Another amazing Caldecott book and another load of opportunities across the curriculum for our primary GATE kids: hands-on and participatory activities, critical thinking, creativity, art and graphic design, and always best practices in gifted education. I’ve used this unit with 2nd graders, and it will definitely stretch to 3rd grade GATE.
You get 35+ pages of instructions, critical thinking questions and activities, and ready-to-print student activity sheets—assuredly more than you’ll ever need to provide a rich learning experience for Brian Floca’s Locomotive. Of course, this unit is Common Core State Standard referenced as well.
Level: 2nd and 3rd GATE or advanced groups
Time: 4+ hours of class time plus an independent study option
Materials and Cost: items commonly found in the classroom
Click-clack and the Butch Boy: an improvisation for students to explore the feel of riding on the transcontinental railroad.
Critical Thinking Questions: more than you’ll need covering several standards!
Trying to Sleep: a participatory improvisation. Your kids will be giggling.
Going Deeper into Critical Thinking—Figurative Language: graphic organizers, a primary source photo, and visuals from the book lead students through an analysis of metaphors in the book.
The Great Plains: the heart of our unit. Students learn one-point perspective drawing as they design a Great Plains train landscape. They learn about the short grass prairie and its plant and animal life, explore onomatopoeia, compose poetry, and put it all together into artwork which is sure to please.
Rocketing Across the Country: cross-curricular. It’s a challenging real world math application in scale, mathematical thinking, and double digit addition.
Through the Tunnel: age-appropriate primary source exercise using a 140 year old railroad guide.
Through the Mountains: cross-curricular math and science. Students learn about initial positions, final positions, distance, and displacement as applied to a train’s route through the Sierra Madres.
Morse Code: can students compose and interpret Morse Code? 18th Century texting on the transcontinental railroad.