Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.


First Grade - Literature - Overview - January

First Grade literature this month continues the study of fairy tales. Present the poem The Owl and the Pussycat, then the stories in the order that the lessons are arranged. This month's saying may be inserted anywhere but preferably used early in the month.

Don't forget to check the unit on fairy tales introduced in the October lessons. There may be other activities listed there that you wish to use with Puss in Boots and The Frog Prince.


First Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - January

Hit the nail on the head

Ask the children if they have ever heard the saying hit the nail on the head. If anyone has, ask him to explain the meaning he understands and the circumstances surrounding the occasion he heard it used.

If none of the children are familiar with the saying tell them that it means that when a person is puzzled and can't solve a problem and another person comes along and figures out just how to do it, we say that the second person hit the nail on the head. This is the same as when you hit a nail right on the head and not off to the side or missing it altogether.

Another example would be when a person is trying to figure out the right way to do something and other people make suggestions. When one of those suggestions works the person with the problem might say, "Yes, that's the way! Thanks, you hit the nail on the head."

Today people might say "right on" or "on the money." These sayings mean just about the same thing.

At this start of a new year you may want to take some time and review the sayings you have already covered this year. Don't forget the books on proverbs mentioned at the beginning of the year and add "Too Many Cooks..." and other proverbs illustrated by Maggie Kneen (New York: Green Tiger Press, 1992) to your list.


Fraser, Betty. First Things First. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.

Kelen, Emery. Proverbs of Many Nations. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1966)


First Grade - Literature - Lesson 12 - Poetry

The Owl and the Pussycat


Participate in recitation of refrain.

Act out poem.


Copy of poem, below

Suggested Books

Lear, Edward. Of Pelicans and Pussycats. New York: Dial, 1990.

Beautiful ink and watercolor illustrations by Jill Norton, includes "There was an old

man" and two songs.

Lear, Edward. The Owl and the Pussycat. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1991.

Charming illustrations by Jan Brett give the poem a Caribbean flavor. Look for another story that takes place on the pages as a little yellow fish looks for someone.

Lear, Edward. The Owl and the Pussycat. New York: North South Books, 1995.

Great selection of limericks, Michael Hague's detailed illustrations.

Lear, Edward. The Pelican Chorus and Other Nonsense. New York: Michael Di Capua, HarperCollins, 1995.

Collection illustrated by Fred Marcellino, colorful and imaginative.

Poems and Rhymes, Childcraft--The How and Why Library, Vol.7 (Chicago: World Book, 1982), 226-227.

In Addition

Gaber, Susan, ed. and ill. Favorite Poems for Children Coloring Book. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1980.

Lovely line drawings accompany this inexpensive ($2.95) collection which includes "The Owl and the Pussycat." ISBN 0-486-23923-3

Lear, Edward. Nonsense Poems. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1994.

Wonderful, inexpensive ($1.00) paperback that contains more than ninety limericks as well as several poems, illustrations are Lear's own. ISBN 0-486-28031-4


Hayward, Camille. " Lear's Nonsense." Book Links, May 1996, pp. 43-48.


Edward Lear (1812-1888) is often thought of as the originator of the limerick (studied in second grade), but the form originally appeared as early as 448-380 B.C. Lear actually modeled his verses after pieces of writing published in 1822. Lear did, however, add wonderful humor to his limericks and rhymes by poking fun at the long and complicated Latinate names given to plants and animals, as in "The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo."

Lear's life was quite interesting. He was the twentieth of twenty-one children and suffered from epilepsy and hypochondria. He was an accomplished artist and his paintings of

birds were compared to those by Audubon. Lear made landscape sketches used as models by BCP DRAFT LIT 67

First Grade - Literature - Lesson 12 - Poetry

The Owl and the Pussycat

scientists and he taught drawing to Queen Victoria.

The term "runcible" was coined by Edward Lear in 1871 and was later applied to any of various utensils with broad tines and a spoon-like shape.


Tell the children that Edward Lear liked to write short, four- or five-line poems called limericks. An example of one of his limericks is:

There was an Old Man in a tree,

Whose whiskers were lovely to see;

But the birds of the air,

Pluck'd them perfectly bare,

To make themselves nests in that tree.

He wrote many of these and illustrated them as well. They were intended to be humorous and to poke fun.

Say: Edward Lear also liked to write about imaginary things. The poem I am going to read is about an owl and a cat who fell in love. Ask: Why is it unusual for a cat and an owl to be in love? (Cats and birds are usually enemies.)

Say: Listen to the poem to see if you hear any other unusual things mentioned. You will hear some words that may be unfamiliar and that is because some of the words are very old, or make-believe, or they are words used in England. Lear even says Pussycat or Pussy for the cat's name which is very English. Read the poem.


The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat:

They took some honey, and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,

How charmingly sweet you sing!

Oh! let us be married; too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?"

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the bong-tree grows;


First Grade - Literature - Lesson 12 - Poetry

The Owl and the Pussycat

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.

Edward Lear

Ask the children to tell any words they did not know or understand and clear these before you go on. You may need to explain five-pound note, elegant, fowl, tarried, bong-tree, shilling, mince, quince, and runcible spoon.

Reread the poem if necessary for recall and then ask the children to identify anything unusual in the poem. List these on the board. Possible answers are:

The owl and the cat talk.

The owl and cat are in a boat at sea.

Owl sings and plays the guitar.

They sail for a year.

Pig has a ring in his nose.

The pig takes the ring out of his nose.

The turkey marries the owl and the cat.

The owl and the cat marry.

The owl and the cat dance.

If you have been able to secure more than one artistic interpretation of the poem you may wish to have the children compare them.

Recite the poem again and encourage the children to join you on the refrain. Ask them to think about the kinds of movements they would use if they were acting out the poem (rowing the

boat, playing the guitar, eating, removing a ring from one's nose, etc.). Ask for volunteers to take the parts of the owl, the pussycat, the pig, and the turkey. Recite the poem again and encourage those performing to enact the lines you read. Allow other students to take the roles and repeat the poem as many times as necessary, encouraging the other students to join in the refrain.


First Grade - Literature - Puss in Boots


Sequence the events in the story.

Identify the elements of a fairy tale.


Sentence strips with events listed (events included)

Chart of fairy tale elements (optional, board may be used)

Map of the world

Suggested Books

Arthur, Malcolm, trans. Puss in Boots. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1990.

Gorgeous illustrations by Fred Marcellino, a 1991 Caldecott Honor Book, a wonderful read aloud.

Brown, Marcia, trans. Puss in Boots. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952.

Close translation of Perrault's work with very lively artwork.

Cauley, Lorinda Bryan, retelling. Puss in Boots. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986.

Soft, colorful illustrations by Cauley.

Haley, Gail E., retelling. Puss in Boots. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1991.

Colorful illustrations by Haley.

Kirstein, Lincoln, trans. Puss in Boots. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1992.

Artwork very ornate, may appear scary to some children.

Philip, Neil and Nicoletta Simborowski, trans. The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault. New York: Clarion Books, 1993.

Eleven tales illustrated by Sally Holmes, includes morals and notes on the stories.


In Addition

Goodall, John S. Puss in Boots. New York: Margaret K. McElderry, 1990.

Watercolor paintings present Perrault's tale without text, allowing the reader to supply the story. Simple lines on two pages provide a script if needed.


Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a civil servant and a member of the Academie Francaise. His fairy tales were first published anonymously in the 1690s. It is unclear as to whether they were intended for adults or children, but certainly have been enjoyed by both.

You may wish to remind the children that Perrault also wrote Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella.


Remind the children of the poem The Owl and the Pussycat that you read this month. Tell them that just as the words pussycat and pussy are used in England to mean cat, puss is used in France (find on map) to mean cat.

Have the children recall the amazing abilities of the animals of the poem and tell them that the cat in the story you are about to read is rather amazing, too. Tell the children the title of


First Grade - Literature - Puss in Boots

the story and have them picture it in their minds. Do they see a cat with two, or four boots? Either way, ask: Doesn't it seem quite silly to think of a cat in boots?

Tell the children to listen for all the unusual activities of this cat just as they listened for those of the animals in the poem. Remind them that Puss in Boots is a fairy tale and contains some of the things that are part of all fairy tales. (Included below for convenience.)

The elements found in most fairy tales are:

1. The story opens with the words "Once upon a time ..."

2. Magic events or characters are part of the story.

3. One of the characters is someone of royalty.

4. One of the characters is evil or wicked.

5. The number three or the number seven is used in the story.

6. A lesson is learned or a message is delivered.

7. Animals may be characters.

8. The story ends with the words "...and they lived happily ever after."


Read the story. Be sure to clear the vocabulary as you read. Help the children with the word marquis, explaining that it is a French word meaning a rich and noble person.

After you have read the story have the children respond to the elements of fairy tales. Ask each of the elements as a question (e.g. Did the story open with the words "Once upon a time"?). As you do this have the children recall the events in the story. Discuss the events and begin to verbally sequence them. You may want to start by having the children place the events within the generalities of beginning, middle, and end.

After the group has had time to talk about the sequence, display the events (in no particular order) on sentence strips. Read each one and again have the children tell if it happened at the beginning, in the middle, or toward the end of the story. Once all the events have been divided this way have the children put them in specific order. You may wish to have each child hold a strip and have them stand in sequential order around the room so it is possible to read the sentence strips and tell the story.


Third son is given cat.

Cat asks for boots and sack.

Cat gives gifts to king from the Marquis of Carabas.

Cat tells the Marquis to get in the river.

The king gives clothes to the Marquis.

Cat gets people to lie to the king.

Cat goes to castle of ogre.

Ogre turns into lion.

Ogre turns into mouse.

Cat eats mouse (ogre).

Marquis marries princess.

Cat becomes a great lord.


First Grade - Literature - The Frog Prince


Explain the importance of keeping a promise.

Make a frog puppet.


Paper plates, green and red construction paper

Glue, scissors, black crayon or marker, green and yellow crayons

Suggested Books

Grimm, Jacob. The Frog Prince. Retold by Edith Tarcov. New York: Four Winds Press, 1974.

Great illustrations by James Marshall.

Grimm, Jacob. The Frog Prince. Retold by Jan Ormerod and David Lloyd. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1990.

Omerod's delicate bordered illustrations enhance the tale and provide beautiful studies in movement.

In Addition

Scieszka, Jon. The Frog Prince Continued. New York: Viking, 1991.

Great twist to the tale as we learn what happens after the frog becomes a prince. This is definitely geared to a sophisticated audience; the humor may be missed by some.

Information on the Authors

Quackenbush, Robert. Once Upon a Time! A Story of the Brothers Grimm. Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, 1985.

The story of the Brothers Grimm.


If you are able to find more than one retelling you will see that there is no fixed version of this tale. In some versions the princess throws the frog against the wall, sometimes the frog asks to be beheaded and sometimes the princess sleeps with the frog for three nights and grows to love him. This discrepancy is no doubt due to the oral tradition and storyteller variations.

If you read more than one version to the children be sure that they realize that this can happen with tales that are told and passed down through generations.



Tell the children to think about how funny it seemed for a cat to wear boots. Say: The next story that we are going to read tells about a frog who becomes a prince. Ask if they can imagine that!

Remind the children that they should listen for the elements of a fairy tale in this story just as they did with Puss in Boots.

Ask the children to think about the problems a frog would have being a prince. If necessary, lead the discussion by asking if a frog could rule the kingdom (Could anyone see him sitting on the throne?), talk to other royalty (What language would they speak?), entertain (Do


First Grade - Literature - The Frog Prince

frogs dance, and what are their table manners like?), fight in a battle if necessary (Could a frog even pick up a sword?), etc. Be sure to ask if it they think it could be advantageous to be a frog.

Read the story. The children will probably enjoy the repetition of "my honey, my heart." Encourage them to join in when you are reading.

When you have finished reading the story, ask the children what they think about the princess and her promise. Ask them if they think it would have been okay for the princess to break her promise. Ask: Is there any time when it is okay to break a promise? Is it okay to make a promise if you don't plan to keep it? Be sure to talk about the children's responses.

Discuss the way a frog looks and sounds. Ask: How did the princess react when she saw him at the castle? (didn't like him) How did she say he felt? (cold, wet) Ask the children why they think the witch made the prince look like a frog. Why didn't she choose a puppy or a kitten? (easy to like, a frog is not so easy to like)

Tell the children that they are going to make their own frog puppets to accompany the story. Tell them that their frogs may "talk" whenever the frog in the story does.

Frog Puppet

1. Distribute an all white paper plate, pattern sheet and small pieces of green and red construction paper to each child.

2. Tell the children to color the underside of the plate green and the inside yellow.

3. Next, fold the plate in half in order to form the frog's mouth.

4. Have the children use the eye and tongue patterns to first trace, then cut each out of the construction paper. (You may provide cut-out patterns or require the students to cut out the patterns as well.)

5. Attach the tongue to the inside of the mouth close to the fold.

6. Draw a round black eye in each eye socket, then fold the paper and attach to the head of the frog.

7. Holding the frog head at the fold, open and close the mouth by opening and closing your hand.