Old Hu-Hu Activities

Old Hu-Hu

written by Kyle Mewburn

illustrated by Rachel Driscoll

published by Scholastic, 2009

Old Hu-Hu deals sensitively with the themes of death and the memory of someone close who has passed away. In the story, little Hu-Hu-Tu mourns the loss of his dear Old Hu-Hu, who has fallen down dead after he flies to the moon and back. While Hu-Hu-Tu struggles to come to terms with Old Hu-Hu’s death, he is reminded by others that his memory can be seen in other things – Ladybird said look to the clouds where he sits laughing with his friends; Spider said he is in the soil and the air, in the flowers and in Hu-Hu-Tu’s hair; Butterfly said he may return as an elephant, a snake or a hen. After a night of tears, Hu-Hu-Tu wakes to find that he can hear Old Hu-Hu’s voice within himself. This is a comforting idea for children, as Mewburn suggests that someone’s spirit can live on within us after they have died. The powerful, evocative illustrations by Rachel Driscoll support the story beautifully.

Please note that these activities are suggestions which have not yet been trialled. We welcome any feedback on how they play out in the classroom (see the feedback section).

Activity 1: HU-HU BUGS (Science)
NZ Curriculum Level 1 & 2

(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies
  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
  • managing self
Description After reading this story children may be interested to find out more information about huhu bugs.

1. Ask the children what they already know about huhu bugs. What does the story tell us about huhu bugs? Share knowledge.

2. Talk with a partner about some things you would like to find out about huhu bugs. Then share these ideas back with the whole class. As students are sharing the things they would like to find out, write them up on the board.

(Things like: how big can a huhu bug grow? What does it look like? Where does it live (habitat)? How long does it live for? What does it eat? What animals prey on huhu bugs? Are huhu bugs native to New Zealand? Do they live anywhere else?)

3. Ask: how can we find this information out?

(Internet search, books, encyclopaedias, ‘bug experts’ (older children?))

4. Organise children into small groups and give them each an area to ‘research’. Allow time for them to search for the information they need. Support them in deciding what information is relevant to their particular topic.

5. Share findings as a class and record information on the board, next to each question.

6. Children can work together in pairs or small groups to create a poster or report about the hu-hu bug.

Materials
  • information books/ encyclopaedias
  • internet access
  • paper for posters/ reports
Taking it further
  • Use the same inquiry process to find out about other native insects, birds or animals (Science)
  • Try presenting information in a KidPix slideshow (English/ Science)
Curriculum Links Science

Living World

Life Processes

  • recognise that all living things have certain requirements so that they can stay alive (Level 1)

Ecology

  • recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitat (Level 1)

English

Listening, Reading and Viewing

  • recognise and identify ideas within and across texts (Level 1)
Applications for Level 3 and above At Level 3, students begin to explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat. They can begin to groups plants, animals and other living things into science-based classifications. At Level 5, they begin to investigate the interdependence of living things in an ecosystem.
Links to other books in NZPBC A booming in the night – refers to other New Zealand forest creatures

Activity 2: LOSING A LOVED ONE (English)
NZ Curriculum Level 1, 2 & 3

(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies
  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
Description 1.Read the story with the children. After reading, establish that Hu-Hu-Tu is mourning the loss of Old Hu-Hu.

  • How is Hu-Hu-Tu feeling? How do we know this?

The illustrations show a lot of emotion.

2.Encourage the children to share their own thoughts about losing a loved person or pet. Some may have already experienced this, some may not have.

  • What did you do when your loved one died?
  • Was it like in the story? Or different?
  • How did you feel?

3. Talk about what made Hu-Hu-Tu feel happier at the end of the story.

  • At Level 1, establish that Hu-Hu-Tu realised that although Old Hu-Hu’s body had gone, he could still feel him in his heart. Some children may have experiences of carrying the memory of a loved one ‘in their heart’. Allow them time to talk about this.
  • At Levels 2 and 3, discuss in more detail about the other attitudes towards death that are raised in the story:
  • Ladybird said that Old Hu-Hu is now sitting on a cloud with all his friends, munching and laughing – a young hu-hu grub again.
  • Spider said that he had gone back into the soil, the air, the flowers, Hu-Hu-tu’s hair – everywhere.
  • Butterfly said that he might come back as an elephant, snake or hen (reincarnation).

Also discuss Hu-Hu-Tu’s comfort in discovering that he carried the memory of Old Hu-Hu within his heart.

Children may wish to share their own thoughts about what happens when we die – allow time for this.

4. This could lead on to writing about losing a loved person or pet. Children could write about what happened and how they felt at the time. How did others feel and act? What helped you to change the way you were feeling? How do you remember that person or pet now?

The children’s writing could be published and put together in a class book, if appropriate, for children to look back over.

They will see that everyone grieves the loss of a loved one in different ways – both culturally and personally.

Curriculum Links English

Listening, Reading and Viewing

  • recognise and identify ideas within and across texts (Level 1)
  • show some understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts (Level 2)
  • show a developing understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts (Level 3)

Speaking, Writing and Presenting

  • form and express ideas on a range of topics (Level 1)
  • select, form and express ideas on a range of topics (Level 2)
  • select, form and communicate ideas on a range of topics (Level 3)
Applications for Level 4 and above Death is hard at all ages. This is a topic which could be talked and written about at all levels of the curriculum, using the book as a starting point.
Links to other NZPBC books Haere: farewell, Jack, farewell – a young girl grieves the loss of her beloved Koro

Activity 3: GROWING OLD (English)
NZ Curriculum Level 1, 2 & 3

(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies
  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
  • participating and contributing
  • managing self
Activity A line at the beginning of the story reads:

Maybe he forgot he was old?

1. Discuss this line with the children. What do you think it means?

Talk about what it might feel like when we get older:

  • What do you think it will feel like to be older?
  • Will you be able to do the same things you can do now?
  • Will you still want to do the same things that you do now?
  • What do you think you will enjoy/not enjoy doing?

Share ideas with a partner and with the class.

1. Ask the children to think of a grandparent (or older person they know), who they would like to interview. Encourage them to think about how their life has changed as they have got older.

2. Ask the children to write down some interview questions that they could ask, to find out what their chosen person thinks and feels about growing older.

  • At Level 1, work together as a class to come up with some questions.

(Question examples: what do you like best/ least about growing older? What do you still enjoy doing that you did as a young person? Are there some things that you can’t do now?)

  • At Levels 2 and 3, students can work in pairs or small groups to come up with their own interview questions.

3. Children then complete interviews as a homework task. They might also like to collect a photo of their interviewee to bring back to school to share.

4. Once the interviews have taken place, children can share their findings with the class and present the information in a variety of ways:

  • Story and illustration (Level 1 & 2)
  • Poster (Level 2 & 3)
  • Report (Level 2 & 3)
Materials
  • Interviewee
  • Paper for presentation – report, story or poster
Curriculum Links English

Listening, Reading and Viewing

  • acquire and begin to use sources of information, processes and strategies to identify, form and express ideas (Level 1)
  • recognise and identify ideas within and across texts (Level 1)
  • select and use sources of information, processes and strategies with some confidence to identify, form and express ideas (Level 2)
  • show some understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts (Level 2)
  • integrate sources of information, processes and strategies with developing confidence to identify, form and express ideas (Level 3)
  • show a developing understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts (Level 3)

Social Science

  • understand how the past is important to people (Level 1)
  • understand how time and change affect people’s lives (Level 2)
  • understand how people remember and record the past in different ways (Level 3)
Applications for Level 4 and above At Level 6, students begin to understand how the causes and consequences of past events that are of significance to New Zealanders shape the lives of people and society. For example, students could interview an older person who was alive during World War 2, or some other major event, and consider how it has impacted their life.
Links to other books in NZPBC The kuia and the spider

Kimi and the watermelon

Haere: farewell, Jack, farewell

– these stories all illustrate childrens relationships with an older person