Poppleton in Winter by Cynthia Rylant

Teacher Guide by Ashley Trudeau

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Elementary School Category!

Poppleton in Winter Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Poppleton in Winter Include:

Poppleton in Winter by Cynthia Rylant is a great book for young children with details that are easily recognizable. In this easy-to-read chapter book, Poppleton the pig charms young readers with his adventures and whimsical ideas. Children will be begging for more Poppleton stories!

Poppleton in Winter Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Poppleton in Winter Character Map Graphic Organizer

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

You can click on this map and create a copy on your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets, for your students to complete while reading, is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.

Here is an example for Poppleton:

Physical Appearance

  • pig
  • wears clothes

Character Traits

  • nice
  • creative
  • friendly
  • proud


  • "Poppleton was proud of them."
  • "Winter always made Poppleton creative."
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Point of View

In this activity, students will decide what point of view the narrator is speaking in. Using a storyboard, students can show the textual evidence and also illustrate it. Poppleton in Winter is told in the third person point of view. Writing from the third person point of view uses the name of the character or pronouns like he, she, it, or they to describe the main character.

This example storyboard uses three quotes from the story. Depending on the level of your class, you may only want one example.

Third Person

  • "But Poppleton didn't listen to any of them. He loved icicles. Each morning he took a ruler outside to see how much longer they had grown."
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Poppleton in Winter Summary | Plot Diagram

Copy Assignment

Students decide on what they think the important parts in the text are, and categorize them into the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Having students decide on the beginning, middle, and end will help them break up the text, and make it easier to choose one or two main events to create. Students can plan their ideas with a partner or individually and decide what main parts they would like to add to their storyboard.

Poppleton in Winter has three different tales in it. Students can create a summary storyboard for each tale. The example shown is for the story titled, “The Sleigh Ride”.


Poppleton calls all his friends to ask them to go on a sleigh ride.


Everybody is busy baking yummy treats so they can not go on a sleigh ride. Poppleton feels upset.


Poppleton's friends come over and surprise him for his birthday (which he forgot). They eat treats and go for a midnight sleigh ride.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Make a storyboard summary of the tales in Poppleton in Winter.

  1. Make a picture that shows the beginning of the story.
  2. Make a picture that shows the middle of the story.
  3. Make a picture that shows the end of the story.
  4. Write a sentence under each picture.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Copy Assignment

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Making Connections in Poppleton in Winter

Copy Assignment

Text Connections
Text to Text Connection that reminds you of something in another book or story
Text to Self Connection that reminds you of something in your life.
Text to World Connection that reminds you of something happening in the world.

Students can easily make text-to-self connections throughout the book. In this activity, students will create a storyboard showing some of the text-to-self connections they made throughout the different stories.

The example storyboard shows one text to self connection for each story.


Text -"Icicles": Poppleton's house has lots of icicles.
"Poppleton was proud of them. He never knocked them down."

Self: This reminds me of my old house that used to have tons of icicles. You had to be careful, or else one could fall on you.

Text - "The Bust": Poppleton is always creative in the winter.
"Another winter he painted stars all over his floors."

Self: This reminds me of when I painted the walls of my new room.

Text - "The Sleigh Ride": Poppleton is disappointed when he thinks all his friends cannot go on a sleigh ride.
"He sat in front of his window, feeling very sorry for himself."

Self: I feel disappointed and lonely when I have no one to play with.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows three text-to-self connections you have made with Poppleton in Winter.

  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify parts of Poppleton in Winter that you connect with. Put the name of the story in the "CHAPTER TITLE" box.
  3. Parts from the Poppleton in Winter go on the left side. The connections you make go on the right side.
  4. Create an image for each connection using scenes, characters, items, and text boxes.
  5. Write a description of how the text relates to you.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Copy Assignment

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Identifying Themes in Poppleton in Winter

Several themes are present in the book. Students can pick a theme to explore and should support their choice with specific details or events from the text. One prominent theme is “friendship”. In all three stories, Poppleton learns a little bit more about what being a friend really means.


Example 1:

Patrick, a finch, accidentally knocks down all of Poppleton's icicles. Poppleton doesn't get mad and instead they build a picket fence out of icicles. Poppleton and Patrick become friends.

Example 2:

Poppleton thinks all his friends are too busy to go on a sleigh ride. Poppleton's friends end up surprising him on his birthday with treats and a sleigh ride.

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A Quick Synopsis of Poppleton in Winter

In the first story, it is winter and large icicles hang from Poppleton’s house. Though several people have told Poppleton that he should get rid of the icicles, the pig has no interest in doing so. He likes his icicles. A bird, named Patrick, accidentally flies into the icicles and knocks them all down. Patrick is very sorry about the icicles and Poppleton forgives him. Patrick comes up with a brilliant idea: to make a picket fence out of the icicles. Poppleton and Patrick work hard to build the fence and it looks fantastic. They have dinner together and Poppleton realizes that icicles will not last forever, but his new friendship with Patrick will.

In the second story, Poppleton decides to make a bust of his friend Cherry Sue. He gathers all the supplies and is ready to start when he forgets what Cherry Sue’s hair looks like. He goes over to her house and when she answers he only says, “Hello”, and looks at her hair, and leaves. Poppleton visits Cherry Sue two more times because he cannot get her features right. Cherry Sue becomes aggravated and finally demands to know what Poppleton is doing. Poppleton tells her, and she decides to go over to his house to be his model. It takes Poppleton five hours to finish the bust, but when he is done, it looks exactly like Cherry Sue, and she is very happy.

In the third story, Poppleton wants to go for a sleigh ride. He calls all his friends but they are all busy baking yummy treats. Poppleton is feeling very sorry for himself. When the doorbell rings, Poppleton’s friends all shout “Surprise!”, and give him the yummy treats they baked. Poppleton had forgotten that it was his birthday, but his friends remembered and that made him happy. They go for a midnight sleigh ride and Poppleton does not make a birthday wish, because he already has everything he could possibly wish for.

Essential Questions for Poppleton in Winter

  1. What makes a good friend?
  2. What are ways that you can be creative?

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•   (English) Poppleton in Winter   •   (Español) Poppleton en Invierno   •   (Français) Poppleton en Hiver   •   (Deutsch) Poppleton im Winter   •   (Italiana) Poppleton in Inverno   •   (Nederlands) Poppleton in de Winter   •   (Português) Poppleton no Inverno   •   (עברית) Poppleton בחורף   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) Poppleton في الشتاء   •   (हिन्दी) सर्दी में Poppleton   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Попплтон Зимой   •   (Dansk) Poppleton i Winter   •   (Svenska) Poppleton i Vinter   •   (Suomi) Poppleton Talvella   •   (Norsk) Poppleton i Vinter   •   (Türkçe) Kışın Poppleton   •   (Polski) Poppleton w Zimie   •   (Româna) Poppleton în Timpul Iernii   •   (Ceština) Poppleton v Zimě   •   (Slovenský) Poppleton v Zime   •   (Magyar) Poppleton Télen   •   (Hrvatski) Poppleton u Zimi   •   (български) Поппълтон През Зимата   •   (Lietuvos) Poppleton Žiemą   •   (Slovenščina) Poppleton Pozimi   •   (Latvijas) POPPLETON Ziemā   •   (eesti) Poppleton Winter