Food, Glorious Food! Serving Up Common Core Connections
For Upper Elementary Students
Curtis, Andrea. What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World. ISBN: 978-0-329-94573-2. Lexile: not available.
Older elementary students will likely have many questions after listening to the content of this book. By introducing students to daily lunch fare at schools around the world, Curtis provokes thinking about farmers, hunger, equality with regard to food, diet-related illness, and the impact of eating and farming practices on the environment. The author definitely has an agenda and is trying to deliver a message. Students will have to synthesize information from the different spreads to uncover the themes of the book. Challenge them, like Curtis does, to take action if they are moved by what they learn. Opportunities for authentic writing afterwards might include letters to school board members requesting positive changes in their school's lunch offerings, a proposal for a school or classroom garden plot, a Public Service Announcement designed to alert their peers to locally sourced foods, a proposal to the parent-teacher group or local grocers to help fund a multicultural food festival, etc. The Kitchen Daily site has a gallery of school lunch photos that might pair well with this book, and it is reviewed by TeachersFirst here.
Landau, Elaine. Popcorn! ISBN: 1-57091-442-7. Lexile: 720.
Here is an informational title with a conversational tone and dry sense of humor. The author addresses the reader directly and engages them in learning about the history of one of America’s favorite snacks, the science of why it pops, and techniques and recipes for preparing it. Links to popcorn-related sites at the back of the book include one for the Popcorn Board, which has activities for kids, more fun facts, and resources for teachers, including an additional book list. Pair sections of this text with Frank Asch's Popcorn or Tomie dePaola's The Popcorn Book for lower elementary students.
Solheim, James. It’s Disgusting! And we ate it!. ISBN: 9780439056601. Lexile: AD1010.
Capitalizing on the “gross out” factor students love, Solheim provides information about strange foods from the past (think medieval feasts, rat stew, and robins), less common but “wild” foods of today in some cultures (insects, worms, snakes), and a bit about the production of staples such as milk, cheese, and honey. Add a cast of characters who make side comments about the text, silly poems, and wacky illustrations and you've got a recipe for success! Students might use some of the food trivia in this book as a starting point for a short, focused research project for Writing Anchor Standard 7.
Van Allsburg, Chris. The Sweetest Fig. ISBN: 9780395673461. Lexile: AD530.
Older students are intrigued by Van Allsburg's books, which are often a blend of fantasy and reality, and which can generate lots of questions. At the heart of this tale is a mean-spirited dentist who is given two figs in lieu of payment for services-- figs that can make his dreams come true, according to his patient. After dismissing that notion and eating the first fig, Monsieur Bibot receives quite a shock. Determined to use the second fig to his advantage and become the richest man on earth, he is furious when he discovers that his dog Marcel has eaten it. The tables are turned in an ending that leaves readers with much to ponder. As is always the case with Van Allsburg, the illustrations beg to be pored over and discussed. Fourth, fifth, and sixth graders will enjoy examining the images and hunting for details in them that contribute to the meaning of the story—a goal of Reading Anchor Standard 7.
For Lower Elementary Students • For Middle Elementary Students • For Upper Elementary Students