Here are some curriculum extensions for my books. Write from your imagination, discover answers to fasinating questions, act out a story and more!
Click here to download a pdf with interdisciplinary activities to use after reading LUCY's CAVE.
Activities and bibliography by Sandy Schuckett, retired librarian.
Here are activities to do and things to think about after reading CASSIE'S SWEET BERRY PIE:
Imagine how you would have felt if you lived in the South during the Civil War? How would you have felt if you lived in the North? Choose one viewpoint and write about it.
Many of the soldiers were young boys like the soldier Cassie met. Do research about the drummer boys and other young soldiers. Imagine what it would be like if you had to travel so far from home with either the Union or Confederate army. How would you have felt?
Why did the South want to secede from the Union? Why did the North want them to stay? List the states on either side of the conflict. What happened to border states like Maryland, Virginia and Missouri?
Find out about the important generals who fought in the Civil War -- General Lee, General Grant and General Sherman. Choose one and write his biography.
Many women had important and active roles during the Civil War. Names like Clara Barton and Harriet Beecher Stowe are well-known; Rose O'Neal Greenhow (a Confederate spy) and Dr. Mary Edwards Walker (who received the Congressional Medal of Honor) are lesser known. Make a list of other women and their accomplishments, or choose one women to research and write a report.
What are some of the similarities and differences between the Civil War fought in the US and recent civil wars fought in other countries such as Ireland, Bosnia and Rwanda?
Here are activities to do and things to think about after reading MR. LINCOLN'S WHISKERS:
Read a newspaper and think about the things you've read. Do you have some ideas about how to make things better? Now write a letter to a politician or someone in government with a suggestion.
Write a letter to someone you admire and tell him or her why.
During an election, write to your favorite candidate. Make a suggestion. Tell them why if you could you would vote for them.
Who would you have wanted to be elected President in 1860? Pretend you are alive during the time leading up to the Civil War. Write your opinions and feelings.
Even if Grace Bedell were grown up in 1860, she could not have voted. Women didn't get the vote in the United States until 1920. What was the reason for that? Find out about what women did to try and get the power to vote. Look up "Suffragists". Who were the most important ones? What difference has it made that women could vote?
Excellent websites to find out more:
Smithsonian's History Explorer
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln
Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library
Abraham Lincoln Research Site - by a former American history teacher
Here are activities to do and things to think about after reading SYBIL'S NIGHT RIDE:
Divide up by twos. One person will be Sybil. The other will be a newspaper reporter interviewing her. Think up good questions. Sybil can tell you her feelings and motivations about her ride.
Hold a class debate. During the American Revolution many people wanted independence, but many were loyal to England. Take sides. Write up arguments and reasons for your side.
Pretend our country is still part of England. What would life be like today in the United States? Who would be the head of our government? Would our language be different in any way? Imagine and write down your thoughts.
Do you know the story of Paul Revere? If not, read about him. You could read Henry Longfellow's poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere". Now compare Sybil's ride to Paul Revere's ride. Why is he more famous?
Find out about girl and boy heroines in our American history. Write a story imaging what it was like to be one of them.
Write and act out a play about Sybil's Ride.
Here are activities to do and things to think about after reading THE NIGHT OF THE FIREFLIES:
Have you ever seen a firefly? Where were you? Describe the experience.
What makes a firefly light up? Research and find out. Is a firefly's light warm or cold? Why? What other insects do you see on a summer's night?
Why are there so few fireflies left in many places? Is there something that can be done to help our environment? Find out.
Write a letter to someone in government with suggestions on how to make our environment cleaner. Volunteer at a local organization that works to help our environment.
Here are activities to do and things to think about after reading BARN SNEEZE:
Read BARN SNEEZE aloud. Make the sounds of the wind (remember it's a strong wind) and the sounds that all the animals make. Act it out!
Imagine what other animals sound like when they sneeze. Imagine animals at the zoo. Imagine animals in the wild. What other places can you think of? Make up your own story. (See if you could make it rhyme.)
What other sounds do animals make? When they're happy? When they're angry? Make a list. Write about one animal's day and the sounds he makes as he reacts to all that happens.
Here are activities to do and things to think about after reading A YEAR GOES ROUND:
Read one poem every month. Talk about what that month brings to mind. Make a list. Now write your own poem choosing one or some of the things on the list. At the end of the year write a poem about your favorite month.
Make your own calendar for the year. Take twelve sheets of paper and write the name of each month at the top. Draw a picture on each page. Or you could write a line for each month. Find a calendar to see how to make a box to write the days of the week and number the days. Mark important dates in your life—birthdays, holidays, etc. Use it every day!
April is Poetry Month. Plan different ways to celebrate poetry during the month. Invite a poet to visit your class and share poems with you. Choose a day to read only funny poems or poems about animals. Listen to poems on audio tapes. Work with your class to create a poetry magazine. Read a novel in verse. Research and makes a list of all the different kinds of poetry forms - haiku, sonnets etc. Write a letter to your favorite poet.
A Story for Each Month
Winter Beach -- January
Have you ever been to the beach in the winter? Or by a lake? How is it different in the winter from the summer? Compare and write about each.
Snow Angel -- February
What kinds of things do you do outside when it snows? Pick one and write a poem about it. If you live in a place where it never snows, write about what February is like where you live. How is it different from the other months?
Quiet Morning -- March
What day of the week presents you with a quiet morning? Write about what you do. Describe what you do when it rains outside and you stay inside the house.
Tryouts -- April
Have you ever tried out-for a sport, a play, a dance recital? Write about how you felt. Did you make the team, get a part in the play? How did you feel?
Parade -- May
Have you ever watched a parade? Been in a parade? Write about what you remember. Make up your own parade. Where is it? What are you celebrating? What kinds of costumes do the participants wear? Are they people or animals? If animals, what kinds?
Swinging -- June
Swinging high up gives you a whole new view of things. Imagine you are standing on top of a skyscraper, or a mountaintop or up in a plane. What do you see down below? How does it feel to be up so high? How does it feel when you come down to earth? Write about it.
The Wave -- July
Imagine you are being chased. By what? An erupting volcano? A big animal? How do you get away? Do you run? Ride? Fly? Skate away? Or do you hide? Write about what happens. Don't forget to say if you got away!
City Summer -- August
How does a summer in the city differ from a summer spent in the country? Imagine and write about each. Where and how did you spend your summer?
Dodge Ball -- September
What do you do at recess? What kind of games do you play? Does it take skill? Is it fun? How many kids can play? Boys and girls? Describe how you like to spend recess.
Disguises -- October
Create an imaginary costume for yourself. Who will you be? Draw a picture of you in your costume. Now that you are someone or something else, what happens? Write a story about it.
Feeding the Goose -- November
Have you ever found a bird or animal in the wild that was injured or needed care? Did you care for it? What did you feed it? Have you ever fed geese, ducks, and squirrels in the park? Write about the experience.
On Stage -- December
Have you ever been in a play? Were you nervous? Try to remember how you felt. What was it like being up on stage? Did you remember your lines? The words to a song? Did you dance? Wear a costume? Write about the experience.