Author Archive for Anthony

Teaching Civics with Children's Literature: Common Ground


Molly Bang does an incredible job making the reader ecologically aware.  She breaks done the reasons for the earth's depleting resources into elementary vocabulary.  Bang gives an example that makes it possible for a young reader to follow.  This book has the potential to change a generations to come.

Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share is a story of the history of mankind not being able to share.  Bang begins the story with the story of a village whose occupants were not able to share equally and ended up abusing the resources- or grass in this case.  Bang goes on to discuss the ocean in reference to fishing and the forest in reference to lumber.  The book does a wonderful job telling stories and giving examples the reader can relate too.  "Today each lumber company wants to cut down as many trees as it can, to sell for wood, paper, and fuel (17)."  The book also discusses the short run and long run affects on the plant.  The boy walks the reader through the solar system and explains the different plants and stars that make up the system.  "The more trees the lumber company cuts down, the more money it makes, – in the short run (18)."  After the example, Bang emphasizes the problem and does makes that the reader realizes the potential for damage that is present.  "But after cutting down so many trees, there are fewer and fewer forests (19)."  Bang does a wonderful job teaching a lesson with this book while making it an entertaining read.

Curriculum Connections
The student will learn the about the importance of sharing and utilizing resources.  Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share is a great way to introduce sharing if working with civics or recycling if working with science.  This book is a perfect tool for instruction when attempting to teach Civics K.8a.

Additional Activities

  • Try giving students the opportunity to contribute on the creation of classroom rules.
  • Try a game with the students.

Book: Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share
Author/Illustrator: Molly Bang
Publisher: Blue Sky Press
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 32
Grades: K-5
ISBN: 0590100564

Teaching Geography with Children's Literature: Maps and Mapping


Jinny Johnson does a great job breaking down the loads of information found on maps.  Johnson uses pullouts and fold outs to keep the reader engaged.  The book breaks down every symbol there is on a map and makes it easy for the reader to decipher.

Maps and Mapping is the story of a tour guide named, Suki West, who guides the reader around the world and through different landscapes.  The character Suki West uses every type of map tool that you can think of and introduces it to the reader.  "Like the early explorers, I use a compass to find out where north is. (10)" The book breaks down maps and globes through out.  It discusses nearly every piece there is to the "world puzzle".  Maps and Mapping discusses flap maps, ocean maps, city maps, and many others.  It also has a glossary in the back and allows the reader to look up the major terms and definitions found in the book.  This is a great book for teaching mapping skills and the different concepts of all types of maps.

Curriculum Connections
The student will learn maps skills.  The students will be able to recognize symbols and use cardinal directions on the maps.  This book correlates directly with Geography SOLs 1.4a and 1.4b.

Additional Activities

Book: Maps and Mapping
Author/Illustrator: Jinny Johnson
Publisher: Kingfisher
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: PreK-2
ISBN: 0753460629

Teaching Earth Science with Children's Literature: Our Stars

Anne Rockwell does an excellent job of walking the reader through the eyes of the little boy that is star gazing.  The book is very informative; and a quick and easy read that will assist children in their quest for knowledge regarding the Earth's solar system.  The illustrations are nice and very well put together.

Our Stars is the story of a young boy who describes the size and features of the Earth's solar system in detail.  The boy walks the reader through the solar system and explains the different plants and stars that make up the system.  "Constellations can tell us many things. When we see Orion the Hunter in the sky, we know it is the season to harvest what we planted (6)."  The book covers the large topics and goes into detail with certain subjects.  "A star is made of fiery gas. It gives off brilliant light (3)."  Our Stars introduces the young reader to different scientific terms such as meteors, satellites, orbit, and constellations.  The book is a great learning tool for students being introduced to the solar system.

Connecting the Curriculum
The student will learn the about the significance and uniqueness of the solar system.  Our Stars makes learning scientific terms and theories fun.  This book is a perfect tool for instruction when attempting to teach Science SOL 1.6.

Additional Activities

  • Try making a planet.
  • Try a movie for more visual aid.

Book: Our Stars
Author: Anne Rockwell
Illustrator: Adrienne Kennaway
Publisher: Voyager Books
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 24 pages
Grades: PreK-1
ISBN: 0340486988

Teaching Life Science with Children's Literature: Crafty Chameleon

Mwenye Hadithi's work, The Crafty Chameleon, teaches two lessons focusing on bullies and the lifestyle of chameleons.  Adrienne Kennaway, the illustrator, does a wonderful job with the artwork in this book.  She brings every page to life, giving the reader the urge to turn the page.

The Crafty Chameleon is the story of a chameleon that has had enough of certain animals in the forest that are not very considerate and take advantage of the animals that are smaller.  The chameleon wants to teach the animals a lesson about being courteous and in the process shows the reader how he is able to disguise himself to infiltrate his plan.  The chameleon wants the leopard and crocodile to realize that they are not allowed to treat others the way they have been treating him.  After being bullied by both of the animals, the chameleon threatened to tie them up and pull them around the forest.  The leopard and crocodile laughed and refuse to believe that the little chameleon could neither tie them up nor pull them.  Later in the story, the leopard and crocodile's worst nightmare came true and the chameleon was able to do all of the above.  When the chameleon finished "pulling" them around the two animals said, "I am sorry, Mr. Chameleon, I will never bother you again, I promise! Please let me go (29)."  This apology allowed Hadithi, the author, to get the main point of her work across as she brought the book to a close.  "For brains are often better than strength or size (32)."  Throughout the book, the Chameleon was one of the smallest animals in the forest and he was having problems with the larger animals.  He was not as strong or as big, but he used his individual characteristics to his advantage.  The chameleon changed his color to adapt to his surroundings in order to survive and out smart the two larger animals.  "€¦But just in case the animals find out about the trick he played, he changes color and hides when he hears them coming (32)."  This book has the potential to be a child's favorite book because of the pictures and the very comprehensible literature.

Curriculum Connections
The student will learn about the specific characteristics that certain animals possess.  The chameleon's ability to change its color and blend into its background is something that other animals are not able to do.  This aspect of the story connects directly with the science SOL 1.5b.

Additional Activities:

Book: The Crafty Chameleon
Author: Mwenye Hadithi
Illustrator: Adrienne Kennaway
Publisher: Hodder Headline
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: Preschool-2nd
ISBN: 0340486988

Teaching Physical Science with Children's Literature: Thinking about Colors

Jessica Jenkins' book Thinking about Colors is an excellent book teaching young readers about basic colors and on what objects they can find them.  The illustrations are very rare and look similar to those of someone grades 2 or 3. However, there are a few pages that are used to transition between colors that are much more sophisticated than those that are used to discuss the individual colors.

This book by Jessica Jenkins takes the reader through the new paint set that Simon received.  "Look, everybody! I've got a new paint box. Come with me and I'll show you the colors€¦ (2)."  He takes the reader through each color, giving different example of objects for each color.  Each color gives somewhere between four and six examples.  The examples are of where the reader my see that particular color.  "Green is for returning empty bottles (so they can be recycled) (12)."  Some of the language being used appears to be a little too advanced for the average first grade or kindergarten student.  However, a lot of the language in this book can inform a young reader of certain objects in the world.  "But red is also the color of the Red Cross, a group that helps rescue people all over the world in emergencies (4)."  Thinking about Colors also shows the different shades that there are of each color.  The two pages discussing the color blue show shades ranging from: cornflower blue to royal blue to arctic blue and indigo blue.  The different shades at the top of each section help the reader expand their knowledge of each color.  The book ends with all of Simon's friends saying what their favorite color is and explaining it to the group.  As everyone is speaking, Denise brings their attention to what Simon is doing.  Simon is painting a picture with his new paint box and it says "The End (38)."

Curriculum Connections
This book can help students' expand their awareness of different colors in their every day lives.  This book relates directly to SOL K.4a (understand that the position, motion, and physical properties of an object can be described) because of the different variations that it gives for each color and the different examples that it uses to give the reader a visual.

Additional Activities

Book: Thinking about Colors
Author: Jessica Jenkins
Publisher: Dutton Children Books
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: K-3rd
ISBN: 0525449086

Teaching Processes Skills with Children's Literature: Inchworm and A Half


Elinor J. Pinczes' book Inchworm and A Half takes the reader on a day in the life of an inchworm who loves to measure different objects in the garden.  Along the way, the inchworm realizes that every object in the garden is not an exact inch and he needs help.  The illustrations by Randall Enos are very lively and make it easy for the reader to visualize the inch, half-inch, third-inch, and quarter-inch in comparison to the objects being measured.

This book by Elinor Pinczes walks the reader through the daily activities of an inchworm loves to measure different objects.  He spends his days measuring fruit, vegetables, and leaves.  However, when the inchworm begins to measure a cucumber he realizes that the cucumber is a little more than two inches, but not quite three.  "My measurement's off just a bit. One, two, nearly three! How could this be?… (6)" The inchworm meets a smaller worm as he falls off the leaf that was attached to the cucumber.  After a few minutes of discussion, the smaller worm yelps, "I'm a fraction, that length should be easy for me (10)."  The smaller worm realizes that he is half the size of the inchworm and that he would fit perfectly on the end of the cucumber.  Every one loop the inchworm made, the half-inch worm made two and they continued through the garden (16).  However, the tandem came across another object- a carrot- that they were not able to measure.  Luckily, a smaller worm than the half-inch arrived and he announced that he was one-third of an inch.  The team received a new member and continued on their way, measuring everything they came across.  However, another object- this time being a tomato- that they were not able to fully measure appeared.  The three worms were astonished that something was smaller than one-third of an inch.  Yet again, the day was saved by another worm in the area who just happened to be one-fourth of an inch.  The four worms were ready to take on the world.

Curriculum Connections
This book can help students view objects in everyday life as measuring tools.  Instead of just using a ruler, yard stick, or meter stick, children may think to use a pencil, pen, or piece of paper to calculate the length of an object.  This book can create a new prospect for children and help them see more in an object than there appears to be.  This book will meet the requirements for the SOLs K.1f, 1.1e, and 2.1e.  The kindergarten and the first-grade SOLs require students to use non-standard object to measure objects.  The second-grade SOL requires students to learn the standard English units.

Additional Activities

Book: Inchworm and A Half
Elinor J. Pinczes
Randall Enos
Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: K-2nd
ISBN: 0618311017

Computation Podcast – 12 Ways to Get to 11


In this podcast, Anthony Hatch introduces listeners to the book 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam.

I choose the 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam because I recently completed a lesson plan on computation. The book is a great way to show students twelve fun and exciting ways to get to eleven. Merriam does a fantastic job of showing readers new ways to eleven and incorporating them
into her story.

Related Books
My First Counting Book by Lilian Moore (for preschool students)
Counting Our Way to the 100th Day of School by Betsy Franco

More Information
Try a lesson on story problems that uses Merriam’s book.
This lesson on Dinosaur Sums uses Merriam’s book and contains a good worksheet for making 12.

Counting Book Podcast – The M&M’s Count to One Hundred Book


In this podcast, Anthony Hatch introduces listeners to the book The M&M’s Count to One Hundred Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath.

In this rhyming text, readers us M&M candy to count to 100 by ones, twos, fives, and tens. This book provides a useful introduction to skip counting.

Related Books
The M&M’s Addition Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath
The M & M’s Subtraction Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath

Additional Information
The official site for M&M’s has games and activities for kids.
Here is a booklist for 100th day celebrations.