Paired Texts > Do What You Can
by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Stop the Hungry Giant FishPam Calvert
In Pam Calvert's short story "Stop the Hungry Giant Fish: Based on a Legend from the Island of Guam" a village must come together to save their island from being eaten by a fish.Pair “Stop the Hungry Giant Fish” with “Do What You Can” and ask students to discuss the similar themes in the two stories. How does the raindrop help save the farmer’s crops? How does this compare to how the villagers are able to stop the hungry fish?
The Sparrow's QuestElizabeth Laird
In "The Sparrow's Quest," Elizabeth Laird retells the story of a sparrow that searches for the most powerful thing on earth.Pair “The Sparrow’s Quest” with “Do What You Can” and ask students to discuss how both stories explore how small things have power. How do the raindrop’s actions in “Do What You Can” have a large impact on others? How does the sparrow in “The Sparrow’s Quest” have its own power?
Zebra and WaspClare Mishica
In Clare Mishica's fable "Zebra and Wasp," a zebra helps a wasp escape from a spider web.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Zebra and Wasp” to provide students with another story about helping others. Why does the first raindrop decide to help the farmer? How does this compare to why Zebra helps Wasp? Ask students to compare the themes about helping others in the two stories.
Making Books in BrailleSara Matson
In the article "Making Books in Braille," Sara Matson discusses Laurie Lower's job transcribing books into braille for people with vision loss.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Making Books in Braille” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore helping others. How does the raindrop help the farmer? How does this compare to what Laurie does for people with vision loss? How can one raindrop or one book in braille make a difference?
Birdfoot's GrampaJoseph Bruchac
In Joseph Bruchac's poem "Birdfoot's Grampa," a speaker describes driving down a road that is crowded with toads.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Birdfoot’s Grampa” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore doing the right thing. Why does the first raindrop decide to help the farmer in “Do What You Can”? How does this compare to the old man’s decision to help the toads? How do the raindrop and the old man make a difference?
Impossible to TrainDavid Hill
In David Hill's short story "Impossible to Train," three characters describe training their pets.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Impossible to Train” and ask students to discuss the relationship between man and nature in each text. Are humans in control in either? Do the dogs and raindrops share similar feelings for the humans in each text? Why or why not?
Sí Se Puede!Carlos Lossada
In the informational text "Sí Se Puede!" Carlos Lossada discusses the accomplishments and beliefs of the civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Sí Se Puede!” to provide students with a short story about a raindrop that helps a farmer. Ask students to discuss the importance of helping others. How are the raindrops able to accomplish more when they work together? How is this also true in Cesar Chavez’s fight for justice?
Getting Started on Saving the EvergladesMeg Chorliane
In the informational text "Getting Started on Saving the Everglades" from Highlights, the author discusses the impact humans have had on the Everglades in southern Florida.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Getting Started on Saving the Everglades” to provide students with a short story about helping others. Ask students to discuss how humans should do what they can to help the environment. Do students think that even the small actions of individuals matter when it comes to the environment? Why or why not?
3 Ways to Learn about Consumer PowerAmanda Oliver
In this informational text, the author talks about ways you and your family can make a positive difference when you buy things.Pair “Do What You Can” with “3 Ways to Learn About Consumer Power” to provide students with a literary text about the importance of doing what you can. In the literary text, how does one character make a difference? How does that connect to the author’s advice in “3 Ways to Learn About Consumer Power”?
The Water BucketPhyllis Gershator
In "The Water Bucket," a girl receives a magic water bucket.Pair “Do What You Can” with “The Water Bucket” and have students think about how water helps both main characters. How does water help the farmer in “Do What You Can”? How does water help Shui-mu in “The Water Bucket”? How is water important in both stories?
Dr. Grace Hopper: "Dare and Do"Libby Wilson
In "Dr. Grace Hopper: 'Dare and Do'," Libby Wilson describes Dr. Grace Hopper's important contributions to computer science.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Dr. Grace Hopper: ‘Dare and Do’” and ask students to discuss the impact one person can have on others. How does the little raindrop have an impact on the other raindrops in “Do What You Can”? How do you think Dr. Grace Hopper’s actions in “Dr. Grace Hopper: ‘Dare and Do’” are like that of the little raindrop in “Do What You Can”? How do you think Dr. Grace Hopper is an inspiration to other women?
Ladybug LawEllen Feldman
In "Ladybug Law," four second-graders show that kids can make a difference when they get the ladybug appointed as the state insect of North Dakota.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Ladybug Law” and have students think about the similarities between the raindrop and the children. How does the little raindrop make a difference in “Do What You Can”? How do the children make a difference in “Ladybug Law”? How do the texts use different genres to highlight the importance of small actions in helping one’s community? Which text do you think is better at conveying its message to readers and why?
Magic NoodlesTracy Vonder Brink
In "Magic Noodles," Tracy Vonder Brink describes how one creative Japanese business person changed the way people eat noodles all around the globe.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Magic Noodles” and ask students to discuss how one person taking action can inspire others to do the same. Do you think that Momofuku may have inspired someone to help others or to become an inventor during his long life? Why do you think that we are often inspired to take positive action of our own when we see other people doing something good?
Dream Home for EarthwormsSusan Yoder Ackerman
In "Dream Home for Earthworms," two kids learn how worms help the garden as they plant flowers with their mother.Pair “Do What You Can” with “Dream Home for Earthworms” and have students think about the similarities between the raindrop and the earthworms. How does the little raindrop make a difference in “Do What You Can”? How do the earthworms make a difference in “Dream Home for Earthworms”? How do the differences help the environment?
The Fairy's New Year GiftEmilie Poulsson
In "The Fairy's New Year Gift," a fairy gives two boys books that track their good and bad behavior.Pair “Do What You Can” with “The Fairy’s New Year Gift” and have students discuss the lesson that each story teaches its readers. How do both the little raindrop’s actions in “Do What You Can” and the Fairy’s gift to Carl and Philip in “The Fairy’s New Year Gift” teach readers about the importance of our actions? How are the lessons learned by the little raindrop and Carl and Philip similar to and different from one another?