written by Sharon Hart Addy illustrated by John Clapp
For additional suggestions see John's website: www.johnclapp.com or e-mail Sharon at: email@example.com
Ask the students to imagine themselves in one of the pictures from the book and draw something the artist didn't include.
Collect an assortment of gift wrap or wall paper samples. Create crazy quilts.
Line students up in two by two rank and file. Call out "left, right, left, right" so they march in time. What music do soldiers march to? What instruments are used? Introduce students to the music of John Philip Sousa.
The Historical Note in the book explains that the ancient Indians in the story lived 13,500 to 9,500 years ago. Have each student make a chain of ten paper clips. Join ten chains to show one hundred. Discuss how many hundreds make up a thousand. Continue with thousands and a million. Make a timeline of the story.
Find the height of a mastodon, a deer, an ox, and a cow. Which was the biggest? Which was the smallest? Draw lines on the playground to represent their height.
Tall tales such as Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill spin fantastic yarns. Read one and talk about why people invented such wild stories. How are tall tales like myths?
Read books about immigrants and pioneer children. Discuss immigrants' reasons for coming to a new country. What problems did they encounter when they arrived? Apply history to the present. Are immigrants still coming? What problems do they face?
What is a glacier and how does it change the landscape? Fill a cereal bowl with water and freeze it. Sprinkle potting soil into an oblong pan. Prop one end of the pan. Place the ice round-side up in the high end of the pan. Ask for predictions of what might happen. Let the "glacier" sit for twenty minutes. Discuss the results.
What crops did the settlers plant? What crops do farmers plant today? How are todays farms different from the farms of early settlers? What animals did the settlers keep? What animals do today's farmers keep? Why do today's farmers specialize?
Ask the students how the area they live in is like the "spot" in the story. How is it different?
Whats the difference between the settler's cabin and their house? Draw floor plans of each. Talk about what it would be like to live in a one or two room cabin. Why were houses on the plains built of sod? Of adobe in the Southwest? Of snow in arctic areas?
Discuss what life was like for the settlers in Right Here on This Spot. What chores might the children have? Who taught them to read and write? How did the family get to town? Why were quilts made of scraps of material? How did the family save food for winter?
Pick one spot. Write the story of what could have happened there.
Create the story of an object. The item could be something the child owns or something provided for the writing experience. Writing the story could be a group or individual activity. Read a segment from Hetty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field. The opening to Chapter II provides a nice example of the doll's life. Discuss the words and sentence structure in Hetty to bring out the idea that languages changes.
Settlers often kept journals. Pretend to be a member of the settlers family and write a journal entry for one day. Pick an exciting day: the first day on the land; starting the cabin; finding a fox's den; being visited by Native Americans; chasing down the cow or pig after it's loose; visiting with travelers who stopped to rest; settling the livestock and bringing in wood and water when a snowstorm hits; getting neighbors, etc.
Write a newspaper article about the discovery of the button, arrowhead, and mastodon bone. Be sure to include "Who," "What," "Where," "When," and "Why."
Turn the story of Right Here on This Spot into a play. While a narrator reads the story, students act it out. Speaking parts could be added.
Invite parents and grandparents who grew up in the area to share memories of what the area was like when they were young. Ask a member of the local historical society to visit the classroom to talk about early settlers.
Create a classroom antique show by asking students to bring in something theyve had for a long time. Let each child explain what their object is, how long they had it, and why they kept it. Welcome parents to participate so older items can be included.
Invite square dancers to demonstrate the dancing and explain the calls. Ask a member of the group to explain when, where, and why square dances were held.