Based off the book by Jon Scieszka.
This story is about Henry P, and how he is one too many times late
for school. His teacher asks for the excuse this time, which
starts Henry narrating an epic adventure! Throughout the story,
Henry uses a mix of English and “alien language” (which turn
out to be different Earth languages – there’s a key at the end of
This is great to use for context clues practice! The story is engaging
and funny, so students will enjoy it. I chose to show it on a
video version just because we were doing this at the end of the
school year, and I felt it might hold the student’s attention more.
After watching the video, students were broken up into groups
and given photocopies of the pages of the book, as well as
“alien translators”. They were to use their context clues skills
to figure out what each word meant to write on their decoder.
Students really enjoyed doing this activity, and while the levels
I used were fourth and fifth graders, I have done a similar activity
with second graders.
Two alien translators are provided: one is simply a chart where
students have to figure out what Henry is saying. This is also
good to use if you are doing the activity as a whole class (you could
make it poster size, for example, or project it up on the screen
with a document camera and write in answers).
The second translator is more for independent use by students.
Students cut out the inner and outer circles on page 5 and 6 and
connect with a brad (so that the circle can move). An example is
shown on page 4 of a “finished” one.
Resource links are provided on the credit page.