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Sunday, January 20, 2013

US Regions and Tall Tale Characters

We have been very busy in fourth grade!  I am finally adjusting to our new curriculum and the Common Core.  It was hard letting go of our programs and transitioning into trade books.

We are working on the Regions of the US and Tall Tales.  I am really enjoying learning about tall tales and the integration into the regions.  Here is the list of characters that we are using:

  • Northeast- Old Stormalong
  • Southeast- John Henry
  • Midwest- Paul Bunyan
  • Southwest- Pecos Bill and Sluefoot Sue
  • West- Febold Feboldson

We are using Mary Pope Osborne's anthology of tall tales, Lynne Peppas' regions of the United States and My America Poetry Anthology by Lee Bennett Hopkins.  I also have printable short stories and reader's theater by Scholastic.  We have been comparing and contrasting the different versions of tall tales.  I spend two weeks covering prose(fiction and nonfiction), drama and poetry of each region.  We are creating scrapbooks like last year that include dialect speech bubbles of the tall tale character from that region along with the scrapbook pages from Jill Russ on TPT, here is her blog with great resources (power points).
My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States

I just purchased the book below which fits in perfectly!  It is an abc book of idioms and proverbial phrases with a glossary that gives you the meanings and US origin.  The author's note refers to the development of these phrases due to tall tales and exaggerations.  It is one of my new fourth grade standards and I love how it fits into the tall tales!
I have added the tall tale characters to my post card bulletin board that continues to grow.  I divided my map into the five regions with a black sharpie and have marked the post cards with colored yarn.

Here are a few photos of my scrapbooks from my last year from an old post that you might want to check out for some other ideas.

I am planning a great culminating activity with my neighbor's class...can't wait to share!!!!


  1. this unit sounds great. You gotta love those trade books ( this is what I keep saying to myself). Dont get me wrong, I love trade books, its just this whole common core change makes everyone go crazy. I'm so glad things are working out for you. I have being meaning to askig you, how is that writing going? were you able to do the daily 5 for writing?

    Happy teaching,

  2. I was "Gung Ho" in the beginning of the year and we did 3-4 rounds of Daily Five every day. I have had to cut back in order to get everything that I need to teach in. Writing is not always a choice but a little more structured. My children have a state long composition in March and they need to be prepared. I have been taking Fridays for a long writing block and not doing Daily Five. Thanks for asking!

    I am still a big fan of Daily Five!

  3. I am going crazy w/ the new curriculum too. The hardest part is we are writing it as we go along. On Friday a fellow 4th grade teacher and I wrote Unit 4 for Reading/Writing...that we will start next week. It is on Revolutionaries. I think what makes it so difficult is we do not have the resources for the new topics we are covering and since we are creating it so last minute, there isn't much time. Do you create your own curriculum or does your district hire curriculum writers?

    Your unit sounds great. Our 4th grade Social Studies is focused on Regions of the US as well. Last year we had Skype dates w/ all the different regions and held Skype interviews. Let me know if you want a NE Region friend! :)

    Pinkadots Elementary

  4. We have curriculum teams that are writing our new curriculum but it is being written as the year goes on too...I have had to wait for math assessments. We don't have all the resources we need and are pulling from different places. I had a hard time in the fall but I am now accepting it. I am on the Social Studies team.

    We do not have access to Skype but I will look into it...that would be fun. I am from Massachusetts .


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