Teaching

Big Picture 5: Informed Decisions

Check out author, Lisa Wheeler’s website. Check out illustrator, Zachariah Ohora’s website.

Go into any school or library this month and it’s hard to miss–National Poetry Month. You can read more about it here. While you’re there, be sure to check out the list, 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month in the Classroom.

If you’re like me and poetry intimidates you, I can assure you that you don’t have to be a master of rhyme or literary devices to enjoy Lisa Wheeler’s picture book, The Pet Project. While the book is a series of poems, it is not an anthology. Instead, the poems come together to tell the story of a young girl’s search for the perfect pet. This book made me laugh out loud, and it’s one of those rare picture books that readers of all ages will appreciate. Warning: There will be poop references!

Poop aside, Lisa Wheeler creates a character with a refreshingly unique personality that shines through on each page. The main character is intelligent, thoughtful, and full of wry humor; yet, she maintains her child-like innocence. She’s also curious and imaginative and by the end of the book, discovers something very important about herself. All this information can be gleaned from the poems and illustrations.

Although the Lexile Level of The Pet Project is 570 (end of first grade), it runs a bit longer than most picture books. Also, the vocabulary is a bit more complex than most early elementary books, and there is a lot of word play (i.e. dairy air –> derriere). For these reasons, I decided to split the book into two parts. The first part ends with the bunnies.

Essential Questions

  • How are good decisions made?
  • What makes a good pet?
  • Why is field research important?

Standards

  • CCSS SL.2.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • CCSS SL.2.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
  • CCSS RL.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • CCSS RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
  • CCSS RL.2.4 Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
  • CCSS RL.2.7 Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
  • WIDA ELD-1 English language learners communicate for Social and Instructional purposes within the school setting.
  • WIDA ELD-2 English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts

Vocabulary

  • query
  • observation
  • inspection
  • precise
  • voracious

Teach Sheet

Here is your FREE worksheet for The Pet Project (part 1).

Comments

Have you used this resource or read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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