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Life Cycles #5: The Mommy Book and The Daddy Book, by Todd Parr

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Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students use what they know about grown-ups to make connections to their Unit of Inquiry.  Using the library stock of print materials on Moms and Dads (or Grandmas and Grandpas – your choice!), get the kids thinking, writing, and playing with each other and with the collection.  Introduce them to Todd Parr’s colorful, happy, and healthy books, then send them back to class with their very own class story in Todd Parr’s style.  They will be proud of what they can write and create!

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:



Each class will write two original stories, one for Moms and another for Dads, which show their understanding of some of the things that adults do once they are grown up and have children of their own.  (AASL 4.1.8, “Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning.”)

Suggested Time:

40-45 minutes

Success Criteria:

Given a story template, each class will work together to create two original stories patterned after Todd Parr’s The Mommy Book and The Daddy Book.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Remind the students that they are learning about life cycles.  They have looked at the human life cycle including infants and growing children.  They have also considered how living things grow (Little Bear’s Little Boat) and some of the things that plants need to grow (Fran’s Flower).  Explain that today they will think about grown-ups, and what grown-ups do after they become Moms and Dads and start families of their own.

2. Main:

Before the lesson, prepare two flipchart story outlines that parallel Mr. Parr’s books.  These should look something like:

Our Mommy Book, by Grade 1NM

Some Mommies

  1. drive                                              drive                                       
  2. wear                                              wear                                       
  3. make                                       with you    make                            with you

All Mommies like to                                       

Some Mommies

  1. like to                                                         like to                                                 
  2. work at/in                                                 work at/in                                          
  3. teach you to                                              teach you to                                       

All Mommies  like to                                        

Some Mommies

  1. have                                   hair                have                             hair     
  2. like to                                                        like to                                                 
  3. go                                                              go                                           (activity ending with “ing”)

All Mommies love to                                           

Some Mommies

  1. fly                                                   fly                                           
  2. sing                                                read                                        

All Mommies want you to be                  

(The End)

Our Daddy Book, by Grade 1NM

Some Daddies

  1. take                                         draw                                       
  2. wear                                        wear                                       
  3. sing in                                     sing to                                          

All Daddies  like to                                           

Some Daddies

  1. work                                        work                                       
  2. like to build                                         like to cover                                       
  3. teach you how to                                            cover you with                                               

All Daddies  like to watch you                                      

Some Daddies

  1. have                             hair                have                             hair
  2. play in your                                        have                                with you
  3. make                                                   make                                      (kitchen/food words)

All Daddies love to                                              

Some Daddies

  1. walk/drive you to                                            walk/drive you to                                           
  2. like to                                      like to                                                 

All Daddies want you to be                     

(The End)

Ask the children to gather ideas from the library’s collections about mothers and fathers. Guide them to use any picture books or non-fiction texts on the subjects of mothers, fathers, or parents.  You could give them a few minutes to gather ideas before you start the story writing part of the activity.

Work with the children, either as a class or in groups, to complete the story outlines.  Encourage them to use what they know about Moms and Dads to fill in the blanks.  Once the story outlines are complete, let the class read their stories out loud. If you have worked as a class, this is a good chance for choral reading in which everyone reads together.

Next, share Todd Parr’s books.  The read-alouds go quickly!  This will give the children a chance to consider their own work/words with those Mr. Parr has used.

If there is time, encourage the children to illustrate their stories in Todd Parr’s style.  If you extend the lesson with illustrations, this could be a two-period lesson.

3. Conclusion:

Ask the children how their story about Moms was the same as Todd Parr’s.  How was their book different from Todd Parr’s?  Ask the same questions for the Dad story.  Is there a right or wrong way to write a Mom or Dad story?

Thank them for their attention and work.  Be sure to document the stories by taking a photo or making a copy of some of the work before it goes to class to be added to the Language or Unit of Inquiry notebooks.

  1. Books in the “Recommended Books” section below. All four are Todd Parr titles.
  2. Flipchart paper, prepared as described.
  3. Flipchart markers in at least two colors.
  4. Student handout if you choose to use the story outlines for individual or small groups of children.

I have written this lesson for The Mommy Book and The Daddy Book.  But, you could easily switch and use the same lesson format for The Grandma Book and The Grandpa Book.  It’s completely up to you.  Simply use the topics that have not received as much attention by the homeroom teacher.

If needed, differentiate the lesson as follows:

  1. Split the class into boys and girls. Have the girls fill out the story for one of the parents and the boys for the other.  Then, the groups can share their stories with the class.
  2. If you think that your kids are strong enough readers and can work independently, make the story templates into a handout. Then, ask pairs or small groups of children to write their own stories using Todd Parr’s outline.
Recommended books for this lesson: 
  1. The Mommy Book by Todd Parr
  2. The Daddy Book by Todd Parr
  3. The Grandma Book by Todd Parr
  4. The Grandpa Book by Todd Parr
Key Terms:

Life Cycles, Moms, Dads, Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Families, Adults

Student Handout, Moms and Dads, Todd Parr