The Greedy Triangle Author: Marilyn Burns Illustrator: Gordon Silvaria Grade: 2nd or 3rd (for review) Summary
: The Greedy Triangle is a humorous story that takes students on a trip through the world of polygons. The greedy triangle is always dissatisfied with his shape and seeks the help of a shapeshifter. As the story goes on, the greedy triangle adds more sides and angles to his shape. He becomes a quadrilateral, a pentagon, a hexagon and much, much more. With every new side and every new angle, the greedy triangle learns more about his place in the world. With all of his new sides and angles, the greedy triangle can be anything he dreams of being. He can be a stop sign to control traffic, a cell in a beehive or the pentagon! Even though shape shifting has its perks, the greedy triangle learns that sometimes it is just better to be yourself. Classroom Activities: For this particular book students would benefit from a hands on activity. Students will be provided with a cup of pretzel sticks and a napkin. As we read the story students will listen for when the greedy triangle changes shape. Each time the greedy triangle changes shape, the students will add a pretzel stick to their own greedy triangle to mimic the book. Students will also pay close attention to all of the different things the greedy triangle can do as he changes shape. After the read aloud is over, students will complete a polygon chart with a partner. The chart requires the students to list all of the polygons by name and list the number of sides and angles each one has. Lastly, the students will write about where they see each polygon in the real world. Literacy Development: In this text students are introduced to math vocabulary and phrases relevant to the second grade common core standards. Students will use illustrations from the text to understand how the greedy triangle changes throughout the book. This will teach students to recognize the importance of illustrations in a text, and their ability to enhance understanding. Students will also use illustrations to aid them in the use of math manipulatives. Students will also learn about character traits such as greed and how the character’s actions support those traits. Students will also make connections between information in the text and their experiences in the real world. For example, “a pentagon has five sides just like the home plate on my baseball field”.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.7 Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot CCSS.Math.Content.2.G.A.1 Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces.1 Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.
Amazing Grace Author: Mary Hoffman Illustrator: Caroline Binch
Grade: 3rd Summary: In Mary Hoffman’s Amazing Grace, students meet Grace, a lively girl with an amazing imagination. Grace’s favorite thing to do is act out stories and play the most exciting part. Grace has been every character readers can imagine, from Joan of Arc to peg leg pirate. One day in school Grace’s teacher informs the class that they will be putting on the play Peter Pan. Grace is so excited! She wants to be Peter Pan! When grace tells the teacher that she would like to audition for the role of Peter, some of her classmates say that its impossible. How could grace be Peter if she is a girl and black? With a little encouragement from the people she loves most, Grace learns that she can be anyone she wants to be. Classroom Activities: This particular text is great for teaching students about character traits. The teacher can read the book aloud once and ask students to pay special attention to Grace’s actions during the story. How does Grace react when she is told that she cannot be Peter Pan? Is Grace upset? Why does Grace audition for the role even when she is told not to? Students and teachers should discuss these questions about the book and think about what kind of girl Grace is. With some Scaffolding, students should generate a list of words or character traits on chart paper that describe Grace. When the book is read aloud a second time, students should note specific actions that support the character traits they have generated for grace. In addition to the during reading activity discussed above, students can write an opinion piece after reading. Ask students to write about why Grace’s classmates don’t want her to be Peter Pan. Do you agree with her classmates, why or why not? Literacy Development: By reading this text, students learn about the relationship between character traits and actions. Students will learn to identify character traits and discuss specific actions that support identified character traits. Students will gain a greater understanding of how a character’s actions affect the plot of the story. Students will also be able to use illustrations to discuss the feelings of various characters in the story. Through the use of a writing prompt, students can express their own opinions about a character or the plot
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting) CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.1a Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.1b Provide reasons that support the opinion.
Giraffes Can’t Dance Author: Giles Andrede Illustrator: Guy parker-Rees
Grade: Kindergarten Summary: In this colorful and heartwarming book, students meet the loveable Gerald Giraffe. Gerald the giraffe has always dreamed of dancing, but his legs are too skinny and his neck is just too long. When all of his friends join the jungle dance, Gerald longs to be a part of the fun. Every time Gerald tries to twirl his knees buckle and his friends yell, “Giraffes can’t dance”. But there is one animal in the jungle who believes in Gerald. He teaches Gerald that anyone can dance; Gerald just needs to find his song. Classroom Activities: In this story, rhyming words are used on every page of text. Before reading the book aloud, tell students to listen for words that rhyme throughout the book. Read the book again and stop at the end of each page. Ask students to chose the pair of rhyming words that appear on that page. Continue this process through the end of the book and chart the pairs on paper. After the book is read aloud the second time and all pairs are charted ask the students to make a rhyming line of their own to add to the story. Students can work together as a class or in small groups for an extra challenge. Teachers can also point out examples of alliteration in the book such as “warthogs waltzing”. Students can think of their own animal alliteration examples to add them to the book. This book can also be used to encourage students to make text-to-self connections. Before reading, explain to the class that Gerald is teased because he can’t dance like the other animals. Gerald makes a special friend who helps him. Ask students if they have a friend who has helped them learn something new. How did that make them feel? How did Gerald’s friend make him feel? Literacy Development: Giraffes Can’t Dance is a great text to use when teaching students about rhyming words. Students will be able to hear simple rhyming words in the text and learn to pair them. Students learn to add rhyming to their own stories and poems by adding their own rhymes to a familiar story. Students will also be introduced to alliteration in the text and practice using it in novel sentences. With this book, students are also given the opportunity to make text-to-self connections. Students will learn to understand the feelings, thoughts and actions of Gerald giraffe and compare them to personal experiences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.2a Recognize and produce rhyming words CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
First Food Fight This Fall and Other School Poems Author: Marilyn Singer Illustrator: Sachiko
Grade: 2nd or 3rd Summary: First Food Fight This Fall and Other School Poems presents 29 poems written in the voices of several elementary school students. Students are introduced to new fictional friends in Ms. Mundy’s elementary school class. Each selection speaks to the real everyday experiences of elementary school students. Accompanied by hilarious and colorful photos, each poem illustrates familiar themes from the first day of school to the dreaded math test. Elementary students of all ages will enjoy reading these poems about students who are just like them. Classroom Activities: One special thing about this text is that it is written in chronological order over the course of a school year. Poems contained in this book can be used in a poetry unit however; they are more effective when used throughout the year. Teachers should start off the year with the first poem in the book called “First Day”. Students can write a poem or reflection of their own regarding expectations for the school year to come. Students can enjoy listening to poems about holidays, class pictures, field day and the science fair. With each poem read, teachers and students should discuss how the poem written. Students should look for examples of rhyming, alliteration, repeating lines, etc. After each poem is discussed, students should write their own poem about the same topic while connecting it to personal experiences. For example, after reading the poem “Field Trip”, students can write a poem about the field trip they took with their class that week. When each poem is read, teachers should take pictures of students during major events of the year. All of the student’s poems and pictures should be made into a class book documenting the entire school year. Literacy Development: First Food Fight This Fall and Other School Poems is a great book because it encourages students to read and write poetry even after a poetry unit has ended. These poems are great for young readers because they are relatable and humorous. This allows students to make text-to-self connections while reading and writing about poetry. These short poems allow students to pick apart the text and discuss the structure of the poem. Each poem in this book emphasizes an important feature of a poem such as, rhymes, alliteration, repeated lines and voice. By reading poems in this text, students will learn to apply learned techniques to their own poetry writing. Students will also benefit from the rich illustrations in this text. Students will learn to use illustrations to gain a greater understanding of characters and theme in a poem.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.4 Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.6 Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.7 Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
The Crayon Box That Talked Author: Shane Derolf Illustrator: Michael Letzig
And I Have a Dream: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Illustrator: Kadir Nelson Grade: 2nd Summary (crayon box): One day a little girl walks into a toy store and finds a talking box of crayons. The crayons all seem to have a lot to say and none of it is nice. The crayons complain about each other and never get along. When the little girl draws a picture with all of the colors in the box, the crayons realize just how beautiful they look all together. Summary (I have a dream): On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation's history. Paired with the paintings of illustrator Kadir Nelson, Dr. King’s words come to life 50 years later. Students will be inspired by this eye-opening speech that is still so relevant today.
Classroom Activities: These two books are especially useful in teaching children about diversity, culture and acceptance. Teachers can use these two texts to explain difficult topics such as segregation or prejudice in a way that children will understand. first, teachers should read The Crayon Box That Talked to their class to introduce the topic of diversity. Students and teachers can discuss why the crayons didn’t get along. Have you ever had a hard time getting along with someone, why? Can people who are different still get along or work together? When students understand the meaning of diversity and acceptance the teacher can introduce historical content regarding American racial segregation and Dr. King. After reading I Have a Dream: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., students should compare the two books. How were people in America like the crayons in the book? How are Dr. King and the little girl who drew a picture with all of the crayons alike? What do you think Dr. King and Shane Derolf want us to know about diversity? Can we get along with people who are different than us, what do you think now? After the teacher and students discuss both books students can write about what makes them different, unique or special. Students can decorate a crayon that represents them and put in in the class crayon box.
Using these two books, students have the opportunity to learn about historical content using both a fictional and non-fictional book. Students will be able to pull moral lessons out of both stories and connect it to their own lives. After reading both books the students will be able to compare the author’s purpose for both books. Students will be able to compare characters from two different texts and discuss how their actions make them similar or different. Students can make text-to-self connections and think about their own views of diversity, and how they have changed after reading about Dr. King and the Crayons. After reading, students will be able to think critically about how things would have been different if the girl didn’t draw a picture or if Dr. King didn’t make his speech. These books give the class an opportunity to learn about each other and what makes everyone unique and special.
Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3 Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.6 Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.9 Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
Bedtime Is Cancelled Author: Cece Meng Illustrator: Aurelie Neyret
Grade: 1st Summary: When Maggie and her brother write a note that reads, “bedtime is cancelled”, their world is turned upside down. The note lands on the desk of a news reporter and soon the whole world is up all night. The next morning, it seems as though everyone is too tired to function. Teachers are napping during class, the principal poured coffee into her purse and dad feel asleep in his mashed potatoes! Will Maggie and her brother ever go to sleep again?
Classroom Activities: This book is a great to read when teaching students about making predictions. Teachers should intro duce the book to the students and ask about the title and photo on the cover. Before reading, students can write a short description and draw a picture of what they predict will happen if bedtime is cancelled. Keeping their predictions in mind, students will listen to the book being read aloud. Teachers should stop before the conclusion of the story and ask students to make another prediction. Will bedtime ever come back? After the story students can look back at the predictions they made before reading and answer the following questions: Did your predictions come true? What else happened in the book that you did not predict? Students can keep track of their predictions on a chart while the teacher is reading. Teachers can also choose to make predictions as a class and chart the predictions on a large piece of paper. After reading Students can fill in a venn diagram comparing their predictions to what actually happens in the story.
Literacy Development: Using this text in the classroom is a great way to teach students how to make predictions. By making predictions before the story begins, students learn what good readers think about when looking at a text. Making predictions before reading will get students to think about what is to come. Thinking about a story before it begins will improve the student’s comprehension of the story while they are reading. Making students stop in the middle of the text to make more predictions will keep them focused on the plot and encourage them to think critically about what a character might do next.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.3 Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
Children Make Terrible Pets
Author: Peter Brown Grade: 2nd Summary: When Lucy the bear was walking in the woods she heard an odd noise. When she peered behind the bushes, Lucy was shocked to find a little boy staring back at her. Lucy took the little boy home and begged her mom to keep him. Lucy’s mom reluctantly says yes and warns Lucy, “children make terrible pets”. It isn’t long before Lucy realizes that her mother might be right. When the little boy runs away, Lucy learns that maybe her new pet is better off with his own family. Classroom Activities: Before introducing the book, ask the students if they think a bear would make a good pet. Discuss what would happen if the students took a bear home. What would their parents say? Do you think that the bear would be able to live in your house? What might happen if a bear lived in your house? What types of things would you do with a bear? What types of problems would arise? After students discuss having a bear as a pet, introduce the title and cover of the book. Have the students ever thought of a child as a pet? After reading the story discuss what the students think about children and bears now. Has their opinion changed? Ask children to write and opinion piece about what would make a more terrible pet, a child or a bear?
Literacy Development: This is a great book to use when trying to promote critical thinking in your classroom. Children are given the opportunity to discuss what they know and form opinions about bears based on their prior knowledge. During reading children are challenged to look at things from a different point of view. How might a bear feel about you living in their home? Through discussion children can decide if they agree with the author or the book or not. Do I think children make terrible pets? The writing assignment after reading allows children to think about how their own thinking has changed. Do I understand the mother bear’s point of view? Do I still think that a bear would make a terrible pet?
Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Hibernation Station Author: Michelle Meadows Illustrator: Kurt Cyrus
Grade: Kindergarten Summary: The leaves are changing color and falling to the ground, so autumn must be here! Join all of your favorite forest animals as they board the train at hibernation station for winter. From large to small, all types of animals are piled onto the train and it isn’t long before problems arise. Some log holes are just too small, some bears snore a little too loud and something is dripping! Will the animals ever make it through the winter? An author’s note at the end of the book explains hibernation in the real world to young readers. Classroom Activities: Before reading the teacher should explain to the students that they will be learning about hibernation. The students should pay special attention what types of animals hibernate and where they sleep for the winter. After reading the book for the first time, the teacher and students should create a list of all of the animals that were in the book. As the book is read again, they should record where each animal likes to hibernate. After the story is finished for the second time the teacher should read the author’s note and discuss hibernation in the real world. Every student can pick their favorite animal from the story and write about what they learned. With the help f a teacher, students can research hibernation facts about the animal they chose. All information should be recorded on a web diagram. The name of the animal should appear in the middle and facts should be written in the surrounding bubbles. Students can present the information they found to small groups or the class. Literacy Development: This is a great book to use when introducing your students to realistic fiction. Students will gain an understanding of hibernation through reading about fictional characters. Students will be held accountable for naming major characters in the story and describing setting in the story. By charting the names and hibernation places of animals in the story, students learn to pull important information from a piece of informational text. The writing activity allows students to learn about an animal in depth by using the text and other resources. Using a graphic organizer teaches students to organize their thoughts for writing. When students write larger pieces in upcoming grades, this skill of organizing thoughts will be useful. Students also benefit in the area of speaking and listening when they present their information to the class and listen to others.
Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.2 With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts). CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.1a Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion). CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly
The Tale of Peter Rabbit Author and Illustrator: Beatrix Potter
Summary: The Tale of Peter Rabbit follows mother rabbit and her three children. The mean gardener Mr. McGregor killed ago father rabbit years ago. When mother rabbit goes to the baker’s shop she warns her children to stay out of Mr. McGregor’s garden. As soon as mother rabbit leaves, Peter is running full speed toward the garden. Soon Peter finds himself running from Mr. McGregor as he is chased all over the garden. Peter loses his jacket and shoes but manages to find his way back home. Once home, Peter collapses from exhaustion and is put to bed. While Peter is forced to sleep, his brothers and sisters get to eat treats from the baker’s shop. Grade: 2nd Classroom Activities: Before reading the book ask the class what it means to disobey. Ask the students if they ever disobeyed their parents. Why did the student disobey their parent? What happened as a result? Tell the class that you are going to read them a story about a rabbit who disobeyed his mother and got into some trouble. After reading the story discuss Peter’s actions. What do the students think the moral of the story is? Why couldn’t Peter eat the special treats from the baker’s shop? After the students discuss Peter’s actions and the moral of the story give them a choice of a few writing prompts. What would have happened if Mr. McGregor caught Peter in the garden? What would have happened if Peter listened to his mother? Write about a time that you disobeyed. What happened?
Literacy Development: This book is great to use when teaching students about stories that have a moral lesson. The author of this story never directly says what the moral of the story is. This allows students to figure out the moral of the story by drawing upon their own experiences, as well as, evidence from the story. This book supports critical literacy because it requires students to think about the author’s intent for writing and what he really wants to say. The activity also promotes critical literacy because it asks students to ask “what if” questions.
Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.6 Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
Works Cited Andreae, Giles, and Guy Parker-Rees. Giraffes Can't Dance. New York: Orchard, 2001.
Brown, Peter. Children Make Terrible Pets. New York: Little, Brown, 2010. Print.
Burns, Marilyn, and Gordon Silveria. The Greedy Triangle. New York: Scholastic, 1994.
DeRolf, Shane, and Michael Letzig. The Crayon Box That Talked. New York: Random House, 1997.
Hoffman, Mary, and Caroline Binch. Amazing Grace. New York: Dial for Young Readers, 1991.
King, Martin Luther, and Kadir Nelson. I Have a Dream. New York: Schwartz & Wade, 2012.
Meadows, Michelle, and Kurt Cyrus. Hibernation Station. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2010.
Meng, Cece, and Aurélie Neyret. Bedtime Is Canceled. Boston: Clarion, 2012.
Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Franklin, TN: Dalmatian, 2008.
Singer, Marilyn, and Sachiko Yoshikawa. First Food Fight This Fall and Other School Poems. New York: Sterling, 2008.