When I taught first grade, I created this story to synthesize the various life cycles of plants, animals, and insects. I thought it was important to highlight more than the life cycle of a butterfly, which is usually addressed in first grade. Students need lots of examples and nonexamples in order to fully understand a concept. Granted my story is a fictional tale of a chick in search for food. For example, the characters (a seed, a caterpillar, a tadpole, and a chick) are personified. Therefore, this is not a scientific text. Nevertheless, the young chick encounters the various characters at an early stage in their life cycle. Whether he eats them or not depends on his appetite.
I wrote this story a while back. Fortunately, I now have a venue to sell it as a learning product on Teachers Pay Teachers. This 10-page product includes a story, glossary, and vocabulary pretest. It hasn’t been illustrated; therefore, students can create their own illustrations. Only the title page, page borders, and student glossary have clip art. Students are provided space to illustrate the story on each page to match the meaning of the text. The purpose is to have students illustrate and read it to their parents or other students in the school. This would make an excellent literacy center independent project. Moreover, it’s a great way to integrate science into language arts.
To aid the reader, fifteen vocabulary words are boldface typed within the story with definitions provided on the glossary page. The glossary includes hatch, Luna moth, cocoon, sprout, bud, famished, tadpole, bullfrog, bulging, rooster, hen, mature, coop, ruffled, and roost. The vocabulary pretest has illustrations and real photos of some of the vocabulary and asks students to match the word with the image. The pretest is a great way to activate students’ prior knowledge.
Here’s a sample page from A Chance to Grow: The Story of a Hungry Chick:
Next, the chick found a large striped seed on the ground.
“Please do not eat me,” said the seed. “For I have not had a chance to grow. My mom says that I’ll grow up to be a giant sunflower just like my sister!”
“My mom said I could eat flowers,” said the starving chick.
“Well, you’ll have to wait until I sprout, grow leaves, and bud into a flower!” said the seed. The chick agreed to wait and went to search for other food.
You can use this product in two different ways in the language arts or ESL class. For example, you can distribute the pages among groups and have the students illustrate the part of the story on their page. Then the teacher can compile them into class books for the class library for the students to read and reread. On the other hand, you can use this activity as an individual assignment and have the students illustrate their very own booklet. If they illustrate their own booklet, they can add a statement to the dedication page below that of the author’s. This product is aligned with the following Common Core Standards.
Common Core Standards: Speaking and Listening
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
Kindergartners: #5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
Grade 1 Students: #5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Grade 2 Students: #5. Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Grade 3 Students: #5. Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when
appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.