Saturday, March 16, 2013

Goldilocks and the Common Core Standards

I was talking with our school librarian the other day to find out her current favorites in children’s books. She was very enthusiastic about a new book purchased by our parents’ club, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems. I can see why. It’s hilarious! She generously loaned me the book and I had a great time reading it to my students. The kids enjoyed it too.
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
The story begins,

“Once upon a time, there were three Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur, and some other Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway.
            One day for no particular reason, the three Dinosaurs made up their beds, positioned their chairs just so and cooked three bowls of delicious chocolate pudding at varying temperatures.”

The three Dinosaurs decided to take a walk and when Mama Dinosaur laughed, “Hey hey, hey . . .” and said, “I sure hope no innocent little succulent child happens by our unlocked home . . .” we stopped right there and had a mini vocabulary lesson. After they understood the word “succulent” we moved on to inferences, such as, what did Mama Dinosaur really mean when she said she hoped a child wouldn’t happen by? A couple of pages later when the narrator said the dinosaurs “were definitely not hiding in the woods waiting for an unsuspecting kid to come by.” The second-graders laughed. They weren’t surprised to turn the page and see dinosaurs peeking around trees in the forest.

My students enjoyed retelling this tale so it was easy to work on the second Common Core Reading Standard for Literature where students are expected to

“Retell stories, including key details . . .”

And it was especially fun to work on the ninth Reading Standard for Literature where the second graders are asked to,

“Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g. Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.”

They had a great time comparing this story to the more traditional one.

When discussing this tale, one of my second graders thought there were lessons to be learned other than those covered by the standards. Noah thinks if you are going for a walk in the woods “you might want to listen for really strange noises and if you hear something that sounds like an evil laugh – go away!” That sounds like good advice to me. I asked my students if they had any other advice for readers of this blog and they all agreed, “If you haven’t read this book, you should.” I couldn’t agree more.


  1. It looks like a really fun book with a lot of possibilities for engagement. Thanks for telling us about it.

  2. I bet they'll remember "succulent" to the end of their days!

  3. Hi Jeanette,
    It's nice to connect with your fantastic blog...I discovered you on Google+ Great Books for Kids community. Although this story is not a favorite of mine for the younger set (for whom it is written as supposedly the range is 4-8), I can see how effective it was for your second grade class. Discussing the sequence of events and comparing it to the older version would make great lessons! Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Children love Mo Willems. When I taught kindergarten, his works were definitely a favorite. I don't care for the art work in these books, but it children seem to find it appealing. You are right about the book's application to new common core. It was featured in Columbia University's reading and writing workshop as well.

    1. Thanks for passing along that information. If Columbia University is featuring the book in their reading and writing workshop, then I can't be too far off track!

  5. We read this one sometime back and loved it! Thanks for sharing! Mo Willems is the best!

  6. This book is going on my wishlist! Thanks for sharing!!

    Carrie's Speech Corner