Author Archive for Amie

Kindergarten Math: Shapes


Under the Geometry section of the SOL’s for kindergarten there is a focus on plan figures. Within this category students k.11) should be able to identify, describe, and trace plan geometric figures (circle, triangle, square and circle).  Being able to identify these shapes is an important aspect when students begin to learn more advanced geometric terms. Students need to be able to identify theses shapes when they begin to learn about area and perimeter. In addition, having the knowledge of the shapes characteristics will help students in their everyday lives. Shapes is an important aspect that begins at an early age.

These literature connections will help children improve their shapes knowledge:


Mouse Shapes: a very first bookby Jim Arnosky is  a great reference tool for students to have. The book demonstrates what all of the shapes that kindergartens must know look like. In addition, there are various other shapes that students can begin to look at. Even though these shapes are not part of the core four, it provides an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge. In addition, this book could be used as an extension for those students who are surpassing grade level expectations.


There’s a Square: A Book About Shapes by Mary Serfozo, illustrated by David A. Carter takes children are an adventure of what the different shapes look like. First they are introduced to a description of the shape then they several forms of a the shape; they see what the shapes looks like in different sizes. Finally the readers are asked to find the shape in a picture. This would be a great way to introduce shapes to students or could even be used as a review. With the picture look, student are given an opportunity to practice their skills. At the end, students are given time to review what the shapes look like. They are shown again what the shapes look like with the shapes name underneath the shape. This is a book that could be read to the class and be available to students if they would like to learn about other shapes other than a circle, square, triangle, and rectangle.


Shape Capersby Cathryn Falwell is kind of laid like a game. Each shapes begins with a “shake, shake, shake” then the shape is introduced. Following the introduction of the shape there is a brief description of what the shape looks like, with various examples of the shapes in different colors and sizes. After all shapes have been described the reader is introduced to the shapes again with various forms of the shapes appearing near the name. After that, the readers are taken on a tour of various things that can be made by the shapes such as a car, spaceship, dinosaur, and ship. This allows the reader to see that shapes are in our everyday lives. At the end of the book, students can look at the pictures they provide and see if they can identify the triangles, squares, circles, and rectangles. This is a great book to introduce the concept of shapes and can also be used as a review with the ending of the book. In addition, it allows those students who are excelling at the concept to explore other shapes, furthering along their knowledge. The last page provides a brief explanation of an activity that can be completed using shapes.


Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stohl Walsh takes students on a journey through the world of shapes.There are mice that are being chased by a big cat. When running from the cat, the mice come into contact with a cluster of different looking shapes. They are now learning what these shapes look like. In order to fool the cat, the mice begin to make objects with the various shapes.
Students see how the shapes can be used in real life while also seeing what the shapes look like.


A Circle Here, A Square there: My Shapes Books  by David Diehl is a beginning book for students to use. Students see what the shapes name look likes in big letters then they see what the shapes look like in various forms. These various forms based upon what children would see in their real lives, such as a present for a square and a scoop of ice cream for a circle. This book would best used as a reference for students if they need a reminder on what the shapes look like. Also, it provides a spelling opportunity for students by having the name of the shapes in big print.

Web Annotations for Students:

In I Spy Shapes students are shown various pictures and asked to find all the triangles, etc in that picture. There is a number counter at the top of the page to help students keep track of how many of the shape they have found.  Students are allowed to keep going until they have found all the shapes.

Fun with Shapes is a webquest that studnets can complete after learning about shapes. In this webquest students are first review what each of the shapes look like. With this story, there is a desciption of what the shape looks like with a picture following. In addition, the story allows the students to review the colors. After reading the story, they have various activities that they are to complete relating to the shapes they read about in the story. With this webquest, the teacher can read the story aloud with the student then pair students up to complete the webquest.

Story of Shapes is an online story of shapes that students can either read or listen to. The storyteller describes the shape and sometimes provides an example of what it may look like. This a visual and oral story for the students. They are seeing the description as it is being said. It provides an opportunity for students to see other ways that the shape can be formed and other descriptions that might make it easier for them to remember the shapes.

Buzzing with Shapes is a two player game that has studnents pick the shape that matches the description that is given to them. If they chose the wrong shape they are given an explanation of why that shape is wrong ( a desciption of what their shape looks like). This could be used as a review game and can even be used as an expanding on the knowladge allowing studnents to explore other shapes besides the circle, square, triangle, and rectangle.

Identify Shapes I students are given a description or picture and asked to choose the correct answer.

Additional Resources for Teachers:

ABC Teach provides various coloring pages for the different shapes that will be taught to our studnets. Other shapes are included but these can be used as an extra thing for students when they are all done with their work.

DLTK’s Growing Together provides different activities that teachers can used during shapes lesson. to help enhance students knowladge.  There are different games, a poem and various worksheets to help children understand the topic.

 Hummingbird Educational Resources is a great tool to find different lesson plans and activities that can be used in the classroom. In addition, there songs that can be recorded that teachers play to their students or place at listening stations. All of the activities are grade appropriate and it is a great tool to use if having trouble coming with a cute way to introduce or teach the concept of shapes.

Shapes is a great site for various worksheets, ranging from extra practice to assessments. These sheets are great tools to have available in the classroom if students are done with an assigment and would a little extra practice. In addition, there are tracing pages that can be used to help students grasp one part of the SOL which is being able to trace the shapes.

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: People at the Center of The American Revolution


The American Revolution is important part of our history.  If the American Revolution never took place, we could be a different country. Understanding what lead the American Revolution has become an important subject in many history classes and is important for many tests. However, students can not learn about the events that lead up to the revolutions without learning about the important people of the revolution. The American Revolution by Gail Stewart provides an in-depth look into the important figures related to the American Revolution.

The book begins with a introduction into the American Revolution. This introduction describes the date that the revolution took place and some of the reasons that the American’s rebeled against the British. One of the main reasons that book describes is all of the new laws placed taxes on certain items that have never been taxed before. For example, the Stamp Act became very unpopular amongst the colonists because it placed a tax on any paper items that were used throughout the colonies. After the introduction there is a map of the all the colonies that existed at the beginning of the American Revolution. The rest of the book is about all the major people involved in the American Revolution, such as George III, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson,  George Washington and more. At the beginning of the small section of each of the important figures there is a picture with  a brief header of what made them important in the American Revolution. For exampl, King George’s header is stated as ” Refused to Allow American Independence”. Towards the end of the book there is Chronological list of events leading up to the American Revolution and what happended after the American Revolution. In addition, there is information on more reading related to the American Revolution and websites that could be helpful in providing a  more in-depth view of the American Revolution.

Curriculm Connections:
I would use this book as a way to gather background information on the American Revolution and the important figures related to it. In addition, the students could use this information to fill in sheets or to make foldables related to an important figure from the American Revolution. It would help the students to US1.6c) describe key events and the roles of key individuals in the American Revolution, with emphasis being placed on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry.

Additional Resources:

For a lesson plan that could be used to teach about the important people of the American Revolution try Causes of the American Revolution

The Revolutionary War is a webquest designed for 5-9 graders and provides information/ resources related to the American Revolution.

For a copy of the timeline of the events that lead up to the American Revolution try visiting American Chronology.

Book: People at the Center of The American Revolution
Author: Gail B. Stewart
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: Thomsan Gale
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 48
Grade Range: 4-6
ISBN: 978-1567117691

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Rosa


Civil rights is an important aspect of American History. There are many important people that helped create  a desegregated America. Even though some of these individuals may have done small things to help achieve desegragation, they made important impacts on the Civil Rights movement. One such contribution was done by Rosa Parks. Rosa by Nikki Giovanni tells the story of Rosa Parks and the important contriubtion that she had on the civil rights movement. In addition, this book relates other important aspects that occured during the Civil Rights Movement.

Rosa begins as a story introducing the audience to the normal life that Rosa lead up to her courageous act. It tells of the job that Rosa held and the thoughts that her community members had about the job that she would do. As the story develops further on, we learn of what Rosa went through that particular day and come to realize that she too was getting tired of the separation taking place. After Rosa arrest for sitting in the white section, the story continues on narrating what other people did that day. We see that her community banded together in support of Rosa and her couragious act. We come to see that the Supreme Court ruled that separate was not equal. In addition to learning about the Supreme Court decision, the story mentions what happened in Mississippi to a boy name Emmett Till. After this took place, there was a big meeting between the Women’s Political Council, the NAACP, and all the surrounding churches. We see the march that Dr. Martin Luther King lead and the book finishes with the ruling that segregation on buses was illegal; Segregation was wrong.

Curriculum Connections
After introducing Rosa Parks and going over her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement this book could be used to end the lesson. It could help students see that Rosa Parks was just a normal citizen like they are. It would help students see that if you feel something is wrong, have courage and stand up for what you believe. It could help 3.11b)reiterate the the basic principles that form a republic foundation by identifying the contribution that Rosa Parks had on the civil rights movement. In addition, this book could used to introduce Rosa Parks at the beginning of a lesson. After reading the book, could go into more detail of the life of Rosa Parks.

Additional Resources

  • For background information on Rosa Parks and additional information on that faithful bus day try visiting Rosa Parks Biography.
  • For videos that could show in class on important historical information related to the Civil Rights Movements and Rosa Parks try visiting They Changed the World.
  • Civil Rights Movement provides specific information on the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It details what events lead up to the bus boycott, including Rosa Park’s refusal. In addition, it provides information on what happened after the boycott was held.

Book: Rosa
Author: Nikki Giovanni
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 1-24
Grade Range: 1-3
ISBN: 0312376022

Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Beginner’s World Atlas


Being able to read maps is a strategy that is very important. Maps are in our lives on a daily basis and knowing what the different symbols means is important when it comes to reading the maps. National Geographic has provided an excellent book to help get children develop their math skills. The content presented is age appropriate and provides definations for the different symbols that they will encompass on different maps.

Beginner’s World Atlas begins with a description of what a map is and puts the map into the contact of the student by what mapping their background would look like. In addition, it explains what a compass and scale on the map are.  The next 2 pages show earth in several different dimensions to help the student gain a better understanding of their home planet. Their is an example of the physical and political world with descriptions of what they show to follow. Furthermore, the book explains what the students will gain out of their reading. The rest of the map talks about the different contients giving specific information on the land regions, water, climate, plants and animals.

Curriculum Connections:
This book could be used at the end of lesson on map skills to make sure that students understand the basic map skills. In addition, the students could use the book to help them 2.6)when constructing their own map skills using a title, map, legend, and compass rose. In addition, by having this book in their classroom library the students should be able to refer to them when they need to locate the 2.4a) United States, China, and Egypt on world maps. Finally, they will be able to use the maps in the books to help them locating the 2.5a) equator, the seven continents, and five oceans on maps and globes.

Additional Resources:
In order to provide more information on maps and other related Geography topics try visiting Usefulness of Maps.

To help students with their technology skills and provide them a fun game to improve the geopgraphy skills try Geospy.

The article, Are You Map Savvy, provides basic information on other different types of map and why map skills are important. This information could be additional information to provide to your students and help answer the question Why is this important to me?

General Information:
Book: National Geographic Beginner’s World Atlas
Author: Natioanl Geographic Inc.
Illustrator: Tony Stone Images
Publisher: National Geograpic Society
Publication Date: November 2009
Pages: 64
Grade Range: 1-3
ISBN: 9780792242116

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: It’s Not What You’ve Got


Being able to spend money responsibly has become an important characteristic in today’s society. With the economy slowly becoming better, meeting the needs of your life at a cheap price is a necessity. Children learn important aspects of their social life from school and more importantly from their parents. Parents are role models for their children, showing children the proper way to live their lives. In order to achieve great wealth, people must first know how to save money and use their money responsibly.

Children understanding the importance of money is an important lesson that must be taught to them early on. The book It’s Not What You’ve Got provides examples of how money should be used and that money does not make you happy. At the beginning of the book, there is a page listing 10 things related to money and how people use money throughout their lives. Each page thereafter talks about one the 10 things mentioned on the first page but in more specific terms. The reasons for certain ideas follow that of society at the moment and also provide information that will help children succeed in life. At the end of the book, the author poses questions related to the children’s lives.

Curriculum Connections:
This book could be used in kindergarten or 1st after going over an economics lesson. It could be used as review for the kindergartens and 1st graders and understanding that they will reconize people make certain choices because they cannot always have what they want and that people get what they want by going to a job and earning money the right way. In addition, it could be used to help reiterate to children that money does not always make you happy. It could help improve children’s social skills on saving money.

Additional Resources:
Economics and Children’s Literature provides a list of additional books that could be used in the classroom when conducting econimic classrooms. This part of the site specifically focuses on the grades k-2.

In order to help students further understand the notion of saving money and then buying things you need, teachers can always set up a classroom economy. Classroom economy provides a lesson plan that teachers can use and the information to help teachers set up their classroom economies.

A good lesson plan on the SOL 2.7 is provided called Tortilla Factory. This specific lesson plan will students better understand the differences between  natural resources, human resources, and capital resources.

General Information:
Book: It’s Not What You’ve Got! Lessons for Kids on Money and Abudance
Author: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Kristina Tracy
Illustrator: Stacy Heller Budnick
Publisher: Hay House Inc.
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 32
Grade Range: k-2
ISBN: 9781401918507


Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: Our Solar System


What are the order of the planets? How big is the Earth and how many moons does each planet have? All of these are important questions that students must be able to answer by the time they enter the 6th grade. Seymour Simon takes students through the different planets in Our Solar System. Each page has a detailed instruction of the nine planets that make up our solar system.

The books opens with a chart of all the planets in order from the sun with basic information that students must know for the SOL’s. Each planet is give a spread with information about its origins and important aspects of the planet. For instance, Mercury is the “second smallest planet in our solar system after pluto”. In addition, the beginning of the book describes the core of our solar system, the sun. The end of the book describes the different particles that orbit within our solor system. The pictures throughout the book are replicated of what we would see if we looked through a telescope.

Curriculum Connections: This book could be used as a reinforcement in class or as a guide for sixth graders when they are trying to to remember the organization of the solar system especially 6.8a) the sun, moon, Earth, other planets and their moons, meteors, asteroids, and comets , b) the relative size and distance between planets and f) the unique properties of Earth as a planet

Additional Resources:
For detailed information on the solor system try Science Monster.

Another great website that has ideas on different lesson plans to be instituted in the classroom on the solar system: The Solar System

Solar System Live– This site shows the solar system as it is on a specific date.

General Information:
Book: Our Solar System
Author: Simon Seymour
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date:September 1992
Pages: 64
Grade Range: 6th grade
ISBN: 978-0688099923


Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: From Tadpole to Frog


Learning that different categories of animals have different life spans is an important aspect of the 2nd grade curriculum. Being able to decipher that frogs and butterflies undergo stages of transformation compared to other species that just resemble their parents has become an important task. From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer is a good book to introduce students to that helps them understand the life stages of the frog and the different apsects that represent what stage they are at during a specific time of the year.

From Tadpole to Frog tells the story of the tadpoles from Frog Pond growing from tadpoles into adult frogs. We start off in the winter season, during which the frogs are in their hiding place. Throughout the story, we are taken through the different seasons, with spring being the time that the male frogs call out for their mates. The story goes on to tell what happens once the females have responded to the male calls. Tadpoles are then released into the pond where they continue to grow alongside being eaten by their predators. The end of the book gives us different examples of frogs and a map discloses to us where bullfrogs are living.

Curriculum Connections:
This book could be used at the end of lesson to help reinforce the SOL 2.4a- that some animals undergo distinct stages during their lives, while others generally resemble their parents. After going over the lesson, the book could be read to the class and then the teacher could ask questions based around the book and the lesson. Try connecting the two together and see if the students understand what is going on.

Additional Resources:
For more information on the life span of a frog try this website Life Cycle of Frogs

For an idea on an activity related to frogs and extra information try this website Kids Activity: Frogs

For a 2nd grade level thematic unit on frogs try Frogs: A Thematic Unit

General Information:
Book: From Tadpole to Frog
Author: Wendy Pfeffer
Illustrator: Holly Keller
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: Jan. 1994
Pages: 8-32
Grade Range: 2nd
ISBN: 9780064451239


Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Energy Makes Things Happen


How do certain things in life work? Where to objects recieve the help they need to move and operate? How does the sun work? These are all questions that students must be able to comprehend and answer at the elementary level. Energy Makes Things Happens written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Illustrated by Paul Meisel is a great book to get kids thinking about the different aspects of energy and some things in our daily lives that involve the use of energy. At the end of the book, the author provides different activities that teachers could do with their students.

The book starts off with a 2page layout of different items in our everyday lives that use some sort of energy. Throughout the story there are different examples of energy use such as, ” the sun shines in the sky and two children run with a kite”. After giving the examples of energy the authors end by saying ” all these things have different kinds of energy”. Further along the book, it is explained that energy can be transferred and the ways that this tranfer can take place. Each thing that is mentioned has a specific reason as to why it is considered energy; what makse it have the characteristics that defines energy.

Curriculm Connections:
This book could be used to introduce the overall unit of energy. It can be used to describe the different aspects that will be covered throughout the lesson and provide an opportunity for students to start thinking about the world around them and what characteristics of energy they see in their everyday lives. After reading the book, the teacher can ask the students to name some things they think constitute energy that they see in their everyday lives. This book will help the student understand that 1.2) moving objects exhibit different kinds of motion and that d) this motion can be seen in playground activities and the toys that children use in their everyday lives.

Additional Resources:
For great background information on energy and how it changes try Energy Changes.

Energy Quest: Great hands on website to help the students better understand the aspect of energy.

Education World: Lesson plan on how energy is created from water

General Information:
Book: Energy Makes Things Happen
Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Illustrator: Paul Meisel
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: January 2003
Pages: 5-31
Grade Range: k-1
ISBN:  9780064452137

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Big Tracks, Little Tracks Following Animal Prints


Being able to classify and identify objects in the world has become an important apsect of the elementary curriculm. Children are required to be able to differentiate between different animals, especially relating to certain characteristics such as color and look. Big Track, Little Tracks is  a good book that describes how certain animals in the real world appear and characteristics that help differentiate them. This book provides an opportunity for the child to be a nature observer and what they will become in contact with during the observation. The author, Millicent. E Selsman and illustrator Marlene Hill Donnelly take children on the route of an observer and help them learn what scientists look for when making observations and classifications.

This book takes children through a forest and other natural settings discovering different animals and the footprints that they leave. Throughout the book the children are introduced to a range of animals in sizes and paw prints becoming more inclined to establish the difference between the animals. In the beginning of the book the author provides an explanation of how detectives are able to determine who or what was at a specific site. ” One way is to look for the marks someone or something has made- fingerprints, footprints, the tracks made by bike tires.”  They have pictures of animals on one side of the page and on other page they have objects that are related to the certain animal. The book helps distinguish the difference between a cat footprint and dog footprint by providing exact detail of the difference between the two footprints.

Curriculum Connections:
This book could be used in the introduction of Science lesson plan. Before the lesson is given, the teacher could read the book to the class then explain what they are going to do during their lesson. They will be like the the nature observers and practice the skills that they saw in the book. By looking at the book and how nature can be used children will learn that k.1a) basic properties of objects can be identified by direct observation of the objects.  They could be given sheets of the same prints that were used in the books matching the animals to their footprints. This sheet will help them establish the skill of k1.c) identifying objects through pictures or verbal. Finally, after reading the book, the teacher could explain to the students that 2.1c) classifying object can be done by using two or more attributes.

Additional Resources:

Try this website which provides a thematic unit on process skills Animal Tracks Science Center Activities

For a lesson plan relating to Categorizing Animals

For a Big Tracks Little Tracks K-W-L sheet try Big Tracks, Little Tracks KWL Chart.

General Information
Book: Big Track, Little Tracks
Author: Millicent E. Selsman
Illustrator: Marlene Hill Donnelly
Publisher: HarperColllins Publishers
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: k-1
ISBN: 9780064451949