My Great Aunt Arizona
by Gloria Houston, Illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb
HarperCollins, 1992
1999 Nancy Polette

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Arizona was born in a log cabin her papa built. She grew into a tall girl who liked to sing, square-dance, and-most of all-read and dream of the faraway places she would visit one day. Arizona never did make it to those places. Instead she became a teacher, helping generations of children in the one-room schoolhouse which she herself had attended. When Arizona married and had a daughter, the baby went to school with her. For fifty-seven years Arizona taught not only reading writing and arithmetic, but how to make dreams come true even if they aren't exactly the dreams one started with.
Objectives: Students will
1. Ask questions and support answers by connecting prior knowledge with literal and inferential information.
2. Create a paragraph with a topic sentence and supporting facts and details.
3. Write descriptions that use concrete sensory details
A. Introducing Vocabulary:
Use as many words as you can in one sentence to describe the cover of the book. Add other words as needed. Cabin, meadow, creek, mountain, mailman, bridge, horse, letter, brother, apron, braids, petticoat, fiddler, barefoot, tadpole, bucket, students, lessons, village, faraway,teacher, chalkboard, sawmill, decorations.
B. Extracting Appropriate Information from the Text.
As students read the story they list three things Arizona did at home as a child and three things she did at school as a teacher. Write two verses and sing the song to the tune of London Bridge.
Arizona _______________________
Arizona _______________________
Growing up in the mountains
Arizona _______________________
Arizona _______________________
Teaching in the mountains
C.Visit the internet site: http//
to find Images of Appalachia. The student chooses one image and lists as many words as possible related to the image. Use the words to write a five senses paragraph describing the image. Include sights, sounds, tastes, smells, feelings.

D. Visit this web site: http// This site describes a day in a one room schoolhouse. Using a Venn diagram, compare this school day with a typical school day in Arizona's school.

E. Sometimes we get discouraged if we don't do as well at our lessons as we would like. If you have a friend who needs encouragement, send him or her a "Goat for It" musical card from the Blue Mountain web site at
Note: These web sites were checked for availability and readability. However, because of the changing nature of the web, if these sites are not found, direct students to to find information on Appalachia and one room schools.