Friday, July 3, 2009

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Teacher Activities for "Learning About Coots"

Use these wonderful activities with the short story, Learning About Coots, which was posted on July 1st. Teachers are invited to use excerpts if they include purchase information. Just contact the author for the proper accreditation. at The book is available new or used at

Comprehension questions:

"What is an adventure?" "Why do you think Sky took her little brother?" "Why do you think she went in search of the old coot even though she knew she shouldn't go on the other side of the creek?" "How do you think she felt when, a strange woman took her to a strange house?" "Is it a good idea to go with a stranger?" "Do you have a secret word with your parents? Don't tell us what it is." "Do you think Sky's mother will be angry? Why?" "did you like the story? Why?" "What was your favorite part?"

Stepping Stone Hop:

Create a winding river on the floor with masking tape. Make stepping stones out of construction paper and put either numbers (1-10, even numbers, odd numbers, count by 3's, 4's, 5's, 10's) or the letters of the alphabet on each one. Just like Sky and Bobby in the story have the children hop from rock to rock to get to the other side.

State Symbols, Flags, Flowers, Songs, Birds Activity:

Make referrence to the story when Sky was describing the police officer. "The sheriff was dressed all neat with a patch of the State of Utah with a beehive in the middle on his sleeve...." Tell the children that each state has its own flags and symbols. Use this opportunity to introduce your own state symbols. You can find coloring pages at

Make a family tree:

Family Tree Kids is a site where you learn how to become a "family detective" and dig up clues about your ancestry. You can download a free family tree to use in the classroom.

For more information about this exciting author check out these following weebsites:
Award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for writers, including USA Book News' award winners
The Frugal Editor
The Frugal Book Promoter
The Great First Impression Book Proposal

Blogs for Writers:

Kathy Stemke's websites:
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Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

These are great comprehension questions and activities for that cute 'coot' story.

Karen Cioffi

Katie Hines said...

Hey, this is great information! I'm passing this link on to a friend, who writes books about states. I'm sure she'll love it as much as I do!

Vivian Zabel said...

Teachers can always use a study guide to help them in class.

Good job.

Lea said...

Excellent post and different. Carolyn, didn't know you were a 'teacher' of many talents. LOL!

Nancy Famolari said...

Great questions! I like this different slant on a post. It will be useful for teachers and even parents who read to and read with children.

Donna M. McDine said...


You never seem to cease to amaze me. Your talents are amazing.

Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
Donna M. McDine’s Website

Marvin D Wilson said...

Another indication of HoJo's many talents and literary services. Good post, Kathy!. :)

The Old Silly

kathy stemke said...

Thank you everyone for visiting!

Liana said...

This is a great teachers' tool! I use this kind of tool in class. Very interesting!

IndependentD said...

hey Kathy I just came acrossed your blog and I think its very passionate. I have my own blog where im talking about how i think our education system needs to be changed. Write now the topic I am wanting to discuss is about early child development hence pre school and I would love if you had an input on it. theres my link i hope to be hearing from you soon thanks