I Can Be Anything (pages 12–13)

Written by Nan Forler
Illustrated by Bojan Redžić
Text Type: Fiction: Poetry—rhyming song/poem

Oral Language Teaching Strategy: Extend and Check the Meaning Expand on the language and details in students’ communication to check the meaning.

Time: 20 minutes
All Together Now, pages 12–13
– pirate puppet
– Media Key or Online: “I Can Be Anything” audio
Grouping: whole class and partners
Assessment: Kindergarten Oral Language Assessment Scale See especially the section on Phonological and Phonemic Awareness.



  • Make sure that all students can clearly see the double-page illustration that accompanies the song.

Activating and Building Background Knowledge

  • Hi there! I’m the pirate (pointing to the character). See my boots and sword? I can be a doctor, too. I can be anything I want to be, when I dress up. What would you like to be?

    Wearing the pirate puppet, read the title “I Can Be Anything,” tracking along under the print as you read. Ask elbow partners to examine the illustration to figure out what might be happening, then share their thoughts with the class. [Making connections/evaluating]
  • As you listen to student responses, expand on a student’s language and details, if necessary, to clarify and check the meaning.

    Elaine: Big Teeth.

    Teacher: Are you thinking of the big, sharp teeth that the monster with the polka-dotted face has, or are you thinking of something else with big teeth?

Setting a Purpose

  • Well, me hearties, let’s listen to the song a few times, and you can join in any time you like. As you sing and listen to the words, I’d like you to think about which of the costumes you would like to dress up in.

    Using the pirate puppet, invite the students to listen to the song and to join in whenever they’re ready. Ask them to think about which of the costumes they would like to dress up in. [Making connections].


  • Have the pirate puppet sing along and track under the lines of print as the song is played for the first time. Explain that there are more words in the song than there are on the pages of the big book because the song has included a chorus that was not part of the original poem. Encourage the students to join in singing when they feel comfortable doing so.
  • Play the song as many times as needed, until all students have understood the message.
  • Focus on comprehension by offering prompts:
    • I’m wondering who I’d be if I was wearing this sweatshirt… What makes you think that?

      If you could see the dog in the illustration, how would you know it came from outer space? [Making connections/inferring]
    • What dress-up clothes might you wear to help you look like a bat, and how would you move? [Making connections/evaluating]
    • Who or what might you be pretending to be if you used this (pointing to any item in the illustration that isn’t currently worn by any of the characters)? [Making connections/inferring]
  • As students discuss what they see in the illustration, check their meaning by expanding on the language and details provided.

    Joseph: Hey… what’s that princess doing with a magic wand?

    Teacher: Are you thinking princesses don’t usually have a magic wand? Who does, usually?… So, why do you think this princess might have a magic wand?

  • Yes, ‘bat’ and ‘hat’ rhyme. Can you think of any other words that rhyme with these two words?… I’m thinking of an animal that has pointed ears and long whiskers… and it purrs…

    Sing or read the song with students, one verse at a time. At the end of each verse, ask students which words rhymed (e.g., ‘bat’ and ‘hat’), then ask them if they can think of any other words that sound the same (e.g., ‘cat,’ ‘rat,’ ‘sat’). [Phonological awareness]


  • So, which of these people is dressed up as the actor? How do you know that?

    Revisit the purpose for singing and reading by asking students to share their thoughts about what they would like to dress up as, and to explain what they heard or saw that helped them to make their decision. [Making connections/inferring]
  • Conclude the session by having the students sing along with the song on the Media Key or online.


The students will want to reread and re-sing “I Can Be Anything.” During further lessons, consider including a balance of ideas from the following areas:

Engaging in Playful Language Activities

  • Take out the doctor, dog, pirate, and princess puppets and ask students to choose puppets to represent the monster, the dinosaur, the bat, and the actor. Select eight students and distribute a puppet to each one. As all of the students sing along with the song, ask the eight students to manipulate the puppets on cue, to correspond with the song lyrics. Repeat the sing-along, asking different students to be in charge of the puppets until all students have had a turn to sing along with one.
  • Divide the students into two groups. Play the song on the Media Key or online, asking one group to sing along with the first verse, the other group to sing along with the second verse, and the whole class to sing along with the third verse.

Extending Comprehension

  • Hi! I’m a bee and I like to sip nectar as I buzz from flower to flower (flapping arms if no wings are available in the dress-up box). Who are you, and what do you like to do?

    If dress-up clothes are available in the classroom, have students choose costumes that represent ideas in the song, or from their own imagination. Have each student tell about who they are pretending to be and what they like to do as that character. Model by giving an example.
  • I’m glad that I’m me because I like to read books, tell stories, sing songs, and plant flowers. Why are you glad to be you?

    Invite students to talk with an elbow partner about what makes them glad to be who they are. Model the process for them: circulate around the room, expanding language and checking meaning as needed, and finish the session by asking some students to share their thoughts with the class.
  • Display the digital cloze version of the text on the Media Key. Working with the whole class, or with a small group, reread together and encourage students to supply the missing words (spaces for words highlighted in yellow). You may decide to pause to consider word predictions and prompt, “Does that make sense?” or “Does that sound right?” Then click on the colour-highlighted spot to reveal the word, saying, “Let’s check that out.” An option on the tool bar allows you to create your own cloze versions of the text to meet the needs of the students you are working with. Click on the ‘Help’ button to find out how to use the different features of the digital texts.

Developing Phonological Awareness

  • Select some of the following words for oral rhyming: ‘can,’ ‘be,’ ‘dog,’ ‘when,’ ‘close,’ ‘dress,’ ‘trunk.’
  • Model and practise dividing one-syllable words (e.g., c-an, d-og, f-ace, b-at) into onsets and rimes.
  • Using a line from the song, model or remind students how to speak as slowly as a snail (see the Kindergarten Working with Words Guide, p. 28). You could model this by slowing down the word ‘c-a-n’ then select other words (e.g., ‘b-e,’ ‘d-o-g,’ ‘b-a-t,’ ‘h-a-t,’ ‘d-i-no-saur’) for students to verbalize as slowly as a snail.

Enriching Print Concepts

  • Track along the words as you read, reread, and sing the song. You may use the pirate puppet to reinforce the movement from one line to the next.
  • Ask students to take turns tracking the print as they become familiar with the words, and invite them to use one of the puppets as the print tracker.
  • Explain that the exclamation point at the end of the last line is a kind of ‘wake-up call’ to signal that something important is being said. Ask students why they think that “I’m glad that I’m still me!” might be an important thing to say.
  • Focus on the concept of ‘word,’ using a word frame (e.g., a Wikki Stix bent around the word, a cut-out cardboard frame, or a piece of coloured acetate) and examine words such as ‘can,’ ‘dog,’ ‘with,’ ‘bat,’ ‘hat,’ ‘tea,’ ‘me.’ Model how a word is made up of letters as you clap once for each letter (e.g., three claps for ‘c-a-n’, four for ‘w-i-t-h’).


  • Put some puppets and the big book at a centre and encourage students to reread or sing the poem, while tracking the print. The fluent reading or song on the Media Key or online can be used for support, if desired.
  • Encourage individual or pairs of students to select puppets to use in creating and acting out a play about dressing up as somebody else, perhaps to surprise or scare somebody. After students practise, invite some of them to share their plays during group sharing time.
  • Ask students to make a drawing or painting of themselves and friends playing dress-up, and scribe or ask them to write short descriptions of their art using a sentence starter (e.g., I can be a ____.). Artworks may be shared with classmates at a later time.
  • Invite students to look through the text to find characters who are mentioned, but not pictured in the illustration (‘dog from outer space,’ ‘bat’). You may wish to write out these character names and post them at the centre. Encourage students to describe what those characters might look like to a classmate at the centre.
  • If dress-up clothing is available in the classroom, encourage groups of students to think of a familiar story or rhyme that they’d like to act out “in costume” (e.g., “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Tom Thumb”). Encourage students to practise their plays, then have them perform the plays during group sharing time.
  • Include books and images about imagination and imaginative play (e.g., Jillian Jiggs) in appropriate centres throughout the room, such as the reading centre, house centre, or the block centre. Encourage students to share their findings and interesting images with other students.