ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Teaching with Ticia: Maine and Missouri

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teaching with Ticia: Maine and Missouri

It feels right to be discussing Maine in the fall, since I've heard they get a gorgeous fall with beautiful autumn leaves.  Down here in Texas, I've never really heard of these "fall leaves," so I'm always jealous of the shots I see other people taking.


Sadly our library didn't have a plethora of books on Maine, it had oh........ three.  And those three weren't what you would think of, but it still gave my kids an idea of Maine.
Abbie Against the Storm- is a wonderful true story about a young girl who is left in charge while her father goes to get more supplies.  She weathers the worst storm in history, keeping her sick mother and sister alive.  I used this as an opportunity to bring in an art lesson on lines and contours.
The Sea Chest-While the last is a documented true story, this one is a compilation of several stories.  It has a wonderful story about finding a treasure chest and what was inside of it.  The book is very well written and is delightful, if you have a chance to read it, DO.  For this activity we predicted what was going to be in the chest, then wrote down what actually was in it.  Finally they wrote/drew what they would put in their treasure chest.
Wakame Gatherers- This book takes place mostly in Japan, but it's a comparison of two grandmothers, one in Japan and one in Maine.  They talk about their lives growing up, and what they did.  It also talks about sea weed that can be found off the shorelines of both places.  After reading it we talked about different uses for sea weed, and what our favorite use for sea weed was.  Overwhelming answer: ICE CREAM!


Blueberries for Sal- This book, and a follow on book both take place in Maine, sadly our library copies were all checked out, and my personal copy is on walk-about.  With young kids you could count blueberries or do a comparison of mother bears and human moms.  Older kids you could study bears, or cook blueberry muffins.
Lobsters-with the waters being colder, Maine is supposed to be a good spot for lobsters.  You could observe lobsters at the grocery store, check a book out on them.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow- read some of his poetry

What else would you suggest for Maine?  At the time we studied it, of the 10 books on my list all but 3 were checked out or were not truly appropriate.


For whatever reason Blogger does not want this picture upright, but on its side, so I apologize for that.

Again the books choices were limited for Missouri, so I had only two activities, much to my chagrin.

Tom Sawyer- Mark Twain was from Missouri, and many of his books take place there.  I found a great easy reader adaptation of Tom's adventure painting the fence.  All of the usual elements of a story were easily identifiable in this story, so we took some time to identify what the elements of the story were, characters, setting, and problem.  I liked this activity because it's easily adaptable to several ages.  Younger kids can draw the answer, while older kids have to write sentences or more details.

The Gateway Arch- One of the most outstanding features about Missouri is the Gateway Arch, it was designed to memorialize the starting of the Oregon Trail in St. Louis.  We talked about all of the different ideas people had, and what we might have created if we were in charge.  After all that talking we designed our own monument to Westward Expansion.  Apparently this group of kids was going to make a lot of statues.


Oregon Trail and Westward expansion- St. Louis was the starting point for many of the wagon trains heading West.  You could talk about what you would bring with you in your wagon, or what it takes to plan an expedition.

Legend of the Dogwood Tree-I saw this idea later on and saved it for possible using at Easter time as well, but the flower of Missouri s the dogwood, so it could also be used here.

Anyone live in Missouri with some great ideas?  I didn't see any great ones that popped out at me as I was planning our unit.


  1. I grew up in Maine. I'd suggest pine trees (it's about 90% covered in trees), snow, steamed clams, artist Andrew Wyeth (he spent summers there), black bears, wild blueberries (the frozen Wyman ones are great in smoothies and they are the small berries that you find in Maine. Rocky coastline - the Nubble lighthouse is quite pretty, that and the Portland Headlight are historic.

  2. How could I forget moose?

  3. I live in Maine!! Acadia National Park, Baxter State Park, Mt. Katahdin, loons, whoopie pies. I Met a Moose in Maine One Day is a cute book! I used to read Lost on A Mountain in Maine when I taught 3rd grade!


  4. i don't live in either state but we have done state studies on both. thought you might like to see what we studied.

  5. Love living in Maine. We are teaching about Fall, apples and pumpkins just now with the leaves changing and many local apple orchards it's a good fit. So many great books on these. Many are pinned on my Fall boards -
    For us Maine is about the ocean, lakes, mountains, wildlife, seasonal changes and area agriculture.
    Here are some wonderful picture books about Maine that we use as we learn about our community. You might want for future use:

    wild turkeys ~ Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell (Gorham, Maine author -
    spend the day on a lobster boat ~ Going Lobstering by Jerry Pallotta/Rob Bolster
    life as a baby loon ~ A Lone Loon by Pamela Love/shannon Sycks
    a puffin's life ~ Puffin's Homecoming: The Story of an Atlantic Puffin by Darice Bailer/Katie Lee
    a fawn ~ Lost in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick
    what you find on Maine's shoreline ~ What the Sea Left Behind by Mimi Gregoire Carpenter
    loon and camp on the lake ~ Moon Loon by Sandy Ferguson Fuller
    coastal tidepools ~ In One Tidepool by Anthony Fredericks/Jennifer DiRubbio
    scientific ~ One Small Square- Seashore by Donald Silver/Patricia Wynne

    and of course 2 classics:
    Miss Rumphius ~ how lupins became a common site along the Maine coast
    Blueberries for Sal ~ our wonderful wild blueberries and black bear meet