Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman

Teacher Guide by Ashley Trudeau

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Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Include:

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman is the first book in the series devoted to the friendship of a cowgirl and her stubborn horse. With its bright illustrations and vibrant text, this book is bound to be a hit with young readers.

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Chapter Summary Activity

Copy Assignment

In this activity, students decide on what they think the important parts in the text are, and categorize them into the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Having students decide on the beginning, middle, and end will help them break up the text, and make it easier to choose one or two main events to create. Students can plan their ideas with a partner or individually, and decide what main parts they would like to add to their storyboard.

Each chapter in the story is devoted to an adventure that Cowgirl Kate and her hungry horse, Cocoa, embark on. Students can choose a chapter to summarize and make a storyboard depicting the beginning, middle, and end.

The example below is for the chapter titled, "Counting Cows".


Cowgirl Kate is trying to count the cows, but Cocoa keeps distracting her. She decides to count them herself, but is too small to see the cows on the ground, and she's also too short to see on a fence.


She decides to climb up a tall tree to count, but Cocoa cries to for her to come down. He is worried she may fall, and he says he will help her count the cows if she comes down.


Kate climbs onto Cocoa and they count the cows. Cocoa even remembers what number cow Kate was on when she stopped counting.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Make a storyboard summary of a chapter in Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa.

  1. Make a picture that shows the beginning of the chapter.
  2. Make a picture that shows the middle of the chapter.
  3. Make a picture that shows the end of the chapter.
  4. Write a sentence under each picture.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Copy Assignment

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Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Vocabulary Lesson Plan Template

Another great way to engage your students is by creating a storyboard that uses vocabulary from Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa.

In this activity, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary words using sentences and corresponding images. Students may be provided the vocabulary words, or they can use words that they have discovered through their reading of the text. The sentences and images validate the understanding of the word and the context that it was used in the novel.

Here are some ways to help your students find the meaning of the vocabulary words they choose:

  1. Use context clues: Sometimes you can figure out the meaning of a word by reading the sentences that come before and after the unknown word.
  2. Sometimes, the author may tell the definition of the word right in the same sentence or in the following sentence.
  3. Picture clues may help define an unknown word.
  4. Look at the unknown word and look for parts you may know. Sometimes a new ending or beginning has been added or changed.
  5. Use a dictionary or glossary.

Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the story and an example of a visual vocabulary board.


v. look after the coat of (a horse, dog, or other animal) by brushing and cleaning it

"'First I must groom you,' said Cowgirl Kate."


v. make (something) appear fuller and softer, typically by shaking or brushing it

“‘Will you please fluff my straw?’ Cocoa asked."


n. a quiet, gentle song sung to send a child to sleep

“‘Then I will sing you a lullaby,’ said Cocoa."

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Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Character Map Graphic Organizer

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log, also known as a character map, allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

You can click on this map and create a copy on your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets for your students to complete while reading is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.

Here is an example for Cowgirl Kate:

Physical Appearance

  • young
  • red hair
  • wears red boots

Character Traits

  • friendly
  • responsible
  • caring
  • cowgirl


  • "I am a cowgirl from the boots up."
  • "’I am very tired.’ But she climbed out of her sleeping bag and fluffed his straw."
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Identify Themes in Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

Several themes are present in the book. Students can pick a theme to explore and should support their choice with specific details or events from the text. One prominent theme is friendship. Kate and Cocoa have a very strong bond, and the story shares their adventures together.


Example 1

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa are very good friends. Cowgirl Kate shows friendship by taking really good care of Cocoa and feeding him whenever he is hungry.

Example 2

Cocoa shows friendship to Kate by being there for her. He helps her count the cows and sings her a lullaby when she cannot sleep.

Other themes that can be explored are: responsibility, love of animals, and farming.

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Making Connections in Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

Copy Assignment

Text Connections
Text to Text Connection that reminds you of something in another book or story
Text to Self Connection that reminds you of something in your life.
Text to World Connection that reminds you of something happening in the world.

Making connections is a very important skill to acquire and perfect. Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa is a great story for students to connect to on many different levels. In this activity, students will be making text to text, text to self, and text to world connections. Students should choose which connection they want to make first and work to write a narrative for that. Once all three connections have been made, students can work on their illustrations.


  • Text - This story introduces the duo of Cocoa and Cowgirl Kate and their adventures. One adventure is when Kate has a surprise for Cocoa.
  • Text - This reminds me of another Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa book, Horse in the House. Kate wakes up to Cocoa in the house and has to get him out before her parents come home.


  • Text - Cowgirl Kate is very responsible and takes very good care of Cocoa.
  • Self - This reminds me of how I am responsible for taking care of my cat, Hazel.


  • Text - In the story, Cocoa says he is a "cowhorse". What he means is he is a horse meant for herding cattle.
  • World - On the news, they talked about a dog that herds sheep.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows connections you have made with Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa. Include a connection for text to text, text to world, and text to self.

  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify parts of Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa that you connect with.
  3. Parts from the Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa go on the left side. The connections you make go on the right side.
  4. Create an image for each connection using scenes, characters, items, and text boxes.
  5. Write a description of how the text relates to another text, the world, and you.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Copy Assignment

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Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Summary

It’s time to herd the cattle, but Cocoa is thirsty. Anxiously waiting, Cowgirl Kate asks if Cocoa is ready. He sniffs around her saddlebag, and tells Kate that he’s hungry. So she gives him an apple, then another, and another! Kate calls Cocoa a pig, but Cocoa states that he is a cowhorse. Kate then wonders, if Cocoa is a cowhorse then why isn’t he herding any cows! Cocoa says he is too full to herd cows. Kate tells him a story about when she picked him out of all the other horses to be her horse. After the story, Cocoa is ready to herd the cows.

One morning Cowgirl Kate brings a box into the barn. It is a surprise for Cocoa. Cocoa can hardly wait to find out what is inside the box. He asks if it’s cookies or apple pie. Kate tells Cocoa he has to eat his breakfast. Cocoa tips over his bucket of oats and claims he is done with breakfast and that he wants his surprise. Kate says she has to groom Cocoa before he gets his surprise. So, she curries him, brushes him, and cleans his hooves. Cocoa cannot wait for his surprise; he pushes open the box and takes a big bite. It is a straw hat. Cocoa says that there are three holes, when there should only be two and Kate laughs and tells Cocoa to eat his breakfast next time instead of his surprise.

Cowgirl Kate is counting cows, but Cocoa is talking and messing her up. Cocoa is hungry so he leans down to eat some grass. Kate decides she will count the cows herself, but she is too short to see them on the ground. She climbs on the fence, but still can’t see all the cows. She starts to climb up the tallest tree, when Cocoa cries for her to come down. Cocoa is worried that Kate will fall and hurt herself. Kate climbs down and hops onto Cocoa. Together, they count the rest of the cows.

Cowgirl Kate decides to sleep in the barn with Cocoa. They say goodnight, and Kate crawls into her sleeping bag. Cocoa wakes Kate up and asks for her to fluff his straw. She climbs out of her sleeping bag and fluffs his straw. Once she has gone back into her sleeping bag, Cocoa asks Kate for food. Begrudgingly, she gets out of her bag, gives him carrots, and crawls back into bed. Cocoa then asks her to fill his water bin! Kate does so and then climbs into bed and tells Cocoa to think about sleeping. Now Kate cannot fall asleep. She wakes up Cocoa, and he sings her a lullaby to help her fall asleep.

Essential Questions for Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

  1. What is responsibility?
  2. Do you have any responsibilities at home?
  3. What does it mean to be a good friend?

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•   (English) Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa   •   (Español) Vaquera Kate y Cocoa   •   (Français) Cowgirl Kate et le Cacao   •   (Deutsch) Cowgirl Kate und Kakao   •   (Italiana) Cowgirl Kate e Cocoa   •   (Nederlands) Cowgirl Kate en Cocoa   •   (Português) Vaqueira Kate e Cacau   •   (עברית) לבוקרות קייט קקאו   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) راعية البقر كيت والكاكاو   •   (हिन्दी) काउगेट केट और कोको   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa   •   (Dansk) Cowgirl Kate og Kakao   •   (Svenska) Cowgirl Kate och Cocoa   •   (Suomi) Cowgirl Kate ja Cocoa   •   (Norsk) Cowgirl Kate og Cocoa   •   (Türkçe) Cowgirl Kate ve Kakao   •   (Polski) Cowgirl Kate i Kakao   •   (Româna) Cowgirl Kate și Cacao   •   (Ceština) Cowgirl Kate a Cocoa   •   (Slovenský) Cowgirl Kate a Kakao   •   (Magyar) Cowgirl Kate és Kakaó   •   (Hrvatski) Cowgirl Kate i Kakao   •   (български) Cowgirl Кейт и Какао   •   (Lietuvos) Cowgirl Kate ir Kakavos   •   (Slovenščina) Cowgirl Kate in Kakav   •   (Latvijas) Kovbojmeiteņu Kate un Kakao   •   (eesti) Cowgirl Kate ja Kakao