Writing Good Beginnings and Great Leads

This product includes 11 “poster” pages for different types of writing leads. Each lead includes multiple examples from children’s literature. Also included is a page for writing teacher and student examples of each type of lead.

Bonus: 1″ binder spine label, 11 page tabs (one per lead type), and a worksheet.

Goals of the lesson:

Good Beginnings - Great Leads - Kat and SquirrelCCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
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.W.2.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.1.A Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2.A Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.3.A Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1.A Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.2.A Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.3.A Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1.A Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.2.A Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.3.A Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1.A Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.A Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.3.A Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

Kat and Squirrel - Get the Lesson!

ABC Around the House Lesson

Learn Your ABCs with Kat and Squirrel's ABC Around the House LessonAn original Kat and Squirrel Learning Adventure in an ABC book genre. This can be printed out or viewed electronically.

After reading the story ask the class to guess what the house-sitter found. Then use pictures of household items for each letter of the alphabet.

Teachers can use them in two ways:

1. Cut out all photos and letter cards and laminate for durability. Use as a matching challenge; match item to its beginning letter.

2. Cut on dotted line only and fold on solid line. Laminate so photo is on one side and letter is on the other. Hold up a card showing the letter. Have kids guess what might have been found at Kat’s house. Then show the picture.

Also included is a key naming the items that correspond with each letter.

Goals of the lesson

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.1.d
Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3.a
Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3.b
Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.2.c
Isolate and pronounce initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in spoken single-syllable words.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

 

3!!! Bonus Items:
Responding worksheet that can be easily differentiated
Compare/contrast worksheet
and
Make-Your-Own ABC cards!

Kat and Squirrel - Get the Lesson!

 

Some fun ABC books to increase interest and motivation for reading and writing:


Dr. Seuss’s ABC:
An Amazing
Alphabet Book!


Curious George’s ABCs


R Is for Rocket:
An ABC Book


AlphaOops!:
The Day Z Went First


B Is for Bulldozer:
A Construction ABC


Chicka Chicka
Boom Boom


LMNO Peas
(The Peas Series)


Q Is for Duck:
An Alphabet
Guessing Game


Bad Kitty


Poor Puppy
and Bad Kitty

Mystery Stop and Jot Unit – Elementary

Mystery Stop and Jot Reading Lesson from Kat and SquirrelThis way-too-fun mystery unit uses the “Stop, Think, Jot” reading strategy to delve into any mystery story.

This expanded version now includes more detailed teacher ideas and an original Kat and Squirrel Mystery Learning Adventure!

Included:
Teacher plans as suggestions to ‘how to teach’ the unit
“Detective Academy Training Manual” and completion certificate
Mystery vocabulary – 8 words
Cover sheet to create a “Detective Case File” with your pronged pocket folder
“Case File” papers used to collect jotted observations
“Stop and Jot” notes (or you can use Post-its)
2 styles of book logs
Lists of easy mystery books with Lexile numbers
Link to my Mystery Pinterest page!
Poster with ‘stop and jot’ codes
Bookmarks with ‘stop and jot’ codes are available here:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/
Product/Mystery-Stop-and-Jot-Bookmark-1195729

 

Goals of the Lesson:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2
Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3
Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.6
Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.7
Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.10
With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.
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.RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
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.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.1
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3
Describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.5
Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
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.RL.3.10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Kat and Squirrel - Get the Lesson!

 

 

 

Early Elementary Science Related Mysteries:

Dot & Jabber and the Great Acorn Mystery

Dot & Jabber and the Big Bug Mystery

Dot & Jabber and the Mystery of the Missing Stream

Easy-Reading Mystery Classics:

The Case of the Hungry Stranger (I Can Read Book 2)

Nate the Great

Young Cam Jansen and the Missing Cookie

Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones (Cam Jansen)

The Case of the Stolen Baseball Cards (Jigsaw Jones Mystery, No. 5)

Kat’s Favorite Series:

The High-Rise Private Eyes #1: The Case of the Missing Monkey (I Can Read Book 2)

The High-Rise Private Eyes #2: The Case of the Climbing Cat (I Can Read Book 2)

The High-Rise Private Eyes #3: The Case of the Puzzling Possum (I Can Read Book 2)

The High-Rise Private Eyes #4: The Case of the Troublesome Turtle

The High-Rise Private Eyes #5: The Case of the Sleepy Sloth (I Can Read Book 2)

The High-Rise Private Eyes #6: The Case of the Fidgety Fox (I Can Read Book 2)

The High-Rise Private Eyes #7: The Case of the Baffled Bear (I Can Read Book 2)

The High-Rise Private Eyes #8: The Case of the Desperate Duck (I Can Read Book 2)

Pumpkin Picture Book Comprehension

Pumpkin Picture Book Comprehension Unit - KatandSquirrel.com

Create a pumpkin lap book with these pages to have some fun with comprehension this fall!

I’ve used this unit for the past 2 years and the students love – love – love it!  During our designated half-hour “intervention” time I am lucky enough to be in charge of the group of first graders who are reading above grade level.  I enjoy exposing them to new vocabulary words and comprehension skills.

Of course, what first-grade teacher doesn’t love a good seasonal project? We know that tapping into the students’ ever-evolving interests helps to keep them fully engaged.  And at this time of year the humble pumpkin stands on center stage!

Kat and Squirrel - Get the Lesson!

The following favorite pumpkin picture books can be used to engage your students while strengthening their comprehension skills: (Oh – and you can easily click the links embedded in the book titles for info. about where to purchase the books. – Don’t ya just love technology!)

Sequence

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
From Seed to Pumpkin (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Wendy Pfeffer
The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson
Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell
Pumpkin Cat by Anne Mortimer
From Seed to Pumpkin (Welcome Books: How Things Grow) by Jan Kottke

Story Structure

Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas
The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin by Margaret Wise Brown
The Stubborn Pumpkin (Hello Reader, Level 3) by Laura Geringer
Pumpkin Hill by Elizabeth Spurr

Fact and Opinion

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (Picture the Seasons) (National Geographic Kids) by Jill Esbaum

The Very Best Pumpkin by Mark Kimball Moulton
How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom Series) by Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas
Pumpkin Day! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
I Like Pumpkins by Jerry Smath
The Pumpkin Fair by Eve Bunting

Compare and Contrast

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
Strega Nona’s Harvest by Tomie de Paola

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano
Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli
The Problem with Pumpkins: A Hip & Hop Story by Barney Saltzberg

Cause and Effect

The Halloween Performance by Felicia Bond
Pumpkin Fiesta by Caryn Yacowitz

Pumpkin Town! Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins by Katie McKy
The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
The Pumpkin Blanket by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night by Anne Rockwell

StoryContest14Also included:

Guided Writing (Main Idea and Details)

Award-winning Kat and Squirrel story.

(This story was the winner of the AMPL Short Story Writing Contest!)

Bonuses:

“Favorite Pumpkin Story” bar graph

2 Color Sheets to use to decorate the folders

Goals of the lesson

RL.1.1. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
RL.1.2. Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
RL.1.3. Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
RI.1.1. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
RI.1.2. Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
RI.1.3. Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
RL.1.4. Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
RL.1.5. Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.
RI.1.4. Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
RI.1.5. Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
RI.1.6. Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and inform

ation provided by the words in a text.
RL.1.7. Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
RL.1.9. Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
RI.1.7. Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

RL.1.10. With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.
RI.1.10. With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.
RF.1.1. Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
RF.1.4. Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
W.1.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

 

 

 

 

Making Connections with Owl Picture Books (Dream Catcher Project)

 

Read wonderful owl-themed literature and create a beautiful dream catcher to showcase student learning.

Comprehension through text connections is the focus of this super fun project.

Goals of the lesson

Owl Picture Book Lesson - Kat and SquirrelPractice “close reading” through text connections.
ELA-Literacy.RI.1.3 Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.

Included in this product:

  • 3 owl/dream catcher graphics with gorgeous color combinations
  • 1 black and white owl/dream catcher graphic
  • Photos of the final project
  • Background information page for the teacher
  • 3 “making connections” posters to display as a reference for students
  • 18 sets of “feathers” with suggested owl-themed literature
  • 2 sets of blank “feathers”
  • And an original Kat and Squirrel story with set of “feathers” to match
    (Psst – The Squirrel has seriously outdone herself with the illustrations for this one!)
  • Bonus – Owl Fact Word Find!!

So much owl fun packed into this project. It could keep kids interested for weeks! And learning of course, but don’t tell them. 😉

Kat and Squirrel - Get the Lesson!

The Possible Owls Books to Use:

Owl Dreamcatcher - Kat and Sqiuirrel

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

“I’m Not Santa!” by Jonathan Allen

Owls by Gail Gibbons

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark (Jill Tomlinson’s Favourite Animal Tales) by Jill Tomlinson

The Owl Who Hated the Dark by Earle Goodenow

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan

Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins

The Little White Owl. Tracey Corderoy, Jane Chapman by Tracey Corderoy

The Owl And the Woodpecker by Brian Wildsmith

My Little Book of Burrowing Owls (My Little Book Series) by Hope Irvin Marston

Owl Babies by Martin Waddel

White Owl, Barn Owl: Read and Wonder by Nicola Davies

Baby Owl (Nature Babies) by Aubrey Lang

Why the Owl Has Big Ears Retold by Mike J. Preble

Adopted By An Owl: The True Story of Jackson the Owl (The Hazel Ridge Farm Stories) by Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen

The Happy Owls by Celestino Piatti

Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton

Owl at Home (I Can Read Book 2) by Arnold Lobel

Kat and Squirrel and the Winter Solstice by Kathryn Gjerseth
(INCLUDED IN THE LESSON)

Kat and Squirrel and the Winter Solstice - KatandSquirrel.com

 

Comprehension Unit – Scarecrow Picture Books

Concepts to Be Covered

Scarecrow Picture Book Comprehension Unit from Kat and SquirrelFeaturing the following picture books:
Six Crows by Leo Lionni (Story Structure)
Scarecrowby Cynthia Rylant (Character Traits)
The Scarecrow’s Hatby Ken Brown (Sequence/Retelling)
The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown (Questioning)
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams (Predictions)
Barn Dance! (Reading Rainbow) By Bill Martin Jr. (Making Connections)
The Scarecrow’s Dance by Jane Yolen (Visualization)
The Lonely Scarecrow by Tim Preston (Compare and Contrast)

Goals of the lesson

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.2 With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.9 With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.5 Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.6 Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.9 Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.10 With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade

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.RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.5 Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

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.

Kat and Squirrel - Get the Lesson!

“Pair it” Parrot Game – ABC Recognition

This is a super fun card game that can be used to reinforce letter recognition. Great for intervention groups or centers. Includes an original Kat and Squirrel story and a bonus ABC order worksheet.

"Pair it" Parrot - ABC Recognition Game from Kat and SquirrelGoals of the lesson

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.1.d Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet.

Get the Game from Kat and Squirrel

The Pair It Parrot games by Kat and Squirrel

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