Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Do you agree with me that like life itself, teaching is a journey, not a destination?
One of the joys of an educator’s journey is the discovery along the way of new and wonderful teaching resources…
…resources that catch and keep kids’ attention!
I was recently introduced to a picture book that does just that. It tells a delightful modern myth as it also delivers K – 2 science lessons on species classification and coastal habitats.
How Alligator Got His Smile Back by Jayne Moraski, illustrated by Carl Kocich (Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.), begins “when the earth was very young and animals looked very different,” as they do today.
But how and why do animals look and live differently? The lessons begin…
…in a story that features a prehistoric Alligator who frolics in the water with his best friend, the tadpole Frog.
As Moraski tells it, “their friendship suffers when Frog changes and is able to leave the water to jump across the land. Eventually, Alligator evolves into the (smiling) form we know today, and learns a lesson in the true meaning of friendship,” when his wish is granted.
Says Moraski, “my book (also) describes the origins of frog songs, mangrove swamps, cypress knees, and of course, how
alligators got their big grins.”
Kocich’s colorful and beautifully detailed illustrations frame the story characters and action with tile-like borders that would suit the most decorative aquarium wall.
Moraski has tied this book directly to K – 3 pacing guides and Florida curriculum standards, but take note…
How Alligator Got His Smile Back is consistent with current Common Core recommendations (for the US). In my view, the book presents basic environmental education in a way that teachers anywhere can adapt for their curriculum.
Moraski points out that “the book also explains coastal habitats and has a habitat activity.” Backmatter activities ask students to compare and contrast the two species in the book using textual clues to discern information.
Specifically, the book invites children to:
Classroom-tested resources are a joy to discover on a teacher’s journey.
How Alligator Got His Smile Back fills the bill… (more…)