Mrs. Jacoby's Second Grade Class
Peirce School
Arlington, Massachusetts
Town Mouse Country Mouse

Inspired by Mouse Tales, our class has been involved with an exciting collaborative Internet project with Debbie Coats' second grade in Berlin, Wisconsin. The project was based upon author Jan Brett's version of Town Mouse Country Mouse.

Berlin, Wisconsin and Arlington, Massachusetts are different in many ways. One community is rural, while the other suburban, thus, Mrs. Coats' second graders in Wisconsin became the Country Mice and we were the Town Mice!

Learning About the Genre of Fables
We began our work by learning about what makes a story a fable.
We focused on the following elements of a fable:

  • Usually has animal characters with human qualities
  • Beginning: Gives the reader the setting and characters
  • Middle: Explains what the problem is and how characters attempt to solve it
  • End: Moral - lesson to be learned from story

Performing a Reader�s Theater of this story was something we all enjoyed! We then compared the characters of Town Mouse and Country Mouse, using Venn diagrams. 

Next we did some comparison research on both of our communities, and learned about the concept of rural, suburban, and urban.  We also began to record the temperatures of Mouse Town (Arlington, MA) and Country Town (Berlin, WI) three times a week, and calculated the difference in our temperatures.

Anxious to let our �Country Cousins� know more about us, we wrote �character� poems about ourselves, and they did the same.


We also wrote letters about ourselves which were typed and sent electronically to our �Country Cousins� using Jan Brett�s Town Mouse Country Mouse e-cards.

All this information would be used to compare ourselves to our friends in Berlin.  Although different in some important ways, as people we found that we had much in common. Learning about ways we are alike allows us a better sense of national and world-wide community.

Landmarks play an important role in every community, so we decided to make an online book about those we felt were important in Arlington.  Working in Study Buddy teams, the children first brainstormed for landmarks, then researched them at home.  Our work was put together in our online book, Town Mouse, Town Mouse.

Our friends in Berlin made their own Country Mouse, Country Mouse book.  We were thrilled to learn that their famous town clock came from Boston!

As the end of our project neared, we decided to surprise our friends with both valentines and a special  friend, so we wrote jokes, took photos, and created �fancy� Town Mice to send to our pals, along with a little stuffed friend Patter.  You can see our valentines here:

Patter (on right) went to live in Berlin, WI

We truly learned so much from this project and enjoyed it tremendously, and we are:

Eighteen happy mice, eighteen happy mice,
See how we smile, see how we smile.
We joined Mouse Tales and read a Brett book.
At each other�s homes we did take a good look.
And from this great project, friendship we all took,
Eighteen happy mice

Here are some specific cross-curricular skills addressed, followed by those of the Massachusetts frameworks.

         Learning about the fable genre

         Comparing and contrasting using Venn diagrams

         Letter writing

         Poetry writing

         Social Studies concept of rural, suburban, and urban

         Learning about the landmarks in Arlington, MA

         Introduction to latitude and longitude

         Use of e-cards


         Working with KidPix and Kidspiration software

         Data collection and computation

Addressing the Massachusetts State Frameworks

Language Strand

Standard 2: Questioning, Listening, and Contributing

Students will pose questions, listen to the ideas of others, and contribute their own information or ideas in group discussions or interviews in order to acquire new knowledge.

Standard 4: Vocabulary and Concept Development

Students will understand and acquire new vocabulary and use it correctly in reading and writing.

Reading and Literature Strand

Standard 8: Understanding a Text

Students will identify the basic facts and main ideas in a text and use them as the basis for interpretation.

Standard 9: Making Connections

Students will deepen their understanding of a literary or non-literary work by relating it to its contemporary context or historical background.

Standard 10: Genre

Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the characteristics of different genres.

Standard 15: Style and Language

Students will identify and analyze how an author�s words appeal to the senses, create imagery, suggest mood, and set tone, and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding.

Standard 18: Dramatic Reading and Performance

Students will plan and present dramatic readings, recitations, and performances that demonstrate appropriate consideration of audience and purpose.

Composition Strand

Standard 19: Writing

Students will write with a clear focus, coherent organization, and sufficient detail.

Standard 20: Consideration of Audience and Purpose

Students will write for different audiences and purposes.

Standard 21: Revising

Students will demonstrate improvement in organization, content, paragraph development, level of detail, style, tone, and word choice (diction) in their compositions after revising them.

Standard 22: Standard English Conventions

Students will use knowledge of standard English conventions in their writing, revising, and editing.

Standard 23: Organizing Ideas in Writing

Students will organize ideas in writing in a way that makes sense for their purpose.

Standard 24: Research

Students will gather information from a variety of sources, analyze and evaluate the quality of the information they obtain, and use it to answer their own questions.



Math - Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability


Grades 1�2

Learning Standards

Students engage in problem solving, communicating, reasoning, connecting, and representing as they:


2.D.1        Use interviews, surveys, and observations to gather data about themselves and their surroundings. :


2.D.2        Organize, classify, represent, and interpret data using tallies, charts, tables, bar graphs, pictographs, and Venn diagrams; interpret the representations. l


2.D.3        Formulate inferences (draw conclusions) and make educated guesses (conjectures) about a situation based on information gained from data. s


2.D.4        Decide which outcomes of experiments are most likely. n


Social Studies

2.9 Identify and describe well-known sites, events, or landmarks and explain why they are important. (H, G, C)


�  Susan Silverman2006