It's Keats Week!

What I'm Teaching Now

As I've mentioned before, my school uses the Scott Foresman/Reading Street reading series. Our story for this week is Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats. So, what better time to dedicate an entire week to an author study of Ezra Jack Keats?

Spelling Practice

We start our day with spelling. This weeks words are especially fun because they are compound words and there is so much you can do with them.

You can find our spelling worksheets in my Peter's Chair packet {here}.

Peter's Chair

We started our Keats' week by reading Peter's Chair. A big TEKS for first grade is describing plot (problem and solution) and also describing characters and their feelings. Ezra Jack Keats' books provide such a great opportunity to practice this TEKS. Because he uses the same characters for most of his books, students get a better understanding of the characters' feelings by analyzing them in different situations. He also provides great problems and solutions that younger students can really relate to.

At this point in the year, I really prefer to have my students generate their own answers for the story elements worksheet. However, there are some students who benefit from differentiated instruction. For those students, I utilize a word bank.

These great resources can also be found in my Peter's Chair packet {here}.

Get to Know the Author

Ezra Jack Keats has such a unique story. I didn't want to miss an opportunity to explore his background. I LOVE to utilize Brainpop Jr. Videos in my teaching. They have a wonderful video of the biography of Mr. Keats. It explains his childhood, his books and awards and his techniques for his unique illustrations. 

My students have a "Brainbook" where we record facts and new information for all subject areas. There is a little reading, a little math, a little social studies and a little science. We began the year by using foldables to make things easier. Now, we do a lot of things without any pre-determined structure. It makes things fun and helps the kids learn organizational skills/spacial reasoning at the same time. Here is an example of the tree map we made following the Ezra Jack Keats biography video. 

Whistle for Willie

Whistle for Willie was really easy for my students to relate to because there are a lot of things at this age that my students are still learning how to do. They are learning how to tie their shoes, ride their bikes without training wheels and for most of them, they are learning how whistle. 

To change things up a bit, we watched it online from You Tube for schools. You can find it {here}. Afterwards, we set out to write our How-to story. 

You can find How to Whistle in my Peter's Chair packet {here}.


Every week, our class has a "Fun Friday" craft/writing activity. To continue our author study, our Fun Friday activity was based on the book Goggles. To start it off, we utilized  Brainpop Jr. again for a lesson on bullying. Then, we read Goggles and discussed how both the video and the book related to their personal experiences. I made sure to emphasize the fact that Peter's goggles helped him feel safe, it was almost like they had a "superpower" (yes, this seems silly but it was necessary to lead into the writing activity). 

After we read the book, my students got to make their own goggles using a printout I found on the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation website. I let my students color their goggles with marker, cut them out and assemble them with the ever-reliable Scotch tape.

Once their goggles were assembled, they wrote their own story about which superpower their own goggles gave them. When you tell first graders they can choose their own superpower, their imaginations go wild! I loved it just as much as they did!

You can find My Goggles Have a Superpower in my Peter's Chair packet {here}.

Coming Soon

Look for a Cynthia Rylant/Henry and Mudge author study coming soon!

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