This is the Rope

This week I read This is the Rope by Jacqueline Woodson. This is a story about a family heirloom which has been passed down through their family. Prior to reading the book,  I had students share some of their family traditions (Easter, Birthdays, etc.) and then we talked briefly about heirlooms (objects which we associate with traditions or events from our past).  After reading the story, which talks about jumping rope and mentions an alphabet chant, I showed them the book A my name is Alice by Jane Baylor, illustrated by Steve Kellog and read the first page (A).  As a group we came up with our own version using the letter B


Extension Activity: Using this worksheet , identify 6 significant events in your personal or family history. Draw a picture to represent each event. Are there objects that are part of your family’s traditions – a special plate used for birthdays, a particular decoration? Add these to your pictures, then cut the pictures out and tape them on a piece of rope/yarn, like a timeline.

Rechenka’s Egg by Patricia Polacco


We are on spring vacation this week, but I wanted to share my favorite Reading Rainbow episode.  Check out the full length video which includes this book, as well as a demonstration by author Patricia Polacco of  the Ukrainian egg-painting art.  To top it off, wear a Reading Rainbow t-shirt .

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer

We reviewed the definition of fiction and nonfiction, then guessed “What type of book is this?” by its cover.  The books that I used were Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, Earthworms by Claire Llewellyn, An Earthworm’s Life by John Himmelman, Flower Hunter: William Bartram by Deborah Ray and Winner Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler. The students learned that fiction covers show animals doing things that real animals can not do and that nonfiction covers include photos or illustrations. They learned that one type of nonfiction book is biography. They learned that sometimes it is difficult to judge a book by its cover and that sometimes you have to open it and read it in order to decide.   I then read Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler, Pictures by Ard Hoyt .



Adventures of Herman the Worm

BrainpopJr. – Soil   (Requires subscription)


Stripes of All Types



This week, I read Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale.  We discussed the purpose of stripes (to hide/camouflage, both predators and prey  or to stand out/warn that they are poisonous) . After reading the book, we identified the animals shown and read some of the information about them at the end of the book.  I then had the students guess what animals had the stripes shown at the end of the book.  I covered the answers with post-its and  let them have 3 guesses before showing them the correct answer.  As always, I had a display of books about camouflage and encouraged them to check them out and see if they could find the animals hiding in the books.

Extension Activites:

Watch the video Camouflage – Brainpop Jr. (requires subscription – username and password)

For more information about camouflaged animals, go to Enchanted Learning – Camouflaged Animals