This post shares a Potato Pants lesson plan to use with the book by Laurie Keller. It includes free printables for teaching lesson and summarizing.
The activities in this post are great to use while at home during the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. As a certified K-5 educator who taught kindergarten and first grade, I am sharing what we are doing in our home to stay on top of curriculum while quarantined at home. Of course, you can use them anytime of year in the home or classroom, too!
PLEASE NOTE: Life is busy as a work-at-home / stay-at-home/ homeschooling mama right now, so my directions here will be brief! Please follow me on Instagram @babblingabby where I will be sharing my daily activities and saving them in a story highlight!
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Potato Pants Lesson Plan on Video
I had the opportunity to teach this lesson LIVE to students and teachers around the country! I had a great time bringing this silly story to life. Teachers, you have my permission to share this post with your students and use the included printables in your digital learning. You will find the printables linked throughout the post!
Engaging the Readers
I love using a good “mystery” to engage students in a lesson. It captures their interest and easily gains their attention. Moreover, it makes them want to know more!
So, before I begin reading, I’ll cover the book with TOP SECRET, preventing them from seeing the book jacket. (In this case, my own children actually destroyed the jacket #eyeroll , but there was still an illustration on the actual book that needed to be covered.)
Next, I present the Mystery Box. I explain that what’s inside the box will give them a clue about our learning. For Potato Pants, I said something along the lines of, “What’s inside this box is going to teach you a lesson!”
Now, this can be any manner of container. I’ve always prefered to use a gable box. Typically, I grab one from a craft store, but this particular one came in a set from Amazon. Absolutely any box or opaque container would due, though.
Next, I’ll give the box a good shake so that students can hear what’s inside. Sometimes I’ll pass the box around, too. Then, I’ll reveal four clues – one at a time – and have students guess what’s inside after I share a clue.
Clue #1 is usually pretty vague, and then the clues get more specific as I work up to showing the last one. Clue #4 is usually the obvious giveaway.
For this lesson, the clue cards were:
- brown, bumpy, hard
- it’s only hard until heated
- grows underground
- tastes delicious when mashed
Of course, the students then realize it’s a potato! I’ll connect the potato back to what I originally said before sharing the clues: this potato is going to teach you a lesson!
Then, I share the title of the book, Potato Pants by Laurie Keller. This book is available for purchase through Amazon HERE. You can then share the cover art on the book jacket and take a picture walk.
Before we read, I’ll set up the learning objectives. This is a good time to clarify definitions and state what the students will learn. I used Potato Pants to teach lesson and summarizing. (Here is a similar desktop pocket chart – perfect for virtual teaching or small group instruction! One of my favorite teaching tools!)
Read the story
As you saw in the video, I love bringing stories to life. I incorporate a lot of emotion and expression, and, of course, fun voices for the characters. Students LOVE this and it models reading skills like voice and fluency.
To help me while I’m reading, I pre-read the story and place sticky note reminders on pages where I want to remind myself to ask a question or point something out.
After I’ve finished reading the story, we’ll discuss how the story relates to the learning objectives. First, we’ll summarize the story using the SWBST mnemonic and work through each part together. DOWNLOAD SWBST POCKET CHART PIECES
Students can complete this activity along with you using this recording sheet. Alternatively, they can easily fold a sheet of paper into five sections and label them with SWBST.
Next, we discuss the lesson that Potato Pants teaches. To help understand what a lesson is, you can post three different questions to your students to help them figure it out. (There are a few, so many responses are acceptable!) DOWNLOAD LESSON GUIDING QUESTIONS
Questions to ask to guide responses:
- What is the story trying to teach the reader?
- Why do you think the author wrote the story?
- How does this story help you?
Extending the lesson
After you’ve finished reading and discussing Potato Pants, there are several ways to extend the lesson. Here are a few ideas I have:
- Movement: making your own version of the Po-bot
- Writing: writing an alternate ending to the story (i.e. what would’ve happened if Potato wouldn’t have forgiven Eggplant?)
- Directed Drawing: using the directed drawing guide, sketch Potato in his Potato Pants!
If you do this Potato Pants lesson plan in at home or in your classroom, I would love to know! Please share it with me by tagging me on Instagram @babblingabby!
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