Author Archive for Ashley M

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution


If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution by Kay Moore is book about different aspects of the American Revolutionary War.  The book is set up into a question and answer format.  The author begins with explaining why we have the Fourth of July and ends with how life changed after the war.  The book contains a good deal of information.  Famous figures including women are  discussed in the text and expressions such as “John Hancock” and “cowboy” are explained. It is presented in a straightforward easy to understand text about an important event in the history of one country.

Curriculum Connections
If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution is a good book for students to use for researching the American Revolutionary war. This book can be used for the civics and Virginia war SOL’s in grades 5 and 6.

Additional Resources

  • Lesson plan to use with 5th graders teaching how to create a group PowerPoint on the American Revolution by searching the web.
  • Revolutionary War Internet scavenger hunt– is a great website for students to click on highlighted word on each question and travel to the site to find the answer.
  • Revolutionary War Color Pages– just click on a famous Revolutionary War figure  or event to get a color sheet.

General Information
Book: If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution
Author: Kay Moore
Illustrator: Daniel O’ Leary
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 76
Age Range: 9-12
ISBN: 0590674447

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln is a very important historical figure that many elementary grades study as part of our American hertiage. A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David Adler is a book to use with the lower grades when studying Abraham Lincoln and his importance to American history.  The book includes the major life events and contributions of Lincoln. Adler uses just the right amount of details and texts for the younger grades to understand. The illustrations are simple and colorful to hold a child’s attention.  The reader will need to be prepared to explain to young children some of the events Adler explains in the book and the illustrations that the Wallner’s depict in their pictures.  For example, the shooting of President Lincoln and the auctioning of a slave standing in chains. The last page of the book offers a short time line of important events in Lincoln’s life.

Curriculum Connections
A Picture Book of Abraham Lincon is a good picture book to use as part of a civics lesson related to famous Americans.  It is an easy book for children to understand American history from this time period. In Virgina, this book relates to social studies Civics SOL 2.11.  It would also be appropriate to use in kindergarten and first grade when studying about historical accounts of Abraham Lincoln.

Addition Resources

This is a fun way to make Abe Lincoln’s log cabin using pretzels and chococlate icing.

A web based site with various activities for primary students about Abe Lincoln.

Activities, worksheets and crafts for President Lincoln.

Book: A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln
Author: David A. Adler
Illustrator: John and Alexandra Wallner
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: 1989
Reading Level: Ages 5-8
Pages: 26
ISBN: 0590103717

Teaching Geography With Children’s Literature: Welcome to Greece


Welcome to Greece (Countries of The World), by Meredith Costain and Paul Collins is full of educational information.  Inside the front and back covers are Greek phrases, numbers, and English words that derived from the Greek Language.  There is a table of contents with icons that correspond with the information in the book.  It has great pictures that also go with the text and a map showing the surrounding countries.

Curriculum Connections
This book would work well for 1-4 graders studying geography.  With its real-life pictures and its easy-to-read information students will easily learn from this book.

Additional Resources
This website offers many different types of maps for students to look at. You can pick from world or country maps. has several different geography games for students to play.  You can pick from the different countries, the U.S. capitals, or lattitude and longitude games.

National Geographic Kids: People and Places In the Spotlight, gives children facts about the country  and also shows pictures.

Book: Welcome to Greece (Countries of the World)
Author: Meredith Costain and Paul Collins
Illustrator: Vaughan Duck
Publisher: Chelsea House
Publication date: 2000
Pages: 32
Grade Range: 1-4
ISBN: 0-7910-6545-6

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money


The book, The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money, written by Stan and Jan Berenstain helps to teach the young child about saving money  for the future.  Brother  and sister bear  didn’t know very much about money.  They knew how to spend money every chance they had.  They never saved money so Mama Bear was becoming concerned their spendthrift ways. Mama and Papa Bear try to teach the cubs about money by using figures of speech … “You must think I’m made of money” “You must think money grows on trees” but Papa Bear teaches the cubs about money by working, earning money, and saving for a rainy day.  Through various jobs, the cubs are able to learn how to save their money and put it in the bank to earn interest.                                                             

Curriculum Connection

The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money is an excellent book to use with first graders when teaching an economics lesson on saving  for the future to purchase goods and services.  It also incorporates the concepts of making choices.  The book correlates with the VA SOL 1.8 and 1.9.

Additional Resources 

1. Lesson involving saving money using the book A Chair for My Mother.                 

2. An interactive website for grades k-5 on economic skills. Just click on your grade level.  

3. Lesson plan to go along with The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money.  Children will create critter banks in which they will begin to save money.

General Information

Book: The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money
Author: Stan and Jan Berenstain
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1983
Pages: 32
Grade Range: k-2
ISBN: 0394859170

Teaching Earth Science with Children's Literature: Shadows


What always follows you on a bright sunny day?  Shadows by Carolyn B. Otto, uses real-life photos to show and explain how shadows are formed.  All children like to look at their own shadows which makes them curious.  The book walks the student through how to make a shadow with a flash light and how to block the light to produce a shadow on the wall.  The author explains how shadows can change because of the time of day or because the object moves.  She shows how to make shadows change in the real life photos.  At the end of the book, shadows are made by using your hands to create a bird and dog.  This is a good opportunity for the student to try making hand shadows. Otto also gives a suggested activity for parents to do with their child.  The real life photos in the book make learning about shadows more concrete.

Cirriculm Connections 

Shadows can be used as an introduction to the study of shadows which occur when sunlight is blocked by an object or producing shadows by blocking artificial light.  In Virginia, this topic correlates with SOL K.7, Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems.

Additional Resources

Time for Kids is a fun website for students to play interactive games to reinforce the concept of shadows and to watch a short slideshow on shadows.  Here is the link for the website. The time for kids one is not working correctly. click on Activity 1, 2, & slideshow.

Observing and Drawing Shadows is a lesson on how to have partners work with each other to draw and note shadow changes.

I Have A Shadow is an adorable shadow song which explains how shadows are made through music.

Book: Shadows
Author: Carolyn Otto
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 31 pages
Grade Range: K-2
ISBN: 978-0439295833

Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature:How a Seed Grows


How a Seed Grows, written by Helene J. Jordan and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski begins by explaining the simple concept of what a seed is and what seeds can grow into.  The book explains that some seeds grow very slowly like an oak tree seed and some seeds grow fast like a bean seed.  Next, the book conducts an experiment with twelve bean seeds which are grown in eggshells.  This experiment can easily be done in the classroom.  The experiment emphasizes seeds need soil, sun, water and a place to grow.  The purpose of the experiment is for students to dig up one seed on certain days to see what has developed.  Students should be amazed on day six to see the root system growing and on day eight root hairs growing.  After a number of days, shoots will push through the soil, then the leaves will appear.  Krupinski illustrates each stage in the bean seed’s life so that the student will know what their seed should look like.  This experiment offers young children the real life experience of watching a small seed grow into a real plant.

Curriculum Connections

This book can be used as an introduction in kindergarten and first grade to study a plant’s life cycle and things that living plants need in order to grow.  In Virginia, this book applies to SOL K.6a & b – living things change as they grow and they need food, water, and air to survive; plants and animals live and die “go through a life cycle” as well as 1.4a – plants need “food, air, water, light, and a place to grow”. 

Additional Resources

How a Seed Grows – Little Book is a printable mini-book that students can color and put together.
How a Seed Grows is an adorable Sesame Street Live Video demonstrating how a seed grows
Inside A Seed– a lesson plan designed to give students an inside look to discover the beginning of a plant.
Book: How A Seed Grows
Author: Helene J Jordan
Illustrator: Loretta Krupinski
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: kg-2
ISBN: 978-006441079

Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature..What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases


The book, What Is the World Made Of?, presents appropriate hands-on examples from everyday life to teach the concept of solid, liquid, and gas.  Did you every walk through a wall? Drink a glass of blocks? Play with a lemonade doll? Put milk on for socks? These are the fun and humorous questions that are answered in Zoehfeld’s simple text.  The book offers simple activities to do to find out more about the three states of matter. Water is used as an example of how matter can change from solid to liquid to gas, but most things in the world stay in one state or another.  The author offers funny examples of what our world be like if it were a crazy world.  For example, “Can imagine a world where your toys melt when it gets to hot or where the walls of your house turn into hazy gas and animals just walk in and out as they please.”

Curriculum Connections
This book can be used to introduce the states of matter.  The simple activities can be done in the classroom.  In Virginia, What Is the World Made OF? can be used in connection with SOL K.5a (water occurs in different states) and SOL 2.3b (changes in matter such as condensation, melting, and freezing).

Additional Resources
1.Change It! is another book to use to support the teaching the three states of matter.
2.Properties and Changes in Matter is a great website to use to set up centers involving all three states of matter.  These are fun hands-on activities that students will enjoy.  Worksheets are also available.
3.Solid, Liquid, or Gas is a song that teaches the three states of matter.

Book: What Is the World Made Of?
Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Illustrator: Paul Meisel
Publisher: Collins
Publication Date: August 1998
Page: 32 pages
Grade: k-2
ISBN: 0064451631

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a beloved children’s book with repetitive and predictable rhyming patterns on each page.  A new animal is introduced who encourages the small reader to discover which creature will show up next.

“Blue Horse, Blue Horse, What do you see? I see a

green frog looking at me.”

This book is the “sight” version of Bill Martin and Eric Carle.  It encourages students to use their sense of sight to identify the color and animal on each page.  Brown Bear also introduces the student to associate the sense organ with the sense (sight-eyes).  Carle uses tissue-paper collage illustrations.

Curriculum Connections

This book can be used in Kindergarten and first grade.  Brown Bear can be used as an introduction to the five senses in Kindergarten as the student learns the sense of sight.  In Virginia, Brown Bear can be used in connection with the SOL K.2a where students investigate and understand the five senses and the corresponding sense organ.

Additional Resources

  • The website, The Virtural Vine, has multiple ideas to use Brown Bear for making a class book, sequencing, categorizing, memory game, graphing, and language art connections.
  • This website, A to Z teacher stuff,  has thematic units based on brown.
  • This website has lesson plans to use with each of the five senses.

Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See
: Bill Martin, Jr.
: Eric Carle
: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date
: Sept. 1996
: 32 pages
: K-1
: 0805047905

Kindergarten Resources for Shapes!


Students need opportunities to identify, describe, and trace the 4 basic shapes in kindergarten.  They should also explore and manipulate the shapes.

Some Cute Books to Read to Students:

Brown Rabbit’s Shape Book, written and illustrated by Alan Baker – Brown Rabbit receives a colorfully-wrapped surprise package. As he unwraps each layer, various shapes such as circle and squares are highlighted.  Some of the shapes are unusual, like the sausage shape or the curly-wurly shape.

So Many Circles, So Many Squares, written and illustrated by Tana Hoban – This book introduces squares and circles through appealing photographs. The photographs are a variety of circle and square shapes. Circles and squares can be seen in many diverse objects, from dishwashers to colorful teapots, to brightly patterned fabrics.

Secret Birthday Message,  written and illustrated by Eric Carle – In this book the reader is lead through this suspenseful story using shape matching and recognition. A young boy has to carefully follow instructions to find his birthday surprise.

The Shapes We Eat, written and illustrated by Simone T. Ribke – This book explores shapes by describing various edibles such as a rectangular cereal bar, a hexagon shaped cracker and an oval egg. The foods are real photographs.

The Greedy Triangle, written by Marilyn Burns and illustrated by Gordon Silveria – This book is about a triangle with gleaming black eyes and a perky grin that leads a full life.  The triangle  can take the shape of a slice of pie or rest in an elbow's angle when people put their hands on their hips. The triangle is greedy so it asks a shape-shifter to turn it into various other shapes only to change back into a triangle in the end.

Web Sites for Kids:

These are great web sites for young children to explore shapes.  It also gives the child a chance to practice beginning computer skills such as clicking, dragging, and opening and closing a window.  All games are interactive sites and allows the child to be involved.

  1. Toy Shapes– In this game students will drag the toys to the matching picture shape on the shelf.
  2. Let’s Play with Shapes –  students will play a variety of games with circles, rectangles, triangles.
  3. I Spy Shapes– students will click on all the triangles in the picture.
  4. Story of Shapes-the students will listen to poems about the 4 shapes and watch the shape as it is drawn.
  5. Marigold’s Mathematics Shapeville– students will click on a specified shape they chose in the real-life pictures.

Teachers- Look Here for Additional Resources:

  1. Lesson plans for shape activities, printables, templates, and related themes involving shapes.
  2. Links to various early childhood resources. There is a math connection link that has shape songs, lessons, and activities.  At the end, it lists other sites to visit for shapes.
  3. There are 8 shape games linked to the website for students to play such as Shape Story (audio and video descriptions of shapes), Paint the Shapes ( listening and following directions game), Oochy Goes to the Fair (matching shapes), Matching Shape with Krog (matching shapes), Astronomy Shape Match (matching shapes to outlines), Put it on the Shelf (matching shapes with outline), Rat’s Catch the Shape (rat catches shapes), Shapeville (find shapes in the picture).