A Lesson Plan for The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn


Created by Glen Dawursk, Jr., 8/21/06




6+1 Trait Strengths



Word Choice

Sentence Fluency



Way with Word Crafts


Conversation Text:


Chester wiped away his tears and looked interested. “A secret?  What kind of secret?”

“A very old secret,” said Mrs. Raccoon. “I learned it from my mother, and she learned it from hers.  It’s called the kissing hand.”


Repeated – Wraparound Paragraph Structure:


Repetitions - Repeated Lines or Phrases:

When Chester was afraid, his mom gave him the kissing hand that said, “Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.” At the end of the story, Chester also gives his mom (Mrs. Raccoon) a kissing hand, and it says to her, “Chester loves you… Chester loves you.” 

At the start of the story, Chester says, “I want to stay home with you.  I want to play with my friends.  And play with my toys. And read my books. And swing on my swing. Please may I stay home?”  Mrs. Raccoon responds pages later by repeating Chester’s same phrases: “…you will love school when you start. You’ll make new friends. And play with new toys. Read new books. And swing on new swings.”


Artful Sentences – Artful use of AND:

As shown above, the author begins each phrase with an “and” to emphasize the repetition AND also to highlight the anxiety of Chester.


Striking Verbs:

The use of “tingled” as in “even his silky, black mask tingled with special warmth.”

The author tells us that Chester did not just walk away, “with a gentle “Good-bye” and “I love you”, Chester turned and danced away.”


Striking Adjectives and Adverbs:

Above, even a “Good-bye” was “gentle.”

The author says the kisses will give “toasty warm thoughts” and  . 

The flow of the story is the emphasis and sentences are interrupted on pages, often lack complete or proper punctuation or simply reflect a single word.


Colorful Phrases: (I made this category up)

“…and need a little loving from home” meaning he needs his mother.

Lesson Plan

Intended Age  


Middle school grades 7-8; high school grades 9-10




Taught as part of the short story unit; short story terms explained (see power point handout for definitions)




The student will be able to: 

Identify tone and mood in the story

Identify the theme of the story (people need love)

Identify the 6+1 Traits predominate in the story (see analysis)

Identify the word crafts used in the story (see analysis)

Be able to use “comparison” and “contrast”

Plot diagram the short story using the attached handout


Materials Needed


   Copies of the text: THE KISSING HAND by Audrey Penn

   The 60’s pop song “WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE” written by Burt Bacharach and sang by Jackie DeShannon;  featured on the movies Forest Gump and My Best Friend’s Wedding soundtracks.  Also performed by the cast of American Idol: Season Two featuring Clay Aikens.

   The recent country song “WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW” written and preformed by Wynonna Judd

Copies of the 6+1 traits and the Word Crafts descriptions

Copies of the  plot diagram worksheet




1-2 days (depending upon student responses and class participation)




Explain the short story terms “tone” and “mood.” Tone is the clues in a story that suggest the writer’s (or narrator’s) own attitude toward his or her characters, setting, conflict, and other elements of the story. Mood is the overall feeling created by an author’s choice of words.  Ask the students to identify examples of this literary tool in songs, movies or television. 


Have the students write in their writing journals for 10 minutes.  The writing prompt is: “A time when I felt afraid, unsure, and uncomfortable or had anxiety about a situation.”  Ask them to describe the situation and their feelings at the time. The students may write longer if they seem to be “in-to-it.”  Possible student writings may be about prejudice, new school or job, parents’ divorce, a try-out, separation anxiety or embarrassing moment. When they are finished, ask volunteers to read their journal entries to the class.  Always thank them for reading them and then ask the student if they still feel that way about their situation.  If they do, ask them why?  If they do not, ask them what changed and took away the anxiety?  Ask if it is normal to have feelings of anxiety or to feel afraid about a situation? Seek to lead them toward love, friendship, and companionship as the “answer” or solution to most situations. Why is love so important? 


Read the following research:


According to Scholastic Early Childhood Today, infants who are rarely touched have brains 20% smaller than those who are touched a lot.  In an article from U.S. Catholic, it is pointed out in study after study, that young animals that are touched a great deal grow more quickly and soundly, develop stronger immune responses, exhibit more playfulness and less fear, tolerate stress better, and have a greater resistance to all sorts of physiological harm. Human neonates, preemies, and infants who have been touched and held regularly do much better than those who have not. Children who are picked up, cuddled, cradled, rocked, petted, and stroked have been shown to gain weight and grow faster and to start crawling, walking, and grabbing earlier. They are also more alert and active, sleep more soundly, and develop stronger immune systems and higher I.Q.s than those left in their cribs. Research has shown that touch may even be as important to a baby's physical, emotional, and cognitive development as eating and sleeping.




What does this research suggest about people?


·        [The experiment demonstrated that love is vitally important for healthy growth and development.]

Read about the following experiment:



“For an experiment, babies in an orphanage were divided into two groups. Both groups received all the routine care provided by the nurses and matrons. They were fed on schedule and given proper medical attention.  But one group was given personal, loving care above the routine duties. The babies in Group One were held and cuddled as they were fed, changed and put to sleep. The babies in Group Two had their basic physical needs met but were shown no love at all. They had nothing more than routine care.  It did not take long for marked differences to develop. All the babies in Group One thrived. They developed bright, sunny personalities. But some of the babies in Group Two developed signs of serious emotional maladjustment. Their physical condition suffered, too.”  Some started to die.  


(from http://geocities.com/msz_r0bin/graceforthemoment133)


What does this experiment further demonstrate?


·        [People need love to live.]


Choose two students to represent the characters in the story (the raccoon and her mother).  While the teacher reads the story using character voices and inflection, the students pantomime the story for the class keeping close attention to the details of the story as portrayed by the narration.


Pass out the text of the story. Break the students into groups of 3-4.  Pass out the 6+1 and Word Craft description sheets.  Have the groups identify the most significant 6+1 traits and the Word Crafts used by the author.  How did the author use 6+1 traits or word crafts to create the tone and mood in the story?  How did the author use word crafts to present the theme of “love” in the story? The group must be able to explain their answers.  Discuss how the trait or the word craft affected the writing.  Was their any other word craft that the author could have used? 


After the students discuss the authors’ use of traits and craft, give the “Fast Facts” about the author.


Fast Facts about Audrey Penn


Taken from: http://www.embracingthechild.org/bookspecialpenn.htm


How do you think the author felt when she was confined to her bed and had numerous operations for 15 years, especially after having been a ballerina and famous dance coach? Did her story about the “Kissing hand” possibly have anything to do with how she felt while in the hospital?


Read the following:


Taken from: http://www.embracingthechild.org/bookspecialpenn.htm



Play the songs titled “What the World Needs Now.”  In their groups, have the students answer the following questions about the songs: How are they similar to the actual story and theme presented by the author(compare)? How are they different (contrast)? Discuss the answers as a class.




Pass out the plot diagramming worksheet. If necessary, review the elements of a short story.  Students may check the previous notes on the elements at www.mrdclassroom.com.


Write a one page story in your journal which uses at least two different word crafts used by the author of The Kissing Hand.




   Unit quiz on short story;

   Plot diagram worksheet;

   One page journal essay using word craft skills





What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don't need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don't need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone


Written by Burt Bacharach and sang by Jackie DeShannon;

featured on the movies Forest Gump and My Best Friend’s Wedding soundtracks. 

Also performed by the cast of American Idol: Season Two featuring Clay Aikens.




I look around at all the faces and I see,
All the lonely people, looking back at me.
Rich, poor, don't matter, we're all the same,
Everybody's hungry in a different way.
We're callin' and climbin' and kickin' and 
screamin' and fightin' but really
What the world needs now is love, love and only love,
A little help from up above,
Fit to make a better day.
Let's come together let our differences down,
Spread it all around,
That's what the world needs now.
Sometimes all it takes is just a smile,
To change somebodys weather, 
chase the clouds out of their* sky.
Or sometimes you gotta give and not receive,
Sometimes you gotta live what you believe,
Open your arms, 'cause that's where it starts, 
right here with you and with me.
Nobody likes the cold,
We all need someone to hold,
Noone wants to be alone.


by Wynonna Judd

Student Name:  __________________________________________ Period: ____    Date: ___/___/___


Story Title: ______________________________________________ Author: _____________________


Short Story Plot Diagram 


Instructions:  Complete every blank below for the short story assigned.



Protagonist: _________________________________   Climax: ______________________________


Antagonist: _________________________________                   _______________________________


Other Important Characters: __________________                            Falling Action:________________


_________________________________________                                     _________________________


                                                                                                     Dénouement: __________________________

Conflict:  Man versus ____________________                                         



Setting / Place: _______________________          10 _______________________________________


__________________________________           9__________________________________________


________________________________            8____________________________________________


Time: _________________________             7_____________________________________________


_____________________________           6_______________________________________________


Pre-action: __________________          5 _________________________________________________


_________________________            4___________________________________________________


________________________          3_____________________________________________________


______________________           2 ______________________________________________________


____________________           1 ________________________________________________________


Exposition (above):          

                                                         Inciting Moment:___________________________________________






Poor          OK           Great

   1       2      3       4       5


Rank the story:                                                                                                                       ã 2006 Glen Dawursk, Jr.