Monday, August 11, 2014

Frog and Toad Are Friends AND a HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Today I am writing about the way I use yet another Frog and Toad book- Frog and Toad are Friends.

These books are just right for K-1st grade read alouds, because they transition from the primary picture books to more text, but yet have a simple enough story for the children to love- sprinkled with some humor that the children actually get.  The children seem to love the relationship between Frog and Toad, too, which is fun because they want to see what the next adventure will be with these two!

I'm linking up with Mrs. Jump's class for Book Talk Tuesday. Thank you, Deanna!
Here are some ways that I like  to use some stories in Frog and Toad are Friends as an introduction or mini-lesson for different topics.


  • Spring: Frog hurries over to Toad's house one fine Spring morning in April, but Toad isn't eager to get up. Frog eventually gets Toad up out of bed and no sooner does he explain about the whole new year they'll have together, than Toad decides to go back to bed. Since Toad has slept since November, he asks Frog to come back to wake him up when it's half past May. Not wanting to be lonely until that time, Frog takes advantage of the fact that Toad hasn't changed his calendar since November and tears off the month pages till he gets to April, but tears off the April page as well and manages to get Toad out of bed to admire the beauty of spring.
Spring is a great story to introduce months of the year to the children, and the fact that the months of the year are always in the same order and sequence.  I love it when the kids "get" the fact that the time hasn't actually passed, but that Frog is just pulling off calendar pages.

We love to sing Dr. Jean's Macarena Months after we read this story.

The Story

  • The Story: One summer day, Toad notices that Frog isn't feeling well and helps him to bed. Frog requests a story, but Toad has difficulty trying to come up with a story to tell his friend. Walking up and down the porch, standing on his head, pouring water over his head, and banging his head against the wall don't get Toad anywhere. However, Frog feels better and allows Toad to get in bed so he can tell him a story. Frog tells a story that details what Toad has been doing for him throughout the chapter, but by the time Frog finishes, Toad is already fast asleep.
The Story is a perfect conversation starter for Writer's Workshop.  It's always a wonderful thing to be able to tell a story to a friend or to your family, whether it's made up or true.  I like to have the children turn and talk and tell a story to a friend right after we read this story.  We talk about how important order and sequence is in a story.  We talk about the importance of details in a story, and how those details make the story so much more fun to hear.  The children need to feel comfortable telling these detailed stories so they can eventually write them.  We tell lots of stories.  I wrote about some of my favorite detail lesson ideas here and here.

The Lost Button

  • A Lost Button: After Frog and Toad return from a long walk, Toad notices a button has fallen off his jacket. Retracing their steps, the friends return to the meadow, the woods, and the stream where they had walked. Frog, a sparrow, and a raccoon all find buttons, but none of them are Toad's missing button (his was a big round thick white button with four holes). Eventually, Toad gets so mad over not finding his button that he runs home...and discovers his missing button had fallen off before the walk. To make it up to Frog for the wild goose chase, Toad not only sews his button back on his jacket, but sews on the other buttons they'd found as well and gives it to Frog the next day.
The Lost Button is another perfect beginning of the year story, because we do so much with buttons. 

From Pete the Cat losing his buttons to sorting, classifying, and patterning buttons during math.  I love sharing this story with the children.  It is great for an interactive writing lesson to compare and contrast buttons, writing down details about the different buttons - the one Toad lost and the ones they find.  It lends itself perfectly to a button sorting activity.

A Swim

  • A Swim: Frog and Toad go down to the stream to go swimming. While Frog prefers to swim naked, Toad prefers to swim wearing a bathing suit, but tells Frog not to look at him when he's out of the water because the bathing suit makes him look funny. During the swim, a turtle comes by, prompting Toad to ask Frog to tell the turtle to leave. However, even though Frog justifies to the turtle why he wants him to leave, the turtle, plus some lizards, a grass snake, a pair of dragonflies, and a field mouse all want to see Toad's bathing suit. Toad decides to stay in the water till everybody leaves, but has to come out when he begins to sneeze. As soon as he gets out, everybody (including Frog) laughs at him proving that what he said about the bathing suit was true.
A Swim is a fun story that the children always like to hear.  We talk about fiction/non-fiction with this story, and notice that in a non-fiction book, the frog and toad wouldn't have bathing suits on at all! 
It's a great sequencing story for the children to remember which friend comes by next and for talking about the beginning, middle, and end of a story.

The Letter

  • The Letter: While stopping by Toad's house for a friendly visit, Frog notices Toad looking sad. Toad explains that it's the time when he has to wait for the mail because he never gets any mail. Feeling sad for his friend, Frog goes home, writes a letter addressed to Toad, and asks a snail to deliver the letter to Toad's house. Returning to Toad's house, Frog tries to convince Toad to try again at waiting for the mail, but ends up waiting for it himself. When Toad asks why, Frog explains about the letter and describes what he wrote in it, which cheers up Toad enough to wait for the letter. It takes four days for the snail to reach Toad's house, but he arrives with Toad's letter, Toad is very happy to know the wait was worth it.

I love using The Letter to introduce or review... letter writing. (Go ahead- say "duh.") BUT- people don't get the letters that they used to in the mail, so it's a good introduction to the children to talk about different kinds of letters they can write, and how happy friends and family members are to receive those letters!

This year, I am going to have a Thank You Letter station at my writing table.

I saw this idea from Barbara Grueneer in her book What's Under Your Cape (which I loved and wrote about HERE.)
The children can write a thank you to anyone they want- mom, dad, the bus driver, a friend, or anyone they think of or that we talk about that we want to remember to thank.  We are going to talk about the different jobs people have in our school, and how everyone works together to make our school so special- and how important it is to recognize and appreciate what people do.  The children can write to the special area teachers, the nurse, the cafeteria workers, the custodians... or other community helpers.

As a class, we always write thank you letters after assemblies or other field trips.  This year, I am going to have the children write a huge thank you to the Go Noodle people, once this group is introduced to the JOY of Go Noodle.
One year, we wrote letters to President Obama, asking him questions about what it's like being President. A child actually brought in a life size cut out of President Obama, so we had to take advantage of it... We got a really nice note and picture back for the class. It's fun to see what each child wants to ask. Some of the children wrote like he was their friend. Some wanted to know about his important job. Some of the kids may have mistaken him for Santa- or even maybe God...

A father of one of my little boys was in Iraq, so that gave us a great opportunity to write to the 26 soldiers in his platoon and send goodies. They were awesome about writing back and sending pictures. They sent us this very special flag that flew on Easter day in Iraq, with some of the men and women we wrote to in the background holding a big THANK YOU banner.

We are also going to be making more cards for the local nursing home this year- not just at holidays, but any time. The children love to create during free choice time, so why not let them have a real purpose!

Of course, you can also have the children write to a favorite Disney character and get a response.
This is from Couponing To Disney:

Did you know that you can write a letter to a Disney character and get a postcard in return? There are 2 addresses that you can send your letters to.

Disney World will send you an autographed postcard when you write a letter to the following address:

Walt Disney World Communications
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

Disneyland will send you an autographed postcard when you write a letter to the following address:

Walt Disney Company
Attn: Fan Mail Department
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
The picture will arrive with 4-6 weeks.
Each child may write his/her own letter and will receive a postcard.

I think this took me back to my TV Star Photo Collecting days.  I had SO much fun checking the mailbox each day to see if anyone wrote back. In "those days" I received signed 8x10 photos- and lots of personal letters.  It is a great way to work on letter writing- with a reward at the end.  The anticipation every day was a reward for me! 

First Grade A La Carte shared a wonderful reading comprehension game to go along with Frog and Toad are Friends. 
I updated my Frog and Toad Prezi to be sure it included all of the videos from this book.  I update my Prezis all the time because new videos and links are available all the time.  It's FREE at my TPT store if you would like it.  It includes the videos to go with the book, games and activities, a short biography of Arnold Lobel,  as well as lots of links to help teach the science of frogs and toads.
Just click on the picture below if you would like a copy!

Also, Our Diggin' Into Summer Giveaway starts today!  Are you ready?

 We could hardly wait to end our Diggin’ Series with the BEST giveaway of the season!


Just in case you didn't hear these are our awesome prizes:






Come and join us, as  this is our way to THANK YOU for all your support and friendship!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Carolyn, Great post! I love Frog and Toad- how did Lobel capture human issues so well with amphibians? We do a mini-unit on letter writing, and we write back and forth to pen pals in the district. Thanks for the other addresses- it's so great to get responses back. I've followed as many as I can this evening... will be back tomorrow to finish entering! Kathleen
    Kidpeople Classroom

  2. I loved Frog & Toad (would read these to my own children constantly) but have never actually used these books with a class. Your post is inspiring and gives lots of excellent examples of how to so I am off to download the freebies and get ready. Thank you so much for this wonderful post :-) Special Teaching at Pempi's Palace

  3. I loved this! I have never used the Frog and Toad books and can see I've been missing out! When I taught 3rd grade we wrote letters to professional athletes, movie stars and anyone we admired. It was so much fun to get a letter back! And I love and appreciate than you notes! Good idea!

  4. I can't wait to check out some of the Frog & Toad books. Little Girl wasn't too interested the last time we tried...which is unusual because she will read just about anything!! I downloaded your Prezi a while back and we had fun with it. When I taught K, we wrote letters to soldiers at Christmas time and it was such a treat getting letters and pictures in return! Have a great back to school! I'm hoping it doesn't start until Sept. since you had to go into June!
    FCS and Then Some


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