Author Archive for Kara N

Number Sense Instructional Resource Set

Teaching number sense to kindergartners can be fun. Books, manipulatives, and games can all make learning about numbers much more interesting. Hopefully the following information will provide useful resources to teachers and parents when they teach counting forwards, counting backwards from 10, writing numerals and recognizing numbers.  (VA SOL K.2, K.4)  

Great books for teaching number sense:


One Gorilla      Author/Illustrator: Atsuko Morozumi

A lovely counting book with beautiful illustrations. Children will enjoy finding and counting all the animals scattered on each page. This is a good book to teach one-to-one correspondence.


Ten Black Dots       Author/Illustrator:  Donald Crews 

This is a very creative counting book that can open the door to many math activities in the classroom. The author starts the book with 1 dot as a sun and ends with 10 dots as balloons stuck in a tree.


Ten Sly Piranhas     Author: William Wise         Illustrator: Victoria Chess

This is a great read-aloud book for a kindergarten classroom. Children will love to learn to count backwards from 10 to 0 while listening to the rhyming story of a very hungry fish.


Ten, Nine, Eight     Author/Illustrator:  Molly Bang

This is story about a dad getting his daughter ready for bed. This book is very easy to follow and teaches children how to count down from 10 to 1.


1 Hunter      Author/Illustrator:  Pat Hutchins

This book is about a hunter looking for animals. The children will love to count the animals and look for the ‘hidden’ animals, anticipating the next page. This is a wonderful book to introduce the numbers 1-10.  

5 Great websites with math games for kindergarteners

  • 123 Order has students pick the next number in a sequence of 3 numbers.
  • Count Chickens is another fun game in which kids count animals and then choose the correct number out of 3 choices.

    2.   Chevron cars has kid-friendly connect the dots, all in the shape of cars.


  • Game 1: Sheep Counting- The player has to move the sheep from left to right until there are the same number of sheep in each paddock.
  • Game 3: Counting- The player has to count the objects on the screen, then enter the number in either numerical and/or in word format.
  • Game 6:Representing Numbers- The player has to move a crayon with a word number to the corresponding digit of a Flying Girl.
  • Game 11:Numbers- The player has to move a frog across a pond using the next highest number.

    4. Fishin’ Mission is a really cute game that kids will love. They are to catch a specific number of fish and put them in the fisherman’s net.

    5. Big Sea Count Counting Game will be a favorite with kindergartners. The students will help Cora and Gavin count things in the sea. 

4 Additional resources to support number sense instruction

  1. Kidscount1234 is an amazing website with counting games and activities that children will love.
  2. Kidzone has numerous worksheets that can be useful to reinforce concepts.
  3. Calicocookie details how math journals can be used to teach math in Kindergarten classrooms.
  4. Hubbards Cupboard has many resources to teach number sense. I especially like the math tubs and the counting bags.

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: Abe Lincoln’s Hat


A history book with humor? Yes, it exists!  Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner is sure to be a classroom favorite. This book is full of facts about Abraham Lincoln but it presents them in a fun way.

Students will learn many things about Lincoln in Abe Lincoln’s Hat. The book begins with Abe as a lawyer and continues through his failed run at the U.S Senate, ending with him as a President fighting slavery.  What makes this book unique is that it does a great job describing Abe as a ‘real’ person. We learn that Lincoln loved jokes but more importantly, we learn that Abe Lincoln wasn’t perfect. Lincoln was very forgetful.  “Abe had an idea. His tall Hat! He could push letters deep inside it. He could stuff notes into the leather band. When he took off his hat, the papers would remind him what he had to do.” I think it is so wonderful for children to learn that important historical figures weren’t perfect.  

Abe Lincoln’s Hat is a great resource to teach kindergarteners and first graders about Abraham Lincoln (VA SOL K.1a and 1.2).  This book can be used to teach history, a little bit of geography (Lincoln is from Illinois), and has great potential for art projects.

Additional Resources:

  • This is a fun activity for a class that is learning about Abe Lincoln. The students make a log cabin out of pretzels and icing.
  • I really like this printable of Abe Lincoln’s hat with lines on it. The students can either write their own facts about Lincoln or they could cut and paste statements about Abe from a separate paper the teacher prepares.
  • Here is a lesson plan that uses the book Abe Lincoln’s Hat.

Book: Abe Lincoln’s Hat
Author: Martha Brenner
Illustrator: Donald Cook
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 48
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 0679849773

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Albert the Fix-it Man


Wouldn’t our world be a better place if everyone treated each other as we would like to be treated? I think this is a very important concept that should be taught in our classrooms. The book, Albert the Fix-it Man, is a perfect introduction to the Golden Rule for students. 

 This book is about a selfless man, Albert, who loves to fix things. He takes great joy in helping others and “Albert’s always on the lookout for things to fix.”  He is someone that his neighbors can count on to be there for them. Throughout the book, Albert helps Auntie Miller, Mr. Jensen, Akiko, and Mrs. Peabody with various tasks.   One day, he wakes up in the morning with a cold. His thoughtful newspaper boy realizes that Albert is sick so “Sam tells everyone on his paper route that Albert the Fix-it Man is not feeling well.” Once Albert’s neighbors hear that he isn’t feeling well, they all pitch in to surprise him with a get well visit. “Albert starts to feel better the moment he sees all of his friends. After a meal of fresh beans, hot apple pie, and minty tea, he feels even better.” His kindness was rewarded with kindness. 

Albert the Fix-it Man is a wonderful book to use to teach civics to kindergarten, first and second grade classrooms. This book teaches students how to help others and treat others with respect (VA SOL 1.10a). It also describes actions that can improve the school and community (VA SOL 2.10c).  I really like how the characters in the book are diverse. This book truly is a great classroom addition.

Additional Resources:

  • Here is a link to a lesson on teaching children to be helpful. I love how they introduced puppets to role-play how they can be helpful at home and in the classroom. 
  • This is a lesson about Respect but it can also be altered to include the Golden Rule. I think this would be very helpful in teaching students to treat others as they would like to be treated.
  • The Manner’s Club website includes a good manner’s pledge that would be a great addition to any lesson on respect. This site also has songs that can downloaded for a small fee.

Book: Albert the Fix-it Man
Author: Janet Lord
Illustrator: Julie Paschkis
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 1561454338

Teaching Geography with Children's Literature: Me On the Map


What a wonderful book to help explain a child’s place in the world! Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney is a great introduction to maps for young students. A little girl begins the book by stating, “This is me. This is me in my room. This is a map of my room.”  She continues expanding from her room’s place in her house, to her street, to her town, all the way to the world. 

I really like how Sweeney explains that the Earth can look round but also be represented in a flat map. “It looks like a giant ball. If you could unroll the world and make it flat…it would look something like this map of the world.”

The pictures and maps in this book really help children visualize their place on Earth. Once the Earth is shown, the book then works back from the Earth, to the United States, to Kansas, to her town, and finally returning to the girls room.

My daughter’s favorite page is one that shows about 15 children doing different activities on the world map. She likes to talk about what country they might be from and why they are doing what they are shown doing. This page opens up a dialogue that can lead to discussions on diversity and differences among cultures.

Me on the Map teaches children many things about geography. It really introduces every Kindergarten Geography SOL in Virginia(K.3, K.4 a,b,c and K.5 a,b,c) This book helps students realize that maps show a view from above, show things in smaller sizes, and the position of objects.  It also helps students use simple maps to develop an awareness that a map is a drawing of a place to show where things are located.

Additional Resources:

  •  has a song about maps and directions that I think is really great to reinforce the ideas in this book.
  • This is an activity sheet which asks students (with their parents help) to answer questions about where they live. Then, they are to draw a map of where they live. These maps should be shared with the class. Some students will draw a map of their room, some of their house, some of their state, etc.
  • Here is a lesson plan that I really like that goes along with Me on the Map

 Book: Me on the Map
 Author: Joan Sweeney

Illustrator: Annette Cable
Publisher: Dragonfly Books
Publication Date: 1998
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 0517885574

Teaching Economics With Children's Literature: Sally Gets A Job


Sally Gets a Jobwritten and illustrated by Stephen Huneck, is a book that will appeal to most children. This book is about an adorable black dog who watches its family leave for work and school each day. One day she wonders if maybe she should get a job. Sally contemplates many different occupations, some that children may have thought of themselves. “I could be a teacher.”  This book also introduces jobs that most students probably have never heard of. “Or maybe I should just focus on bones and become a paleontologist.”  Sally concludes that she has the best job in the world, “Taking care of my family.”

One of the best things about this book is the illustrations. Stephen Huneck is a popular artist and well-known for his paintings and sculptures of dogs.  Children will gravitate to this book because of its cover, a picture a cute dog reading the help wanted section of the newspaper. They will also enjoy the pictures of Sally driving a school bus full of dogs and thinking about cleaning up after an elephant.

Sally Gets a Job would be a great introduction in a unit to teach Kindergartners about various jobs. It would expose them to various careers in a fun way. (VA SOL K.6) 

Additional Resources:

  • This is a lesson which includes a song “I Can Do Anything.”  This song would compliment the book really well in the classroom. 
  • Another idea is to have the students create a picture (like a paper doll) of them in a uniform. Have each child select and color a ‘uniform’ from a choice of many paper cutouts. Then have the students paste a photograph of their face on the person. A similar activity concentrating on community helpers can be found on this website.
  • When teaching about different occupations, I would have some of the parents come in a talk about what they do at work. If a doctor came in, I would have the children make stethoscopes for an art project.
  • Here is a link to a lesson plan which uses another book about careers. It also has a great worksheet for a student to complete about what job they would like to do.

Book: Sally Gets a Job
Author/Artist: Stephen Huneck 
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 0810994933

Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: Moonbear’s Shadow


I love it when I can find a book that teaches science content without students realizing it.  Moonbear’s Shadow, written and illustrated by Frank Asch, is a lovely book about a bear’s fishing adventure. During this outing, Bear has a battle with his shadow that started when his shadow scared the fish away. Bear tried to run away from his shadow, hide from his shadow, and even nail his shadow to the ground but his shadow always followed. 

 Bear finally won his fight, so he thought, when he buried his shadow in a hole at noon and took a nap.  “The sun was high in the sky and Shadow was nowhere to be seen.” Of course when he woke up, the shadow reappeared. This witty books ends when Bear makes a deal with Shadow, “If you let me catch a fish, I’ll let you catch one, too”.  Thankfully, the sun cooperated by casting Bear’s shadow on land, not in the pond, which allowed Bear and his shadow to each catch a fish. 

Moonbear’s Shadow is a great introduction to shadows for kindergarten classes.  (VA SOL K.7a)  I like how the pictures in this book show a visual connection between the sun’s position in the sky and the length and location of the shadow.  My favorite page depicts the movement of the sun in four phases and the result of the sun’s position on a shovel’s shadow.  This book is sure to get students excited to learn about shadows.

Additional Resources:

  • There are many wonderful shadow activities on Frank Asch’s website  
  • This is an interactive website with a shadow activity that students will love
  • Here is a simple worksheet in which students match a dinosaur to its respective shadow

Book: Moonbear’s Shadow
Author: Frank Asch
Illustrator: Frank Asch
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 0689835191

Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Pumpkin Pumpkin


Wouldn’t it be a dream to find a book that can teach a science topic and a seasonal theme at the same time? Pumpkin Pumpkin, a book written and illustrated by Jeanne Titherington, does just that. This book introduces the life cycle of a pumpkin, starting with a tiny seed and ending with a jack o’lantern.  The boy in the book, Jamie, even saves six seeds from the jack o’lantern to plant the following spring.  I think children will be amazed to learn that before a pumpkin plant grows pumpkins, there are yellow flowers on the vine.   “…and the pumpkin plant grew a pumpkin flower, and the pumpkin flower grew a pumpkin.” 

Students will love the pictures in Pumpkin Pumpkin that were drawn using colored pencils. Each page illustrates a different stage in the pumpkin life cycle in great detail. One of my favorite things about Pumpkin Pumpkin is that a different bug or animal can be found on almost every page in the book. The challenge of finding each one will excite young children.

Pumpkin Pumpkin is a wonderful book to use in kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Not only does the book teach about the life cycle of pumpkins (VA SOL K.6a, K.6b, 1.4b) but it also is a great starter to an entire theme on pumpkins. Pumpkins can be used to teach math (count the seeds), size, texture and numerous other things.  This book will also get students excited about gardening and could be used to introduce the outdoor classroom that many schools now have.

Additional Resources:

  • has a wonderful lesson plan on the life cycle of pumpkins.
  • Here is a link to an entire pumpkin unit which includes a list of 11 pumpkin books, including Pumpkin Pumpkin. It also includes many activities, songs and poems related to pumpkins.
  • Although it isn’t free, here is a link to a website that has many ideas for a pumpkin theme. I really like the pumpkin life cycle sequencing worksheet.

Book: Pumpkin Pumpkin
Author: Jeanne Titherington
Illustrator: Jeanne Titherington
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: 1990
Pages: 24
Grade Range: K-2
ISBN: 0688099300

Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: What Happened?


What Happened? by Rozanne Lanczak Williams, is an excellent book that can be used to introduce students to the three states of matter using water. With bright, eye-catching illustrations by Gwen Connelly, and repetitive text, this book grabs the attention of children. What Happened? teaches children that water can freeze, evaporate, and condense by connecting these science terms to a child’s world. “What happened to the water? It froze. And then I went skating. What happened to the ice? It melted. And then I went swimming.”  It also teaches students that some solids can be dissolved in a liquid. “What happened to the sugar? It dissolved. And then I drank lemonade!”

What Happened? is a great read-aloud to students in kindergarten and first grade. The children will love to answer the questions in the book and at the same time are learning valuable science vocabulary.

Teachers who want to introduce the concept of the different states of matter in their classroom should defnitely consider using the book, What Happened? It can be used in kindergarten classes as well as first and second grades. I think this is a great book to introduce the terms solid, liquid and gas to kindergarteners (VA SOL K.5a).  It also would be a good book to teach first grade students how some solids will dissolve in water (VA SOL 1.3b). In second grade,  students would grasp the processes involved with changes in matter that are introduced in What Happened? (VA SOL 2.3b).

Additional Resources:

  • On the back page of the book, there are 2 activities that can be used to reinforce the topics found in What Happened?
  • Here is a link to many lesson ideas about the states of matter. One of my favorites is using jello in the classroom to demonstarte solid, liquid and gas.
  • The Creative Teaching website has some wonderful practice pages that help teach the science concepts introduced in this book.
  • On Education. com there is a worksheet which helps students in identifying states of matter.

Book: What Happened?
Author: Rozanne Lanczak Williams
Illustrator: Gwen Connelly
Publisher: Creative Teaching Press
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 16
Grade Range: K-2
ISBN: 0916119475

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Big and Small, Room for All


Big and Small, Room for All, written by Jo Ellen Bogart, is a wonderfully illustrated new book that introduces young children to the concept of size and how they fit in the world. Using simple language and eye-catching watercolor paintings, this book successfully explains to children their place on earth. Each page illustrates in picture and words, the size difference of two objects.   The text “Big Mountain, Small tree” is surrounded by a beautiful scene of mountains with trees much smaller in size. The next page states “Big tree, Small man” with a man looking up at the enormous trees.  This constant connection to the next page grabs the attention of readers, eager to see what the next comparison will be.

The illustrations in this book are actual watercolor paintings by artist Gillian Newland and they really make this book. My 5 year old was intrigued by the huge detailed picture of a flea on the page “Big flea, big flea, What is smaller than a flea?”  The painting of the solar system left her with the desire to learn the names of the planets depicted in the book.

Whereas this book’s language and reading level are that of a Kindergartener, I believe that older children will enjoy the book, too. One of the last pages of the book reads, “What is smaller than a flea? A world of things too small to see.” The picture of microorganisms will make older children excited to learn about all the things that we can’t see. This is a really fun and unique book that could open the door to numerous discussions. 

I really like how children of various ages will be drawn to different aspects of Big and Small, Room for All. I think it is a great book to introduce the concept of size and sorting to Kindergarteners (VA SOL K.1d).  The short phrases make this book a good one for beginning readers. Teachers could also use this book to differentiate between big and small for Kindergarten (VA SOL K.1e).  Thanks to the beautiful watercolor paintings, this book also describes objects as big or small in both words and pictures (VA SOL K.1c). 

Additional Resources:

  • Scholastic offers many activities for teachers to use in their classroom.  One worksheet on their website has students measure the penguins on the page and put them in order from shortest to tallest. This reiterates the concept of sequencing by size for kindergarteners.
  • For a change of pace, describes a game that challenges students to name objects that are either bigger or smaller than the aforementioned item. This activity will really force the students to think of objects relative to others, just as Big and Small, Room for All does.  
  • In another activity, a teacher could discuss some of the items that were mentioned in the book: sun, mountain, tree, man, kitten, mouse.  The students could then cut out pictures of these items from handouts, color them, and then paste them on construction paper according to their size.
  • This website has a great activity for students to show their knowledge of big, bigger, biggest.

Book: Big and Small, Room for All
Author: Jo Ellen Bogart
Illustrator: Gillian Newland
Publisher: Tundra Books; Har/Pstr edition
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 32
Grade Range: Pre-K to 2nd grade
ISBN: 087768911