Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!
You can take a look at this text on Google Books. A video of it is also available below.
You might recognize Taback’s art from his Caldecott-winning Joseph had a Little Overcoat, and this book would pair nicely with it. Taback seems to gravitate toward cumulative stories (see here and here), which could prompt conversations for a good genre study (I know “cumulative stories” isn’t really a genre, so please help me if you know a better label). If you DO have a cumulative story study, make sure you include class favorite Drummer Hoff!
Oooh! Or even better! You could study this book along with fantastic cumulative story The Mitten! Use any version you prefer. I like the original by Alvin Tresselt or the adaptation by Jan Brett (clicking on the afore-linked link will take you to some rad Brett-designed animal masks so you can perform the book).
Here’s a math lesson with the same title as the book, but it’s actually totally unrelated. It aligns nicely to 2nd grade standards, though, so I figured I’d pass it along.
I wonder what it would be like to use this book at the beginning of the year to prompt a conversation about appropriate levels of noise at different times in the classroom.
There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:
- Summarize text; include a sequence of main events. Remember flannel boards? They’re still relevant to educational best practice today! These days, the buzzword attached to them is “narrative input chart,” which lets students physically see the sequence of the story. It’s particularly effective in a cumulative book like this one. You can see a narrative input chart in action (in Chinese) here.
- Recognize literary elements (genre). See above for my discussion on cumulative stories. I don’t know if that fits with this strategy, but I figured I’d categorize it here just the same.
- Recognize and explain cause and effect relationships. I often see graphic organizers for cause and effect relationships in two-column note form. I wonder if the causes and effects in this book (or other cumulative books) could be traced across a big piece of butcher paper so it almost looked like a time line…
- Tune in to interesting words. In my vocabulary lessons with my students, we often talk about the idea that “interesting words” don’t necessarily need to be the longest, most unusual words, they can also be short words or any words that are extremely effective. There aren’t any particularly striking words in this text, but the repetition of phrases in the text is important. This might be a good book to connect the strategy of using interesting words to the writing strategy of varying sentence length and structure.
- Use pictures, illustrations, and diagrams. In a primary or heavily ELL class, discuss how the pictures support students connecting the new word introduced on each page (usually an animal) with an animal addition to the house. I usually use the example of “it’s a lot harder to read the word ‘elephant’ if you’ve never seen an elephant before or heard the word out loud.”
Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!
Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!