Say It First!
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
based on Scholastic Book of Firsts
by James Buckley, Jr.
About the Book
When was the first waterproof watch introduced? Which World Series player was the first to make a home run? Scholastic Book of Firsts is an entertaining book filled with more than 1,000 first facts that answer these questions. With chapters on topics from Money to Sports to Technology, this 320-page book will keep students intrigued for hours. Its packed with answers to questions such as What is the worlds tallest mountain? to When was the first American zoo opened?" Scholastic Book of Firsts may very well be the first book students reach for at their next school book fair!
[Answers: waterproof watch: 1926; home run: Jimmy Sebring; tallest mountain: Mount Everest; first zoo: 1874]
Set the Stage
- Explain that Scholastic Book of Firsts is a reference book that students can turn to for information about who or what came first. Have students silently read the Introduction and discuss why its important to understand important firsts in history.
- Turn to the Contents, page 3, and explain that this section helps readers find a topic and the page on which the chapter begins. Explain that the Table of Contents is organized alphabetically (after the Introduction, that is). Play a quick game in which you name a topic and students tell on what page that chapter begins. Then have students select a page number and ask a volunteer to identify the chapter. Point out that the book ends with a Page of Lasts.
- Now ask students to flip through the book and notice the sections called Say It First..." and the logo that appears in the upper left hand corner of each box. Explain that students will use these boxes, which explain phrases using first, to complete the activity sheet.
- Finally, turn to the Index, discuss how its organized, what can be found there, and topics that seem intriguing.
By now, students should be excited with the fascinating firsts theyve encountered in the book. Use their enthusiasm to discuss:
- Which first fact surprised you the most? Why? Which first did you already know?
- If you were doing a presentation on firsts in television, books, and music, what chapter in this book would be helpful? [Answer: Entertainment] What other resources would you consult?
- What resources (people, places, books, Web sites) do you think the writer of this book used to create Scholastic Book of Firsts? What makes you say that?
- Which part of the book is useful for quickly finding a chapter title and its first page? [Answer: Table of Contents]
- What additional chapters (Families, Holidays) do you wish were included in this book? Why?
In this fun activity students will strengthen their knowledge of terms using firsts.
Apply students research skills through these projects:
- Parent/Child-Made Board Game: Ask parent and child to work together to make a firsts board game that other students can play in class. Using oaktag, scissors, a spinner, coins (as pawns), and markers, have Parent/Child teams mark Start and End, then create a path with tasks, such as Pick a Card or Move Ahead Two Spaces. For the cards, use Scholastic Book of Firsts to write a question on one side, and the answer on the other. Bring completed games to class, explaining that the first player to reach End wins.
- Hold a Firsts Bee: Students are probably familiar with a Spelling Bee, but can they participate in a Firsts Bee? Divide the class into two teams. Play like a spelling bee, asking a first question of the first student on a team. (The child may consult the book, but give him or her a time limit.) The team with the most students standing at the end of the game wins.
- Captivating Presentations: Have students become experts in one topic. Ask them to deliver a presentation on firsts about an issue related to that topic. For example, for Movies, students might begin: The first drive-in theater opened in 1933 in Camden, NJ. A drive-in theater is..." Use visuals, if possible. Ask students to critique other presentations, according to an evaluation checklist prepared in advance.
- Create Riddles: Invite students to turn firsts into riddles, then quiz classmates. For example, a student may ask, I am the winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for reporting. I worked for a paper called The World. I won the Pulitzer in 1917. Who am I? [Answer: Herbert B. Swope]
- Its All About Me: Invite students to make booklets with the theme of My Firsts. Include text and illustrations and/or photographs for My first dance, My first word, and My first school. Ask students to share their booklets with classmates and families.