Extension and Engagement Extension and Engagement

Grade K

Share these activities with your students before, during, or after the module to build engagement and invite interest in module texts and to extend students’ interest in the module topics and themes after reading.




Text(s): My Five Senses by Aliki + My Five Senses by Margaret Miller

Community/Cultural Connections: Interview

You read about our five senses in both of these books.

  • Interview family members about our five senses. Which sense is each person’s favorite?

  • Talk about ways you use each sense at home and in your culture.

  • Share what you learned with the class. Which sense is the favorite for most people?

Text(s): Flower Day by Diego Rivera

Visual Expression: Painting

Flower Day shows a man who sells flowers. It also shows some people who buy them.

  • What kinds of flowers would you like to have? What colors would they be?

  • Make your own painting of a flower shop or market. Put yourself in it.

Text(s): Geraldine, the Music Mouse by Leo Lionni

Performance Arts: Acting Out a Scene

  • In a small group, choose a scene from Geraldine, the Music Mouse.

  • Decide who will be Geraldine and who will be the other mice.

  • Then act out the scene with your group.

  • Perform your scene for the class.

Text(s): Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

Visual Expression: Letter Drawing

In Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the letters climb a tree. Big letters also hug little letters.

  • Think of something fun that uppercase and lowercase letters can do together.

  • Make a drawing to show it.

Text(s): Rap a Tap Tap by Leo and Diane Dillon

Performance Arts: Dance

In Rap a Tap Tap, you learned about Bill “Bojangles” Robinson who loved to tap dance.

  • Go online to watch people tap dancing to music. For example, you might watch people tap dancing to “Cups” music from the film Pitch Perfect.

  • Then try to make up your own tap dance. (You won’t be able to make the same sounds without real tap shoes.)

Text(s): “Halfway Down” by A. A. Milne

Verbal Expression: Poem

“Halfway Down” is a poem about a special place.

  • Think about a place that is special to you.

  • Write a short poem about it.

  • Make a drawing to go with it.

The Carnival of the Animals by Jack Prelutsky

Performance Arts: Mime

The poet wrote the poems in The Carnival of the Animals to go with a famous piece of music.

  • Play the CD for the book. After each poem about animals, you will hear the music that goes with it.

  • As you listen to the music, mime the actions of the animals.




Text(s): The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen

Visual Expression: Book Making

  • Make a book to show a farm animal throughout the year.

  • Choose your favorite animal from The Year at Maple Hill Farm

  • Draw one page for each season. Show details about the season and your animal.

  • Staple or tie the pages together.

Content Connection: Science

  • Some trees change during the four seasons of the year. Search the Internet by “images of a beech tree in four seasons.”

  • Make a poster showing how beech trees change throughout the year.

  • Show what a beech tree looks like in each season: fall, winter, spring , and summer.

  • Use pictures from the Internet or make your own drawings.

Text(s): Farm Animals by Wade Cooper + On the Farm by David Elliott

Connecting Texts: Diorama

In this module, you learned about animals that live on a farm. Some sleep in the barn. Some sleep in the henhouse. Others live outside.

  • Show a place on the farm where animals spend time.

  • Use the cover or the inside of a shoe box.

  • Draw details, or cut out shapes from paper to show the place.

  • Make the animals with clay or modeling dough.

Text(s): The Little Red Hen by Diane Muldrow

Content Connection: Math

The hen starts with a grain of wheat and ends up with bread. With an adult, make a loaf of bread to see how a grain of wheat becomes food. Be sure to measure the ingredients carefully. Use one of these recipes or find one of your own. Search the Internet by “bread recipes for kids.”

Bring your loaf of bread to the class to share with others.

Content Connection: Science

With an adult, grind wheatberries to make flour. (You can get the wheatberries at health food markets.). Use a hand grinder, if you can, or an electric spice or coffee grinder. A food processor might also work. Make pancakes or another treat using the flour.

Text(s): The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mary Finch + The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone

Performance Arts: Song

The troll is mean to the billy goats. In Mary Finch’s story, the troll sings a rhyming song to scare them.

  • Create your own song for the troll or one of the billy goats.

  • Make at least two lines end with the same sound.

  • Sing your song for the class.

Text(s): Three Little Pigs by Thea Kliros + The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall

Visual Expression: Cartoon Strip

James Marshall made some funny changes to the three little pigs story. In his version, the first two pigs are rude. They also don’t listen to good advice. The third pig eats the wolf in the end. How would you change this story?

  • Choose another way to change the story.

  • Draw pictures to show what happens.

  • Use speech balloons to show what the characters say.

All Module Texts

Across the Module: Puppet Show

Work in a small group to create a puppet show.

  • Together choose a story from the module.

  • Decide who will be each character.

  • Draw and cut out each character’s face.

  • Paste the face to a craft stick.

  • Use the animal puppets to act out the story.




Text(s): Helpers in My Community by Bobbie Kalman

Visual Expression: Clues in the Bag

Choose a helper from the book. Make two drawings.

  • Draw something a helper wears or uses.

  • Draw something else the helper wears or uses.

  • Show one drawing. Have the class guess who the helper is.

  • Did they guess? If not, show the other drawing.

  • Did they guess? If not, tell the answer.

Verbal Expression: Saying Thank You

Think of a real-life helper that you would like to thank.

  • Find out the person’s name if you don’t know it.

  • Think how the person helps you.

  • Thank the person, and tell why. You can say thank you or write a note.

Text(s): A Day in the Life of a Firefighter by Linda Hayward

Content Areas: Math

What do firefighters do during the day? Choose something to tell about from the book.

  • Look at the pictures to decide what to share.

  • Find the clock that shows the time.

  • Draw the clock. What time does it show? Ask for help if you need it.

  • Share your clock with the class. Tell what the firefighter in the book is doing at that time of the day.

Text(s): The Post Office Book by Gail Gibbons

Teaching Extension: Letter, Letter STAMP (game)

Explain that a letter cannot be delivered without a stamp. Lead the class in this game based on Duck, Duck, Goose.

  • Students sit in a circle.

  • One child goes around the circle, saying Letter, Letter, Letter.

  • The child taps a head, says, STAMP, and starts running around the circle.

  • The second child tries to tag the first child.

  • If the first child gets to the second child’s spot and sits down, the second child become “It.”

Performance Arts: Acting Out a Mail Delivery

How does a letter get to a person? In a small group, act out the steps.

  • Decide who does each step:

    • write the letter and mail it in a mailbox

    • take the letter from the mailbox to the post office

    • sort letters at the post office

    • deliver the letter

    • get the letter

  • Act out the steps for the class.

Text(s): A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats

Social Justice/Gender: Group Discussion

At first, the boys were not happy that a girl was coming to the party. Then they changed their minds. Discuss questions like these:

  • Why did Peter invite Amy?

  • Can boys and girls be good friends?

  • Is it fair to have boys-only parties or clubs? Why or why not?

  • Is it fair to have girls-only parties or clubs? Why or why not?

Text(s): Homes Around the World by Max Moore

Visual Expression: Building a Home

Choose a home from the book that you like.

  • Build the home. Use materials like clay or popsicle sticks

  • Add a picture of yourself with the home.

  • Share the home with the class. Tell why you like the home.

Text(s): Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

Visual Expression: Painting

In Tar Beach, Cassie flies over places in her city. Imagine that you can fly, too. Make your own painting.

  • Think of a special place.

  • Paint yourself flying over it.

  • Show what you can see.

Text(s): Summer Sun Risin’ by W. Nikola-Lisa

Performance Arts: Song

Summer Sun Risin’ is a rhyming text about a summer day. Make a song about a day, from morning to night.

  • Choose the time of year for your day. Is it summer? winter? spring? fall?

  • Try to have rhymes in your song.

  • Sing your song for the class.

Text(s): The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

NOTE: Support students by acknowledging that some neighborhood changes help people and some are less welcome. Encourage students to share both kinds of changes if they are comfortable doing so.

Cultural/Community Connections: Interview

The little house has seen many changes in its life. At first, there were no cars. The house was in the country, too. Then a city grew around it.

  • Think about your neighborhood. Has it changed?

  • Talk with family members or neighbors about changes they’ve seen. Maybe a store sells something different. Maybe a house has a new color.

  • If you want, ask if the changes help the neighborhood.

  • Share what you learned with the class.

Text(s): From Sheep to Sweater by Robin Nelson

Performance Arts: Acting Out a Step

This text shows how to go from sheep to a sweater.

  • Work with a partner. Choose a page of text and the picture that goes with it.

  • Act out the step for the class.

  • Have the class guess what step you are showing.




Text(s): Introducing North America by Chris Oxlade

NOTE: The first activity provides guidance for teacher preparation.

Teaching Extension: Introducing the Module

Display a world map, and use it to help students locate themselves in the larger world.

  • Draw a small airplane on construction paper or cardboard, and cut it out.

  • Find the school’s location on the map, and attach the airplane to that spot with a pushpin.

  • Explain that over the course of the module students will track their “travels” by moving the airplane on the map.

Visual Expression: Poster

The text explains that North America is a big continent. We live in one part of North America. In a small group, make a poster to show what our part of North America is like. You can draw pictures or use photos from the Internet.

  • Write the words “Our Part of North America” at the top of the poster or in the middle.

  • Add pictures of your community or others nearby that show:

    • plants and trees that grow here.

    • birds and other animals that live here.

    • foods that people eat here.

    • kinds of weather.

    • lakes, oceans, mountains, or plains that you see here.

  • Share your poster with the class.

Text(s): Barefoot World Atlas by Nick Crane

NOTE: This activity provides guidance for teacher preparation.

Teaching Extension: Names of Continents

Explain that a continent is a very large chunk of land. Help the students learn the names of the seven continents by singing a song.

  • Play the song for the students a few times.

  • Have the students join in on the song.

  • Finally, have students sing the song by themselves. As they sing the name of a continent, point to it on a world map or globe.

You may also want to help students define geographic terms such as population and some of the physical features named in the text. Use a dictionary such as www.wordsmyth.net and click on Beginner’s Dictionary. Have the dictionary available during instruction to support students in defining geographic terms as they appear in the text.

Text(s): The Legend of Bluebonnet by Tommie dePaola

NOTE: The first activity provides guidance for teacher preparation.

Teaching Extension: Background about the Comanche

Before reading, locate a picture of a tipi such as this one (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comanche#/media/File:Catlin_–_Comanche_warrior_and_tipi.jpg), and prepare to explain the following:

  • This story is based on a legend the Comanche, who are Native Americans that once lived in the Great Plains of North America.

  • Display the tipi image and explain that the Comanche lived in homes called tipis, which were pointed tents made from animal skins.

  • The Comanche believe that animals, plants, rivers, and everything in nature has a spirit. The Great Spirits are the mystery or power in everything.

  • Shamans are spiritual leaders. They get messages from the Great Spirits, sometimes through dreams.

Verbal Expression: Story

The girl in the story is called She-Who-Is-Alone. She sacrifices her doll to help her people. Then she gets a new name, One-Who-Dearly-Loved-Her-People.

  • Think of a way you have helped someone.

  • Then think of a name that would tell about what you did.

  • Tell the class what happened.

  • Share your new name. Try to think of a name that shows something about your culture.

Visual Expression: Painting

The girl loves her doll most of all. The doll has blue feathers. After the girl sacrifices it, blue flowers spring up. What is your favorite toy, book, or other object?

  • Think of the object you most love. It might be a toy, a book, or something you wear.

  • Imagine you have to sacrifice it to the Great Spirits. What kinds of flowers might grow afterward?

  • Use colors to paint your favorite thing.

  • Add flowers to your paper.

Text(s): South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia by Rebecca Hirsch

NOTE: Throughout instruction of these texts, take care in discussing continents such as Africa or Asia that are home to many countries, ethnic groups, and communities. It’s important not to suggest that there is a single culture from that continent. Refer to cultures by the country or ethnic group they associate with, such as Chinese or Somali.

Content Areas: Geography

You have learned about the seven continents.

  • Choose your favorite continent.

  • Use modeling clay or dough to make the continent. You may also make animals and other things.

  • Place the continent on poster board. Add animals or other things.

  • Write the name of the continent.

  • Add pictures and words that tell about the continent. 

Text(s): Moon Rope by Lois Ehlert

Content Connections: Art and Social Studies

Moon Rope is an old story from Peru. Lois Ehlert is the author and illustrator. She got ideas for the art from the cloth and pottery of Peru.

  • Do you see waves, animals, and birds? Do you see any lines that look like steps?

  • Look for these pictures and patterns in the story. What else do you see?

Text(s): The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

NOTE: The first activity provides guidance for teacher preparation.

Teaching Extension: Bull Fighting

Explain that bull fighting is a popular tradition in Spain. There are parades and music on the day of a bull fight.

  • Point out the bandilleros, picadors, and matador on pages 48–52.

  • Explain that the matador fights the bull, but the bandilleros and picadors help him.

  • Tell students that bull fighting is dangerous for both the matador and the bull. The bull must be strong and fast, and the matador must practice his skills.

  • Explain that bull fighting is like a dance and a sport. The matador uses a red cape to make the bull come close. Then the matador must move quickly to get out the way.

Visual Expression: Hats

The characters in the story are animals and people. The people wear interesting hats.

  • Choose a hat from the book that you like.

  • Make the hat out of paper and other materials. Or start with a hat from home and add to it.

  • Wear the hat, and pretend you are the character. Tell what you did in the story.

Social Justice/Diversity: Group Discussion

Ferdinand is not like the other bulls. Discuss questions like these:

  • How is Ferdinand different from the other bulls?

  • What does his mother do? Should she make him play with the other bulls?

  • Why are the people at the bull fight mad at Ferdinand?

  • Does Ferdinand care? Should he?

  • What does the story teach us about being happy?

  • What does it teach us about being different?

Text(s): Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema

NOTE: The first Teaching Extension can be used to extend student interest during and after reading. The second Teaching Extension is best used after reading to help students understand the chain reaction and appreciate the humor of the story.

Teaching Extension: The Buzzing of Mosquitoes

To help students understand the difference between fact and make-believe in the story, explain the following.

  • Mosquitoes are drawn to us when we exhale, or breathe out. That is why they buzz near our ears.

  • The story is an origin story: it seems to tell the reason for something, but it is not based on facts. Origin stories are sometimes used to teach people the right way to behave.

Teaching Extension: Chain Reaction

To help students understand the chain reaction in the story, guide them in acting out the scenes.

  • Review the events on pages 1–8 with students, using the illustrations.

  • Assign each part: mosquito, iguana, python, rabbit, crow, monkey, owl, three owlets, and sun. Since there are only 11 characters (not including the lion), have a different student play each character in the scenes with the lion.

  • Play the part of King Lion yourself.

  • Perform the scenes with students, guiding them as needed.

Text(s): Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes

NOTE: The first activity provides guidance for teacher preparation.

Teaching Extension: Background on the Hindu Religion

In this text, students read a story about the Hindu god Ganesha. To provide important background, explain:

  • There are many different religions in the world. People believe in different things.

  • There are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and people who belong to other religions.

  • Some people do not belong to any religion.

  • Many people in Asia practice Buddhism and Hinduism.

  • In Hinduism, there are many gods. Ganesha is one Hindu god. He looks like an elephant. There are many statues of him.

  • Tell students that there are many stories about the Hindu gods. One story is the It is a very long poem.

Verbal Expression: Poem

Ganesha uses his tusk to write a long poem. The poem tells about the beginning of things.

  • Think about the first time you did something. Or think about a time you made a new friend.

  • Make up a short poem to tell about that time.

  • Say your poem for the class.

Text(s): Koala Lou by Mem Fox

Teaching Extension: Olympics

In preparation for reading the text, explain that the main character, Koala Lou, wants to compete in the Bush Olympics, which are make-believe games for animals. For context, share some information about the real Olympic Games:

  • Many countries come together every two years to compete in sports.

  • There are Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics.

  • Athletes train hard. They do exercises to make themselves strong and practice their skills for hours each day.

  • The Olympic Games are very exciting. They are a way for athletes to show their skills. They are also a peaceful way for countries to come together.

Performance Arts: Movement

Koala Lou trains hard for the Bush Olympics. She jogs, lifts weights, and hangs from a branch with one claw. She does push-ups and practices climbing a very tall tree.

  • Think of something you learned to do that was hard at first.

  • Act out what you did to learn it.

  • Perform the movements for the class.

  • Have other students guess what you learned to do.

Content Connections: Science

Choose an animal from the text that you want to learn more about.

  • Ask yourself: Where does it sleep? What does it eat? How does it move? What do the young animals look like?

  • Find pictures that answer the questions. Use the Internet, or look in magazines and books. A good place to start is https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/.

  • Share the pictures with the class. Tell what you learn from them.




All Module Texts

NOTE: The Teaching Extension activity is ideal for background building prior to reading, but can also be used to extend student interest during and after reading.

Teaching Extension: Songs About Plants

You read about our five senses in both of these books.

Have students sing the songs throughout the module.

Text(s): Jack and the Beanstalk by Richard Walker

Distribute a kidney bean, lima bean, or pinto bean and a small paper cup to each student. You may need to help some students split their beans along the slit.

Content Areas: Science

The outside of a bean is the seed shell. It protects the seed. Do this experiment to find out what is inside. You will need a paper cup, some water, and a bean.

  • Put water in your cup.

  • Add the bean.

  • Draw what you think the inside is like.

  • Wait for 24 hours. That’s a whole day and night!

  • Take out the bean. Find the slit going down the middle.

  • Split the seed in two. Does it look like your drawing?

  • Find the beginning of the plant inside. The rest of the seed is food for the plant.

Visual/Verbal Expression: Cartoon Strip

In a small group, make a cartoon strip of the Jack and the Beanstalk.

  • Decide who will make each of these parts:

    • Beginning: how Jack gets the magic beans and climbs the beanstalk

    • Middle: what happens after Jack climbs the beanstalk

    • End: what happens after the giant falls asleep

  • Think about what happens in your part of the story.

  • Draw pictures. Use speech balloons.

  • Share your group’s cartoon strip with the class.

Text(s): Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

You may need to show students to start with 1 at the left and also how much space to leave between numbers on the line.

Content Areas: Mathematics

Create a garden of the flowers you like best.

  • Decide what kinds of flowers you want to grow.

  • Choose how many of each kind. You can have a garden that is all one kind of flower. You can mix different kinds.

  • Turn your paper so the sides are shorter than the top and bottom.

  • Draw a brown line across the bottom to stand for dirt.

  • Write the numbers 1 to 10 on the line. Leave space between the numbers.

  • Draw a green stem from each number.

  • Add leaves to the stem and a flower on top.

  • Draw your flowers at the top of each stem.

Share your garden with the class. Tell how many flowers you have of each kind.

Text(s): The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

You may want to invite other classes to visit the Seed Museum described in the second activity.

Teaching Extension: Seed Exploration

Create a seed exploration activity for students.

  • Set up different kinds of seeds in sections of ice cube trays.

  • Aim for variety in size and texture. (For example, broccoli seeds are tinier than squash seeds, and swiss chard seeds are rough and bumpy.)

  • Place a few seeds in each section and label the section with the name and picture of the plant or flower.

  • Inside a brown paper bag, add one or two seeds of each type.

  • Have students take turns pulling out a seed and matching it to a seed in the tray.

Visual Expression: Seed Museum

Create a seed museum with your classmates.

  • Bring in a few seeds from home. You can bring seeds from something you eat, like an apple or tomato, or seeds that come in a packet.

  • Put your seeds in a plastic bag.

  • Fold an index card in half. On it, draw what grows from the seed.

  • Write the name of the fruit, flower, or plant on the bag.

  • Display the card with the bag.

Look at other students’ seeds and drawings.

Text(s): From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer

Distribute a glass jar or vase, food coloring, and a white flower, such as a chrysanthemum or carnation, to each group. After students perform the experiment, point out that plants in the ground get water through roots, using tubes inside the stalk. The flower they are using doesn’t have roots, so the water just goes right through the tube that is inside the stem.

Content Areas: Science

In From Seed to Pumpkin, you learned how pumpkin plants get water. Work in a small group to better understand how water gets to a plant.

  • Fill your jar or vase with water.

  • Add food coloring.

  • Put your flower in the water.

  • Discuss what happens and why.

Share your ideas with the class.

Text(s): “How Do Seeds Grow” and “Plants and Their Seeds”

Teaching Extension: Conditions for Growing

Perform this experiment to help student understand what a plant needs to grow.

  • Gather several small flower pots and a packet of fast-sprouting seeds, such as lima beans.

  • Plant seeds in several pots, varying the amount of sunlight, the type of soil, and the liquid used for wetting the soil.

  • Make sure to have one control plant: Use potting soil for the plant and water for wetting the soil. Place the pot where the sunlight is good.

  • Work with the students to compare each variation against the control plant to see which grows faster.

For other planting activities, visit sites such as these:

Field Trip: Class Walk and Sort

Take a walk with your class to explore the plants around your school.

  • Draw plants and flowers that you see.

  • Pick up leaves and other natural objects from the ground.

  • In the classroom, talk about ways to group the things you found. For example, you might sort by different shades of green, by the same plant part (such as leaves), or by size.

Text(s): “The Garden” from Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel

Performance Arts: Acting Out a Scene

Toad tries different ways to make the seeds grow.

  • Choose one of his ways to act out.

  • Find or draw any props you need. For example, you might draw a candle and use a book for reading aloud.

  • You can make up some details.

  • Rehearse the scene a few times.

  • Perform the scene for the class.

Text(s): Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson

For the first activity, you may want to view the video with students and elicit facts they might include. For the second activity, you might want to have students choose a project and then guide them in completing it.

Visual Expression: Tree Poster

Wangari knew trees are very important for people, animals, and our planet. Make a poster about trees.

  • Think about how planting trees helped people in Kenya.

  • Ask yourself questions like these: What do I eat that grows on trees? How else are trees important?

  • Watch this video to learn more about trees: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I7u5FMQxHA&t=2s

  • Draw a tree on your poster.

  • Write three facts about trees. You can ask a grown up to help you write.

  • Share your poster with the class.

Cultural/Community Connections: Class Project

Wangari taught people to take care of the environment. Work with a small group to think of ways you can make your world a better place.

  • Talk about questions like these:

  • Is there trash in the playground or local park?

  • Does the school yard need plants or flowers?

  • Do we use too many plastic or paper bags?

  • Do we recycle?

  • Do we throw things away we could give to someone else?

  • Do we waste paper or water?

  • Discuss what you can do to help fix the problem.

  • Share your ideas with the class.

Visual Expression: Scratchboard Art

The artist used scratchboard art and watercolor for her book.

  • Follow these steps to make a scratchboard drawing of some things that grow.

  • Cover a sheet of cardboard or poster board with different colors. Use crayons.

  • Use a black crayon to cover the colors.

  • Then use a chopstick or thin dowel to scratch out your drawing. The colors will show through.

  • Share your drawing with the class.