Mrs. Coats's Second Grade Class
Clay Lamberton School
Berlin, Wisconsin
Town Mouse, Country Mouse

Town Mouse Country Mouse: Bringing Two Second Grade Classrooms

Mrs. Debbie Coats� second grade students
Ms. Lanise Jacoby� second graders

The mouse book that we used was Town Mouse Country Mouse by Jan Brett. We used it as a springboard to learn about each other�s community. Berlin, Wisconsin is a city with a population of just over five thousand people. Arlington, Massachusetts in contrast has a population of over forty thousand people. Therefore, Mrs. Coats� class was dubbed the �country mice� and Ms. Jacoby�s students were the �town mice�.

Getting to Know One Another: I read Town Mouse Country Mouse to my class, and then we talked about how life in the country is different from life in a big city. I introduced our project to the students and told them that they would have a pen pal in Massachusetts for one month. They were excited about writing to another second grader in a different state. The students wrote letters to Ms. Jacoby�s students and included their birthday, favorite winter activity, favorite restaurant and the number of brothers and sisters they had. The students typed these letters during their computer lab time as e-cards using Jan Brett�s website:

Ms. Jacoby had her students do the same. My students enjoyed receiving the Town Mouse postcards and compared their pen pal�s favorites with their own favorites. They had to fill out a chart listing the things that were alike and the things that were different about each other.

Next they made up poems and drew pictures of themselves. Again, they listed more of their favorite things including: favorite color, movie, book, food, sport and vacation spot. The self-portraits were done in the computer lab using the KidPix software program. They used two computer lab times to learn how to draw and add backgrounds. The self-portraits and poems were published

and shared with Ms. Jacoby�s class. Again, the students compared their pen pal�s favorites with their own.

Learning About Our Communities: Berlin and Arlington  

I created a Web Quest at,1871,52947-130799-56-26860,00.html

for my students to learn more about Berlin. They used the links that I provided to find out the population, the type of government, land area, number of schools and to learn about the history of Berlin. Ms. Jacoby�s students also found out the same information about their city. Then we exchanged our findings to learn more about one another�s city.

Ms. Jacoby�s class created an online book called Town Mouse Town Mouse, which is patterned after Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. Her students included many of the landmarks in Arlington in this book. Then we used her format for the book to create our own Country Mouse Country Mouse book at,1871,52947-130799-56-26890,00.html

The students helped write the text and did all of the research for each landmark.

Math Extension: Graphing

 We kept track of the temperature in Berlin and Arlington from January 21st through January 31st . The students used a bar graph and a line graph to record the temperatures. These were posted on the bulletin board. At the end of the month, I took the class to the computer lab and showed them how to use the Create a Graph site at

 to make the same types of graphs on the computer.

Culminating Activity:

Valentine�s Day was the final day of the project. We used our writing block to create valentines for our new friends in Massachusetts. My students learned that Ms. Jacoby�s class is a lot like our class. We love reading, using computers and doing math problems. We had fun working together and will continue to stay in touch!

Standards Addressed

English Language Arts, Standard A: Reading

A.4.2 Read, interpret, and critically analyze literature.

English Language Arts, Standard B: Writing Performance Standards

B.4.1 Create or produce writing to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

B.4.2 Plan, revise, edit, and publish clear and effective writing.

English Language Arts Performance Standards E Media & Technology

E.4.1 Use computers to acquire, organize, analyze, and communicate information.

Operate common computer hardware and software

Use basic word-processing, graphics, and drawing programs

Access information using electronic reference resources, such as library catalog, encyclopedias, almanacs, and indexes

Generate, send, and retrieve electronic messages

F.4.1 Conduct research and inquiry on self-selected or assigned topics, issues, or problems and use an appropriate form to communicate their findings.

Conduct research by identifying, locating, exploring, and effectively using multiple sources of information appropriate to the inquiry, including print, nonprint, and electronic sources

Recognize, record, organize, and acknowledge information pertinent to a project, accurately blending discoveries into answers


A.4.2 Communicate mathematical ideas in a variety of ways, including words, numbers, symbols, pictures, charts, graphs, tables, diagrams, and models*

E.4.1 Work with data in the context of real-world situations

E.4.2 Describe a set of data using the terms high, low and range

E.4.3 In problem-solving situations, read, extract, and use information presented in graphs, tables, or charts

Social Studies, Standard A: Geography

A.4.2 Locate on a map or globe physical features such as continents, oceans, mountain ranges, and land forms, natural features such as resources, flora, and fauna; and human features such as cities, states, and national borders

A.4.5 Use atlases, databases, grid systems, charts, graphs, and maps to gather information about the local community, Wisconsin, the United States, and the world

A.4.7 Identify connections between the local community and other places in Wisconsin, the United States, and the world

�  Susan Silverman2006