A Planning Calendar of Discussion Questions & Activities
The Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series lends itself to many different curriculum areas and theme based topics and is perfect for year long literature studies! Scroll through the calendar to find out which titles work best with which celebration ideas. We've given suggestions as to which themes to study each month, but feel free to mix things up so they work best for your students.
January Back to top
Kick off the year with Katie Kazoo!
New Year, Friendship, Character Development
Katie is a great friend to all the residents in Cherrydale. Check out these stories dealing with friendship to see all the great things you can do with your friends this year!
Welcome your students back for the New Year by discussing resolutions. Explain that one of the best ways to stick to a resolution is by working together with friends or classmates. Demonstrate this by reading Friends for Never (#14), where students can see that Katie does whatever she can to help out a friend, and that friendships can require a lot of work!
Next, have students brainstorm a few resolutions of their own. They should come up with one or two to work on individually, and then, together, you should come up with some goals to achieve as a class. Keep these resolutions prominent by writing them down on the blackboard or whiteboard, or on large chart paper, and displaying them throughout the year. Track your progress appropriately throughout the rest of the school year to see how you do!
Take time to visit the Character Counts section of this website and review the traits that make Katie a great role model and a very special friend. Encourage students to make resolutions that demonstrate these characteristics or have them actively working toward becoming more responsible for their actions.
February Back to top
Honor history's heroes with Katie! February is Black History Month and President's Day.
President's Day, History, Heroes, Valentine's Day, Love
In On Your Mark, Get Set, Laugh! (#13), Mr. Guthrie dresses up as Abraham Lincoln, George pretends to be George Washington, and it isn't long before the kids of 4A are off learning about history! While in Red, White, andAchoo! (#33), the students themselves dress up like presidents and Katie actually switcheroos into one! Use this title to begin a lesson on presidentsask each student to act like Mr. G. and the class and impersonate his or her own assigned politician while making a presentation about that historical figure. The presentations should cover the president's childhood, rise to political office, platform, and the major issues during the time in which he held the position.
Then, think about this: are presidents heroes? Many people believe Abraham Lincoln was! Study Lincoln and other champions of the Civil Rights Movement like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks in a unit about heroes during Black History Month. Use Katie Kazoo books that feature heroes, like the ones pictured above, as thematic comparison books. Take special time to read Girls Don't Have Cooties (#4) and discuss the similarities between the segregation that took place in the past and the exclusiveness of the boys' and girls' separated activities. How do students feel when they are being left out of something or teased? What can each of them do to avoid making others feel this way?
And don't forget to add a little excitement to your class Valentine's Day party! While blushing at Becky's sooo obvious crush on Jeremy in Any Way You Slice It (#9) or fretting over Katie's valentine creation disaster in Love Stinks! (#15), demonstrate to students that this holiday is really about showing friends and family you care, something that Katie does everyday. Click here to expand on this lesson in the spirit of Valentine's Day.
March Back to top
Ring in "Music In Our Schools" Month with Katie! March is also Women's History Month.
Music, Art, Reading, Writing, Performing arts, Women's History Month
In Free the Worms! (#28), Jeremy, George, and Kevin pretend to start their own rock band. In Bad Rap (#16), Katie actually becomes a member of her favorite music group, right before a concert! Hold a mini-concert with your class one day this month. Ask each student to bring in a copy of their favorite song (be sure to tell them the format you need it in so that it will play!). After students play their songs for the rest of the class, they should explain why that song or band is their favorite, when they listen to that type of music, and how it makes them feel. Encourage other students to chime in with their own responses to each other's choices. Are the music tastes among your students eclectic, or did one band seem to be a class favorite? Did students enjoy listening to each others' preferences even if the song was not one they would have chosen? Why or why not? Consider passing out copies of song lyrics to study as poetry or asking students to write their own lyrics, just like Katie did as T-Jon. With spring in the air, it might be nice to hold this lesson outdoors!
Don't play an instrument? That's ok! Explore the significance of ALL arts with A Whirlwind Vacation (Super Special), in which Katie learns about abstract art and flamenco dancing, and No Biz Like Show Biz (#24), where the fourth-graders put on a play. Put on your own play with this reader's theater for Karate Katie (#18). Or, read Write On! (#17), when the children write tall tales before meeting their favorite author. Can your kids write tall tales? Click here to have your students write their own switcheroo stories!
March is also Women's History Month! We know that Suzanne adores Coco Chanel and Becky is fascinated by Cleopatranow it's time to see who your students admire. Begin a unit researching strong women in history by allowing students to each pick one woman to study. Click here for a worksheet to help students organize their information. Have one student present his or her report each day to stretch out your celebration of Women's History Month.
April Back to top
Celebrate Earth Day the Katie Kazoo way! April is also Poetry Month.
April Fool's Day, Animals, Science, Earth Day, Environment, Nature, Poetry
George Brennan and Kadeem Carter are just about the biggest jokesters in all of Cherrydale. See which of your students can out-jest them this April 1st by hosting a classroom joke-off. Click here for ideas.
Many of the Katie Kazoo books feature science and nature lessons. There's the visit to Nature School in Get Lost! (#6), a unit on fish in Something's Fishy (#26), a study of flowers in Flower Power (#27), and many more! Feature Be Nice to Mice! (#20) this month in a unit for Earth Day. Does your school hold an annual science fair? Help students snag a few project ideas from Katie's school science fair in this story.
Next, discuss with students the ramifications of littering and challenge another class to an Earth Day field clean-up contest, just like the students at Katie's school do. If possible, have all the classrooms in your entire school get involved! A really cool AND environmentally-friendly prize for the winning class would be a spot on school grounds to plant a class garden.
Of course, we know Katie is also a great friend to animals. She chooses to be a vegetarian, treats Pepper like a sibling, and understands animals better than mostgiven that she's switched places with quite a few! Take time out of your environmental study for pet appreciation. Click here for all the materials you need to celebrate Pepper's Pet Day. In Free the Worms! (#28), Katie writes a poem about the class snake. To celebrate April's National Poetry Month, have students write poems starring their animals from Pet Day.
May Back to top
Spend Mother's Day with the Carews! May is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.
Mother's Day, Family, Teamwork, Sports
Mother's Day comes this month! Everyone knows that Mrs. Carew makes the best cookies in all of Cherrydale, and Katie and her friends often rush home from school to have a snack with her mom. Ask your students to share about their families. How are they celebrating Mother's Day? Is anyone giving gifts, like Katie gives her mom tap dance lessons in Tip-Top Tappin' Mom! (#31)? How about trying something really thoughtful like giving Mom a night off and making dinner for the family? Katie and Emma do this for Mrs. Weber in Who's Afraid of Fourth Grade? (Super Special) and it is a big hit! If you have as many siblings as Emma or even just one like Suzanne's sister, Heather, in Oh Baby! (#3), your mom could probably use the help! Discuss everyone's plans while making Mother's Day cards.
May is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! Hold a class Field Day in your school's yard. Before you head outside, read some sports-themed Katie switcheroos, such as Major League Mess-Up (#29) to get students excited. Remind students that while exercise is important, they also have to make smart food choices. Katie knows this wellbeing a vegetarian, she is picky about what she eats but has to be sure she is getting enough nutrients. In Out to Lunch (#2), she fights for students to be offered more nutritious meals. Click here to help students plan healthier menus for themselves. Point out that Katie's cinnamon sugar pizza from Any Way You Slice It (#9) is NOT a healthy option!
June Back to top
Switcheroo into Father's Day and summer reading!
Father's Day, Family, Heroes, Seasons, Summer vacation
After celebrating Mother's Day last month, students probably have tons of great ideas for June's Father's Day. Read I'm Game! (#21) and My Pops Is Tops! (#25) with them to show how fathers and grandfathers are our everyday heroes. Does anyone have an exciting story to tell about something fun they did with their father?
Take students outside in the summer sun while completing this activity on all four seasons.
Once school is out, keep summer reading exciting with a summer-themed switcheroo like Camp Rules! (Super Special). Click here to download copies of the Katie Kazoo Reading Log for students so they can keep track of the many pages they read this summer and the Bookmarks to hold those pages in case the magic wind blows through!
July Back to top
Spend July 4th with Katie!
July 4th, Travel, Geography
While students keep up with their summer reading, suggest that they bring a Katie adventure to their July 4th plans. This holiday is a great time to think about America, its history, and its rich culture. Test yourselves! Before school is out, explain to students how to play the Where Are You? geography game. They can play this game with family members, friends, and neighbors while waiting for the fireworks to start. As an added twist, challenge students who will be taking any summer trips to include their destination(s) in the game. This will be extra hard for anyone taking A Whirlwind Vacation (Super Special) like Katie did!
August Back to top
See your summer through with Katie Kazoo!
Summer vacation, Community, Activism
The summer is not quite over yet! Make the most of summer vacation by taking time to give back to your community. Before students leave your class for the summer, encourage them to take on a service project during their time out of school. In Doggone It! (#8), Katie helps a stray dog get adopted, and in Flower Power (#27), Mr. G. volunteers at a local hospital. These are both ways that people can become small heroes and make big impacts on others. Another great idea is the Read-a-thon for Charity, though anything they do will be a step in the right direction!
September Back to top
Welcome an all new crew to your classroom!
School, Getting to know you, Friendship, Rules, Autumn
Kick the first day off by having crew members introduce themselves to the class. Click here for a "Getting to Know You" activity sheet so students can interview one another.
Throughout your first week, incorporate Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo titles and make lessons more impactfuland fun! Read Anyone But Me (#1) to encourage friendships, I Hate Rules! (#5) when explaining the importance of following class rules, and Who's Afraid of Fourth Grade? (Super Special) to help kids with the adjustment to a new environment.
This is also a good time to formally set up your Katie Kazoo Classroom Crew. Visit the Printables page to print out everything you need for members, like the Katie Kazoo Reading Log and the Bookmarks. Then, set up your own Book Nook to explain the role that reading will play in your classroom throughout the year.
October Back to top
Host a Katie Kazoo SPOOK-eroo this Halloween!
Ghosts and goblins and candy, oh my! Halloween is a holiday that combines the scary with the silly. Discuss the concept of fear with students. What are they afraid of? Haunted houses and witches, like Katie and her friends are in Witch Switch (Super Special)? Or more everyday ideas, like when Emma's brother fears going to the dentist in Open Wide (#23)?
Are you having a class Halloween party? Have students come to school dressed in their costumes and explain why they decided to dress up that way this year. Use these characters as inspiration for your Boo to You, Katie Kazoo! classroom tale.
November Back to top
Exercise your civic duties by reading Katie Kazoo!
Election Day, Politics, Media, Current events, Thanksgiving
November is known as election season and, even when there isn't a major election going on, kids should learn that exercising their civic duties is important! Hold a mock election (using Vote for
The media play a large role during election seasonand all year roundbecause people turn to media outlets for the facts. Katie's classmates turn to their school newspaper, the 3A Times (and later, the 4A Express) for the goings-on in their grade. Discuss the different types of content that get printed in a newspaper, which parts should be trusted as unbiased and factual, and which parts are editorialized. A good example can be found in No Messin' with My Lesson (#11) when the Cherrydale students follow Suzanne's advice about being honest too literally and people's feelings get hurt. Ask each student to bring in an article from a recent newspaper for a presentation on current events. After you've learned all about newspapers, start your own with this template for an issue of the 3A Times (or create your own!).
Thanksgiving is a jam-packed holiday, uniting an integral part of American history with a fun day of family and food! Take a moment and review the background of Thanksgiving with students, teaching them about the voyage across the sea, the Pilgrims, and the Indians. Encourage them to use this knowledge and brainstorm some simple Thanksgiving-themed recipes to try and make with their families on Thanksgiving Day. Any future chefs in your class? They can join a local cooking class, just like Katie!
December Back to top
Welcome the holiday spirit into your classroom with Katie!
Winter, Holidays, Math, Sports, Family
Happy Holidays Crew Members! What are your students' plans for winter break? Ask them to share their plans for the holidays, such as travel arrangements, special visitors, or any family traditions with the rest of the class.
Emphasize the importance of helping and caring for others during the holiday season. Katie and her friends bake cookies to serve at a local homeless shelter in A Katie Kazoo Christmas (Super Super Special). Suggest instead that students write letters or illustrate holiday cards for residents of a local nursing home or senior center.
Is anybody buying gifts for their loved ones? Turn to Chapter 3 in A Katie Kazoo Christmas (Super Super Special), where Katie counts out her money to buy treats and begin a quick math lesson on counting dollars and cents.
Jeremy says that he wants a snowboard for Hanukkah in fact, all the kids of Cherrydale are into winter sports. See Katie ski, skate, and switcheroo in It's Snow Joke! (#22) and On Thin Ice (Super Special).
Grosset & Dunlap
A division of Penguin Young Readers Group
Illustrations ©John & Wendy