Beyond the Book: Jamie O’Rourke



The Beyond the Book (“BTB”) lessons are designed to go past just reading the story to look deeper at the country, culture and/or the various topics discussed within a book.  We involve a variety of ideas and an activity or project that allow each lesson to be used in multiple classes as needed, with little or no modification. Use these within your homeschool co-op, learning pod, or even just at home!

Each BTB lesson should take approximately one hour; however, this may vary depending on class size and student interests. While written with Upper Elementary in mind, these can easily be adapted for multiple ages! This is where the additional resources listed with each lesson will be useful. It allows for a deeper exploration of each topic for those students who are very interested, to accommodate for different ages/levels, or for those classes that are able to meet for longer than one hour. During this class, it is helpful to have a world map or globe available, so that students can get the sense of the geography of the county being studied. Throughout the lesson, there are teacher’s notes and instructions to guide you along the way.

This lesson focuses on:

Book: Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola
Country: Ireland
Topics: Great Potato Famine; electricity from potatoes
Book Summary: Jamie O’Rourke is a lazy man whose wife does all the work. When he traps a leprechaun, he is granted one wish instead of the gold. He wishes for all the potatoes he can eat. His wish is granted, but not quite in the way he expected.

Each lesson is formatted into the following sections:

Materials: At the beginning of each lesson is a checklist of materials. Please read the lesson in its entirety to ensure that you purchase the correct materials and quantities for your class.

Teacher Prep: This section has a checklist of items for teachers to complete prior to class. This may include printing worksheets or preparing classroom activities.

Let’s Learn: The Let’s Learn section is the main part of your lesson. This is where you will find the information to teach your students. It is written so you can simply read the “lecture” straight from the page. Also included directly in the lesson are discussion questions to make the lesson more interactive for your class.

Let’s Do: The Let’s Do section is the part of the lesson where students get to interact and get hands-on! We have created a variety of projects to help students connect with what they are learning. Please make sure you read all the instructions for the activities prior to class.

Let’s Wrap It Up: This is a short section at the end of each lesson that includes discussion questions to review what the students have covered that day. It may also include instructions for specific projects as needed.

Let’s Learn More: This last section is a list of additional resources, such as books, videos, food suggestions, and extension activities for each lesson.

We hope you enjoy going Beyond the Book with us!

Downloads included in this purchase:

  • Teacher’s Lesson, broken down as detailed above.
  • Ireland Student Worksheet

Note: lesson does NOT include the highlighted book. We make sure books used can be found for free at the local library, or can be easily obtained through a bookstore.


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