Lesson Plan for The Hatseller and the Monkeys by Baba Wague Diakite

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This is a read aloud lesson plan designed for students in kindergarten and grade 1.


Everyone familiar with the popular story, Caps for Sale, will immediately recognize this authentic African tale. Readers will love the mischievous monkeys that steal the peddler's caps. And they will laugh at the monkeys' funny antics as the peddler outsmarts them and gets his caps back.
Source: Barnes and Noble Website.


Students will be able to:

  • Compare this story to Caps for Sale by Slobodkina

  • Identify that people in different parts of the world make hats differently

  • Identify that monkeys are indigenouse to Africa, not Europe

  • Make a text-to-self connection by designing own hat

  • Recall the moral of the story: eating a good breakfast is important

  • Identify story as an African tale

  • Make and confirm own predictions

  • Follow directions

  • Participate in a chant


Materials needed for this lesson include:
  • Copy of The Hatseller and the Monkeys by Diakite

  • Copy of Caps for Sale by Slobodkina (optional)

  • Plastic or canvas bag (optional)

  • Bag of bread(optional)

  • 9x12 paper in multiple colors

  • Oak tag patterns similar to hats in The Hatseller and the Monkeys
    • Use a photocopier to enlarge pictures of the different hats and then use them as a template -or-
    • Ask the art teacher to make a simple outline sketch of 4 different styles of hats illustrated in the book

  • Box of crayons for each student

  • Scissors for each student

  • Sentence strips cut in half length-wise


Before Reading:

  • Ask if students recall the story, Caps for Sale. If a copy of the book is handy, display the cover.
    • Volunteers retell story
    • Point out that this story happens in Europe. But monkeys don't live in Europe.
    • Discuss that monkeys live in other parts of the world, like South America, Asia, and Africa

  • Display picture of the author on the back of the text. Discuss his style of dress and his hat. How is hat different from the kinds of hats people wear here?
    • Discuss why the hat is different.

  • Discuss meaning of vocabulary words:
    • harvest
    • festival
    • satchel
      • to discuss a satchel, you may want to have a plastic or canvas bag that is empty. Point out how the satchel can't stand up when nothing is in it.

  • Discuss that laughing at funny parts of a story is acceptable, but we need to stop laughing when the reading begins again

During Reading:

  • On page 3, call children's attention to the villaage. Explain that there are 11 homes in this village. How are they different from where we live?
  • When BaMusa sits down to eat, ask students what they think he will do to get the hats back from the monkeys. Encourage 3 or 4 predictions.

  • After he tricks the monkeys, explain that this is a trickster tale - many African tales are trickster tales, like Anansi the Spider tales.Explain the meaning of "trickster."
  • Ask children to determine if their predictions were correct or incorrect. Have student help find place in book that proves or disproves their predictions. Explain that good readers go back to double-check predictions. All good readers make wrong predictions sometimes, but they know how to check for the right answer.

    After Reading:

    • Repeat the moral: For an empty satchel cannot stand."
      • Hold up an empty plastic bag or canvas bag and a bag of bread. Which bag can really stand up? Why?
      • Make the connection that our stomachs cannot do the work of the day unless they are full. They cannot stand alone.

    • Page through the book and ask 4 or 5 students to tell the class which style of hat they like best. Why?

    • Students choose hat pattern of choice and construction paper of choice.

    • Students trace pattern, cut out hat, and draw own "fabric" pattern on construction paper.
      • You may want to encourage students making a pattern on the hats to integrate math into the lesson

    • If a student finishes early, you may want to allow the student to make a second hat.
    • Staple each student's hat to the sentence strip and then measure to fit on each child as his or her own "hat."

    • When all students have own hat, line students up. Encourage students to repeat the chant from the book and march around the room.


    • Student participation

    • Teacher observation

    • Following directions for craft

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