Author Archive for Carmen

Teaching Time

Introduction to the topic-

This entry covers the topic of telling time.  It focuses on VA SOL 2.12.  The student will tell and write time to the nearest 5 minutes, using analog and digital clock.  There are many great resources for teaching this subject to students, some are listed below.

Text annotations-

The Clock Struck One: A Time-telling Tale (Math Is Fun!) by: Trudy Harris


PreSchool-Grade 2€”A playful expansion of “Hickory, Dickory Dock,” this picture book centers around the concept of a cat chasing a mouse through the hours of a day. “Hickory dickory doo, the grandfather clock struck TWO./It woke the cat, who sprang from his mat,/hungry for mouse-tail stew,” and the race is on. Some of the rhyming verses are awkwardly constructed (“Hickory dickory date,/at EIGHT, they ran through the gate./The farmer’s son/said, ‘That looks fun./I’m coming too. So wait!'”). Expressive mixed-media illustrations display a gleeful mouse swinging on the clock chimes while a sleepy feline dozes on a nearby rug, and then highlight the ensuing chaos as other animals and people join the pursuit. The ending shows a very tired mouse and cat catching their breath as the clock strikes one in the morning. A thoughtful afterword offers a two-page explanation about the difference between digital and analog clocks and how to tell time, and challenges readers to find the various clocks featured in the illustrations (e.g., a cuckoo clock, a pocket watch, and a digital stove clock)- source

Telling Time With Big Mama Cat by:  Dan Harper


PreSchool-Grade 2-A feline claims, “Some people think cats don’t know much-but I, Big Mama Cat, know how to tell time. How else could I keep my busy day on schedule?” Readers quickly discover the irony in this assertion, as illustrations soon reveal that her busy day consists of napping, eating, or waiting to do one or the other. Her proprietary interest in the goings-on of her domain are manifest in her awareness of the humans’ schedule, from the morning rituals of baby feedings and the school bus to the family’s evening routine of dinner and a bedtime story. The simple, consistent arrangement of text and pictures on each page gently frames the humor and perfectly captures the everyday dramas of naptime and tea parties. Humor is furthered by visual details, including birds and mice of which the proud feline narrator seems completely unaware. Clocks showing the times noted in the text are clearly visible on every page and can be supplemented by a clock with moveable plastic hands that is part of the front cover. The tongue-in-cheek tone of the story and high-quality art are so engrossing, however, that the cover clock might be entirely ignored. Buy several copies; this combination is guaranteed to please those learning to tell time as well as their younger siblings.- source

Telling Time: How to Tell Time on Digital and Analog Clocks by:  Jules Older


Kindergarten-Grade 3-Beginning with a robust “TICK” and ending with an equally bold “TOCK,” Older acts as both an encouraging coach and cheerleader for youngsters learning about time. He defines the concept clearly, citing two meanings-when things happen and how long things take. After delving into how time can be broken down (from a second to a century), the author gets down to the nitty-gritty of telling time. He begins with the easier digital-clock face. Once that is thoroughly explained, he ponders the more difficult analog clock. Readers are taken through the process of reading it, and little tests are thrown in to keep students on track. Answers are given in the text, along with rewarding smiley faces. (“Yes! It’s seven-thirty. You deserve another smiley face!”) The cartoon illustrations, showing children and many, many types of clocks are colorful, plentiful, and inviting. A rather silly poem is appended to help readers remember how long things take: “Sixty seconds make a minute,/that’s a lot of seconds, innit?” Although a.m. and p.m. are discussed (“-breakfast is at six A.M., but supper is at six P.M.”) they are never really defined. Beyond these minuscule qualms, this jovial look at time and time telling is as handy as they come.- source

Clocks and More Clocks by:  Pat Hutchins


When the hall clock reads twenty minutes past four, the attic clock reads twenty-three minutes past four, the kitchen clock reads twenty-five minutes past four, and the bedroom clock reads twenty-six minutes past four, what should Mr. Higgins do? He can’t tell which of his clocks tells the right time. He is in for a real surprise when the Clockmaker shows him that they are all correct!- source

Pigs on A Blanket by: Amy Axelrod


Grade 1-2 Children who exercised their math skills with the effervescent porcine family in Axelrod’s Pigs Will Be Pigs (S & S, 1994) can pick up more practice adding, subtracting, and telling time as the portly clan visits the beach. The piglets are ready to go in no time, but the minutes march past as Mr. Pig tries to find a swimsuit that still fits (45 minutes), hunts for car keys (1 hour), gets a speeding ticket (13 minutes), stands in line at the concession stand (60 minutes), and insists they wait for lunch to digest (30 minutes, plus 20 more for the lemonade and brownies). At last it’s “Time to ride the waves!” But no, it’s 5:30, and the beach is closing. Animal characters in colorful summer dress cavort cheerfully through simple cartoon illustrations. The Pigs’ misadventure gets a recap in rebuses at the end, and an afterword poses a few word problems and a discussion of clock face features and digital equivalents.-  source

Web annotations-

This website has an online quiz for telling time.  Students should just click start to begin.  The student is told if their answer is correct or incorrect. If incorrect, the correct answer is stated.

This website contains an online activity with time word problems.  The word problems are related to activities that students might encounter at school.  Students must enter the correct time.  Includes a.m. and p.m.

In “Max’s Challenge”, students keep an online log  of the activities they do in one hour and how many minutes each activity takes.

For this online game, students must find all the clocks showing the time stated.  Self checker component is included!

This online activity allows students to enter a time on the digital clock and the face will move on the analog clock.  A great practice tool.

Additional resources

An online glossary of math terms.  Students can look up terms such as hour, minute, second and use the definitions to make time flashcards.  This flashcard maker could be used for students to type their definitions in.

A free online worksheet maker will allow teachers to make worksheets about time for use in their classroom.  The site will also generate an answer key.

This board game activity would be a great classroom center activity.  Game would be best for 2-4 players.

This site includes a list of  power point presentations for teachers to use when teaching telling time . Presentations include many pictorial example slides.

Teaching Economics With Children’s Literature: I Can Count Money


“One way to count the value of different kinds of coins is to count the most valuable coins first. ”  The book I Can Count Money teaches students many tricks like this one that can help students learn to count money.  The book also contains a review section, index, and a “learn more” section for students.

Curriculum Connections

This book could be used when discussing the differences between barter and the use of money in the exchange for goods and services(SOL 2.8.j).  It would teach students the different types of coins and paper money and their values.  The book would be most appropriate for grade levels 1-2.  A great cross curriculum book, this book ties nicely with math units on money!


Interactive money games such as” flipping coins” and “adding money stacks” are posted on this site- a great teaching tool!

A coloring page called “money match” teaches the values of coins through a matching game.

A song to teach the students the value of coins on this web page.

Book: I Can Count Money
Author: Rebecca Wingard-Nelson
Publisher: Enslow Elementary Publishers
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 24 pages
Grade Range: 1-2
ISBN: 978-0-7660-3658-1


Teaching Ancient Civilizations With Children’s Literature: You Are In Ancient China


Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live in Ancient China? In this book You Are In Ancient China, you will travel back to the time of the Han Dynasty” “You will travel through the town and countryside, learning what it was like to live in ancient China.”  Students can study topics such as food and drink, children in China, and Chinese art.   A glossary of terms, Facts For Ancient China, and  “Find Out For Yourself” sections are also included for student reference. Wonderful photographs and illustrations will help bring the ancient civilization to life for students!

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used to introduce Ancient China to students.  .  It would teach them how the contributions of ancient China have influenced the present world (SOL History 2.1).  The book would be most appropriate for grade level 2.  Curriculum connections could be made in the subjects of art, science, reading, and writing.

Additional Resources

This website contains many summary and notes pages for students to use as they study ancient China.  Also includes many excellent lesson plans and activities for teachers!

Coloring pages of a map of China and the Chinese flag.

A fun activity for kids, this site contains instructions for making a Chinese Dragon Puppet!

Book:  You Are In Ancient China

Author: Ivan Minnis

Publisher: Raintree

Publication Date: 2005

Pages: 32 pages

Grade Range:2

ISBN: 1-4109-0619-1

Teaching Civics With Children’s Literature:


“You must choose a president.  I hope that each of you will run.  Everyone can vote just once.  This job can be a lot of fun!”  In this entertaining book, the Beasties must elect a class president and each candidate presents their platform to their classmates. What a great way to introduce young students to civics.  The book also contains activities and a word list.

Curriculum Connections
This book is a great introductory level (K-1)  book to the topic of civics. By reading it , students will learn that “being a good citizen involves participating in decision making in the classroom”  (SOL K.8.f).  The class could hold a mock election after reading the book so the students would get to see the process of voting in action.  Math could be tied into the lesson my counting the votes.

Additional Resources

Citizenship City  is a PBS kids website containing 8 days of lesson plans and activities for teachers to use when teaching civics!

This website provides printable coloring book pages of US Presidents.

Video of School House Rock song “I’m Just a Bill”.   Lyrics are on this site

Book:  Vote for Me- All About Civics

Author:  Kirsten Hall

Illustrator:  Bev Luedecke

Publisher: Children’s Press

Publication Date: 2003

Pages: 31

Grade Range: K-1

ISBN: 016228978


Teaching Geography With Children’s Literature: Follow That Map! A First Book of Mapping Skills



"Do you know how to find a hidden treasure?  Do you know how far your house is from the candy store?  Do you know the way to your favorite ride at the amusement park?  It's easy!  Join the friends below and follow that map!"  This book teaches kids all about maps in a fun and interactive way.  Terms such as legend, compass rose, landmarks, and symbols are introduced.  There are also sections on understanding a globe and creating your own map.  A convenient index of map terms is also included.

Curriculum Connections

A great introductory level book, this could be used to introduce the concepts of maps.  Once introduced, the students could create their own maps.

It would teach them how to demonstrate map skills by constructing simple maps, using title, map legend, and compass rose. (SOL 2.6 ).  The book would be most appropriate for grade levels 2-3.

Additional Resources

This teacher’s site has many great ideas for class activities about maps.  Even contains a video on reading maps for the students to watch!

This activity page allows students to decorate their own compass rose as well as complete the direction labels.

This video clip shows teachers some ideas for teaching kids about map skills.

This site contains learning activities directly related to the book, provided by publisher.

Title: Follow that Map! A First Book of Mapping Skills

Author: Scot Ritchie


Publication Date: 2009

Pages: 32

Grade Range: 2-3

ISBN: 978-155453-274- 2


Teaching Earth Science with Childrens Literature: Vacation Under the Volcano


“Jack looked up at the erupting mountain.  A red -hot cloud billowed over it.  Fires burned on its slopes.”  Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osbourne is one of the Magic Tree House series books.  It is the story of Jack and Annie and their trip to the ancient volcano (Mt. Vesuvius) in Pompeii.  Contained within the entertaining plot are accurate descriptions of the volcano and its eruptions.

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used to instill interest in/reinforce the subject of volcanoes. It would help teach the students that the earth’s surface is constantly changing (5.7)  The book would be most appropriate for grade levels 3-5.  A great across subject book, it would serve easily as a reading group book.

Additional Resources

  • This Discovery Kids website contains interactive activities about volcanoes including a virtual “build your own volcano.”
  • A fun activity, this page is a volcano word search with key vocabulary terms related to volcanoes.
  • This site contains lesson plans and activities for teachers on the subject of volcanoes.

Book:  Vacation Under the Volcano
Mary Pope Osborne
Sal Murdocca
Scholastic Inc
Publication Date:
74 pages
Grade Range:

Teaching Life Science With Children’s Literature: Grrr! A Book About Big Cats


“And big cats do not purr.  They roar!  GRRR!”  GRRR!  A Book About Big Cats is a chapter book all about the various types of big cats.  There are chapters on lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, and jaguars.    Each chapter discusses habitat, diet, and other interesting facts about the cats.  There are also bolded words and definitions of new vocabulary words.

Curriculum Connections

This book could be used in the instruction of the life science to young students (target grade 1-2).  It teaches that animals have distinct needs and defining characteristics (1.4.B).  It could be nicely tied to a unit on the animal kingdom. It could also coincide with a social studies unit about the continents.  Where the animals live could be discussed (ex. lions in Africa).  A discussion about animal extinction and protection would also be appropriate when reading this book.


This “creature feature”  ,provided by National Geographic for Kids,  has facts, videos, and photos about lions appropriate for kids.

A fact sheet about leopards that could be used for research or report writing.

This teacher’s website contains a lesson plan for teaching about jaguars.

Book:  Grrr!  A Book About Big Cats

Author:  Melvin and Gilda Berger

Publisher: Scholastic Inc

Publication Date:2002

Pages: 1-40

Grade Range:  1-2


Teaching Physical Science With Children’s Literature: I Am Water



I Am Water, written by Jean Marzollo, is a book about the many states of water.  The story is written in first person with “water” speaking to the child.  “Water” explains all the things it can be.  “Watch me.  I am water.”  “I am ice for cooling.”  “I am snow for sledding.”  There are many colorful illustrations of children playing in the water which would be very eye catching to a young audience.

Curriculum Connections

This book could be used in the instruction of the physical science to young students (target grade K).  It teaches that water occurs in different forms (solid, liquids, gas).  (SOL K.5.A)  By reading this book, the students would be introduced to the topics of matter and water.  It would also nicely bridge across subjects if it was used as a reading group book.


The Crayola website provides a coloring book page about water called “water, water everywhere”.  This could be used as a center activity.

This site has various videos and activities for teaching solids, liquids, and gases in kid friendly terms. 

This site contains introductory and age appropriate activity pages on the water cycle.

Book:  I Am Water

Author: Jean Marzollo

Illustrator:  Judith Moffatt

Publisher: Scholastic Inc

Publication Date: 1996

Pages: 1-28

Grade Range:  K-1

ISBN: 0-590-26587-3

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Cool Distance Assistants


“The cool thing about science is that anyone can do it.  You don’t have to be a scientist in a labratory to do science.  You can do experiments with everyday things!”  Cool-Distance Assistants Fun Projects to Propel Things ,written by James Hopwood, is a conglomerate of suggested science fair projects. Some of the examples of the projects shown are “Super-sling” and “Catapult In A Box.”  The projects are very kid friendly with clear and easy to follow instructions.  There is also a introductory chapter that explains the scientific method.  Again, the wording used in this chapter would be easily understood by the students.

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used to introduce the scientific method to students.  It would also be very useful around the time of science fairs to provide them with suggestions. They could either use a project outlined in the book or use the examples to generate ideas of their own.  It would teach them how to plan and conduct investigations and make conclusions (SOL 3.1.j).  The book would be most appropriate for grade levels 3-5.

Additional Resources

A webpage that provides more detail on the scientific method in kid friendly terms

Entertaining video  created by brainpop for kids to watch on scientific method

Wordsearch   containing scientific method terms

Book:  Cool-Distance Assistants Fun Projects to Propel Things
James Hopwood
Publisher: Checkerboard Books
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: 3-5
ISBN: 1599289075