Author Archive for Kelly

Teaching Addition and Subtraction Facts in First Grade

This post is meant for first graders learning basic addition and subtraction facts suited for VA SOL 1.5:  The student will recall basic addition facts with sums to 18 and the corresponding subtraction facts.  The following books may be useful in teaching this topic to students.

Text Annotations:


The Action of Subtraction by Brian Cleary and illustrated by Brian Gable is a kid friendly resource that describes to students the meaning of subtraction by giving several examples which are easy to understand.  The text explains that “Subtraction is an action that will make your total less.”  It explains the term “minus,” and that “is” means “equals” in their number sentences. 


Mission Addition written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy provides excellent pictures and child friendly examples.  It explains the terms “addends” and “sum” in simple language.  This resource asks students questions throughout and the answers are provided at the end of the book.

55302772_a.jpgYou Can, Toucan, Math written by David Adler and illustrated by Edward Miller, is a colorful fun book for kids.  This resource reviews addition, subtarction, multiplication, and division.  This text provides examples of addition and subtraction for children utilizing problems involving toucans, pelicans, and hens.


Domino Addition by Lynette Long, would be an excellent resource for teachers who have lesson plans involving dominos.  This text would be a great way to introduce domino use in the classroom.  It demonstrates how adding the amounts on the top and bottom half of dominos can give kids the total number.


 Math Potatoes, written by Greg Tang and illustrated by Harry Briggs, is a highly interactive text for students.  The author offers riddles which pose a problem to the students, offering them helpful hints along the way.  Students who find ways to group numbers will find their answers much easier!  At the end of the text, the author provides answers and tells students helpful ways to solve each problem. 

Web Annotations:

Basic Addition Facts Exercise: This website provides an interactive game for students in which they count how many bugs, snails, etc on two leaves.  The the animals move to the third leaf and the students add to get the total.

UFO Mystery: This interactive game for students ask them to click on a UFO on the right side and then click the right answer.  After students answer all the items correctly they see what is hidden.

Sum Sense: Single Digit Subtraction: In this interactive activity, students drop number cards into a number sentence to make “sum sense.”

Hidden Picture: This interactive game provides students with answers to addition equations and asks them to select the appropriate number sentence to reveal a hidden picture of an iceberg.

Rabbit Takeaway: In this interactive activity, students are shown rabbits on the screen and asked to type in the answer when a certain number of rabbits is taken away.  This game has two levels.

Additional Resources:

Add it Up Lesson Plan: This lesson plan is designed to teach students to use manipulatives to solve addition problems while recognizing the symbols of addition and equal value.

Center Activities: This website provides students the ability to practice their addition and subtraction skills by participating in center activities.  This link reviews several activities teachers can utilize as well as all of the attachments needed for each one.

Math on a Roll: This link provides activities with which students can utilize dice to build their math skills.

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: The Kid’s Guide to Money



Introduction and Summary:

The Kid’s Guide to Money: Earning It, Saving It, Spending it, Growing it, Sharing it, by Steve Otfinoski, provides kids with information on several different areas regarding money.  This book tells kids that to get money you will have to earn it.  It reviews several chores you may do in order to get an allowance.  It also provides information on jobs that kids may be interested in when they grow up.  This text has a chapter about spending money and focuses on the responsibilties of spending and the importance of making a budget.  It goes through detailed steps of how to make a budget.  Further information is provided on how to be a smart consumer.  This text further talks about the rewards for young children to put their money in a bank and how adults put their money in other areas, like the stock market and bonds.

Curriculum Connections:

This text would be useful in helping children understand that in order for studens to get the things they want, they have to work to earn them. (VA SOL K.7 b).   In addition, this reference contains very helpful information regarding saving money, informing students “if you want something you can’t afford right away, the best way to get it is to save for it.”   This text provides four reasons why it is helpful to put your money in a bank and talks about the usefulness of a savings account (VA SOL 1.9).  This book contains appendices which provide books for further reading, a glossary, and an index.

Additional Resources:

Money, Money Honey, Bunny is a lesson plan that utilizes this book and provides information on the difference between spending and saving and goods and services.  This lesson also provides a matching game to review content from the story and practice of rhyming words.  This lesson is for ages 6-8.

The Pickle Patch Bathtub is a lesson plan that focuses on opportunity costs and savings.  This lesson is for ages 8-10.

Introducing the Classroom Economy: This website provides a lesson to set up a classroom economy, providing classroom jobs to students and assigning daily or weekly salaries to these positions.  This lesson has a component involving credit and debit that could be left out for elementary students.

General Information:

Book:     The Kid’s Guide to Money
Author:  Steve Otfinoski
Illustrator: Kelly Kennedy
Publisher:  Scholastic Inc
Publication Date:  1996
Pages:  1-128
Grade Range: k-6
ISBN: 0-590-53853-5

Teaching Ancient Civilizations with Children’s Literature: Ancient Greek Children


Introduction and Summary:

Ancient Greek Children, by Richard Tames, provides a wealth of information about how it was for children growing up in Ancient Greece.  This book reviews information regarding caring for children, slavery, education, sports, and beliefs and behaviors.  This text reviews that Ancient Greece is the origin of the Western Civilization.  “Greeks invented democracy, drama, and trial by jury.”  In addition, many of the words we use today are of Greek origin.  This resource describes that young girls were treated as “pure and innocent,” while boys were taught to be “tough and competitive.”  A woman’s job was to “have children, bring them up, and organize the household.”  Women had a much shorter life span, as childbirth was risky in those times and many women died by the age of 40.  Families preferred to have boys so that they could carry on the family name.  Until the age of 6 all children spent their time in the women’s quarters of the home.  Most Greek children did not learn to read or write.    This text contains a glossary and index for students easy reference.

Curriculum Connections:

This resource would be appropriate for a third grade classroom. Given the amount of information in the text it may be useful to read  sections to the class at different times and have open discussions regarding the information.  This text would be useful in explaining how the contributions of ancient Greece have influenced the present world in terms of democracy and sports (VA SOL History 3.1).

Additional Resources:

This resource provides information on the Ancient Greek Olympics and describes the differences between the Olympians from Sparta, Athens, Corinth, Angos, and Megora.  This provides further support of the importance of sports in Greece.

This resource provides an activity that asks children to draw on a vase what is happening in the 21st century, as people in ancient Greece often drew what was happening in their world on vases to share about their history.

This resource provides a video clip of what life was like in Ancient Greece.

General Information:

Book:   Ancient Greek Children
Author: Richard Tames
Illustrator: Tinstar
Publisher: Heinemann Library
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 1-48
Grade Range: 3-5
ISBN: 1-58810-639-X

Teaching Civics using Children’s Literature: Created Equal: Women Campaign for the Right to Vote


Introduction and Summary:

Created Equal: Women Campaign for the Right to Vote, written by Ann Rossi, is a highly informative text outlining the women’s rights movement and their journey towards gaining the right to vote.  This resource highlights influential women in history such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony, to name a few.   Rossi describes how events such as the Temperance Movement and the Civil War gave women the opportunity to demonstrate how they could contribute.  They helped with the effort during the War and gained leadership skills.  With these skills, women founded organizations, such as the American Equal Righs Association to fight for women’s right to vote.  This text describes how the 14th and 15th amendments were passed, with women still not given voting rights.  It discusses how some influential women’s rights leaders disagreed if women should continue to wait or to press to gain their rights with the 15th amendment.  This book contains quotes from women’s leaders, as well as from the man who provided the final vote giving women the right to vote, Harry Burn.  This resource provides a wealth of information for students and is well written and easy to read.  At the end of the book there is a glossary of important terms and an index.

Curriculum Connections:

This would be a great resource for a second grade classroom to understand and learn about influential members of the women’s rights movement, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (VA SOL 2.11).  It may be beneficial to read this book to a second grade classroom depending on the children’s reading ability.  It may be read in separate sections due to the amount of information presented.  This text would also be useful as a tool to demonstrate the importance of voting and how citizens can work to achieve change.

Additional Resources:

This link provides a women’s suffrage word search which will help children become familiar with some of the vocabulary from this time in history.

This link provides several activities that classes could do together; to include matching quotes, multiple choice, and unscrambling words.

This link shows the petition that Susan B. Anthony wrote to the US Congress.  This would be interesting for children to see what she actually wrote.

General Information:

Book:   Created Equal: Women Campaign for the Right to Vote (1840-1920)
Author:  Ann Rossi
Illustrator: National Geographic
Publisher: Crossroads America
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 1-40
Grade Range: 3-5
ISBN: 0-7922-8275-2

Teaching Geography using Children’s Literature: The Whole World in Your Hands



Introduction and Summary:

In The Whole World in Your Hands, by Melvin and Gilda Berger, chidlren will be introduced to maps and their uses.  They will look at their town, state, country, and world.  This text defines the continents, the equator, the oceans, and the poles.  This text also explains north, south, east, and west.   This resource is interactive and gives children a map of a subdivision with street names and asks them to trace certain routes that the children in the story can take.  The authors discuss that on a state map there can be symbols that informs what type of crops are grown there and what kind of animals live there.  In addition, this text provides a map of the United States and asks children to locate certain states.  The text describes why most people do not live the equator nor near the poles, but in between.  At the end of this book is an index for quick reference.

Curriculum Connections:

 This text would be useful for kindergaten level geography.  This resource describes locations using words like right and left to describe east and west (K.3).  This text further provides examples of maps as flat representations and of the round globe, teaching that the world is round like the globe,  It further uses child friendly stories to help students track how they would get to certain real life places on a map (school).  Finally it reviews the oceans and other features of maps. (K.4 a, b, c)

Additional Resources:

 This link provides an interactive and hands on activity for students to assist in their city map reading skills.

This link provides students the opportunity to become more familiar with their own geography in an activity called Where I Live.  In this activity kids write information about themselves, and parents could assist them if they have difficulty with writing.

This link provides many hands on activities which will get children moving in order to learn more about reading maps.

General Information:

Book: The Whole World in Your Hands
Author: Melvin and Gilda Berger
Illustrator:  Robert Quackenbush
Publisher: Ideals Publishing Corporation: Discovery Readers
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 1-48
Grade Range: Kindergarten
ISBN: 0-8249-8646-6

Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: The Planets in our Solar System


In The Planets In Our Solar System, by Franklyn Branley, the author reviews the nine planets; including Pluto in the discussion.  The author explains that several of the planets look like bright stars; but for others (Uranus and Neptune) you would need a telescope to see them.  This text explains that asteroids, comets, and meteoroids are part of the solar system and describes each.  This book explains to students that the planets move around the sun in orbits.  The author informs that the coldest planets are those farthest away from the sun (Neptune).  Mercury and Venus are the hottest planets as they are the closest.

Curriculum Connections
This text would be a great resource for a fourth grade classroom to learn the planets in the solar system, their order, and their sizes.  This book includes excellent visual aids for students to gain a clearer understanding of these concepts.  It provides several different pictorial representations of these concepts, as well as a chart that explains how long it would take for each planet to go around the sun  (VA SOL 4.7 a, b, c).    This text further provides two projects that students can complete.  One involves creating a mobile of the solar system to show the different sizes of the planets.  Another project involves using a wall to make a model to demonstrate the nine planets and their distances from the sun.

Additional Resources

  • KWL: This site provides a booklet for students to record what they know, what they want to know, and what they have learned about the solar system.
  • Solar System Shuffle: Game in which students match the planet with the correct description.
  • Where, or Where Does that Little Object Go:  Game in which students match which planet goes into which orbit on the map.

Book:  The Planets in our Solar System
Author: Franklyn Branley
Ilustrator: Don Madden
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Publication Date: 1981
Pages: 32
Grade: K-4
ISBN: 0-690-04579-4

Teaching Life Science Through Children’s Literature: A Tree is Growing


In A Tree is Growing, by Arthur Dorros, the text explains the changes that trees go through over the seasons and how big trees continue to grow and change.  It discusses how trees need sunlight, air, soil, and water to grow.  This book describes the function of the roots and the bark of the tree.   The author describes how tree branches are bare in the winter, but that they are preparing for spring as they have small buds which will become leaves.  The text also demonstrates the process of photosynthesis with a helpful pictorial example.  This children’s book provides examples of many types and shapes of leaves and explains that all leaves make food (sugar) for the tree.  Throughout the pages of this text, the author provides interesting factual information about certain types of trees.

Curriculum Connections
This text could be utilized in a variety of classrooms (kindergarten-fourth grade). The author describes how trees change as they grow and explains that bark protects the tree; when a tree is young, the bark is smooth; as it grows older, the bark become rough and cracked.  The book provides an excellent picture of the inside of the bark showing the growth rings.  It also describes how trees have no leaves in the winter, but in the spring the leaves reappear again.  In addition, it describes that trees get minerals from the soil in order to help them grow (VA SOL k.7). This text also describes the process of photosynthesis with a pictorial example demonstrating how tree leaves “breath in” carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air (VA SOL 4. 4c).

Additional Resources

  • This tree research worksheet provides students with a word bank to fill in important points of the tree life cycle.
  • This activity invites students to use their creative movement to act out the life cycle of a tree.
  • This interactive website provides children with pictures of how four different trees go from a seed to a plant.

Book: A Tree is Growing
Author: Arthur Dorros
Illustrator: S.D. Schindler
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 1997
Grade Range: K-4
ISBN: 0-590-45300-9

Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: The Solid Truth about States of Matter


The Solid Truth about States of Matter, written by Agnieszka Biskup, contains four distinct chapters.  In the first chapter, Max describes how everything is made of matter.  He describes that matter can be hard or soft, any color, and any texture.  He discusses the difference between mass and weight.  The book reviews that atoms and molecules are always moving; and how fast they move depends on their form.   The second chapter describes the differences between solids, liquids, and gases.   In the third chapter, Max discusses melting, boiling, and freezing.  The final section describes the difference between evaporation and condensation.    Max presents how the different states of matter are important in our everyday lives.  This book contains a glossary and index in the back and additional book resources.  This book is written in a cartoon format that kids may find enjoyable.

Curriculum Connections
This book can be used in the classroom to understand the properties of solid, liquids and gases.  It contains useful picture examples of how water can be a solid, liquid, or gas.  It also describes how molecules in a solid barely move at all, and when you heat a solid, the molecules move around more  (VA SOL 2.3a and b). Additionally, the processes of evaporation and condensation are described.  This book provides real life examples that children can use to understand the concepts more clearly.  It reviews why you would feel cold when you leave a swimming pool, as water evaporating on your skin draws heat from your body.  Additionally, it explains that when you sweat your body cools itself off through this evaporation (VA SOL 2.3c).   This book contains examples that will help young children understand these processes and how they can apply them in their day to day activities.

Additional Resources

Book: The Solid Truth about States of Matter
Author: Agnieszka Biskup
Illustrated: Cynthia Martin and Barbara Schulz
Publisher: Capstone Press
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: 2
ISBN: 978-1-4296-2339-1

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: How Many, How Much


Introduction and Summary

In How Many, How Much, by Rosemary Wells, Timothy and his friends learn about a variety of topics including: numbers, measuring, and money.   In one example, they are going to measure something in school.  As the reader, you are asked to look at the ruler at the top of the page and notice that the four is missing.  You are asked to use the ruler to measure a pencil.  In another example, the friends use their feet to measure distance.  Two characters walk from their seat to the Learning Tree and the reader is asked who sits closer/farther away from the tree.  In an exercise related to this, the reader is asked to use his feet to measure things.  The question posed is: In your bedroom, how many steps is your bed from the door?  In this manner, the child will transfer his learning from the book into his own experience.

This book includes many useful exercises involving numbers, shapes, and money and could be used for a variety of lessons.

Curriculum Connections

This enjoyable book would be an excellent resource for a kindergarten classroom.  It contains many activities that the teacher can do with the class as she reads the book to them.  It opens with an activity involving counting in which the children can be asked how many teachers and students do they see in the picture.  It contains an a simple activity involving classification of objects and another for identifying colors and shapes (K.1 k-objects are described pictorally and verbally).  In addition, this resource asks questions about days of the week and how to use money (K.1 k).    Finally, there are exercises involving measurement.  These are simple, yet interactive and fun for students. (K.1 e, g, h: standards focused on measurement)
Additional Resources

  • Measurement Man: This site provides an interactive activity to help students learn measurement conversions.
  • First Grade Measuring Game: This site provides an interactive activity for students to measure different lengths of pencils with a measuring stick.
  • How Tall: This interactive game allows students to estimate measurements by using non standard units.

Book: How Many, How Much
Author: Rosemary Wells
Illustrator: Michael Koelsch
Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc.
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 24 pages
Grades: K-1
ISBN: 0-670-89652-7