Creepy Carrots crept into my speech room this week. Actually, it practically bounded into my classroom due to several pleading students who remembered the book from last year and couldn’t imagine moving into the fall season without it. They started requesting the story about the third week of school and asked each day until I secured a copy from our local library.
Last year, the kids begged for Halloween stories beginning early in September. This year, they were more specific. Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown, was their number one request. It may not be a traditional Halloween tale, but it’s fitting for fall and those carrots, with their jack-o-lantern faces, make it a perfect match for the occasion.
The students decided to create their own creepy carrots—take a look:
Emanuel expanded to another vegetable and sketched a cranky cabbage:
With the Common Core Standards on my mind (and in numerous conversations around our school campus) I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate them into speech and language sessions. I didn’t have to look far when I pulled Creepy Carrots from the shelf. The fifth Common Core Language Standard asks kindergarten students to “sort common objects into categories.” If you follow this standard, you’ll find by first grade students are expected to “sort words into categories” and by second grade they need to “identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g. describe foods that are spicy or juicy).” After reading this story, my students sorted objects and words into categories (fruits and vegetables,) suggested some delicious describing words, put them together, threw in a few alliterations and came up with Crazy Cucumbers, Leggy lemons, Lazy lettuce, and Bumpy-bunny bananas.
Joden got especially creative and suggested a “Tow-truck tomato.” He didn’t stop with the name but added a few descriptions to go with it. “It has a slice of tomato for a door and four-hundred slices to make the back. It uses hay for fuel – no gas. A tomato drives the truck. He has a green Mohawk made of leaves. He drives around in circles catching rabbits.”
Joden seems to be working his way up this standard. In no time at all, he’ll hit the sixth grade level where students are expected to understand personification.
I realize there are pros and cons to the Common Core Standards, but I like the way one grade-level standard paves the way for the next, building skill upon skill until at last (as stated on the CCSS website,) the students “develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.”
If we are successful in helping our students reach that goal, this creative expression just might lead to some captivating stories for future generations. And perhaps some of them will be as delightful as Creepy Carrots!