Morty and the Teacher's Apples
Level Q 

About the Book 

Text Type: Fiction/Fantasy
Page Count: 20
Word Count: 1,289 

Book Summary
Morty and the Teacher's Apples continues the mischievous adventures of Morty, a third grade mouse who finds himself in a dilemma when he plays a trick on his teacher that he then later regrets. Text is supported by engaging illustrations and is ideal for highlighting positive character traits.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Retell


  • Use the reading strategy of retelling to better understand text
  • Make inferences
  • Understand the use of plural nouns (y to i)
  • Recognize and use antonyms


  • Book -- Morty and the Teacher's Apples (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses
  • Retell, make inferences, plural nouns, antonyms worksheets

   Indicates an opportunity for student to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reusable.)


  • Content words: mischievous, fragrant, discreetly, decaying, scampered, regret, expression, immaculate

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Ask students to think about a time when they played a prank on someone and it backfired. If students are unfamiliar with the term, discuss the meaning of prank.
  • Facilitate the discussion by asking questions such as: Why might a person want to trick another person? Are all pranks funny, or can some pranks be hurtful? How might someone feel afterward?

Preview the Book

Introduce the Book

  • Give students their copy of the book. Guide them to the front and back covers and read the title. Have students discuss what they see on the covers. Encourage them to offer ideas as to what type of book it is and what it might be about.
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name, illustrator's name).

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Retell

  • Tell students that good readers often pause at different points in their reading to retell in their mind the most important events and details they have read so far. Explain that they can underline important events, characters, or words as they read to help retell the story.
  • Introduce and explain the retell worksheet. Draw a similar chart on the board.
  • Model retelling a familiar story, such as The Three Little Pigs.
    Think aloud: In The Three Little Pigs, three pigs each decide to build a house.     The first pig decides to make his house out of straw. He gathers all of the materials and builds his house. The second pig decides to build his house out of sticks. He gathers all of the materials and builds his house. The third pig gathers the materials to build his house out of bricks. One day a big bad wolf comes to the house of the first little pig. He wants the little pig to let him inside and says I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down.
  • Continue retelling in detail to the end of the story. As you retell the story, write information about the story in the chart on the board. When finished, have volunteers use the information in the chart to retell the story to a partner. Observe their retellings.
  • As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.

Introduce the Comprehension Skill: Make inferences

  • Write the following information on the board: Story Clues + What I Know = Inference. Explain that authors do not always tell all the information needed to understand everything in a book. Sometimes readers need to use their prior knowledge and experiences, and the details in the story, to make sense of ideas or events in the book. This is called making an inference. Explain that an inference is a conclusion drawn by connecting clues in text to information a person already knows. Making inferences allow readers to understand the text on a deeper level.
  • Create a three-column chart on the board with the headings Story Clues, What I Know, and Inference. Write the following sentences on the board: I like to go to the movies with my friend Allison. We both love funny movies. I like popcorn, and she likes candy. She always shares her candy with me, but whenever I offer my popcorn, she always makes a face and says "No, thank you." Model making inferences.
  • Think-aloud: I know that authors do not directly state all the ideas in a story and that I must make inferences to understand the story completely. In the story on the board, Allison likes candy. Whenever I offer her popcorn, Allison says no. She also makes a face at the offer of popcorn. I know that when I make a face at something, it is generally because I do not like it. If I do not like something, I would not accept it if it were offered to me. Based on these clues from the story and what I know, I infer that Allison does not want popcorn for a snack at the movies because she doesn't like it.
  • Ask students to identify information from the sentences on the board that supports the inference. Write this information under the heading Story Clues on the chart. Ask students to identify information from experiences or prior knowledge shared during the discussion that supports the inference. Write this information under the heading What I Know on the chart. Then write the following sentence under the Inference column: Allison does not like popcorn.
  • Explain to students that they will practice making more inferences while reading Morty and the Teacher's Apples.

Introduce the Vocabulary

  • As students preview the book, reinforce new vocabulary by incorporating it into the discussion of the illustrations. For example, on page 3, you might say: The text says that Morty is a very mischievous mouse. Do you know what mischievous means? Have your heard the word mischief before? Help students conclude that since mischief means trouble, someone who is mischievous must be a troublemaker.
  • Model using word-attack strategies to pronounce unfamiliar words. For example, show students how to use context clues to identify an unfamiliar word. Have students find and read the sentence containing the word immaculate on page 20. Ask them to skip the word and read to the end of the sentence, looking for clues to help them identify the unfamiliar word and its meaning. Say: This word is long, so I will chunk it into pieces that I know. Then I will go back to the word and see whether I can read it (immaculate). As I continued to read the next sentence, I read about cleaning supplies. Immaculate must mean clean and in good condition.
  • Have students read the word in the sentence to check that it makes sense.
  • For tips on teaching word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read the book to find out more about the trick Morty plays on his teacher, stopping after every few pages to retell the events or make inferences about the story.

During Reading 

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Have students read to the end of page 8. Encourage those who finish early to go back and reread. Have them fill in the information about the story on their retelling worksheet.
  • Draw students' attention back to the three-column chart on the board (Story Clues + What I Know = Inference). Model how to use information in the text and their prior knowledge to make inferences.
    Think-aloud: On page 6, it says that Morty knew that Miss Snickerwiser had left the door unlocked on her slick, red, two-seater Mouse Mini. I will write that in the Story Clues column. I know how much I admire red sports cars, and when I see one in the parking lot at school, I usually ask around to see who owns it. I will write this in the What I Know column. When I think about what the text says and what I know from my own experiences, I can infer that Morty admired the car, and he admires Miss Snickerwiser, so he would know which car was hers.
  • Introduce and explain the make inferences worksheet. Guide students to fill in the chart to infer why Morty reacted so harshly to Miss Snickerwiser on page 8. Have them share information from the text and their prior knowledge that supports their inference.
  • Discuss with students the information they wrote on their retelling worksheet. Have volunteers share information about the story. Write the information on the retelling chart on the board. Use this information to retell the story so far with students.
  • Check for understanding: Have students read to the end of page 12. Ask them to fill in their retelling worksheet with additional information about the story. Have students retell the story from pages 9 through 12 with a partner. Observe their retellings.
  • Ask students to infer why Miss Snickerwiser was crabby the previous week. Have them write their inference, and information from the text and their prior knowledge that supports their inference, on their make inferences worksheet. Invite students to share their inferences and the information they wrote on their worksheet.
  • Have students read the remainder of the book. Remind them to write information about the story on their retelling worksheet as they read.

    Have students make a question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. Encourage them to use the strategies they have learned to read each word and figure out its meaning.

After Reading 

Reflect on the Reading Strategy

  • Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how they can read these words using decoding strategies and context clues.
  • Think-aloud: After I read the last 8 pages, I thought about what happened, where and when it happened, why events were happening, and to whom the events were happening. Near the end of the school day, Morty rushed to clean up Miss Snickerwiser's car because he felt badly about his prank. He got supplies from the janitor's closet and started scrubbing out the car.
  • Ask volunteers to continue retelling to the end of the story.

Reflect on the Comprehension Skill

  • Discussion: Ask students to reread page 12. Ask what can be inferred about how Ben and Fred were feeling. (They were probably feeling scared and ashamed.) Have students discuss story clues and prior experiences that support their inference (story clues: Ben was very pale, and Fred had his head down; prior knowledge: when people realize they've done something wrong, their facial expressions and body language often change).
  • Discuss with students whether the mess Morty made with the apples in Miss Snickerwiser's car could be cleaned up as easily in reality as it was in the book. Invite students to discuss why the author might have written the outcome of the problem the way in which she did.
  • Independent practice: Have students complete the make inferences worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers.
  • Enduring understanding: Once Morty found out why Miss Snickerwiser had been crabby and hard on him, he regretted his prank. After reading this story, what have you learned about letting your emotions influence how you react to something or someone?

Build Skills 

Grammar and Mechanics: Plural nouns

  • Direct students to page 3 and read aloud the third sentence, pointing to the word tails. Write the word on the board. Ask a volunteer how many tails are referred to with the word tails (more than one). Cover the s in the word tails on the board. Ask students to tell the number of tails o which the word refers (one).
  • Review or explain to students that words such as tails are plural nouns. Point out that a plural noun is usually formed by adding an s to the end of a word to show that there is more than one of something.
  • Direct students to page 3 and read aloud the second sentence, pointing to the word buddies. Ask a volunteer to how many people this word refers (more than one). Ask students to identify which word could be used if only one other mouse was with Morty (buddy).
  • Point to the word buddies on the board. Explain to students that if the singular form of a word ends in a y, the y changes to ies in its plural form.
  • Demonstrate and model this process by writing the word buddy on the board, erasing the y, changing it to an i, and then adding the es to form the word buddies. Ask students to name other words that end in y. Ask them to come to the board and change each singular noun to a plural noun.

    Check for understanding: Ask pairs of students to identify and circle plural nouns in the story that end in ies (flies, page 10; supplies, page 16).

  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the plural nouns worksheet. If time allows, discuss their responses.

Word Work: Antonyms

  • Have students turn to page 3 in their book. Ask them to read the last sentence on the page. Write the word slowly on the board. Ask students to explain the meaning of the word. Invite them to explain what they can infer about the way in which the mice were walking to school.
  • Ask students to suggest a word that means the opposite of slowly (quickly, swiftly, hurriedly, rapidly). Review or explain that a word that means the opposite of another word is called an antonym.
  • Ask students to use the word quickly in place of slowly in the sentence on page 3. Invite them to explain how the new word changed the meaning of the sentence.
  • Write the following sentence from page 8 on the board: But Miss Snickerwiser had been crabby lately. Circle the word crabby. Ask students to suggest a word that means the opposite of crabby (happy, jolly, easygoing, and so on). Write these words on the board.
  • Ask students to explain how using the antonym changes the meaning of the sentence. Point out that writers need to think carefully about which word best expresses their thought while writing.
  • Check for understanding: Ask students to choose two words from the story and write antonyms for them on a separate piece of paper. Then have them use each word in a sentence and write the sentences on the paper.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the antonyms worksheet. If time allows, check their responses.

Build Fluency 

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently. Additionally, partners can take turns reading parts of the book to each other.

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends. Ask them to use their retelling worksheet to retell the story to someone at home.

Extend the Reading 

Math Connection
Provide students with an applesauce recipe. Have them brainstorm how they will share the jobs involved in making a batch of applesauce for their classmates (gathering the ingredients, asking a parent for a slow cooker, bringing in measuring utensils, and so on). Provide time and assistance for students to make and serve the applesauce.
[Note: Since the activity involves the making and serving of food, you may want to solicit parental permission.] 

Procedural Writing Connection
When students have completed the applesauce, ask them to write a paper about how to make applesauce. Have partners exchange papers to check whether all the steps were included and are accurate.


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • complete and use a graphic organizer to retell a story orally and/or in writing
  • accurately use the text and prior knowledge to make inferences during discussion and on a worksheet
  • identify, form, and correctly use plural nouns ending in -y during discussion and on a worksheet
  • identify and use antonyms during discussion and on a worksheet

Comprehension Checks

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