Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog

We're in the midst of studying animal life cycles so today we read The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent. If you don't have a copy of the book, CLICK HERE to see a video of the book being read aloud.
This is an entertaining book that teaches the life cycle of a butterfly AND frog in an indirect way. Not only is it fun to read, but as a teacher, you can incorporate SO MANY literature standards (reading with expression, gaining meaning from pictures, repetition, unknown words, character traits and author's purpose). It's easy to throw in several science standards too.  

We started by making predictions about what a polliwog is. I told my kiddos that we were going to read a book called The Caterpillar and the Polliwog -- I DID NOT show them any pictures or tell them anything else. I gave them a mini post-it note and had them write their prediction and then we posted them on the board. I read all the predictions out loud and we talked about a few of them -- why some made more sense than others (like tree made more sense than dog).
This is them posting their predictions of what a polliwog is on the board. 
 I passed out the books and had them take a picture walk to try and figure out what a polliwog is. Most were able to quickly figure out that a polliwog is the same thing as a tadpole.  We had a good laugh about some of the predictions that were made.  

We then started to read the book. I read most of it out loud and we discussed why I made the caterpillar's voice high-pitched and proud.  We did the same thing with the polliwog's voice, except his voice has more of a curious tone. 

Make sure you stop reading after this page to discuss some very important points.
 This page is EXCELLENT for discussing how illustrations add meaning to the story because the text doesn't say that the polliwog starts changing by growing legs but the illustration clearly does. If your students don't pay close attention to the pictures, they'll miss this valuable information. 
You also need to discussed why the author used repetition of "he watched and watched and watched" to add meaning to the story.

We finished the story and then created our own books about the original story.
 To make these books I cut 4 pieces of white paper in half (the long way -- hot dog style) and then added a piece of colored paper for the cover.

Each student got a question sheet, cut out each question and glued it to the top of the corresponding page in their own book.
CLICK HERE to download the questions (there are 3 sets of questions per page)

Then they worked to complete their books. To make it more fun I let them work with a partner.  And if you have early finishers, you can have them use the extra pages in their book to draw the life cycle of the butterfly and/or frog.  You can also have them create additional questions, then pass their book to a friend and have them answer it. 

This was such a great activity because it addressed so many ELA and Science standards -- I LOVE when that happens.  If you choose to do this with your own kiddos, I look forward to hearing how it went. 

Extension Activity - The next day I had my kiddos look at the pictures in the book to learn about the life cycle of a frog (RL 2.7 -- use pictures to gain meaning). The book shows pictures of 3 stages (polliwog/tadpole, froglet, and frog). I told them that there was one stage missing and it came before the polliwog. They were able to figure out that the missing stage was egg. 
We then took that information and made these cute posters: 

Notice how the headings "Stage 1, Stage 2..." are all in the same color and the labels of the stage name (polliwog, froglet...) are in a different color-- that was on purpose to touch on text features (RI 2.5). 

1 comment:

  1. We're doing life cycles too. I guess it's that time of year. I will have to check out the story. Love the drawings of the caterpillar you're little kiddos made. And I like how your questioning does cover more than one standard.