Social Studies Literature: People Changing the Land

(Post from my prior blog, Back in the Classroom.)

One of our 2nd grade standards is all about the positive and negative consequences when people use and change the land. When I was putting together our read aloud list for this part of our unit of study, I was looking for a range of angles. Here’s what we read this year:

There’s an Owl in the Shower by Jean Craighead George
Note: A strong chapter book that shows how complicated environmental issues can become in a community. Things get heated when loggers can’t provide for their families because the government steps in to protect the owls’ habitat.

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

Jaguarundi by Virginia Hamilton

Country Road by Daniel San Souci

Barn Savers by Linda Oatman High

The Story of Silk by Richard Sobol
Note: I haven’t read this one yet with my 2nd graders but it’s a beautiful book about a community in Thailand and how the production of silk is truly a community effort and a source of pride.

Exploring Our Backpacks: What’s That in your Backpack?” article from Toolkit Texts, Grades 2-3
(How logging provides us with paper and pencils; “how-to” structure embedded)

As we read, we kept an on-going anchor chart listing the book title, how people changed the land, positive and negative effects. (I’m still figuring out to post pictures using my WordPress app on IPad!) We discussed throughout each read-aloud how city leadership has to continually consider this balance. For next year, I need to find some more titles to add to this list. I’d love to find a strong picture book that does what The Owl in the Shower does – show both sides of an issue and how complicated change can be.

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