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.

Second Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - December

"Turn over a new leaf."

"Get a taste of your own medicine."

"Turn over a new leaf."

Suggested Books

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

Luttrell, Ida. Ottie Slockett. New York: Dial Books, 1990.

Rankin, Joan. The Little Cat and the Greedy Old Woman. New York: McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 1995.

Seuss, Dr. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. New York: Random House, 1957.

"Get a taste of your own medicine."

Suggested Books

Luttrell, Ida. Ottie Slockett. New York: Dial Books, 1990.

Rankin, Joan. The Little Cat and the Greedy Old Woman. New York: McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 1995.

Teacher Information

The sayings this month, Turn over a new leaf and Get a taste of your own medicine, relate to the selection A Christmas Carol. It is after Ebeneezer Scrooge has been given "a taste of his own medicine" through the visions of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future that he changes and "turns over a new leaf." Scrooge sees the results of his own selfishness and disregard for others as they will affect him.

The suggested book Ottie Slockett is a perfect book to read in conjunction with both sayings. Ottie "gets a taste of his own medicine" when he gets advice the same way he used to give it and he "turns over a new leaf" when he realizes what he has been doing to others. The Little Cat and the Greedy Old Woman also works this way but is not as obvious.


Tell the children that Turn over a new leaf means to change one's behavior from what it was before. It means that someone changes for the better. Ask: Can you think of any character whom we have read about who changed for the better? (Pinocchio) What did that character do? What made that character change?

Next, tell the children that to Get a taste of your own medicine means to receive the same unpleasant treatment that you have shown another. Remind the children of times when someone asks, "How would you feel if someone did that to you?"

Ask the children if they can think of any literary characters who received "a taste of their own medicine"? Remind the children that since this references unpleasant treatment it is likely that the character is evil.

Tell the children to keep these sayings in mind during literature lessons this month. Tell them that they will be meeting some characters who may have something to do with these sayings. Say that you will be looking for students who can make a match.


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 7 - Poetry

The Night Before Christmas


Identify descriptive details.

Complete a who, what, when, where, why chart.

Write a news article about the poem.

Draw a picture to accompany article (optional).


Copy of the poem

Chart (attached)

News article format (attached)

Paper, crayons, markers (optional)

Suggested Books

Moore, Clement Clarke. The Night Before Christmas-Coloring Book. New York: Little Simon, 1986.

Lovely coloring book illustrated by Gail Owens.

Moore, Clement Clarke. The Night Before Christmas. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott.

Illustrations by Arthur Rackham, mostly black and white, some color.

Moore, Clement Clarke. The Night Before Christmas. New York: Rand McNally & Co., 1975.

Illustrations by Tasha Tudor; beautiful full page illustrations, framed on the page, some color, some black and white.

Moore, Clement Clarke. The Night Before Christmas. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1977.

Very detailed illustrations by Elisa Trimby; beautiful, but too small to show to a large group.

Moore, Clement Clarke. A Visit from St. Nicholas. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co.

Paul Galdone's colorful, cartoon-like illustrations enhance poem.


The poem "The Night Before Christmas" was originally known as "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" and was written by Clement Clarke Moore to amuse his children. Moore never intended to have the poem published, however a friend of the family made a copy of it and a year later sent it to the Troy (New York) Sentinel where it was printed, unsigned. Other writers claimed that the poem was theirs, and finally, as the poem became more and more popular, Moore acknowledged that it was his and how it came to be printed.

Many of the children will be familiar with the poem, as it has received great commercial exposure as well as being the subject of many parodies. Moore is credited with introducing the figure of the plump, bearded, red-suited St. Nicholas and the eight reindeer.


Tell the students that "The Night Before Christmas" was originally called "A Visit from Saint Nicholas." It was written by a man named Clement Moore for his own children. Tell them that it is a long poem, but it probably won't seem so because of the rhyme that Moore used and the story he tells.


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 7 - Poetry

The Night Before Christmas

Before reading the poem to the children tell them that they are going to be reporters for an event. Remind them of the five parts of a news story (who, what, when, where, why) and tell them to be ready to report those facts after listening to the poem. Read the poem.

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

5 The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap--

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

10 I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave a luster of midday to objects below.

15 When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver so lively and quick

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick!

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

20 And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!"

"To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!

Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!"

25 As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,

With a sleigh full of toys--and St. Nicholas, too.

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof,

30 The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

35 A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes--how they twinkled! his dimples-- how merry!


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 7 - Poetry

The Night Before Christmas

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

40 And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

45 He was chubby and plump--a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

50 And filled all the stockings--then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

55 And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight:

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Clement Clark Moore

After reading the poem refer back to the five initial questions. Have the children help you fill in the simple who, what, when, where, why grid. You may do this on a chart, use the overhead, or have the children fill in their own charts.

The Night Before Christmas
Who Moore and St. Nicholas
What St. Nick, sleigh, reindeer come to house 
When night before Christmas
Where Moore's home
Why to deliver toys


After you have completed the grid, tell the children that a good reporter jots down notes in order to describe the people or the event well. Ask them to recall the description of St. Nick. If necessary, reread lines 33 - 45 of the poem to the class.

Jot the phrases the children suggest on the board. You may wish to write them inside of a bag like St. Nick carried or inside his stocking cap hat.


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 7 - Poetry

The Night Before Christmas

They should include:

dressed in fur

clothes dirty with ashes and soot

carrying a bag of toys

eyes twinkle

has dimples

rosy cheeks

red nose


smoking a pipe

chubby and plump

has a round little belly

Tell the children that while it is not part of St. Nick's description, the poem does tell us that he arrived by sled and came down the chimney to get into the house.

Using the fact grid and the description, write a news story with the children. Help them to keep the story brief, explaining that the newspaper must carry many news stories. You may want to use a fill in the blank format like the one below or develop your own..

On _(1)__________________________ , at the __(2)______________ household, a man

known as ____(3)________________ arrived in a ____(4)____________ pulled by eight tiny


St. Nick was described as ___(6)________________________, with _____(7)____

___________________ and _________(8)______________________________. He had come

to the house to deliver ________________(9)__________________________.

The owner of the house, Mr. Moore, said St. Nick was very pleasant and as he drove

away said, "_________(10)______________________________________________."

(1) the night before Christmas

(2) Moore

(3) St. Nick

(4) sleigh

(5) reindeer

(6) a chubby man dressed in fur

(7) rosy cheeks, a beard


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 7 - Poetry

The Night Before Christmas

(8) a red nose

(9) a bag full of toys

(10) "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

If you wish, after completing the news article, you can have the children do a picture to accompany the news article. They could draw St. Nick, the Moore household or any scene from the poem. Display the pictures with the article(s) with the heading ST. NICK VISITS HOME!


The Night Before Christmas













Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 8 - Poetry

Harriet Tubman


Decide which activities and events in Harriet Tubman's life most helped shape her future.

Name the parts of the Underground Railroad.

Listen to the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd."


Classroom size map of the United States

Classroom size map of Maryland

Picture or drawing of the Big Dipper and Little Dipper constellations.

Suggested Books

Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman. New York: Holiday House, 1992.

Cohn, Amy L., ed. From Sea to Sea. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1993.

"Harriet Tubman," "Go Down, Moses" and "Follow the Drinking Gourd" included.

Greenfield, Eloise. Honey, I Love and other love poems. New York: Harper & Row, 1978.

"Harriet Tubman" included.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. New York: Knopf, 1993.

The story of a young slave who made a quilt to assist slaves on the road to freedom.

Hudson, Wade, ed. Pass It On - African-American Poetry for Children. New York: Scholastic, Inc.,1993.

Contains the poem "Harriet Tubman."

Levine, Ellen. ...If You Traveled on The Underground Railroad. New York: Scholastic, 1988.

Poses questions and provides answers about the Underground Railroad.

McGovern, Ann. "Wanted Dead or Alive"-The True Story of Harriet Tubman. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1965.

Excellent choice for a factual account of Harriet Tubman's life.

McKissack, Patricia and Fredrick. Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters. New York; Scholastic, 1994.

Describes plantation life in the main house and in the slave quarters, references the Underground Railroad; wonderful notes are included; you may want to select passages to read and show the illustrations.

Monjo, F. N., The Drinking Gourd-A Story of the Underground Railroad (An I Can Read Book).

New York: HarperCollins, 1970.

The words to the song are included. A boy discovers that his father is part of the Underground Railroad.

Ringgold, Faith. Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky. New York: Crown, 1992.

Colorful, striking illustrations add a visual statement to the story of Cassie and her brother Be Be and their discovery of the Underground Railroad. Notes and a map are included.

Schroeder, Alan. Minty-A Story of Young Harriet Tubman. New York: Dial Books, 1996.

Beautiful illustrations by Jerry Pinkney enhance this tale of the young girl who became known as Moses to her fellow slaves.

Winter, Jeanette. Follow the Drinking Gourd. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1988.

Wonderful illustrations and simple text, words and music included.


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 8 - Poetry

Harriet Tubman


Winter, Jeanette. Follow the Drinking Gourd. read by Morgan Freeman; music by Taj Mahal; illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan. Rabbit Ears T6-220-6511, 11 minutes..


Songs of the Civil War. Produced by Jim Brown, Ken Burns and Don DeVito. Columbia CT 48607.

Contains "Follow the Drinking Gourd," "No More Auction Block for Me," "Yellow Rose of Texas," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."


Copycat Jan/Feb 94 - "Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky" pp. 32-36

Great activities to accompany the Faith Ringgold book.

Nordquist, Marty, ed. Voices in African American History - The 19th Century and Abolition, The Civil War and Reconstruction. Cleveland: Modern Curriculum Press, 1994.

Selections from these books could be read to the students and the photographs and illustrations would be very useful.


While this lesson is part of literature study it is also intended to cover information from American Civilization. Therefore, the poem "Harriet Tubman" is studied in conjunction with Harriet Tubman's association with the Underground Railroad, in addition to the statement of honor that Greenfield wrote.

This lesson should follow American Civilization Lesson 2. Hopefully it will give more insight into the plight of slaves and the hope for salvation that the Underground Railroad promised.


Read the poem "Harriet Tubman" (page 10 of What Your Second Grader Needs to Know) to the class and tell the students that Eloise Greenfield was writing about a truly remarkable woman. Ask them to listen to the poem and see if they can tell why Harriet Tubman was remarkable.


Ask the children what they think Eloise Greenfield thinks of Harriet Tubman. Ask: How does she describe Harriet? Ask the students to tell what they know about Harriet Tubman, then tell them that you will be sharing some more information that they may not know.

Next, select one of the suggested books to further introduce Harriet Tubman. If possible, choose one that talks about her youth instead of, or as well as, her adult life. A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman or Minty-A Story of Young Harriet Tubman would be good selections. If neither of these are available be sure that the students know about Harriet Tubman's youth by telling the following.

Araminta Ross, who was known first as Minty, and later as Harriet, was born in 1820 in Bucktown, Maryland. By the age of seven she was "rented" by her owner, Mr. Brodas, to another plantation owner. She worked in the house and was given chores to keep her busy from morning until night. She slept on the floor and was only given scraps of food to eat. She was treated so harshly that she finally ran away. She returned later however, knowing her punishment would be great, and was whipped and sent back to Mr. Brodas.

Harriet was then sent out to work in the fields where she did farm work. Harriet planted, plowed, hoed the dirt, and worked as hard as the horses she drove. Even though the work was hard, Harriet preferred this because she was not under the watch of the mistress. All the while Harriet worked, she watched and listened so she could learn more that would help her to one day be free. Harriet heard other slaves talk about freedom in the North. She learned that the North Star led to freedom. She heard stories of slaves who hid in the forest, or who swam great distances to get away from their slave owners.

When she was about twenty-six, Harriet married a free African American named John Tubman. Harriet was still rented to others for work, but she was allowed to live with her family. Because of her knowledge and skill, Harriet was respected by her owner enough that she was allowed to keep small amounts of the money that she earned.

Mr. Brodas died a few years later in 1849, and Harriet heard that she and her brothers


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 8 - Poetry

Harriet Tubman

might be sold to work in the deep South. Working conditions for slaves were worse there than anywhere else so Harriet made a plan to get away.

Harriet remembered that if she followed the North Star it would lead her to freedom in a Northern state. That is exactly what she did. Harriet ran away and in 1850 Harriet found freedom in Pennsylvania.

Her own freedom was not enough for Harriet and she returned again and again to help other slaves to find freedom.

Show on a map of Maryland, the location of Bucktown, Harriet Tubman's birthplace. Be certain that the students know that Maryland was a slave state up to the Civil War. Show the north-south line of slave states (Maryland, Virginia [before the western part seceded], Kentucky, Missouri, etc.)

Ask the students to recall events in young Harriet's life. Which of those events or activities would the students say affected her later life the most? Can the students see the importance for Harriet of learning to tell direction in a forest, or finding the North Star, or learning to swim?

Tell the students that the route Harriet Tubman took was called the Underground Railroad. The Railroad was really a secret way to get to the North and away from slavery. The traveling itself could take a number of ways. People might go by wagon, on a boat, on a real train, and of course, on foot. A "conductor" who might be a runaway slave as well, was the person who led the group. The people who helped the slaves were called "railroad workers." "Stations" and "Station masters" were the places to stay and the people who would give food and a place to stay.

Draw a zig-zag course on the board with several stops marked (see diagram). Have the children help you fill in the correct names for the people traveling on the course, the beginning and end of the course, and the stops in between. Use this visual to help clarify the information.

Tell the students that Harriet Tubman was one of the best known conductors on the Underground Railroad. She led over three hundred slaves, including her own parents, to freedom. She became known as the "Moses" of her people because like Moses she led people to freedom and because she sang spirituals like "Go down, Moses" to let slaves know that freedom was near.


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 8 - Poetry

Harriet Tubman

Say: There were signals and songs that escaping slaves learned to help them on their way. "Follow the Drinking Gourd" was one of the songs. One of the conductors was a one-legged white sailor named Peg Leg Joe. Joe worked at plantations as a handyman and taught the song to the slaves he befriended. The "drinking gourd" refers to the Big Dipper that points to the North Star, the slaves' way to freedom. (Show pictures of the constellations) "The great big river" was the Tennessee and "the little river" was the Ohio. (Find these on the map and if possible, read one of the books about the drinking gourd.) Play the song for the students and encourage them to listen to the directions included in the words.

Follow the Drinking Gourd


Follow the drinking gourd!

Follow the drinking gourd.

For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom

If you follow the drinking gourd.

When the sun comes back, and the first quail calls,

Follow the drinking gourd.

For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom

If you follow the drinking gourd.

(Repeat chorus)

The riverbank makes a very good road,

The dead trees will show you the way.

Left foot, peg foot, traveling on,

Follow the drinking gourd.

(Repeat chorus)

The river ends between two hills,

Follow the drinking gourd.

There's another river on the other side,

Follow the drinking gourd.

(Repeat chorus)

When the great big river meets the little river,

Follow the drinking gourd.

For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom

If you follow the drinking gourd.


Second Grade -Literature - A Christmas Carol


Identify A Christmas Carol as a comedy.

Divide the story into acts.

Recognize that Ebenezer Scrooge "turns over a new leaf."

Illustrate two leaves showing Scrooge before and after turning over a new leaf.


Leaf patterns (provided)

Sentence strips with the following names and terms









Ebenezer Scrooge

Jacob Marley

Bob Cratchit

Ghost of Christmas Past

Ghost of Christmas Present

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Suggested Books

French, Vivian, abridged by. Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 1992.

Hirsch, E.D., ed. What Your 2nd Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell Publishing, 1991.


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a very difficult story for children this age, so it is recommended that you use the abridgement by Vivian French. This shortened version will still need explanation, but the length makes it more desirable to read to young children.

Be sure to explain the vocabulary or ask the children to paraphrase the portions you read to be sure that they understand the story. Many will be familiar with movie and animated versions they have seen.


Tell the children that A Christmas Carol is frequently performed as a play and because of that the class will be learning some things about plays. As you introduce each new term, show the appropriate sentence strip and leave on display for further study.

Say: A play is a performance of a story. It can be a comedy or a tragedy. A comedy is a play with a happy ending. It can also be a play or a movie with a humorous way of treating the characters.


Second Grade -Literature - A Christmas Carol

Say: A tragedy is a serious play that shows the problems of a character and leads to an unhappy ending. Tell the children that at the end of A Christmas Carol you'll ask them to decide if they think it is a comedy or a tragedy.

Next, ask the children if they have ever gone to a theater. Tell them that if they have ever gone to the movies they have been to a theater. Say: Plays and operas are also performed in a theater. A theater is the place where the performance is done.

Most students will be familiar with a stage since most schools contain one; however, be sure that they know a stage may simply be an area on the floor as in theater in the round. Say: A play is performed on a stage.

Say: A play is divided into parts which are called acts. Within each of those acts are scenes which are the setting or the place where that part of the play occurs. Tell the children that they will help divide A Christmas Carol into acts and they will identify the scenes.

Finally, tell the children that a playwright is a writer of plays. Remind the children that each of them could grow up to be a playwright someday.

Tell the children that A Christmas Carol was written in 1843, about one hundred and fifty years ago, by a man named Charles Dickens. Say: Even though the story is that old, the lesson it teaches is still important today. It is a story about a man named Ebenezer Scrooge and the lessons he learned about himself.

Introduce the story by telling that it takes place in England (locate on map) and happened

long ago before electricity and automobiles. Businesses, markets and homes were all close to each other and people knew each other well.

Tell the children that in the story Ebenezer Scrooge is an older businessman whose partner Jacob Marley is dead. Scrooge cares only for money and how to get more. He has forgotten about caring for people and is a very nasty, stingy man. People avoid him on the street and children are afraid of him.

Read the version that you have selected, making sure that the children understand the essential parts and characters. The sentence strips with the names Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come should be displayed on the board as they are introduced in the story. The number of the act and the setting are included in parentheses for your convenience.

Help the children to see that in the first part (act 1) of the story we are introduced to Scrooge and given some idea about the kind of man he is (the office). Next, we follow Scrooge home where he meets the ghost of his dead partner Marley (bedroom). Marley tells Scrooge that there will be three more spirits who will visit him.

In the next part (2) the Ghost of Christmas Past, a spirit who looks like a young child, visits Scrooge. Together they visit the young Scrooge in the classroom, at his work (Fezziwig's) and with his fiancee.

The Ghost of Christmas Present (act 3), a jolly giant of a spirit, takes Scrooge to the Cratchit's house to see the sparse Christmas they have to share.

Christmas Yet to Come (act 4) brings a draped and hooded phantom to show Scrooge his own death and that of Tiny Tim (house and cemetery).

Finally (act 5) Scrooge is returned to his home (bedroom) where he realizes the way he is living his life and treating others. The visits with the spirits have produced a very different man.


Second Grade -Literature - A Christmas Carol

All of the sentence strips should now be displayed on the board. Ask the children to help put them into the acts in which they belong. The students should see that the first act focuses on Scrooge and Marley, act two contains the Ghost of Christmas Past, act three contains the Ghost of Christmas Present, act four contains the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and act five gives us the new improved Scrooge. See if they are able to identify the scenes as well.

Ask the children to tell what kind of outcome the story has. Ask: Is this a sad ending or a happy ending? What has happened to Scrooge? What do we call a play that ends this way? What advice do you think Scrooge would give to others?

Have the children recall the behavior of Scrooge at the beginning of the story and then at the end. Tell them that they will be doing illustrations of the before and after Scrooge. Show the leaf patterns and explain that they will be drawing a Scrooge before and a Scrooge after. Demonstrate that the illustrations are done on the inner faces of the leaves so that they can be attached together to form a booklet. On the cover you may wish to have the children write Scrooge turns over a new leaf.


Second Grade -Literature - A Christmas Carol


Second Grade -Literature - A Christmas Carol