How Many Kids Are on the Bus – Subitizing to Ten

Math Lesson from Kat and Squirrel - How many kids on the bus?Covers Math Common Core Standards for Kindergarten and First Grade – Understanding Numbers and Operations in Base Ten – Students will represent a number of objects with a numeral.

Each card displays a school bus with the windows in the shape of a tens frame. Faces are showing in the windows. As cards are flashed students write or say the number of faces they see on the bus.

Includes 26 large demonstration cards that can be flashed to a group of students and they write the corresponding number.

Also includes 26 smaller cards that can be used at a math center or as a game. Shuffle and divide cards. One child flashes a card and if the partner gets the correct number he/she keeps the card. If the number is incorrect the card goes to the bottom of the first child’s pile. Take turns flashing cards. Play until all cards have been correctly identified.

Goals of the lesson Goal/Common Core Standard:

Understanding Numbers and Operations in Base Ten – Students will represent a number of objects with a numeral.

Bonus!! Recording sheet for students to write answers as an independent counting activity.


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Writing Captions

Writing Captions with Kat and  SquirrelThere are 3 lessons which employ a gradual release of responsibility approach to writing captions for photos.

Included are photos with captions for a large group lesson, photos to use to model the lesson, photos for partner work, and photos for an individual contribution to a whole-class game.

This was designed to be used in a first-grade classroom, but it could easily be used for older groups.

Story to go with the lessons:
Kat and Squirrel have been asked to fill in at the Pigeon Post
Newspaper. Their new boss, Pigeon, wants them to write captions
for the photos. They do not know how to write captions!
Can you help?

Goals of the lessons:

With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce an publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of “how-to” books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).

With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.


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Did you come up with a fun caption from the “Writing Captions” lesson? If so, write the number and your caption in the comments below. We can’t wait to read them!

Kat and Squirrel on the Farm

Life Science and Engineering Design Unit for First Grade NGSS

Kat and Squirrel on the Farm - Life Science UnitThis is an interactive story with pauses after each ‘chapter’ to allow students and teachers time to research topics (video link included!), record observations (guided viewing sheet included!), discuss thoughts supported by evidence (animal parent and offspring cards included!), and design a solution to a problem (animal adaptation cards and engineering design form included!).

All lessons are introduced by a continuing story about Kat and Squirrel’s goofy adventures while on a farm. The lessons are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards for first grade. And the lessons have been created by an experienced first-grade teacher.

The timing will depend upon how long and how often you have science class, but would most likely take 2-3 weeks. This could also be integrated into the reading/language arts curriculum very easily with a few creative teacher additions.

Goals of the Lesson

1-LS1-1. Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

1-LS1-2. Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.

1-LS3-1. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.

K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem. Optional: If you have your students build their “solutions,” it would be a great time to complete this standard:

K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

Optional: If you have your students build their “solutions,” it would be a great time to complete this standard: K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.


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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. 😉

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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

Kat and Squirrel and the Winter Solstice -


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.

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Squirrel Away 1-6 & 7-12 bundle!

Subitizing game for structuring numbers

Squirrel Away 1-6 & 7-12 bundle! Subitizing game for structuring numbersNow get both versions of our awesome subitizing dice game and save money!

“Can we play again – and again?”

This is an awesome game I use to help teach spatial patterns and subitizing while working on structuring numbers with my first-grade math intervention group. They love it!

With this product you also get the Kat and Squirrel story that goes with the game –
and Bonus!
Spanish language dice “covers”.
Roman numeral dice “covers”.
Squirrel Away Artwork
for both games!

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ABC Order Scoot

ABC Order Shoot from Kat and SquirrelStudents will practice ABC order by playing a fun and active game. Alphabetical order is an essential skill for mastering the task of accessing reference material.


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.4e Use glossaries and beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.2g Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.4d Use glossaries or beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

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