Sun Up, Sun Down takes the reader through a day in the life of the sun and some of the possible weather changes that may affect the weather. Writer and illustrator Gail Gibbons uses a sense of fun and fascination to present basic facts about the sun and various other weather patterns.
"The sun wakes me up. It rises in the east and shines through my window." Gibbons uses a narrative story telling form, taking the reader through the sun's and the main character's day. From the moment the story begins the main character serves as a typical child asking questions about the sun and informing readers about certain characteristics of the sun; such as it is too bright to look into and it helps plants grow. In the back of the book, Gibbons even includes "Some Sunny Facts" that will help intrigue young readers to read further into the subject.
Doubling as the illustrator, Gibbons uses generic, yet bright colors to fill the pages. The pictures clearly illustrate what the words on the page are saying and help demonstrate some concepts that children may find tricky: such as how far away the sun is, which way shadows face, prisms and rotations. The words are clearly separated from the pictures, which leaves clean lines to read and more space for the picture to develop.
The reading level of Sun Up, Sun Down is more advanced and I would recommend it for grades 3-5, however, the ideas and pictures are equally appropriate for younger students if the book is read to them. Gibbons presents Earth study information in this book such as shadows, prisms, rotation, sun facts, rain and agriculture. The pictures can help students determine certain characteristics of the sun in relation to the Earth, as well as a weather related segment and light (such as rainbows, bending light and prisms). In Virginia, this book relates to science SOL 4.7 a-c.
- Whatever the Weather includes numerous facts about how to dress for the weather, different aspects of the weather, activities, weather forecasting, poems, charts, songs, and games. An all inclusive website, including additional children's books, for a variety of ages.
- Let the Sun Shine! is a lesson plan for younger primary students that uses Sun Up, Sun Down to learn about different activities to do in the sun. Includes coloring activities and suggestions for assessment.
- Start with the Arts includes several drama type activities for students to act out different aspects of the sun and celestial bodies. Includes ways to differentiate activities for all students, small ways to role play and ways to learn at home.
- Hello, Sun! offers a variety of websites for all grades about the sun, shadows and time. Also has websites to movies about the sun and math lessons using geometry in relation to the books about the sun. Also has a list of other book similar to Sun up, Sun Down.
Book: Sun Up, Sun Down
Author/Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Publisher: Voyager Books
Pages: 32 pages
From shovels and seeds to vegetable soup, Growing Vegetable Soup takes readers on a journey from the garden to the kitchen. Author and illustrator Lois Elhert uses colorful pictures and large print to transform a learning experience into a story.
Ehlert’s use of color in Growing Vegetable Soup adds a touch of fantasy to a scientific and realistic story. The illustrations are pieced together with simple shapes that describe the words on the page. Each picture has labels to help with vocabulary and spelling. The illustrations play off as a collage, but the colors work together in a way to show off the important words on the page.
The end of the story focuses on the scientific fact that vegetables grow annually and can be used in the end, "At last it's time to eat it all up! It was the best soup ever€¦and we can grow it again next year." Elhert emphasizes each step and includes important information such as watering, sunlight and weeding. Her subtle use of words can be ignored for younger readers or pointed out and studied at more age appropriate grades.
Starting in kindergarten students begin to learn about life science and the way plants change, grow and go through a typical life cycle. Into first grade, students begin to learn more in depth about how to care for plants and the necessities for sustaining life. Growing Vegetable Soup can be used to explain from the very beginning how plants grow and change and the important elements that help plants grow and thrive. The labels and specific instructions provide vocabulary/spelling lists about plants and the pictures provide instructions about how to care for plants. In Virginia, this book applies to science SOL k.6a and k.6b (living things change as they grow, and they need food, water and air to survive; plants and animals live and die (go through ha life cycle), as well as 1.4a (plants have needs-food, air, water, light and a place to grow).
- Let's Read offers a full lesson about vegetables that includes taste testing of vegetables, multiple drawing/touching techniques that keeps activities hands-on and a hand-out for students to participate in activities at home.
- First School gears its activities towards kindergarten and hands-on activities using different vegetables seen in the book. There are also various crafts, language arts/spelling lessons, and references to other books on similar subjects.
- Lesson 5: Yum Yum seeks to teach kindergarten and first graders the parts of a flower/plant and includes computer, extension and home activities.
Book: Growing Vegetable Soup
Author/Illustrator: Lois Elhert
Publisher: Voyager Books
Publication Date: 1990
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: kindergarten-first grade
Join Matt while he explores the different uses and kinds of trucks in his bedroom. Peter SÃs has written and illustrated Trucks Trucks Trucks about the different motions that the primary character Matt uses to pick up his room using his toy trucks.
Trucks Trucks Trucks is a simple, yet creative book that shows the different actions of trucks through line drawings in white, yellow and blue accents. Page by page Matt plows, pushes, and rolls through his room while the trucks become gradually bigger until they are life sized and Matt becomes the driver. The book shows direction and motion well to through Matt's movements and efforts.
The layout of the book is very simple, with a question on the first page and then one word on each subsequent page. While it may not be the most difficult reading level book, it connects to the overall subject of physical science and demonstrates the vocabulary and spelling through large print and clear pictures. The beginning line opens the book into a fantasy science world for Matt, "Matt, will you pick up your trucks?".
The reading level of Trucks Trucks Trucks is geared more towards kindergarten or pre-k, however, the book can be used for a physical science lessons in kindergarten and first grade involving straight, circular and back-and-forth motion. The book also shows through pictures and vocabulary that pushing or pulling an object can change the movement. Matt demonstrates the motion through words such as plowing, pushing, rolling, scooping (up and down), sweeping (circular motion), and lifting. In Virginia this relates to science SOL K.3a (attraction/nonattraction, push/pull, attract/repel, and metal/nonmetal) and 1.2a (objects may have straight, circular, and back-and-forth motion) and 1.2c (pushes or pulls can change the movement of an object).
- A Turtle Book Lesson Plan offers coloring pictures, additional books, and has additional modes of transportation that move in ways that show straight and circular paths.
- Books of Common Thread Project includes a list of books that serve a similar purpose as Trucks Trucks Trucks and gives a short abstract and reflection on how the book can be used in a science or language arts lesson.
Book: Trucks Trucks Trucks
Author/Illustrator: Peter SÃs
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 23 pages
Join the polar bear while he learns all about animal sounds at the zoo. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? is the “auditory” version of Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You See? is a colorfully decorated book that takes children from animal to animal learning about different animal and people sounds. Eric Carle’s pictures seem flawless and give children a more fantasy feel when reading the book. The illustrator uses simple shapes and colors that children could easily begin to copy, trace, or color in to practice their own art skills.
In addition to the art, the repetitive nature of the book brings a read-aloud quality to the story and encourages students to participate in the reading experience, while simultaneously learning about the different noises of elephants, zebras, peacocks and many more. The book begins and ends with the similar tell-tale lines, “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you hear? I hear a lion roaring in my ear.”
This book could be useful for kindergarten and first grade. Students begin to work with their five senses in kindergarten and Polar Bear can help with auditory and visual awareness as well as practice with sensory description of the pictures and sounds. Into first grade, students can use this story to help with predictions based on patterns about which animal may come next and which sounds match the animals on the final pages. In Virginia this relates to science SOL K.1c (objects are described both pictorially and verbally) and K.2 a and K.2b (students will investigate the five senses and sensory descriptions).
- DLTK’s Book Break offers coloring pages of the animals in the book and suggestions to make puppets or felt board characters to act out while reading the story.
- Illustrator Eric Carle’s website offers suggestions from teachers around the United States about how to use Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You See?. Some activities include an endangered species book/lesson, class books about what they hear with portraits, and recordings to reinforce listening and auditory skills through sounds in the book and around the classroom.
- Nichols Elementary School offers a lesson plan with multiple activities that relate to the story and include language arts, science and art. A few examples are matching animal sounds to pictures, identify different sounds using body parts (clapping, stomping, etc.), and mixing paints to color pictures of animals in the story.
Book: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
Author: Bill Martin Jr.
Illustrator: Eric Carle
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 24 pages
In this podcast, Megan Ney introduces listeners to the book Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin by Pam Calvert.
Pam Calvert uses the age-old fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin to tell a fascinating story involving multiplication of whole numbers and fractions. Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin provides students with concrete examples and simple explanations of multiplication that combines well with the 18th century illustrations and story.
Alice in Pastaland: A Math Adventure Book by Alexandra Wright
Rabbit Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale by Ann McCallum
You can download a teacher’s guide for the book.
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In this podcast, Megan Ney introduces listeners to the book Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh.
Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a great counting book for kindergarten through 2nd grade. It incorporates different counting methods, such as counting on and counting back, and uses well drawn illustrations for students to see exactly what they are counting. Most of all the book is actually a story and the children will remain intrigued with the plot until the very end while still learning about math during the whole book.
How Many Feet in the Bed by Diane Johnston Hamm
Splash by Ann Jonas
Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra
You can read a book review and download activity ideas at A Mouse for All Readers.
The Kansas State Library site idea for has an idea for constructing mice for use with the book.
LearnNC has a brief lesson based on this book.
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