Pre reading activities.

· You can always warm up a bit with a few minutes of "hot seating".
· Imagine you are Ursula. Write her letter to a person in her family or to a friend in the United States to tell her/him about her life experience in Italy.
· Write Ursula’s letter to Matteo in Bolivia to tell him about her progress in cooking and in the Italian language.
· Here is a significant sentence in chapter three (page 109-111). Read it and think about the reasons that have lead Ursula to utter it. Find the reasons in Ursula’s childhood, as well as in her more recent experience. "I’ve always thought that children’s books are a child first encounter with art, with colour, shapes and armonious compositions of beauty or humour. The children’s books I had as a child are still imprinted in my mind, dragons and pricesses or Peter Rabbit images. (…) Children need artistic images to stimulate the imagination, because at a certain age the images tell more of the story than the text, and the images become real and, in the child’s mind, can move, interact and even dance off the page."

After the reading of the third chapter.

· True or False? Correct the false statements also referring to the pages of the book:

After her arrival in Pisa, Ursula teaches English to children, without exploiting her artistic education or drawings.
Ursula was furious at not being able to express herself fully. Only in the last few years they have stopped correcting each other, because they have understood that the most important thing is to be able to communicate.
Ursula’s first one-woman show was in Pisa. After that she starts selling some paintings. Separating from her paintings doesn’t seem to bother her.
Aside from oil painting Ursula continues to illustrate children books and a lot of publishers were enthousiastic and immediately bought her illustrations.
She was about to give everything up, when she met an Asian publisher who commissioned her three books.
After 3 years of leaving together Matteo and Ursula decided to get married. The wedding dress she wore had been in her family for over 150 years.
In Matteo’s family in Parma Father Christmas brings you gifts at Christmas. Santa Claus is closer to how Christmas actually began, in a religious way.
Ursula’s job takes her around Europe and the States, and when she comes back to Pisa she misses all her previous houses and she feels homesick.
At the end of the book, Ursula is starting a new phase in her life, that of motherhood.
At the end of the book Ursula thinks that it is interesting to see how experiences and events have just seemed to flow in her life so far, from one to the next, so smoothly, coming together in a very natural way, to create the person she is now.

Post reading activities (When the book has been completely read).

To encourage and enable the learner to feel a sense of achievement, to respond to the story as a whole and to extend the exploration of themes/issues into the learners’ own world, here a few additional ideas:

· Haikus
A haiku is a three-line poem: the first line has five syllables, the second has seven, and the third has five. The lines do not rhyme. It is quite simple to write them, and it could be a way of responding emotionally to the story.
One could try and write some on each theme of the book. They could then be placed on a poster and displayed on the wall.

The following is an example of Haiku (on the theme: beyond differences)

From two worlds apart

They meet and their love is such
Pisa’s their new home.

· A multicultural "break"
Are there any foreign students in your class? Organize a "multicultural break" where everybody bring a traditional food/snack for the others to taste. Different Italian regions can also do well in this case, since cooking is so different from north to south.
Who tries the American pancakes and the Apple pie? "Enjoy!"