1. The Feet in Your School
a) Talk to students about how things come in groups. Have students pair
up-how many feet are there in a "pair?" How many pairs of feet
are there in a group of two students? How many pairs of feet are there
in the class? (And how many individual feet?) If there are "X"
number of feet and hands, how many toes and fingers are there in the classroom?
b) Post pairs of students in different locations around the school and
assign them to count the number of feet that pass during a five- or ten-minute
period. Students may survey different classes: how many kids per class,
and how many feet? IRA/NCTE Standards: 4, 7
2. Fingerprint Study
As a class, do a study of fingerprints: their individuality, their usefulness
as a means of identification, etc. Learn to identify some different elements
of a fingerprint (loops, whorls) and discuss how each person's fingerprints
are unique. Students can be "fingerprinted" and compare their
prints with their classmates'. ELA Standards: 7, 12
3. Messy Footprints
a) This activity should occur outside so that cleanup is simplified and
students can be hosed down afterward! Fill a series of dishpans with mud,
damp sand, tempera, honey, or other substances. Students take turns stepping
into each pan and then putting their footprints on a giant roll of paper.
Compare the look and texture of their prints depending on what they've
stepped in, and what different patterns they've created.
b) Homework: Have students collect the footprints of pets and/or family
members. Bring in prints and classify them (according to type of pet,
type of family member, etc.). Create a chart on a bulletin board illustrating
the different classifications. Tape or tack the footprints onto it. ELA
Standards: 4, 7
4. Shoe Chart
a) Have the class examine its shoes. Classify shoes according to type
(athletic, street, etc.) and create a big graph illustrating how many
of each type of shoe can be found in the classroom. Students can then
make lists of the different types of shoes they own and add them to the
b) Using crayon, students can make rubbings of the soles of their shoes.
Compare and contrast the different patterns you find. Do shoes intended
for certain purposes have similar soles? IRA/NCTE Standards: 4, 7
5. Foot Music
Using the sounds identified in Feet as a starting point (have
students help to list them), create a rhythm band, with each student or
pair/group of students taking responsibility for a certain sound. Students
can use voices or hands or sticks to make their sounds; they might even
want to take their shoes off and use their feet as rhythm instruments.
Once students have "perfected" their sounds, they can trade
with another group and practice new ones. Have the class, as a rhythm
band, beat the rhythm of the story, inserting their special sounds in
the appropriate places. IRA/NCTE Standards: 3, 4, 12
6. Walk This Way
a) As a class, make a list of the action words found in Feet and then
act them out (shuffle, march, wipe, search, etc.). For younger children,
it may be fun to turn each word into a variation on the Row, Row, Row
your Boat song, as children "shuffle" or "march" around
b) For older students, this activity may be transformed into a game of
charades, with each student (or pair) drawing a "secret" action
word from the book (the teacher can write action words on slips of paper
and put them into a basket or hat from which students can draw). Students
act out their words for the class, in hopes that classmates will "guess
my verb." IRA/NCTE Standards: 3, 4, 12
7. Foot Words
a) Older students can use their list of action words from Feet
as the basis for a writing exercise by choosing three or four and using
them in a paragraph.
b) As a class, identify some different types of words used in Feet and
in other recently read books-onomatopoeia, comparison words, similes,
metaphors, etc.-and have students choose one or two of these forms around
which they can develop short writing assignments. IRA/NCTE Standards:
3, 4, 5
8. Tribute to the Custodian
a) Interview the school custodian(s). Find out what they like and dislike
about their jobs. What are the best/worst things that have happened to
them? The biggest messes they have ever had to clean up? (As a class or
as a group) come up with a list of questions and invite the custodian(s)
in for an interview, with the class as audience. IRA/NCTE Standards:
3, 4, 7
b) Students can develop a tribute program for the school custodian(s).
This may include the interview activity above. They will need to plan
a program including songs or other performances (perhaps a speech?), plan
a snack or treat for the occasion, and create an award or certificate
of appreciation. Kids can "give a hand" to the custodian by
tracing the outlines of their hands on paper (all together on a large
sheet/banner, or individually, as cards) and decorating them. They can
even do the same thing with their feet! IRA/NCTE Standards: 3, 4, 5,
Extended Learning Opportunities
(Note: We strongly recommend that teachers preview materials
before sharing them with students)
Agell, Charlotte. Dancing Feet. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994.
This fun picture book celebrates the body in rhyme and illustrates the
body in motion.
Girotti, Eugenia. Footwear. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1997.
Richly illustrated look at more than two thousand years of footwear, from
the shoes of a Pharaoh to Ferragamo sandals. Children will appreciate
the pictures (and adults may find the text interesting).
Hutchins, Pat. Rosie's Walk. Thirtieth Anniversary Edition. New
York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. Rosie the chicken takes a walk, never knowing
that she is being followed by a hungry fox. She takes him on a wild walking
John, Light. Odd Jobs. Childs Play Intl. Ltd., 1991. Kids watch
their dad as he attempts (with comic results) to do some home repairs.
Keats, The Snowy Day. Picture Puffins Series. New York: Puffin
Books, 1972. This classic picture book follows a boy as he walks and plays
his way through the snowy city leaving angels and funny footprints in
Nobisso, Josephine. Hot-Cha-Cha! Delray Beach/New York: Winslow
Press, 1998. City kids enjoy a rhyming, foot-stomping adventure when they
discover the key to a playground.
Park, Barbara. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. Illustrated
by Denise Brunkus. First Stepping Stone Books. New York: Random House,1992.
Told in the words of its six-year-old narrator, the story of Junie B.Jones's
first day in kindergarten and her attempt to avoid riding the bus home,
which includes hiding in a supply closet and a call to 911!
Seuss, Dr. (Theodore Seuss Geisel). The Foot Book. New York: Random
House, 1987. Dr. Seuss tackles the topic of feet-in full color, and with
his usual inventive rhymes.
Walker, Niki and Bobbie D. Kalman. Community Helpers From A to Z.
Crabtree Publishing, 1997. An illustrated introduction to many of the
people who work in (and for) the community, including firefighters and
sanitation workers. Stresses the importance of many different jobs.
What Do They Do? http://www.webquarry.com/~lgfd/
"Learn about what people do at work and how they make our world a
better place." For kids, this site offers a list of different occupations
(from actor to firefighter to lawyer paleontologist to radio announcer
to speech therapist) for kids to explore by clicking on each occupation
they can find a story about the life of that person and what s/he does
in a day. Teachers will need to read these to young children.
American Ballet Theatre's Online Dictionary http://www.abt.org/dictionary/
Offers a list of 170 ballet terms (adagio, battement, etc.) illustrated/performed
by members of ABT in QuickTime movies.
Foot and Shoe Facts! (Bata Shoe Museum) http://www.mtarch.com/bsmfacts.html
For teachers, little-known (and often odd) facts about feet and shoes
brought to you by Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum (see Museums, below). Many
of these will fascinate students ("The average person walks the equivalent
of three-and-a-half times around the earth in a lifetime."
Bata Shoe Museum
327 Bloor Street W. Toronto M5S
1W7 Ontario, Canada
Located in Toronto, this award-winning museum offers a comprehensive look
at the history of footwear, including ancient Egyptian and Roman shoes,
medieval boots, 18th-century French dancing pumps, and more. The museum
also features an exhibit devoted exclusively to children's shoes. Other
exhibits include a look at celebrity shoes (Elvis Presley's patent leathers,
Elton John's platforms, Princess Diana's pumps, and more) and shoes made
for special purposes (scary-looking chestnut-stomping boots from Canada,
Teflon boots made by NASA, and others).
The TUSPM Shoe Museum
Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
Temple University Philadelphia, PA
This small museum owns about 800 pairs of shoes, many of which are on
display to visitors. The focus is on 19th and 20th-century footwear-Among
the shoes in this collection are ballet slippers, the shoes of a circus
giant, shoes belonging to celebrities and U.S. presidents, and a pair
of iron diving boots. Visitors can also look at many other examples of
shoes of different cultures (and periods) as well as those made for special