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AB R AM S AP P LE S E E D TE AC H I NG G U I D E

by BARBARA JOOSSE and ANNEKE LISBERG


illustrated by JARED ANDREW SCHORR

HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE


This guide provides your class with the ability to explore “community,” and helps children identify their own
“great big family.” In this guide you will also find ties to science, creative writing, and art for your pre-K to grade
one students. While this book is a soothing, lyrical read, it’s backed by solid science: all statements are corrobo-
rated by research.

CLASSROOM DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Pre-Reading
•T
 ell your class you’re going to be reading a book about animals who feel alone. Ask them to identify the times
THEY feel alone and want someone to be with them.

English Language Arts / Word Study


Musical Words
•B
 arbara Joosse likes to put words together that sound like music. On second readings, ask your students to
identify the words that “have music in them.” These musical words also give a clue to the feeling of each animal
and child. See if they can identify the feeling associated with these words.

Be sure to include:

flicky ticky (nervous) | rumbly tumbly (hungry) | peeking seeking (curious)

dusty musty (dirty) | mutter sputter (frustrated; angry; ready to fight)

doodle daddle (playful) | wishing wondering (uncertain)

•A
 sk your students to make up musical words for these feelings or situations:

excited | happy | sad | jealous | loving | proud | brave | stuck in the mud

| riding a bike | spilling your glass of milk

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ABRAMS APPLE SEED TEACHING GUIDE

CLASSROOM DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Science/ Nature Study


Collective Animal Names
•E
 ach animal has one or more collective names. Collective names are fun and colorful! They also give clues
about what each animal is like. Ask your class to list the collective names identified with each of the six
animals. Ask them why they are appropriate for the animal.

Be sure to include:

zebra (dazzle) | bat (cloud) | crow (murder) | meerkat (clan) | prairie dog (town) | rat (mischief)

Then ask your class to make up their own collective names for other animals/people:

worms | spiders | eagles | elephants | giraffes | house flies | frogs | your class | bus drivers

people on the playground | people in a swimming pool

Social Studies/ Community Helpers

Who Helps You?


•D
 iscuss how each of the book’s animal groups demonstrates a different way to help.
Then ask them to identify the people and/or pets in their lives who help in the same way.

“A dazzle of zebras watches out for each other.” Who watches out for you?

teachers | crossing guard | lifeguard | older siblings | meteorologists

police | firefighters | your pet | military

“A cloud of bats shares food with each other.” Who shares food with you?

Who makes the food?

When times are bad (hurricane; illness), are there special groups that help?

“A murder of crows teaches each other.” Who teaches you?

Who taught you to read? | tie your shoe? | play soccer? | sing songs?

Be sure to mention:

camp counselor | teacher | coach | parent | sibling | friend | grandparent

• 2 • BETTER TOGETHER: A BOOK OF FAMILY by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg / illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr

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ABRAMS APPLE SEED TEACHING GUIDE

CLASSROOM DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

“A meerkat clan babysits the young ones.” Who watches over you?

when the teacher is sick? | when your parents go to a movie?

“A town of prairie dogs sticks up for one another.” Who sticks up for you?

Be sure to mention:

friend | sibling | parent | teacher | classmate | counselor

“A mischief of rat pups plays with one another.” Who plays with you?

Your Own “Great Big Family”


•D
 iscuss what “great big family” means to your students, being sure to include concepts of “helpfulness” and
“trust.” Remind children that their community also includes people they don’t know but who help them,
such as people who serve in the armed forces, or produce the food they eat and even the books they read!
Discuss the idea that, even when a child feels alone, someone is close by who can help.

•H
 elp children identify the people in their own “great big family.” On a large sheet of paper, draw concentric
circles around the word YOU to represent each child’s community.

Related circles can include:

pets, relatives, babysitters, teachers, neighbors, friends, police, firefighters, librarians, doctors.

• 3 • BETTER TOGETHER: A BOOK OF FAMILY by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg / illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr

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ABRAMS APPLE SEED TEACHING GUIDE

CLASSROOM EXTENSION ACTIVITIES

The Arts
Your “Great Big Family” Art Project
PREPARATION: Fold a large sheet of paper in two widthwise. Cut a hole in the middle of the cover page.
Write “Am I Alone?” at the top of the cover page. Write “NO! I AM NEVER ALL ALONE” at the top of the
inside page.

•A
 sk your students to draw a picture of themselves inside the hole, then open up the page and draw their “great
big family” all around them.

Create a “Cloud” of Bats Art Project


PREPARATION: Using the die-cut bat from the book, trace enough bats for each child in your classroom.

•A
 sk each child to decorate a bat. Then tape the “cloud” upside down on a branch. Write the words “A Cloud
of Bats” on a piece of construction paper and suspend from the branch. Notice how the “cloud of bats” really
looks like a cloud!

The same cut-out concept can be used for any of the animals in the book.

Farm-to-Table Art Project


There are many “helpers” behind many things in our lives. Some of those “helpers” are people, plants and animals.
Demonstrate these invisible helpers that are behind a jar of honey.

PREPARATION: Gather together a jar of honey, crackers a flowering plant, two paint sticks, yellow yarn, and
a photo or a drawing of a beehive, beekeeper, delivery truck, store, and a shopper. Nail two crossed paint sticks
together (to be used as a mobile).

Now have each child draw a bee on a small square of paper. Together, these bees are called a “swarm.” Create the
swarm by suspending each bee from the crossed paint sticks with a piece of yarn.

Discuss the process from flower to jar of honey and all the plants, animals, and people behind this simple jar.
These are all “helpers,” too! Ask children to create a sequence out of these pictures and objects, trailing the yarn
from one to another.

Finally, invite children to enjoy the honey on a cracker—the end result of the work of many!
Invite them to toast this invisible group with a “thank you.”

• 4 • BETTER TOGETHER: A BOOK OF FAMILY by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg / illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr

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BETTER TOGETHER
A BOOK OF FAMILY
by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg • Illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr

PRAISE

“A pleasant introduction


to the power in sticking
together.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Inventive.”
—Shelf Awareness

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2538-8 Ages 3 to 5

ABOUT THE BOOK


In Better Together, each spread starts with a single animal, all alone. Then a gatefold opens to reveal that the single
animal is actually one of many animals working together to comfort, feed, and protect one another. At the end, we
see how human families come together in similar ways to care for their little ones. Careful readers will be delighted
to see that every animal mentioned in the book is hidden somewhere in the last image. The final spread offers
interesting facts about the animals in the book, including the collective nouns for each.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Barbara Joosse has written books for children for more than thirty years, including Mama, Do You Love Me,
Papa, Do You Love Me?; I Love You the Purplest; and her popular Dragon & Girl series that includes Lovabye
Dragon, Evermore Dragon, and Sail Away Dragon. She lives in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
For more books by Barbara Joosse, visit BarbaraJoosse.com.

Anneke Lisberg, Ph.D. is a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. As a licensed etholo-
gist, she studies animal behavior, with a specialty in animal communication. This is her first book for children.

Jared Andrew Schorr specializes in creating detailed work entirely from cut paper. His work has appeared in
many publications, as well as in galleries and homes around the world.

This educator’s guide was written by Barbara Joosse, children’s author © 2018.
Illustrations © 2017 Jared Andrew Schorr

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