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New Teachers New York:
Lesson Plans by New Teachers, For New Teachers
All About Bugs 

Standards: This lesson plan meets the following English Language Arts 
Standards - Ela2b create a response to literature
Ela1b read and comprehend at least 4 books on same subject or 
Ela2a producing a report of information.

Objective: During the course of the study the children will be able to distinguish between fiction and non-fiction genres.
The children will be able to use reference books to obtain information.

The children will be able to make labeled diagrams.
The children will be exposed to a variety of literature about bugs.

Created by:
Darcie Davidson 
Location: PS 185
Grade: kindergarten
Subject: Language Arts
Length of time: Month long unit study

If you have any questions regarding this activity, please contact duckey13@home.com 

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • The Very Busy Spider
  • The Very Lonely Firefly 
  • The Very Quiet Cricket 
  • The Clumsy Click Beetle 
  • The Grouchy Lady Bug (all books by Eric Carle)
  • Beautiful Bugs (reference book)
  • The Life Cycle of the Butterfly (non-fiction)
  • Other books about bugs, especially butterflies.
  • A handmade puppet of a caterpillar
  • Card stock
  • Drawing paper
  • Chart paper
  • Journals (made out of paper folded in half)
  • Colored pens, crayons
  • A variety of art materials (can be anything) with which to make a visual representation of an egg, a caterpillar, a cocoon, and a butterfly (from The Very Hungry Caterpillar)

Activity 1.
We created a KWL chart, documenting what the class knew about bugs and what they wanted to know. 

K  - What do we know about bugs? 
W - What do we think will happen? 
L  - What have we learned

I used this information to pinpoint which bugs to pay the most attention to. I also explained to the class that we were going to become experts on butterflies and ladybugs, because towards the end of the unit we would have our own insects in the classroom. 

Activity 2.
Ela2b Produce a response to literature.

Earlier in the year I noticed that my children were having extreme difficulty recognizing the days of the week. I decided to recreate a story and utilize it to teach the concept of the days of the week. I chose The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. 

  • I created a puppet show, which I had practiced in front of my kindergarten class. The puppet was a handmade caterpillar, which crawled across a calendar eating food. My children really enjoyed it and seemed to be grasping the main ideas I was trying to capture.
  • With a small group of my children we made 'days of the week' cards, writing the day and placing the appropriate food item next to it.
  • Another group created a key for the days of the week. Across the top we wrote the days and underneath we drew the food that went with it. This became part of our morning meeting charts. It was a great success.
  • I had the students drawing their favorite part of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The main focus was that they drew accounts of the story, (which can sometimes be difficult with younger children).
  • On another day we broke up the story into four main parts: the egg, the caterpillar, the cocoon, and the butterfly. 
    • The class split into four groups, creating a visual representation of each part. They used a variety of materials and worked cooperatively to complete the project.
    • Individually they wrote about an aspect of the stage they were creating.

  • With one of my guided reading groups, we wrote out the parts of the story.
    • We began by the students dictating to me, while I wrote on sentence strips. 
    • I placed the sentence strips on the floor in the order they were given to me. 
    • We read the story, and realized that it was out of order. We moved things around, and read it again. We continued this process until we all agreed that the story was in the correct order and made sense.

Activity 3.
E1b Read and comprehend at least four books on the same subject, or by the same author, or in the same genre.

We conducted an author's study based on Eric Carle's "Very" series. We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Clumsy Click Beetle and The Grouchy Lady Bug
  • For each book read, the students did a writing response. 
  • We made a chart listing characteristics of an Eric Carle Story. Some of our findings included: his signature, the similarities of the colors and their use, repetition of a line, and the time frame of a day/days.
  • We created a graph listing four of the stories. 
    • The children placed a sticker on their favorite story. 
    • We discussed the outcome and made generalizations. 
    • We took our two favorite stories and created a Venn diagram. 
      • The two stories were, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Lonely Firefly. The children discovered that both stories started with an egg opening in the sunlight. Both bugs were in search of something, and in the end they were happy and grown. 
      • The major difference noted was that the caterpillar was hungry and the firefly couldn't find his friends. 
      • It was amazing to see the connection that the children made between the two stories. One child suggested that the firefly should have looked for food with the caterpillar and they would be friends.
  • I wanted to introduce non-fiction literature to the students. 
  • I began with The Life Cycle of the Butterfly, a non-fiction book about butterflies. 
    • We read the story and documented the information that we had learned from the story. 
    • We went back to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and compared the two stories. 
    • We discussed the elements of the fiction story that made it "fake" (as my kids would say). 
    • We made a Venn diagram and came to the conclusion that Eric Carle took a very true story and added fictitious parts. (We discovered that the same was true of other stories written by him.) 
    • We created a chart describing both genres.
  • I also introduced a reference book Beautiful Bugs. We discovered as a class that this wasn't a continuous story. I showed them how to use the table of contents (which happen to be pictures with a number next to it). During reading time I saw several children choosing this book, looking at the table of contents and finding a particular bug. 

Activity 3.
E2a Producing a report of information
We brought caterpillars into the classroom, and on their arrival, the children began to keep journals. They took several observations, and recorded what they saw. I used this activity to access the children's observational skills. Before each writing session we discussed what made a good entry: 
  • (Writing Process) Each entry should have a date, a picture and at least one sentence explaining what they saw. 
  • We reviewed what non-fiction was vs. fiction. 
  • The students volunteered their statements and self-accessed which genre it fit into.

Student Assessment: 
  • Based on their ability to report to others their findings.
  • Ability to make a chart.
  • Comprehension was assessed by contribution to charts and writing responses.

Teachers' Notes:
The excitement of the children was outstanding. They enjoyed all learning experiences and appreciated the opportunity to see what they had learned in action. We looked at the caterpillars on a daily basis and the children were able to accurately describe the stage and predict what would happen next.

I invited other classes, staff developers and administration to the room on several occasions. My children were the reporters. They explained what the caterpillars were doing, and how they were doing it (for example, breathing and eating.). 

They taught the audience and were able to answer most of the questions asked. Their self-esteem was boosted and I was able to see who learned what and how much. 

Something incredible happened and I couldn't end this lesson plan without sharing it:

During our classroom independent reading time, one of my children noticed that a cocoon was shaking. I stopped the class and arranged them around the net. The class sat in silence for fifteen minutes watching the butterfly emerging from the cocoon. It was amazing. Afterward we wrote an experience chart. I must say I received the most thought out, accurate and complete observations after this experience.

Final Activity: Once we had butterflies in the room, we went out into the schoolyard and decided a place for their release. The next sunny day we brought the net outside and released the butterflies. The children had their journals with them and they made their final entry while outside.


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