Feathers and Fools written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Nicholas Wilton is a story about two different flocks of birds living very close to each other. The peacocks lived in the beautiful garden and the swans live on the clear blue lake. One day a foolish peacock told the rest of his flock that it was good that peacocks do not swim or fly like the swans, otherwise they would surely drown and look silly flying around. The other peacocks listened to his words but did not say another. Then the foolish peacock opened his mouth again and this time said that he feared the swans. He felt they had great strength and could run the peacocks out of their garden or force them to swim. The other peacocks became upset and were very worried about their home and happiness. The peacocks decided to gather up feathers and sharpen them into arrows so that they could defend themselves against the swans. The swans heard of their plans and become fearfully. They too started gathering feathers to make arrows to defend themselves. Both flocks continued to gather feathers but as they added more feathers they become more and more frightened and anxious. One day a swan was flying over the peacocks garden with a reed in her beak to make a nest for her eggs, the peacocks saw this and mistook the reed for an arrow and the peacocks rushed down to the lake where the swans where. The swans saw them coming and got ready to defend themselves. The two flocks fought each other and not one survived. As the sun began to set two eggs hatched and out stumbled a baby peacock and a baby swan. They walked over to each other and declared they were the same seeing as they has feathers, two legs, two eyes, and a head. They decided right there to be friends and went off together unafraid.
Feathers and Fools is written for grades K – 3. However, the book has violent imagery that really isn’t suitable for younger elementary. It illustrates a great message for an older audience about unsupported prejudices and rash judgments. For younger grades it would be used to show how friendship sees past small differences. If the story was told without the violent language, it would be suitable to use to teach students about treating others with respect ( VA SOL K.8c, 1.10a) and also about being kind to others (VA SOL K.8a)
- This lesson plan focuses on how to be a good citizen.
- This lesson plan focuses on sharing for lower elementary.
- This website has several awards and certificates that can be used to promote being a good citizen in the classroom.
Book: Feathers and Fools
Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator: Nicholas Wilton
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Publication Date: 1996
Pages: 36 pages
Grade Range: K-3
Four Seasons Make A Year written by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Megan Halsey is narrated by a young girl who lives on a farm. The story takes the reader from the first day of spring through the first day of winter, while explaining what effect each season has on the farm. In the spring, the fields need to be plowed, flowers begin to bloom, and the young girl plants a sunflower seed. In the early summer, green sprouts appear on the field, bees and butterflies are back, and the young girl’s sunflower seed begins to grow. As the summer goes on the young girl and her family pick corn, squash and summer flowers to sell at their stand and her sunflower has grown taller then she is. When fall arrives the young girl goes back to school. The pumpkins change from green to orange and her sunflower is heavy with seeds. The leaves begin to change, the bees and the butterflies are gone and as fall continues, the girl and her family now sell pumpkins at their stand. As it begins to look and feel like winter, the young girl notices squirrels gathering nuts and acorns and only evergreen trees still have their branches. Finally winter has come and there is a big snow storm one night. When the young girl awakes she finds out school has been canceled for the day! She goes out to make snowman, ice skate on the pond, and feeds sunflower seeds that she saved to the cardinals and decides next year she will plant 2 sunflower seeds.
Four Seasons Make A Year is a great book to use to discuss the seasons and the changes they bring. This book could be used to discuss the changes in weather from season to season (VA SoL K.9a, 1.7a&b). The appearance and migration of the birds, and also the growth and changes of sunflower plant would be a good example of the effects the seasons have on living things(Va SoL 2.7a).
- This lesson plan can be used along with the book.
- This website has themed activities for the fall season.
- This lesson plan is about the effects the seasons have on plants and animals.
Book: Four Seasons Make A Year
Author: Anne Rockwell
Illustrator: Megan Halsey
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: K-2
The Great Kapok Tree written by Lynne Cherry takes place in the Amazon Rain Forest where two men arrive at the great Kapok tree with the determination to chop it down. The older man points out this particular Kapok tree and walks out of the Rain Forest leaving the younger man to finish the job. After a few swings of the ax, the man becomes tired and sits at the bottom of the tree and falls asleep. While he sleeps, all different types of animals come down from the tree and whisper to the young man not to destroy their home. A giant boa constrictor whispers that many generations of his family have lived in this tree. A group of tree frogs make their way down to tell the man that chopping down this tree will leave many homeless. Tree porcupines find the man to tell him that animals and humans need oxygen to live, and that trees produce oxygen. When the man finally awakes he is surrounded by all the animals that came to visit him during his nap. He gets up slowly taking in all the beautiful sights and smells, and begins to raise his ax to resume chopping. But instead, he drops the ax and walks out of the rain forest.
The Great Kapok Tree is a great book that would show students that animals need food, water, shelter, air, and space to survive (SOL Va K.7a). With all the images of the animals, it would be a great visual aid to demonstrate that animals and their offspring are similar but not identical in appearance ( SOL Va K.7d). The Great Kapok Tree could also be used as an introduction to classifying animals and incests(SOL Va 1.5a,b,c). The rain forest is also an excellent example of a habitat and what an animal needs from the habitat they live in(SOL Va 2.5a,b,&c).
- Here is a lesson plan that can be used with the book.
- This website uses simple math games to learn about the rain forest.
- This website has a webquest about the rain forest.
- The last two pages of the book have a world map highlighting the locations of rain forests around the world, and is bordered by pictures of animals in the book and also in the rain forest.
Book: The Great Kapok Tree
Author: Lynne Cherry
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: 1990
Pages: 40 pages
Grade Range: K-2
The Magic School Bus Plays Ball ( A Books About Forces), written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Art Ruiz and Bruce Degan, uses a field trip to explain forces.
While the rest of the students are busy playing a baseball game, Dorothy Ann is reading a book about physics. While she tries to make the others see how physics relates to the game of baseball Ralphie decides to use her book as home plate instead of reading it. Then Ms. Frizzle shows up to take the students on a impromptu field trip to a baseball game inside Dorothy Ann’s physics book! Unlike their previous game this is a world without friction. Without friction, playing baseball is nearly impossible. Like when Wanda tries to pitch the ball, the force she uses to push the ball forward pushes her back to 2nd base. Finally, Ms. Frizzle calls the game and everyone gets back to the bus. However, while they were playing the book closed on top of the school bus and now they’re trapped. To get them out, Dorothy Ann comes up with the idea of using the letter in the book to create a wedge to hold the pages up and allows them to leave the physics book and come back to the real world.
The Magic School Bus Plays Ball is a great book to use as either an introduction to the idea of force or as part of an ongoing lesson. The baseball game in the world without friction describes how one’s movements are impacted by the force of friction (Va SOL 4.2a,b,&c) The building of the wedge at the end of the book is a good example of a type of simple machine (VA SoL 3.2b).
- This website is a great interactive tool that lets students experiments with forces in action.
- A lesson plan for 4th grade that experiments with mass and friction and their efforts on speed and motion.
- This website has different activities and worksheets to use. I recommend the Push or Pull pdf and the Pushes and Pulls Vocabulary Flashcards.
- The last page of the book also gives 2 different experiments to be used in the classroom or at home.
Book: The Magic School Bus Plays Ball ( A Books About Forces)
Author: Joanna Cole
Illustrators: Art Ruiz and Bruce Degan
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication Date: 1998
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: 2-4
Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist? written by Herman Parish and illustrated by Lynn Sweat, tells the tale of the day that Amelia Bedelia volunteers to be a judge at the science fair after her boss, Mr. Rodgers, mistakenly calls her a rocket scientist.
While at the science fair Amelia Bedelia meets Dr. Dinglebatt, a professor, who will also be judging the science fair. While looking at the student’s projects Amelia Bedelia comes across a leaf blower that is used to demonstrate how a flying saucer flies, however the student’s model flying saucer is stuck in the basketball hoop so Amelia Bedelia uses her bonnet instead. Along the way Amelia Bedelia comes across a student, Jason, who forgot baking soda and vinegar for his model volcano, but lucky for him, Amelia Bedelia has some baking soda in her purse. While Jason goes to find some vinegar Amelia Bedelia decides to help him by adding the entire box of baking soda to the volcano. When the vinegar is added, the volcano makes a huge mess all over the room. To clean it up, Amelia Bedelia uses the leaf blower but ends up blowing the toupee right off Mr. Dinglebatt’s head! Mr Dinglebatt gets very upset with her and leaves the room. But he returns with a new invention inspired by Amelia Bedelia blowing his toupee off his head. All is forgiven and every eats the delicious pie Amelia Bedelia baked earlier that morning.
Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist? is suitable for 2nd though 4th graders and compliments Virigina SOL 2.1. It is written in the third person view. This book could easily be used to show how accidents and mistakes can lead to scientific discoveries.
- This pdf file has 7 pages of activities like comprehension, word searches and crossword puzzles, that can be used directly with the book.
- This website offers three observation activities that could be used as an introduction to observation.
- This is a worksheet to be used during in class experiments.
Book: Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist?
Author: Herman Parish
Illustrator: Lynn Sweat
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 64 pages
Grade Range: 2-4