Claw Goes to Ireland

Sue Shaffner

Travel in Ireland with a Puppet

A bit of background― For years, I have taught elementary students with the aid of a plastic lobster puppet named Claw. He is well known around the school, often reading the morning announcements while inserting wisecracks, writing books for the students to read during lunch, and is even listed in the yearbook as a teaching assistant.  In 2011, I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland, and I took Claw with me. Claw Goes to Ireland is a PowerPoint presentation from his peculiar viewpoint, and should be available with this lesson. Enjoy the lobster humor….

Section One: Identifying All Standards and Objectives


Students will be able to listen to/read aloud the text of Claw Goes to Ireland.

Students will be able to use context of text to:

  • Count to three in Gaelic Irish
  • State that Dublin is a city in Ireland
  • State that a cathedral is a type of church
  • State that some prehistoric people had interesting, artistic burial places
  • Tell details of Saint Patrick’s life
  • Tell how a rainbow is made
  • State one reason why Vikings came to Ireland
  • Tell what peat is and how it is used
  • State why a geologic feature in Northern Ireland is called the Giant’s Causeway
  • Tell one of the uses of sheep
  • Explain why fisherman’s knit sweaters were important
    • Compare and contrast Irish scenes with scenes from their own country Students will be able to generate questions and answers for review of items covered. Students will restate what has been learned to make a chart.

PA State Standards

Subject: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening:

1.1A: Identify the author’s purpose and type of text

1.1B: Use knowledge of phonics and word recognition to decode and understand new words during reading

1.1C: Use meaning and knowledge of words across content areas to develop a speaking and reading vocabulary

1.1D: Demonstrate listening and reading comprehension

1.1E: Research: Demonstrate fluency in reading of grade level texts 1.2E Read and respond to essential context of text

1.8A: Generate questions about a topic

Subject: Geography:

7.3B: Identify the human characteristics of places and regions by their cultural characteristics

Subject: Arts and Humanities:

9.2B: Relate works in the arts to varying styles and genre and to the periods in which they were created

9.2.G: Relate works in the arts to geographical regions

Section Two: Identifying Method(s) of Assessment and Point of Use Throughout Lesson


Prior to the lesson, students will brainstorm a list of things they know about Ireland, including location, culture, stories, songs, history, and languages spoken. These responses may be written by a secretary in small groups, or written on the board by the teacher, dependent on the age and abilities of the students. This helps the teacher ascertain the students’ knowledge levels.

Formative Assessment

The teacher will help students as needed during the lesson with reading, vocabulary discussion, and questions presented within Claw Goes to Ireland.

Summative Assessment

(Optional) The students will compete in a game show format competition using student-elicited questions.

Section Three: Identifying the Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies and Details as to How the Lesson will be Carried Out


  1. Prior to lesson, the teacher should preview Claw Goes to Ireland.  (An overview is available in the “Materials” section of this lesson plan.) Choose whether the text will be teacher-read (recommended for K-1) or student-read (possible for grades 2-5).
  2. Teacher asks, “What do we know about Ireland?” Responses may be recorded by the teacher for the class, or by small group secretaries and then shared with the class, depending on the age of the students and the desire of the teacher.
  3. Using the globe or world map, have students find their present location and the land of Ireland.  Discuss ways to get there.
  4. View PowerPoint presentation Claw Goes to Ireland with students, stopping at discussion questions to talk about the content, especially at the ending slide.
  5. When last PowerPoint slide is reached, there are a number of choices to solidify and review content:
    • Have students divide into teams and create questions based on information presented in Claw Goes to Ireland. Have teams ask other teams questions in a game-show format.
    • In whole group, small groups or as individuals, have students list as many things as possible that they have learned from watching Claw Goes to Ireland.
    • In small groups, have students discuss what they’ve learned (as ending slide requests) while teacher circulates among the groups to assist/listen.

6. List what has been learned on a chart and display in the classroom. This will help short-term knowledge to become long-term knowledge as well as help with reading fluency.


  • Globe or world map
  • Claw Goes to Ireland PowerPoint presentation Chart paper to record observations
  • Overview of Claw Goes to Ireland: (For teacher perusal only)

Claw Goes to Ireland

Travel in Ireland with a Puppet

An overview of the PowerPoint presentation*

The presentation begins with an introduction to Claw, the lobster puppet giving the tour, and an introduction by Claw to Ireland.


1. Dublin.

2. (Some of ) The History of Ireland

  • 2a. Prehistoric People
  • 2b. Saint Patrick

3.    Other Stuff, Like “Can You Really Find Gold At The End Of The Rainbow?”

  • 3a. Rainbows
  • 3b. Gold and Vikings and Monasteries 3c. Leprechauns

4. More Other Stuff: Peat and Giants and Sheep and Fisherman’s Knit Sweaters

5. Thumb Games

  • 5a. The Burren
  • 5b. Irish Walls and Countryside
  • 5c. Irish Buildings, Grace O’Malley Return to United States/Conclusion

*Yes, I know this is an unusual overview. Remember, it was put together by a lobster puppet. Their brains work a bit differently….

Differentiated Instruction

Students will have varied levels of pre-existing knowledge on Ireland, different reading/writing abilities, and a wide range of recall abilities. Seating the students in heterogeneous groups and matching difficulty of text to individual readers should make this lesson accessible to all students.

Use of Technology (where appropriate)

Besides the obvious use of technology in showing the PowerPoint presentation, you may wish to access the following:

This site allows you to hear five different Northern Irish speakers with comments on their dialects. Also other U.K. sites.

Google Earth site allows viewing of satellite images anywhere in the world. Travel from your current location to any location in Ireland.

Section Four: Lesson Analysis

  • What went well?
  • Planning Reflection
  • Teaching Reflection
  • Student & Evidence Improvements