Just Itzy

March 17, 2015


Itzy Bitzy wants to be called just Itzy now that he is headed to spindergarten.  But, changing a nick name isn’t as easy as he thought it would be.

The main focus of this picture book is how Itzy sets a goal to spin a web and catch a fly so he doesn’t have to bring his lunch to school.  After lessons from his teacher, Mr. Webster, Itzy sets out to spin his web to catch his lunch.  His first attempts are not successful, and he wants to quit after each attempt, but Mr. Webster keeps reminding Itzy to “Keep your eye on the fly” and to not give up.

Use this book with primary students who need help setting goals.  Transfer the story of Itzy setting his spider goals to students thinking about goals they want to set in school for the year.  This book is a great tie in to the First 6 Weeks of School and Responsive Classroom!

There are subtle references to Little Miss Muffet, the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, and other nursery rhymes spattered throughout the book. A great comedic read!


Rabbit’s Snow Dance

May 23, 2013

398.2 BRU

by James and Joseph Bruchac

Background on the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9U6mjoryGE

It’s summertime and rabbit really wants snow so that he can stand on the snow and reach the tops of the budding trees, for that is what tastes the most delicious.  Without thinking about others feelings and needs, rabbit begins to sing the snow song and do the accompanying dance.  Before you know it, it begins to snow, inconveniencing the other animals around.  Rabbit eventually gets what he wants, and then rests in the tree branch next to his delicious meal.  In the morning the summer sun comes back out and melts all the snow, giving rabbit a great surprise when he wakes up high above the ground.  As rabbit is rubbing the sleep from his eye, he takes a step (not knowing he’s so high up) and falls down, down, down.  As he falls bits of his tail fall off until it is left as the rabbit tale as we know now.  This story is the Algonquian explanation for pussy willows on willow trees or the similar looking ends of a cottonwood tree in the springtime.

I am still looking for a video/audio clip putting the song to a tune.  Until then, use your creativity to have students repeat the snow dance song with you!

Clever Beatrice

November 30, 2012

by Margaret Willey
illustrated by Heather Solomon

Cover image for Clever Beatrice : an Upper Pen...

Tall tale from Michigan’s upper peninsula

From the publisher: Can a very little girl beat a very large giant in feats of strength?  That’s what clever Beatrice bets on when she marches through the north woods to the home of the giant, hoping to win some of his gold to help her mother buy porridge.  The giant heartily agrees to a contest, never imagining the wisp of a girl could out-muscle him.  But what he hasn’t counted on is how clever Beatrice is…and that brains beat brawn every time.

Comprehension Strategies: text to text connections, predicting (How is Beatrice going to trick the giant?)

Other Lesson Ideas: compare/contrast to other giant stories (like Jack and the Beanstalk), theme


The Race of the Century

October 11, 2012

The Race of the Century
Retold by Barry Downard

Another alternative to The Tortoise and the Hare, but this one ends “correctly.”  Fed up with his incessant taunting, Tom Tortoise challenges Flash Harry Hare to the race of the century, which turns into a worldwide media event, complete with television and newspaper coverage, photographers, and many other distractions.

Lesson Ideas: Compare and contrast to the original tale, traditional literature, character traits