Sunday, March 24, 2019

THE BEST NEST

Happy Sunday!  I'm excited about doing my webinar tomorrow afternoon.  Start wiggling your fingers and get ready to join me.  Although most of you will be teaching, if you sign up you can watch it later.  
  

https://home.edweb.net/webinar/earlychildhood20190325/?fbclid=IwAR0znFTQxags2uZ_tdmefmEFPIA0UcMyXZl9ueD5vt0wlbGNqTxpy90graE


There are so many wonderful fiction and non-fiction books about birds, nests, and feathers.  This nest is a hands-on way to begin a unit and capture the children's interest.

Lunch Bag Nest
Open a paper lunch sack and roll out and down until you reach the bottom and it looks like a nest. Give children a bird identification book and invite them to choose their favorite bird.  Provide construction paper, scissors, and markers and let them make their bird.  Make the shape of a tree on a bulletin board.  Staple the nests in the tree and then let children put their birds in their nest.

 

Tissue Bird
You can also make a little bird out of two tissues.  Open one tissue and lay on the table.  Wad the other tissue up into a ball and place in the middle of the flat tissue.  Gather around the ball to make a head and tie with a piece of yarn.  (An adult will need to do this.)  Let children add eyes and a beak cut out of construction paper or let them draw with a marker.
 
      
P.S.  A teacher said her class made these.  When they were out on the playground they put a few jelly beans under each bird.  Can you imagine the children's faces when they returned to the classroom!!!!
                                                          


Paper Plate Bird and Nest
Let children make birds or nests out of paper plates similar to the ones in the picture.




What’s in the Egg?
First, brainstorm all the different animals that come out of an egg. Now, you’re ready to make a flip book called “What’s in the Egg?” Fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise, then fourths and eighths. Open and cut the crease to the middle fold. Fold in half to make 4 little flaps. Children draw eggs on the front of each flap. Open the flaps and challenge children to draw 4 different things that might come from an egg. When they hold this book up to the light, they will see their little critters inside the egg.

                                      

Two Little Blackbirds
Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill. (Stick up both thumbs.)
One named Jack (Wiggle right thumb.)
And one named Jill. (Wiggle left thumb.)
Fly away Jack. (Put right thumb behind back.)
Fly away Jill (Put left thumb behind back.)
Come back Jack. (Bring back right thumb.)
Come back Jill. (Bring back left thumb.)
                                                                          
Opposite variations:
One named Happy and one named Sad… (Say happy and then sad.)
One named Loud and one named Soft… (Say loud and then soft.)
One named Fast and one named Slow… (Move one fast and one slow.)
Continue letting children think of names and motions for the birds.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

HAPPY "BIRD" DAY!

  

Have you signed up for my finger play webinar yet?  I know you'll be teaching Monday afternoon, but if you sign up you can watch it anytime.  


https://home.edweb.net/webinar/earlychildhood20190325/?fbclid=IwAR0znFTQxags2uZ_tdmefmEFPIA0UcMyXZl9ueD5vt0wlbGNqTxpy90graE

If you've been to my workshops you know I just love these activities that you can integrate into a spring theme or science unit. I mean, who doesn't love birds? They are joyful and carefree and decorate our world like ornaments on a Christmas tree. I hope you can share your passion for nature and our feathered friends with these ideas.
SHHHH! DON'T WAKE UP THE BIRDIES!!!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfZuGmjlyPM

Birdies
Way up in the sky
The big birdies fly.
Way down in the nest
The little birds rest.
With a wing on the left,
And a wing on the right.
The little birds sleep
All through the night.
SHHHHHH!
DON’T WAKE UP THE BIRDIES!
Then up comes the sun,
The dew falls away.
Good morning! Good morning!
The little birds say.

Baby Bird Cut and Tell Story
Materials: construction paper, scissors, marker
Directions: Begin this story with a sheet of paper, scissors, and marker in your lap. Follow the directions as you tell the story. (You can either cut the paper or tear it.)

It was spring time and mother and father bird decided to build a nest. Who can tell me some of the things they might have used to make their nest?
(Fold the paper in half and cut accordingly.)

              
Mother bird sat on the nest and laid a beautiful egg.
(Open the nest to reveal the egg shape.)
                           
Now, mother bird could not leave the egg. She had to sit on it and keep it warm and safe. Even when it rained and the wind blew hard, mother bird had to sit there and protect her egg. Fortunately, two little bugs who lived in the tree made friends with mother bird and kept her company. This is one little bug. His name was _____. (Use a child’s name in the class.)
                                      
                                                      

(Draw a little dot for the bug.)
This is the other little bug. Her name was _____, (Use another child’s name in the class.)
(Draw another little dot on the opposite side.)

One day as mother bird was sitting on the egg, she heard a little cracking sound. She looked down and saw a little crack in her egg.
(Cut a little slit on the fold slanted toward the eyes.)
                                                                     
Then she heard a great, big cracking sound.
                                                                                 
(Cut around the eye and slit as shown stopping before you get to the end of the egg.)

And guess what mother bird saw coming out of the big crack in her egg?
She saw her baby bird!
(Open the egg and bend up the beak as shown.)



Hint! You can also cut this story out of a paper plate.


Here's a copy of the story:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1SnEagA4jljOGhrSnJKWVVfekU

Friday, March 22, 2019

JUMP INTO SPRING!

You just can’t help but smile and have a spring in your step these days. And speaking of steps and springs reminds me of how much fun I had jumping rope as a child…and then teaching my students to jump rope. For some of the children it was easy, but other children really had to work at it. Being persistent and not giving up is a good thing to learn. Jump roping also encouraged social skills, motor skills, and oral language. It’s good for the body and the brain!

Here are some chants we used to say, but you can adapt them if you don’t like the words. 


*You could also use these on a rainy day. Just have the children get a pretend jump rope and jump along as you say the rhymes.

*You can jump on two feet or alternate jumping on feet.

Bubble Gum 
Bubble gum,              
Bubble gum in a dish.
How many pieces
Do you wish?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5…

Bathing Beauty
Bathing Beauty
Thinks she’s a cutie
All she wears is bathing suities.
If you jump to 24, you will get an extra turn.
1, 2, 3…24

Cinderella 
Cinderella dressed in yella.
Went upstairs to kiss her fella.
Made a mistake and kissed a snake.
How many doctors did it take?
1, 2, 3…8 

                     

Engine No. 9 
Engine, engine number nine
Going down the railroad line.
If the train jumps off the track
You will get your money back.
How much money will you get?
1, 2, 3, …10

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear 
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, read the news.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, tie your shoes.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go upstairs.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, sit down in your chair!

Blue Bells 
Blue bells, cockle shells, eevie, ivy, over.
I like coffee. I like tea. I like you to jump with me.

Do you remember any jump rope rhymes? I’m sure if you asked Mr. Google you could find hundreds to add to this list. But, watch the words because some of them might be a little inappropriate!


                                                            
Jump Rope Rhyme Book 
It might be fun to give children copies of the rhymes and let them make a book of jump rope rhymes. They could illustrate these and use them for independent reading.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

SPRING ARTS AND CRAFTS

Spring Crown
Give child a sentence strip and invite them to draw signs of spring. Let them collect small objects they find on the ground, such as leaves and flowers, and glue them to the crown. Adjust to crowns to the children's heads and staple.
                                                    


Popcorn Tree
(Tune: “Turkey in the Straw”)
I looked out my window (Hand over eyes.)
And what did I see?
Popcorn popping on my cherry tree. (Hands on hips.)
What a surprise spring left for me.
Popcorn popping in my cherry tree.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. (Wiggle hips to the beat.)
Pop! Pop! (Jump up twice.)

Sing faster…faster…super fast!
                                   
Trace around the child’s hand and arm on a sheet of paper to resemble a tree trunk. Color or paint the tree. Glue popcorn or cotton balls on the branches to look like blossoms.

Hint! If you shake popcorn in a sack with a little dry red tempera it will look like pink blossoms.

Flower Bookmark

Grow into a book with this idea! Each child will need to collect small flowers, petals, and leaves outside. (Remind them to only take things off the ground and never pull live flowers from a plant!) Give each child 2 pieces of self laminating paper cut in 8” x 2” strips. Children take the back off one sheet and place it sticky side up on the table. After they arrange their natural objects, they place the second sheet on top and seal.
                                                                       
Hint! You can also use wide packaging tape to make these book marks.

Rubbings and Prints 
Give children a plain sheet of paper and an old crayon.  Remove the paper from the crayon.  Demonstrate how to place the paper on top of flat objects, such as leaves and petals and rub with the side of a crayon.  
            
*Have children find interesting natural objects on the playground.  Dip them in paint and then press on paper to make prints.
              

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

LOOK! LOOK! DESCRIPTIVE WRITING BOOK


  
I'm doing a free webinar next Monday 3/25 at 2pm. I know you'll be 
teaching, but if you sign up you can watch it anytime.  

https://home.edweb.net/webinar/earlychildhood20190325/?fbclid=IwAR0znFTQxags2uZ_tdmefmEFPIA0UcMyXZl9ueD5vt0wlbGNqTxpy90graE



This is a meaningful way to encourage children to observe nature. It’s also a powerful way for them to make print connections and write descriptive sentences.

WHAT?
cardboard paper towel rolls, string, hole punch, wide packaging tape, markers, crayons

HOW?
1. Cut the cardboard rollers into 4” sections and tape together to make binoculars. Punch a hole in each side and tie on a piece of string that can easily go over children's heads.





2. Let the children decorate their binoculars with markers.

3. Go on a nature walk and encourage children to observethrough their binoculars. What do you see when you look up? What do you see when you look down? 

4. When you return to the classroom give each child a sheet of paper with two large circles. Ask them to draw their favorite thing they saw through their binoculars in the circles. 

5. Older children can write descriptive sentences about what they saw. 

               
               Younger children can dictate this sentence:
               (Child’s name) saw (what they saw).

Hint!  Encourage each child to read over the sentence with you as you point to the words.

6. Make a cover for the book that says “Look! Look!”
Add a page that says “Authors and Illustrators” where children sign their names. Put their pictures together, bind, and you’ll have a wonderful class book that all your students will want to read.
                                                         
*Let one child take the book home each evening to share with their families.

Hint! Use binoculars to focus on themes you are studying in science. This time of year they could look for signs of spring. When you are studying birds they could try and identify different birds.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

SPRING PENCIL WALK

Here's a "Spring Pencil Walk" that I hope your children will enjoy. Story symbols can help children develop top to bottom and left-to-right orientation. They’re also an engaging way to develop small motor skills. These stories should be told multiple times so children can practice the pre-writing strokes and feel more competent. You might want to do the same story every day for a week as you invite the children to recall what will come next. 

Hint! Demonstrate these stories on the board or a large chart so children will be able to copy what you do on white boards or clip boards.

A SPRING WALK
Let’s put a green dot at the top of the page to show us where to start. And let’s put a red dot down here at the bottom to show where our story will stop. Pick up your pencil and let’s use it to tell a story.


It’s a beautiful spring day, so let’s go for a walk.

The grass is growing nice and tall.

The sun is shining in the sky.

The clouds are rolling around.

The insects buzz up and down.

The little rabbits hop around.

The kites are flying in the air.

All of a sudden, the wind starts to blow.

The wind is blowing in every direction.

Better run home as fast as we can!

Home at last!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljc0J0SF95WHZnS2s/view?usp=sharing


*Make a tape of the story to put in a listening center. 

Here's another pencil story about a walk in the zoo. Can you guess what the different symbols represent?

                 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljY0FscXBmekxxSDg/view?usp=sharing

Pencil Power
To help children have better control of their pencil give them a silly band or rubber band to wear on their wrist. Loop the end of the pencil through the band so it doesn't flip flop around.

                                                          
                                

I'm doing a free webinar next Monday 3/25 at 2pm. I know you'll be teaching, but if you sign up you can watch it anytime.

https://home.edweb.net/webinar/earlychildhood20190325/?fbclid=IwAR0znFTQxags2uZ_tdmefmEFPIA0UcMyXZl9ueD5vt0wlbGNqTxpy90graE

Monday, March 18, 2019

"SPRING" INTO WRITING

Spring is the perfect time to "grow writers"!

Spring Acrostic 

After a spring walk, have children write the word spring vertically down the left side of their paper. Can they write a word (or sentence) for each letter that is a sign or symbol of spring? 
 

Hint! With younger children do this as an interactive writing activity.

Spring Poem
Have children fill in the words to create their own poem or a book.



SPRING
Spring looks like____.
Spring smells like ____.
Spring sounds like ____.
Spring feels like ____.
Spring tastes like ____.
I like spring!  


Web 
Brainstorm spring vocabulary words and then encourage children to make a web using words or drawings.

              

I Want to Go Out and Play Book 
(Writing an opinion)
Give each child a sheet of paper and ask them to draw a picture of why they like to go outside. Ask them to write (or dictate) a sentence about their drawing. Make a cover that says, “I Want to Go Out and Play.” Put their pages together, hole punch, and insert book rings.
                                                          


Sit and Write 
(Descriptive writing)
Each child will need paper, a clipboard or cardboard to write on, and a pencil or crayon. Have children spread out in a comfortable area and write stories, poems, or descriptions of what they see. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"SPRING"ING WITH STANDARDS!

Spring, spring, where are you?  March 20th is the “official” first day of spring, so here are some activities that you can use in your lesson plans to help kids PLAY and LEARN!

Spring-O
Make a bingo card with signs of spring and objects that children can find on your playground. Children can walk around the playground and and color in the objects as they find them. Children could do this activity individually or with a partner.



*Here's a SPRING-O card I made for you. I'm not the best artist so you'll need to go over the words and the pictures with your students.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljZUxiN0dMUTdvdTQ/view?usp=sharing

Scavenger Hunt

Here’s a spring hunt for older students. Divide them into groups of 4 and give each group a clipboard with the items below. Have them record their answers. When you return to the classroom groups can share their results and compare answers.

Can you find a sign of spring? 

Can you find something older than you? 

Can you find something younger than you? 

Can you find something rough? 

Can you find something that feels soft? 

Can you find something living? 

Can you find something dead? 

Can you find something smaller than your fingernail? 

Can you find something bigger than you? 

Can you find something green? 

Can you find something yellow? 

Can you find something that smells good? 

Can you find some trash? Pick it up and throw it away! 



Long and Short
Give children a piece of string or yarn. Challenge them to walk around the playground and find objects that are "longer" than their string and "shorter" than their string.



Alphabet Walk 
Divide children into groups of four and give each group a sheet of paper with the letters of the alphabet. (They will also need a pencil and a clipboard to write on.) Challenge groups to find as many objects as they can for the letters in the alphabet. For example: A-acorn, B-bird, C-cloud, D-dirt, etc.
                                                          
Shape Hunt 
Cut circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles out of construction paper and put them in a bag. Children choose a shape and then try to match it up with a similar shape on the playground.
*Have children lie on the ground and make shapes with their bodies. Take photos to make a class book.

Bounce and Count 
How many times can they bounce a ball and catch it? How many times can they toss a ball with a friend and not drop it? 
*Have each child silently count the steps from the classroom to the playground. Compare their answers. 


Saturday, March 16, 2019

TEACHER BESTIE!

I've made some "teacher besties" at the conferences I've been at recently. I just love all the teachers I meet - and I love their shirts!


Here are some teacher tips I "harvested" for you!

Easy Peasy Call Back
Teacher: Easy Peasy
Children: Lemon Squeezy

Alphardy Names
Let children point to the letters on your classroom alphabet as you sing their names in "Alphardy."
For example: Point to D and sing, "D for David /d/ /d/ /d/."


Mummy Voice
Use a "mummy voice" as you stretch out your arms and count, say the alphabet, read word wall words, etc.

Voice Control (Alice Fiore)
Get a tape measure and say, "You have big voices now" as you stretch out the tape. "Let's see if you can make your voices smaller" as you shorten the tape.

Timer
Challenge children to use a "silent" voice for 10 seconds as you time them on your phone. Challenge them to be "silent" for longer periods of time. (30 seconds is like an eternity for five year olds!)

Volume Meter (Holly Baca)
Laminate a piece of card stock similar to the one shown. Attach a pipe cleaner and bead. Slide the bead up and down to help children be more aware of the noise level.

            

Dancing Rice (Stella Hansen)
I'm always looking for new science experiments and I can't wait to try this one. Put about 1/4 cup of uncooked rice in a clear glass. Add water. Add a few drops of food coloring and a TB of baking soda. Mix. Add 2 TB white vinegar and watch the dance party!

                               

Dancing Figures (Nicole Reed)
If you haven't tried this yet, it's amazing!!! Draw a stick figure or shape with a dry erase marker on a white ceramic plate. Slowly add a little water and get ready for a big surprise!!!!
                                                           

Sensory Play (New Renfrew)
Put a plastic wading pool under your sensory table to easy clean up.

Friday, March 15, 2019

WHY DO YOU DANCE?

On a recent flight I happened to watch a documentary called "In Search of Greatness" from the AOS (Art of Sport). It was fascinating because some of the most famous athletes (Wayne Gretzky and Jerry Rice) were preaching that PLAYING = CREATIVITY. They advocated for more UNSTRUCTURED PLAY AND FREE TIME so children can use their imaginations and be creative. WOW! Do you think we could get those guys to run for school board? One of the quotes I wrote down was:

You don’t dance because it’s good for you…


You dance because you are happy!

It's true, when you are intrinsically motivated and excited it just comes bubbling out in joy.  In the same way...

Children don’t want to learn because it’s good for them.


They want to learn if it’s fun and it makes them happy!

So, just to let you know, I'm not going anywhere until teachers and children are a little happier and having more fun.  The world keeps changing, but children are the same.  They want to be loved and they want to have fun!  Teachers do, too, but many times their hands are tied.  After almost 50 years in education I can confidently say to some administrators, " You might be winning the battle, but you are losing the war."  A number on a test score is not nearly as important as lifelong feelings about learning and friendship. At the end of the day it will not matter if they master 100 sight words in kindergarten, but it will matter if they don't feel good about themselves!  

SHUT YOUR DOOR AND SING LOUD 
AND DANCE YOUR HEART OUT!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

LEARN ABOUT BUTTERFLIES DAY!

I bet you didn't know that March 14 was LEARN ABOUT BUTTERFLIES DAY.  Find out more at:  http://allthingsbutterflies.com


No matter how old you get, the life cycle of a butterfly will always be nature's magic!  There are so many learning opportunities from caterpillars and butterflies: comparing and contrasting fiction and non-fiction books, saying finger plays, writing books about the life cycle, art projects, dramatizations...  Let's get started with a song.

Butterflies
(Tune: Up on the Housetop)
First comes the butterfly (Hook thumbs and flutter fingers.)
Who lays an egg.
Out comes a caterpillar (Wiggle index finger.)
With many legs.
Then the caterpillar
Spins and spins (Roll hands around.)
A little chrysalis
To sleep in. (Place head on hands.)
Oh, oh, oh! (Fingers around eyes.)
Look and see.
Oh, oh, oh!
Look and see.
Out of the chrysalis, (Hook thumbs and flutter fingers.)
My, oh, my!
Out comes a (Move butterfly fingers all around.)
Beautiful butterfly!


Here's a video my webmaster made with photographs of the life cycle:
http://bit.ly/drjeanCaterpillar


Here's a video with illustrations:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In_akp9Fxbc

Drama
Let children act out the life cycle of a butterfly. First, they lay on the floor in a ball. Next, they crawl around like caterpillars. Can they spin around and make a chrysalis? Finally, they can spread their wings and FLY!

Baggie Butterfly
Make a butterfly by tearing up little pieces of colored tissue paper and putting them in a zip lunch bag. Gather up in the middle and twist on a pipe cleaner to make the body and antennae. Attach a string for flying.


Smoosh Painting
Cut butterfly shapes out of newsprint. Fold in half. Let children drop paint with a spoon or eye dropper on one half. Fold and rub. Open to view your butterfly.

Life Cycle Flip Book
Make a flip book for the children to illustrate the life cycle of the butterfly.
                                        


Tell the lifecycle of the butterfly with a stick, a bean, and pasta. First, take children on a nature walk and ask them to find a stick that is as long as their arm from their wrist to their elbow. Glue the bean to the left of the stick for the egg. Next comes a spiral pasta for the caterpillar. Then a shell pasta for the chrysalis. Finally, a bow shaped pasta for the butterfly.