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
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
Moral - lesson to be learned from story
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.
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.
let our �Country Cousins� know more about us, we wrote
�character� poems about ourselves, and they did the same.
wrote letters about ourselves which were typed and sent
electronically to our �Country Cousins� using Jan Brett�s Town
Mouse Country Mouse e-cards.
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
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.
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
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
the fable genre
contrasting using Venn diagrams
concept of rural, suburban, and urban
the landmarks in Arlington, MA
latitude and longitude
Use of e-cards
KidPix and Kidspiration software
Addressing the Massachusetts
Reading and Literature
Math - Data Analysis,
Statistics, and Probability
Students engage in problem solving, communicating,
reasoning, connecting, and representing as they:
Identify and describe well-known sites, events, or landmarks and
explain why they are important. (H, G, C)