Notes for the Teacher


  • Learning a language means using it for a wide variety of purposes. Language is best acquired when attention is focused on meaning, not on form.
  • Words and phrases not closely related to objects and action remain empty and lifeless to young learners. Language comes alive when presented in meaning-making contexts.
  • Words/phrases that are used to accomplish many useful purposes follow a certain system inherent in the language itself.
  • Learners become familiar with the system through continuous exposure to the language in meaning-focused situations.
  • Interaction, discussion and sharing of ideas among learners provide opportunities that elicit ‘real’ information about them and their experiences and opinions.
  • Encourage learners to work in pairs and small groups and let them go beyond the textbook by providing a variety of language inputs for spontaneous and natural use of language.
  • Build on the exercises given in the textbook and design more tasks/activities in keeping with learners’ interests, needs and surroundings. Employ free-response exercises (with more than one possible response).
  • Promote reading habits through story-reading (not merely teaching stories as texts), story-retelling, choral reading, shared reading, etc.
  • Create class libraries for exchange of books and shared reading. The library may also move with children to the next higher class.
  • Introduce Advertisement as a genre by introducing advertisements on social concerns such as educating by girl child, protecting an environment,saving water
  • Poems need not be taught line by line, word by word. You may give a model reading but let every child read the poem on her/his own to feel the richness of language, rhythm and music of words. Exercises accompanying the poem are more for understanding the poem as a whole than for teaching language items.
  • Encourage learners to tell new stories, narrate anecdotes, compose short poems in English or their own language, talk about pictures, illustrations in the book and cartoons in newspapers/magazines. Don’t get anxious about the errors they will make. Constant exposure, practice and correction in the form of feedback will help them improve themselves by and by.
  • Every page has a column for words and meanings. Encourage children to write down other words they find difficult, along with their meanings, in this column.

Units 13

Three Questions

Some suggestions given below are applicable to all prose lessons in the book.

  • A Tolstoy story — the three questions in the opening paragraph, though philosophical in nature, may be of practical significance to individuals in self-realisation and value inculcation.
  • Spend about 10 minutes discussing the questions the king asks. Let children express their views. Even if their observations do not reveal any understanding of the questions, the discussion session will provide an excellent base for the work to follow.
  • The story is sectioned in two parts. Each part may be sectioned further according to convenience and time available.
  • ‘Comprehension Check’ at the end of each section is a recall of what they have read so far. Design while-reading comprehension exercises in the form of factual comprehension questions, multiple choice questions and/or completion of sentences, etc.
  • While covering portions of the text, either talk about the illustrations or ask children to tell you about them. Illustrations are there not merely for decoration but mainly for comprehension.
  • Questions under ‘Working with the Text’ to be answered orally, later to be written in the copybook.
  • At the end of the lesson, draw children’s attention to the three questions in the context of the present period/class.
Isn’t the present period the right time to do as best you can the task in hand jointly with the member(s) of the group for her/his good and your own ?

The Squirrel

 Drawing a squirrel or finding the picture of a squirrel and describing it variously will commit learners’ interest to the poem they are reading.
 Help them find ‘wear’ and its usage in the dictionary. Avoid fixed phrases like ‘wear and tear’ or ‘wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve’, etc. Draw their attention to sentences like the following.

  • She wore a plain dress but an enigmatic smile.
  • Should a man wear a lady’s perfume ?

The illustration given in the book may generate comments such as the following.

  • The squirrel’s tail looks like a question mark.
  • It reminds me of the mark of punctuation that comes at the end of an interrogative sentence.
  • Looking at this squirrel, you might say it was asking a question. What is the question ?
  • The squirrel is wearing a long overcoat reaching the tip of its tail.
  • If it begins to run now, its tail will look like the bushy end of a painter’s brush.

Speak the words given below. Ask children to write the word and against it two new words that rhyme.

gray ————————— —————————

mark ————————— —————————

went ————————— —————————

nut ————————— —————————

A Gift of Chappals

  Children’s world — their spontaneity and imagination, ability to see contradictions in normal behaviour and moving acts of charity.

 While covering sections and sub-sections of the text, focus on situations in which children see themselves.

  Elicit their comments on, and reactions to, Ravi’s exaggerations about the kitten’s ancestry, children cleverly feeding the kitten and Mridu and Meena’s final act of charity. Focus on values such as sincerity, care and compassion as exemplified in the episodes.

 Under ‘Working with Language’, highlight some points about the use of if-clauses.

(i) An if-clause, also known as a conditional clause, expresses a condition or cause whose result/effect is felt in the second part of the sentence.
(ii) If the verb in the if-clause is in the present tense, the other clause normally has ‘will + verb’.
(iii) An if-clause can be placed either at the beginning or at the end of the main clause.

 I’ll come to your house if it doesn’t rain.


 If it doesn’t rain, I’ll come to your house.

 Activity 2 under ‘Speaking and Writing’ lends itself to picking up appropriate language to learn and practise life skills such as decision-making, negotiating, persuading, etc. Let all the children in pairs/groups perform this activity. Help them, wherever necessary, with appropriate language use.

The Rebel

  • Activity 1 is a combination of open-ended as well as text-based responses. Items (ii) and (iii) entail recalling/looking at the appropriate lines in the poem whereas (i), (iv), (v) and (vi) are discussion points.
  • Let children read Introduction to the poem silently and find the desired word. The significance of the title will, then, become amply clear.
  • The poem contains 15 couplets. Each couplet may be recited as an independent unit.
  • Ask children if they think the last couplet expresses the poet’s own opinion and comment.
  • Relate the last couplet to the discussion item (vi) under Activity 1.

Gopal and the Hilsa Fish

  • A comic story to be understood through pictures with strips of text for support. Children will have a natural enthusiasm for this new kind of material.
  • Divide the class into small groups. Let each group look at and describe a set of pictures (assigned to them) and construct their own text. Texts thus produced can be put together to form a complete story, to be edited for coherence and accuracy. If necessary, texts may first be produced in the child’s own language, and the teacher can help them to reformulate these in English. Conversely, for children fluent in English, this may be an opportunity to formulate equivalent texts in their own languages.
  • Picture reading under ‘Speaking and Writing’ to be attempted in the same manner.
  • Word ladder provides an opportunity for vocabulary building. Elicit the required word from learners by providing a set of synonyms for it.

cross: angry, annoyed, displeased

tiny: small, little, negligible

The Shed

  • Ask children to look for words/phrases in the poem suggesting the neglected state of the shed like “spider’s web hanging”, “rusty” in the first stanza. There are four more in the second stanza.
  • Let children cull out three or four pairs of rhyming words that come at the end of lines.
  • Activity 2 will generate a lot of individual contributions. Children may even make up spooky stories and quote them as ‘real’ experiences. Show interest and belief in each anecdote.

For the Teacher

Have a discussion in the class on the wordle given below. Sensitise the learners towards digital mode of payment.


Before you read

A king has three questions and he is seeking answers to them. What are the questions? Does the king get what he wants?

Three Questions


The thought came to a certain king that he would never fail if he knew three things. These three things were: What is the right time to begin something? Which people should he listen to? What is the most important thing for him to do?

The king, therefore, sent messengers throughout his kingdom, promising a large sum of money to anyone who would answer these three questions.

Many wise men came to the king, but they all answered his questions differently.

In reply to the first question, some said the king must prepare a timetable, and then follow it strictly. Only in this way, they said, could he do everything at its proper time. Others said that it was impossible to decide in advance the right time for doing something. The king should notice all that was going on, avoid foolish pleasures, and always do whatever seemed necessary at that time. Yet others said that the king needed a council of wise men who would help him act at the proper time. This was because one man would find it impossible to decide correctly, without help from others, the right time for every action.

council: a group of people chosen to give advice or to make rules

But then others said that there were some things which could be urgent. These things could not wait for the decision of the council. In order to decide the right time for doing something, it is necessary to look into the future. And only magicians could do that. The king, therefore, would have to go to magicians.

In their answers to the second question, some said that the people most necessary to the king were his councillors; others said, the priests. A few others chose the doctors. And yet others said that his soldiers were the most necessary.

councillors: members of the council

To the third question, some said science. Others chose fighting, and yet others religious worship.

As the answers to his questions were so different, the king was not satisfied and gave no reward. Instead, he decided to seek the advice of a certain hermit, who was widely known for his wisdom.

hermit a person who lives alone and leads a simple life

The hermit lived in a wood which he never left. He saw no one but simple people, and so the king put on ordinary clothes. Before he reached the hermit’s hut the king left his horse with his bodyguard, and went on alone.

wood/woods: a small forest

As the king came near the hermit’s hut, he saw the hermit digging the ground in front of his hut. He greeted the king and continued digging. The hermit was old and weak, and as he worked, he breathed heavily.

The king went up to the hermit and said, “I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I need most? And what affairs are the most important?”

The hermit listened to the king, but did not speak. He went on digging. “You are tired,” said the king. “Let me take the spade and work in your place.”

“Thanks,” said the hermit, giving the king his spade. Then he sat down on the ground.

affairs: things; matters; business


When the king had dug two beds, he stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit gave no answer, but stood up, stretching out his hand for the spade, and said, “Now you rest, and let me work.”

But the king did not give him the spade and continued to dig.

One hour passed, then another. The sun went down behind the trees, and at last the king stuck the spade into the ground and said, “I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me no answer, tell me so and I will return home.”

“Here comes someone running,” said the hermit.

beds : small patches of ground for plants

fainted: lost consciousness

Comprehension Check

1. Why did the king want to know answers to three questions?

2. Messengers were sent throughout the kingdom

(i) to fetch wise men.

(ii) to find answers to the questions.

(iii) to look for the wise hermit.

(iv) to announce a reward for those who could answer the questions.

Mark your choice.


The king turned round and saw a bearded man running towards them. His hands were pressed against his stomach, from which blood was flowing. When he reached the king he fainted and fell to the ground. The king and the hermit removed the man’s clothing and found a large wound in his stomach. The king washed and covered it with his handkerchief, but the blood would not stop flowing. The king re-dressed the wound until at last the bleeding stopped.

re-dressed: dressed again

The man felt better and asked for something to drink. The king brought fresh water and gave it to him. By this time the sun had set and the air was cool. The king with the hermit’s help carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. The man closed his eyes and lay quiet. The king, tired by his walk and the work he had done, lay down on the floor and slept through the night. When he awoke, it was several minutes before he could remember where he was or who the strange bearded man lying on the bed was.


“Forgive me!” said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the king was awake.

“I do not know you and have nothing to forgive you for,” said the king.

fainted: lost consciousness

“You do not know me, but 1 know you. 1 am that enemy of yours who swore revenge on you, because you put my brother to death and seized my property. I knew you had gone alone to see that hermit, and I made up my mind to kill you on your way home. But the day passed and you did not return. So I left my hiding-place, and I came upon your bodyguard, who recognised me and wounded me. I escaped from him but I should have died if you had not dressed my wounds. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, I will serve you as your most faithful servant and will order my sons to do the same. Forgive me!”

The king was very happy to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have won him over as a friend. He not only forgave him but said he would send his servants and his own doctor to look after him, and he promised to give back the man his property.

seized: took by force

faithful: loyal and true

Leaving the wounded man, the king went out of the hut and looked round for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to get answers to his questions. The hermit was on his knees sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before. The king went up to the hermit and said, “For the last time I beg you to answer my questions, wise man.”

“You have already been answered!” said the hermit still bending down to the ground and looking up at the king as he stood before him.

“How have I been answered? What do you mean?”

“Do you not see?” replied the hermit. “If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday and had not dug these beds for me, you would have gone away. Then that man would have attacked you and you would have wished you had stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds. And I was the most important man, and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when the man ran to us, the most important time was when you were caring for him, because if you had not dressed his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business.

“Remember then, there is only one time that is important and that time is ‘Now’. It is the most important time because it is the only time we have any power to act.

“The most necessary person is the person you are with at a particular moment, for no one knows what will happen in the future and whether we will meet anyone else. The most important business is to do that person good, because we were sent into this world for that purpose alone.”

Leo Tolstoy


Comprehension Check

Complete the following sentences by adding the appropriate parts of the sentences given in the box.

1. Many wise men answered the king’s questions, 

2. Someone suggested that there should be a council of wise men

3. Someone else suggested that the king should have a timetable

4. The king requested the hermit

5. The king washed and dressed the bearded man’s wound,

but the bleeding would not stop.

to answer three questions.

but their answers were so varied that the king was not satisfied.

 and follow it strictly.

 to help the king act at the right time.

Working with the Text

Answer the following questions.

1. Why was the king advised to go to magicians?

2. In answer to the second question, whose advice did the people say would be important to the king?

3. What suggestions were made in answer to the third question?

4. Did the wise men win the reward? If not, why not?

5. How did the king and the hermit help the wounded man?

6. (i) Who was the bearded man?

(ii) Why did he ask for the king’s forgiveness?

7. The king forgave the bearded man. What did he do to show his forgiveness?

8. What were the hermit’s answers to the three questions? Write each answer separately. Which answer do you like most, and why?

Working with Language

1. Match items in List A with their meanings in List B.

fainted: lost consciousness

(i) wounded
(ii) awoke
(iii) forgive
(iv) faithful
(v) pity
(vi) beds
(vii) return
got up from sleep
give back
small patches of ground for plants
severely injured
feel sorry for

Use any three of the above words in sentences of your own. You may change the form of the word.

2. Each of the following sentences has two blanks. Fill in the blanks with appropriate forms of the word given in brackets.

He has to help me. Do you think he will remember his ? (promise)

He has promised to help me. Do you think he will remember his promise?

(i) The said that only fresh evidence would make him change his .(judge)

(ii) I didn’t notice any serious of opinion among the debaters, although they from one another over small points. (differ)

(iii) It’s a fairly simple question to,but will you accept my as final? (answer)

(iv) It isn’t that should always be the mother of invention. (necessary)

(v) Hermits are men. How they acquire their no one can tell. (wise)

(vi) The committee has to make Jagdish captain of the team. The is likely to please everyone. (decide)

(vii) Asking for is as noble as willingness to . (forgive)

Speaking and Writing

1. Imagine you are the king. Narrate the incident of your meeting the hermit. Begin like this:

The wise men answered my questions, but I was not satisfied with their answers. One day I decided to go and meet the hermit...

2. Imagine you are the hermit. Write briefly the incident of your meeting the king. Begin like this:

One day I was digging in my garden. A man in ordinary clothes came to see me. I knew it was the king...

Do you know...

Does an ostrich really stick its head in the sand to hide from an enemy?

Answer on page 32

The Squirrel

You may have seen a squirrel sitting on the ground eating a nut. What did it look like? Here is a poet’s description of just such a squirrel.

He wore a question mark for tail,

An overcoat of gray,

He sat up straight to eat a nut.

He liked to tease and play,

And if we ran around his tree,

He went the other way.

Mildred Bowers Armstrong

Working with the Poem

1. Why does the poet say the squirrel “wore a question mark for tail”? Draw a squirrel, or find a picture of a squirrel sitting on the ground. How would you describe its tail?

2. Do we usually say that an animal ‘wears’ a tail? What do we say? (Think: Does an animal wear a coat? Consult a dictionary if you like, and find out how ‘wear’ is used in different ways.)

3. “He liked to tease and play”. Who is teasing whom? How ?