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January 25, 2017

Breakfast With George Washington

By Nicole Kent
Grades 3–5

    I love teaching my students about the presidents of the United States. This unit of study is a great way to dig deep into the curriculum using nonfiction literature. Plus, I am able to use what we learn as a way to launch into our unit on biographies and projects that we create for our open house.

    The book we read is George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. It is about a young boy named George Washington Allen who not only shares his name with our first president, but his birthday too.

    I like to use this book because there are many fun facts about one of our most important Founding Fathers. In addition to learning about George Washington, it demonstrates different ways to search for information. George Allen first goes to the library, where he discovers the card catalog. From there, he looks up biographies. After his trip to the library, his family visits Washington D.C. and George Washington's home in Virginia.

    Activating Prior Knowledge: What Do They Know?

    As with any nonfiction unit, it's important to assess what your learners already know about a topic before you dive into the work. This can be done with a traditional KWL chart or with individual charts that the kids can use in groups. I tell my students that we are going to be exploring a nonfiction book to gather information and gain understanding about George Washington’s life.

    Research

    I begin this unit by asking my students “What do you think the first president ate for breakfast?” Have students work in small, collaborative groups and write their group responses on sticky notes. As they read their responses out loud, create a colorful chart for their answers. Have each group come up and put their group responses on the chart. After reading the book, revisit the initial question and answer it as a whole class. This is a fun way to learn a new fun fact about our first president.

     

    Read-Aloud Book

    Read George Washington’s Breakfast aloud to students. While you are reading, have each student record three interesting facts they didn’t know about George. In cooperative learning teams, have each group list their facts on a chart labeled, “What we learned from the book." Give each team five minutes, and then have them pass their charts to another team to add more ideas. Continue as many times as you feel necessary.

    Nonfiction texts are loaded with facts. The pages are packed with names of special people and important places, as well as numbers that stand for dates, ages, and statistics. This can be overwhelming for students, causing them to really get lost. New vocabulary is introduced that can be difficult for them to understand. I find it helpful to have pictures of the new vocabulary for students to refer to.

    When I read aloud to my students, I frequently stop and check for understanding. I don't want my students to become mere factfinders as they navigate through nonfiction texts. My students need to take the information that they have read and understand what those facts truly mean.

    After I have read a small chunk of a nonfiction text, here are some questions that I ask my students to make sure they are making a connection. I keep these questions in a jar, and they are ready to use at a moment’s notice.

    *What new information did I just learn? Pair Share

    *What do I understand now that I didn't know before? Pair Share

    *What connections can I make to add to what I already know? Pair Share

    * What connections can I make to the world around me? Pair Share

    Writing Activities

    Reading Comprehension Chart

    I like to use this chart to check for understanding and reading comprehension of the text. The chart is broken up into three sections: beginning, middle, and the end. I ask my students to recall characters, the setting, and events of the story. This is a great way for my students to have fun while I am checking for comprehension.

     

    Problem and Solution Tea Cups

    My kids love to do this fun project, and it looks great as a bulletin board display. Write the words “problem” and “solution” on a piece of chart paper. I ask my students, “What is the problem that George W. Allen is trying to figure out?” After we come up with the problem, the students work with a partner to find the solution.

    Give each student a blank copy of the tea cup and the tea bag. I explain to the students that the problem should be written on the tag of the tea bag and the solution should be written on the front and back of the tea bag itself. On the tea cup, the student draws a picture of George W. Allen thinking of the problem and what the solution is.

     

      

     

        

     

      

     

    Venn Diagram

    I have my students re-read the story with a partner. I explain that the purpose for reading the text this time is to find character traits for each of the main characters. The students look for similarities and differences about the characters. As they find character traits, they write them down on a piece of paper. The students continue referring to the story with a partner and collaborate with one another identifying character traits and citing the page they found it on.

    After completing the story, they work with together to fill in a Venn diagram. After completing the diagram, we come back together as a class and discuss character traits of George Washington and George W. Allen.

     

     

    Extension Writing Activity

    As the main character discovered unexpected findings while researching George Washington, challenge students to do the same. Present students with the following sentence starter: “I bet you didn’t know that George Washington…” To frame their research, ask the students to seek out an interesting, little-known bit of information about George Washington to complete the sentence starter.

    Have each student create a page for a class book of interesting George Washington facts. Their page should include a paragraph that starts with the given sentence starter and an illustration that depicts their paragraph. Students should cite their information source at the bottom of their page. When their page is complete, have each student share their research with classmates. Compile completed pages in a class book to share with others.

    Cooking

    What did George Washington eat for breakfast? Then imagine actually eating the same thing as he did over a century ago.

     

    Chances are, none of my students have had a hoecake! So why not introduce them to what George Washington ate as the first president of the United States? I love to cook with my students, and this is the perfect activity to do with this great book.  

    I hope this gives you some ideas to do with your students. Stay tuned to see how this lesson leads into our amazing famous American biographies for our spring open house projects and more exciting activities in my classroom.

    I’d love to hear all about your creative teaching in your classroom. Please take a moment to comment and share your ideas for all to learn from and enjoy.

    Thanks for reading. Have fun with your teaching and your students. Remember, teaching is the best job in the world!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Nicole

     

    I love teaching my students about the presidents of the United States. This unit of study is a great way to dig deep into the curriculum using nonfiction literature. Plus, I am able to use what we learn as a way to launch into our unit on biographies and projects that we create for our open house.

    The book we read is George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. It is about a young boy named George Washington Allen who not only shares his name with our first president, but his birthday too.

    I like to use this book because there are many fun facts about one of our most important Founding Fathers. In addition to learning about George Washington, it demonstrates different ways to search for information. George Allen first goes to the library, where he discovers the card catalog. From there, he looks up biographies. After his trip to the library, his family visits Washington D.C. and George Washington's home in Virginia.

    Activating Prior Knowledge: What Do They Know?

    As with any nonfiction unit, it's important to assess what your learners already know about a topic before you dive into the work. This can be done with a traditional KWL chart or with individual charts that the kids can use in groups. I tell my students that we are going to be exploring a nonfiction book to gather information and gain understanding about George Washington’s life.

    Research

    I begin this unit by asking my students “What do you think the first president ate for breakfast?” Have students work in small, collaborative groups and write their group responses on sticky notes. As they read their responses out loud, create a colorful chart for their answers. Have each group come up and put their group responses on the chart. After reading the book, revisit the initial question and answer it as a whole class. This is a fun way to learn a new fun fact about our first president.

     

    Read-Aloud Book

    Read George Washington’s Breakfast aloud to students. While you are reading, have each student record three interesting facts they didn’t know about George. In cooperative learning teams, have each group list their facts on a chart labeled, “What we learned from the book." Give each team five minutes, and then have them pass their charts to another team to add more ideas. Continue as many times as you feel necessary.

    Nonfiction texts are loaded with facts. The pages are packed with names of special people and important places, as well as numbers that stand for dates, ages, and statistics. This can be overwhelming for students, causing them to really get lost. New vocabulary is introduced that can be difficult for them to understand. I find it helpful to have pictures of the new vocabulary for students to refer to.

    When I read aloud to my students, I frequently stop and check for understanding. I don't want my students to become mere factfinders as they navigate through nonfiction texts. My students need to take the information that they have read and understand what those facts truly mean.

    After I have read a small chunk of a nonfiction text, here are some questions that I ask my students to make sure they are making a connection. I keep these questions in a jar, and they are ready to use at a moment’s notice.

    *What new information did I just learn? Pair Share

    *What do I understand now that I didn't know before? Pair Share

    *What connections can I make to add to what I already know? Pair Share

    * What connections can I make to the world around me? Pair Share

    Writing Activities

    Reading Comprehension Chart

    I like to use this chart to check for understanding and reading comprehension of the text. The chart is broken up into three sections: beginning, middle, and the end. I ask my students to recall characters, the setting, and events of the story. This is a great way for my students to have fun while I am checking for comprehension.

     

    Problem and Solution Tea Cups

    My kids love to do this fun project, and it looks great as a bulletin board display. Write the words “problem” and “solution” on a piece of chart paper. I ask my students, “What is the problem that George W. Allen is trying to figure out?” After we come up with the problem, the students work with a partner to find the solution.

    Give each student a blank copy of the tea cup and the tea bag. I explain to the students that the problem should be written on the tag of the tea bag and the solution should be written on the front and back of the tea bag itself. On the tea cup, the student draws a picture of George W. Allen thinking of the problem and what the solution is.

     

      

     

        

     

      

     

    Venn Diagram

    I have my students re-read the story with a partner. I explain that the purpose for reading the text this time is to find character traits for each of the main characters. The students look for similarities and differences about the characters. As they find character traits, they write them down on a piece of paper. The students continue referring to the story with a partner and collaborate with one another identifying character traits and citing the page they found it on.

    After completing the story, they work with together to fill in a Venn diagram. After completing the diagram, we come back together as a class and discuss character traits of George Washington and George W. Allen.

     

     

    Extension Writing Activity

    As the main character discovered unexpected findings while researching George Washington, challenge students to do the same. Present students with the following sentence starter: “I bet you didn’t know that George Washington…” To frame their research, ask the students to seek out an interesting, little-known bit of information about George Washington to complete the sentence starter.

    Have each student create a page for a class book of interesting George Washington facts. Their page should include a paragraph that starts with the given sentence starter and an illustration that depicts their paragraph. Students should cite their information source at the bottom of their page. When their page is complete, have each student share their research with classmates. Compile completed pages in a class book to share with others.

    Cooking

    What did George Washington eat for breakfast? Then imagine actually eating the same thing as he did over a century ago.

     

    Chances are, none of my students have had a hoecake! So why not introduce them to what George Washington ate as the first president of the United States? I love to cook with my students, and this is the perfect activity to do with this great book.  

    I hope this gives you some ideas to do with your students. Stay tuned to see how this lesson leads into our amazing famous American biographies for our spring open house projects and more exciting activities in my classroom.

    I’d love to hear all about your creative teaching in your classroom. Please take a moment to comment and share your ideas for all to learn from and enjoy.

    Thanks for reading. Have fun with your teaching and your students. Remember, teaching is the best job in the world!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Nicole

     

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