From Unit Plan: Giddy-Up Kindergarten

A Rookie Reader, Cowboy Up by Sharon Gordon
A terrific book that shows students how to solve problems and figure out concepts on their own.

Classroom Tip: I use to this story as a way to get the students to respond to how they would have solved the problems that were brought up in the story.

The Legend Of Lightning Larry by Aaron Shepard
A humorous story about a cowboy who shoots lightning bolts of kindness into the hearts of outlaws.

Classroom Tip: I use this story in Lesson 1, WANTED. The students discuss why these outlaws are wanted. The students then decide why they would be on a WANTED poster. The responses vary from WANTED for doing cartwheels in the classroom to WANTED for eating too many cookies.

Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett
This story is about an adventurous little armadillo, Bo. Bo thinks he found a new friend in a red armadillo. He comes to find out that his new best friend is really just a shiny new red cowboy boot.

Classroom Tip: I use this story as an assessment tool by asking the students make predictions about what will happen next in the story.

The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowel
A hysterical innovation based the fairy-tale, "The Three Little Pigs."

Classroom Tip: I use a Venn diagram to contrast and compare this story with "The Three Pigs/Los Tres Cerdos Nacho, Tito, and Miguel" by Bobbi Salinas.

The Three Pigs/Los Tres Cerdos Nacho, Tito and Miguel by Bobbi Salinas
This book won the 1998 Tom S. Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award. It's an extremely creative story based on "The Three Little Pigs."

Classroom Tip: I use a Venn diagram to contrast and compare this story with "The Three Javelinas" by Susan Lowell.

Cyrano The Bear by Nicole Rubel
This story is about a brave sheriff who is very brave, except when it comes to the affections of the lovely Roxanne.  (This is a Wild West spin on Cyrano de Bergerac.)

Classroom Tip: I use this story two different ways. One way I use this story is as a wordless picture book to show the students what life was like back then. I also use this to inquire about their favorite part of the story.

A Campfire For Cowboy Billy by Wendy K. Ulmer
This story is about a little boy with a huge imagination. He pretends the big city that he lives in is really the Old West.

Classroom Tip: I use this book as a way to expose the students to a story that is rich in language, illustrations, and creativity.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
This book is about a young boy who shares his incredible summer adventures with his teacher and his classmates.

Classroom Tip: I read this story to the students in class. As a homework assignment the students are to come up with a creative adventure that they would like to go on. One student created a story about Shark Boy where I, the teacher, was Lava Girl.

Once There Was A Bull-Frog by Rick Walton, illustrated by Greg Hally
This creative story is about a bullfrog who has lost its hop!

Classroom Tip: The students and I create an adaptation of this story: Instead of using compound words as our focus, we use rhyming words.

Jack and the Giant, A Story Full of Beans by Jim Harris
Set in the Southwest, this fairy tale takes a twisted spin on the well know story, "Jack and the Beanstalk." The illustrations are truly darling!

Classroom Tip: I use a Venn diagram and compare and contrast this version to the original version of "Jack and the Beanstalk." It is my students' favorite. They want to hear it again and again!

Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes
A must-have book for all teachers and parents. The book shows teaches how to draw by using the five basic elements of shape.

Classroom Tip: I use this book throughout the school year to teach my students how to breakdown shapes and images. By the end of the year the students are confident with their drawings and pictures. I also use the five basic elements of shape to teach the students how to write letters and numbers.