St. Patrick’s Day Lesson on Settings: “The Leprechaun’s Gold” - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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St. Patrick’s Day Lesson on Settings: “The Leprechaun’s Gold”

by Sheila Zagula March 08, 2019 4 min read

The Leprechauns Gold book coverOn a recent visit to Springfield’s Sixteen Acres Library, I was pleased to see a large display of books related to St. Patrick’s Day. We have done several St. Pat’s themed blogs in the past, (summarized here: St. Patrick’s Day Books, Lessons & Resources!) but I couldn’t walk by without taking a look at selections I hadn’t read before.

One that caught my eye is The Leprechaun’s Gold written by Pamela Duncan Edwards and illustrated by Henry Cole. If you are not familiar with author Edwards, here is a video interview you may find informational.

The Worrywarts book coverAlso be sure to check out an in-depth lesson plan by Maryellen Moreau for another book written by Edwards and illustrated by Cole: The Worrywarts, which can be downloaded free here.

After reading The Leprechaun’s Gold, I immediately thought that this would make a great lesson to focus on how a change in the Setting signified a new episode and how all three of the settings and episodes in this picture book overlap, as so often happens in chapter books.

STAMPede Stamp Set imageThere are so many other aspects to this book, such as character interactions and comparisons, and developing skills in identifying character traits. The book also lends itself to a quick project using a shamrock cut-out and MindWing STAMPpede Stamp Set.

Below are suggestions for a lesson/activity; please feel free to modify as you wish to suit the needs of your students.

  1. Read the tale for enjoyment.
  2. List/discuss/describe by sharing illustrations from the story on the three different settings that the pictures so clearly distinguish: star image the village in Ireland, star image the forest, and star image the Royal Palace.
  • Invite students to trace and cut out a shamrock (remember a shamrock has three leaves, perfect for this selection!).
    Shamrock Cut Out image
  • Ask students to stamp the setting icon three times and number the icons from left to right,one in each leaf and then label those:
  1. #1. Village in Ireland
  2. #2. Forest
  3. #3. Royal Palace
  • Ask students to stamp the Character icon in the middle of the shamrock and write: Old Pat, Young Tom, Leprechauns
  • Using your project, model retelling the story pointing to each setting.
  • The students may then use this to retell the story to friends and family following the journey from the village to the events in the forest to the conclusion in the King’s palace!
  • This is a perfect opportunity to pair students and circulate to listen to how the students are retelling and where the SGM® Marker would be helpful.
  1. After observing/listening to students, you may decide to map out story episodes based upon the settings. The SGM® is an adaptable methodology to use with students in both whole and small group settings. Below is a sample from Old Pat’s perspective. This is the way I mapped it out, yours may vary.

Star icon Village in Ireland

  • Kick-Off: The King announces a Harping Contest to find the finest harpest in Ireland
  • Feeling: proud (to be participating)
  • Plan: to enter the contest
  • Planned Attempt: gathers his possessions for the journey
  • Direct Consequence: leaves for the journey to the palace with Young Tom
  • Resolution: hopeful

Star icon Forest (on way to the Royal Palace, at night)

  • Kick-Off: He is sadly looking at his harp with the missing string and suddenly hears someone yell “Help!” (Knows villain leprechauns play tricks on travelers!)
  • Feeling: scared, apprehensive, nervous (shaking legs)
  • Plan: Decides to help the leprechaun who has been trapped by a rabbit
  • Planned Attempt: Yells down the hole at the rabbit to let go of the leprechaun’s big toe
  • Planned Attempt: barks (piercingly) like a fox at night and the scared rabbit runs away freeing the leprechaun
  • Direct Consequence: Saves the leprechaun. The leprechaun goes back to the campsite and thinks that Old Pat (harp is missing string) really wanted his gold (to fix his harp), which Pat denies (terrible things may happen to those who search for gold from leprechauns!); Old Pat wearily falls asleep, wakes the next morning happy; he is safe and continues on his journey
  • Resolution: Lucky, Relieved

Star icon The King’s Palace

  • Kick-Off: Old Pat’s turn to play in competition
  • Feeling: Apprehensive, sad knowing his harp is missing a string
  • Plan: To participate in the competition anyway
  • Action: takes out harp
  • Direct Consequence: Sees that the harp is made of gold (“The leprechaun’s gold!”). He plays beautifully to win the competition, and named Royal Harpist of Ireland.
  • Resolution: Pleased, proud

If you want to focus on the lesson learned here, please take the perspective of Young Tom. He is both greedy and jealous. His plan is to win the contest by preventing Old Pat from winning it. To go even further, think about the Leprechauns and their plans!


Star IconYou may want to map out the episodes from more than one perspective. This selection has a great deal of interaction among the characters and you may tease these out as you wish, depending on your students. Check out this previous St. Pat’s blog for a clear example of this: A Leprechaun Lesson for St. Patrick’s Day with Story Grammar Marker.

See our many resources on our Blogs / Lessons / Webinars web pages for further examples.

Star IconCompare-Contrast Map imageCharacter Descriptive Map imageThis would also be a great selection to compare/contrast the two main characters, Old Pat and Young Tom, using the Character Descriptive Map and Compare/Contrast Maps, found in our manuals.

Star IconInvite students to share how Young Tom changed from the beginning of the story to the end… share pictures and text, “Even Young Tom, who had learned a hard lesson, found generosity growing in his heart.“

Star IconIf you are looking for another selection after St. Patrick’s Day that explores settings, check out this blog using Alaska’s Three Bears found here: Explore Narrative and Expository Text Using Alaska’s Three Bears.

Most of all: Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!

Shamrock image


Sheila Zagula
Sheila Zagula

Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.

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