1. Engage students in a discusson of their experiences with the following:
- feeding the birds (perhaps at a park, or zoo)
- drawing on the sidewalk with chalk
- riding a Merry-Go-Round
- picking up their rooms
- taking medicine for an illness
2. Then, ask if they are familiar with the idea of a "Nanny"--what kind of job is that; what would a person who is a Nanny do?
3. Divide the class into two groups. One group should read the P. L. Travers book, Mary Poppins. The other group should see the 1964 film of the book. (Or, if it is possible to obtain enough copies of the book (which retails for about $5.95 in paperback), have the whole class read the book and then see the movie.
4. In a class discussion, ask students to compare the book with the movie.
- Was the events in the story the same?
- Were the characters the same?
- Did the story begin and end in the same way?
- What were some differences between the book and the movie?
5. After this discussion, divide students into five groups, and assign each group the task of comparing their own experiences with the activities above (# 1), with those same experiences in the book and movie. Each group should make a list of commonalities and differences.
6. Ask each group to share its observations and experiences with the whole class.
Walt Disney's Mary Poppins
On P. L. Travers
P. L. Travers Biography
The New Yorker on P. L. Travers
Travers, P. L. Mary Poppins. Odyssey Classics, Revised Edition, 1997.
Travers, P. L. Three Enchanting Classics: Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Comes Back, and Mary Poppins Opens the Door. Boxed Set. Odyssey Classics, 2006.
Draper, Ellen Dooling. A Lively Oracle: A Centennial Celebration of P. L. Travers, Magical Creator of Mary Poppins. Larson Publications, 1999.
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.