Teaching Tools

You can view and print a Common Core Teacher’s Guide which provides detailed CCSS-aligned lesson plans by Common Core Standards expert Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan.

Cheryl Nathan, the book’s illustrator, offers a boa art project which will help children create their own art in the style of her beautiful collages.

And here’s a fun experiment for teachers and students:


Benito lives in the tropics.  That’s probably a long way from your home.  But let’s imagine that you’re going to chat with him about the outdoors where YOU live.  Why not refresh your memory about the natural world in your neighborhood?  Go into your yard, or to a local park.  Lie on the grass (or possibly snow, if you’re in a cold place!) and close your eyes.  What do you hear?  If you’re in a city with traffic noise, focus on the natural sounds.  Do you hear birds?  One kind, or several?  Don’t worry for now about naming them–just see how many different kinds you hear.  How about insects?  A squirrel, or other animals?  Do you smell flowers?  Can you hear wind in the trees, or feel it on your face?   Open your eyes and search the sky for birds…they may look like specks, high above you (just don’t look at the sun!)  Now look close-up at the grass in front of you.  Can you spot an ant?  A lizard?  A mushroom?  A beetle?  Sit up and look around you.  How many different kinds of plants can you count?  No need to name them all right now, just look for differences in the leaves, flowers, and shapes of the plants.   Do some have leaves that feel rough, and some soft?  Next–imagine you’re telling Benito about the outdoors where you live.  Include things you heard, felt, smelled, and saw.