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Buttons through the Ages: Is the Newer Really Always Better?

Christine A. Elmore

Contents of Curriculum Unit 11.02.01:

To Guide Entry


Does everything get better in time as most people—including children, so prone to obsession with the latest innovations in entertainment technology—seem to assume? That will be the underlying question guiding my students' exploration of the history of buttons. Buttons, I will inform my young learners, have not always been used to merely fasten clothes. In fact, the way they look, the functions they have had and the materials out of which they have been made have gone through many interesting transformations. They do have a past and their history has much to teach us about the lives and the times of people who lived before us. A primary objective of this curriculum-unit will be to broaden my first-graders' perspective as we learn, through our study of buttons, that everything has a past and that we can trace historical links to find out their rich heritage. Things don't just emerge out of nothing.

Even my little first-graders are highly influenced by today's consumer mentality that dictates that 'newer is better' as they experience the rapid changes taking place in the world of technology and communication (wii, gameboy, x-box, DS, etc.). They assume that the newest thing on the market is better without examining its actual nature or its impact on the quality of our lives. (Do cell phones really enhance our relationships with others?) I would like to counter this prevalent idea that newer is better and have my students discover that, in reality, as time passes many things often degenerate. This can be done quite nicely through our exploration of buttons. Over time they have changed markedly and by the 19th century a plastic variety was being mass-produced and buttons were no longer prized as the miniature works of art that they used to be.

There is a real challenge involved in teaching history to young children who are just emerging readers. Clearly it is not the same challenge as teaching high school students who bring more literacy skills and experience to their learning. For first-graders you need to use concrete items such as buttons themselves that young learners can see and touch and explore. Well-written picture books, both fiction and non-fiction, are also essential to making history come alive for them. Since my young students have a limited ability to deal with time, one purpose of my instruction will be to make the past seem real and not just seem like some vague meaningless abstraction. Another purpose will be to help them build insights into their own lives where they can see how the past actually illuminates the present.

I am a first-grade teacher at Davis Street Arts & Academics Interdistrict Magnet School. The self-contained class of students to whom I will be teaching this unit are a heterogeneous group with varying abilities within the 5-to-7-year-old age range. Although I have designed this unit with them in mind, I am confident that it could easily be adapted for use by teachers in other primary and intermediate grades as well.

My curriculum unit will be interdisciplinary in scope, incorporating history, reading, writing, geography and art. My students will work in both small- and large-group settings on the activities included in this unit. The unit lessons will be implemented twice a week for a period of 40-60 minutes over a 3-month period. I plan to divide my curriculum-unit into five sections, in each of which I will employ the use of children's literature in an effort to engage them and enhance their learning. The sections are:

Section 1: Teaching History to Children

Section 2: Button Exploration

Section 3: Comparing Buttons: Is the Newer Always the Better?

Section 4: Buttons and Fashion Through Time

Section 5: Bringing It Altogether: A Descriptive Report on Buttons

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Connecticut First Grade Content Standards for History

The development of my unit has been guided by the following standards:

CT.1. Domain/Content Standard: History: Historical Thinking: Students will develop historical thinking skills, including chronological thinking and recognizing change over time.

1.4. State Framework: Identify the main idea in a source of historical information.

1.7. State Framework: Create timelines which sequence events and peoples, using days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries.

CT.4. Domain/Content Standard: History: Applying History: Students will recognize the continuing importance of historical thinking and historical knowledge in their own lives and in the world in which they live.

4.4. State Framework: Exhibit curiosity and pose questions about the past when presented with artifacts, records or other evidence of the past.

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Content Objectives

To learn that history is a progression of events often having a cause and effect relationship.

To develop historical thinking skills, including chronological thinking and recognizing change over time.

To view the past as real rather than as some vague meaningless abstraction.

To build insights into one's own life to be able to see how the past actually illuminates the present.

To learn about the history of buttons, the materials they have been made from and how they have been used in fashion throughout the ages.

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Teaching Strategies

To organize learned information about buttons on charts and graphic organizers.

To gain an understanding of unit content through discussion with others.

To use inquiry notebooks to organize information and to review what my students have learned.

To learn about cause and effect through the use of games and written activities.

To develop a familiarity with geography and a spatial sense of history through the use of world maps.

To understand how history connects the present with the past by creating an autobiographical timeline.

To analyze the impact that certain events had on the button industry through the use of maps, graphic organizers and timelines.

To make text-to-world connections about the past by viewing and analyzing the data on a large T-chart.

To compare fashion in men's and women's clothing through the ages, particularly noting the extent to which buttons were used, by examining photographs and pictures taken from various sources.

To learn about the use of buttons from the past to the present through the use of children's literature.

To create a whole-class descriptive report together that will serve to classify and present facts that explain buttons, their use and origin.

Section I: Teaching History to Children

Teaching history to young children really can be successfully undertaken when the proper methods and teaching tools are employed. It is all a matter of making history come alive for them. First-graders have a limited ability to deal with time. After all, they have only been alive for five or six years and conceiving of century-long time spans may appear daunting to them at first. Using the right tools, however, will make this task much easier.

We will begin our study by considering the question, What is history? After writing down my young learners' ideas, I will guide them to the understanding that history is a story, a progression of events, and each one of us has one. In an effort to make this concept more meaningful I will begin with an activity that requires my students to think about what a typical school day looks like for them in one- and two-hour increments. In each box they will draw a picture of what they routinely do during that time period. The chart might look like this:

They will use their chart to refer to as they detail their daily activities with a partner. From there we will move on to a whole-group activity where a chart of memorable school experiences, month by month, is created. This activity will help them develop a view of history as a sequence of events in time. Such a chart might look like this:

Sitting in a discussion circle, students will share their ideas, recalling the events and specific memorable details. They will also be asked to try to see the interconnectedness of some of the events as well as see some of the changes they as a class have undergone as the year has progressed.

To help my students build a clearer understanding of time and chronology I will hold a discussion where the following questions will be asked:

What is time?

How do animals measure time (i.e., hibernation, life cycles, nocturnal animal habits)?

How do people measure time (i.e., seasons, birthdays, anniversaries)?

Why do we need to divide time into hours or days or months?

This is a fitting time to describe and define the terms: minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade and century. Knowledge of these terms, especially the last three, are important as we begin our use of timelines. I will also introduce transition words and phrases that relate to time like: before, after, first, next, finally, during, as a result, and encourage students to use these words in our discussions and in their writing about events.

The timeline is a very valuable teaching tool that helps students create a sense of how history connects the present with the past. It also helps them remember important events and it gives them some sense of development and of cause and effect. The first timeline I will use with be autobiographical in nature and will cover a span of 5-6 years for my students. Parents will be asked to help them fill out a planning organizer together like the one below, filling it with memorable events in one column and the age the child was at the time in the other:

Once the organizer is completed, students will transfer the information onto a six-box timeline template as featured in the book Mini-Lessons for Teaching About Nonfiction by Diane Farhnam, Paula Jensvold and Brigid Kulhowvick (p. 71). On this template made of cardstock, students will plot the dates, write one-sentence event descriptions and draw pictures that match each event. Students will share their personal histories in class. See Lesson Plan I for specific details.

A second timeline will display 20th century toys and games starting at 1900 and ending at 2002. (To access this information, go to www.factmonster.com). For this activity I will use a wall timeline format using a series of sentence strips arranged horizontally, one below the other on a wall of the classroom. Entries will include the following:

1900 baseball cards

1901 ping pong

1902 teddy bear

1909 jigsaw puzzle

1918 raggedy ann doll

1929 yo-yo

1933 monopoly

1943 chutes and ladders

1944 silly putty

1946 tonka trucks

1949 candyland

1957 frisbee

1959 barbie doll

1960 toy trolls

1975 skateboarding

1983 cabbage patch kinds doll

1986 american girl doll

1989 teenage mutant ninja turtles

1990 rollerblading

1994 beanie babies

1966 tickle me elmo

1998 rescue heroes

2002 yu-gi-oh starter deck

On the timeline the specific year will be plotted and I will ask individuals to go up, locate the year and tape the photo I have made of the toy/game under that year. Discussion questions will include:

Name something that kids still use today.

Why are baseball cards and Barbie dolls still popular today?

What toys do both boys and girls like?

Which games require a lot of skill?

Which games can you play alone?

Why are trolls no longer popular with kids today?

Name some toys that kids your age like today. How are they different from the toys and games on this timeline?

What do games and toys tell you about kids during that time period?

Other effective visuals that I will use in this unit are world maps, which provide children with both a familiarity with geography and a spatial sense of history, and photographs, which make things appear more real. My instruction will also be greatly enhanced by the use of children's literature, which will help them foster an interest in the past. By using such visuals the teacher can make the teaching of history both stimulating and memorable.

Hands-on participation piques children's interest and helps increase retention of ideas and so the class will also be engaged in button sorting activities and games and they will have fun making buttons of our own. In the next section we will begin our study of buttons through exploration.

Section 2: Button Exploration

It is through inquiry that we begin our exploration of the button. Sitting in our discussion circle, I will ask the following thought-provoking questions:

Why were buttons invented?

What do you know about buttons?

Why didn't people stop using buttons when the zipper was invented?

Following our discussion I will chart their ideas using the RAN (Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction) strategy developed by Tony Stead in his book, Reality Checks (p. 17-19). The chart will look like this:

Charting the information in this way allows us to confirm true facts that we encounter in our readings and add new information as we find it. It also leaves space for our own questions that arise throughout our study of buttons.

In the next activity I will read the book entitled Grandma's Button Box by Linda Williams Abe to my class. In this story the children set out to organize all the buttons accidentally spilled from their grandmother's button box. They end up sorting them in different ways, by shape, color and size. Several extension questions/statements that I will include are:

Would you have sorted Grandma's buttons in a different way?

What did you learn about buttons from this story?

Do you have a favorite button at home? Describe it.

Buttons can actually tell us a lot about a person. Keep this idea in mind as we continue our study.

Button Sorting

We will move to a more hands-on activity next. I will give each student a large handful of plastic buttons and ask that he/she sort them in different ways. I will then chart their findings on a matrix with such headings as color, shape, size and number of holes. A smaller facsimile of this chart will be given to each student and they will be asked to illustrate the possibilities under each heading. In a second activity students will create color-shape patterns with their buttons, a skill that they are very familiar with past math lessons.

Buttons Games

Students form a circle with one sitting blindfolded in the center. A large button is passed around from hand to hand while the group chants, "Round and round and round it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows." The student in the center yells stop at some random point and everyone closes both hands, pretending they have the button. The student removes the blindfold and looks carefully around the circle. He/she has three chances to guess correctly who is holding the button. The student holding the button then shows the button to everyone, gives it to a nearby classmate and proceeds to sit in the center for the next round.

Two other games we will play are included in the book entitled Button, Button, Who's Got the Button? by Hajo Bücken. The first is called 'Memory Button' where the teacher displays some buttons on a plate and allows the students to look at them carefully for about a minute. Then she covers them and asks students to try to describe what they saw in terms of number, shapes, color, etc. The second game is called 'Button Tower' where each student tries to build a tower of buttons that won't fall down. This activity requires patience and a steady hand.

A final activity for this section will be the actual making of buttons in two ways: 1) using polymer clay and 2) using dried skimmed milk powder and vinegar. See Lesson Plan 2 for details.

I plan to create a larger, more varied button collection by tapping two sources, parents and sewing notions stores. Working with larger assortments that include other materials will provide an ideal segue into our study of what buttons have been made of throughout history in Section 3.

Section 3: Comparing Buttons: Is the Newer Always the Better?

I will begin this section by asking my students to recall the different kinds of buttons that they have used in the sorting activities in class and list as many materials as they can that have been used to make buttons. Each child will compare his/her list with a partner and then contribute ideas for our class chart. After looking at the varieties shown in Joyce Whittemore's book, The Book of Buttons, I will ask:

How did people decide which materials they would use to make buttons?

Why did people stop using some materials?

What materials would you use for buttons on a pair of jeans, a wedding dress, a winter coat and a pair of pajamas? Why?

To provide more factual information on the history of button material, I will display the following facts on a large timeline:

As I refer to the large wall timeline displaying button material use, I will also make use of

a large world map to point out the countries being referred to. I will ask my class to explain how they think news of button fashion spread during the time periods when there were no televisions or radios.

Before considering some of the events that impacted the button industry, it will be essential to help my young learners to better grasp the whole notion of cause and effect. I have designed questions throughout this unit that ask my students to consider why something has happened. I will begin with a visual activity to make my point. After lining up a series of dominoes, I will ask a student to give the first one in line a push and we will watch the effect it has on the rest. This activity will clearly show them the effect that one force can have on something. We will then play a game called 'Cause and Effect Toss' (which can be found on www.learnwhatsup.com) where students sit in a large circle and one student, holding a Nerf ball, says the first part of a cause and effect sentence like, When it started to rain… and tosses the ball to a second student in the circle who has to complete the sentence. This game continues with different players and sentences. If a student gets stuck, another student can offer to help out. Some other samples are:

He did not study for the test so…

A heavy snowstorm hit the city so…

Mary spilled the milk all over the floor so…

The farmer planted the seeds in his garden and after a few weeks…

The baby was sleeping so…

The traffic light turned red so…

I had a big toothache so---

There is a delightful animation on youtube.com demonstrating the cause and effect relationship entitled The Butterfly Effect. In it a cat, who has been eyeing a flying butterfly from his position on a couch for quite a while, finally leaps on top of a framed wall picture in a effort to catch the butterfly and ends up knocking the picture off the wall and a large cactus plant over onto the floor all in one fateful leap. Needless to say, the butterfly escapes unscathed. This animation, (The Butterfly Effect, clavisimo on youtube.com) created by Niv Bronstein, is cleverly accompanied by the theme song from the movie, The Pink Panther.

I will then turn to children's literature to further clarify this concept for the children. (Laura Numeroff has written a number of delightful books where one funny action leads to another I will use her classic story entitled If You Give a Mouse A Cookie in a lesson on cause and effect, along with a graphic organizer on which to record the various events (which can be found in detail in Lesson Plan 3).

To demonstrate the cause and effect relationship of historical events pertaining to the button industry, I will list the following events in the left column of a large T-chart labeled 'Causes' and ask my class to consider what effects they might have had on which materials were used to make buttons (recording students' ideas in the right column labeled 'Effects'.

During the late 1700s buttons began to be made in factories.

People found that it is easier and cheaper to use plastic to make buttons during the Industrial Revolution.

The divers in the South Pacific Islands began to charge more for their dangerous work and the price of mother of pearls increased.

Glass button factory workers complained of hot, unpleasant working conditions.

People passed laws to protect endangered animals like the elephant, whale and tortoise, whose body parts were often used to make buttons.

It is during these discussions that I will introduce inquiry notebooks in which my students will begin to take notes and write down (with my guidance) important ideas about buttons and their history. In these notebooks they will include pictures, diagrams and graphic organizers to display the information in ways that they can understand and which will serve as a tool for review of what they have learned. I will pattern this notebook after the 'super sleuth detective notebook found on the website, http://pbskids.org. which includes pages titled evidence collector, fact chart, question collector and summarizer. As we compare photos of buttons from different time periods, we will consider the question, Is the newer always the better? One conclusion we will discover is that beauty and individuality in button-making has been sacrificed for the sake of economy and efficiency. The exquisite hand-painted button has been largely replaced by the four-holed, purely functional plastic button.

We will learn in the next section that the button has gone through many changes through the years.

Section 4: Buttons and Fashion Through Time


The button (from the French bouton) can be traced to prehistoric times and was used strictly as decoration until the Roman Empire when it became valued as a superior fastener to loops, ties and sashes. Initially it was cigar-shaped but later became round and varied in size, in the 16th century being quite small, but later in the 17th and 18th centuries becoming larger. It primarily took the form of a disk with a shank on the back that was sewed onto cloth. What made it such a versatile ornament was the fact that on this disk, paintings, carvings and embroidery could be placed. These buttons were cherished as small works of art and worn proudly. But, as Bethanne Kelly Patrick asserts in her book, An Uncommon History of Common Things, "buttons did not simply change the decoration of clothing; they changed the entire shape of clothing" (p.178). Clothes could now be more form-fitting. In addition, such fasteners also made it possible for clothing to stay on more securely. Interestingly, in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, buttons were featured primarily on men's clothing. It wasn't until the 19th century that women began to wear buttons more frequently.

Buttons effectively advertised a person's station in life. According to Carolyn L. White in her book, American Artifacts of Personal Adornment, 1680-1820, buttons "have great potential for understanding not only what people wore in the past but also what was communicated through appearance" (p. 50). A few examples will serve to make this point more clear. The peasantry in 13th century France were forbidden from using the beautiful jeweled buttons made by the Button Makers Guild for the wealthy. Instead, their buttons had to be made of plain cloth or thread. Buttons during the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe reflected one's social and economic status. Pewter buttons, for example, came to be associated with the clothing of the working class.

It was with the discovery of the button-hole that the button industry began to flourish. The button-hole was thought to have been used by the Saracens long ago but was only brought over to Europe by the Crusaders returning home from the Middle East in the 13th century. This discovery had a great impact on fashion where the button could play a very versatile role as a fastener.

How were buttons used in clothing in different times and places? We will explore this question through the use of pictures spanning different time periods and taken from such books as Buttons by Diana Epstein, What People Wore by Douglas Gorsline, Costume by L. Rowland-Warne, Costumes of Everyday Life by Margot Lister, What People Wore When by Melissa Leventon, and A Pictorial History of Costume by Wolfgang Bruhn and Max Tilke. Students will be paired up and given copies of some of these pictures to examine closely and compare and contrast. To help guide them in their exploration I will display the following questions:

How many buttons are used?

Where are the buttons located?

Are the buttons used more for show?

Does this piece of clothing remind you of anything you know?

Student pairs will present their specific pictures of fashion to the whole group and will tape their pictures on a two-columned chart with the headings 'Fashion Then' and 'Fashion Now'. Using this chart I will ask the class to make some 'text-to-world connections' which Tony Stead warns in his previously mentioned book, Reality Checks, is more challenging because "the children need to think outside themselves to a larger world" (p.101). The type of connections I will be looking for might look like this:

It is this type of inferring, an important type of historical thinking, that I will be asking my students to do.

As we view the differences in the way buttons looked and the ways they were used in fashion, both as decoration and as purely functional fasteners, I will ask the question: Is the newer product always the better?

There are three different pieces of children's literature that I plan to use in this section. The first is entitled The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid. In this book the reader learns something about the history of buttons and how they were used in fashion from different time periods both as fasteners and as ornamentation. They will see the varied shapes and sizes that exist as well as the different materials that were used to make them. The second book, entitled Buttons by Brock Cole, is a charming tale about a silly man who eats so much that he bursts his britches and all of the buttons fall into the fire. His three daughters go on a quest to find new buttons for him. This book is a perfect vehicle from which to discuss the utilitarian use of buttons and how fashion reflected the times where men wore britches and zippers were nonexistent. As an extension activity I will ask my students to design a piece of clothing suitable for kids nowadays on which buttons are used either as fasteners or as decoration. These drawing will be displayed on our 'high fashion' bulletin board.

A third book that I plan to use entitled Buttons for General Washington by Peter and Connie Roop, details how buttons were used during war time as containers. In this story, John, a young patriot, carries secret messages to George Washington in his coat buttons. Another name for this type of button is camouflaged buttons whose purposes are detailed in Lillian Smith Albert and Jane Ford Adams' book entitled The Button Sampler. For example, soldiers during the Civil War hid gold coins inside these buttons to use as ransom should they be caught; soldiers in World War I hid two-picture lockets of loved ones; and soldiers in World War II hid compasses to use should they be caught behind enemy lines. (pp. 18-20) One fun extension activity that I will use involves asking the students to write secret messages to their classmates that could be stored in such buttons.

Section 5: Bringing It Altogether

The culminating activity for this unit will begin as a whole-class investigation of the button and the final form will be a class big book. Tony Stead in his book Is That A Fact? describes the process in detail (p. 115-121). For our purposes I will offer a brief description:

Step 1: Collecting Information

Students will bring the information they have included in their inquiry notebooks to the discussion circle.

Step 2 Sorting the Information

I will chart their ideas categorizing them under 4 headings: Use, Shapes, Events and Forces That Have Changed Buttons, and Buttons in Fashion.

Step 3: Writing and Illustrating

With my guidance these ideas will then be written by the students in sentences on sentence strips. Each student will be given one sentence strip and a large piece of manila paper to illustrate on.

Step 4: Publishing

These completed pages will be laminated and bound in a big book entitled 'The Wonderful World of Buttons' and will be shared in class and perhaps the larger school population as well. This whole-class descriptive report will serve to classify and present facts that explain buttons, their use and origin.

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Lesson Plan 1

Objective: To create an autobiographical timeline of important events in your life using both month- and year-intervals.

Materials: chart paper, a thick marker, a two-columned planning organizer, a time-line template, white cardstock paper, pencils and crayons.


1) The teacher will model the use of the planning organizer on chart paper by recording 6 of his/her own memorable life events and when they occurred in the two columns with the headings, What Happened and When Did It Happen.

2) Students will take home blank versions of this planning organizer with directions asking that parents work with them on coming up with 5 important life events, when they occurred, and their birthdate to list on the graphic organizer.

3) The teacher will then model how to transfer these events onto the 6-blocked template (on chart paper) that might look like this:

4) Students will use a piece of white cardstock paper on which the template has been copied to make their timelines. They will transfer the information from the organizer to the template. After writing a brief sentence describing each event, along with their age when it occurred, they will draw a picture to match the event. The teacher will ensure that the events have been listed left to right in proper sequence and that the words and pictures match.

4) Students will present their autobiographical timelines to the class, answering any questions their classmates may ask. These timelines will later be displayed in the room.

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Lesson Plan 2

Objective: To make buttons in two different ways using different materials.

Polymer clay buttons

Materials: different colors of polymer clay (i.e., Premo or Fimo), a rolling pin, threading spools, plastic knife, textured objects (i.e., buttons or beads), toothpicks, parchment paper and a clean work surface.


1) Cover your work surface with parchment paper. Soften the clay by rolling a section of it in your hands several times.

2) Flatten the piece of clay using a rolling pin, peeling it off between each roll to prevent sticking. Roll it to a thickness of 1/8 inch.

3) Use a thread spool or a plastic knife to cut your button shapes, smoothing down the sides. Avoid over-handling it.

4) Press into the clay shape with a textured object such as another button or textured bead.

5) Poke some holes into your buttons using a toothpick. Insert the toothpick and twirl it around a few times. Get rid of any excess clay caused by this poking.

6) Bake on the parchment paper at 265 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour to ensure proper curing.

Sticky Milk Buttons

Materials: a box of dried skimmed milk powder, white vinegar, long handled spoon, coffee filter paper, 2 clean empty jars, toothpicks, aluminum foil


1) Mix 2 tablespoons of dried skimmed milk powder with ½ cup of hot water (60 degrees Centigrade) in a jar.

2) Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and stir well. This mixture should curdle. Let it stand for about 3 minutes. You will notice that the solid and the liquid will start to separate.

3) After covering the top of the other jar with a coffee filter paper, pour the milk/vinegar mixture into the filter.

4) Discard the liquid but keep the solid residue on the coffee filter paper.

5) Take a lump of the solid residue and press it into a thin layer, moulding it by hand into the desired button shape.

6) Use a toothpick to make the holes in your button.

7) Place the buttons on a piece of aluminum foil and allow to dry overnight.

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Lesson Plan 3

Objective: To learn about the relationship between cause and effect by recording and retelling the events in sequence of the book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff.

Materials: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, chart paper, large black marker, red, black and blue dry erase markers, cause and effect graphic organizer, pencils, pocket chart, picture cards.


1) The teacher asks students the question: How many of you have heard your parents say to you, "If you finish your homework, then you can go play outside." "If you clean your room, then we can go shopping at the mall." Record these two sentences on the whiteboard and underline the first part in red and explain that this part tells about something that might happen. Label it cause. Then underline the second part of the sentence in blue and explain that this part tells what might happen because the first part happened. Label it effect.

2) Have students complete the following sentences orally: If you study hard for your test, you will____________________. If you water a seed that you planted every day, it will ____________________. Have individuals identify the cause and the effect.

3) Introduce the book, If You Give a Mouse A Cookie, by reading the first line, "If you give a mouse a cookie, __________ and ask students to complete it with their own ideas, making predictions about the story.

4) Read the entire book to the class. Then, pass out copies of a 16-boxed graphic organizer (where one box follows another from left to right and each box is followed by an arrow pointing forward) and together have students recall the things the mouse wanted (cookie, milk, straw, napkin, mirror, scissors, broom, mop, bucket, little box, pillow, story, paper, crayons, pen, tape). Display picture cards of the items on a pocket chart and ask individual students to come up to put them in order from left to right.

5) Referring to the pocket chart, record the names of each object, one by one, in order on your large chart paper version of the graphic organizer from which the students will copy onto theirs. Discuss the impact of each event and what led to the next.

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Teacher Bibliography

Albert, Lillian Smith & Jane Ford Adams. The Button Sampler. New York: M. Barrows

and Company, Inc., Publishers, 1951. Through text and picture, the authors describe in fascinating detail the different kinds of buttons and their history. There are some very interesting tidbits on button lore.

Bücken, Hajo. Button, Button, Who's Got the Button? Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1986. A great teacher resource offering a wealth of fun button games and activities for children to play.

Bruhn, Wolfgang & Max Tilke. A Pictorial History of Costume. New York: Arch Cape Press, 1988. A comprehensive survey of costume of all periods and peoples from antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century. The plates of figures dressed in period clothing are in both color and black and white.

Couse, L. Erwina & Marguerite Maple. Button Classics. Chicago: Lightner Publisher Co., 1941. This valuable reference book offers a large collection of buttons, categorized, described and photographed in almost exact size.

Epstein, Diana. Buttons. New York: Walker and Company, 1968. Through interesting text and black and white photographs, the author, a button expert, provides a detailed history and description of buttons across the ages.

--. The Button Book. Philadelphia: Running Press Book Publishers, 1996. In this miniature book the author delights us with detailed descriptions of buttons in the context of art, fashion and history.

Jacobson, Jennifer. Reading Response for Nonfiction: Graphic Organizers & Mini- Lessons. New York: Scholastic Teaching Resources, 2008. This excellent teacher resource book offers 20 graphic organizers to help children better comprehend nonfiction. Interactive mini-lessons precede each organizer.

Farhham, Diane, Paula Jensvold & Brigid Kulhowvick. Mini-Lessons for Teaching About

Nonfiction. New York: Scholastic Teaching Resources, 2007. This valuable teacher resource offers many effective strategies on how to teach young students to read and write informational texts.

Gorsline, Douglas. What People Wore. New York: Bonanza Books, 1951. This rich resource book includes thousands of black and white illustrations surveying changing fashions in clothing styles from ancient times up to the early 20th century.

Luscomb, Sally C. The Collector's Encyclopedia of Buttons. New York: Crown

Publishers, Inc., 1967. This definitive reference book offers an excellent introduction to the world of buttons. The author describes over 3000 buttons in this book!

Leventon, Melissa (ed.). What People Wore When. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2008.

An invaluable reference book covering the broad span of the history of costume, combining current research on costume through the ages with exquisite illustrations by Auguste Racinet and Friedrich Hottenroth.

Lister, Margot. Costumes of Everyday Life. London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1972. This wonderful resource book focuses on the working attire of people of lower rank primarily in Britain and France from 900-1910. The black and white drawings show each costume in minute detail.

Patrick, Bethanne & John Thompson. An Uncommon History of Common Things. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2009. Through vivid illustrations, concise descriptions, timelines and sidebars this compendium describes customs, notions and inventions throughout history.

Peacock, Primrose. Discovering Old Buttons. Oxford: Shire Publications Ltd., 2008.

This miniature book, a great resource for button collectors, outlines the history of buttons and describes the many types that exist. Fascinating information about buttons can be found in the section on fasteners.

Stead, Tony. Is That a Fact? Teaching Nonfiction Writing K-3. Portland, Maine:

Stenhouse Publishers, 2002. This invaluable teacher resource focuses on strategies for teaching nonfiction writing to young children. Don't leave home without it!

--. Reality Checks: Teaching Reading Comprehension with Nonfiction K-5. Portland, Maine, Stenhouse Publishers, 2006. Another invaluable teacher resource by the same author that offers a wealth of strategies for teaching young learners reading comprehension using nonfiction.

White, Carolyn L. American artifacts of Personal Adornment, 1680-1820. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005. A comprehensive guide to the identification and interpretation of items of personal adornment (such as buttons) in America from 1680-1820. It is well-researched and well-written.

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Student Bibliography

Aber, Linda Williams. Grandma's Button Box. New York: The Kane Press, 2002. A delightful children's book recounting the grandchildren's frantic efforts to sort and arrange their grandmother's button box after accidentally causing it to spill its contents of colorful buttons.

Cole, Brock. Buttons. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. A silly but engaging picture book about a father whose bulging tummy causes him to burst the buttons on his britches. His daughters rush to his aid, going on separate quests to find suitable buttons to replace the lost ones.

Davenport, Millia. The Book of Costume (vols. I & II). New York: Crown Publishers,

1948. Theis children's book recounts the history of fashions through time giving detailed descriptions of clothing. The photographs are excellent.

Elgin, Kathy. A History of Fashion and Costume Volume 3 Elizabethan England. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. This engaging children's book examines the development of costume and fashion in Elizabethan England.

Numeroff, Laura Joffe. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1985. This is a charming picture book for children that can be used very effectively to teach sequence of events and cause and effect.

Reid, Margarette S. The Button Box. New York: Puffin Books, 1990. A charming picture book recounting the pleasures a young boy has going through the button box of his grandmother. This is a great book to use as an introduction to the variety of buttons that exist and the many materials that they have been made of.

Roop, Peter and Connie. Buttons for General Washington. Minneapolis: Millbrook

Press, 1986. This historical fiction book for young readers recounts the story of a brave young boy who carried encoded messages in his jacket buttons to General Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Warne-Rowland, L. Costume. New York: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2000. This Eyewitness book for children offers a fascinating overview of clothing, focusing on European trends.

Whittemore, Joyce. The Book of Buttons. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1992. This children's book provides a concise history of buttons along with interesting descriptions and beautiful photographs of buttons made from different materials and from different eras.

Williams, Rozanne Lanczak. Buttons Buttons. Cypress, California: Creative Teaching Press, Inc., 1994. A very simple picture book for the very young learners, showing colorful photographs of groups of buttons sorted by color, shape and size.

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www.youtube.com. 'The Butterfly Effect', clavisimo

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Contents of 2011 Volume II | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

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