Author Archive for heather

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: Independent Dames



Independent Dames, written by Laurie Anderson and Illustrated by Matt Faulker, is a whimsical book that addresses all the ignored contributions that women made during the American Revolution.

The book begins by addressing the other half of history, the part that we aren’t taught in schools. Believe it or not, women actually held a vital role during the Revolutionary War and the book’s main focus is to take you on a journey through those significant roles. Women and girls supported the troops by providing them with food, clothes, and shoes for survival. They also spied on the enemy and passed on any battle plans they heard while eavesdropping. “Pioneer dames were extra tough. They fought off enemy troops by pouring boiling water on them and firing muskets from frontier forts.” Each page pays respect to the actual women  in history who preformed these jobs and provides a time line  for the Revolutionary War.

Curriculum Connections

Independent Dames should be used in teaching students about the American Revolution. It helps students understand how “everyone” was involved in winning the war against Britain. This book can be used with SOL:

USI.6 (a, d) Students will demonstrate knowledge of the cause and results of the American Revolution by: identifying the issues of dissatisfaction that lead to the Revolution and explaining reasons why the colonies were able to defeat Great Britain. 

Additional Resources

  • Women of the Revolutionary War: Provides  background information on the roles of women during the American Revolution. This is a kid friendly website designed for late elementary/middle school students. It has background information on a few important women and it even provides a list of jobs women took over while the men were away at war.
  • Revolutionary Women of South Carolina:Provides a lesson plan overview for teaching 8th graders about the roles of women during the American Revolutionary. Students have to compare and contrast the roles of women from today’s world vs then.
  • Women in the Revolution: This site provides a 5th grade lesson plan for teaching students about the roles of women during the revolution. It includes a matching game for students to play.

Book: Independent Dames
Author: Laurie Anderson
Illustrator: Matt Faulker
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Press
Publication Date: June 2008
Pages: 40 pages
Grade Range: 3-5

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Martin’s Big Words: The life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr


Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier, is a picture-book biography about Martin Luther King’s life and accomplishments.

The book begins with Martin as a young boy walking through his hometown and seeing signs that read “whites only”.  “Every time Martin read the words, he felt bad, until  he remembered what his mother told him: you are as good as anyone else”. From there the book dives into the major events that shaped King’s life,  becoming a minister and when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.  The conclusion of the book admires King’s accomplishments and explains why he is apart of our history.  Weaved beautifully throughout the book are  actual quotes from King’s writings and speeches. The book also received three awards: Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Award, and the Best Illustrated  Children’s book from the NY Times.

Curriculum Connections

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr could be used as an introduction tool for learning about King’s contributions and how he shaped the future for Americans. This book can be used for SOL:

2.11 Students will identify Martin Luther King as an American whose contributions improved the lives of other Americans

3.11 (b) Explain the many contribuations Martin Luther King made that helped form our government

3.12 Americans are people of diverse ethnic orginis, customs, and traditions

Additional Resources

  • Martin’s Big Words: Discussion Guide: Scholastic provides teachers with a lesson plan that uses the book to teach  about King’s life and accomplishments.
  • “I Have a Dream”: A free worksheet where students can copy the “I have a Dream” speech and write about their favorite parts.
  • Arts and Craft Projects for MLK Day: This site provides you with countless activities and projects to do on Martin Luther King Day. Some activities include: a black and white collage and a black history month quilt. These activities would be a great extension for the book as well.

Book: Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher: Hyperion Book
Publication Date: December 2007
Pages: 40 pages
Grade Range: 2-4

Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Wake up, World! A Day in the Life of Children Around the World



Wake up, World! A Day in the Life of Children Around the World, written by Beatrice Hollyer and map illustration by Tony Robinson is a captivating book that explores different cultures around the world by using actual photographs.


The book begins by providing a short introduction to eight children, all from different regions of the globe. Each child is given a unique symbol that reflects their individual country. Each symbol appears next to the texts, allowing readers to keep track of which child appears in the picture. The book takes you on a journey through the daily lives of the children.  It focuses on the child’s daily schedule of waking up, going to school, eating dinner, playing,  etc. “Children all over the world use what they find around them to invent games, try out new ideas, make their own toys and have fun. Some children work hard to help their families. Other have lots of homework. But there’s always time for play.” The book ends by exploring each child’s dreams for the future and providing some further information on each of the different countries.


Curriculum Connections:

Wake up, World! A Day in the Life of Children Around the World could be used as an introduction tool for learning about basic  geography. This book can be used for a number of SOL’s such as:

History K.4 (b)- describe places referenced in stories and real life situations

History 1.6-Describe how location affects food, clothes, shelter, etc

History 3.5 (a)- locating and labeling the seven continents


Additional Resources: 

* Global Playground Teacher Toolkit– A PDF full of lesson plan ideas for teaching students about culture awareness.


* Play-Doh: Cruising Around the Continents– Lesson plan that uses play-doh to teach the seven continents.


* National Geographic– Explores a wide variety of countries around the world. It provides videos, background information, and a detailed map of each country.


Book: Wake up, World! A Day in the Life of Children Around the World

Author: Beatrice Hollyer

Illustrator: Tony Robinson

Publisher: Oxfam

Publication Date: September 1995

Pages: 48 pages

Grade Range: K-3

ISBN: 978-0805062939



Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: One Hen: How one small loan makes a big difference


One Hen: How one small loan made a big difference written by Katie Milway and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes is an inspiring true story about a young boy from Ghana who takes out a small loan and ends up with a thriving farm.

The story begins with Kojo’s hen, the first thing he buys with the loan money. Soon, he began selling the eggs from the hen in order to purchase additional hens. He takes the money he earns from the hens and starts saving it to attend school. After college, he begins a farm and raises a family of his own. His farm grows into a wealthy investment and he is then able to lend money out to others. Kojo never forgets that his good fortune and determination began “with a good idea and a small loan that made it come true. It all started with one brown hen”.

Curriculum Connections: 

One Hen: How one small loan makes a big difference could be used as an introduction to the concepts of loans and saving money. It could also aid with teaching students about economic choice. This book can be used for SOL’s such as: 3.9 – The student will identify economic choice and explain opportunity cost.

Additional Resources:

One Hen: This is the official website for the book. You can find quizzes for the book, printable poster for the classroom, lesson plan ideas, interactive games for students, and activities for different age groups and content areas. It is a kid friendly site, good for the classroom.

Learning Resource Material: This is a PDF from Kids Can Press that has an overview of the book and provides activities for young readers and older readers.

Microfinance for Kids! A PDF newsletter that explains what microfinance is to children. It even introduces children to the real Kojo and talks about his life.

General Information:
One Hen: How one small loan made a big difference
: Katie Milway
: Eugenie Fernandes
r: Kids Can PressPublication
: February 2008
s: 32
Grade Range
: 3-5
ISBN-10: 9781554530281

Teaching the Water Cycle with Children’s Literature: Down Comes the Rain


Down Comes the Rain, written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by James Hale, is an interactive story that explores the water cycle and how it influences the weather.

The book begins by defining where rain comes from. It then goes step-by-step through the water cycle. The book revolves around four children experimenting with water vapor using common household items such boiling water or clothes drying on a line. They also use the outdoors to explain how humans and animals affect the water cycle. Even further, the book hits on how water vapor can effect the weather outside: “Sometimes the drops in clouds freeze. These raindrops become ice drops. This can happen even on a hot summer day, this is called hailstones”.

Curriculum Connections

Down Comes the Rain could be used as an introduction tool for learning about the water cycle. This book can be used for SOL:

3.9 a,b,c– investigate and understand the the water cycle and its relationship to the Earth. Key concepts include: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and energy from the sun.

Additional Resources

  • North Harris County Regional Water AuthorityGives a quick overview of what the water cycle is and also provides instructions on how to build your own water cycle in the classroom.
  • Thirstin’s Wacky Water Adventure:  This PDF provides you with a printable activity book to give students. Students are introduced to Thirstin, a water cup, and he carries students through word searches and puzzles while teaching them fun facts about water.
  • Pro Teacher. Org: This site has a water cycle song that teachers can teach their students. It’s sung to the tune of “She’ll be coming around the Mountain”.

Book: Down Comes the Rain 
Author: Franklyn Branley
Illustrator: James Hale
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: September 1997
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: 1-3
ISBN: 9780064451666

Teaching Magnets with Children’s Literature: Science with Magnets


 Science with Magnets, written by Helen Edom and illustrated by Simone Abel is an interactive book where students learn the functionality of magnets.

This colorful book is packed with exciting activities to assistance children in exploring the wonderful world of magnetism. All the experiments and activities are designed to be safe and easy for children to do in their own home. The book also provides real life examples of how magnetism is used in everyday life. “Magnets help to make many electronic machines work. Here you can find out about some of them: electric generator and tape recorders ” (20). In addition the book even teaches children how to create their own magnets.

Curriculum Connections
Science with Magnets could be used as a reference tool for students. It would be a great addition to a science work station where students can select which experiement(s) they would like to attempt on their own. This book can be used for SOL's:

  • 2.2 Students will understand and investigate magnets

Additional Resources

  • Brain Pops Jr: Magnets: Is an excellent site dedicated to magnets. It is a kid friendly site that gives background information on magnets and houses an interactive video students can reference. The site also provides teachers with two simple activities they can try with their own students.
  • Magnet Worksheets: Provides 9 PDF worksheets on magnets. There are word searches, vocabulary worksheets, crossword puzzles, writing activity sheets, etc.
  • Home School Tools: Magnets: This is a coloring activity that gives students the opportunity to do a scavenager hunt around the classroom. The objective is for the students to find items that are magnetic.

Book: Science with Magnets
Author: Helen Edom
Illustrator: Simone Abel
Publisher: E.D.C. Publishing
Publication Date: September 1992
Pages: 24 pages
Grade Range: 1-3
ISBN: 978-0746012598

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Dave’s Down-to-Earth Rock Shop


Dave's Down-to-Earth Rock Shop, written by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith is an interactive story where students learn methods for classification and sorting.

Josh's hobby is collecting things. Upon receiving a gift from his uncle, he begins a rock collection. With the help of his friend Amy, Josh's collection begins to grow. They decide to bring their rocks to Dave's-Down-to Earth Rock Shop where he teaches them how to organize their large collection into different categories. Amy says, "We could group our rocks by size, or maybe by color or type." Dave then informs the children that, "there are lots of different ways to group rocks" (p.23). The children end up settling on one method of sorting and to their surprise Dave rewards them with a special honor.

Curriculum Connections
Dave's Down-to-Earth Rock Shop could be used as an introduction tool for learning about classification, sorting, and rock types. This book can be used for a number of different SOL concepts such as: classifying or arranging objects according to attributes/ properties and identifying different types of rock.

Additional Resources

Book: Dave's Down-to-Earth Rock Shop
Author: Stuart J. Murphy
Illustrator: Cat Bowman Smith
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: January 2000
Pages: 40 pages
Grade Range: 1-5
ISBN: 9780064467292

Cha-Ching, Third Grade Money


Money Rhymes

Twenty five cents,
Money that rhymes,
Take one nickel
Add two dimes.

Three fat nickels,
One thin dime.
Makes twenty-five cents
Every time.

Five fat nickels,
No thin dimes.
Makes twenty-five cents
Any time.

In 3rd grade, a part of measurement involves money concepts. Students are expected to build off their prior money knowledge and continue expanding their skills by counting, identifying coins, adding/subtracting, and comparing values.


51fzxgpdq7l.jpgAlexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz – This is a story about a naive young boy who discovers the true value of a dollar. The book begins with Alexander receiving money from his Grandmother Betty and Grandfather Louie. He promises to save the money until he realizes all the exciting things he can purchase with a dollar. The book teaches coin values and subtraction.

hw7.gifHow the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty, written by Nathan Zimelman and illustrated by Bill Slavin. This is a whimsical tale of a second grade classroom struggling to raise money for a class field trip to the statue of liberty. The students attempt multiple fund-raising adventures in order to earn money for their trip. The book takes the reader through all the triumphs and setbacks that the students experience. The main focus of the book is savings and the value of money.

614neqbvwel_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_.jpgThe Case of the Shrunken Allowance, written by Joanne Rocklin and illustrated by Cornelius Wright. The story is a humorous tale about Mike and his friends. Mike discovers that the money in his money jar is shrinking and he uses clues, like the different sizes of the money remaining in the jar, to determine how much money is missing. The reader helps solves the mystery behind the disappearance of Mike’s allowance. The book revolves around adding, subtracting, and coin identification.

Careless at the Carnival, written by Dave Ramsey and illustrated by Marshall Ramsey. Is a story about a young boy named Junior  who decides to go to a local carnival with a bunch of his friends. Junior’s mom tells him not to spend all his money. Instead of listening to his mother, Junior ends up being careless at the carnival and loosing all his money. The book focuses on subtracting and the importance of saving money.

imagedb.jpgSluggers’ Car Wash, written by Stuart Murphy and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg. Is a story about a baseball team who wants to invest in new uniforms for their playoff game. The only way they can purchase the uniforms is to have a fundraiser. The team decides a car wash is the best way to raise the money. The team learns to keep track of their dollars and cents and practices giving back change. The reader learns the concept of saving, adding money, and equivalency.

Kid Friendly Websites 

* Cash Out The site begins by giving the choice of easy, medium, or hard depending on the child’s ability. You can also select to use the help tab during the game. The help tab provides the child with the correct change amount and the child will only need to determine which coins are needed to met the correct change. During the game the child is given an item, like a carrot, and a price of .76 cents. Then the child is given an amount of money for the item, like a 1.00. It is the child’s job to figure out the change for the item by clicking on the coins by the cash register. If the child answers incorrectly, the game will inform him/her how much more money is needed to meet the ideal goal amount.

* Money Flashcards This site focuses on the combination of coins and dollars. Kids are given different flashcards with dollar and coin. Kids must count the amounts shown and type in the correct answer. Although, this site does not give the child a second chance to correct his/her wrong answers, it does provide the child with number sentences with the correct answers.

* Counting Money Game This game focuses on coin amounts. Kids must count the different coins and then type in the correct amount. If they type in the correct amount the game will say “correct” and move onto the next question. If the child answers incorrectly the game will tell the child first if the answer is greater than or less than the amount they guessed. The child is given another chance to answer the question, if he/she gets it wrong again, the game then gives the child some additional assistance with counting the money.

* Dollar Dive The goal of the game is to get the required amount of coins so you can buy sails for your boat. The mission is to escape the sea monster and get home as fast as possible. Kids practice counting and identifying coins. There are three levels to the game and each level is designed to challenges the child.

* Piggy Bank Game This game gives kids the opportunity to find the correct change needed for the piggy bank. Each game begins with an amount for the piggy bank and kids needs to select the coins that will equal that amount. Every time the child gets the right answer, a part of the piggy banks becomes highlighted. The child wins once the whole pig becomes highlighted in a green color.

Additional Teacher Resources

* Additional Book Resources This is a thesis paper by Davina Hunt, a student from Virginia Tech. Her thesis paper connects kids with books based on money. The paper is filled with more than fifty-five kid friendly books on money concepts. She gives a synopsis on each book, which provides a good reference for additional classroom resources. At the end of the thesis, she also has lesson plans for Alexander who use to be Rich Last Sunday and Berenstain Bears Trouble with Money.

* Literature Guides This sites provides a lesson plan for Alexander who use to be Rich Last Sunday. The website is full of activities to do before, during, and after reading the book with your students. An example of an activity that appears of the site is: to read the parts of the story where Alexander spends (or loses) money and make a list where the money went. Use fake money to count out his losses from one dollar to nothing.

* Playing with Coins This site is by Geddes and it provides free lesson plans for money. The lesson plans can be used with the book The Shrunken Allowance and it incorporates fun activities students can try while reading the book. The activities are excellent for individual assignments or group projects.

* Keeping Track of our Money This is an excellent resource for large group activities. This site is ideal to use with the book How the Second Grade got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of liberty. The site provides worksheets for students in managing money and tools for recording money. It helps students organize money into columns and it teaches them about saving.