Zach Gets Frustrated Activities

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

''Zach Gets Frustrated'' by William Mulcahy will get your students talking about Zach and how he copes with his problems. Use these activities to get your students engaged with the book.

Zach Gets Frustrated

This book is a great opportunity to help your students discuss how to handle problems that people might face. Zach doesn't know how to handle his frustration until he gets a lesson from his dad that teaches him to name his problem, tame the problem, and then reframe it. As you read the book, it's helpful to give your students ample opportunities to engage with the book through individual and group work.

Individual Activities

What's Your Problem?

In this activity, students develop a list of things that make them frustrated just like Zach. They should write how they would apply the 3-step approach to their own frustrations like Zach's dad taught him to do. You might consider differentiating this assignment by giving students a choice about how to present their ideas. They can write a short response, make a poster, or create a short picture book.


Have students write a journal entry for the book Zach Gets Frustrated. The entry should answer these questions:

  • What are the things that make you frustrated?
  • What have you done to help when you're feeling that way?
  • Are there things that worked better than others?

Have students share their reflections to a partner or the whole class.

Illustrate The Problems

In this activity, students create an illustration that shows a frustration that they've dealt with or that Zach dealt with. Their illustration should show the problem, and then using pictures, they should illustrate how to handle the frustration using Zach's dad's approach. You can post students' work around the classroom and organize a gallery walk in which students look at and discuss each other's work.

Group Activities

How-To Guide

Split students into small groups of 3-4 students and ask them to create an instructional guide on how to address frustrations. This should be a step-by-step brochure that will help other kids when they're dealing with frustrating situations. You may consider extending this activity by having groups go teach the 3-step approach to younger students using the brochures they made.

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