Specific Novel & Picture Book Activities - "F"
Families are Different
by Nina Pellegrini
Grade 2, readaloud kindergarten
Nico is upset because she doesn't look like her mom, dad or sister; she is adopted. Nico isn't upset for long, though, when she realizes that there are many different kinds of families around her, some with one dad and no mom, some with no moms and dads, some with step parents, and many more. This is a charming story that emphasizes to us all that no family is the same. A perfect book to use for an early social studies unit on families.
How many people are in your family: graph
- Cut out 4"x4" squares out of construction paper, enough for each member of your family including you.
- On each square draw each member of your family and write their name underneath
- Paste them vertically on a piece of paper.
- Display the all the students families as a bar graph from the largest families to the smallest.
by Margaret Haffner and Mark Thurman
read aloud grade one, readability 2
This book takes us on a journey through another one of Jake's wild daydreams. On the way to school, Jake runs into a canyon, huge waves, a great desert, swirling vultures, a deadly rattle snake, a hungry wolf, and a border guard. Will he make it to school, or will he be trapped by one of these obstacles? A story that emphasizes the wonderful world of imagination.
Have a tall tale contest: Kids first prepare the most outrageous story that they can think of and then share it with the rest of the class.
50 Below Zero
by Robert Munsch
read aloud kindergarten, readability grade 2
Jason wakes up to find that his father is sleep walking. No matter how much Jason yells, his father will not wake up. Finally desperate times call for desperate measures as Jason's father wanders outside in 50 below (Celsius) weather! Yet another hilarious book by Munsch, that will become a class room favourite and will have everyone laughing.
This book is dedicated to Jason from Watts Lake, Yukon and Tie from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. It gets pretty cold in these places, but how cold does it get? During a winter month, I think January would be the best month because it's usually the coldest, use weather forecasts to record the daily temperatures in these two communities and compare it to your community's temperature. Every morning check the internet, write down the present temperatures for each place. At the end of the month, figure out what was the coldest day in each place. Did it ever get to 50 below?
Here's an excellent site for weather forecasts all over the world. The data is provided by Environment Canada:
by Theresa Tomlinson
read aloud 4, readability 7
In the time of Knights and Ladies fifteen year old Mary escapes her noble lifestyle to the forest. She seeks freedom from an arranged marriage with an elderly man, the only type of man who would marry an orphan. In the deep forests, she meets up with the poor citizens of the kingdom, a healing woman, and some outlaws. This unusual mix of characters provide the basis for an exciting and suspenseful story that explores the classic Robin Hood tale through the eyes of Maid Marion.
Four Seasons for Toby
by Dorothy Joan Harris
readability 2, read aloud kindergarten
Toby Turtle spends the year looking for the seasons. With his grandma and Chipmunk to guide him along readers are introduced to all of the seasons at the pond. The beautiful pictures drawn by Vlasta Van Kampen also add to the sense of discovery from this book. A good book to use at the beginning of the year to introduce children to the seasons, the the upcoming year.
- Before reading the book, ask students to list all of the seasons. Write them each out on a piece of chart paper.
- Then ask the students some things that happen in these seasons (birthdays, hollidays, weather...).
- Read the book asking students to pay attention to what happens to the pond and its inhabitants during each season.
- After reading the story, ask students for suggestions of things that happen during each season to add to the charts.
Franklin's Bad Day
by Paulette Bourgeois
Readability grade one, Read Aloud kindergarten
Franklin is having a really bad day. Franklin's mother and father, Bear, and Mr. Mole try to help make it better, but no matter what they do, something ruins it. After a heart-to-heart talk with his father, Franklin realizes that there's always bigger problems that hide under smaller ones; so, the best way to make it better is to solve the bigger problem. As all the books in the Franklin series, this book and clearly defines a problem and goes about exploring how to resolve it.
There are many ways that Franklin displays his anger in this book. After reading the book, make a list on chart paper of Franklin's anger reactions. Discuss if these were good ways to express anger. On another piece of chart paper generate a class list of good ways to express anger. Display in class for future reference.
by Andrea Wayne-von Konigslow
read aloud kindergarten, readability grade 2
Lucy loves frogs so much, she collects them at home, and one night before she goes to bed she give one a kiss good night. Suddenly, the frog transforms into a prince right in the middle of her bedroom. Mom gets on the phone and lets all her friends know, and pretty soon the whole town is flocking to the pond where Lucy found this frog. A lot of kissing is going on and princes are appearing all over, causing a lot more problems than they are worth. The princes, though, deep down in their hearts want to be frogs again. Thanks to a creative plan on Lucy's plan they might get their wish. This is a very fractured tale based on The Frog Prince that will have readers laughing and thinking twice about kissing frogs!
Make a Croaking Frog. You will need:
- an oatmeal container with its lid, or a tin coffee can with its lid (size doesn't really matter)
- green, white, and black construction paper
- a rubber band
- sharp scissors
What to do:
- Using the scissors, cut a tab near the edge of each side of the lid and bend them up.
- Cover the container and the lid with green construction paper.
- Cut out a flat frog face, and some white eyes.
- Glue the eyes to the face and draw in a mouth, some pupils, and some nostrils.
- Put the lid on the container and glue the face on to the side of the container.
- Cut out feet and glue them to the bottom of the container.
- Cut out an oval shape and glue on the container for the frog's belly.
- Take the elastic band and stretch it around the tabs on the lid and plunk it with your finger to make a croaking sound.
From Far Away
by Robert Munsch
readability grade 1 and up, read aloud kindergarten
This is a true story about Saoussan Askar's life shortly before and after she left her war torn community in Beirut. Saoussan recalls her terrifying feelings as a five year old new to Canada. She knew no English, and her memories of Beirut prevented her from feeling safe. Eventually, though, with the help of her parents, teacher, and classmates, Saoussan becomes a success story. She now knows how to speak English, and she loves her new home in Canada.
- The illustrations and the story of this book reveals a few ways that Saoussan relies on to communicate to her teacher and her classmates. Ask students to work in pairs. One is allowed to speak English and the other cannot speak at all (then switch roles). After the activity, discuss all the different methods the non-speakers used to communicate.
- This book was written by Saoussan and Robert Munsch after Saoussan srote a series of letters about her experience to Munsch. Ask students to think about their life in Canada/U.S. and write a letter to someone who knows nothing about Canada/U.S.. How does the country look like? How are the people like? What do they like about their country?