Social Studies and Children's Literature  

Book Title: Grandpa's Song

Author: Tony Johnston

Publisher and Date: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991

Curriculum Developer: Beth L. Hathaway

Summery: Grandpa lives with Grandma in a little house in the city. He loves nothing better than a good song. Everywhere he goes, his enormous voice booms out a song. At home, the whole house quakes and Grandma must straighten the pictures on the wall. Grandpa makes up the best song in the world and has everyone learn it. His singing continues until he starts forgetting the words. His grandchildren have to sing with him to help him remember the words.

Social Studies Relevance: This book can be used when teaching a unit on the family. It shows relationships among families, family traditions and activities, and role of grandparents. It can also be used to teach about aging.

Grade Level Focus: Kindergarten

Relationship to Social Studies State Core:

*Participate in group discussions.

*Examine a variety of ideas.

*Follow simple directions.

*Identify different kinds of groups to which they belong (family, school, neighborhood).

*Discuss ways that people are alike and ways they are unique, and that each individual has self-worth.

*Identify values, traditions, and customs learned from families.

*Understand ways that families work together and provide needs for each other.

Lesson Plans

Title of Lesson: Grandpa's Song Time Line


*Given the story, Grandpa's Song, students will make predictions of what they think will happen in the story.

*Students will recall events from the story, Grandpa's Song.

*Given the story, Grandpa's Song, students will be able to place a series of events in appropriate sequence.

Materials Needed: Pictorial clues of events from the story (see appendix), blank word strips


1. Introduce the story Grandpa's Song, to the class. Discuss the cover, the title page and pictures in the book. Have students predict what the story is about and what they think might happen in the story.

2. Read the story.

3. After the story, ask the students why Grandpa, couldn't remember the words to the song and what the children did to help him remember.

4. Choose students to name events that took place in the story. As the events are mentioned, post them on the bulletin board. If an event is mentioned that is not pictured on a card, write it on a blank word strip.

5. When students are finished naming events, have them decide which event happened first. Put this event at the first of the list and continue until all events are put in order. If students have problems putting certain things in order, review the events in the book.

6. Explain to the students what a time line is and tell them that they have just created a time line for the book.

Evaluation: Observe how the students participate and make predictions about the story. Observe how well the students contribute ideas to the event list and help in putting them in order.


Title of Lesson: Grandparents


*Students will list what they know about grandparents.

*Students will list what they want to know about grandparents.

*Students will tell the class what they like best about their grandparents.

*Students will write and illustrate a page for The Class Family Book.

Materials Needed: What I know about Grandparents chart to write the K-W-L activity on; page for the family book that says, My grandparents are special because .; color crayons; markers; pencils; letter to students parents requesting pictures of Grandparents (see appendix); pictures of Grandparents; bulletin board or poster board.


1. Prepare for this lesson ahead of time by sending a note home to parents asking that they send a picture or pictures of their child's grandparents. Some children may not have access to pictures. Let them know that this is optional and that they may bring in a picture of someone they know who is a grandparent. Prepare a creative way to display the pictures on a bulletin board or large poster.

2. Guided discussion. Focus children's attention on the displayed pictures of the grandparents. Give them the opportunity to take turns and talk about their grandparents. Ask them what they like best about grandparents.

3. K-W-L Strategy. Tell the students that they will list things they know about Grandparents. Using the chart, What I know about Grandparents, have the students name everything they can think of that they know about grandparents. Write their comments under the K on the chart.

4. Ask the students what they want to know about grandparents. List their comments under the W on the chart. (Some comments might be, "What kind of work do grandparents do?"; "How old are grandparents?") Review the list and discuss with the students the things they want to learn. Give them as much information as possible. If there is anything that needs more research, tell the students that you will find the information and share it with them later.

5. Ask the students what they think they have learned about Grandparents. List their comments under the L part of the chart. Review the list when complete.

6. Tell the students that they are going to make a class book called The Class Family Book. Give each child a prepared page that says, "My Grandparents are special because ..", and have them fill in the blank and then illustrate the page. If the child's grandparents are not living and they can't remember something special about them, they can write something they think would be special if their grandparents were alive. More pages will be made in following lessons.

Evaluation: Observe how well the students participate in the guided discussion and the comments they make of what they know and what they want to know about grandparents. Examine their book page to see how well they thought about the answer they put in the blank and if they put effort into the illustration.


Title of Lesson: Families


*Students will participate in the "Family" dramatic play.

*Students will name ideas of what the word "family" means.

*Students will name reasons their family is important to them.

Materials Needed: Clothing and items for the dramatic play area for the children to pretend "Families"; pencils; crayons; markers; page for The Class Family Book that says, "My family is important to me because___________________."


1. Values Whip Strategy: Tell students that you want them to think of something that the word "family" means to them. Share an example such as, (Family means that I am loved. Or, family means brothers and sisters.) Give the children enough time to think of something. Moving around the classroom, have each student quickly share what "family" means to them. Encourage students to keep their examples brief. Summarize the values whip by explaining to the students that everyone belongs to a family. Point out the differences in each student's family. Share other ways that families are different.

2. Guided Discussion. Explain to the children that a family is a special group of people. Everyone is a member of a family. Families are different in some ways. Families are different sizes and sometimes the whole family does not live together. Family members help each other and love each other. Have students think of ways that family members help each other and show that they love each other.

3. Role Play. Set the dramatic play area up as a home. Provide different types of clothing so the students can dress up to pretend to be mom, dad, brother, sister, baby, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, etc.

4. Explain to the students that we have discussed many special things about families and that they will be doing a page for The Class Family Book. Give the students the prepared page that says, "My family is important to me because _______________." Have them fill in the space and illustrate the page.

5. Review the lesson focus and point out the differences in families and how families are important.

Evaluation: Observe the student's participation in the Values Whip strategy and in the dramatic play area. Examine their family book page. Note the effort and thought that was put into their work. Consider the ideas students come up with to explain how families help each other and show that they love each other.


Title of Lesson: Story Mapping


*Given the story Grandpa's Song, students will name places in the story.

*Given the story Grandpa's Song, students will work together cooperatively to map the story.

*Given the page for The Class Family Book, students will illustrate it and fill in the space.

Materials Needed: A variety of road maps; street maps; U.S. and world maps; a map prepared by the teacher showing streets; page for The Class Family Book that says, "I like to go with my family."; color crayons; markers; pencils; shape blocks


1. Show the students a variety of maps, such as road maps, street maps, U.S. maps, and world maps. Explain the importance of maps and how they help people to get from one place to another. Have the students close their eyes and think about how they got from their house to the school.

2. Mapping. Show the students the unfinished map. Explain that they are going to help make a map of the town in the story, Grandpa's Song. Have the students help you list all the places from the story that could be mapped. Review the book if necessary. Students may also choose places not mentioned in the story that exist in their own town, such as a theatre, grocery store, hospital, etc. (see appendix)

3. Numbered heads. Explain to the students that they are going to draw each of the places they have listed previously on a map that you have prepared. Have the students count off to the number of places to be mapped. Have the students with the same number get into groups. Each group will decide which place they want to put on the map. As each group chooses a place from the list, their group number will be written by it. The teacher will discuss with the class the importance of good city planning, and help the class decide where to draw their location. The students will use shape blocks to create a shape for their chosen place. Have the students place the blocks on the map and trace around them. Remove the blocks. Write the name of the place on the location.

4. Discuss with the students the places they like to go with their family and the things their family likes to do together. Discuss some of the places the family in the book, Grandpa's Song, went together. Give each student a page to The Class Family Book that says, "I like to go____________________with my family." Have them fill in the space and illustrate it.

5. Take all the pages that the students have finished for The Class Family Book and bind them together with a front and back cover and title page. Place the book in the reading center so all the students have access to it.

Evaluation: Observe how well the students remember specific places from the story. Observe how the students work together to map the place from the story onto the map. Examine their book page and note the effort and thought they put into filling the space and illustrating the page.



Event Pictures for Time Line

Grandma straightens pictures on the wall.

Grandpa takes grandchildren to baseball game.

Grandpa sings cowboy songs on the porch.

Grandpa made up the best song in the world.

ndpa took children to ice cream parlor.

randpa starts forgetting the words to his songs.

Grandpa sits quietly on the porch.

Grandpa has a birthday.

The children help Grandpa sing his best song and it cracks the cake.

Places in the story that could be mapped

Grandpa's house

Baseball field

Ice cream parlor

Add other places that would be in the town, such as-

Grocery store

Post Office



City Hall

Letter to parents requesting pictures of the students Grandparents

Dear Parents,

Our class is learning about Grandparents and how Grandparents are special. We would like to display pictures of your child's Grandparents for this lesson. If you have any pictures that you would like to share with your child's class, please send them with him/her tomorrow. If there are no pictures available, your child my bring in pictures of someone they know who is a grandparent. This is optional, so please don't feel obligated if there are no pictures available. The students will have an opportunity to tell a little about their Grandparents or someone who is a grandparent. Please talk to your child so they will have some ideas of what to say. Thank you very much for your help.


(Your Name)