Author Archive for Kara W.

Math: 1st Grade Addition and Subtraction Facts

An important part of first grade math is learning addition and subtraction facts. Students need to develop an understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction as well as develop strategies for quick recall of facts. This post includes some of the best resources for helping students learn addition and subtraction facts to 18.

Books

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Math Fables Too
by Greg Tang
Illustrated by Taia Morley
This book is math and science all in one.  Students will learn interesting facts about the behavior of animals such as bats, archerfish, and seagulls, they will develop their vocabulary and learn addition facts. Students are presented with a number of animals grouped in different ways.  For instance 4 herons are all together, then 3 use a feather and 1 uses a twig to lure fish to the surface of the water.  There are many excellent teaching opportunities in this book.

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Math-terpieces
by Greg Tang
Illustrated by Greg Paprocki
In this book math is combined with art history. Each page focuses on a famous work of art by artists such as Degas, Warhol, and Pollock. Each page has groupings of objects related to the painting. Students are asked to add together the groups to get a certain sum. Students also get the opportunity to see how three or more groups can be used to get the desired sum. Tang tells students how many ways it is possible to get the sum and provides all the illustrated answers in the back of the book.

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Mission: Addition
written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy
This is a very well illustrated and engaging book with stories that students will love. Leedy includes all the basic concepts of addition including definitions, place value, horizontal and vertical computation, adding groups of the same things and groups of different things, as well as incorporating word/story problems throughout.

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Subtraction Action
written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy
The same characters from Mission: Addition appear in Leedy’s subtraction book. This is a great book for teaching the concept of subtraction. Leedy covers all the basics of subtraction including definitions and showing each step of a subtraction problem. She uses numbers, words, and pictures to tell subtraction stories.

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Subtracting with Sebastian Pig and Friends On a Camping Trip
by Jill Anderson
illustrated by Amy Huntington
In this book some of the things that Sebastian and his friends need on their camping trip are disappearing. Each page spread tells of a missing item. “Where Are the Worms? There were seven worms. Now there is just one! How many worms are missing?” Each problem in the story is represented in the text by a word problem and also in Sebastian’s notebook where he writes the number sentence, draws a picture representation of the problem and then lists the addition facts from that family. Students who pay attention will see that it’s a group of mice who are taking the campers things.

Websites for Students

Addition Word Problems is a great activity for students to get experience solving story problems. If a student enters an incorrect answer they can click on the button “Explanation” and they will see a written explanation of the problem, a strategy for solving, and the number sentence for the correct answer. When they are finished playing they will get a summary of their time and how many problems they solved correctly.

Alien Addition is an arcade style game where students must use the arrow keys to move back and forth firing the laser “sum” at the spaceship with the corresponding number sentence. Students may select the range for facts as well as the speed of the game. At the end of each stage students get a summary of hits and misses (incorrect answers). Misses show the student’s answer and the correct number sentence. Minus Mission is the subtraction version of Alien Addition.

Sum Sense is a subtraction game that challenges students by giving them three number cards that they must arrange into the correct number sentence. They can choose the number of problems they want and a time from one to ten minutes to solve. If the student answers incorrectly they are told to try again.

Hidden Pictures can be played with either addition or subtraction facts. Students solve problems to uncover a photograph. The photos are of animals in their natural habitats and a short description is given for each one.  Addition Concentration is also a fun game on this website.

Funbrain includes several games that are great for practicing addition and subtraction facts. Line Jumper gives students the visual of a number line for solving addition and subtraction problems between 1-20.  Students can play Tic Tac Toe against the computer with addition or subtraction facts. In Math Baseball students solve addition or subtraction problems to move around the bases and score runs. A one or two player version is available.

Additional Resources for Teachers

Mathwire.com is a great source for addition and subtraction classroom games and templates you can use for assessment or as center activities. The site also includes good ideas and resources for incorporating writing in math.

The NCTM Illuminations site has a large collection of lesson plans for teaching addition and subtraction. Each lesson in the list is actually a unit plan that contains up to five related lessons.

UEN.org provides a great resource for games and centers that will help students practice their addition and subtraction facts. Templates in pdf form are included for all the games as well as background information, instructional procedures, assessment plans, and extension ideas.

There are some good short video clips on addition and subtraction that you could incorporate into lessons or use at listening stations. Many use music and interesting visuals and could be helpful for students who are having difficulty remembering certain facts. Here are a few good videos that I have found: Adding and Subtracting Song, Adding 9 + 1, Doubles Doubles, and Five Bees, which also counts in Spanish.

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: What Lincoln Said

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What Lincoln Said written by Sarah L. Thomson and illustrated by James E. Ransome, is a great way to introduce younger children to this important historical figure. The text is kept simple and story-like and the illustrations are colorful and engaging.

The author uses Lincoln’s own famous words and expands on them to tell the story of his life.  We learn how Lincoln grew from a hard working boy,  “I could scarcely believe my eyes, he said. By honest work I had earned a dollar,” into a harder working lawyer, “Leave nothing for tomorrow that can be done today, he advised. Resolve to be honest at all events.”  The author explains that Lincoln became president during a difficult time for our country.  “Several southern states decide to break away from the country. They wanted to make a new nation where slavery would always be legal.” Lincoln opposes slavery and the civil war, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.”  However, he cannot stop war from breaking out. After two years of fighting Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation so that slaves would be “forever free.” At the end of the book the author provides more detailed information about Lincoln and slavery as well as a timeline of the events of his life.

Curriculum Connections
This book would be a nice companion when learning about Abraham Lincoln. It is suitable for the 1st through 3rd grade classroom. The concepts included in the book integrate well with lessons where students will describe the stories of American leaders and their contributions to our country (SOL 1.2).

Additional Resources

Author: Sara L. Thomson
Illustrator:
James E. Ransome
Publisher:
Collins
Publication Date:
2008
Pages:
32
Grade Range:
1-3
ISBN:
978-0060848194

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers

 

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My Brother Martin, written by Christine King Farris and beautifully illustrated by Chris Soentpiet tells the story of Martin Luther King, Jr. through the eyes of his sister Christine.

In this book we learn about the boyhood of King, known to his sister as “ML”. The author tells us that she and her brothers ML, and AD grew up in Atlanta, Georgia just like normal children. Their days were filled with books, games, friends, and even playing pranks on unsuspecting neighbors.  However, she tells us that this was “back in a time when certain places in our country had unfair laws that said it was right to keep black people separated.”  ML and his siblings didn’t quite understand the effects of these laws until one day their white playmates were no longer allowed to play with them.  Martin is especially confused by what is happening and asks his mother,  “Why do white people treat colored people so mean?”  His mother answers, “Because they just don’t understand that everyone is the same, but someday, it will be better.”  The author tells us that she will always remember ML’s reply, “one day I’m going to turn this world upside down.”  The story then continues to tell how ML grew up to become a civil rights leader who “dreamed a dream, that turned the world upside down.”

 Curriculum Connections
This book would pair well with any lesson about the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr.  It could be used for students who are learning about Americans whose contributions improved the lives of others (SOL 2.11, SOL 3.11), as well as the theme that Americans are a people of diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who are united by the basic principles of a republican form of government and respect for individual rights and freedoms (SOL 3.12).

Additional Resources

Author: Christine King Farris
Illustrator: Chris Soentpiet
Publisher:
Aladdin
Publication Date:
  2005
Pages:
40
Grade Range:
2-4
ISBN:
978-0689843884

Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps

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As the Crow Flies written by Gail Hartman and illustrated by Harvey Stevenson is a great way to introduce maps to young children.

The book follows the paths of an eagle, a rabbit, a crow, a horse, and a gull.  At the end of each animal’s journey a simple map illustrates the places the animal has visited.  “AS THE RABBIT HOPS. A path winds around a farmhouse, past a shed, to a garden where the sweet greens grow.” On the facing page the author shows “THE RABBIT’S MAP”, a simply illustrated map with a path from “my house”, to the “farmhouse”, to the “shed”, to the “garden”.  At the end of the book the author follows the moon as it shines on each of the animals paths, including the rabbit, “It shines on the garden near the farmhouse in the country.”  On the last pages the paths of all the animals come together to form one big map titled “THE BIG MAP”.

Curriculum Connections
This book would work well when introducing students to maps as part of a Geography unit.  It is best suited for a kindergarten or 1st grade classroom. The concepts included in the book work with lessons where students will describe the relative location of people, places, and things by using positional words, use simple maps to develop an awareness that a map is a drawing of a place to show where things are located, describe places referenced in stories and real-life situations, and develop an awareness that maps and globes show a view from above, show things in smaller size, and show the position of objects (SOL K.3, K.4a,b and K.5a,b,c).

Additional Resources

Author: Gail Hartman
Illustrator: Harvey Stevenson
Publisher:
Aladdin
Publication Date:
1993
Pages:
32
Grade Range:
K-2
ISBN:
978-0689717628

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: Saturday Sancocho

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Saturday Sancocho, written and illustrated by Leyla Torres, introduces students to the art of bartering. The author/illustrator has included eye-catching, realistic illustrations that will help children envision a bustling South American marketplace.

Every Saturday Maria Lili looks forward to making a sancocho dinner with her grandparents. However, on this day Mama Ana has nothing in her kitchen but eggs, and there is no money for any of the ingredients.  Maria Lili is disappointed, but Mama Ana has a plan, “we will use eggs to make sancocho.”  “Egg sancocho! Everyone knows sancocho is not prepared with eggs,” says Maria Lili. “Come, my dear, we are going to the market.”  As they make their way through the market Mama Ana trades her eggs for the ingredients she needs. After a few stops she begins to trade some of her newly acquired goods for more ingredients. “The next stop was the stall of Dona Carmen. She was not interested in the eggs, but Mama Ana managed to trade nine plantains for four pounds of thick cassava.”  For their last important ingredient, the chicken, Mama Ana has another idea. Knowing they have plenty of vegetables and must make a big trade for the chicken she says, “Let’s divide the vegetables equally between the two baskets.” After some haggling she successful trades one of the baskets for a chicken and they head home to make their Saturday Sancocho.

Curriculum Connections
This book would work well in an Economics unit as an introduction to trade and barter. It would work best in a 1st or 2nd grade classroom. The concepts included in the book integrate well with lessons where students are asked to distinguish between the use of barter and the use of money in the exchange for goods and services. (SOL 2.8)

Additional Resources

Author: Leyla Torres
Illustrator:
Leyla Torres
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date:
1999
Pages:
32
Grade Range:
K-2
ISBN:
978-0374464516

Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: One Well: The Story of Water on Earth

 

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In the book  One Well: The Story of Water on Earth author Rochelle Strauss explores the concept that all water is connected – oceans, rivers, glaciers and raindrops are all a part of the global well.  The book is illustrated beautifully by Rosemary Woods and is part of the series Citizen Kid, a collection of books that inspire children to be better global citizens.

The author has created an engaging and insightful story about the water cycle, how we use water on Earth and the need for conservation. The book begins by explaining the concept that all water on earth is connected. “So whether you are turning on a faucet in North America or pulling water from a well in Kenya, or bathing in a river in India, it is all the same water.” Each page spread is dedicated to addressing an aspect of water on Earth. Children learn about the recycling of water (the water cycle), and how plants, animals and human beings depend on water to live. Children are presented with some uses of water they may be less familiar with. “About 21 percent of the water we use goes to making everything from computers to cars… Water vapor runs machinery. Water is an ingredient in many products such as lotions, shampoos, chemicals and drinks.” Throughout the book there are collections of interesting facts about water and it’s uses. “Every day 1.8 million tonnes (2 million tons) of garbage are dumped into Earth’s water – enough to fill more than 15,000 boxcars.” The last pages of the book explore access, demand, pollution and conservation.  The author addresses the need to think now about how we treat our water supply because it affects the entire earth and its inhabitants for years to come.

Curriculum Connections
This book pairs nicely with curriculum that teaches conservation or the water cycle and would be appropriate for grades 3-5.  Students can learn about the processes involved in the water cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation) (SOL 3.9b), that water is essential for living things (3.9 c), and about the supply and conservation of water. (SOL 3.9d) Teachers may also find the book a good fit when teaching about natural resources and how human influences can affect the survival of species. (SOL 3.10a,b,d)

Additional Resources

  • The back pages in the book provide additional information and ideas for discussing water conservation. The publisher, Kids Can Press has a Learning Resource guide for the book on their website.
  • The EPA has an easy to understand animation of the  water cycle as well as a good selection of interactive games.
  • This complete lesson plan Water: A Never Ending Story includes hands on activities for exploring evaporation, condensation, precipitation and water and soil.

Author: Rochelle Strauss
Illustrator:
Rosemary Woods
Publisher:
Kids Can Press
Publication Date:
2007
Pages:
32 pages
Grade Range:
3-5
ISBN:
978-1553379546

Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: A Seed in Need: A First Look at the Plant Cycle

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A Seed in Need: A First Look at the Plant Cycle by Sam Godwin is an engaging introduction to the life cycle of a plant.  The author describes the parts of the flower and the life cycle in language that is easy for younger readers to understand.  The bright and cheery illustrations by Simone Abel are sure to capture the attention of young children.

This story takes the reader from seed, to seedling, to bud, and finally to sunflower.  Along the way the two main characters of the book, Snail and Ladybug provide conversational dialogue that includes additional facts about plants and funny comments. On one page we learn that “The white shoot pushes its way through the soil. It has become a seedling.”  Snail says, “Plants need sunlight to make them big and strong.” Ladybug replies, “I like sunlight, too!”  The stem grows taller and thicker, gets sunlight and water, and plays host to little creatures of the garden.  Soon a bud appears and begins to unfold. “The bud turns into a beautiful flower. Bees and butterflies come to visit.”  Readers learn from Snail that the insects come to drink the nectar.  Finally the petals fall and the gardener collects the seeds to plant next spring.  The cycle is complete.  On the last page there is a two page illustration of the sunflower, so children have a chance to review the parts of the plant.

Curriculum Connections
This book is perfect for introducing the parts of a plant and learning about plant life cycles. It would work best in the K-1 classroom. The concepts included would integrate well with lessons where the students must investigate and understand the basic needs and life processes of plants and animals; including living things change as they grow and need food, water and air to survive; and plants and animals live and die (go through a life cycle) (SOLs k.6a,b, and 1.4a). It would also work well with students learning the parts of a plant (seeds, roots, stems, leaves, blossoms, fruits) (SOL 1.4b)

Additional Resources

  • In the back of the book is a page of vocabulary words, a few fun facts and a short list of other books.
  • This sequencing worksheet would be a good exercise to reinforce the stages of the plant’s life cycle.
  • Students investigate the inside of a lima bean seed in this experiment.
  • This lesson plan has students grow their own seeds.
  • This web activity lets students put the parts of a plant together and shows a seed growing under different conditions.

Author: Sam Godwin
Illustrator:
Simone Abel
Publisher:
Picture Window Books
Publication Date:
2005
Pages:
32
Grade Range:
K-1
ISBN:
978-0750024976

Teaching Children’s Literature with Physical Science: Pull, Lift, and Lower: A Book About Pulleys

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If you are beginning to teach simple machines to your students, Michael Dahl’s book Pull, Lift, and Lower: A Book About Pulleys, is an easy to understand introduction to the way pulleys work. The illustrations by Denise Shea are simple, yet show enough detail for children to comprehend the mechanics of pulleys.

The author begins the book by using the crane to introduce the concept of lifting heavy objects. He then gives children easy to comprehend definitions of the simple machine and pulley.  “A simple machine is anything that helps people do work.” “A pulley uses a wheel and a rope, or cable. The rope wraps over the wheel. When the rope is pulled at one end, the wheel helps lift the rope on the other end.” Children are then shown examples of pulleys that they are probably familiar with, such as window blind cords and flag poles.  The author continues to introduce and explain to the reader different types of pulleys in easy to understand text.  For example, “Some pulleys use more than one wheel. More wheels make a load easier to lift. A block and tackle is a combination of several wheels and ropes that work together.” The author closes with another image of the crane and the idea that “Pulleys help keep the world moving.”

Curriculum Connections
This book would be a great way to introduce the study of simple machines in your classroom. It seems best suited to 2nd and 3rd graders. The concepts presented would integrate well with science lessons where the students investigate and understand types of simple machines (lever, screw, pulley, wheel and axle, inclined plane, and wedge) and their uses, (SOL 3.2 a, b) and become familiar with examples found in the school, home, and work environment. (SOL 3.2d)

Additional Resources

Book: Pull, Lift, and Lower: A Book About Pulleys
Author:
Michael Dahl
Illustrator:
Denise Shea
Publisher:
Picture Window Books
Publication Date:
July 2002
Pages:
24 pages
Grade Range:
1-3
ISBN:
978-1404819085

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Sort it Out!

 Sort it Out!

In Barbara Mariconda’s book Sort it Out! we meet Packy the pack rat. Packy has collected quite a load of odds and ends. His mother tells him he must sort his collection and put everything away. Children will be engaged throughout the story by the author’s use of rhyming text as well as the detailed and colorful illustrations by Sherry Rogers.

As Packy begins his sorting task he names all the things he has collected and thinks about ways he can group them together. As the story continues Packy sorts all of his items into like groups. Items are sorted using both familiar and out of the ordinary characteristics. The author pushes children to think beyond attributes such as shape or color with ideas such as, “The locket, umbrella, and book that he chose, these are all things you can open and… close.” On each page the text is designed to prompt the reader to respond with the next rhyming word. “The needle, the locket, the dented tin kettle, all these three things are made out of… metal.” Cleverly, the response is the word that defines each group and it is represented by a large illustration as well as the word. Some children may notice that some of  Packy’s items are included in more than one group. The book also includes a subtle mystery. At the end of the book Packy “scratched at his head, and said “I’ve been thinking; why does it seem my collection is shrinking?” Readers who have been paying close attention may have noticed Packy’s sister lurking in the background on some of the pages. On the last page, we see that she has swiped the missing items and is having a tea party outside.

Curriculum Connections
This book is a winning introduction to sorting, classifying, and making observations for grades K-2. In the state of Virginia this book would pair with the Science SOL K.1a, learning to identify basic properties of objects by observation. It would also be appropriate  to use in support of the 1st grade Science SOL 1.1c, learning to classify and arrange objects according to attributes or properties. Teachers of 2nd grade could also use the book in teaching the Science SOL 2.1c, two or more attributes are used to classify items.

Additional Resources

  • The back pages in the book provide additional sorting exercises using Packy’s items. There is a hidden pictures exercise, a classifying card game and a writing component that helps students think of different ways to describe objects. Additional activities are available to download from the Teaching Activities page at Sylvan Dell Publishing. Activities and lesson plans include an edible sort, animal classification and a writing activity.
  • Lesson Planz.com has some great  sorting activities for grades k-2. I like the Halloween Candy Sort because it expands the lesson to cover graphing. For 2nd graders the Spider Sort has many applications for expanding these concepts.
  • Additional sorting worksheets can be downloaded at Enchanted Learning.com.

Book: Sort it Out!
Author:
Barbara Mariconda
Illustrator:
Sherry Rogers
Publisher:
Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication Date:
May 13, 2008
Pages:
32 pages
Grade Range:
K-2
ISBN:
978-1934359112