Weaving Children’s Literature into Social Studies K–5

Getting Started

Workshop Structure
The Weaving Children’s Literature into Social Studies K–5 workshop is divided into four sections, two that take place in the morning and two in the afternoon. The general instructional plan for each section of the workshop is to introduce examples of children’s literature, developing concepts in context, followed by activities for participants. In some cases a variety of activities is provided, giving the facilitator alternatives to use depending on variables such as the needs and interests of each participant group.

The main topics and activities for each of the four sections are:

  1. Part 1 - Introductory Material and Miss Rumphius
  2. Part 2 - Interactive Read-Aloud and The Moccasins
  3. Part 3 - The Strands and Big Ideas
  4. Part 4 - Projects and Strategies

Information for Facilitators
Folding box carts, each containing a selection of 48 key books for the Social Studies Program of Studies, along with copies of the curriculum are provided for workshop facilitators from the districts that are part of the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium. Also included in each box are all the materials in this facilitator guide and all files in electronic format on CD-ROM. It is recommended that the many files of literature lists and activities for specific grades be simply e-mailed to interested participants to avoid excessive photocopying. The list of Appendices (at the beginning of the Appendices section) can be given as a handout.

Facilitators are encouraged to supplement the books in the boxes with additional titles from their own school or district libraries in order to enrich the workshop experience for all participants. Additional titles for each activity are suggested throughout this document. All suggested titles are found in the various literature lists that are part of this package, along with full bibliographic information. The entire workshop can be done with just the books provided in the boxes, but any additional books that the facilitator can provide will help when doing workshops with large numbers of participants and serve to further enrich the experience for the participants.

The following is a quick list of the authors and titles of the books provided in the workshop boxes. Refer to APPENDIX I for an annotated list of these books, entitled Book Box Annotated List for Weaving Children’s Literature into Social Studies, K–5, filename Annotated List.doc.

  • Bannatyne-Cugnet, Jo. A Prairie Alphabet
  • Bash, Barbara. In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree
  • Birch, David. King’s Chessboard
  • Brucker, Meredith Babeaux. Anklet for a Princess: A Cinderella Story from India
  • Carrier, Roch. Flying Canoe
  • Charles, Veronika. Birdman
  • Cherry, Lynne. River Ran Wild
  • Cherry, Lynne. Shaman’s Apprentice
  • Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius
  • dePaola, Tomie. Legend of Old Befana
  • Downie, Mary. Pioneer ABC
  • Einarson, Earl. Moccasins
  • Gilman, Phoebe. Something From Nothing
  • Graham, Georgia. Strongest Man This Side of Cremona
  • Guymer, Myrna. Canadian Shield Alphabet
  • Hacker, Carlotta. The Kids Book of Canadian History
  • Hehner, Barbara. Spirit of Canada: Canada’s Story in Legends, Fiction, Poems, and Songs
  • Hughes, Susan. Coming to Canada: Building A Life in A New Land
  • Joose, Barbara. Mama, Do You Love Me?
  • Kessler, Deirdre. Lobster in My Pocket
  • Koldofsky, Eleanor. Clip-Clop
  • Krebs, Laurie. Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale
  • Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World
  • London, Jonathan. Sugaring-Off Party
  • Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish
  • McLeod. Tom. Delta is My Home
  • Munsch, Robert and Michael Kusugak. Promise is a Promise
  • Munsch, Robert. From Far Away
  • Muth, Jon J. Three Questions
  • Pallotta, Jerry. Going Lobstering
  • Parr, Todd. Family Book
  • Polacco, Patricia. Keeping Quilt
  • Polacco, Patricia. Luba and the Wren: A Ukrainian Folktale
  • Pryor, Bonnie. House on Maple Street
  • Reynolds, Marilynn. Name of the Child
  • Rosenberry. Growing-Up Tree
  • Smith, David J. If The World Were A Village
  • Spalding, Andrew. Secret of the Dance
  • Trottier, Maxine. Claire’s Gift
  • Trottier, Maxine. Storm at Batoche
  • Vaage, Carol. Bibi and the Bull
  • Wallace, Ian. Boy of the Deeps
  • Walters, Virginia. Are We There Yet Daddy?
  • Weaver, Janice. Quilt of Belonging
  • Wells, Rosemary. House in the Mail
  • Wiebe, Rudy. Hidden Buffalo
  • Williams, Mary. Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
  • Winter, Jeanette. Follow the Drinking Gourd

Before the workshop, set up all the books on tables and group them roughly according to grade, with small signs that indicate the grades.

One of the key strategies to emphasize in this workshop is the reading aloud of books to students, and so reading aloud of important books or portions of them will be modeled several times during the workshop. 

Teachers will recognize that children’s literature is a major resource for this new curriculum. Throughout the curriculum document there are constant references to stories, traditions, families, and experiences of various groups of people, all of which are provided most abundantly by children’s literature. From the extremely rich selection of children’s literature that is available, teachers are able to select engaging and powerful books that can "breathe life" into the curriculum.

This workshop will focus on becoming familiar with suitable social studies books and various strategies for using them in the classroom. Most of the time will be spent actually working with books in one way or another. To facilitate useful interactions, the facilitator should arrange participants in grade groups around tables.

Activities, suggestions, and strategies provided throughout this workshop are given as samples and are meant to model what could be done with a wide variety of titles in many different grades. During the workshop, encourage participants to share ideas, strategies they have tried, and other titles that fit into the topics being covered.

A great many titles are listed in this document and in the activities, often without bibliographical reference. To find the bibliographical reference, with annotation, simply search electronically through the appropriate literature lists, including those that are in the Activities folder.

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This resource was developed by ERLC as a result of a grant from Alberta Education to support implementation.