Author Archive for Jasmine

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: The Story of Jamestown


The Story of Jamestown is a great “comic book” style book on the settling of Jamestown. It is written by Eric Braun and illustrated by Steve Erwin, Keith Williams and Charles Barnett III. The illustrations are wonderful which rich colors and  full of action; sure to keep students’ attention!

It’s divided into four chapters; In Honor of Our King, John Smith and the Indians, A Struggle to Survive, and The End of Jamestown. Each scene has a caption explaining what is going on such as “Smith found tribes along the James River willing to trade. He quickly learned some of their language.” Along with the description there are call-outs showing the characters speaking.

In the back of the book there is a glossary, index, and list of Internet sites and more books on Jamestown.

Curriculum Connections: This book could be used as a fun introduction to the unit on Jamestown. VS.3. Students would also like to read this on their own so it would be a good book for the class library. It talks about reasons for English colonization, describes hardships faced by settlers of Jamestown, and interactions between English settlers and the native peoples including the contributions of Powhatan to the survival of the settlers.

Additional Resources:

  • Virtual Jamestown has a bunch of lesson plans. It also has interactive maps!

  • This National Geographic website has a great video for kids. The video also displays what the narrator is saying so it is a good opportunity for help with fluency.

  • This website allows students to make decisions on colonizing America.

  • Here you can set up a possible field trip to Jamestown.

General Information
Book: The Story of Jamestown
Author: Eric Braun
Illustrators: Steven Erwin, Keith Williams and Charles Barnett III
Publisher: Capstone Press
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 32
Grade range: 3-5
ISBN: 9780736862103

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Where Washington Walked


Where Washington Walked  chronicles the life of George Washington. It’s written by Raymond Bial and has wonderful photographs of the actual places Washington lived, worked and travelled to. It talks about ordinary things Washington did such as “experimenting with crop rotation to improve soil fertility” as well as extraordinary things such as “after the new Constitution was sent to the states for ratification, George Washington was unanimously chosen by the Electoral College in 1789 as the first president of the United States.”

Curriculum Connections: This book could be used for  VA SOL 3.11(b)- identifying the contributions of George Washington. It’s a longer book with a lot of writing so if it is used as an introduction the teacher might have to choose certain pages to highlight. The pictures are interesting so students may also enjoy reading it on their own.

Additional Resources

General Information:
Book: Where Washington Walked
Author: Raymond Bial
Illustrator: Snap-Haus Graphics
Publisher: Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 48
Grade Range: 3-5

Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Looking at Maps and Globes


Looking at Maps and Globes is written by Carmen Bredeson. It’s a great book for introducing the concept of maps to students in Kindergarten and First Grade. It explains what maps are and how they differ from photographs. It introduces and explains terms such as symbols, map legend, map scale, directions, equator, map, globe, North and South Pole. The book has real photographs of globes and people using maps. It also has kid-friendly drawings of maps.

Curriculum Connections

This book could be used to help develop an awareness that a map is a drawing of a place and to show where things are located and that a globe is a round model of the Earth. K.4(a). It could be used to introduce students on how to locate land and water features. K.4(c). The book illustrates that maps show things in smaller size and shows the position of objects. K.5(b,c). It will also help students learn to recognize basic map symbols. 1.4(a).

Additional Resources

  • This National Geographic website is a great resource for teachers. It has lesson plans, activities and many printable maps that can be printed without the names so it can be used for assessments.

  • This National Geographic website is for kids and has interactive geography games!

  • This Education World website has lesson plans and activity and project ideas.

  • Ilike2learn has interactive quizzes on all things geography. They seem more like a fun game than a test.

General Information
Book: Looking at Maps and Globes
Author: Carmen Bredeson
Illustrator: Herman Adler Design
Publisher: Children’s Press
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 31
Grade Range: K-1
ISBN: 0516259822


Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: What is Money?


“What is Money?” by Mary Firestone introduces students to basic economic principles. It begins by demonstrating trading or bartering. “Jim wants Lucy’s candy bar. He has an apple to trade. Lucy does not want the apple. She wants an orange.” It then talks about how that problem could be solved. It also talks about today’s money and how different countries have different names for their currency. It illustrates the differences between paper bills and metal coins and shows how each are made. Lastly it talks about how people use their money. “Lucy likes to read. She spends her money on books. Lucy’s brother likes music. He spends money on CDs. They both think their mom is important. They buy her flowers on her birthday.” This book is easy to follow and also includes “fun facts,” a glossary, and a making change activity.

Curriculum Connections

This book could be used for VA History and Social Science SOL 1.8 and 1.9. It illustrates that people make choices because they cannot have everything they want. Also, people save money for the future to purchase goods and services. This book could be used as part of an anticipatory set to get the students ready to learn about economics.

Additional Resources

  • KidsBank is a neat website that gives money and other banking terms a personalty. They give students a tour and tell all about themselves.

  • Money Instructor has a ton of lesson plans on elementary economics!

  • Here’s a lesson plan that let’s students role-play in a fictional marketplace.

  • And yet more lesson plans on ProTeacher!

General Information
Book: What is Money?
Author: Mary Firestone
Publisher: Capstone Press
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 24
Grade Range: 1-3
ISBN: 0736826424

Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: The Reasons for Seasons


The Reasons For Seasons is written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons. The book opens by explaining how the tilt of the Earth causes the seasons. It depicts the tilted Earth rotating around the sun. The book then talks about each season and its characteristics with five pages of illustrations and explanations. At the end, the book talks about how areas near the equator have little temperature change during the year. It also explains how the North and South Poles are always cold and how it is always dark at the pole during parts of the winter and always light in the summer.

Curriculum Connections: The book can be used for teaching the patterns of natural events (seasonal changes) and the causes of the seasons. SOL 3.8(a), 4.7(b). It would be great as an anticipatory set because it is very colorful and interesting. It will prepare students for diving in deeper during the following lesson plan.

Additional Resources:

General Info:
Book: The Reasons for Seasons
Author: Gail Gibbons
Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Publisher: Holiday House
Pages: 32
Grade Range: 3-5
ISBN: 9780823412389

Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Check It Out! Forces and Motion


Check It Out! Forces and Motion is written by Clint Twist. It is a short book that introduces force and motion to students with great color photographs of people and animals. It explains direction, force, friction, motion, position, slopes, and speed with real-world examples. The left page explains a new topic and the right page asks the reader a question regarding the topic. The answers with explanatory photos are in the back of the book. There is also a glossary with a kid-friendly pronunciation guide.

Curriculum Connections: This book would be a great introduction book for grades K-3. It describes pushing and pulling and how that can change the movement of an object. It discusses slopes which would be an introduction to simple machines such as an inclined plane and wedge.  VA Science SOL 1.2(c) and 3.2.


Additional Resources:

  • SCIENCE ONLINE is a great website for students. It covers many different topics of science. It has a page on force and motion. The site provides lesson plans for teachers, interactive games for students, science video clips and worksheets. It’s your one-stop shop for all things science!

  • This Harcout website has great interactive videos for science. It divides the activities by grade level. The physical science activities are at the bottom of the page.

  • forcesmakethingsmove.jpg  Forces Make Things Move is another great book on force, push, pull, friction and gravity. This book is more advanced. It would be appropriate for grades 3-5. It uses interesting examples that students should be able to easily conceptualize. It is written by Kimberly Bradley and illustrated by Paul Meisel.

  • invisibleforce.jpg An Invisible Force: The Quest to Define the Laws of Motion talks about the lengths scientists had to go from 1493 through the 1600’s to tell the world about gravity, stars and the solar system. This books gives students the background on who made these discoveries, how the rest of the world came to learn of them and how important the discoveries are in modern day life. This book would be appropriate for grade 5 and beyond. The back of the book has a glossary and scientific websites. National Air and Space Museum has a site that explains ‘How Things Fly.’

  • Another website has a more in depth discussion on Sir Isaac Newton and the laws of gravity.

General Information:
Book: Check It Out! Forces and Motion
Author: Clint Twist
Illustrator: Clint Twist
Publisher: Bearport Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 24
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 9781597160612



Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?


What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? is written by Robin Page and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. The book shows students that different types of animals use their eyes, nose, ears, tails, mouths and feet in very different ways. This book can be very interactive. The first page for each body part has an almost 3-D picture of the body part of five different animals. Students can try to guess what animal the part belongs to. When you turn the page it shows the full animal and tells you how the animal uses that body part.

Each use is very unique and interesting. For example: a cricket hears with his ears that are on his knees, a bat “sees” with his ears, a jackrabbit uses his ears to keep cool, a humpback whale can hear sounds hundreds of miles away with his ears and a hippopotamus closes his ears when he’s under water. The back of the book gives more details about each of the 30 animals.


Curriculum Connections: This book would be useful when teaching physical characteristics of animals. SOL 1.5(b). It shows that animals have physical adaptations that allow them to respond to certain life needs. SOL 3.4. The book can also be used as an introduction to habitats. SOL  2.5.

Additional Resources:

  • Here’s the author’s website. It lists all of his books and has a resources page with links to other websites.

  • is a great resource for teachers. It has multiple pages on different subjects within life science. The link takes you directly to a page devoted to answering the question: What is Life? It has 7 days worth of lesson plans, worksheets and activities for this subject.

  • Seeing, Hearing and Smelling the World is a page on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute website. This is a good site for teachers to learn more about the senses to prepare for lesson plans and questions from students. This site was in the back of the book Making Sense of Senses. This book is full of experiments for elementary students.

  • Education World has a ton of lesson plans on life science. Amusing Animal Adaptations works for grades 3-5.

General Information:
Book: What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
Author: Robin Page
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication Date: 2003
Grade Range: k-3
ISBN: 9780618997138