, pub-8985115814551729, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Free Printable Lesson Plans: children's literature
Showing posts with label children's literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children's literature. Show all posts

10 Classic Kids Books with Realistic She-ro Girl Protagonists for Women's History Month

Hello my dear friends of this blog on free printable lesson plans! Teacher Omi here from the Omschool. Today, March 1, begins Women's History Month so we're going to look at 10 classic kids books with realistic girl protagonists. These young ladies will make you laugh, cry, cheer and most importantly resonate. 

First, a bit of back story. I'm 59 years old and I was lucky to be a kid during a great literary revolution in young adult literature. Beginning in the mid-ish 60s, youth, YA and teen literature was turning a corner away from the more cardboard hero/heroine characters to much  more realistic, identifiable, fallible 3D characters. And I, being so fully human, very awkward and out of step, embraced, this change with open arms. 

Because let's face it, the Disney princesses, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Nurse Cherry Ames, Trixie Borden, Nancy Drew, even the March sisters of Little Women, are all much larger, and well, gooder, than life. They are poised and pretty.  They make mistakes but they never fail or fall. They are the toad-kissers but never the toad. This was difficult for a little girl who always felt fat, warty and klutzy. 

So the "heroines" in my book list are believable. Most of these works of classic children's literature date from my childhood and teen years. 

Sam, Bangs and Moonshine This book is an excellent resource for helping kids deal with grief. Sam has just lost her mother and she's developed the habit of making up stories to cope (denial). Her lies cause some real problems. But what makes her a she-ro, in my book, is the way she recognizes and works to fix the damage she's caused. 

The Pigman This one is definitely not for kids under about 13 (take this from someone who read it at 10). Lorraine and John both live in dysfunctional situations and find friendship in each other and an elderly man. What happens is very upsetting but it's real and what I like about Lorraine is that despite her cruel upbringing, she very maturely takes responsibility and doesn't blame anyone else. 

Harriet the Spy So Harriet isn't your average kid detective. She's a snoop and a bit of a stalker. But she's just so darn clever about how she does it, with all the little gadgets she invents. I couldn't help but admire her, especially being weaned on Nancy Drew, who if I'm honest, is incredibly annoying. Nancy is a busybody snoop too. But it never backfires like it does with Harriet and usually in real life. 

Honestly, Katie John! (Mary Calhoun, author of lots of good kids books) I seriously love this series! Just look at her facial expression! Katie John gets into so many mishaps all with the best of intentions. She's not beautiful or a star pupil,  just a plain old kid and so relatable. Her ways of shirking work, helping her parents ready their new boarding house is hilarious. 

Katie Kittenheart
 (Miriam Mason) Hands-down, my favorite book from around age 6. From forgetting to dress up for picture day, to nearly incinerating her kitten, to single-handedly getting 40 kids through a flood, Katie is a delight. 

Velma (Scooby-Doo) Can we just agree that without brains-behind-the-outfit Velma, Mystery Inc. kids would have been gunned down, drowned or eaten alive in every episode? Velma shows that you can be smart and cute even without red hair and a scarf! 

Laura Ingalls Little House on the Prairie series I identified so with Laura. She is always the one in trouble. She can never match up to perfect little blonde Mary. She hates her brown hair, Sunday clothes and having to sit still and quiet. She's a little mouthy. But when push comes to shove, like in The Long Winter, Laura proves that she is the bravest of all! 

The Cat Who Went to Heaven The she-ro in this story is a sweet, self-sacrificing little cat who gives everything to help her friends. I cried my eyes out at 8, reading this story under the covers one night. 

I Was A 98 pound Duckling What resonates in this story is the challenge of those bumpy tween years. So I was "too chubby" and this character is "too thin" we struggled with the same issues, feeling (and sometimes being made to feel) ugly. 

The Doll of Lilac Valley Another one I cried myself to sleep over, what got me is how sensitive and empathetic Laurie is. When  she loses her favorite doll, her kindly (but non-child-aware) caregivers present her with one the complete antithesis of the other.  But the universe rewards her gentleness. 

Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? The great thing about this book and Margaret the main character is that they talk about the unmentionable...getting your period. Regardless, of time or age, all girls have to deal. Most of us felt like freaks. We hated it. Thank God for Judy Blume who at least normalized it. 

These girl protagonists may read like just kids but that's what makes them she-ros. Every girl is in my book! Most of these kids books are available on Thriftbooks or Amazon. Happy reading and HappyyWomen's History Month! 

Book BAGS: preschool book-based activities, games and snacks for "Blueberries for Sal"

Hello friends! Teacher Omi (grama) here. As a former homeschool parent and special needs teacher, I'm excited to bring this passion for education forward to the next gen grandchildren. When he was 4, my eldest grandson Silas called me Teacher Omi (grama) so I'm calling this new phase of homeschooling our Om-school.

I've been putting together a series of Book BAGS (literature-based units with books, activities, games, snacks and crafts). Today's Book BAGS unit is based on the 1949 Caldecott winner "Blueberries for Sal" by Robert McCloskey. My mom read it to me when I was 4 and it's become a family favorite. We also live in Michigan blueberry country and it's coming on blueberry season, so a perfect story to celebrate. I've geared this to homeschooling, erm, Om-schooling families with activities for all ages. If you're using in a group setting, preschool to 2nd grade would be best. I'm dedicating these free printable bear lesson plans and activities based on "Blueberries for Sal" to our grandboy Lucian, bear aficionado and explorer extraordinaire. 

Begin your Book BAGS unit by reading "Blueberries for Sal." Enjoy the beautifully detailed block print illustrations of Robert McCloskey.  I recommend getting your own copy of this classic story and Thriftbooks is my go-to for reasonably priced used books. 

Note the similarities between the bear cub and his mother and Sal and her mom. Both moms are preparing for winter. Sal's mom is going to can the blueberries while Little Bear is exhorted to "eat all you can hold for winter." "Blueberries for Sal" is the perfect segue into life science lesson plans on bears and hibernation. has a plethora of free printable bear lesson plans and activities based on bears. 

You might actually do a fruit canning project with children. Or if you're like me and not much of a home-canner, make freezer blueberry jam. Here's a freezer blueberry jam recipe from Farmhouse Harvest. Jam-making lesson plans are perfect for multiage classrooms or homeschools because everyone from the baby on up can participate. Toddlers like my Omschool littles Remus and Emmett could practice eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills placing canning jar rings on a spoon (as Sal does) while the prechoolers Juno and Ezra could be blueberry stem removers and squashers. The 4 and up crowd (Lu Bear, Milo, Lola) can get math skills practice measuring and counting. The big Kahunas like our Moses and Silas can be project coordinators. And everyone will enjoy the tasting! 

If you don't want to mess with making jam (and I confess I for one might not LOL), you can make a multitude of snacks from blueberries for your unit. How about rainbow sandwiches? Spread bread with cream cheese, slice strawberries, mandarin oranges, bananas, green grapes, blueberries and red grapes and arrange like a rainbow! Or make Super Berry Chicken Salad with cubed chicken, celery, green peppers, blueberries, cashews (or chow mien noodles) mayo and Dijon mustard. Lots of slicing and chopping for cooking skills practice. Or you could do blueberry muffins or pancakes. 

Grade one and up might also discuss how things have changed in Sal's 1948 family kitchen and what things have remained the same. Stoves for example look much the same but are fueled differently (discuss how). You might assemble a collection of "vintage" cooking utensils like a rotary hand beater, potato masher, metal cookie cutters, flour sifter and pastry dough cutter. Put these in the  sand and water table for exploration. 

A perfect game for "Blueberries for Sal" Book BAGS (bags is book, activity, game and snack) is clothespin drop which lets kids explore another old-time tool, clothespins. This was a favorite at birthday parties when Omi was young. All you need is a package of clothespins and a canning jar. Students practice eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills dropping pins in the jar. 

And for the activity or book-based craft, make clothespins into "puppet" characters from "Blueberries for Sal" and act out the story. Here's where that recycling bin I'm always on about is invaluable. Let kids forage for scraps from there and a fabric scraps bag, to clothe and fur the characters. No fur fabric for the bears? Just draw on brown paper bags! Then add faces and voila, your own puppets! 

Stone Soup lesson plans, activities and printables, plus Friendship Soup recipes

 Looking for interactive, hands-on activities to revive a winter weary preschool or elementary age curriculum? How about a unit on "Stone Soup?" Here are free printable Stone Soup lesson plans, activities, coloring pages, crafts and recipes for Friendship Soup from the beloved children's literature classic. 

There are several versions of Stone Soup, my favorite being the Marcia Brown Caldecott one (shown above). In this story, stingy villagers learn the value of collaboration and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts when three hungry soldiers con them into to sharing their hoarded food to make a group soup. 

Begin by reading Stone Soup aloud. Children should predict what will happen using HOTS (higher order thinking skills). Kids will love the ah-ha moment when they realize, (before the greedy villagers do) that the hoarders have just been tricked into parting with food they lied about not having. 

Next, assign kids character parts and retell Stone Soup as a  play. Let children design costumes and create props and scenery from the recycle bin. Recycled cardboard fridge boxes make awesome backdrops which children can paint. Present this as a play to other students. 

After the play, serve Stone Soup (which has now become Friendship Soup) that you have made as a class. Allow students to prep vegetables or simply bring canned vegetables to reheat. Children might also prep vegetables and home. Teacher should probably bring the cooked meat if you're going to include it. Also, provide washed stones to use in soup (large ones so no one accidentally swallows). Simmer ingredients in a crockpot while doing other activities. 

Write Stone Soup recipes for process writing lesson plans. Ingredients include: cooked meat, milk, carrots, celery, potatoes, cabbage, onions, salt, pepper and stones. Encourage kids into writing creatively to produce funny or silly recipes. Create cartoon strips or story boards. Make a Stone Soup word wall, using words from the story. Cooking with children and writing and following recipes make excellent math lesson plans. 

For science lesson plans, explore food groups or edible plant parts (carrots and potatoes--roots, onions--bulb, celery--stem and leaves, cabbage--leaves, pepper--seeds). Explore raw vegetable colors, textures, and structure. Draw plant diagrams.