Bad Day

A WebQuest for 3rd Grade 
Based on Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible. No Good, Very Bad Day
By Judith Viorst

Kim Bentley 
Caroline Helsabeck
Cynthia Rogers
Pattie Wall


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits


Have you ever had a terrible, horrible day like Alexander?  How did you feel on that day, and what did you do about it?  When you have a bad day, where's your favorite place to go?  We hope that these activities help you have a "wonderful, spectacular, terrific, very good day!"

The Task

This webquest will guide you on a journey into Alexander's world.  As you complete the steps of the process you will create your own Alexander portfolio.  Through these activities you will 

  • investigate the most popular athletic shoes in your class
  • explore the continent of Australia
  • read poetry written by Judith Viorst and create your very own
  • learn ways to make yourself feel better on a very bad day

The Process

Click here to go shopping for shoes
To find out the most popular brand of athletic shoes,  click here.
For the last step, now click the bar graph.

Step 2 - Exploring Australia


Alexander wanted to go to Australia to escape his terrible day.  Sydney is Australia's largest city.   Find it on this map.  How would Alexander travel from our state to get there?  Could he travel by car?  By train?  By boat or airplane?
Let's find out . . .

Please read all the directions before beginning!

  • Print the world map and direction page
  • Complete your map as directed (Hint: use our classroom world map to help you find the United States and our state, and Sydney, Australia.  Notice that Australia is an island!)
  • Be sure to make your map colorful using crayons or colored pencils!
  • This page belongs in the Map Skills section of your Alexander Portfoliowhen you're finished.
  • To get started, click here

2.  Australia is home to many fascinating 

  • Learn about the koala bear (Is it really a bear?), and then 
  • Click on the Australian Animals Printout link above the picture of the koala 
  • Scroll down and choose two other interesting Australian animals to learn about.  Click on the animals' pictures to find out more about them 
  • As you are exploring, be sure to record at least 3 great facts about each of the three animals in the Australian Animals section of yourAlexander Portfolio.

3. Have you ever heard of a didgeridoo?  Read these clues to help you guess what it is. 

  • It is made from tree limbs and tree trunks hollowed out by insects.
  • It needs air to create sound
  • It is used by native Australians to celebrate the earth.
Do you think you know what it is?  Be sure to write your guess on theDidgeridoo page in your Alexander Portfolio, then click here to see if you're correct.

After visiting this site, in the Didgeridoo section of your Portfolio write a paragraph describing what you saw and heard.  Remember to include some facts that you learned while reading about the didgeridoo.

Step 3 - Poetry
(Read through all of the directions before beginning!)

Did you know that Judith Viorst, the author of the Alexander books, is also a poet?  In this step, we are going to explore some of the poems that she has written and then you'll write some poetry of your own!

1.  Cick on the titles below to read some of Judith Viorst's poems.

    Mother Doesn't Want a Dog


    Fifteen, Maybe Sixteen Things to Worry About

2.  Next, you and your partner are going to write your own poem, modeled after "Fifteen, Maybe Sixteen Things to Worry About".  In this poem, you, like Judith Viorst, will list things that you hope will never happen to you.  Click here for the poem starter.  This poem will be a part of your Alexander Portfolio.

Step 4 - Turning Bad Feelings into Good

When You Have a Terrible, Horrible,
No Good, Very Bad Day,
Do Something to Make Yourself Feel Better!

Directions:  Read these hints for ideas on how to cheer yourself up.

l. Listen to a funny song with a zippy beat, such as Roger Miller's "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd."  If you do not have a copy of the song, just read the words.  They help us feel better.

 You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd
 You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd
 You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd
 But you can be happy if you've a mind to.

You can't take a shower in a parakeet cage
 You can't take a shower in a parakeet cage
 You can't take a shower in a parakeet cage
 But you can be happy if you've a mind to.

 You can't go fishin' in a watermelon patch
 You can't go fishin' in a watermelon patch
 You can't go fishin' in a watermelon patch
 But you can be happy if you've a mind to.

    Or you can listen to your own favorite song.

2. Read some good jokes.  Click on the link provided below.

 Kid Jokes web page

3. Hug a dog or puppy.  Hug your own if you have one.  Nothing makes us feel better like the happy tail-wagging pooch in our lives.  But if you have no dog, try your cat or hamster.  If you have a friendship with a neighborhood dog, try loving him.

4. Do a good deed for someone today.  Being good to someone else always makes us feel better.  If you don't have an idea of what you can do, consider one of these.

 A. Hold the door open for someone else to pass through.
 B. Tell your mother she looks really nice today.
 C. Tell a classmate that you really liked the idea she shared in class today.
 D. Ask your mom if you can help with the dishes after supper.
 E. Ask your dad if he would like you to wash off the windows of his car or truck or if you can polish his shoes.
 F. Call your grandmother just to share some nice words with her and tell her you love her.
 G. Look for someone around you on the bus or on the playground who looks a little lonely and down.  Go talk to them and try to cheer them up.

5. Think of five good things that have happened today to balance out the negative events of your day.   Make a list of them and keep the list in your pocket.

6. Consider some really terrible things that did not happen to you today but that would have been too awful if they had occurred.  Below are some examples.  You could add your own.

 A. The girl (or boy) of your dreams saw you picking your nose in class.
 B. You looked in the mirror and realized that you had lost your face.
 C. You woke up this morning to discover that you had turned into a huge forty-pound cockroach.
 D. You went to dress for school and discovered that all of your clothes had turned bright pink with green polka-dots.
 E. You got up to give your report on Australia and someone said that your pants were wet between the legs, as if you had wet your pants.
 F. You opened your lunch box to find twenty pounds of wiggling fish worms instead of your usual bologna sandwich.

7. Tell your mom about your bad day.  Moms almost always respond to such terrible news with a hug, a warm cookie, or a wise saying.

8. Go out and run, ride a bike, race your dog, dribble the basketball.  Exercise usually makes you feel better.  Do not try to shoot the basketball.  That could make you feel even worse if you have an off day and miss all the baskets. 

9. Look at your little brother (or sister) and note his many imperfections (bad points or qualitites).  That ought to make you feel better.

10. If all else fails, eat something chocolate.  Chocolate can call forth the feel-good hormones in your brain.

Draw and color a picture of yourself on a day or in a place when you feel really happy.  Place this picture in your Alexander Portfolio.


Place a check mark in the column which best describes your work on each activity.
Did all of it Did most of it Did part of it Did not do the activity
Step 1 Activities

Shopping for shoes

Class survey

Bar graph


Step 2 Activities

World map

Australian animals


Step 3 Activities

Viorst poems

My own poem

Step 4 Activities

Learn new ways to cheer up

Picture of me



Check your portfolio to make sure all of your work is included.  When you're finished turn your portfolio in to your teacher.  Congratulations!

Credits & References

Thanks to Finish Line and Foot Locker online for shoe graphics.  Thank you to all other websites linked in this Webquest.  Thanks, too, to Dr. Gary Moorman for all his help.

Last updated on August 15, 1999. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page