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Path 3: I Am a Lighthouse Preservationist













Educator Notes:

Students will create a public service announcement designed to convince the public to save a lighthouse hit by lightning.  Students will create a video, brochure, poster, or podcast, etc. with the goal of convincing others to save the lighthouse. They should be sure to explain why lighthouses are still important today even if they are not used as lighthouses any longer. They should have a clear claim that tells the audience what they want them to do (save the lighthouse) and evidence and reasoning. They should also include at least one idea for raising the money.


Teacher Prep Needed:

Since the product of this learning experience is some form of media designed to persuade others to save a lighthouse, some guidance may be necessary regarding the types of media students have access to for their projects.  If digital tools will be used, then some pre-teaching of these tools may be needed.

This is based on developing an argument, so some pre-teaching on writing clear claims and supporting with evidence and reasoning may be helpful.

This is designed to be a group experience, so facilitating group formation is helpful.

Some pre-teaching on the term “preservationist” may also be necessary.

Download or distribute the research notes page for students to use.




Students will create a public service announcement using argument writing skills.  Their public service announcement will include a clear claim, evidence, reasoning, and a call to action.


Read Aloud:

Lighthouse preservationists help educate others about the importance of repairing and keeping lighthouses in good condition. Although most lighthouses no longer have a lighthouse keeper, preservationists still believe lighthouses are important. Soon, you will be asked to help save a lighthouse. Complete these tasks, so you will be ready and write your thoughts in your research notes.


Task #1

Re-read Hello, Lighthouse. What happens at the end of the story?

Do you think we should keep repairing lighthouses even when they are no longer being used as light houses?

If there is no lighthouse keeper, do we still need lighthouses?  Why do you think they are important?

Think of at least two reasons and include them in your preservationist research notes.


Task #2

Watch this video that was created to educate people about the importance of lighthouses.

What are at least two reasons the video gives about why it is important to save lighthouses? (Add these reasons to your research notes.)

What is the video trying to convince you to do?  Did it work?

Discuss this with a partner.


Task #3

Look at this flyer that is trying to raise money to save a lighthouse.

Lightning Strike!  We need you!

You just opened your email and received this message:


How is the flyer trying to raise money?

How would you raise money to help repair lighthouses? (Add this to your research notes.)


Preservationist’s Project

Student Directions:

You will be working in a group for this project. Begin by saying hello to one another. Then, share the answers on your research sheets. Did you have the same ideas?  Talk about these together. Your goal is to create a public service announcement to help save the damaged lighthouse, like the email in Task #3.

Your public service announcement should include:

• A clear claim that tells your audience that the lighthouse should be saved

• Evidence and reasoning that tells WHY it should be saved. (Use your research sheet.)

• An idea for how to raise the money to repair the lighthouse

• A clear call to action (asking the audience to donate or help)

When you are sure your project is ready, your will present your project to the class or community.


Choose Another Path!









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Path 2: I Am a Lighthouse Engineer













Educator Notes:

Students choosing this path will work in a small group to design and create a model of their own solution to warn boats about danger.  They will have the opportunity to sketch their thinking and then use building materials to create a model of their prototype.  They may create their own version of a lighthouse or develop some other solution that will warn boats about danger.


Teacher Prep Needed:

This pathway requires students to have access to building materials and a space for creating.  It will also be important to have a method for assigning or facilitating the formation of a group.  The materials necessary will depend on student design ideas and availability.  Determining the materials and providing the materials will require educator guidance and preparation.

Students should also have access to the book Hello, Lighthouse.

It may be helpful to read informational text about lighthouses as well.  There are some wonderful resources at the U.S. National Park Service Website. 



For the presentation of student work, it will be an individual educator decision to determine if presentations will be to the class, to other classes, or to the community.

This pathway does require more teacher facilitation.

Students may use the Field Journal Page to record their answers to the scaffolding questions.




Students will design something that will warn boats of danger in the dark and in the fog.  They will present their model and use speaking and listening skills to explain the problem and how their design will solve the problem.  In their public presentation they will introduce themselves, share their idea, and thank their audience.



Read Aloud to Students:


You are an engineer and problem solver.  Very soon you are going to be asked to solve a problem that will require you to work in a group.  Complete each of these tasks and fill in your field journal (link) as you go and then you will be ready to tackle the problem!


Task #1

Student Directions:

What is the purpose of a lighthouse?

Why do you think there are lighthouses?  Look for evidence in Hello, Lighthouse that shows why lighthouses are important.

What changed at the end of Hello, Lighthouse?  Does the purpose of the lighthouse change?

Watch the following video:

What does it tell you about the purpose of lighthouses? Record your thinking in your Field Journal.


Task #2

Student Directions: 

Working with a partner, look at the pictures of lighthouses on this National Parks webpage and discuss what you notice about the design of the lighthouses:


Here are some questions to consider:

• Do all lighthouses look alike?

• Do they all need to be tall?

• Which design is your favorite?  Why?

Talk with your partner about your thoughts.  Add your thoughts to your Field Journal.


Task #3

Student Directions

Engineers and scientists often use a problem solving process.

Study the image below. Think about a recent problem you solved.  Turn to a partner and explain how you solved it.  Did you follow the steps in this image?  How does having a problem solving process help scientists and engineers?  Discuss this with your partner and then write your thinking in your Field Journal.




Engineer’s Project

Read Aloud to Students:

A Problem!


Student Directions:

In a small group, talk with your fellow engineers and sketch out a few ideas.  Talk about what you have learned about the reasons for lighthouses and the different kinds of lighthouse designs you have explored.  (Look at your field journals to refresh your memory.)  Remember, your idea only needs to solve the problem of warning sailors of danger.  You do not need to design a lighthouse.  You may want to sketch ideas on your own and then share with the group or work together on one design.  You will need to decide as a group, though, on one final design.  Then, go to the engineering space and create a model of your idea using the materials available.

After creating a model of the design, be ready to explain how it will warn boats of danger even in the dark and in the fog.  You can use this handy guide to help you:

• Introduce your group

• Explain the problem

• Show your model

• Explain how it will solve the problem

• Thank your audience


Choose Another Path!







Return to the book

Path 1: I Am a Lighthouse Keeper













Educator Notes:

Students choosing this path will imagine what it might be like to be a lighthouse keeper and then use their narrative writing skills to write a friendly letter responding to the questions of a fictitious friend.

Students will be given small, scaffolded tasks that will help them fill out a planning sheet that can be used to create the final letter.


Teacher Prep Needed:  

If you want students to write their letter on paper or if you have a digital classroom learning management system that you use, then you will want to direct students accordingly.

Some previous introduction to narrative writing as a “small moment in time” and friendly letter format is helpful.

Students will need access to the book Hello, Lighthouse and an in-class partner for discussion and for a peer-editing.

You can access the planning sheet here.




Students will use friendly letter format to write a narrative that describes daily life in a lighthouse, describing what it is like, and telling how they feel as a lighthouse keeper.



Read Aloud to Students:


Imagine you are a lighthouse keeper. Very soon you are going to receive a letter from a friend asking you all about your life in the lighthouse.  To prepare for this, complete each task and fill in the planning sheet as you go.


Task #1

Student Directions:

Re-read Hello, Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall.

Looking at the illustrations in Hello, Lighthouse, what do you notice about the inside of the lighthouse? What kind of furniture is inside? What else do you notice? (Add these details to your planning sheet.)

Reading the author’s words, how does the author describe the inside of the lighthouse? (Add this to your planning sheet.)

Task #2

Student Directions:

Look at this map of lighthouses.  What do you notice about where they are located?



Looking at the illustrations in Hello, Lighthouse and the map of lighthouses, what does this tell you about the location of lighthouses? (Add this to your planning sheet.)

How could the location of a lighthouse affect a lighthouse keeper?

With a partner, discuss how it might have FELT if you were a lighthouse keeper.  Be sure to explain WHY you might have felt that way.  You can use your thoughts above to help you.  When you meet your partner, make sure you start by saying hello.  You can tell them one thing you have learned about lighthouses too.  Then, take turns asking how they would feel if they were a lighthouse keeper and why they might feel that way.  After you talk about it, thank your partner, and then return to your planning sheet and write down your thoughts.

Conversation Prompts:

• Greet one another

• Tell one thing you learned about lighthouses

• How would you feel if you were a lighthouse keeper?  Why? (Look back in the book.)

• Write your thoughts on the Planning Sheet.


Task #3

Student Directions:

There are so many daily tasks for a lighthouse keeper to complete.  Every lighthouse keeper must keep a journal, but what else might a lighthouse keeper have on the daily “to do” list?  Re-read Hello, Lighthouse and then fill in the “To Do” list on the Planning Sheet with at least 5 different chores shown in the book.  Remembering to write in the logbook is already completed for you!








Keeper’s Project

Read Aloud to Students:

A Letter!

You just received this letter from a friend.

Please write back to your friend and answer their questions!  Use your Planning Sheet to help you:



Student Directions:

Using a friendly letter format (look at the example letter if you can’t remember how to write a friendly letter), write a letter to your friend telling a story about your daily life. Be sure to answer every question!

When you finish your letter, find your partner and ask them to listen carefully to see if you answered the three questions! They should also check to make sure you used friendly letter format. When you have completed your letter, you can give it or submit it to your teacher.



Choose Another Path!






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I’m Just No Good at Rhyming

I'm Just No Good at Rhyming coverThe instant New York Times bestseller featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon! B. J. Novak (bestselling author of The Book With No Pictures) described this groundbreaking poetry collection as “Smart and sweet, wild and wicked, brilliantly funny–it’s everything a book for kids should be.”

Meet Chris Harris, the 21st-century Shel Silverstein! Already lauded by critics as a worthy heir to such greats as Silverstein, Seuss, Nash and Lear, Harris’s hilarious debut molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make you look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way. With enthusiastic endorsements from bestselling luminaries such as Lemony Snicket, Judith Viorst, Andrea Beaty, and many others, this entirely unique collection offers a surprise around every corner: from the ongoing rivalry between the author and illustrator, to the mysteriously misnumbered pages that can only be deciphered by a certain code-cracking poem, to the rhyming fact-checker in the footnotes who points out when “poetic license” gets out of hand. Adding to the fun: Lane Smith, bestselling creator of beloved hits like It’s a Book and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, has spectacularly illustrated this extraordinary collection with nearly one hundred pieces of appropriately absurd art. It’s a mischievous match made in heaven!

“Ridiculous, nonsensical, peculiar, outrageous, possibly deranged–and utterly, totally, absolutely delicious. Read it! Immediately!” –Judith Viorst, bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Download Educator Guide



✩ Horn Book

✩ Kirkus

✩ PW



Booklist Editor’s Choice

Kirkus Best Children’s Books

NPR Best Books

PW Best Children’s Books

SLJ Best Books

NCTE Notable Poetry Books

Chicago Public Library Best Books

LAPL Best Kids Books


Claymates cover


By Dev Petty

Illustrated by Lauren Eldridge

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Humor: General, Personal Development: Friendship

Grades: Pre-K-3rd


What can you do with two blobs of clay? Create something amazing! But don’t leave them alone for too long. Things might get a little crazy.


In this photographic friendship adventure, the claymates squish, smash, and sculpt themselves into the funniest shapes imaginable. But can they fix a giant mess before they’re caught in the act?


Claymates in the Classroom Activity Kit



★ “The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own. ” —Kirkus


★ “Petty’s punchy, dialogue-only narrative and newcomer Eldridge’s expressive sculpture give these clay buddies a surplus of personality…. a giddy mix of naive and naughty.” —Publishers Weekly




Thousand Words

Thousand Words coverThousand Words

By Jennifer Brown

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Personal Development: Friendship, Teen Life: Personal Development, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grade: 10-12


Educator Guide Book Club Discussion Guide

Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest that she text him a picture of herself—sans swimsuit—to take with him. Before she can change her mind, Ashleigh has snapped a photo and hit “send.”


But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb forwards the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. In the midst of the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone— until she meets Mack at community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo and didn’t look.


Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a gripping novel about honesty, betrayal, redemption, and friendship, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn’t always tell the whole story.



★ “Thousand Words is a powerful, timely, and compulsively readable story…This is an excellent choice for book discussions and a must-purchase for all libraries.” —VOYA


The End of the Wild

The End of the Wild coverThe End of the Wild

By Nicole Helget

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Cooking/Food, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Guidance/Health: Death, Personal Development: Loss, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Science: Environment

Grades: 3-7


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Eleven-year-old Fern’s rundown home borders a pristine forest, where her impoverished family hunts and forages for food. It’s also her refuge from the crushing responsibility of caring for her wild younger brothers and PTSD-stricken stepfather. But when a fracking company rolls into town, Fern realizes that her special grove could be ripped away, and no one else seems to care.


Her stepfather thinks a job with the frackers could help pull the family out of poverty. Her wealthy grandfather–who wants to take custody of Fern and her brothers–likes the business it brings to his manufacturing company. Facing adversity from all sides, can one young girl make a difference in the fate of her family and their way of life?



A 2018 Charlotte S. Huck Award Honor Book
NSTA-CBC 2018 Outstanding Science Trade Books
for Students K-12
NSTA-CBC 2018 Best STEM Trade Books for Students K-12
★ “An uncommonly fine account of perseverance and understanding in the face of adversity.” —Booklist


★ “Fern’s first-person voice is completely convincing. Her vocabulary and phrasing is rural Midwestern, and her imagery comes from the natural world she loves. The sense of place is palpable. The author demonstrates the poverty of Fern’s family and friends (including a Muslim family from Somalia) with telling detail, and the tension and action arise naturally…  This nuanced take on a pressing issue is an important one. Middle-grade readers will find much to think about in this beautifully written story.” —Kirkus


★ “Helget confronts substantial subjects like poverty, environmentalism, and mental illness, injecting humor and hope to provide balance. Without lecturing, she encourages readers to be thoughtful and curious.” —Publishers Weekly

Higher, Steeper, Faster

Higher Steeper Faster coverHigher, Steeper, Faster

The Daredevils Who Conquered the Skies

By Lawrence Goldstone

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Science: Astronomy/Space/Aviation, Science: Inventions, Social Studies: History

Grades: 3-7


Educator Guide LB School Podcast

Aviator Lincoln Beachey broke countless records: he looped-the-loop, flew upside down and in corkscrews, and was the first to pull his aircraft out of what was a typically fatal tailspin. As Beachey and other aviators took to the skies in death-defying acts in the early twentieth century, these innovative daredevils not only wowed crowds, but also redefined the frontiers of powered flight.


Higher, Steeper, Faster takes readers inside the world of the brave men and women who popularized flying through their deadly stunts and paved the way for modern aviation. With heart-stopping accounts of the action-packed race to conquer the skies, plus photographs and fascinating archival documents, this book will exhilarate readers as they fly through the pages.



★ “For those who love history, aviation, or stories of great daring, this is pure pleasure.” —Kirkus


★ “Goldstone deftly combines captivating descriptions of the personalities—male and female—with discussion of the many improvements and ever-present hazards of early flying.” —Publishers Weekly

★ “Readers will breathlessly follow the race to conquer the sky as these early aviators perform daring stunts and break achievement records that seem unbelievable today.” —School Library Connection

When The Sea Turned to Silver

When the Sea Turned to Silver coverWhen the Sea Turned to Silver

By Grace Lin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Heroes/Heroines, Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family

Grades: 3-7


Listen to Author Interview Activities Readers Theatre Educator Guide

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.


Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.


A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.



A 2016 National Book Award Finalist


★ “Lin’s evocative language sweeps readers away, and the stories within the story are juicy and delicious.” —Booklist


★ “Lin’s stonecutter claims that storytellers ‘can make time disappear… bring us to places we have never dreamed of…feel sorrow and joy and peace’; the description is a fitting one for author-illustrator Lin herself, who has proven herself a master.” —The Horn Book


★ “The meticulous craft delivers what Lin’s fans have come to expect… This beautifully told companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky offers lyrical storytelling, bringing ‘us to places we have never dreamed of.'” —Kirkus


★ “Lin’s fans will not be disappointed: she again delivers a rich interweaving of ancient tales with fast-paced adventure, fantasy, and slowly unfolding mysteries told through captivating language with beguiling similes.” —Publishers Weekly


★ “A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections.” —School Library Journal



Towers Falling

Towers FallingTowers Falling

By Jewell Parker Rhodes

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Diversity, Social Studies: America, Social Studies: Patriotism, Personal Development: Loss

Grades: 3 & up


Educator Guide

When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Deja can’t help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers?


Award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren’t alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day.




“History made personal—and what a person! Deja’s voice is real and memorable, her compelling story one of hope unmarred by sentimentality.” —Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park


“Once again, Jewell Parker Rhodes uses the power of story to help young people make sense of their world, even among the most confusing of circumstances. Towers Falling is a great book for pairing with history/social studies, and a great book to help young readers untangle the knots of growing up in America. Jewell’s powerful fiction is almost magical.” —James Blasingame, Associate Professor of English, Arizona Sate University


“Extraordinary…  Every teacher of elementary and middle schoolers should read the book as they prepare to discuss the events of 9/11/01 with their students who have no memories of those events. It is a book that they will want to share with their students and that parents will want to share with their children. But Towers Falling is not only the story of Deja’s confusion about the towers that once stood in NYC. It is also a rich story of a family living in poverty and the importance of family. It is a story of friendships that cross cultural and racial boundaries. And it is a story of a classroom of students taught by a teacher who wants them to better understand community.” —Ann Neely, Associate Professor of the Practice of Education, Vanderbilt University


“In connecting a nation-changing event to the lives of today’s middle-graders, Rhodes makes a valuable contribution to the 9/11 canon.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“This tender retelling of tragedy is a solid vessel to help young readers understand the gravity of 9/11 and how it touches all Americans, no matter where we come from.” —Kirkus Reviews


“Rhodes approaches a complex, painful topic with insight and grace, providing context to an event distant to the book’s audience.” —Publishers Weekly


“A welcome contribution to children’s literature.” —School Library Journal


“Rhodes has a talent for teaching kids to care about major events…her emphasis on critical thinking would make Towers Falling at home on a Common Core curriculum…Rhodes has created a curious, resilient character whose journey can help other children process the horrible events that shape the world into which they are born.” —TIME




NPR’s Here & Now Interview

The Horn Book‘s Talks with Roger Interview

OverDrive’s Professional Book Nerds Podcast Interview

• The Nerdy Bookcast Launch Special: Books Help Teach Us How to Live, Part 1-3 

• Meet the Author