Elephant Friends Lesson Plan

Academic Standards


Reading Objective:

Children will compare and contrast how elephants and people build communities.


Science Focus:

animal behavior


SEL Focus:

social awareness/responsible decision making


ELA Skills:

key details, vocabulary, text evidence, writing, compare/contrast


Page 4 Skill:

read a diagram



community, wrestle, comfort, communicate



RI.2.1 key details; RI.2.2 identify the main topic; RI.2.3 make connections; RI.2.4 determine meanings of words; RI.2.5 use text features; RI.2.8 support author’s points; RI.2.10 read informational texts; SL.2.1 collaborative conversations; SL.2.3 ask and answer questions; W.2.2 expository writing


Guided Reading Level:



Lexile level:


Provide students with some background on elephants.

Build background knowledge (10 min.)

Watch our video "All About Elephants." After children have finished watching the video, discuss the following question:

  • What is one new thing you learned about elephants?

Preview vocabulary (3 min.)

Next, play the online vocabulary slideshow. This issue’s featured words are community, wrestle, comfort, and communicate..

Set a purpose for reading (5 min.)

  • Pass out the issue, and discuss the cover. How do kids think elephants and people are the same and different?
  • Next, read the As You Read prompt on the cover: “Think about how elephants and people are alike.” Encourage children to think about this prompt as they read.

Read together (20 min.)

Pass out the Read and Think printable. Use it to check comprehension as you read the issue together, pausing to ask the questions. 

Assessment: Reading Quiz 

Pass out the Reading Quiz to review key concepts from the issue and assess students’ proficiency on key nonfiction reading skills.

  • Use the online game show to gauge comprehension and reinforce the issue’s content. Students can play by themselves or in teams. For each question they answer correctly, they win a point.

You can use our printable worksheets to focus on ELA skills. Here’s how.

ELA Focus: Vocabulary (15 min.)

  • Use the Word Work printable to deepen students’ understanding of the words community, urban, suburban, and rural.

Editor’s Pick: A Letter From Norbert Know-It-All (15 min.)

  • Introduce our beloved character, Norbert Know-It-All! Norbert doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does. Print out his letter and put it in an envelope addressed to your class.
  • Then read the letter aloud. Norbert says he’s an “expert” on elephants, but students will disagree! They can write their own letter proving him wrong and send it to [email protected]. Norbert will write back!

ELA Focus: Compare/Contrast (15 min.)

  • The Building Community skill sheet lets kids compare and contrast elephant communities with classroom communities.

 Here are two past issues you can use to extend your lesson on classroom community:

You can find a higher-Lexile-level and a lower-Lexile-level version of the article online here:

  • Higher Lexile level: 500L
  • Lower Lexile level: 310L