Author Archive for Natalia F.

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: Max’s Bunny Business



Max’s Bunny Business is a very cute and fun way to help teach kids about buying things and earning money to pay for those things. This story follows Max the bunny and his friends as they scheme up ideas to earn enough money to buy a fire angle ring from their favorite store. Max and his friends do everything from selling lemonade to selling Halloween candy in an effort to earn enough money for the desired ring. However, a competition ends up occurring between Max and his friends when they don’t see eye to eye on business practices. As a result, only Max ends up with a fire angel ring because the store ran out of rings so this book could also help introduce the concept of supply and demand.

Curriculum Connections

This book could be used to satisfy VA SOLS K.7 (b). This strand requires that students recognize that people use money to purchase goods. This book would be fun to read prior to hosting an activity where students sell items to their classmates (using fake money of course!) or a classroom store is opened up. Another fun thing to do after reading this book would be to have students brainstorm different fun/odd jobs they could do to earn money.

Additional Resources

This website managed by Nick Jr. is all about the TV series Max & Ruby and the website features lots of online games, activity ideas, recipes, and TV clips. A great resource to accompany the book.

This webpage features several coloring pages that feature Max & Ruby!

This site provides lesson plans and activity ideas that incorporate the main characters from Max’s Bunny Business.

General Information

Book: Max’s Bunny Business
Author: Rosemary Wells
Illustrator:Rosemary Wells
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publishing date: May 15, 2008
Pages: 32
Grade range: K-2
ISBN-10: 0670011053

Teaching Sorting Skills in First Grade


 VA SOL 1.20 requires that the student sort and classify concrete objects according to one or more attributes, including size, color, shape, and thickness. This mathematical concept is stimulated by the student's exploration of their environment and most children begin to develop concepts related to sorting and patterns before they enter school. Recognition of similarities and differences as well as comparisons are essential components of children's mathematical development.  The focus of instruction at the primary level and the role of the teacher is to help students understand the classification process in which two or more attributes connect or differentiate sets.

The resources below are best used with students in the early elementary years, primarily first grade.


Text Annotations


Harriet’s Halloween Candy by Nancy Carlson.

This is great book to use when talking/introducing the concept of sorting. This book is a fun one to read and I’m sure that first graders would adore the story that Harriet has to tell. In this story, Harriet (a young puppy) learns the hard way that sharing her Halloween candy makes her feel much better than eating it all herself and that sorting the candy makes it easier to divvy up. This book would be great to read prior to conducting a sorting activity with candy (sorting Jellybeans or gummi bears is a popular sorting activity).


Sorting by Henry Arthur Pluckrose.

This book features colorful, vibrant photographs and clear concise text that is interactive with the reader. This book would be a great resource for a unit on sorting or to use as a review for a lesson on patterns. I would read this book aloud and show students each page. I would then reread the book although the second time I would ask students how they would sort the various items on each page.


Grandma's Button Box by Linda Williams Aber. This book was such a fun lovely story for first grade students learning about sorting. The book tells the story of a young girl, Kelly who accidently drops her grandmother's box of buttons over, scattering the buttons across the floor. Kelly and her cousins work furiously sorting the buttons, first by shape, then size, and finally by color in an effort to return the button box to the original condition their grandmother had it in. Ultimately the story reveals that the grandmother never had the buttons organized and she is quite grateful for the organization her grandkids bestowed upon the buttons. This is a great book to read prior to having students sort their own items by shape, size, and color, which is one of the games I used in my instructional resource set.


Sort It Out! By Barbara Mariconda.

A cute story about a pack rat who comes home with a cart full of stuff (a locket, a book, an umbrella, a pinecone, and many more random items) and is forced to sort it all out and put it away by his mother. The book describes the process Packy the rat used to sort all the items, including grouping things with like characteristics such as where they’re found, their color, shape, etc. The illustrations are really fun because they are brightly colored, large, and very clear and children of all ages will enjoy looking at each page.


The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid.

In this book a  young boy narrates and talks about the contents of a special box at his grandmother’s house. As it turns out the box is full of buttons his grandmother has collected year after year. Throughout the pages the boy describes and examines the various buttons, telling what he imagines and knows about them. As he does this he ultimately ends up sorting them by unique attributes thus making this book an excellent book to read during instruction about sorting. This book would be a nice prelude to an activity where students sort buttons by different attributes (round, square, two-hole, three hole, color, etc.).

Web Annotations:

Candy Sorting Game

This interactive game allows students to sort candy based on its shape. This game ties is nicely with lesson plans that incorporate the sorting of Halloween candy or other candies (jelly beans, M &Ms, or gummy bears). It is fun for students to play and gives audible directions which is nice and effective for first graders.

Online Attribute Blocks Game

Allows students to practice sorting attribute blocks by color, shape, and size. A checking features gives the student feedback about the answer before the student can move on to a new question.


A fun interactive game that gives clear concise directions to students. The directions include sorting items into the appropriate columns depending on specific characteristics (happy/sad, red/blue, big/small, etc.). Features big font and fun sound effects, which makes it fun for young students!

Size Sorting Game

A fun online game that has players choose which items are bigger and which are smaller while taking the player on a journey through an animal filled barnyard!

Sorting by Color!

A website with option for students to choose from. Each option links to a different online game that requires student's sort items by color.


Additional Resources

Sorting Ideas Webpage

A great website for sorting ideas and "real life" manipulatives that could be used for sorting activities.

Sorting Song

A website that features a fun song about sorting by size, color, and shape. Would be fun for kids to listen to and recite as they work with the concept of sorting.

Shape Sorter Online Activity

A really neat interactive shape sorter game that the teacher can set up for students to use. Allows the user to set up specifications for sorting by a number of attributes. Also has a venn diagram for comparing and contrasting purposes.

What doesn't belong activity?

A page about sorting sets and identifying what items don’t belong in a set.

Teaching Ancient Civilizations Using Children’s Literature: Ancient China


Ancient China from Dorling Kindersly’s Eyewitness series is a wonderful guidebook that allows the reader to discover the history of Imperial China, from the Great Wall to the days of the last emperor. The book is very informative and highly engaging. It features wonderful photographs of scenery and artifacts by skilled photographers, Alan Hills & Geoff Brighling. This book is very comprehensive and covers 26 different sections on Ancient China which allows for days upon days of exploration for the reader.  The format of the book allows the reader to read as little or as much as they would like about Ancient China, as the reader does not have to read the book cover to cover to gather an adequate knowledge about the topic. The book is written in a fashion that helps take the reader through a virtual tour of China, with sections discussing it’s earliest beginnings to information about China’s emperors, to information about the lifestyle of the Chinese (food, traditions, livelihood, home life, dress, adornment, etc.). In addition to the amazing photographs the book’s content includes time lines,suggested internet resources, and a helpful glossary. This book would be an excellent read for the inquisitive mind and would be a great resource for teaching about ancient civilizations. Both teachers and students would find this book wonderful and interesting and I think this a good book for the upper elementary classroom. The book is written by Arthur Cotterell and is one of many published by the highly proclaimed Dorling Kindersly.

Curriculum Connections
Ancient China is a great and would be most approparite for VA SOL History 2.1 in which the student is expected to explain how the contributions of ancient China and Egypt have influenced the present world in terms of architecture, inventions, the calendar, and written language. Although some of the content and wording in the book may be too advanced for second graders the information can easily be relayed in a more age/grade appropriate manner by the teacher.

Additional Resources

  • Great website for kids on Ancient China
  • Website full of Ancient China lesson plans (for teachers)
  • Website with tons of Chinese and Ancient China related coloring pages and other kid friendly activities
  • Teacher could hold a Chinese culture day, this website provides ideas and recipes for Chinese dishes

Book: Eyewitness Books: Ancient China

Author:Arthur Cotterell

Illustrator: Photographs by Alan Hills & Geoff Brightling

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley

Publication Date: 2005

Pages: 71 pages

Grade Range: 2-6

10: 0-7566-1391-4

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Liberty


Cartoon Nation presents Liberty a book that contains tons of facts and information about the political philosophy concept of liberty. Since liberty identifies people's rights and the ability to act according to one’s own will this book is a good one to use during instruction about civics. The book covers many facets of liberty including its origin in the United States, what it has meant throughout history (specifically focusing on liberty in the United States). There are several chapters with discussions of the development of our government’s understanding of liberty and information about other countries who lack a sense of liberty and the implications these countries and their people face as a result of severe government control (examples presented: Darfur, Sri Lanka, and China). The book concludes with a great section about what America would be like without liberty and that liberty should never be taken for granted. The book encourages the reader as citizens of the United States to make wise and good decisions and act appropriately as thanks to those who fought for our freedom and that acting within reason is an important way of ensuring that as we grow we will continue to be able to make decisions for ourselves.

The book is written by Terry Collins and illustrated by Brian Bascle.

Curriculum Connections

This book can be used in the classroom during talk about citizenship, liberty, freedom, right, civics, or many other topics discussed in elementary social studies instruction. The book could satisfy many VA SOLs but I think this book would be best for grades 3-5 and I felt that is best aligned with VA SOL 3.10 and 3.12 for civics instruction. The book’s content covers all of these strands and many more additional points about liberty and American goverment matters.

The student will recognize why government is necessary in the classroom, school, and community by
a)    explaining the purpose of rules and laws;
b)    explaining that the basic purposes of government are to make laws, carry out laws, and decide if laws have been broken;
c)    explaining that government protects the rights and property of individuals.

3.12    The student will recognize that Americans are a people of diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who are united by the basic principles of a republican form of government and respect for individual rights and freedoms.

Additional Resources

Great blog for kids all about liberty !

Excellent kid-friendly interactive website about Liberty Kids!

Awesome website published by the White House that has everything to do with being young citizens of the United States of America!

General Information

Book:  Liberty

Author:  Terry Collins

Illustrator:  Brian Bascle

Publisher:  Capstone Press

Publication Date:  2009

Pages:  32

Grade Range:  Grades 3-5

ISBN:  978-1-4296-2340-7

Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: What The World Eats


 Introduction and Summary

What The World Eats is a very informative factual book written by Faith D’Aluisio. The book provides a snapshot of what people around the world eat. It is a very enlightening book that really engages the reader and would be a wonderful tool to get students thinking. The book includes many maps including a world map which indicates all the countries profiled in the book and then smaller maps for each country that is profiled. The book provides facts about each of the locations and also stats about that particular area’s population and demogrpahic information. A native family is profiled for each country that is profiled and excellent, compelling photographsby Peter Menzel adorn each page. The profile includes information about the country, what the family eats, how they get their food, how much they spend on food, etc.

Curriculum Connections

This book would be great to use in a unit when students are learning about other countries and cultures. Because the book profiles so many different families in different countries studnets can ot only learn about other countries but also the people who inhabit those countries and get a look at their culture. This book could also be used to compare and contrast the United States of America and the American lifestyle with those of other countries, especially developing nations.

In Virginia, this book would be a great resource to use with Virginia SOL standards WG 1 (e) and WG 4.

Additional Resources

 1. The book includes recipes that each profile family selected to share with the readers. Teachers could select a few of these recipes and bring the dishes into school to share with the class.

 2. A great website providing lesson plans and activities for using food to dicuss cultures and countries.

3.  This website provides an interactive World map that students can use to explore more about different countries.

4. This is the website that accompanies the book!

General Information

Book: What The World Eats

Author: Faith D’Aluisio

Photographer: Peter Menzel

Publisher: Tricycle Press

Publication Date: 2008

Pages: 160

Grade Range: 5-8

ISBN: 1582462461

Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Forest Bright, Forest Night


Jennifer Wards book, Forest Bright, Forest Night is an excellent resource to use when teaching life science to elementary age children.  The book uses a fun format with rhythmic text and gorgeous detailed illustrations by Jamichael Henterly. The illustrations will certainly capture the attention of children and adults alike!  Additionally,  Henterly cleverly “hid” animals throughout the pages which will also keep children entertained as they try to find these animals  while they read this book.

Forest Bright, Forest Night covers all the activity that occurs in the forest from daybreak to nightfall which is wonderful for children who are learning about nocturnal and diurnal animals and also habitats and ecosystems in general. The book is like two books in one because Forest Bright focuses only on the animals that are awake during the day and each page covers different animals and how they spend their time. The stories of each animal are written with fun silly rhymes and are accompanied by the vivid colorful illustrations. Upon flipping the book over to Forest Night, the pages take on a darker appearance as they describe the many animals who are only active at night. This book does a nice job of showing that even when we are tucked away in our beds sleeping soundly, the forest never sleeps because certain animals only come out at night as opposed to those who are only out and about during the day.

Curriculum Connections: 

This book would be ideal for the lower elementary grades and would be a great reading resource for children who are learning about ecosystems and animals who share habitats. The book covers the forest habitat and the animals who call the forest home both during the day and at night, which is great for children who are learning about the differences between nocturnal and diurnal animals. This book satisfies several Virginia SOLs including VA SOL 2. 5 (a) & (b) and 2.8 (c). These  standards cover information ranging from how organisms are interrelated to how habitats change over time to the fact that plants provide homes and food for many different types of animals.

Additional Resources:

1) Excellent lesson plans to accompany Forest Bright, Forest Night.

2)  Numerous printable coloring pages including many forest animals.

3) USDA website with numerous forest related activities for children.

4) Check out the U.S. National Park Service website for information about forest parks you can visit on field trips!

General Information:

Book: Forest Bright, Forest Night

Author: Jennifer Ward

Illustrator: Jamichael Henterly

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Publication Date: 2005

Pages: 32 pages

Grade Range: K-2nd

ISBN: 1584690895

Teaching Earth Science With Children’s Literature: Rocks and Minerals

Rocks & Minerals from the Eyewitness series and written by Chris Pellant and R. Symes is a very informative and detail oriented guide book covering all aspects of rocks, crystals, gems, stones, and minerals. The book is filled with excellent graphics, photographs, and diagrams.  This book starts out with a great page on the Earth in general and how Earth was formed. The later chapters are broken down into the definition of rocks & minerals, how they are formed, and different types of rocks & minerals. The format of the book allows the reader to read as little or as much as they would like about rocks as the reader does not have to read the book cover to cover to gather an adequate knowledge of Earth Science topics. This book would be an excellent read for the inquisitive mind and would be a great addition to a reading corner or shelf.

Curriculum Connections
Rocks & Minerals is a great book to use to discuss Earth and its composition of different types of rocks. This book bares correlations to several Virginia SOLs including: VA Science SOL 4.8 which requires that the student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources, including minerals, rocks, ores, and energy sources. VA science SOL 5.7  which requires that the student will investigate and understand how the Earth's surface is constantly changing. Key concepts include of this strand include the rock cycle including identification of rock types, Earth history and fossil evidence, the basic structure of the Earth's interior, plate tectonics (earthquakes and volcanoes), and weathering and erosion.

Additional Resources

  • Fun and yummy activity to do in  correlation to a lesson on rocks!
  • Additional kid friendly website with extra informative information.
  • Earth’s dramatic creation lesson plan! Great resource for teaching on rocks & minerals and the creation of Earth!

Book: Eyewitness Books: Rocks & Minerals
Author: Chris Pellant & R. Symes
Illustrator: Photographs
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley
Publication Date:
Pages: 64 pages
Grade Range: 3-5
0 394-89621-1

Teaching Physical Science With Children’s Literature: Force, Of Course!


Force, Of Course, written by Mary Leontovich and illustrated by James Cloutier, is a physical science book for students with a focus on force & gravity.  The book begins with an introduction about what force is and the different types of force that exist. The book is then broken down into chapters, from Chapter 1-Chapter 10. Each chapter explains a different kind of force then has a few simple experiments that can be conducted as an example of that type of force. The book is written in a kid friendly manner but is also written from a scientific standpoint. The book is very comprehensive and includes safety tips and also a section on how to conduct experiments and what to do if they do not work. The illustrations that accompany the text are fun and also include little cartoon characters, which I think would help to keep the less then impressed by science students engaged in the reading.

Curriculum Connections
Force, Of Course is a great resource for children who are interested in learning (or required to learn about) more about the force element within the study of physical science. The fact that the book is filled with factual information but more importantly engaging and hands-on experiments makes it a great resource for a teacher to use with his/her students. Another neat facet of this book is the text bubbles/boxes throughout the pages that have the caption “Investigate Some More” that allow the reader to further investigate the different aspects of force through miniature experiments. A lot of the activities within these little boxes/bubbles are super easy and could easily be done at home. A fun idea to incorporate this book into the curriculum and also have the students learn more might be to assign the students one of the pages with a bubble on it and then have the children go home and conduct this activity/experiment. You could have the students record their findings in a science journal and then report them to the class. This would be a good way to have children conduct some basic science experiments on their own but also allow them to share their knowledge with their families and peers.

I think this book would be ideal for grades 1-3 depending on the depth of material you (as a teacher) expect to cover. The content of this book best satisfies VA SOL 1.2    The student will investigate and understand that moving objects exhibit different kinds of motion, (a), (b), and (c).

Additional Resources

  • This handout would be ideal for a take home activity (homework) or something you could do with a class as a whole
  • Super fun interactive website that is great for kids to explore to learn more about force
  • This website is a great resource for finding more information along with activities and experiments having to do with force & motion. Would be great for parents, teachers, and children alike!

Book: Force, Of Course
Mary Leontovich
Illustrator: James Cloutier
Publisher: Good Year Books
Publication Date: 1995
Pages: 42 pages
Grade Range: 1-3

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


What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? is a great book written by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page. It is filled with fun facts about various animals and is beautifully adorned with unique texturally appealing die-cut-paper collages. Each page features different animals body parts (ears, eyes, noses, tails, mouths,etc.) and poses the question "What do you do with a ___ like this?” This format allows for the reader(s) to observe, infer, and predict what animal the body part belongs to and what unique purpose it may serve that animal. Asking the reader the questions before revealing the answer allows the readers to communicate and collaborate amongst each other in regards to reaching an answer. The page following the question page shows the body part attached to the correct animals along with a brief description of what that body part does for the animal.

Example: Page 1 shows the nose of a platypus and page 2 shows the whole platypus along with the following statement: If you’re a platypus, you use your nose to dig in the mud.

The book follows this format for several pages, although the last 4 pages provide smaller thumbnail pictures of the animals and more detailed information & unique facts about each animal for the curious learner!

Curriculum Connections
This book would be an excellent book to read aloud to the whole class or in small group instruction because it allows for student interaction. The pictures are captivating and the facts about each animal are informative and range from funny, to strange, to gross which will help to keep even the most inquisitive students engaged. This book could be used to introduce elementary students to new animal species and it also provides the reader with a chance to explore the concept of observation and prediction prior to the discovery of an answer. What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? is suitable for grades k-2 because it allows the reader to choose the depth at which each animal is explored. However, I think this book would be most engaging for the younger set. This book compliments VA SOL K.1 (a), (b), (c) ,and (g).

Additional Resources:

  • This fun quiz allows students to match animal body parts with the animals themselves.
  • This website provides fun easy coloring sheet templates that can be printed for student use.
  • This teacher created site provides a WebQuest that can be conducted by the students after reading What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?

Book: What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
Authors: Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: K-2
ISBN: 0439703840