Grade Kindergarten: Chrysanthemum


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Reading Literature

RL.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

RL.K.2 With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.

RL.K.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

RL.K.4 Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.

RL.K.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

RL.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.


W.K.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

Speaking and Listening

SL.K.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

SL.K.2 Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.

SL.K.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.

SL.K.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.


L.K.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.K.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.K.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.


This Grade Kindergarten lesson titled “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes and cited on has an ELA/Literacy suggested instructional time of 5 days (at least 20 minutes a day). In this lesson, students listen to an illustrated literary read aloud and use literacy skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to understand the central message of the book. For the first reading, the teacher reads the entire book with minimal interruptions. The teacher then reads the book in three “chunks” asking students to discuss text-dependent questions and vocabulary. To extend their comprehension and analysis of the text, students make happy and sad face puppets to use in the discussions, fill out a Text Structure Retelling Organizer, and help to create a Chrysanthemum Happy/Sad Classification Chart. For the culminating task, the teacher conducts a shared writing task in which the class answers the question, “Why is Chrysanthemum’s name special or unique?” With teacher help, students use pictures and words to show how teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance are the central message of the author.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the teacher notes and preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively. The writers of this lesson suggest that this story is used at the beginning of the school year to set the tone that the classroom needs to be a place where everyone feels safe and accepted. While there are assessment guidelines, a CCSS-aligned rubric should be created to elicit direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the major targeted standards listed above. The text is not included in the materials; it will need to be secured.


This lesson is a good example of how to focus on challenging sections of a complex literary text. It engages students in a productive struggle through text-dependent questions and other supports that gradually build toward independence. It cultivates student interest and engagement in reading, writing, and speaking about texts. Instruction focuses on building students’ academic vocabulary in context throughout instruction.   The lesson plan addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use. Extension activities and links to websites are included in the materials.