Caps for Sale

Focus Story
Caps for Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina

Monkeys in a Tree


 Day 1

    Old Favorites: Reread charts/poems from previous stories.

    Prior Knowledge: (Before beginning this week's focus story, send home a note to families requesting that they let their child bring/wear their favorite cap to school on this day.) Let each child use a complete sentence to state why that particular hat is their favorite.  Have students sort the type of caps that they wore to school today (by color, by sports teams, by logos/emblems, etc.)  Discuss different reasons for why we wear caps.

    New Story: Introduce title, author and illustrator; Show the cover and discuss what a 'peddler' is and what the peddler might be selling.  Take a picture walk being sure to discuss what is happening in each of the pictures. Below are some sample questions to get you started..

    • How would you describe the peddler's caps? (color, number of each, all together)
    • Show how you would have to walk with that many caps on your head.
    • Where is the man going?  What is he doing?
    • Do you think it is safe for him to sleep with all those caps on his head?  What might happen?
    • What do you notice that is different about the peddler when he wakes up?
    • What do you think happened to the other caps?  Why?
    • Where are his caps?  How many monkeys are there? How many caps?
    • What do you think the peddler will do?
    • How could he get his caps back?  How would you get your caps back?
    • What is the peddler doing?
    • What do you notice the monkeys doing?

    Make sure to stop the picture walk right after monkeys shake their fingers back at the peddler.  Ask students to predict what they think will happen next; Read aloud for enjoyment and to see how the peddler eventually regains all of his caps.

    Companion Rhyme: Introduce the companion poem 'Monkeys, Monkeys' (See below); Read together and and let students manipulate the caps and color words.

    Monkeys Monkeys Chart Photo

    (Words and activity for 'Monkey, Monkey' are taken from
    Building Literacy With Interactive Charts by Schlosser and Phillips Scholastic:1992)

Day 2

    Story: Reread Caps for Sale, encouraging students to join in on the repetitive parts. (They also greatly enjoy being the monkeys and copying the actions of the peddler!); Show students the 'sound monkeys' hanging from the trees (below).  Ask students to name the pictures.  You may wish to either have students sort the pictures by how many sounds they hear in each word or choose two pictures to focus on and ask students which one has the most sounds.

    Sound Monkeys Photo


    Picture Name


    Number of Sounds


    /t/ /i/



    /l/ /o/ /g/



    /t/ /o/ /p/



    /n/ /e/ /s/ /t/


    (The idea and clip art for this activity originated from the book Phonemic Awareness Activities For Early Reading Success by Wiley Blevins. (Scholastic, 1997). ISBN 0-590-37231-9.)

    Companion Rhyme: Reread 'Monkeys, Monkeys', letting students manipulate the caps and color words similar to yesterday.

    Companion Story: Introduce the companion story Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree. (Who do you see? Who are the monkeys teasing this time? Do you think that is wise to do?); Read the story aloud for enjoyment.


Day 3

    Story: Reread Caps for Sale, encouraging students to join in on the repetitive parts.   Show students pictures from the story.  Review the story, having students work together to sequence pictures from the story to show what happened first, second, third, next, etc. (I found sequence pictures in an old Frank Schaffer book. I do not have the title or publication date. However, here is the information that I do have...Frank Schaffer Publications FS-1006 Literature Library, Vol.6, K-1.); Continue work with the 'sound monkeys' from yesterday.

    Companion Story: Reread the story Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree, encouraging students to read with you.; Introduce the Five Little Monkey retelling chart 'Little Monkeys' (See below.).  Let students manipulate the monkeys and number words.

    Little Monkeys Counting Chart Photo

    (The idea for the 'Little Monkeys' is found  in
    Building Literacy With Interactive Charts
    by Schlosser and Phillips Scholastic:1992.
    The book also contains the reproducible monkeys.)

Day 4

    Story: Let students act out Caps for Sale! You will need one peddler and a lot of monkeys!; Have students work together to match up monkeys and their corresponding rhyming bananas. (See below.)

    Monkey Rhyme Match Photo

      (Monkey and banana reproducibles can be found in
      The Best of the Mailbox: Learning Centers for Preschool and Kindergarten.
      (The Education Center, 1996) ISBN 1-56234-149-9)


    Companion Story: Reread the  Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree retelling chart 'Little Monkeys.'


Day 5

    Story: Let students act out Caps for Sale! You will need one peddler and a lot of monkeys! (similar to yesterday)

    Companion Story: Reread the  Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree retelling chart 'Little Monkeys.', Have students mask letters such as u, q, c, t, m and small words such as 'up', 'in', 'as', 'can', 'be'.


Banana Line
Related Read Aloud Stories/Poems

Focus Story: Caps for Sale by Esphyr SlobodkinaMonkey in Tree
Companion Story: Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree by Eileen Christelow
Companion Poem: 'Monkeys, Monkeys'

Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car by Eileen Christelow
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Five Little Monkeys With Nothing To Do by Eileen Christelow
Don't Wake Up Mama! by Eileen Christelow
Curious George (series) by Margret and  H. A. Rey
Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra
Monkey See Monkey Do by Marc Gave
Monkey See, Monkey Do : An Animal Exercise Book for You! by Anita Holsonback
Monkeys by Susan Canizares
Monkeys and Apes: A First Discovery Book by Gallimard Jeunesse and Janes Prunier


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Possible Cross Curricular Connections


    1) Create a scene from a favorite 'monkey' story (write and illustrate)
    2) Make a monkey paper bag puppet
    3) Create different types of caps and hats (related to careers or just for fun!)


    1) Learn the name and value of different coins (up to 50 cents) - How many pennies (nickels, dimes, quarters) would it take to make 50 cents?
    2) Make monkey patterns (See below.)

    Pattern Monkeys Photo
    (The above monkeys were copied from The Mailbox Superbook for K. (The Education Center, 1998).  ISBN 1-56234-196-0)


    1) Word Family Focus 'ap'
    2) Sight Word Focus 'the'
    3) Create a predictable chart for 'I can sell______.' or 'A ___ sells _____.'; rhyme
    4) Sequence

Social Studies:

    1) Discuss the peddler's job and other types of jobs
    2) Learn about wants and needs and ways to earn money


    1) Learn about real monkeys!


    1) Play a 'Monkey See, Monkey Do'  game. Place all student names in a cap.  Pull out one name card  and let the student stand in front of the class and perform an action.  Then let all other students chant, "Peddler, peddler, who do you see?"  The 'peddler' or student in front chants back, "I see monkeys  ______ing just like me!"  Then all students (monkeys) begin copying the peddler's  actions a set number of times!


    1) Make and eat banana treats (see Mrs. Williamsons's Monkey Unit below for recipes)


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Related  Resources

Fingerprint Monkeys and Monkey Pops -ideas from Delightful Learning
Caps For Sale Printables Pack - free from Homeschool Creations
Ten Little Monkey Rebus Rhyme- from Enchanted Learning
Caps For Sale Ideas - posted by Jill Davis on the Teachers.Net Lesson Exchange


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Last Modified:10/15/14

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