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.


Kindergarten - Literature - January - Overview

The literature lessons for January center around folktales from Africa. It would be more appropriate to save the two stories Tug-of-War and How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? until the History/Geography lessons are near completion.

The lesson for the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb asks children to recall proper pet care. You may wish to save the lesson until after Science Lesson 25.

The saying A dog is man's best friend is covered in Science Lesson 25 and the poem The More It Snows can be found in the January Craft Lesson.

Suggested Titles for this month are strictly supplemental suggestions. The two stories may be found in What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know, E.D. Hirsch, Jr., and John Holdren.

Suggested Titles

Aardema, Verna. Misoso - Once Upon A Time Tales From Africa. New York: Apple Soup Books, 1994.

Aardema. Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People's Ears. New York: Dial, 1975.

Domanska, Janina. The Tortoise and the Tree. New York: Greenwillow, 1978.

Grifalconi, Ann. Osa's Pride. Boston: Little Brown, 1990.

Grifalconi, Ann. The Village of Round and Square Houses. Boston: Little Brown, 1986.

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

McDermott, Gerald. Anansi The Spider. New York: Holt, 1972.

Troughton, Joanna. How Stories Came Into The World, A Folktale From West Africa. New York: Bedrick/Blackie, 1989.

Ward, Leila. I Am Eyes - Ni Macho. New York: Greenwillow, 1978.

Watson, Pete and Mary. The Market Lady and the Mango Tree. New York: Tambourine Books, 1994.


Kindergarten - Literature - Tug-of-War


Play a game of tug-of-war.

Participate in a discussion about the story.

Discuss the phrase "bigger doesn't mean better."

Illustrate a scene from the story.


A rope for playing tug-of-war

Drawing paper

Suggested Title

Tug-of-War can be found in What Your Kindergartner Needs To Know, E.D. Hirsch, Jr., and

John Holdren.

Teacher Information

The folktale Tug-of-War is a folktale from Africa. Be sure the History/Geography lessons for this month have been started prior to this lesson.

People in different parts of Africa tell this story with different small animals--a turtle, a porcupine, a rabbit-- as the central character. All versions share the same theme of the large, strong characters outwitted by the small, clever ones.


Explain how to play the game tug-of-war. Clear a space in your classroom and divide the class into two teams. Allow children to play a round or two of the game. Explain that the team with the most strength is the team that wins.

Following the game, have children quietly return to the circle to listen to the story. Say: The story we are going to listen to is called Tug-of-War. Ask: What do you think this story will be about? (Allow children to speculate.) Say: In this story there are a turtle, a hippopotamus, and an elephant (be sure children are familiar with the size of a hippo.) Ask: Which of these animals do you think would win a tug-of-war game?

Say: Our story takes place in Africa. What are some of the things we have already learned about that continent? (Allow children to recall whatever information you have already covered from the history/geography lessons.)

Say: Listen carefully to the story to see who wins the tug-of-war. Read the story.

Following the reading, ask: Who won the tug-of-war game? (Children may say that the turtle won the contest; remind them that he did not even participate. Children should conclude that it wasn't a fair game and that the turtle outwitted the bigger animals.)

Ask: Why did turtle challenge the animals to the game? (He wanted to win their friendship.) Ask: Why did the turtle want the hippo and the elephant as friends? (He wanted to be called 'friend' to show that he was as powerful as they are. The hippo and the elephant didn't even think about the turtle because he is so small. He wanted them to notice him.)

Say: At the end of the story, Elephant and Hippo think the turtle is strong the way they are, so they agree to call him a friend. Elephant says bigger doesn't mean better. Ask: What does


the elephant mean by this? (Elephant and Hippo thought that the best animals are the strong and

powerful ones. Now Elephant realizes that the size of the animal doesn't really matter.) Ask: Do you agree with Elephant that bigger doesn't mean better? (Allow children to discuss.)

Say: At the end of the story it says They are friends, yes - but tell me, do you think they are equal? Ask: What do you think? Are the animals equal? (Allow children to speculate; accept all answers.)

Suggested Follow-Up

Distribute drawing paper to each student. Instruct the children to illustrate a scene from the story. They may illustrate their favorite part of the story.


Kindergarten - Literature - How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have?


Attend to the reading of the story.

Develop new vocabulary.

Participate in a discussion about the story.

Complete a counting activity.


Count the Leopard's Spots activity sheet (attached)

Suggested Title

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

Teacher Information

The folktale How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? retold by Julius Lester, is a story from Africa. This lesson will make a nice follow-up to History/Geography Lesson 11 and the animals of the African jungle region.


Say: The story we are going to read today is from Africa. Ask: Who can remember some of the things we have learned about the continent of Africa? (Allow children to recall information from lessons covered in History/Geography.)

Say: The characters in this story are African jungle animals. Ask: Who can name some animals found in the African jungle? (History/Geography Lesson 11. Monkeys, parrots, toucans, leopards, jaguars live in the jungle.)

Say: In this story there is a leopard. Ask: Do you remember what a leopard looks like? (There was a picture of a leopard in the follow-up activity of History Lesson 11. Children should recall that a leopard is from the cat family and has many spots.)

Say: The leopard in the story is very vain. This means he is very sure of his own beauty and shows off his good looks to all the other jungle animals.

Say: In the story Snow White there was another person who was sure of her beauty and wanted everyone to say that she was the most beautiful of all. We could say that she was vain.

Ask: Do you remember which of the characters in Snow White was vain? (The step-mother was vain.)

Say: In this story the leopard has a problem. He can't count. Ask: Raise your hand if you can count. (Acknowledge raised hands.) Say: Let's all count aloud right now. (Lead the children in counting.)

Say: The leopard would very much have liked to meet us. He was looking for someone who could count through the whole story. Ask: Can you guess what the vain leopard wanted help counting? (Allow children to speculate.)

Say: Listen to the story and see if your guess is correct. Read the story.

Following the reading ask: What did the leopard need help in counting? (his spots)

Ask: Was he able to find someone who could count? (The children may say the rabbit BCP DRAFT LIT 69

could count. Reread the ending again and help them conclude that the rabbit tricked the leopard

and really wasn't counting correctly.)

Ask: Why did the leopard want his spots counted? (He was vain and wanted to know how many beautiful spots he had.)

Ask: What was the prize the rabbit got for counting Leopard's spots? (a picture of Leopard)

Say: The story ends with these sentences: Leopard had no choice but to give Rabbit the magnificent prize. What was it? What else except a picture of Leopard himself! Ask: Why is this a funny way to end the story? (The leopard was so vain he just thought everyone would think his picture was a magnificent prize.)

Suggested Follow-Up Activity

Read other stories by Julius Lester.

Children may complete the counting activity attached. They may color the leopard, count his spots, and write the number on the line at the bottom of the page.


Kindergarten - Literature - How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have?


Color the leopard and count his spots.

Write the number at the bottom

of the page.


The leopard has ___________ spots.


Kindergarten - Literature - Humpty Dumpty


Attend to the reading of the nursery rhyme.

Participate in an activity testing eggshell strength.

Make a puzzle.


Puzzle pieces (attached)

Five eggs of similar size




Say: Today we are going to listen to a familiar nursery rhyme. It is called Humpty Dumpty. Ask: How many of you have heard this poem before?

Say: In this poem Humpty Dumpty isn't a real person. Do you know what Humpty Dumpty is? (If children don't already know, tell them Humpty Dumpty is an egg.)

Say: Why do we have to be careful when we hold an egg? (They break easily.)

Say: Let's say the poem. If you know the words, you may join in with me. Read.

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat

on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had

a great fall.

All the king's horses,

And all the king's men,

Couldn't put Humpty

together again.

Ask: Why do you think the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again? (The shell broke in too many pieces.)

Say: We know that eggs are easy to break if we drop them. Watch what happens to this egg shell when I crack it on the side of a dish. (Crack one of the eggs and allow children to examine the pieces of the shell. Discuss how it would be difficult to put the shell back together again.)

Say: You may be surprised to learn that eggshells can also be very strong and hard to break. Say: The shape of an eggshell makes the egg strong. The shape is called a dome.

Hold an egg in the palm of your hand and wrap your fingers around it from end to end. Squeeze over a bowl. The egg will not break.

Say: The dome shape of the egg is very strong. There are many buildings that are made in a dome shape. Baseball stadiums and churches are common buildings that use the strength of the dome shape.


Kindergarten - Literature - Humpty Dumpty

Say: Let's see how strong an eggshell really is. (Demonstrate the following experiment)

1. Place the four remaining eggs in clay and arrange them in a rectangular shape. Make sure all are level.

2. Place a book on top of the eggs. Add a second book, then a third. Continue to amaze the students with the strength of a dome shape.

Conclude the experiment by explaining that the eggs can support the books because the weight doesn't travel down on any single point. It travels down the curved wall to the wider part of the dome.


Suggested Follow-Up Activity

Copy the attached puzzle of Humpty Dumpty onto heavy paper. Children will color the picture, cut the pieces out on the dotted lines, then put the puzzle back together again. Provide baggies to store the puzzle pieces in. Have children take the puzzle home and share the poem of Humpty Dumpty with their family and share what they learned about egg strength.


Kindergarten - Literature - Humpty Dumpty

Puzzle pieces



Kindergarten - Literature -Mary Had A Little Lamb


Attend to the reading of the nursery rhyme.

Develop new vocabulary through participating in a discussion.

Sequence the events in the rhyme.


Say: We are going to listen to a poem about a little girl who loves her pet. (If you have already taught the science lessons dealing with animals and their needs, you may wish to ask children to recall how to care for pets.) Say: Listen carefully to this poem. We will talk about what happens to the girl's pet after I have read the whole poem. Read.

Mary Had a Little Lamb

from the poem by Sarah Josepha Hale

Mary had a little lamb,

Its fleece was white as snow;

And everywhere that Mary went,

The lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day,

That was against the rule;

It made the children laugh and play

To see a lamb at school.

And so the teacher turned it out,

But still it lingered near

And waited patiently about

Till Mary did appear.

"Why does the lamb love Mary so?"

The eager children cry.

"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know,"

The teacher did reply.

Ask: What kind of a pet did Mary have? (a lamb). Ask: What did the lamb do? (It followed Mary to school.) Why do you think it did that? (Allow children to speculate.)

Say: Listen to this part again. Read And so the teacher turned it out, But still it lingered near, And waited patiently about, Till Mary did appear. Ask: What do you think the teacher turned it out means? (The teacher made the lamb go outside.) Ask: What about But still it lingered near. What does that mean? (The lamb didn't leave the school area.)

Ask: The children in the poem wondered why the lamb loved Mary. Do you remember why? (Because Mary loved the lamb. She must have treated it nicely and it wanted to be near her.)


Kindergarten - Literature - Mary Had A Little Lamb

Suggested Follow-Up Activity

Assist children in sequencing the events in the nursery rhyme. Children will color, cut, and glue the pictures in the correct sequence.


Kindergarten - Literature - Mary Had A Little Lamb

Name __________________________ Color, cut and glue the pictures in the correct sequence.




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