Creative Writing

Use the images that catalyzed this story, and have the class write their own original story related to the peacock and wild turkeys. 

Write a story to explain what happened to Strum’s siblings or parents.

Look at the map and choose a new location before writing the plot of the next story. Write the story.

Write an original story set in nature after a transition from winter to spring.

Write a story about a challenge and how the character embraced the challenge to overcome it or be themselves in spite of it.

Expository Writing

Write a review of the book as a video or for Amazon/Indigo with a star rating and the key messages/morals from the book.

Write a newspaper article covering one of the events in the story.

The book uses anthropomorphism to give human characteristics to the animals. Explore other stories with anthropomorphism and write a comparison of the plot or characters.

Write a land acknowledgment for the Spring Gathering or for your own school:

Write the problem/solution for Strum and any other aspects of the story.


The word colorful (colourful) caused some debate because the book was written and illustrated by Canadians but published in the US for a worldwide audience. What other words are spelled differently in Canada (and other Commonwealth countries) and the US?

American vs Canadian (British) Spelling

Capitalization lesson- When are seasons capitalized? How do the capital letters give us helpful information in a text?

Media Literacy

  • Make a new cover page for the book or design an album cover for their first recording
  • Graffiti Text- Using the graffiti style of the cover text, write your name or a message. You can even use this:

  • Create a tweet in 280 characters to summarize the book adding a graphic and hashtags.

Responsive Writing

Use one or more of the following quotes to invite students to respond to or consider in reference to the story.

"Don’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers on the way to finding your wings." Noa Daniel (author of Strum and The Wild Turkeys).

"Being alone can sometimes feel amazing, like everything is possible. Other times, it can feel really lonely."  Strum from Strum and The Wild Turkeys

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.” Author unknown

"Listen. People start to heal the moment they feel heard." Cheryl Richardson

"Harmony is the pleasing arrangement of different tones, voices, or instruments, not the combination of identical sounds." Adam Grant

"If I get to be myself, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in." Brene Brown

"Never underestimate the power of being seen." Brene Brown


"When you are with a group of people, take a look around and notice who might feel left out and include them in the conversation. Be an includer.  You might be doing more than brightening someone's day; you might be helping to heal a raw, tender place in them." Lisa McCrohan


Figurative Language

Have your students explore the figurative language in the story.  Simile: “Rooster, standing like a guard at the gate…” “A peacock without a beautiful plume is like a queen without a crown or a tiger without stripes.”  Alliteration: 
  • Parade of plumes
  • Fanned their feathers with such fantastic style
  • Gobble’s guttural gurglings
  • Feathers flowing
  • Patterned perfection
  • Sat on his perch, playing his plume.
Idioms /Expressions 
  • The sun set and rose overhead a few times.
  • Singing his heart out.

Reading Skills

Inferring and Making Predictions How do you know that the story of what happened to Strum happened before the first day of Spring when everyone was gathering? What image clues help to show the time lapse?
  • What does it mean to play to your own beat?
  • What will happen to Strum in the book?
  • What happens after the Spring gathering?
  • What happened to Strum’s parents?
  • What happened after the concert?
Have students suggest the plot of the next book based on clues in this story.

Visual Literacy

  • Create an infographic related to the story
  • Take a photograph related to an idea or theme of the story
  • Create a video trailer about the book
  • Create a collage of images related to the book and its big ideas/themes

Building Outside the Blocks

Building Outside the Blocks projects promote student voice, autonomy, connection, and community while also helping to develop many different curricular and learning skills.

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