The Sea Chest

by Toni Buzzeo

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The Sea Chest
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    Penguin Group

    The study of lighthouses is an exciting road through the history of our country and its coastlines.

    Launch an in-depth study of the science of lighthouses, American history, the sea, or heroism with the help of this curriculum guide. Engage your elementary and middle school students in an array of content-based Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts activities based on The Sea Chest, a heartfelt story about a lonely young girl on an isolated Maine lighthouse island whose only wish comes true the day a leather sea chest washes ashore.

    Ten Thematic Strands in Social Studies

    The Sea Chest has broad curriculum connections, particularly in the Social Studies content area. It may be used to address five of the Ten Thematic Strands in Social Studies that underlie the NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies) Standards as published in Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies:

    • Strand II. Time, Continuity and Change
    • Strand III. People, Places and Environments
    • Strand IV. Individual Development and Identity
    • Strand V. Institutions, Groups and Individuals
    • Strand VIII. Science, Technology and Society

    Standards for the English Language Arts

    The Sea Chest also offers many curriculum connections in the Language Arts. It may be used to address 5 of the 12 standards as published in Standards for the English Language Arts by the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and the IRA (International Reading Association):

    • Standard 3--Applying a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
    • Standard 5--Employing a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
    • Standard 6--Applying knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
    • Standard 7--Conducting research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.
    • Standard 8--Using a variety of technological and information resources to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

    Curriculum Summary

    Many of these Social Studies strands and Language Arts content standards can be addressed when working with the lighthouse theme in The Sea Chest. In addition, Science content standards may be addressed in the study of the natural environment and the technical aspects of lighthouse operation.

    Book Pairing

    What is it like to live at a lighthouse? Help to build students' understanding with these nonfiction books: Beacons of Light: Lighthouses by Gail Gibbons, Lighthouse: Living in a Great Lakes Lighthouse, 1910 to 1940 by Megan O'Hara, and Women of the Lights by Candace Fleming.

    Find Out More

    About the Author: Students may wonder what life experiences led Toni Buzzeo to write an adoption story. Read more about her childhood, and view photographs, at her website at

    About Teaching about Lighthouses: Explore the topic of lighthouse teaching from the links on the author's webpage at

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    Happy Halloween! Students love this fall holiday; take advantage of it! You'll find everything from costume patterns and printable Halloween masks to counting activities and vocabulary lessons.

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    Election season is here! Help your students understand the process of our national elections (held on Tuesday, November 8), from the President down to local representatives, with our election activities. Read short biographies of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), explore mock election ideas, create presidential trading cards, learn election vocabulary, play election bingo and more!

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