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

The lessons in literature are a combination of required and suggested materials. As the names imply, required lessons must be completed, while suggested lessons do not. An attempt has been made to select appropriate materials for a particular grade without a lot of overlap with other grades so that the children are not exposed to the same books year after year. Please take the time to read the monthly overview for each subject before selecting other reading materials.

Time should be given for silent reading as well as read aloud. It is essential that the students have a quantity of reading materials made available to them. If necessary, borrow books from the Enoch Pratt or county libraries to reinforce the concept that reading, and reading a variety of genres, is important.

Provide time for activities attached to the literature lessons and provide opportunities for creativity both in written and oral language. Always require correct use of conventions in all subject areas. Incorrect spelling, for instance, should not be ignored on an art paper just as it would not be permitted on a composition paper.

Emphasize the importance of reading every opportunity that you can. It is essential that children see both the necessity and benefits of this activity. If possible, make frequent visits to the library.

Sayings and Phrases

You will be asked to introduce your students to a saying or sayings monthly. Every effort has been made to coordinate the saying with literature and other activities for that month. The saying should be displayed in the classroom and used for reference when appropriate.

A wonderful book for introducing sayings is the book: First Things First by Betty Fraser (Harper & Row, 1990). It is a collection of familiar sayings neatly related to children. If it is possible to read this book when introducing the sayings or sometime during the year, it would certainly enhance the topic. The sayings Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and If at first you don't succeed, try, try again are included.

Proverbs of Many Nations compiled by Emery Kelen (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., Inc, 1966) is another book that you may use to enhance the study of proverbs. It is a collection of proverbs from many cultures arranged by theme. Included is Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today.


First Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases

What Your First Grader Needs to Know - E.D.Hirsch, Jr.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. (p.78)

Read the saying to the children and post it where it is in full view. Explain to the children that a long time ago a doctor would come to people's homes when they were sick. If people took good care of themselves by exercising, getting rest and eating properly they were less likely to get sick and need a doctor. Today the same thing is true and we are less likely to go to the doctor.

Talk about other nutritious foods (other than apples) and tell the children to substitute them in the saying. Try statements like: A pear a day..., A peach a day... or A salad a day... You may wish to have the children illustrate one of their sayings and make a bulletin board or space in the room entitled Nutritious Advice.

You could also read a book about Johnny Appleseed in conjunction with this saying. You can tell the students that a man named John Chapman became famous planting and growing apple trees many, many years ago. He saw the importance of this fruit just like we do today.

Suggested Books

Glass, Andrew. Folks Call Me Appleseed John. New York: Delacorte Press, 1995.

Kellogg, Steven. Johnny Appleseed. New York: William Morrow and Co.,Inc., 1988.

A.M. and P.M. (p.78)

Say to the students: This morning I woke up at 6:00 A.M. Write 6:00 A.M. on the board. Then tell them that you will probably go to bed at 10:00 P.M. and write it also on the board. Underline A.M. and P.M. and ask the students if they know what that means. Tell them that there are 24 hours in one of our days and that 12 of those hours take place before noon and they are called A.M. because they abbreviate the words ante meridian which are Latin words meaning before noon. P.M. means the hours after noon and they are abbreviations for the Latin words post meridian.

Use a clock with movable hands to show twelve hours in the A.M. and then twelve hours in the P.M. You can use this same clock to demonstrate the time frame of waking up and going to bed that you used to open the lesson. You may also want to draw two clock faces side by side marking the hours with two different colors of chalk to indicate day and night. This way your students could see that there is a 3 A.M. as well as a 3 P.M.(or any hour you choose).

Finally, read a book suggested below that highlights A.M. and P.M. or sequence a day in the life of a child (or a literary character) specifying A.M. and P.M.

Suggested Books

Carle, Eric. The Grouchy Ladybug. New York: Scholastic, 1977.

Kandoian, Ellen. Under the Sun. New York: Dodd Mead, 1987.

Schuett, Stacey. Somewhere in the World Right Now. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1995.

Singer, Marilyn. Nine O'Clock Lullaby. New York: Scholastic, 1991.


First Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (p.79)

Ask: Have you ever heard this saying before? Where? Students may say at church or in the Bible, etc. If the saying is not familiar to the students try paraphrasing it as: Treat other people the way you want to be treated, etc.

Tell the children that this saying is known as the Golden Rule. It is said in different ways by different people but it means the same thing. It is a very important rule for us all to follow as we live together. Tell the children that some of the stories you read this year will tell about characters who do or do not follow this rule. Ask them to identify any characters or situations they know of that would be examples. They may be able to identify biblical or literary characters or characters portrayed in film.


First Grade - Literature - Lesson 1 - Poetry - My Shadow


Listen to the poem for enjoyment.

Play shadow tag (optional).


Ask the children to tell what a shadow is. They will probably be familiar with making a shadow on the wall with a hand but they may not have paid particular attention to their own shadows. Tell them that the poem you are going to read is told by a boy as he observes his own shadow. Tell them that it was written a very long time ago and that they may not be familiar with some of the words. Have them listen and see if they can figure out all of the meanings. They may not be sure of the word arrant, so ask them what you would say about someone who refuses to do something (stubborn). Other troublesome terms may be: notion, nursie, coward, dew, proper, India-rubber.

This poem is a great introduction to science experiments with shadow and light, and the concept can be helpful with determining the time of day in some paintings and pictures; however it can also simply be enjoyed for Stevenson's topic and style. A book version of Stevenson's My Shadow illustrated by Ted Rand (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1990) presents the poem in an updated multicultural format that is especially charming. Share this with your students if possible.

You may wish to play shadow tag at recess. A person is tagged in this game by having his or her shadow touched by the person who is "it." You may want to have the children speed walk or power walk rather than run when playing this game.

To explore more in the area of science, the book My Shadow by Sheila Gore (New York: Doubleday, 1989) is excellent. Wonderful photographs by Fiona Pragoff enhance simple activities about the concept of shadows.

My Shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

But what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;

And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-

Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;

For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,

And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,

And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.

He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;

I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me.

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,

I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;

But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,

Had stayed at home beside me and was fast asleep in bed.

Robert Louis Stevenson


First Grade - Literature - Lesson 2 - Poetry

Rope Rhyme


Listen to the poem for enjoyment.

Rhythm clap to poem.


Rope Rhyme has a wonderful cadence that mimics the sound of a turning jump rope slapping the ground. Read it to the children and then ask them to tell what they hear or feel when they listen (feels like or sounds like jumping rope). Have the children clap to the poem as it is recited or actually jump rope to it. You may wish to have the children tell rhymes that they know or listen to other rope rhymes.

Some suggestions are:

Cole, Joanna. Anna Banana - 101 Jump-Rope Rhymes. New York: Scholastic, 1989.

Langstaff, John and Carol. Shimmy Shimmy Coke-Ca-Pop! - City Children's Street Rhymes and Games. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1973.

Mattox, Cheryl Warren. Shake it to the One that You Love the Best. California: Warren-Mattox

Productions, 1989.

Petersham, Maud and Miska. The Rooster Crows: A Book of American Rhymes and Jingles. New York: Macmillan, 1945.

Schwartz, Alvin. And the Green Grass Grew All Around. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.


First Grade - Literature - Lon Po Po - Red Riding Hood


Listen to two different versions of the Red Riding Hood story.

Compare and contrast the two versions.

Identify similarities with other fairy tales/folk tales.


Lon Po Po

Lon Po Po-- A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young

(New York: Scholastic, 1989) - 1990 Caldecott Medal winner

Another version of the Red Riding Hood story

de Regniers, Beatrice Schenk. Red Riding Hood. New York: Weston Woods, 1984. The tale is told in verse.

Galdone, Paul. Little Red Riding Hood. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974.

Marshall, James. Red Riding Hood. New York: Dial Books, 1987.

Humorous illustrations accompany this tale.

Hyman, Trina Schart. Little Red Riding Hood. New York: Holiday House, 1983.

Retelling of the tale based on the Grimm tale. Beautiful illustrations.

There is also a rebus book of this story. While it is not recommended that it be used for read- aloud, it might be an enjoyable addition to the class library for students to read independently.

Morris, Ann. The Little Red Riding Hood Rebus Book. New York: Orchard Books, 1987.


Lon Po Po is Ed Young's beautifully illustrated translation from the Chinese. Lon Po Po means "Granny Wolf" in Chinese. The story is about Shang, Tao, and Paotze, three children who live with their mother in the country. The mother goes off to visit the girls' grandmother on the occasion of her birthday. As she leaves for the overnight trip she gives the children a warning: "Remember to close the latch tight at sunset and latch it well."

An old wolf living nearby who sees the mother leave, dresses up like the old grandmother and attempts to trick the children. Posing as Po Po (Grandmother), she convinces the children to let her in.

Shang, the eldest, begins to notice things about this "grandmother."

Po Po, why is your voice so low? - caught a cold

Po Po, your foot has a brush on it. - brought hemp strings to weave a basket

Po Po, your hand has thorns on it. - brought an awl to make shoes for you

Shang sees the wolf's hairy face and realizes that this is certainly not her grandmother.

She tricks the wolf by talking about how hungry her grandmother must be and suggesting BCP DRAFT LIT 9

First Grade - Literature - Lon Po Po - Red Riding Hood

she eat gingko nuts. "Gingko is soft and tender like the skin of a baby. One taste and you will live forever." The nuts grow at the top of the tree that grows just outside the door. Shang volunteers the children to go to the top of the tree and throw the nuts down to the grandmother. She tells her sisters about the wolf and they stay at the top of the tree. They tell the wolf that the magic only works for the person who plucks the nut so the wolf must come up and pluck it herself.

The children tease the wolf by telling her how tasty the nuts are. The wolf becomes very anxious and begins pacing back and forth. Shang tells the wolf that she has a plan: the wolf should tie a rope to the big basket near the door, then sit in the basket, throw the rope end up and wait to be pulled up.

Three times the attempt is made to pull the wolf up. On the first time Shang pulls alone and drops the basket. On the second time Tao offers to help and together they pull the basket up and then drop it. On the third time Paotze offers to help her sisters, and this time when the basket falls, the wolf bumps his head and his heart breaks to pieces.

Each girl calls, "Po Po" attempting to rouse the wolf but there is no answer. The next day the girls tell their mother about the "Po Po" who came to visit.


Ask the children if they know the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Have them share their versions or begin telling the story yourself, asking students to fill in the next event, etc. Read one of the versions of the story Little Red Riding Hood to the class. As you read the story have the children predict what will happen next.

If the version that you read does not tell, ask the children who they think made Red Riding Hood's cape (mother or grandmother). Why would she have a cape and not a coat? (style of the time) Why was it red? (bright, easy to see, color frequently used for clothing)

Why does Red Riding Hood's mother give her the warning she does? (She wants her to be safe.) Why do the adults who care about us tell us not to talk to strangers? (They want us to be safe.) Can you be polite to people and still not talk to strangers?

If you were Red Riding Hood what would you have done when you realized that the wolf was not your grandmother?

Next, introduce Lon Po Po. Tell the children that the story is from China. Explain that many times a story that we know in the United States has also been told in another country as well. Point out China on the map and ask the children on which continent it is located. As you read ask the children to make predictions. You might ask what they expect Shang will do. You might ask what will happen when the wolf gets into the basket, etc. Be sure to share Ed Young's colorful, strong illustrations with the students. Look at the form of artwork he uses. Ask if the students have seen other artwork that is put in panels like this. Students may be familiar with the frames that Jan Brett uses around her illustrations or you may have chosen Trina Schart Hyman's version which also has framed illustrations.

After you read the two stories, compare the ways that the authors have chosen to open the stories. (A long time ago, or Once upon a time, or Once, long ago) How do many storytellers BCP DRAFT LIT 10

First Grade - Literature - Lon Po Po - Red Riding Hood

open their stories? (Once upon a time) How do many storytellers close their stories? (They lived happily ever after.) Why do you think they do that?

Ask: What warning was Red Riding Hood given?

Stay on the path, don't go into the woods, don't talk to strangers.

Ask: What warning were Shang, Tao, and Paotze given?

Close the latch tight at sunset and latch it well.

Ask: What statements did Red Riding Hood make to the wolf? (depends on version)

Grandmother, what big eyes you have!

Grandmother, what big ears you have!

Grandmother, what big teeth you have!

Grandmother, what long arms you have!

Ask: What statements and questions were used in Lon Po Po?

Po Po, why is your voice so low?

Po Po, your foot has a brush on it.

Po Po, your hand has thorns on it.

Ask the children why the wolf is used as the evil creature? What other animal could be used? Can the children think of other stories where there is an evil wolf? Ask the children what they know about wolves. Share wolf facts with them if they are not able to give factual information.

Wolves usually avoid people. Most live in northern areas where there are few people. They are expert hunters who usually eat larger animals like caribou, deer, elk, and moose. They live and hunt in groups called packs. Packs usually have eight members. One male wolf is the leader of each pack.

From this information can they point out the wolf fiction in the story? (The wolf walks on two feet, talks to humans, plans and successfully devours people.)

At this early point in the year you may wish to limit this lesson to discussing the similarities and contrasts in the two stories. After you have completed your discussions ask the children (if no one has mentioned it before this point) if they know the magic number that is used in this story. Ask leading questions: How many "good" people are in the main part of each story? (3 children-Shang, Tao, Paotze; 3 people - Red Riding Hood, grandmother, the hunter/woodsman) How many questions or statements are made to the wolf? How many times do the girls try to pull the wolf up in the basket? (3) Ask the children if they can think of other threes in fairytales (3 pigs, 3 bears, 3 Billy goats, 3 blind mice, 3 little kittens). Tell them that as they read they may find more uses of numbers like this and to be on the lookout.


First Grade - Literature - Why the Owl Has Big Eyes


Define folk tale.

Listen for enjoyment.

Make a character mask (optional).


Why the Owl has Big Eyes pp. 56-7, What Your First Grader Needs to Know

Rabbit and horned owl photographs or illustrations

Photographs or illustrations of herons, egrets, cardinals, swans

Optional materials

Chart paper

Paper plates, crayons, glue, scissors, tongue depressors


In order to help the students better understand this story it would be wise to have some photographs or illustrations of rabbits, horned owls, and the other animals mentioned in the story. It is especially important for the students to know what a horned owl looks like rather than a barn owl for example, since the story makes reference to the owl having his ears pulled up until they stood up on both sides of his head.


Tell the students that the story you are going to read is called a folk tale. Folk tales are stories that were not written down but were told over and over again for generations. Explain to the children what that means by tracing back through the family to your great-great-great-great grandmother, etc. Storytellers were usually the elders, who had lived longer and were wise people. Explain that sometimes folk tales are stories that people made up to explain things in nature. Folk tales can tell various things about how animals look and how animals move. There are also folk tales that tell about the sun, the moon and the stars. Folk tales were probably told to answer questions people had about their world or to explain the reason something was a particular way.

Tell the children that the folk tale you are going to read is from the Iroquois people. The Iroquois lived in the northeastern part of the United States from what is now the state of New York down to what is now the state of Virginia. Use the map to show the children where this area is located. Show them that it includes our state. Tell them that the Iroquois were people who respected nature, especially the animals. You can have the children imagine that they are sitting and listening to this folk tale the same way Iroquois children sat listening to storytellers many, many years ago.

Ask the children to describe first a rabbit, then an owl. If the children are not familiar with these animals help them with the descriptions and also show them the pictures as well. Tell the children that some people say that the animals got to choose the way they look and that the story you are about to read is a story about just that. Tell them that the story is called Why the

Owl Has Big Eyes.


First Grade - Literature - Why the Owl Has Big Eyes

If you feel comfortable doing so, tell the story to the children rather than reading it to them. You can have two children take the parts of the rabbit and the owl and give them signs to hold that tell what they are asking for from Raweno (rabbit - wanted nice long legs and ears like a deer, also sharp fangs and claws like a panther; owl - wanted a nice long neck like Swan's, beautiful red feathers like Cardinal's, a long beak like Egret's, a royal crown of plumes like Heron's - wanted to be the swiftest and most beautiful of all birds). You can play the part of Raweno as well as that of the storyteller.

After reading/telling the story you may wish to have the children make up a story explaining some phenomenon like how the fox got a fluffy tail or why mice have big ears. If you wish, you could write their story on chart paper and have the children make illustrations to accompany it. Or, if you wish, you can have them illustrate Why the Owl has Big Eyes. It might be amusing to see the rabbit and owl if they had gotten their wishes.

The Iroquois people used masks for storytelling. You may wish to have the children make masks to represent the rabbit, the owl and Raweno. The masks did not accurately portray the character intended, but were rather distorted and exaggerated (see example). Demonstrate for the children how some very simple lines and color can make a mask like this. After making the masks you could then retell the tale having some children take the part of Raweno, some take the rabbit's part and some take the owl's part.

You may wish to read other folk tales to the children. This would be especially appropriate to do in conjunction with geography while the students are studying continents and the animals that live on them. Several books are suggested below.

Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale. New York: Dial, 1982.

Cole, Joanna. Best-Loved Folktales of the World. New York: Doubleday, 1982.

Kimmel, Eric. Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock. New York: Holiday House, 1988.

Lester, Julius. How Many Spots Does A Leopard Have? New York: Scholastic, 1989.

Mosel, Arlene. Tikki, Tikki, Tembo. New York: Holt, 1968.

Rounds, Glen. I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. New York: Holiday House, 1990.

Sloat, Terri. The Eye of the Needle. New York: Dutton, 1990.

Tresselt, Alvin. The Mitten. New York: Lothrop, 1964.