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Frogs and Toads
Content Topic:
Frogs, toads, amphibians, compare/contrast, note-taking, inquiry, research
Students will compare and contrast frogs and toads, use that information while discussing Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel, and then present a story about these characters in a shadow puppet format. Note: Special education teachers may use this unit to assess their students based on criteria in IEPs.
Collaboration Potential:
Special education teacher, classroom teacher, teacher assistants, art teacher
Total Estimated Time:
6.5 hours
Suggested Number Of Sessions:


  • Pebble Go database
  • Fiction and non-fiction books about frogs and toads
  • “Frog and Toad Compare/Contrast Note-Taking” worksheet (see supplemental materials)
  • Note cards with Pebble Go headings written on them
  • Script for “The Hat” (SM2_FrogsToads)



  • Computers
  • Art supplies for puppet making (oak tag, patterns, pencils, scissors, sticks)
  • Shadow puppet theater w/ lamp
  • Video camera, headphones, mic
  • Audacity and iMovie for recording and editing

    (  iMovie download available at

    • Blank CD/DVD discs
Instruction / Activities:

*Note:  The week before beginning this unit, include several fiction and nonfiction books about frogs and toads in the selection of books they browse for book exchange. Listen to student comments as they select their books.


Day 1 – Introduction to Pebble Go (in the computer lab)

Direct instruction:

Discussion – TL asks leading questions: “What do you know about frogs?” “How do you know it?”  “Where did you go to get that information (books, backyard, pond, etc.)?”

TL continues instruction: “There’s a place right in this room where we can get more information about frogs. Does anyone know the place I’m thinking of (computer)? I’m going to show you a place I go to on these computers to find information.”


Modeling and guided practice:

TL demonstrates and discusses the following: Opening Firefox, Bookmark, our school page, basic databases, Pebble Go.  TL models how to open Pebble Go and discusses what a database is, how to navigate the program, and then locate “Frogs.” Class listens to the page about the body of the frog. TL asks several questions and has students point to the answers on the screen. 


Independent practice:

Each student will go to a computer, open Firefox, and locate Pebble Go. They will search for “frogs” and either read or listen to one of the pages.


Day 2 – Note-Taking: Frogs

Modeling and guided practice:

Review – TL will have students describe the steps for locating Pebble Go and will model each step student describes.  TL asks a specific question about what frogs like to eat and students walk through how to find the answer. The number of questions asked should be based on how well the students can answer the questions. Nonverbal students will point to the answer on the screen.  TL holds up a large index card with the words “frog” and “food” written on it. TL demonstrates how to take notes by writing a specific food frogs eat on the index card.


Independent practice:

Each student receives a card with one of the headings (use same headings as in Pebble Go) written at the top.  Students will each go to a computer, locate Pebble Go, and write facts about their topic. Cards are collected at end of session. Before the next session, TL will print out an oversize copy of the “Frog and Toad Compare/Contrast Note-Taking” worksheet, and write several of their frog facts in the frog column. (See SM1_FrogsToads)


Day 3 - Note-Taking: Toads

Modeling and guided practice:

TL displays the enlarged worksheet and reviews by having students take turns reading the notes about frogs that were mad during the previous session. TL asks a few questions and has students point to the answer on the chart.  Next the TL holds up a picture of a toad and asks what it is. “What do you know about toads?” TL reminds students that last week they found information about frogs on the computer and today we’re going to find information about toads in a book.  TL reads a book about toads and chooses the pages that cover the topics on the Note-Taking worksheet. After each page, the TL stops and asks questions, rephrasing several times to be sure everyone understands the information. TL asks students to locate the appropriate box on the chart for writing the facts. The teacher/teacher assistants will help with phrasing questions.  TL asks students to state one thing that is the same about a frog and a toad in a complete sentence. Then students will say something that is different. Every student should be able to give an answer. The teacher/TA will help with the discussion.


Day 4 – Fictional stories

Modeling and guided practice:

The Frog / Toad chart should be in view and several Frog & Toad books by Arnold Lobel should be displayed.

TL will read one or two Frog and Toad stories aloud.  First TL will show the cover of the book and ask the class what they notice about the illustrations.  TL will tell the class that the two characters are different, just like the frogs and toads they have researched (refer to chart).  TL asks: “Can someone tell me one way frogs and toads are different? (Pause for response.) I’m going to read a story about this frog and toad. At the end of the story I’m going to ask you how they are different.”  After story is read, TL encourages a discussion about how the characters are different, then how they are alike.  There should be time to read and discuss two stories.


Day 5 – Story: The Hat

Modeling and guided practice:

If students have previously worked with shadow puppets, remind them of that and say that this time, they will make their own shadow puppets and put on a play. When the play is ready, it will be videotaped so that other classes can see it.  

TL will introduce the play as “The Hat.”  TL reads and discusses “The Hat.”  Together, the class makes a list of puppets and props that will be needed. List is written on chart paper or Smartboard and saved for next session.


Day 6 – Making Puppets and Props

Independent practice:

Ahead of time, draw patterns for Frog, Toad, props.

Students will sit at tables. Give each student a piece of oak tag, a pattern, a pencil, and scissors. Students will trace and cut. Popsicle stick should be taped to cut-out figures with strong tape.  While students are working, CT decides which students will have speaking parts. Will need frog, toad, and 1- 8 narrators. CT will take copies of the script so students can practice reading their parts in the classroom and at home.


Day 7 – Recording the Play

Modeling and guided practice:

This portion can be done as a class during scheduled library time, or students can report to library separately to record their part.  TL will record the students using Audacity (A free online audio recorder and editor) and later edit and import to iMovie or Movie Maker. 


Day 8 – Practice the Play

Modeling and guided practice:

Puppet theater should be set up prior to class. (If you don’t have one, you can tape a sheet between 2 chairs or tables.) TL turns on the lamp (behind the sheet, to create the shadow theater) and turns out the lights. TL demonstrates how to move a puppet so that it doesn’t become blurry. Teachers read the script while students work the puppets and props.

Begin with page 1. Decide who will hold what and where they should kneel. Practice, stopping and repeating as needed.  When students know what to do with page 1, go on to page 2. Other students will operate the puppets so that everyone gets a chance to participate.


Day 9 – Videotaping the Play

Independent practice:

Practice page 1, then videotape it.  Switch students, practice page 2, then videotape it.  Later, import recordings into movie and edit it. Burn to DVD.


Day 10 – Performance

Sharing and reflecting:

A chosen class will be invited to view the play. TL will show the movie, and audience members will give positive comments, saying what they liked about the play and the participants.

Applause!  Later, the movie will be shown to other classes during library time. It will also be included in the annual end of the year video/slideshow.

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Presented By: Bonnie French
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