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[3rd gr.] Bringing The Rain To Kapiti Plain

A cumulative rhyme relating how Ki-pat brought rain to the drought-stricken Kapiti Plain. Verna Aardema has brought the original story closer to the English nursery rhyme by putting in a cumulative refrain and giving the tale the rhythm of “The House That Jack Built.”

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain (Rise and Shine)

About the Author

Verna Aardema (1911-2000) was a highly acclaimed storyteller and the author of many books of African folktales. Her book, Who’s in Rabbit’s House?, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, was an ALA Notable Children’s Book and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 1977. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, also illustrated by the Dillons, was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1976 and was chosen as an ALA Notable Children’s Book, as was a third Aardema-Dillon collaboration, Behind the Back of the Mountain.

Speech Topic Gr. 6-8

  • Here’s what a new student needs to know about my school. 
  • Why weekends should be longer 
  • A narrow escape from trouble 
  • What I’ve broken or lost that belongs to someone else 
  • My first friend 
  • A visit to a relative’s house 
  • My chores 
  • A dedicated teacher or coach 
  • When I was lost 
  • My idea of a fun weekend 
  • A school field trip 
  • I’ve done something no one else has done. 
  • I’m principal for the day. Here’s my schedule of events. 
  • A typical lunch hour 
  • If only I would have listened! 
  • How could TV be better? 
  • My favorite neighbor 
  • My bedroom from top to bottom 
  • A memorable bus ride 
  • My best class ever 
  • My first concert 
  • Finally, a good assembly 
  • If I could be someone else, I would be . . . 
  • The most fun I’ve had recently 
  • A toy I’ve held onto all these years 
  • A trip to a space station 
  • The wildest hairstyle I’ve ever seen 
  • What’s good about hard work? 
  • A cool store 
  • Why parents should be honest with their kids 
  • Dear Senator: 
  • Why school fund-raisers are important 
  • My favorite singer(s) 
  • Rights that kids in my grade should have 
  • What a house of the future will look like 
  • My participation in an outside-of-school activity 
  • How I picture myself four years from now 
  • Can farmers grow enough food for everyone? 
  • The worst food I ever ate 
  • Summer in a cabin by a lake 
  • How I can change the way I look 
  • We couldn’t stop laughing! 
  • We got caught! 
  • A toy, stuffed animal, or game that once meant a lot to me 
  • Why I deserve a larger allowance 
  • The book that got me hooked on reading 
  • This really bugs me. 
  • One thing I want to do by the time I finish 8th grade 
  • I would like to have lived during this time in history. 

Speech Topic Gr. 9-12

  • My craziest experience in a restaurant or shopping mall
  • The hardest thing I’ve ever done
  • My first encounter with a bully
  • Let’s hear it for my favorite senior citizen.
  • The toys I’ll never give up
  • A friend who moved away
  • I couldn’t believe that my mother volunteered me for that job.
  • What if school sports were dropped?
  • Who knows me best?
  • What do I worry about?
  • My muscles were so sore after . . .
  • What do we Americans do well?
  • “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”
  • I admit it; I enjoy professional wrestling.
  • An unforgettable dream
  • My worst vacation
  • A “visit” to a hospital, doctor’s office, or dentist’s office
  • Coping with brothers and sisters
  • A typical evening at home
  • Morning madness
  • When I was a discipline problem
  • A meaningful gift I’ve given or received
  • We all make mistakes.
  • Why do I deserve the job?
  • My brother (or sister) made me so mad!
  • Hanging out
  • Something this school really needs is . . .
  • What do I do to break routine?
  • The next wave of personal communication
  • Greed
  • Alone on a desert island
  • Let’s push alternative sources of energy.
  • ______ is like a boomerang.
  • How it would feel to walk in space
  • It’s a rule, so it’s right . . . right?
  • What invention would you like to see in your lifetime?
  • Why appearance is not so important
  • How I express myself artistically
  • Is pollution a necessary evil?
  • What different colors mean to me
  • Why are soap operas so popular?
  • I take some things too seriously.
  • How do people who are in constant pain cope?
  • Is this love?
  • Foods I love, foods I hate
  • Tools I’ll need in my intended profession
  • Why are some people so cruel?
  • What animals can teach humans
  • Self-esteem
  • Sometimes, adults seem . . .
  • My dream car
  • The idea hit me like a tornado.
  • My Web site
  • If I were a superhero, I’d be . . .
  • Something this school really needs is . . .
  • What do I do to break routine?

Speech Topic Gr. 4-5

  • Staying at a friend’s house
  • A special secret place
  • What if we suddenly had to move?
  • My most embarrassing moment
  • Talk about being scared!
  • Do I want to be famous?
  • Creepy, crawly things
  • What if I were the teacher?
  • I’ll never eat another . . .
  • My biggest surprise
  • The first day of school is the worst/best.
  • A pet sitter needs special instructions to care for my pet.
  • Doing homework
  • A song that means a lot to me
  • My best day
  • A day in the life of my pet
  • I don’t understand why . . .
  • A visit to a friend’s school
  • What is important to me?
  • A terrible storm
  • Me and the outdoors
  • My first school memories
  • Building a fort
  • Going to the dentist
  • What it’s like to use a wheelchair
  • Looking at a globe
  • An excellent birthday party
  • Gone fishing!
  • Pizza is . . .
  • Why my mom and dad are the greatest
  • Getting my first pair of glasses
  • Summer games
  • What I use a computer for
  • My favorite form of exercise
  • How to stop hiccups
  • A trip in a submarine
  • A special photograph
  • Creatures that live in the ocean
  • A cartoon character I like
  • Things I see when I take a walk
  • Why I like/dislike playing team sports
  • Discovering a new friend
  • How we divide the chores at my house
  • I’d like to invent a machine that . .

Speech Topic – Gr. 3


  • Helping out around the house
  • Unusual fruits and vegetables
  • Things to do in the snow
  • A day in the desert
  • Something I wish would happen
  • What if there were no electricity?
  • Some things I like about the museum
  • My favorite board game
  • If I could fly
  • What makes me special
  •  Who is beautiful?
  •  Our classroom pet
  •  Donuts for dinner
  • My dream
  •  My homework place
  • My best birthday
  • My favorite family story
  • Magic tricks I can do
  • Amazing facts I know
  • The best house pets
  • Activities for outdoor fun
  • What I like about where I live
  • A place I’d like to visit
  • A sport I’m good at
  • Things I’d like to change
  • Book characters I’d like to meet
  • Things that are hard to believe
  • Funny things my pet has done
  • The weirdest house pets
  • Activities for indoor fun
  • A helpful person I’ve met
  • A great place to go
  • Having fun at school

Speech Topic- Gr. 2

  • Games I play with friends
  • How to make new friends
  • A joke that makes everybody laugh
  • Something funny that happened to me
  • What I know about dinosaurs
  • An important person I know about
  • Good things about my neighborhood
  • My favorite foods
  • After-school games
  • Sometimes I wish . . .
  • What I like about math
  • My new friend
  • A “knock, knock” joke
  • Words I think are funny
  • What I know about stars
  • What I know about the ocean
  • Something I don’t understand
  • Things that could be better in my neighborhood
  • Foods I don’t like
  • Games we play at recess
  • Some of my favorite books
  • A trip on a rocket ship
  • Dear George Washington,
  • The biggest bubble-gum bubble
  • Why I love to sing
  • Playing a game with Grandma
  • A day in the rain forest
  • Cooking dinner with Dad
  • My mom’s hobby
  • I like spring because . . .
  • A day at the beach
  • Losing my teeth
  • Why I like to read
  • Playing with pets
  • Eating lunch with my friends
  • Going to the circus
  • Our clubhouse
  • Learning to ride a bike
  • The last time I cried
  • Buying something with my own money
  • The funniest zoo animal
  • This person makes me laugh.
  • Going grocery shopping
  • An animal I know a lot about
  • How to make my favorite dessert

Speech topic – Gr. 1

Grade 1

  • A special birthday
  • The biggest thing I ever saw
  • What if toys could talk?
  • My shopping list
  • Big pets and small pets
  • I’m happy when . . .
  • How plants grow
  • My adventure
  • Friendly places
  • My favorite foods
  • I know a lot about . . .
  • Picnic fun
  • Who’s at the zoo?
  • What will I share?
  • I rode on a . . .
  • I wonder why . . .
  • What’s under my bed?
  • What if I was 10 years old

Debate Topics

People attend college or university for many different reasons (for example, new experiences, career preparation, increased knowledge). Why do you think people attend college or university? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents are the best teachers. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Nowadays, food has become easier to prepare. Has this change improved the way people live? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

It has been said, “Not everything that is learned is contained in books.” Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more important? Why?

A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near your community. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this new influence on your community. Do you support or oppose the factory? Explain your position.

If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

How do movies or television influence people’s behavior? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television has destroyed communication among friends and family. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which place would you prefer to live in? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

“Men people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success.” Do you agree or disagree with the quotation above? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Universities should give the same amount of money to their students’ sports activities as they give to their university libraries. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Many people visit museums when they travel to new places. Why do you think people visit museums? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Some people prefer to eat at food stands or restaurants. Other people prefer to prepare and eat food at home. which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

How to Write a Book Report (Middle and High School level)

How to Write a Book Report (Middle and High School level)

Book reports and book reviews are similar. Book reports tend to be a little more descriptive (What is this book about?) and book reviews are usually more persuasive (Why a reader should or shouldn’t read this book). Both offer a combination of summary and commentary.

They are a way to think more deeply about a book you’ve read and to demonstrate your understanding.


Here you want to provide basic information about the book, and a sense of what your report will be about. You should include:

1. Title (underlined)/Author

2. Publication Information: Publisher, year, number of pages

3. Genre

4. A brief (1-2 sentences) introduction to the book and the report/review.


There are two main sections for this part. The first is an explanation of what the book is about. The second is your opinions about the book and how successful it is. There are some differences between reports on fiction or other imaginative writing and reports on non-fiction books.

But for both, a good place to start is to explain the author’s purpose and/or the main themes of the book. Then you can summarize.

For fiction or other creative writing:

Provide brief descriptions of the setting, the point of view (who tells the story), the protagonist , and other major characters. If there is a distinct mood or tone, discuss that as well.

Give a concise plot summary. Along with the sequence of major events, you may want to discuss the book’s climax and resolution, and/or literary devices such as foreshadowing. But, if you are writing a review, be careful not to give away important plot details or the ending.

For non-fiction:

Provide a general overview of the author’s topic, main points, and argument. What is the thesis? What are the important conclusions?

Don’t try to summarize each chapter or every angle. Choose the ones that are most significant and interesting to you.

Analysis and Evaluation

In this section you analyze or critique the book. You can write about your own opinions; just be sure that you explain and support them with examples. Some questions you might want to consider:

• Did the author achieve his or her purpose?

• Is the writing effective, powerful, difficult, beautiful?

• What are the strengths and weaknesss of the book?

• For non-fiction, what are the author’s qualifications to write about the subject? Do you

agree with the author’s arguments and conclusions?

• What is your overall response to the book? Did you find it interesting, moving, dull?

• Would you recommend it to others? Why or why not?


Briefly conclude by pulling your thoughts together. You may want to say what impression the book left you with, or emphasize what you want your reader to know about it.

Writing a book report can be a lot of fun. It gives you a chance to read a new book and then tell your teacher and friends what you thought about it.

How to Write a Book Report

Here are some of the things you need to include in your book report:

The Setting

Where did the story take place? Was it in a city or on a farm? Was it a made-up place or somewhere in outer space? Give a good description of the place with as much detail as possible.

The Characters

Who was the story about? Was there just one main character or were there a few? When you write about the characters, include their names and what they look like.

The Story

What happened in the book? Was there a problem the characters were trying to solve? Were the characters on some sort of an adventure? Describe what happened in the beginning, the middle and the end of the book.

Your Thoughts

Did you like the book? Write a little bit about why you liked or didn’t like the book. Talk about how the book made you feel – happy, sad, excited. Would you tell your friends to read this book?

When you’re finished writing the report, read it over carefully to make sure everything is spelled correctly. You can ask a grown up to help look for spelling mistakes too.