears in Colorado.

    On Saturday night
    Michael was sleeping alone.
    A bear came to the house.
    The bear opened the door with his nose.
    He put two feet into the house.
    Michael woke up and yelled, “Leave!”
    The bear left, alone.

  3. Good story scripts are hard to find. This is a good one.

    Just to be clear for anyone new, most of the words in that script were already somewhat acquired by the students. We don’t use scripts with words the kids don’t already know except for the target structures.

    Not only do only two or three new target structures need to appear in each sentence during the creation of the story, variables need to appear to allow the story to be personalized to the class.

    I would have written the story as it appears below, in case anyone is writing scripts themselves. Martha may I send this to Anne for publication with credit to you and Susie if she ever publishes any more story scripts books?

    In this form of the script I am arbitrarily targeting three structures, not knowing what the class already knows. but the rest of it must be known by the kids for the story to work, to repeat the point made above.

    This, by the way, is a tremendously complex story, with a ton of things going on, in terms of what beginning level kids can handle. I might use it in level two second semester at the earliest.

    Also, it could be made into three locations but I wouldn’t. Remember that there are no rules in this work. For simpler stories, three locations gives us more reps, but there is too much in this one location for us to introduce three locations.

    woke up

    Michael was sleeping alone on Saturday night. There was a problem. A bear came to the house. The bear opened the door with his nose. He put two feet into the house. Michael woke up and yelled, “Leave!” The bear left, alone.

    I had to use italics because of what the computer will allow but usually those variables will be underlined. This was developed this at least ten years ago and it has proven very useful for the teacher in cuing the teacher to know when to ask for personalized details from the class, which not only personalizes but brings class ownership of the story.

    Here is a link to a previous article about scripting stories, if anyone is interested in doing that. In the purest sense, only the teacher can script stories because she is the only one who knows what her kids know. But it is impractical – we just don’t have the time.


  4. The Tooth and Bear scripts are awesome. Those 3 structures naturally flow into each other. Just like Laurie’s suggestion for having structures that oppose each other. When this happens, I’m finding my PQA sessions are easy – in fact, I blur the line between PQA and stories. What I’ve begun to do during PQA is create these 1 scene mini-stories (1 scene parallel stories) maybe use a few props, focus on my students as the characters, and I’m also drawing the scene on the board. Anyone else finding details from the “The Maze Runner” being suggested by the students? I gotta educate myself on that movie so the student input is comprehensible to me! haha.

    Since we are the only ones that know what our kids know, rather than script my own stories, I look through story scripts first for compelling, second for one with structures that flow together even when taken out of the context of the story script, and third I make sure the words are already known by my students – I usually have to rewrite or modify the script and structures.

    My most recent structures were:

    asks for
    too expensive/cheap
    gives him

    The original Tripp script, “Too Expensive,” had different structures:

    presents him with the bill
    too expensive

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