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 - Overview

The lessons in literature are a combination of required and suggested materials. As the names imply, required lessons must be completed and suggested lessons do not have to be. However, an attempt has been made to select appropriate materials for a particular grade without a lot of overlap 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 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.

Second grade is a time when group discussions should take place. Students should have the opportunities to offer opinions, predictions and philosophies to read aloud topics.

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 you can. It is essential that children see 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 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 Don't cry over spilled milk.


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 1 - Sayings

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 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 Don't cry over spilled milk.


Back to the Drawing Board

The school year opens with the saying Back to the drawing board. Ask the students if they have ever needed to do something over again (clean a bedroom, redo a paper, wash hands, etc.) Briefly discuss each of their suggestions. Point out that the reason we fix or do something over is that the first attempt was incomplete or incorrect. Remind the students that Back to the drawing board is a part of life and especially a part of education. Suggest that it is a positive part of the progression we follow as we learn. Be sure that the children understand what a drawing board is and how it is used. Tell them that an engineer or designer may return to a piece of work (on the drawing board) several times in order to refine it. When we need to fix or improve something we are doing we can say, "Back to the drawing board," too. Remember to post the saying in the classroom and refer to it when appropriate. (Hirsch, p. 78) This saying will be referenced in the American History segment on the Constitution.


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 1- Poetry

Bed in Summer


Listen to the poem for enjoyment.

Identify the AABB rhyming pattern.

Complete couplets to form a poem.

Define couplet.

Define quatrain.


Poem printed on chart paper


Robert Louis Stevenson wrote many of his poems from the point of view of a child. Bed in Summer expresses a child's displeasure at having to go to bed while it is still light outside; likewise having to rise while it is still dark. Be sure that your students realize that Stevenson lived a long time ago and so he mentions candle-light instead of turning on the lights.


Ask: Have you ever had to go to bed when it was still light outside? Not because you were sent to bed early, but just because it was your bedtime and it was still light outside. Did you fall asleep right away or did you lie in bed and listen to everything going on outside and wish that you could still be out?

Ask: Have you ever had to get up in the morning when it was still dark outside? Did you want to snuggle in bed a little longer because it just didn't seem as though you should have to be getting up? Do you think you felt extra sleepy because it was still dark outside?

Tell the students that you are going to read a poem about a boy who feels the same way that they do. Tell them to listen to the poem for the names of the two times of the year that Stevenson mentions in his poem. (winter, summer) Read the poem.

Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up people's feet

Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 1- Poetry

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

Robert Louis Stevenson


After you read the poem and the students identify the seasons, display the poem on chart paper. Tell the students to follow the poem while you again read it aloud. Ask: Does the poem rhyme? Ask: Which words rhyme? After the students identify that the last words in each two lines rhyme help them to see that the first and second lines rhyme; the third and fourth lines rhyme; the fifth and sixth lines rhyme, etc. Tell them that this pattern is called AABB and that four lines together are called a quatrain.

If necessary, physically point out the last words of each line so that students can see the AABB pattern. You may want to read some other AABB pattern poems to the class as well. (See suggestions)

Try writing an AABB pattern poem with your students. Provide the first line and have the students provide the second. Help them make a list of words that rhyme with the last word in the line. Then try making several second lines with those rhyming words to help your students see that this is a complicated process that poets go through. Explain to them that when each line of a two-line poem has the same number of syllables and rhymes, it is called a couplet. Tell them: you will be writing a series of couplets that you will place together to form quatrains and then a poem.

You may wish to use first lines that Stevenson used and have the students complete them:

In winter I get up at night

possible rhymes: bright, sight, right, bite, fight, light

possible second lines:

It's hard to see when there's no light;

Somehow it really doesn't seem right;


In summer, quite the other way

possible rhymes: day, play, say, may

possible second lines:

It's bright out when I stop my play;


Try this or one of your choice:

Cookies are my favorite snack

possible rhymes for the second line: back, pack, rack

Each flavor is so very sweet

possible rhymes for the fourth line: beat, meet, eat,



Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 1- Poetry

Cookies are my favorite snack

I buy them by the bag and pack

Each flavor is so very sweet

Cookies, cookies can't be beat.

You may wish to write one poem as a class or have students work on a particular topic individually. Point out the patterns of these poems (and any future poems) as you read them. Be sure that your students can recognize the AABB pattern and define couplet and quatrain.

Suggested AABB Rhyme Patterns

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater,

Had a wife and couldn't keep her.

He put her in a pumpkin shell

And there he kept her very well.


An Introduction to Dogs

The dog is man's best friend,

He has a tail on one end.

Up in front he has teeth,

And four legs underneath.

Ogden Nash


Bats have shiny leather wings,

bats do many clever things,

bats doze upside-down by day,

bats come out at night to play.

Bats cavort in soaring cliques,

sounding ultrasonic shrieks,

acrobatic in the sky,

bats catch every bug they spy.

Jack Prelutsky


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 1- Poetry

Vocabulary definitions

Quatrain - four lines with a rhyming pattern

Couplet - two-line poem that rhymes, each line contains the same number of syllables.

AABB - lines 1 and 2 rhyme, lines 3 and 4 rhyme.

Recommended books that you may wish to use for reference

Bonica, Diane. Writing & Art Go Hand In Hand. Nashville: Incentive Publications, 1988.

Evans, Joy, and Jo Ellen Moore. Creative Writing Ideas. Monterey: Evan-Moor Corp., 1987.

Evans, Joy, and Jo Ellen Moore. Writing Poetry With Children. Monterey: Evan-Moor Corp., 1988.

Larrick, Nancy. Let's Do A Poem! New York: Delacorte Press, 1991.


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 2 - Poetry


Listen to the poem for enjoyment.

Substitute colorful words for others in the poem.


Copy of the poem on chart paper

Conch shell (a picture, if no shell is available)

Conch Shell

They have brought me a conch shell.

Within it sings

a map sized sea.

My heart

fills up with water

and little fish

of shadow and silver.

They have brought me a conch shell.

Federico Garcia Lorca


Background for the Teacher

Federico Garcia Lorca (1899-1936) was a Spanish poet and playwright. He played the guitar and piano, expressing a fondness for gypsy melodies and other Spanish folk songs. Salvador Dali was a friend of Lorca's.

Conch Shell is translated from the Spanish and no doubt has lost some of the melodic rhythm of the language. Help your students to appreciate this poem for its simple beauty.


Ask the students if they have ever been to the beach. Ask those who have to describe the experience. Emphasize the sound of the waves hitting the shore, the smell of the air, the warmth of the sun and the reflection it makes on the water.

Show the students the conch shell. Explain that it was once the home of a sea animal that did not have a skeleton to protect it. Ask the students if they have ever listened to a conch shell or know what someone is supposed to hear when he or she listens. If no one volunteers an answer tell the students that some people think that you can hear the ocean or the sea when you listen to a conch shell. Allow the students to listen to the shell.

Display and read the poem. Ask the students why they think Federico Lorca chose to say it that way. Why didn't he just say, "I have a conch shell and I can hear the sea and some fish in it"? What did he choose to do that makes this poem sound so special? (repeated the first sentence, made short lines that sound musical, but don't necessarily rhyme)


Second Grade - Literature - Lesson 2 - Poetry

Have the children say the poem with you. It is short enough that even if you have non-readers in the group, they will learn the poem quickly. Ask: Which word does the poet use to tell what the sea does? (sings) Do we usually think of the sea singing? (no) What other words could we use instead? Try substituting whispers, sighs, or rumbles instead of sings. Use shimmering seaweed that twirls and turns instead of little fish of shadow and silver. Let your students see the beauty of the words Lorca has chosen. Ask them to imagine other things that one might see or hear after listening to a conch shell. You may want to brainstorm animals and plants of the sea in order to help your students. Encourage them to focus on pleasant aspects of the sea and sea-life.


Second Grade - Literature - How the Camel Got His Hump


Listen for enjoyment.

Recognize the components of a folk tale.


How the Camel Got His Hump from Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories

World map

Photographs or illustrations of camels, elephants, rhinoceros, zebras, jaguars


Folk tales may or may not be new to your students. As you introduce this one to them be sure to emphasize those components which make a story a folk tale. While Kipling is not directly associated with the term folk tale his stories fit within the guidelines of what makes a folk tale.

A folk tale has been told for generations, it usually has a good character and an evil character, some type of magic takes place, goodness is rewarded, a natural phenomenon is explained or some wisdom is dispensed.


Tell the children that the tale you are about to read (or tell if you are so inclined) was first told as a bedtime story. Tell them that it is part of a collection of stories called the Just So Stories. Ask if they have any idea why the stories might have such a funny title. (Accept all reasonable responses; the intent is to have the children think about the creation of stories rather than have a correct answer.)

Name and show photographs or illustrations of some of the animals common to the Just So Stories (elephants, rhinoceros, zebras, jaguars, camels) and ask the students to tell in which part of the world you are likely to find these animals. The students may be able to tell immediately or you may need to direct them by eliminating parts of the world that would not be suitable for these animals.

Tell the students that the characters in this story are from India. Locate India on the map and tell the children that it is the same country that the story of Aladdin came from. Review the idea that this type of story is one that tells how something in nature happened; that this story was told rather than read. You may wish to have the children predict how the camel got his hump before you begin reading.

There is vocabulary in this story that will be foreign to your students so you will need to give them some information with your introduction. The term 'scruciatingly certainly needs to be explained as does the Djinn and the magic power that he has. There is magic, of course, that allows animals to speak to men and vice-versa.

Read or tell the story to your students. If, after reading the story, your students seem confused take time to read it again and clarify any confusion they may have. The formal way that the characters speak can be enhanced with the use of different voices for each of the parts. Have the students listen for the parts characteristic of a folk tale as they listen. See if they can identify the good and evil characters, the magic, and the reward.

After you read the story ask the children if they think that the camel was treated fairly or


Second Grade - Literature - How the Camel Got His Hump

if they think he was punished too strongly. Ask if they know what the final line of the story means. How does the camel show that he has not learned how to behave? Students may be able to name other literary characters who were punished. (Why the Owl Has Big Eyes is covered in first grade.)

You may wish to read some more about camels so that your students understand how and why the camel is used in the desert. You might wish to read some other of the Just So Stories or any of the folk tales listed below.

Suggested Books

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


Chocolate, Deborah M. Newton. Spider and the Sky God. Mahwah: Troll Associates, 1993.

Chocolate, Deborah M. Newton. Talk, Talk. Mahwah: Troll Associates, 1993.

Cohlene, Terri. Clamshell Boy. Mahwah: Watermill Press, 1990.

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

De Paola, Tomie. The Legend of the Bluebonnet. New York: Putnam, 1983.

De Paola, Tomie. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. New York: Putnam, 1988.

Haley, Gail E. A Story, A Story. New York: Atheneum, 1970.

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.

McDermott, Gerald. Anansi the Spider. Mahwah: Troll Associates,

Mollel, Tololwa. The Princess Who Lost Her Hair. Mahwah: Troll Associates, 1993.

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

Palacios, Argentina. The Llama's Secret. New York: Troll Associates, 1993.

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.


Charlotte's Web

White, E.B. Charlotte's Web. New York: Harper Collins, 1952.

Notes about the Author

Elwyn Brooks White was born on July 11, 1899 and died on October 1, 1985. He wrote three novels during his lifetime: Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte's Web (1952) and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970) and seventeen books of prose and poetry. He lived for many years on a farm in Maine, where his ideas for the Newbery award winning Charlotte's Web originated. For further information about E.B. White and Charlotte's Web, refer to Kovacs, Deborah and James Preller. Meet the Authors and the Illustrators. New York: Scholastic, 1991.

Charlotte's Web consists of twenty-two chapters, the longest containing thirteen pages. It is reasonable to expect to complete a chapter a day and some days more than one. The basic theme of the story is friendship but certainly other themes are interwoven. The survival against overwhelming odds is a component as is the recognition that sometimes magical, mystical things can happen.

There is a colorful, descriptive vocabulary used in this book. Some words may be unfamiliar to the children but the meaning is usually obvious when read in context. Check to be sure that your students understand what you are reading, but do not sacrifice the continuity of the story and the prose by stopping at each new word.

Many lines in the story have both a superficial meaning and one that can be analyzed in greater depth. They are included with the questions that follow each chapter and are marked with an asterisk. As well as questions to support each chapter, some activities are included. Select questions and activities sparingly so that the students view literature time as an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.

I. Before Breakfast - Fern thinks that her father is being unreasonable about getting rid of the smallest pig. He says, "A weakling makes trouble." What does that mean to you and what did that mean to Fern? (Fern describes her father's behavior as an injustice to all small and weak. She asks if her own life would have been taken if she were not born an appropriate size.)

II. Wilbur - What does Wilbur do that shows that although he is cute and cuddly, he still behaves like a pig? (He grunted, he poked around in the straw with his snout, he played in the mud that was warm and moist, and delightfully sticky and oozy.)

III. Escape - The author describes things in this chapter by referring to the senses. Can you find examples of things that the author lets you see, hear, smell, or feel? (The barn smelled of hay, manure, the perspiration of tired horses, the sweet breath of patient cows, grain, harness dressing, axle grease, rubber boots and fish. See: ladders, grindstones, pitch forks, monkey wrenches, scythes, etc., Feel: warm in winter, cool in summer; Hear: the animals, the people yelling, Wilbur eating, Lurvy hammering.)

Why do you think the other animals got excited when Wilbur got free? (They were happy that an animal got free; they knew that the people would try to catch him.)


Charlotte's Web

Was the goose trying to be helpful when she told Wilbur how to get out or was she trying to get him into trouble? (probably helpful but she might have gotten tired of listening to him complain)

IV. Loneliness - Why do you think someone would want to be Wilbur's friend? If you were there how would you convince someone that Wilbur would make a good friend?

V. Charlotte - What does, "Your stomach is empty and your mind is full" mean?

Can you think of a character in another story who seemed cruel at first but was actually good and true in the end? (The Selfish Giant,The Grinch, etc.)

*But what a gamble friendship is.

VI. Summer Days - "Early summer days are a jubilee time for birds" - Are there other animals or insects that you think about as celebrating at this time of the year?


VII. Bad News - The animals think that the humans are in a conspiracy about butchering the pigs; what do you think the humans would say?


VIII. A Talk at Home - Does Mr. Arable really believe that animals talk or is he teasing Mrs. Arable?

* Kids think they hear all sorts of things.

IX.Wilbur's Boast - Charlotte says, "I know a good thing when I see it. I stay put and wait for what comes." How does she say that people act?

Why does a spider need legs with seven sections? (for crafting the webs) What could you do if your legs had seven sections?

How old do you think Charlotte is? What do you think her advice to Wilbur makes her sound like?


X. An Explosion - Fern and Avery like to swing. What other things do they like to do that you like to do? (catch a frog, pick raspberries and eat them, want to build a treehouse)

How did the various people and animals react to the egg? (Fern screamed, Avery jumped and ran, the animals complained about the odor; Lurvy complained, then covered the egg with dirt.)

* People are not as smart as bugs.

* Children almost always hang onto things tighter than their parents think they will.

XI. The Miracle - How did the different people react to the words in the web? (Lurvy got faint and then knelt and said a prayer; Lurvy and Mr. Zuckerman trembled; Lurvy and the Zuckermans stared for an hour; Mr. Zuckerman went to talk to the minister; people came from all over to stare; the Zuckermans got so busy with visitors that they forgot to do other things on the farm.)

This chapter contains several similes. Tell the children that a simile is a comparison that contains like or as. Give an example. Similes - Grass looked like a magic carpet. Asparagus


Charlotte's Web

patch looked like a silver forest. The web glistened in the light and made a pattern of loveliness and mystery, like a delicate veil.

*Secrets are hard to keep.


XII. A Meeting - How do you think Templeton feels about what the old sheep says? (He is worried. He doesn't want to have to do things for others but he knows that his life depends on it.)

* People believe almost everything they see in print.

XIII. Good Progress - How do you think Lurvy feels about Wilbur when he finds out all the extra work he has to do? (Lurvy might feel proud of Wilbur and want him to look good, or he could feel angry that now he has extra work to do.)

Is radiant a good desciption for Wilbur? What word would you choose?


XIV. Dr. Dorian - Dr. Dorian says two very important things: "Children pay better attention than grownups" and "Perhaps if people talked less, animals would talk more." Do you agree with him?

XV. The Crickets - If the crickets warn everybody that summer is almost over can you think of some animals and insects that would listen, and what would they do to get ready for the fall and winter?

Are you versatile? How? Can you think of someone else who is?

When Wilbur says that he realized that friendship is one of the most satisfying things in the world what did he mean?


XVI. Off to the Fair - How do you think Charlotte and Templeton will help at the fair?

XVII. Uncle - Why doesn't "Uncle" have a real name? Do you think that has anything to do with the way he treats others?

XVIII. The Cool of the Evening - What do you think is happening to Fern that she is suddenly so interested in Henry Fussy? (Fern is growing up; she is interested in boys.)

Why does Templeton call Charlotte "you old schemer"? Is that supposed to be a compliment?


XIX. The Egg Sack - Charlotte calls her egg sack a "magnum opus" and a "masterpiece." What does this say about how she feels about her eggs?

Why do you think so many eggs are contained in the egg sack? (Many of the new spiders will be killed. It is important that there are a lot of them so they will live.)

When Fern starts to cry do you think it is because of Wilbur? (probably not, she wants to go and find Henry)


XX. The Hour of Triumph - Why does Wilbur get an award? (because he attracts so many visitors to the fair)


Charlotte's Web

What do you think it says on his bronze medal?


XXI. Last Day - This chapter covers such important and sensitive information that it is best enjoyed as is.

XXII. A Warm Wind - What would you tell Joy, Aranea, and Nellie about Wilbur?

The video of Charlotte's Web is available from Paramount, Hanna-Barbera Productions, 1972 . This color film with a G-rating is 94 minutes long.

Appendix of Activities


The following activities and worksheets are included for use in addition to the questions provided with the book. They are not required but are intended to be supplemental activities.

1. Character Traits - Students are asked to select two characters from the book and complete sentences that identify when the character behaved that particular way.

2. Templeton Helps - Students are asked to identify occasions when Templeton is helpful to the other characters in the book. Students check off boxes as they complete the assignment.

3. A Medal for Wilbur - Students are asked to design the medal that Wilbur wins at the fair.

4. Senses - Students are asked to illustrate the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of either the farm or the fair.

5. Dream Catcher - Students follow directions to make a dream catcher like the Chippewa and other Native Americans once made. The dream catcher is similar in appearance to a spider web; here bad dreams get caught and disappear when the sun comes up while good dreams float through the web, down the feather, and onto the person sleeping beneath it.


Additional information and activities can be found in:

The Primary Mailbox - Oct./Nov. 1994 - Charlotte's Web - pp. 36 - 40.

Reeves, Barbara. A Treasury of Whole Language Literature Ideas. Mahwah: Troll Associates, 1992.


Charlotte's Web

Choose a character from below to start each sentence. Next choose a word from the bottom of the page. Complete each sentence by telling how the character behaved that way in the story.

Fern Wilbur Charlotte Templeton

1._____________________ was ___________________________________________________

when ________________________________________________________________________



2. ___________________ acted _____________________ when ________________________




helpful generous clever happy

kind scared lonely brave


Charlotte's Web

Dream Catcher - Art Project

Materials (to complete one)

White paper plate, 9"

Yarn, about 12"

Beads, a feather

Masking tape, pencil, scissors, hole punch


1. Draw a ring inside the rim of the paper plate.

2. Cut out the center of the plate to the inside edge of the ring. Then cut off the outside rim of the plate to the outside edge of the ring.

3. Punch about 16 holes around the ring.

4. Wrap masking tape around one end of the yarn. Push the taped end of the yarn through a hole and pull through leaving about 3" extending out.

5. Start to make a web by pulling the yarn through another hole and crisscrossing the yarn across the center to fill every hole.

6. End the web by bringing the taped end of the yarn back to the first hole and tying to the other end.

7. Cut a piece of the remaining yarn and draw it through the bottom 2 holes. Even the ends and place beads on them. Slip a feather into the beads.

8. Hang the dream catcher.


Charlotte's Web - Templeton Helps

Name four different times in the story when Templeton helps other characters. Check each box after you have made certain that you have written a complete sentence using capital letters and a period.

1 ________________________________________________



2 _____________________________________________________________






4 _____________________________________________