Author Archive for Emily

Teaching Civics With Children’s Literature: I Pledge Allegiance


Bill Martin Jr. and Michael  Sampson are two men which came together in 1978 after meeting at a conference in Arizona. Both men have a passion for children's books and have written many award winning books together. In 2004 Bill Martin Jr. died, but this hasn't stopped Michael Sampson from publishing books that they had worked on together. Michael Sampson plans on publishing a poetry collection that Bill Martin and Michael Sampson have been working on for years in early 2009€¦ make sure to check that out!

I pledge allegiance is a wonderful book for early elementary students which introduces the Pledge through text and pictures. It starts off with the word "I" and has a picture of a child, one single child. This book really allows students to see what each word in the Pledge of Allegiance means. One of my favorite pages talks about the words "the republic" I enjoyed this explanation because this can be very difficult for children to understand but there are tons of people standing around in red and blue and it states€¦

The United States of America is a republic, which means that we the people elect leaders who make out laws.

I found this to be an easy way of explaining a typically difficult vocabulary. As a teacher this book is a wonderful depiction of what the students are expected to say at the beginning of every day. Instead of just saying the words, its important that each student understands what those words that they say everyday really mean.

Curriculum Connections
Students will know and understand the words in the Pledge of Allegiance. They will also recognize the American Flag once they are done reading this book. This touches on the VA SOL k.9.

Additional Resources

  •  The Flag this is a wonderful lesson plan that kinda goes a long with the book. It relates the words to pictures for the students to truly understand what they are saying. I would use this lesson plan in my classroom.
  • Classroom activities are very important for a lesson on the pledge of allegiance. This site goes through a 5 day lesson on the pledge of allegiance.  It relates math, art, literacy, music and cooking throughout the 5 days.
  • This site has the pledge of allegiance through coloring pictures for students. I think this is a wonderful way for students to express their artistic view through coloring.

Book: I pledge allegiance
Author: Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson
Illustrator: Chris Raschka 
Publisher:  Candlewick
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 40 pages
Grades: K-2
ISBN: 0763616486

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend


Johnny Appleseed: The Story Of A Legend is a  wonderful biography written and illustrated by Will Moses. His writing on the early explorer John Chapman will really open the eyes and imagination of children reading this book.

Johnny Appleseed was born in 1774 to Elizabeth and Nathaniel Chapman.  Johnny Appleseed went from town to town in his travels planting thousands of  apple seeds from Pennsylvania to Indiana. Along the way he comes across many different adventures and always seemed to take the path of a good caring and loving man. A section of the book that really touched me stated:

One man told of the time he met Johnny Appleseed on the trail and Johnny was shin deep on cold mud, wearing no shoes. The man kindly gave Johnny an old pair of boots from his own pack. But the next day, back in town, the traveling man saw Johnny again and he was once again barefoot. “What in the world did you do with the boots I have you yesterday?” he inquired of Johnny. “Well, sir, I came upon a poor soul who needed them worse than I,” was his only response.

I found this story to have a wonderful plot, but also to have such great values that we can all think about using more often in our everyday lives. This is definitely a story that your early elementary school students would learn a lot about. The main thing as a teacher you must remember is that everything in this book isn't historically correct. Making sure that you have other resources is key in using this book in the classroom. Overall this story is a wonderful children's book with beautiful pictures and meaningful text which portrays the inspiring life of Johnny Appleseed.

Curriculum Connections

This book does a great job of allowing students to recognize history and describing different events and people in the time period. Johnny Appleseed does a fantastic job of allowing students to follow a influential life of a man that traveled from Pennsylvania to Indiana treating people with respect and planting apple seeds along his way. This could work from VA SOL’s K.1, 2.3, and could be worked into many different VA SOL’s.

Additional Resources

  • Apples Apples and More Apples  is a wonderful resource for different lesson plans and apple activities to do with your class.
  • Johnny Appleseed’s Birthday  is all about the book Johnny Appleseed and contains activities dealing with Johnny Appleseed’s life. This lesson plan does a wonderful job of adapting to all the grade levels in elementary school. 
  • Color Johnny Appleseed has different pictures that you could print off and allow your students to color. This can allow time for the students to silently or in groups color and think/talk about everything they have learned about Johnny Appleseed.

Book: Johnny Appleseed: The Story Of A Legend
Author/ Illustrator: Will Moses
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 48 pages
Grades:  2-4
ISBN: 0399231536 

Teaching Geography with Children's Literature: The Once Upon a Time Map Book


B.G Hennessy is an outstanding author which is truly committed to her books and illustrations. As stated on her website, “I like to start writing a book by asking a question.”  I found this to be an interesting approach to writing children’s books.  The Once Upon a Time Map Book is truly a wonderful and creative resource for children of all ages. The book has a total of six different fairy tail maps. On each page there are clues on how to get to a secret treasure. If you follow the clues correctly, you will find the treasure on each map. This is wonderful because there are also letters and numbers to have the students practice using a coordinate system to locate precise points on a map, compasses and keys. For example on the map of NeverLand the first few clues to finding the treasure are…

  • Moor your boat at Mermain Cove (E1)
  • Take the sandy path east. Where the path splits go south through the jungle.

As you can see the students follow the different clues and use the key and compass as resources to finding the treasure. This allows students to practice using their map skills in a fun, entertaining manner. Overall this book is provides an outstanding  way of learning to read maps that is fun and interactive for all types of learners.

Curriculum Connections
This book can be used for pretty much any geography map lesson. Some VA SOL’s that this book would be perfect for are k.4, 1.4, 1.5, 2.5, 2.6. All these SOLs focus on maps, keys, compasses and the overall understanding of maps.

Additional Resources

  • The web page allows us to read some summaries of this book and different comments. I think its important to read different pros and cons to different books that you may be using in the classroom. I really got a lot from this site and feel that it is definitely a good additional resource.
  • B. G. Hennessy actually has a site of her own with different ideas for integration of her books into the classroom. I found this site to be very helpful and a wonderful tool for teachers which plan on using her books in the classroom.
  • This last site discusses fairy tales in general and how you can use the in the classroom. I felt that this book could be a very good closer for a fairy tale or literature lesson in the classroom.

Book: The Once Upon a Time Map Book
B. G. Hennessy
Peter Joyce
Publisher:  Candlewick
Publication Date: July 15, 2004
Pages: 16
Grades: k-5
ISBN: 0763625213 

Teaching Economics with Children's Literature: How to Make an Apple Pie and see the world


Marjorie Priceman is a wonderful author which has received many honorable awards such as Topic 10 picture book of the year. This obviously shows us that not only is she an outstanding author but she is also a wonderful illustrator. Her love for children’s books is incredible and shows greatly through her works

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World is a educational book with humor, exploration and intrigue through out the journey of getting the ingredients to make an apple pie. The girl travels from Europe to Italy to France and more picking up different ingredients along the way. The book starts off my going to the market which ends up being closed…

In that care, go home and pack a suitcase. Take  your shopping list and some walking shoes. Then catch a steamship bound for Europe. Use the six days on board to brush up on your Italian.

This sets the scene for a trip around the world. Another one of my favorites pages is tords the end of the book when she forget to get the apples so her and all the ingredients which she has picked up throughout the book have to sky dive out of the plan (of which they were taking back home) to land in an orchard and pick apples.

Wait a minute. Aren’t you forgetting something? WHAT ABOUT THE APPLES? Have the pilot drop you off in Vermont.

I just thought this passage was so cute and really entertaining. This book seriously would keep the attention of pretty much any child. Overall I would definatly recommend this book for any classroom lesson on economics or different resources being all around the world!

Curriculum Connections
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World is a wonderful book that really touch on the topics of economic and geography. The main character in the book travels around the world trying to find all the ingredients needed to make an apple pie. This allows for students to see the historical development,  investigate and understand that natural resources are limited (VA SOL 1.8).  Overall this book would be a wonderful introduction to an economical or geographical lesson plan.

Additional Resources

  •  There are many different lesson plans having to do with the book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. On this site it gives you wonderful examples and ideas for incorporating this lesson into the classroom.
  • This is another wonderful lesson plan which incorporates, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. It talks about economics and geography. This lesson also relates this book directly to certain grade levels. This is a wonderful resource.
  • This site is all about Marjorie Priceman and gives you many other links that are very helpful. I found this to be helpful for a lesson when you want to us one of her book!

Book: How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
Author/Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman 
Publisher: Dragonfly Books
Publication Date: 1996
Pages: 40 pages
ISBN: 0679880836

Teaching Earth Science with Children's Literature: Snowflake Bentley


Jacqueline Briggs Martin lives in Vernon, Iowa with her family. She is an award winning author who has been honored as the recipient of the Bulletin Blue Ribbon book, SLJ Best book, ALA Notable, and many more. The way she is able to truly incorporate history into a fun and interesting children’s book in just incredible. Snowflake Bentley is based on a true story of W.A. Bentley and his early recordings of snowflakes. The book begins with W.A. Bentley as a child, playing in the snow and absolutely loving each and every snowflake. It then shows W.A. Bentley growing into a teen and how his family spent all their life savings on a camera for Bentley to use to photograph snowflakes. It then leads us to him in his older age, and how because of W.A. Bentley we now get to see pictures of snowflakes.  Another aspect about this book that was really enjoyable was on the side of each page there were true facts about W.A. Bentley himself. Therefore if you had a child which was really interested in learning more about this topic, you could refer him to this book. For example one page talked about how he got a camera, but the side information explained

 The camera made images on large glass negatives. Its microscope could magnify a tiny crustal from sixty-four to 3,600 times its actual size.

This book is truly a wonderful book for children of all ages.

Curriculum Connections
This book would be a wonderful asset to a lesson dealing with weather, observation, change of habitat, and many more. This book can help you cover many of the Virginia SOL’s for second grade.

Additional Resources

  • Jacqueline Briggs Martin   herself has a website with different materials which directly relate to her different books. This is a wonderful way of incorporating different materials along with her books. This is a great site with tons of different activities, check it out!!!
  • It would be really awesome to show the children Wilson Bentley’ actual site with real pictures of snowflakes he actually took pictures of.  This is a sight that you would project up in your classroom and actual read more about  Wilson Bentley himself, and observe some of his work.
  • This is actual a really awesome lesson plan dealing with snowflakes. I found it to be very cute and something that you could very realistically use in the classroom.

Book: Snowflakes Bentley
Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrator: Mary Azarian
Houghton Mifflin
Date:  1998
32 pages

Teaching Life Science with Children's Literature: Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg


Mia Posada is a fantastic author and illustrator of children’s literature. She has won many awards for her work, such as the National Science Teachers Association Award, Children’s Book Council Award, and the Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students k-12 Selector’s Choice Award. She truly has a gift and a outstanding passion for children’s literature.

Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg starts off my giving you visual and conceptual clues on what type of eyes are being shown. This can give you, the teacher, the opportunity to ask your students to guess and explore what exact animal the book is talking about.

Their mother crawled from sea to land
To bury these soft eggs in the sand.
Can you guess what is
growing inside these eggs.

As you can see the book is laid out by using rhyming words, which makes it fun for the children to read. It also allows us to continuously work on phonics with the children and having a fun rhyme to is a different twist to a book’s layout. Also, throughout the book you will notice that once it tells you what type of animal egg they were describing,  it goes on to  talk about that animal and its life.  As a teacher you can read this to your students and use the facts as a learning tool and/or you can use this book as a fun exploration activity to spice up a lesson plan. Teachers would/should be able to find many options and activities to explore the concepts of this book. At the end we get to see the actual size of the eggs for each animal that was talked about in the book. I find this to be a great summary to an interesting book. You may want to allow students to pass this around or have an actual sheet for them to compare and contrast the different egg sizes we just read about, in order to make the activities hands-on with your class.

Curriculum Connections
This book would be a wonderful asset to a lesson on life science with grades 1st-3rd. In the Virginia SOL 1.5, 2.5 and 3.4 students will investigate and understand that animals including people have life needs and physical characteristics. Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg allows students to guess different animal eggs and their characteristics. By allowing students to guess which animals are in the pictures will allow them to use their imaginations and explore the physical characteristics of different animals and their eggs.

Additional Resources

  • Color Color Color – If you incorporated this book into the first grade classroom it would be really interesting to print pictures of a bunch of different animals from different environments.  Then, allow the children to pick the different pictures they would like to color and make our own animal home. For example, you would print off 5 Alligators, 5 ducks, 5 penguins, and 5 octopus pictures!
  • CyberSleuth gives us many different lesson plans for animal life cycles and characteristics. Its always nice to get ideas from different teachers who have been successful teaching the same subjects.

Book: Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg
Mia Posada
Publisher: Millbrook Press 
Publication Date: 
28 pages
ISBN: 0822561921

Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: How Do You Lift a Lion?


Robert E. Wells is a fantastic author of children’s literature.  He’s written many educational books such as How Do You Lift a LionCan You Count To a Googol, What’s Faster Than a Speeding Cheetah and What’s Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew?. All these books use an abundant amount of vocabulary and have detailed pictures to help students understand what is being read to them.

How Do You Lift a Lion teaches how to use the simple machines; the lever, the wheel and the pulley.  There are wonderful pictures which provide a visual to the sometimes complex vocabulary used in the book. There is also arrows which point out the exact vocabulary used to a picture. For example

The main part of a lever is a bar or rod which balances, or pivots, on a fulcrum. If the force side is longer than the load side, you will have leverage. Leverage adds force to your own strength. With a force side this long,  you could lift a lion.

Although this page uses a lot of vocabulary that students may not understand, there are arrows which point out what the load side is, what the fulcrum is and what a force side is. Allowing students to physically see what each of the vocabulary words look like allows them to visually understand the basic understanding of a lever, wheel, and pulley.

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used as an introduction to a lesson on simple machines and or a review on the different types of simple machines and their make up. How Do You Lift a Lion, teaches about the lever, wheel, and pulley and their functions. This covers the Force, Motion, and Energy Virginia SOL 3.2.

Additional Resources

  • Moving Along With Simple Machines is a wonderful sight with great ideas a pictures for a lesson deal with simple machines and their functions.
  • Pieces of Science gives so many great activities along with actual work sheets for fun, interesting and interactive activities dealing with simple machines.
  • This WebQuest is a wonderful idea to have students explore simple machines by using technology. Incorporating technology into your lesson will allow students to get familiar with technology and the benefits that can come from the computer.

Book: How Do You Lift a Lion
Author/Illustrator: Robert E. Wells
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: 1996
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: 2-4
ISBN: 0807534218

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: My Five Senses

My Five Senses

My Five Senses is a wonderful book for children to learn and/or refine their process skills. Born in New Jersey, Aliki is a wonderful author who incorporates a creative approach to story telling along with excellent pictures in order to attract many different age groups.

It is very important that children learn different processing skills, whereas the idea of the five senses is a very important concept to learn at a young age. In this book, Aliki allows us to bring together the concept of "sight" using a visual picture of eyes. After illustrating and explaining each of the senses, the book reviews the fact that there are five senses and explains that at any given time you can use more than one sense. For example, Aliki states "Sometimes I use all my senses at once. Sometimes I use only one. I often play a game with myself. I guess how many senses I am using at that time. When I look at the moon and the stars, I use one sense. I am seeing."

Next, Aliki continues to use examples to show children how many senses they are using while doing certain activities that they can relate to. For example, the book reads "When I laugh and play with my puppy, I use four senses. I see, hear, smell, and touch."  By the end of the book the readers have reviewed the five senses once more and are reminded that throughout the day they use all five of their senses giving them confidence in their knowledge and a fun way to refresh it.

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used in grades K-2. It introduces students to the five senses and relates each sense to a body part.  Then the book goes on to relate each sense to an actual activity. In Virginia this relates to the K.2 SOL, which states that each child should learn the five senses and sensory description. For example, that sight comes from the eyes. You could use this book as an introduction to the lesson on senses and follow this reading with an activity allowing the students to get up and move, using each one of their five senses.

Additional Resources

  • Time For Kids offers wonderful tips and worksheets for teaching the five senses. This PDF will allow teachers to think about different ways to teach the five senses. This website also states interesting facts on each of the five senses that can be a fun way to learn and be excited about the five senses.
  • A to Z Teacher Stuff has tons of different lesson plans for teaching the five senses. These lesson plans include worksheets and activities to help teach and review the five senses with your class.
  • offers lesson plans that direct a teacher's attention to children that are having trouble comprehending the lesson being taught. They provide many different ways of teaching the five senses and also offer worksheets and fun activities for the class to do along with integrated lessons for all types of learners.

Book:My Five Senses
Publisher: Harper Trophy
Publication Date:
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: K-2
ISBN: 006445083X