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Updated on January 1, 2011

Poor Misunderstood Creatures of the Forest

I've been fascinated with trolls and mythical creatures since I was a little girl. What a joy it is now to share my passion with my kiddos. Recently, we enjoyed a unit study on Trolls at our annual heritage camp. This lens was created as a part of that study.

Unit Study Activities

  • Incorporate Literature (many suggestions of titles and activities to follow)
  • Create troll sculptures with natural materials (twigs, segments of logs, lichen, pine cones, oak galls, acorns, etc.) to ward off 'evil spirits' from your garden
  • Create troll masks
  • Gather your friends and perform "Three Billy Goats Gruff" on stage for your parents
  • Create a lapbook of trolls & other mythological creatures of Norse mythology

The Trouble With Trolls - by Jan Brett

Trouble with Trolls
Trouble with Trolls

This book has a Scandinavian setting. A young girl decides to visit her cousin on the other side of Mount Baldi with her dog, Tuffi. It takes all morning to walk up the mountain, and no time at all to ski down the other side. But this day, there is trouble with trolls – they want Tuffi! The young girl keeps outsmarting one troll after another by giving them articles of clothing, until she finally runs out of things to do at the top of the mountain where they are gathered for her dog. It is then that she gets an inspiration – and all of her clothes back – as well as a safe trip down the mountainside with Tuffi.


Activities to Accompany "Trouble WIth Trolls"

Integrating Literature

* Review News Notes for this story

* Complete the Piggy Backs Web Project for this story, which includes these activities:

o Norway Research Project

o Comprehension Activity

o Writing Activity

o Prepare Open-Faced Sandwiches

o Plastic Canvas or Cross Stitch Activity

* Make a Troll Pencil Topper

* Throughout this story at the bottom of the page, there is activity underground. The entire page is bordered by the outdoor scenery until we check out the bottom and about one-fourth of the way up each side. It shows the underground home of the trolls and a hedgehog that gets inside. Page after page, watch the adventures going on indoors as well as outdoors.

* Students can write story text for the underground story, which is almost a wordless picture book accompanying the main story. They can describe the home, what made them leave, and then the activity of the hedgehog. They are free to write their own ending.

* The story is set in Norway. Locate this country on the map. Note the Nordic designs on the girl's clothing, the skis, the Swiss chalet. Perhaps students can design socks, sweater, or mittens in a similar style.

* Notice that these story trolls have pointed heads with white hair, pointed ears, large feet, and a twisty tail. Their clothing is patched. At the easel, students can create their own version of a troll, or use these same characteristics. For our heritage camp, we used the kids' illustrations to create badges (2.25" pin-backed metal buttons - created with Badge-a-Minit) that featured their 'troll' name.

* This would be a good story to do as a play.

* Write a story about another encounter with these trolls and the way they could be outsmarted another day.

Trollwatch International - Troll App for iPhone & iTouch

Check out this fun application for the Apple iPhone and iTouch, Troll Watch.

Three Billy Goats Gruff - Norwegian Folktale

Activities to Accompany "Three Billy Goats Gruff"

Integrating Literature

* Make a bridge with Popsicle sticks. Make the goats and troll from the story The Three Billy Goats Gruff out of air-dry or polymer clay.

* Bring in goat's milk for the children to taste. Ask a local farmer to bring some in. (Always check with parents before giving your students any unusual foods.)

* Also ask a local farmer if they would be willing to bring in a goat for the children to see and touch.

* Use printable mask pictures of goats and/or trolls for the kids to color and cut out.

* Make marionettes and stick puppets and use them to retell the story.

“Last of all Hurin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew Hurin cried 'Aure entuluva!”

~ JRR Tolkien

Take a moment to share a story of your favorite troll.

Do You Like Trolls?

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    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 6 years ago

      The troll that comes to my mind is the troll under the bridge in The Three Billy Goats Gruff. It was a troll, right?