Monday, March 11, 2013

The Greak Kapok Tree

This week, Mrs. Yollis' third graders are reading The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry.

The story takes place in the rain forest of the Amazon. Throughout the story, rain forest animals try to persuade a logger to leave the kapok tree.

☂   ☼  ☂   ☼  ☂   ☼  ☂   ☼ ☂  ☼

For language study, we searched the book looking for past tense verbs. We sorted the verbs according  to the spelling pattern: 

  • add -ed
  • double the consonant and add -ed
  • drop the silent e and add -ed
  • change the y to an i and add -ed

First, we set up the four categories.
Next, we searched for past tense verbs from the story.

Finally, we shared the list as a class. The most common past tense verb spelling? Just add -ed.

☂   ☼  ☂   ☼  ☂   ☼  ☂   ☼ ☂  ☼

The class also researched rain forest animals in the online encyclopedia that the PFC purchased.

In the comment section, research a rain forest animal or plant using the World Book Encyclopedia. Write a comment as if you are that animal or plant! Be sure to include facts you learned from the online encyclopedia. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! (Use your own words!)

☂   ☼  ☂   ☼  ☂   ☼  ☂   ☼ ☂  ☼

It will be exciting to learn about an animal from that animal!


  1. Hello! Hello!

    It's me, Kenny the caiman from the Amazon rain forest! A lot of humans are confused and think I am an alligator or a crocodile, but I'm not. Sure, I'm a reptile and I look like an alligator, but can I assure you that I am no such animal. Alligators and crocodiles are my cousins, but like I said, I'm a caiman.

    I know, I know, you've never heard of a caiman. I get that all the time. I'm a black caiman, the LARGEST of the six caiman species. That's not bragging, that the truth!

    I've got time to chat because I just finished eating dinner. I dined on fish, an amphibian, two turtles, and a little mammal. Not sure what he was, but he was mighty tasty!

    Now that I'm an adult, being eaten is never a worry of mine. I'm a top predator! Only an enormous anaconda or maybe a jaguar could prey on me. I keep my eyes open when I'm laying around.

    Anyone know how long I can grow? Remember, I'm the black caiman!

    Your toothy rain forest friend,
    Kenny the caiman

  2. Dear delicious friends,

    I am the jaguar the largest of South America's big cats and the third largest cat in the world. At one time I roamed all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border, but I am now only occasionally sighted in Texas and Arizona. My fur is usually tan or orange with black spots, called "rosettes" because they are shaped like roses.

    The hungry jaguar,

    P.S This is actually Parsa.

    1. @ James the jaguar,

      Oh no! I knew you lived in Amazon rain forest, but I didn't know you were so close by me! I've been laying here in the river with just my eyes above the surface, but somehow I didn't see you. Perhaps it was because of your dappled fur I've been waiting to ambush my dinner but I see I have some competition. I hope I spy my meal first!

      Can you tell me, how much do you weigh? Are you nocturnal or diurnal?

      Your friend,
      Kenny the caiman
      (Mrs. Y♥llis)

    2. Poker the ChameleonMarch 12, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Dear Mrs. Yollis and Parsa,

      UH OH! James the jaguar is going to devour you Kenny the caiman! If I were you I would run as fast as a cheetah! My animal is Poker the chameleon and here are some facts about this wonderful animal. The chameleon's weight is four ounces ( 114 grams). They are carnivores and are found in East Africa.

      Are you a predator of mine?



      p.s. this is really Peter

  3. Hi

    I'm Slow Sloth. I'm so slow because I can't see that good. I can go one tenth of a mile per hour. That is why they call me slow sloth. They are two groups of me. The unau and the ai. I am the ai, the three toed sloth.
    What colors am I usually?



  4. Dear Kenny the caiman,

    Wow you sound tremendously delicious. Sorry, where are my manners. If I want to eat you I have to be nice. By the way I meant to whisper that. You asked if I was nocturnal or diurnal. I am nocturnal. Are you nocturnal or diurnal?

    James the jaguar

    P.S. This is Parsa

  5. Tilly the Red-Eyed Tree FrogMarch 13, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Dear Mrs. Yollis and her class,

    I am a red-eyed tree frog, and people are very fond of me.

    I have bright, green skin and deep, red eyes. My red eyes have night vision so I can go anywhere at night and see everything. Just last week I went in the middle of the night to visit my friend. I didn't even get lost!

    I am 2 to 3 inches long and I weigh less than an ounce. I'm pretty tiny!

    My species lives in the tropical rainforests from Columbia to Mexico. I live in Columbia, but my cousins live in Mexico.

    Does anybody know how many eggs I can lay?

    Your tree loving friend,
    Tilly the Red-Eyed Tree Frog

    [P.S. This is Mallory]

    1. Dear Tilly the Red-Eyed Tree Frog,

      A red eyed tree frog can have 50 to 100 eggs. They get about 70 eggs. What is the tropical rainforest called that you live in? Where is your favorite place in the rainforest?

      James the Jaguar

      P.S. This is Parsa

    2. Poker the ChameleonMarch 14, 2013 at 7:19 AM

      Dear James the Jaguar,

      That is weird that you're replying to a red-eyed tree frog instead of eating it! If it was the poisen dart frog I would reccomnd NOT to eat it.

      Would you like to eat ME?


      Poker the Chameleon

      { P.S. This is really Peter

    3. Dear Poker the Chameleon,

      You asked if I want to eat you. Yes, I would eat anything I see. I am the jaguar, I am not afraid of anything! So if you come to eat me you have made a terrible choice. Does any animal want to eat me?

      James the Jaguar

      P.S. This is Parsa

  6. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    I am a toucan. My bill can be black, blue, green, red, white, yellow. It eats fruits, small animals, frogs, lizards, large bugs, and baby birds.


  7. Dear Mrsss. Yollisss

    I am Betty the boa. I sssqeeze my prey to death. Don't be to ssscared I am not venomousss. I am 10 to 14 feet long. I ssstay ssstill, and then I ssstrike when My prey passesss me. I also ssswallow my prey whole, and I am woking on fractionsss at sssnake ssschool. I do not lay any eggs. I give birth to 50 young sssnakesss at one time. You should be a little ssscared because I have sssharp teeth. I also can live with out eating for monthsss.
    Your Snake,
    Betty the boa

    1. Dear Betty the boa,

      OH NO OH NO! I can't survive with a Boa Constrictor around! Will you eat me?!? I didn't want to die so soon. I am only 12! I don't want to die young!

      Please don't get close to me!



      P.S this is Peter

  8. Dear Mrs Yollis and class,

    We really enjoyed reading your post.

    We have just read a readers' theatres script of The Great Kapok tree. We found it on this website (click on Readers' Theatre in the menu on the left hand side of the page).

    We had never read a story about the Amazon Rainforest before and we learnt a lot. Some of us hadn't heard of a toucan before.

    Can anyone tell us what the word senhor means?

    From you blogging buddies in 4KM,
    Mitchell B

  9. Maddy the blue morpho butterflyMarch 14, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I'm Maddy the blue morpho butterfly. My wings are brown on the outside eyespots and on the inside my wings are bright blue, edged with black. These help me camouflage. Well, I know one thing sad about being a blue morpho butterfly, my life span is only 115 days!:-( I like to stay on the forest floor or in the trees of the understory with my wings folded.

    If you can fly like me, can you tell me your wing span? Mine is 5 to 8 inches.

    Maddy the blue morpho butterfly

    P.S. This is Jenna

    1. Poker the ChameleonMarch 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      Dear Maddy,

      Sadly, I don't have wings so I can't tell you my wing span:(

      I think it is unique that your wings are brown. That is so sad you don't even live a half a year!

      Your sad friend,


      [AKA Peter]

  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    Let me introduce myself. I am Perry the Poison dart frog.  I am one of the small creatures of the rainforest.  My fellow poison dart frogs and I are very colorful. Some of us are red, orange, yellow , or blue. We may look small and pretty but if you or any other animal touches our skin, you will be poisoned.  
    I am special.  I am a golden poison dart frog.  I have so much poison on my skin, that  I can kill 20,000 mice or 10 people.

    They call us poison dart frogs because some hunters use the poison from our skin and put it on darts for their  blowguns.

    Are any of you as poisonous as I am?

    Goodbye for now,
    Perry the Poison dart frog

  11. Suzy The Scarlet MacawMarch 14, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Hi, I am Suzanne the scarlet macaw. You can call me Suzy.

    If you didn't notice I am one of the largest parrots. I am usually between 12-39 inches (30-100cm) long. My feathers are stunning because they are bright blue, red, yellow and green. I have my own place in a hole in tall tree. That is where I nest and store my nuts, seeds,and fruit. Sorry I have to go and preen my feathers.

    Is a toucan related to me?

    Your soaring friend,
    Suzy the macaw

    P.S. I am really Savannah.

  12. Will the wooly monkeyMarch 15, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My name is Will the Wooly Monkey. Right now I am playing with my troop of 20 monkeys. In five minutes I am going to have some strawberries with Bob the wooly monkey. We need to watch for Betty the Boa. When I see Bob I will greet him by kissing him. Some people thinks that is gross but it is perfectly normal to me.

    Will the wooly monkey

    P.S this is Collin

    1. Dear Willy the wooly monkey,

      I eat you. You are one of my favorite foods. 20 monkeys sound very delicious. I also eat Betty the Boa, and she is tastier, but harder to catch.

      You kiss your friends! Ewww that is disgusting. Kissing is for moms and dads or people who are getting married. Not your friends.

      Ryan the Ocelot

    2. Dear Colin and Ryan,

      Both of you settle down! If you want something TRULY delicious eat me, because you WILL out-size me and you, Ryan, you outsize both Will and me, Poker.

      I thought it was nice that you greet your friends by kissing Will! Ryan, where are your manners? You should by ashamed for saying this kissing is disgusting!

      I hope you have some manners when I talk some sense into you by replying to you back.


      {aka Peter}

    3. Dear Poker,

      Thank you. Thank you. I do out-size both of you, but it is hard to decide which one will I eat first. You both are very tasty.

      I still think kissing friends is disgusting. I do have manners, even though I don't use silverware. I think no animal use silverware.
      No I am not ashamed that I said that because it was just an opinion.

      How do you greet your friends?


  13. Dear Delicious friend,

    My name is ocelot, but I am a leopard cat. I live on the ground, so whoever lives on the ground is my dinner. When I stand I am 16 to 18 in. I eat mice, wood rats, rabbits, snakes, lizards, bird, and monkeys. If you are one of the animals you better watch out. I have a pink nose and, large translucent eyes.


  14. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    I am Iggy the iguana.I am nocturnal that means I sleep at night and am active during the day. One of my species lives between Mexico and Brazil.

    I can grow up to 6 feet(1.8 meters) that is as high as my dad! I eat fruits, flowers, leaves, or algae. To lay my eggs I have to dig a tunnel and bury 75 eggs.

    Iggy the Iguana

  15. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I'm Antie, the anteater. I snack on mostly ants and termites. When I'm hungry I rip open ant's nests by using my second and third claws.

    If you need an exterminator for your ant or termite problem you can find me in grassy plains. There is a species of mine called the giant anteater, and they can grow up to 6 feet long!

    Antie the Anteater

    (aka Abbey)

  16. Red Eye Tree Frog (Hannah)March 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Dear Mrs Yollis,

    This is a red eyed tree frog I really like your post. I am going to tell you a about me. First, I live in the rain forest. Next, I like to eat moths. Last, my eyes are red and my body is all green and when I am really tired I shut my eyes and go to sleep. I hope to see you soon.

    The Red Eyed Tree Frog (Hannah)


* * *
Getting feedback is important to our writers. Let us know what you liked or what you learned.

Steps to Comment:

1. Write your comment in the box below. Be sure that you have proofread it for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. Students should have a parent check it!

2. Choose an identity. (If you have a gmail account, use it. If not, choose name/url. You can leave the url blank if you do not have a blog.)

3. Click "Publish your Comment". You may preview your comment before publishing if you'd like.

Important: All comments MUST be approved by me.
:-) Mrs. Yollis