Sunday, May 9, 2021

COME TO ME!

On this Mother’s Day, it doesn’t matter if you are a male or female or a biological parent or not. If you are an early childhood educator, you are a caregiver and in many situations as vital as the actual parent. We enter our profession not because of the money or dreams of high test scores. We become teachers of young children out of LOVE. You can take all your technology programs and assessments and performance standards – but, at the end of the day, it’s all about the relationship you create with each child.

Many years ago there was an older woman in one of my workshops. She had been working with children for over 50 years and I asked her if she had any advice for me. She gingerly got down on her knees, opened her arms, and said with a smile, “Come to me.” That was the inspiration for the thought I share with each of you on this special day.

COME TO ME
by Dr. Jean

Whether you are large or small, rich or poor –
Come to me.

Whether your skin is brown or beige, gold or tan –
Come to me.

I’ll embrace you and love you and cherish you –
Come to me.

I’ll play with you and make you laugh –
Come to me.

I’ll kiss your hurts and keep you safe –
Come to me.

I’ll give you happy memories and dreams for tomorrow -
Come to me.

I’ll share the wonder of learning and the joy of each day –
Come to me.

I’ll take time to listen to you and try to understand you –
Come to me.

I’ll cheer you, encourage you, and believe in you –
Come to me.

I’ll never give up. I’ll try and try. I’m an early childhood teacher.
Come to me!


This is dedicated to my mother Frances McCracken Rosenberg. She never went to college, but she was the BEST early childhood educator I've ever know. 

Right before I started my first teaching job in 1969 I told my mother how scared I was.  She just smiled and said, "Honey, all you've got to do is be nice to them and love them."  After all these years and all the books I've read and courses I've taken her advice is still the most powerful!

Thanks, Mom!! I hope you feel how much I love you and appreciate you and miss you!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

REWARD STICKS AND GIFT CARDS

Need a few incentives and rewards to keep those kids motivated the last few weeks of school?Rather than stickers or treats, here are reward sticks that you can use to reinforce a special accomplishment or good behavior.


Choose activities that you think would work best for your students from the list below. Write these on jumbo craft sticks with a Sharpie. Place them in a cup and pretend like children are “winning” something when they choose a stick.

Choose a song and lead the class.

Eat lunch with your teacher or a special friend.

Be excused from a homework assignment.

Choose an indoor game to play.

Select the book for story time.

Sit by a favorite person all day.

15 minutes of free time.

Help the teacher do a special job.

Decorate the bulletin board or door.

Sit at the teacher’s desk.

Take off your shoes.

Listen to an IPod or headset while you work.

Take a class game or book home for the night.

Chew sugar free gum.

Be first in line for lunch

Use the teacher’s stamps, pens, or markers.

Choose a board game and play it with a friend.

Hand out supplies.

Be leader of a class game.

Be excused from a written assignment.

Play games on the computer for 10 minutes.

Visit another class in the school.

Work with a friend.

Be a helper in the office, lunchroom, or in another classroom.

Read a story to the principal or another class.

Have the teacher call your parents to tell them what a great kid you are!

Take a note to the principal about what a great kid you are.

Make something at the art center.

Have your work displayed in the hall or on the classroom door.

One special wish!


Note! Let your students suggest activities that they would like for rewards.




Gift Cards
Cut cardboard into 2" x 3 1/2" rectangles and write the non-tangible rewards on these. Let children choose a "gift card" from a bag.

                                                

Friday, May 7, 2021

COUNT DOWN CHAIN

Are you scratching your head trying to figure out where the school year went? Some of you only have a few more days, but many of you have several weeks to go. Many teachers have told me that it's been their toughest year.  Might as well end with a song and a smile because next year has got to get better!!!

End of Year Cadence (The children repeat each line.)
School is coming to an end. (Stand, march, and slap thighs.)
School is coming to an end.
Say so long to all our friends.
Say so long to all our friends.

We’ve learned to read and write and spell.
We’ve learned to read and write and spell.
We know our shapes and numbers well.
We know our shapes and numbers well.

We’ve learned to follow classroom rules.
We’ve learned to follow classroom rules.
Getting along is really cool.
Getting along is really cool.

Science, music, art, PE.
Science, music, art, PE.
School’s been great for you and me.
School’s been great for you and me.

Summer’s time for outdoor fun.
Summer’s time for outdoor fun.
Read every day and play in the sun.
Read every day and play in the sun.

And when school begins again.
And when school begins again.
We’ll be happy to see our friends.
We’ll be happy to see our friends.


Days Left in the Year Song
(Tune: “100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall.”)
(Number of days) left in the school year.
(Number of days) left, that’s so.
We’ve had fun, we’re almost done.
(Number of days) to go.


Count Down Chain

Let each child make a paper chain with the number of days left in the school year. Each day they can remove one strip.

*Make a bulletin board with balloons for the number of school days left. Pop one balloon each day. (These could be real balloons or paper balloons.)


School Is Over
(Tune: Frere Jacques)
School is over.
School is over. (Children repeat each line.)
Time to go.
Time to go.
We’ve had fun learning.
We’ve had fun learning.
Love you so.
Love you so.



Thursday, May 6, 2021

PARTY TIME

Make the last few days “sweet” ones to remember with lots of special days. You might want to celebrate “Wonderful Wednesdays” the last month of the school year or plan a little celebration every day the last week of school. What many adults forget is that children are happy with “plain vanilla.” Wearing a silly hat or a shirt from a favorite sports team can be as much fun as a fancy ball!


Sports Day – Enjoy the warm weather with a “Sports Day.” Children can wear t-shirts and hats from their favorite teams. Let them bring sports equipment to share with friends on the playground.



Book Party
– Encourage children to dress up like their favorite book character. Play “Guess Who I Am?” or have children describe why they like a particular character. Let them bring favorite reading material (books, magazines) from home and sit or lay wherever they want for independent reading.

Talent Show - One of my favorite memories is of a Talent Show we had at the end of the school year. I just invited all the children to think of a “talent” (song, dance, story, gymnastic stunt) they could do. We sat in a circle and they all got up and performed! We clapped and laughed and cheered!

Board Game Day
– Let children bring board games from home. Set aside the last hour in the day to share games and play with friends.

Pajama Party – Have children wear pajamas and bring pillows and stuffed animals to class. Read books, watch a movie, and eat popcorn.

Career Day – Children come dressed for the career they’d like when they grow up. After sharing with friends, have each child draw a picture (or take a photograph) and make a class book.

Unbirthday Party – How about a birthday party when it’s everyone’s “unbirthday”? Play party games, sing, and decorate cupcakes. (This is also a great way to celebrate all those summer birthdays.)

Beach Party – Bring beach towels and wear sunglasses, shorts, and bathing suits. Set up sprinklers or other water activities on the playground. Play beach ball games, beach music, and have a “cool” snack like popsicles.

Teddy Bear Parade – Children bring in a teddy bear or stuffed animal and parade around the classroom. Have them write stories and draw pictures of what they like to do with their bear. Have a “tea party” with your bears.

Hat Day – Ask children to wear their favorite hat to school, or challenge them to design a hat from a paper plate and art scraps.

Luau – Make grass skirts from draw string garbage bags. Cut straws in 1” pieces and alternate stringing with paper flowers on dental floss to create a lei. Hula, surf, and eat pineapple fruit kabobs for snack.

Toy Day – Children bring a favorite toy from home and share with their friends.
                                          

Wash Day – Wear old clothes and bring sponges, pails, and squirt bottles. Let children wash tables, desks, toys, etc. (You could tie this in with a water play day.)

Sock Hop – Children get to wear silly socks to school and have a dance at the end of the day.
*Teach the children the “Twist,” “Charleston,” “Jitterbug,” “Swim,” “Pony,” or other dances from your past.

Teacher of the Day – Assign one child each day the last month of school to be “Teacher of the Day.” That child gets to sit in your desk and be in charge of circle time. They can choose a book to read to the class, a song to sing, game to play, and so forth.

                            Note! "Teacher of the Day" is my favorite!!!!



Wednesday, May 5, 2021

SUMMER READING JOURNAL

You will need a pocket folder for each child for this summer writing activity. Remind the children what wonderful writers they have become and how important it is for them to keep writing over the summer. Explain that many famous writers started keeping diaries and journals just like them when they were young. Motivate them to make their own “Summer Fun Journal” so they can record all the special things they will be doing over the summer. 


Provide the children with markers, crayons, construction paper, and other art media to decorate the front of their pocket folders. (You might suggest they title it “Summer Fun.”) Run off copies with the attached writing prompts or create your own based on the interests of your students. You might even want to ask your class to brainstorm topics for these journals.

Hint! Be sure and include some blank paper at the end.

*Encourage students to add photos, brochures, or other special keepsakes.

*Add a line for the date on each page.

*Tell your students you’d love to see their journals when the come back for the new school year.

Note!  For younger children encourage parents to have their children illustrate the topic and then dictate sentences for their parents to write.


Here are some summer writing prompts.

I like summer because

My favorite book is

This is one of my chores

My family is going

This is what I like to do outside

These are my favorite summer foods

My goal for this summer is

These are my friends

I wish

When it’s hot I

These are games I like to play

This is what I like to wear in the summer

This is my favorite place to play

These are my favorite toys

My worst day ever

My best day ever

I can’t wait for school to start because


FREE  Summer Journal

You can also download this free summer journal that Carolyn Kisloski created. 




                                                

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

FRIENDSHIP SOUVENIRS

These projects will give children a tangible way to remember their friends.

Memory Shirt
Have children bring in an old t-shirt from home. (White works best.) Provide them with fabric pens and let them have friends write their names and draw pictures on their shirts.
Hint! Plan several days for this project. It’s “no fun” if you have to do it all at once.



Sweet Dreams Pillowcase

Let children bring in a pillowcase and have their friends decorate them with their names and pictures. They will have “sweet dreams” all summer!


Friendship Necklace
You will need construction paper, yarn, markers, and hole punches for this project. Cut the construction paper into 2 ½” squares, circles or other simple shapes. Each child will need as many pieces as there are students in your room. Have them write their name and draw pictures on their shapes. Punch holes. Now comes the fun part! Children get to go around the room and give a shape to each of their friends. Encourage them to say something kind they remember about their friend as they pass them out. Finally, children string the shapes on yarn and knot the ends to make a necklace.



Time Capsule
Create a memento of the year with a time capsule. Ask each child to bring in Pringle’s can. Have them draw a picture of themselves and put it in the can. Let them write or dictate what they want to be when they grow up and illustrate it. Challenge them to collect a wrapper from their favorite food, something their favorite color, friends’ signatures, and other small, meaningful objects to add to their bottles. After gluing on the lid and decorating the outside, send the time capsules home with a note to the parents asking them to save them until their child graduates from high school.
                     


My Teacher LOVES Me!
Take a photo of yourself with each child. Fill their name in the poem below and
glue it to a card with the photo. Present it to them the last day with an air hug!

You’re a very special person
And (name), you should know
How I loved to be your teacher.
How fast the year did go!
Please come back to visit me
As through the grades you grow.
Try hard to learn all that you can.
There is so much to know!
The one thing I tried to teach you
To last your whole life through,
Is to know that you are special
Just because YOU ARE YOU!
 

Monday, May 3, 2021

MEMORY MAKERS

Here are some activities that will give your children positive memories of their school year.  You might need to adapt them to your particular teaching situation, but they will put a special feeling in your students' hearts.


Memory Book
Run off copies of a memory book for each child to color and fill in the missing information. Here are some suggestions:
1st page – “My Memory Book” with teacher’s name, school, year.
2nd page – “This is me.” (Child draws self –portrait.)
3rd page – “This is my teacher.” (Child draws teacher’s picture.)
4th page – “Here are my friends.” (Child draws friends.)
5th page – “My favorite thing at school is...” (Draws favorite activities.)
6th page – “Something I’ve learned this year…” (Draws accomplishment.)
7th page – “When I grow up I want to be…” (Draws future self.)
8th page – “This is my handprint.” (Trace around child’s hand.)
You could also have children draw their favorite sport, color, book, song, food, etc.
*If you do an end of year conference with parents this would be a good thing to share.


Autograph Book
Cut paper in fourths. (I like to use colored paper.) Have children count out 10 pieces. Hole punch and tie with a ribbon. Children walk around the room and get their friends’ autographs.




Time Line
Give each child a long strip of paper. Draw a line down the middle. Have children draw what they looked like when they started the school year on the left and what they look like now on the right. They can fill in the middle of the time line with special memories. (You might need to brainstorm or show photos to spark their memories.)


Now I Can!
Brainstorm all the things your students have learned during the school year. Give each child a sheet of paper and have them draw something they couldn’t do at the beginning of the year that they can do now. Complete this sentence: “I couldn’t _______, but now I can _______.” Make a cover that says “Now I Can!” and bind to make a book.


Class Yearbook
A teacher in New York shared this idea with me years ago. It’s going to take a little work, but it will be something children will treasure the rest of their lives! You will need to assemble photographs of the children, as well as pictures you’ve taken throughout the school year. Take 26 sheets of paper and write a letter on each page. Glue pictures of the children on the page their name begins with. Next, sort through the pictures and glue them on appropriate pages. (I’ve given you some suggestions for each letter below.) Label the pictures and run off a copy for each child. Use cardstock for the front and back cover and bind.

A- apple tasting, art, alphabet, “Alligator”
B- “Bear Hunt,” blocks, birthdays, books, bus
C- computers, caterpillars, counting, cooking, CLIFFORD
D- dinosaurs, dancing, drawing, “Days of the Week”
E- easel, exercise, eating, exploring
F- friends, fall, first day of school, “Five Little Monkeys”
G- GINGERBREAD MAN, games, graphs, gym
H- Hundred Day, Halloween, holidays, handprint
I- ice and snow, insects, “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “I can___”
J- jack o’ lanterns, journals, jump rope
K- KISSING HAND, kites, kindness, “Katalina”
L- letters, library, “Lettercise,” lunch, LEO
M-“Macarena Months,” music, math, magnets
N- nests, nursery rhymes, names, numbers
O- oceans, outside, “Over in the Meadow”
P- pizza parlor, P.E., puzzles, painting, “Peanut Butter”
Q- quiet time, quilts
R- reading, rainy days, running, rabbits, “Rime Time”
S- singing, spring, shapes, senses, science
T- “Tooty Ta,” turkeys, teeth, tests, TACKY THE PENGUIN
U- upside down, under, umbrellas (April showers)
V- Valentine’s Day, VERY BUSY SPIDER
W- word wall, writing, winter, “Wally Acha,” weather
X- “X” marks the spot (treasure hunt), X with body
Z- zoo field trip, zigzag art, “Z” end of the year
*Use the name of the school, teacher’s name, etc.


Here’s a poem for the cover:
We’ve learned and played in many ways,
But now the year must end.
Here’s a book to remember special days,
And all your kindergarten (first grade) friends!
Hint! If you don’t have photographs, have your children draw pictures for your book.

*Make a video of your students singing, working in centers, and doing other things they like best at school.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

ABC Countdown

Several years ago Brad McKinney (Kindergarten Teacher at Severn Elementary) emailed this idea to me. I was searching through old blogs and I found it!!  With all the craziness this past year, the ABC COUNTDOWN might end your year on a positive note.  It's something that you could easily adapt to your calendar or teaching situation.

Note!  As someone once told me, "It doesn't matter what you serve your guests for dinner.  Just make sure the dessert is good because that's what they'll remember."  Think of this last month of school as "dessert"!  Make it GOOD and HAPPY!



Parents and Guardians,

Believe it or not, the school year is quickly coming to an end. During the last 26 days of school, our class will be participating in an ABC Countdown. Each school day will have a different activity related to the letter for that day. Your child may need to wear or bring something special on some days – those days are underlined. This sheet will help you and your child remember what day of the countdown we are on.



A
Monday
Animal Day
Bring your favorite stuffed animal to school

B
Tuesday
Bubble Day
We will be making and blowing bubbles

C
Wednesday
Card Game Day
Bring your favorite card game to play at school

D
Thursday
Dinosaur Day
We will be dinosaur detectives 

E
Friday
Everybody dress in your favorite team shirt

F
Wednesday
Fruit Day
Bring your favorite fruit for snack today 

G
Thursday
Going on a picnic
Bring a packed lunch!

H
Friday
Hat Day
Wear your favorite hat to school

I
Monday
Imagine Day
Imagine you had a magic wand - what would you wish for?

J
Tuesday
Joke Day
Write down your favorite joke to share with class

K
Wednesday
Kick Off Your Shoes Day
You will be able to take your shoes off in class all day

L
Thursday
Leisure Day
We will relax outside with a book (weather permitting)

M
Friday
Memory Day
We will be writing about our favorite memories from kindergarten this year

N
Monday
Nature Day 
Make binoculars and go on a nature walk

O
Tuesday
Orange Day
Wear the color orange and bring an orange for snack

P
Wednesday
Picnic Day
Bring a packed lunch from home

Q
Thursday, June 12
Quiz Your Teacher Day
Bring your hardest question to stump your teacher.

R
Friday 
Roadrunner Field Day
Field day games and activities outside with entire grade level

S
Monday
Sidewalk Art Day
We will be decorating a section of the sidewalk

T
Tuesday
Talent Show Day
Share your talent with the class

U
Wednesday
Used Book Day
Bring a used book you would like to donate to the class or library

V
Thursday
Veggie Day
Bring your favorite vegetable for snack

W
Friday
Wishy Washy Day
Be prepared to get wet!

X
Monday
X-change Autographs Day
Make an autograph book and collect as many autographs as you can

Y
Tuesday
Year End Clearance
Bring a bag to gather all your items from the year

Z
Wednesday, June 25
Zoom Out of School Day
Last day of kindergarten

                                  

Saturday, May 1, 2021

I LOVE MY MOTHER!

A song, a handmade gift, or a card will all be appreciated on May 9th by someone special in a child's life.

                                            

LOVE YOU Flower Card
Trace around children's hands on construction paper and cut out. Glue to a stem and fold down the middle and ring finger to make sign language for "I love you!"  Children can write or draw what's special about their mother inside.

A Box for Mommy (Tune: "Polly Wolly Doodle" - HAPPY EVERYTHING CD)
I wish I had a little box (Pretend to hold a box in your hands.)
To put my mommy in. (Pretend to put something in the box.)
I’d take her out and go (Take something out of the box
(kiss, kiss, kiss) and kiss in the air.)
And put her back again.

If my mommy were in my box
Were in my box, then she would always know.
School or play, night or day,
How I love her so! (Cross arms over chest.)

I made this box for mother’s day, (Pretend to hold a box.)
It’s full of love for you.
When we’re apart, hold it to your heart, (Put hands over heart.)
And know I’m thinking of you.

Box of Love Necklace

                 

You can collect small boxes that jewelry come in or use matchboxes for this project. Spray paint the boxes and then let the children decorate them with stickers, glitter pens, etc. Glue a small picture of the child inside the box. Punch a hole and attach a ribbon so it can be worn around the neck. Teach children the song and let them present their necklaces at a Mother’s Day tea, or send the boxes home with the words to the song.

My Mom Can

           

Let each child make a predictable book about all the things their mom can do.
Note!  Put "stick book" in the search engine of my blog to see how to make this book with a plastic spoon.


Hats for Moms
These are adorable hats from paper plates that children can make for their mothers. Cut the inner section out of the plate. Decorate the outer rim with markers. Cut 4” squares out of tissue paper and wad up and glue on the rim to look like flowers. Punch a hole in each side and tie on a 16” piece of string or ribbon. Place the hat on your head and tie under the chin.

                                       


A Gift from the Heart

Make a flip book and write the following on the flips:
Some gifts are round.
Some gifts are tall.
Some gifts are large.
Some gifts are small.
                

Friday, April 30, 2021

ARBOR DAY

April 30th is Arbor Day, but every day we should look outside and appreciate trees. These websites have some great information and activities for kids at school or at home


https://www.arborday.org/kids/

https://www.arborday.org/celebrate/educational-resources.cfm


Brainstorm
Divide children into small groups and let them brainstorm all the products we get from trees.


*THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein is a wonderful book to share, but my little kids always wanted to know, "Why did he have to get old?" (I wonder the same thing sometimes!!!)


TREEmendous Writing
Let children look out the window or sit under a tree and write descriptions. Think about the colors in the tree. Are there animals in the tree? What are the parts of a tree?
*For creative writing, ask children to complete this sentence: If I were a tree I would...


Tree Identification

Download information about leaves similar to the one below.
 


Take a nature walk and challenge the children to identify the trees on the school grounds. 

How are leaves different?

How does the bark on trees vary?

*Hint! Give children a clipboard and let them draw their favorite tree.

*Let them do rubbings of leaves from different trees and compare.


Plant a Tree
Contact your local cooperative extension service, Forestry Services, or National Arbor Day Foundation for free seedlings. Discuss what your tree will need to thrive. Prepare the soil, water your tree, and record its growth.


Vocabulary
What's a deciduous tree? What's an evergreen tree?
Sing this song to the tune of "London Bridge" to help your students learn how about deciduous and evergreen trees.

If your leaves fall to the ground,
to the ground,
to the ground.
If your leaves fall to the ground
You're deciduous.
If your leaves stay green all year,
green all year,
green all year.
If your leaves stay green all year,
You're an evergreen.


ADOPT A TREE
A Louisiana teacher shared this sweet story about what happened when she let her class "adopt" a special tree on the playground. They named their tree Maggie and hugged her, drew pictures of her in different seasons, read stories and sang songs under her, wrote descriptions...you get the idea. One day as a group of children were playing, one child snapped a branch off another tree. A little boy started to cry because he said, "You're hurting Maggie's friend." I'm not sure "adopting a tree" was in their state standards, but it's a beautiful story about instilling a love of nature in children. And, it's so easy just to take a moment every now and then to focus on trees and all the living things this time of year. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

THANK YOU THURSDAY

I don't make up these holidays, but April 29th really is THANK YOU THURSDAY!

Everybody likes to be appreciated, so here are some simple ideas you can use to say THANK YOU to parent volunteers and school helpers at the end of the year.

Sing and Sign Thanks
Teach children this song to the tune of “Happy Birthday.”
We (Make “w” and circle around.)
Say (Index fingers by lips and move out.)
Thank you (Fingertips on chin and extend out.)
To. (Touch index fingertips.)
You. (Point.)
(Repeat twice)
We say thank you
For helping (Open left palm and place right fist on it and bring up.)
We say thank you to you!
                                          

Elvis Thank You
Get out your microphone. (Hold a fist by your mouth.)
Wiggle your hips.
(Pretend to twirl your microphone around.)
Thank you! Thank you very much!

Pictures and Letters
Integrate writing by having the children make thank you cards with various art media.

“Sweet” Thank You
Here are some clever ideas for awards you can give volunteers or school helpers. You can even cut paper the size of the wrapper and let the children make “designer” candy bars. 



Kudos Bar – “Kudos to you!”
Snickers – “Nuts about you!”
100 Grand – “A million thanks for all you did!”
M & M’s – “You’re marvelous and magnificent.”
Mint – “You ‘mint’ the world to us.”
Hershey’s Kisses – and Hugs, too!
Lifesavers – “You were a lifesaver this year!”


Gift Certificates
Here are some certificates that Carolyn Kisloski created.

                                        

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Gift-Tags-Gift-Cards-and-Gift-Ideas-2542953

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

MY STATE - MY CITY

My State Book
Make a state book based on your state flower, animal, famous people, state bird, capitol, flag, insect, famous places, etc. Children can become EXPERTS about their state.  The rhyme is similar to "Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?"
For example: 

New Hampshire, New Hampshire, what do you see?
I see the Capitol in Concord looking at me.

Capitol in Concord, what do you see?
I see the purple lilac looking at me.


Dartmouth, Dartmouth, who do you see?
I see Dr. Seuss looking at me....


My City Book
This is a book that I made several years ago about Charleston.  It's an idea that you could adapt for your school, community, etc.
                 

You will need construction paper and photos of your city, school, and so forth. 

Charleston, Charleston, what do you see?
There’s ___site____.
Come with me.

On the last page I wrote:

Do you like Charleston?
Do you like your city?
“Yes,” said Dr. Jean.
“I LOVE IT!” said she.
(I used my pirate picture to add a smile!)
                                         




THE WORLD FAMILY
(Tune: “The Wheels on the Bus”)
In this song, you’ll have to fill in the name of your school, city, state, country, continent, and planet.

The name of my school is ___, ___, ___.
The name of my school is ___.
That’s the name of my school.

The name of my city is...

The name of my state is...

The name of my country is United States.

The name of my continent is North America.

The name of my planet is Earth.

We’re all part of the world family, family, family.
We’re all part of the world family.
Let’s live in love and peace.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

TELL A STORY DAY

National Tell A Story Day (April 27th) is celebrated by encouraging people of all age groups to tell a story. A story can be read from a book, an imaginary story, or an actual memory.

                                              

In person or online, stories will capture children’s attention and nurture their literacy skills. Oral language, phonological awareness, comprehension, sequencing, and multiple skills are reinforced with stories. The secret ingredient to a good story is YOU! You add the magic with your enthusiasm and unique personality.

Before telling your story you need to focus children’s attention with a chant or rhyme similar to the ones below:

If you want to hear a story, (Snap fingers to the beat.)
This is what to do.
Sit down quietly
And I’ll tell one to you!
That’s right, that’s right, (Point to children sitting quietly.)
That’s right, that’s right!



Two little hands go clap, clap, clap. (Clap hands 3 times.)
Two little fingers go snap, snap, snap. (Snap fingers 3 times.)
Two little eyes go blink, blink, blink. (Blink eyes.)
If you want to hear a story go wink, wink, wink. (Wink eyes.)
(Lower your voice as you say each line.)


Hands up high. (Hands in the air.)
Hands down low. (Hands down.)
Hide those hands, now. (Hands behind your back.)
Where did they go? (Shrug shoulders.)
One hand up. (Right hand up.)
The other hand, too. (Left hand up.)
Clap them, (Clap.)
Fold them, (Fold in lap.)
Here’s a story for you!


Here's a participation story where children can listen and follow directions.

The Wiggle Family

Directions: Assign children to be the different characters below. (Two or three children can be each character.) Instruct them to stand up, wiggle, and then sit back down whenever their name is mentioned in the story.

Hint! When telling the story, pause slightly after saying each character's name.

Mama       Sister      Baby      Cat      Grandma

Papa        Brother    Dog       Grandpa


One day Mama Wiggle said, "It’s such a beautiful day. Why don't we all get in the van and go to Grandma and Grandpa Wiggle's house. We’ll take a picnic lunch and have a great time!" Papa got the van ready while Sister packed a picnic lunch. Mother got the baby, and Brother got the cat and dog. Soon Mother, Father, and Baby were in the front of the van, and Sister and Brother, the cat and the dog were in the back of the van and they were on their way to Grandma and Grandpa Wiggle’s house..

"Oh, no," said Sister, "I forgot the picnic lunch!"

So Mama told Papa to stop the van. They turned around and drove back to their house to get the picnic lunch. Sister ran back to the house while the others sat in the van. Just then the dog started barking and scared the cat who jumped out of the van. Brother had to chase the cat and bring her back to the van. The Baby got so upset, he just cried and cried. Finally, Mama, Papa, Sister, Brother, Baby, the dog, and cat were all back in the van and were on their way to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

When they arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s house everyone was so happy! The cat and dog jumped out of the van first, followed by Brother and Sister. Mother, Father, and Baby got out of the van last.

They spread a blanket under a large tree and put out the picnic lunch. And, oh, what a feast it was! They had sandwiches, and fried chicken, and cupcakes and fruit. After lunch Grandpa, Grandma, Mother, Father, and the Baby fell asleep and took a nap. Brother and Sister chased the cat and dog around and played hide and go seek.

It started to get dark, so Grandpa and Grandma gave Mother, Father, Baby, Sister and Brother a big hug good-bye. They all hopped in the van with the cat and the dog and set off towards their home.

What a special day it had been!

Story Bracelet
 
String color-coded beads on a pipe cleaner to encourage children to retell stories.

Three Pigs
Once upon a time there were three little pigs. (3 pink beads)
The first little pig built a house of straw. (1 yellow bead)
The second little pig built a house of sticks. (1 brown bead)
The third little pig built a house of bricks. (1 red bead)
One day a big bad wolf came along. (1 black bead)
He went to the house of the first little pig and said,
“Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” (Touch yellow bead.)
The little pig said, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.”
“Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in”…
The wolf climbed up on the chimney so he could get the pigs.
The pigs put a big pot of boiling water in the fireplace. (blue bead)
When the wolf hit the hot water he jumped out of the fireplace and was never heard from again.
And that’s the story of the three little pigs!
(Twist ends of pipe cleaner to make a bracelet.)



Monday, April 26, 2021

I KNOW A SCIENTIST

Calling children "authors" when they write and "scientists" when you do experiments is positive self-talk.  It helps them think positively about themselves and nurtures their confidence.  That's why I love this song about a "scientist."

I Know a Scientist
(Tune: “I Had a Little Turtle”)
I know a scientist, (Hold up index finger.)
And you can be one, too! (Point with index finger.)
Here’s the scientific method
So you’ll know what to do.

First you find a question. (Hold up one finger.)
Just take a look around. (Pretend to look around.)
What is it that you want to know?
Now you write it down.

Next you make a guess— (Hold up two fingers.)
It’s called a hypothesis—
About what will happen
When you do your tests.

Now experiment, (Hold up three fingers)
Observe it, write it, too. (Hold up four fingers.)
You’ll need lots of data
To show your guess is true.

Draw your conclusions. (Hold up five fingers.)
Look into any doubts.
Then tell everybody
What you’ve found out! 

https://youtu.be/5Z41GOKUjzI

Science Experiments 

I know it's a challenge to come up with science experiments with your different teaching situations, but here are a few simple ones that should spark children's interest wherever they are.
Note!  These would also be good for the parents to repeat at home.

Dancing Rice 
Materials:  uncooked rice, water, food coloring, baking soda, white vinegar, clear glass

Directions:  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!
What happened?  Why?




Shiny Pennies
Materials: old pennies, vinegar, salt, cup and spoon

Directions: Put ½ cup of vinegar in the cup. Add 1 TB salt and mix to dissolve. Drop the pennies in the cup and stir them around while you count to 25. Take the pennies out of the cup and rinse them off in water. Taaa Daaa! What happened to the pennies? What made them shiny?

*Experiment shining pennies with ketchup or lemon juice.


                                          
In the Bag
Materials: zip sandwich bag, sharp pencil

Directions: Fill the sandwich bag with water. Hold the pencil and say, “What do you think will happen if I stab this pencil in the bag?” Take the pencil and quickly insert it through the bag. What happened? Why?


Lab Coat
If you were a kid, wouldn't you like a lab coat like a real scientist?  Well, here's a great project to share with your families.

Materials:  pillowcase, scissors, markers

Directions:  Use the pattern below or come up with your own design to make the pillowcase look like a lab coat. 
*Cut on the dotted lines.
*Let your child decorate with markers.
*Have fun!!!


Sunday, April 25, 2021

LITERACY OUTSIDE

After a year of screens, I hope you are all able to get outside now with your children.  We know that children need play and movement and nature more than they need worksheets now, so here are some activities where they can learn as they have FUN!

Reading Tree

Choose a poetry book, storybook, and non-fiction book to read outside under a shady tree. Can the children identify the books? 



Reading Buddies

Divide children into pairs and let them each choose a favorite book. Go out on the playground, find a shady spot, and enjoy sharing their books with each other. 
*Encourage them to ask each other questions about the books they read. 

A

Alphabet Walk 


Write letters on a paved surface with chalk. Challenge the children to step on the letters as they name them. Can they think of something that starts with each sound? 

      


Word Hopscotch

Draw a hopscotch grid on a paved surface. Write high frequency words in each section. Children hop on the spaces as they read the words. 

S

Talking Stick

Choose a stick on the playground and then have the children sit in a circle under a tree. Explain that you will start a story. As you pass the stick around, the child holding the stick can add to the story. Only the person holding the stick is allowed to talk. You might want to start a story about the day a space ship landed on the playground or the day animals started to talk. 


                                           

Prepositions on the Move

Using playground equipment, call out various prepositions, such as on, off, over, under, by, between, to, from for the children to demonstrate. 



We Can Do Opposites

Gather children around playground equipment and tell them you will call out a word. Can they demonstrate the opposite? For example, if the teacher said down, the children would climb up. If the teacher said front, the children would move to the back. Other words could be over, behind, inside, and so forth. 



Verb Relays

Divide children into relay teams. The teacher names a verb and the children act out the meaning until everyone on their team has completed the movement. For example, you could have them walk, march, strut, prance, and so forth.



Saturday, April 24, 2021

MATH FUN IN THE SUN

Math is real and concrete and hands-on and all around us. Let's go outside and measure, sort, seriate and learn!

Worm Measurement 

Cut yarn or string into different sections (3”-12”) and place them in a bag. Explain that you have “worms” in your bag and they will all get to choose one. Have them walk around the playground and find objects that are longer, shorter, or equal to their worm. (Exchange worms after a few minutes.)


Rulers
Give children rulers to measure objects on the playground. “Can you find something 2” long? Can you find something smaller than an inch? What’s longer than 5”? How can you measure the slide?”

            

Position I Spy! 
Children use positional words to play “I Spy” on the playground. For example: I spy something beside the slide. I spy something behind the tree. I spy something above the sidewalk. I spy something between the big tree and the fence…

Sorting 
Ask children to collect different items on the playground. (This will vary with the season and your habitat.) Put their objects together in a big pile. Ask the children to sort the objects. What was their sorting rule?

Geometry

Draw basic geometric shapes (square, triangle, rectangle, oval, rhombus, circle) on 6” cardboard squares. Let the children take the shapes and match them to something in nature with a similar shape.

                         
*Divide children into small groups and let them make shapes with their bodies on the grass.


Patterns
Collect 5 or 6 leaves, rocks, sticks or other natural objects. Place a leaf, then a rock, a leaf, then a rock. “What will come next?” Let children make up their own patterns with natural objects.

                                                       

Addition and Subtraction
Add and subtract using natural objects.
Make up number stories using sports. For example: My team had 3 runs and we scored 2 more. How many in all?

Seriation
Collect sticks of different lengths and have the children put them in order from smallest to largest.
*They could also seriate leaves, rocks, etc.