Common Core/Informational Text – What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?

Part IImage

Jenkins, S., & Page, R. (2003). What do you do with a tail like this? . Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Genre: Children’s Literature – Common Core Informational Text Exemplar

Age Level: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3rd grade

Part II

Predictions: From the front cover of this book, one can guess that the book is going to be about a reptile that does lots of different activities with it’s tail. The color scheme and quality of the drawing looks engaging and the word placement around the tail is clever! If I were a child, I would want to read this book immediately. 

Crafts: One craft for this book be to have students write a book about what they do with their 5 senses. They could then illustrate each scenario. This activity could be modified very easily and it would be fun for students to write what they do with their 5 senses body parts (sing with their mouths, sneeze with their noses, etc.).

Part III

Critique: I love this book! I think the white backgrounds and the beautifully illustrated animals are really eye-catching and effective. The placement of the text is also very fun. When I was reading the book, I felt like I was being asked to describe how I would act as an animal; the wording put me in the shoes of the creature! I like that the book involves lots of different animals and their senses to provide variety. The portion at the back that gives more details on the different animals is very informative, as well.

Part IV

The lesson can start off by having students color and label black and white drawings of animals. Then after the discussion questions are presented, have the students write descriptive sentences about each animal. After that, guide students to write a “Who Am I?” poem that describes an animal. Provide students with a word bank to choose descriptive words from. Allow students to work together and then encourage them to try one alone. This type of exercise is great because students can guess each other’s animals and all learning levels can write a poem no matter how simple or complex. It also encourages them to find out more information about their assigned/chosen animal! See example below:

Who Am I?
I am the size of cat,
But I hop on two legs,
I can be brown or white,
And have a nose that twitches,
You’ll be able to recognize me by
My long, tall ears
I am a ____________________!


1) What do animals use their eyes for? Can eyes be used for anything else? (Repeat this question for ears, nose, mouth, feet, and tail).

2) Why do you think some animals have bigger eyes/ears/noses/mouths/feet/tails than others?

3) What are the most unusual or craziest looking eyes/ears/nose/mouth/feet/tails that you can think of?


Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
(Tons of resources on just this book!)
(great lesson plan template!)
(Beautiful lesson plan with even more links attached!)




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