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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

PLAY AND LEARN

Paper plates are cheap, durable, and make perfect flashcards for these games.


MUSICAL PLATES
Skills: words, letters, math facts, colors, shapes, etc.
Materials: paper plate flashcards with information you want to practice
Directions: Do you remember the old game where you placed chairs in a circle and walked around until the music stopped? If you didn’t find a chair you were OUT! This is a similar game that can reinforce letters, words, colors, math facts, etc. Scatter the paper plates on the floor. Play some catchy music for the children to dance to. When the music stops each child finds a paper plate and picks it up. The teacher randomly points to various children to identify the information on their plates. Have the children place the plates back on the floor and continue dancing.

*If the child is unsure about what is on their plate invite them to “ask the audience.”

*You can play a game similar to musical chairs where you remove one word at a time so children have to scramble to find a word.


Word Worm
Draw the face of a worm on a paper plate. Write sight words on other plates. Pass out a word card to each child. One at a time children come up and place their word next to the worm’s head. Each child reads all of the previous words before placing her word down. How long can the worm grow!


Hint! Children can “ask the audience” to read with them if they are unsure of the words.



RED ROVER, RED ROVER
Skills: words, letters, shapes, colors, etc.
Materials: flashcards
Directions: Divide the class into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the room facing each other. Give each player a flashcard to hold in front of them. The teacher goes to one team and asks, “Who do you want to call over?” The children select someone from the opposite side and say, “Red rover, red rover, send (word) right over.” The child holding that word walks, hops, tiptoes, or jumps to the opposite side. The game continues as sides take turns calling words over.

WORD HUNT
Skills: words, letters, math facts, etc.
Materials: flashcards
Directions: Have the children close their eyes as you hide the flashcards around the room. Children open their eyes and hunt for the words. When they find one they bring it to the teacher and read it. Then they hide it again and look for another word. The game continues as long as the children are interested.


SCOOTS
I found this game called “SCOOTS” that Jessica Quisenberry taught me several years ago. This game can be adapted for all content areas and age levels and it beats a worksheet or computer game any day!

Write math facts, sight words, pictures, etc. on index cards. Write a letter or number in the corner of each card. Tape the cards around the room.

Prepare an answer grid similar to the one shown. Children “scoot” or walk around the room until they find a card. They can then put their answer on the grid.


Hint! Cardboard clipboards work great for this activity.

*Adapt the number of sections to the age and ability of your students.

Example: math facts (write the answer)

Phonics (picture for children to identify the beginning sound, blend, vowel, etc.)

Parts of speech (word and they write if it is a noun or verb)


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Sometimes children get a little over zealous if you are playing team games where you keep points. Here’s a tip to eliminate some of that competitiveness. Take a deli lid and trace around it twice on paper and cut out. Write “high” on one circle and “low” on the other circle and tape to opposite sides of the lid. (I had to trim the circles a little to get them to fit on the lid.) After playing the game, toss the lid. If it lands on “high” the team with the highest score wins. If it lands on “low” the team with the lowest score wins. 

         

Note! Do you see how easy it is to adapt these games for whatever age or skill you are working with? Pre-k teachers could use shapes and letters, while second grade teachers could use vocabulary words, math facts, or science questions.


Pick Up
Place the flash cards randomly on the floor in the middle of the room. Divide the class into two teams. Choose one child from each team to come up and play. Call out a word. The first child to pick it up wins a point for their team.


Snowballs
Write words on scrap paper and distribute to the children. (Older children could write their own words.) Each child wads up their paper to make a snowball. Divide the class into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the room. When the teacher says, “Let it snow!” the children begin throwing snowballs at each other. Before they can throw a snowball back at the other team, they must open the paper and read the word. The game continues until the teacher says, “Freeze.” The children gather the snowballs on their side and count. The side with the least amount wins.

*Adapt the game for math facts, letters, children's names, and other skills.


*A variation of this would be for the teacher to make the snowballs ahead of time by writing words, math facts, etc. on scrap paper. The children wad them up and then begin throwing. There are no teams, but the children just pick up snowballs, open them, identify the information, and then wad it up and throw it again.


Catch and Tell
“Catch and Tell” can be played if you've got a few minutes during transitions, while waiting in the hall, or at the end of the day as a review. All you will need is a bean bag or small sponge ball to play this game. The teacher says a letter and then tosses the ball to a child. That child must name something that begins with that sound before tossing the ball back to the teacher.

*This game can be adapted for rhyming words, colors, math facts, social studies, and other skills.


SWAT IT
Skills: numerals, letters, words, etc.
Materials: marker, two fly swatters

Directions: Write numerals (letters, words, etc.) on the board. Divide the class into two teams. One child from each team comes forward and is given a fly swatter. The teacher calls out a math fact. The first student to “swat” or hit the numeral that is the answer gets a point for their team. The game continues as children from each team come forward to “swat” the answer.

* STOMP is a similar game played with flashcards. Divide the class into two teams facing each other. Place the flashcards on the floor in between the two teams. Choose one child from each team to play. Call out a math problem. The first child to stomp on the answer wins a point for their team.

Kids vs. Teacher
Draw a T chart on the board with “Kids” on one side and “Teacher” on the other side. Hold up a flash card. If a child raises her hand and correctly reads the word, she gets a point for the “kids.” If any child shouts out the answer, then the teacher gets a point.

(If children keep talking out of turn, just continue to give points to the teacher. They’ll figure it out!)


Four Corners
Several years ago Ginny McLay told me how she adapted 4 corners for different skills she was working on. She said she wrote skills they needed to practice (sounds, math facts, sight words, etc.) on sticky notes and placed them in a corner in the classroom. She made a second copy on index cards. The kids tiptoed to a corner while the teacher covered her eyes. The teacher then randomly picked an index card and called out that information. If they were in that corner they had to sit down. The game continued as the kids moved to another corner until one student was left.

Monday, April 15, 2024

WINNING WITH GAMES!

I used to love to make and play games in my classroom. I would often tell my children, “If you work hard in reading group, then we’ll have time to play a game at the end.” What they didn’t realize was that the game usually reinforced a skill we were working on.

Over the next few days I'll share a few of my “favorite games” that I have played with children over the years. Adapt them, change them, and, above all, have FUN with them! 

Hint! Games are also a great way to reinforce skills that might be part of your assessment at the end of the year.


Flippers
SKILLS: letters; sounds; math facts; contractions; antonyms, etc.
MATERIALS: spatula, poster board, markers
DIRECTIONS: Cut 3 ½” circles out of poster board. Write uppercase letters on one side and lowercase letters on the other. Place the circles on the floor or a table. Children name the letter on one side, and then flip it over to self-check.


Hint! Craft foam and corrugated cardboard also make good flippers.

More! Write words on one side and glue matching pictures on the back.

Write children’s names on one side and glue their picture on back. 

Put pictures on one side and initial consonants or vowels on back.

Put sets, number words, or math facts on one side and the answer on
 the reverse side. 

Write antonyms on opposite sides. 

Write two words on the front and the contraction on the back.


What’s Up, Pup?

SKILLS: phonics; rhymes; sets and numerals; math facts
MATERIALS: Construction paper, scissors, markers, old workbooks, glue
DIRECTIONS: Cut puppies out of construction similar to the one shown.
Cut pictures of familiar objects from workbooks. Glue a picture on the puppy’s tummy and the corresponding initial letter under the ear. Children identify the sound and then check by lifting the ear. 


More! Use this pattern for matching upper and lowercase letters, words and pictures, math facts, etc.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljZGxkcDZmaFQ4UVU/view?usp=sharing


Go Fishing
Why? letters, sight words, math facts, etc.
What? stick, string, magnet, brad fastener
How? Cut out fish using the pattern on the following page. Write skills on the fish and attach a brad fastener for eyes. Tie one end of a piece of string to the stick and attach the magnet to the other end of the string. Spread the fish out on the floor. Children try to catch a fish by dangling the magnet over the eye. They can keep the fish if they can identify the information on it.




Tic Tac Toe
Children will need paper, crayons, and a hard surface. Tell them to make a big tic tac toe frame in the middle of their paper. Next, ask them to write a letter in each section. Randomly call out alphabet letters. If they have that letter on their grid they can color it in. The first one to get three in a row or cover their whole frame wins.
*Adapt for numbers, sight words, or other skills.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

RECYCLE ME, PLEASE!

You know all those cardboard food boxes you throw away? Well, here's a great opportunity to give them a second life, teach your children to recycle, and make some cool materials for your classroom. Send a note asking families to save their cardboard food boxes for a week and then let the fun begin!

Cardboard Castle 
Let children use masking tape to create a castle or other play sculpture.


What's for Breakfast? Book 
Each child chooses the front of their favorite cereal box. They can write original sentences or fill in the blank "(Child's name) likes (cereal)."



Puzzles 
Cut box fronts into puzzle shapes. Store in zip bags. For younger children use two like boxes. Cut one up and let them place the pieces on the second box.


Fronts and Backs 
Cut front and back panels off of boxes. Mix them up and then ask the children to match up the ones that go together.


*Play a memory game where you place the fronts and backs face down on the floor. Children try to match up pairs.

Stencils and Templates 
Cut geometric shapes out of box fronts. Children can trace these with colored pencils, crayons, or markers.
*Cut seasonal shapes or objects that relate to a unit of study for the children to trace.

Sewing Cards 
Punch holes around the sides of boxes. Children can sew these with yarn, string, or old shoelaces.



Weaving
Cut notches around the sides of boxes and let children weave through these with yarn.

Fractions
Give each child the front panel off a box. Can you cut it in half? Fourths? Eights?



Math – Have children sort the boxes by product, size, etc. Graph favorite cereals, cookies, crackers, etc.
How about a free song download and flip book about recycling?

http://www.drjean.org/html/monthly_act/act_2015/04_Apr_css/index.html

What Will I Be When They Recycle Me?
(Tune: “Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?”)
What will I be when they recycle me? (Roll hands in a circle.)
What will I be when they recycle me?
What will I be when they recycle me?
I’ll come back to life—you will see! (Clap your hands and then point your finger.)

I am an empty soda can (Pretend to hold a soda can in front of you.)
Made of precious aluminum.
I can save lots of energy
If you will recycle me. (Roll hands in a circle.)

I’m an old bottle of plastic (Pretend to hold a plastic bottle.)
But I could be fantastic!
Toys, pipes, car bumpers, and much more—
That’s what my plastic is for. (Roll hands in a circle.)

A pile of used boxes and papers we (Make an invisible square in the air.)
Come from the precious wood of trees.
Recycled we’ll be as good as new (Roll hands in a circle.)
And save some other trees, too.

I am a fine jar made of glass— (Cup hands to make a bowl.)
Please don’t treat me like plain old trash! (Shake head “no.”)
I’ll make new jars again and again
Recycle me—yes you can! (Roll hands in a circle.)

Though we may look like old used stuff, (Open palms.)
Stop, wait! Please don’t give up on us! (Make sign language for “stop.”)
Think of the great possibilities— (Put index finger on your head and tap.)
Recycle us, set us free! (Roll hands in a circle and then throw up hands in the air.)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

WE'RE ON THE LITTER PATROL

One of the best ways to be on the "green team" is to keep the earth beautiful by picking up trash. There's nothing more frustrating to me than to see trash along the road, but maybe we can improve things in the future by getting our students to join the LITTER PATROL!

Litter Patrol
Well, here we go, (Clap and snap fingers to the beat.)
We’re on the litter patrol.
We’re going to work all day
To put the trash away.
The planet earth, you see
Is our habitat.
We’re going to clean it up,
Well, how about that!

Litter Bags
Ask your students to bring in an empty cereal box or cardboard food box.
1. Cut the tops off the boxes.
2. Punch a hole in each short side.
3. Tie on a piece of string. Use these to collect trash or have the children place these in their cars.



Earth Day Project
Plan a community project where parents and children come together to clean up a park or natural area in your community. Make sure you have gloves and trash bags for the participants.

Trash Snack
How about a “trash snack”? You will need ice cream cones, Gold Fish crackers, Cheerios, pretzel sticks, and peanuts. Take 4 lunch sacks and put a different item in each sack. Write “old tires” on the sack with Cheerios, write "dead fish" on the sack with the crackers, “sticks” on the sack with pretzel sticks, and “stones” on the sack with peanuts. Take a large bowl and make up a story about collecting trash. As you name the different items, invite different children to dump the contents in the bowl. Stir with a large spoon and then serve the “trash” in trashcans (ice cream cones). The cool thing about this snack is that there is NO trash when the children have finished eating!



Hint! Substitute raisins for peanuts if you have students with food allergies. You can also use sunflower seeds or other snack foods.

Friday, April 12, 2024

JOIN THE GREEN TEAM

Who wouldn't want to be a super hero on the green team? 


The Green Team (Tune: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”)
We are on the Green Team. (March in place as you swing your arms.)
Hoorah! Hoorah! (Fist in air as if cheering.)
We can recycle every day. (March in place as you roll your arms around.)
Hoorah! Hoorah! (Fist in air as if cheering.)
Aluminum, glass, tin, (March in place.)
Put paper and cans in recycle bins. (March in place.)
Join the Green Team, (March in place.)
Defend the earth and keep it clean. (Put both fists in the air like a hero.)

We are on the Green Team. Hoorah! Hoorah!
We can reduce what we use. Hoorah! Hoorah!
Turn off water and the lights.
Walk, take a bus, or ride your bike.
Join the Green Team.
Defend the earth and keep it clean.

We are on the Green Team. Hoorah! Hoorah!
We can reuse many things. Hoorah! Hoorah!
Share old toys and old clothes, too.
Give away what you don't use.
Join the Green Team,
Defend the earth and keep it clean.

We are on the Green Team. Hoorah! Hoorah!
We can keep our planet clean. Hoorah! Hoorah!
Pick up all the trash you see.
Protect wildlife and plant new trees.
Join the Green Team.
Defend the earth and keep it clean.

*Make a language experience chart of children’s suggestions for what it means to be on the “Green Team.” Have children dip their thumb in green paint and “sign” it on the list to signify that they are going to join the “Green Team.”



*Walk around the school and encourage the children to draw pictures or write suggestions for conserving energy and making the learning environment “green.” Compile results and ask the principal to visit your class and discuss improvements that can be made.


Naturalist Kit
Make a naturalist kit by recycling a detergent box or similar container with a handle. Make binoculars by cutting a cardboard paper towel roll in half. Tape the halves together and hole punch at the top. Tie on a piece of string so children can easily take the binoculars on and off their heads. Add a magnifying glass, field guide, tweezers, film canister (for collecting specimens), paper, pencil, etc. Talk about what naturalists do. Can you be a naturalist? Divide children up into groups of two and let them take turns playing “naturalist” on the playground.




Put out scrap materials in the art center and encourage children to make “Green Team” badges. You can also let them decorate sheets of newspaper and staple them around their necks to make “Super Green Hero” capes. Let children dramatize what they would do if they were a “Super Green Hero.”

Thursday, April 11, 2024

EARTH DAY IS COMING!

Every day should be “Earth Day,” but is officially celebrated every April 22nd. It’s always important to think about our planet and get kids interested in protecting their environment. Your students are going to be so proud of this “Earth Book” when they take it home to share with their families. 

Materials: 8” squares of the following colors:
2 orange, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 1 brown, 1 purple

Directions:

1. Use the attached patterns to cut out the different pages for the book.
2. To assemble the book put down the solid orange, then the purple, brown, yellow, blue, green, and end with the orange with the circle cut out.
3. Staple on the left.
4. Younger children can “read” the book by describing the colors of the earth on each page. Older students can write simple descriptive sentences on each page.
5. On the last page invite children to write or draw how they can help protect the earth.

Hint! Your students will be overwhelmed to do this all in one day, so stretch this project out by asking them to just do 2 or 3 pages a day.

Here's the patterns.
http://bit.ly/drjean_EarthBook




Earth Day Song (Happy Everything CD)
Earth Day, Earth Day! Let’s all come together.
Earth Day, Earth Day! To make this world much better.
‘Cause we love our planet Earth, beautiful and blue.
We want to take care of it with everything we do.

We can recycle – tell your friends and neighbors!
Glass, aluminum, plastic and paper.
‘Cause we love our planet Earth, beautiful and blue.
We want to take care of it with everything we do.

We can plant a tree, to create green spaces;
Walk or ride our bikes to go different places.
Cause we love our planet Earth, beautiful and blue.
We want to take care of it with everything we do.

http://bit.ly/drjeanEarthDayBookdownload

http://bit.ly/drjean_EarthDay (video)


Earth Day Necklace
1. Give children a small ball of blue polymer clay.
2. Give them a small piece of green clay and tell them to break it into 4 or 5 little pieces.
3. Attach the green pieces to the blue ball and roll in your hands.
4. Make a hole in the center with the nail.
5. Bake in a 275 oven for 12-15 minutes.
6. String the earth ball on yarn or string to make a necklace.



Nature’s Colors

1. Give children assorted pony beads and a piece of string or yarn 20-24” long.
2. Explain that they can select a bead to represent the different things in nature that they appreciate. For example, a blue bead might remind them of the ocean, or a red bead might remind them of a cardinal. (Hint! Limit one bead per color. To make it easier to string wrap a small piece of tape around the end of the yarn.)
3. Tie the ends of the string together to make a necklace.
*Older students could write sentences about each color.
4. Ask children to describe their necklaces and explain what each color represents.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

SUPER SIMPLE 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? 



Pepper Scatter

Materials: clear bowl
pepper
liquid detergent

Directions: Fill the bowl with water. Sprinkle the pepper on top. Squirt a drop of detergent in the middle of the bowl. Observe what the pepper does. What makes the pepper scatter?


Milk Explosion

Materials: pie pan
whole milk (room temperature)
food coloring
liquid detergent (Dawn works best.)

        

Directions: Place a cup of milk in the pie pan. (It must be whole milk and room temperature.) Put several drops from each bottle of food coloring down the sides of the pie pan at different intervals. Now, squirt a few drops of the detergent in the middle of the pan. Patiently observe and the colors will explode in the pan. 


Happy Face Balloon
Materials: balloon (Use a large balloon and blow it up first to make sure
it will inflate easily.)
permanent marker, empty bottle
vinegar, baking soda
spoon, funnel

Directions: Blow up the balloon and draw a happy face on it with the marker.
Put ½ cup of vinegar in the bottle. Put several spoonfuls of baking soda in the balloon using the funnel. Insert the end of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle. Hold up the balloon so the baking soda falls in the bottle and watch what happens. What made the balloon blow up? Have children draw pictures in sequential order of how this experiment was conducted.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

SCIENTIST OF THE WEEK


Write a letter similar to the one below and send it home with a different child each Monday. Create a backpack for the “Scientist of the Week” with a magnifying glass, magnet, field guide book, spiral notebook, pencil, safety goggles, lab coat, and a book of science experiments. (My website has some experiments you could copy.)

Dear Parents,
Your child has been selected as “Scientist of the Week.” Please help your child choose an experiment to present to the class on Thursday. You will find some science experiments in this bag, but it might be fun for you and your child to go to the library or search on the internet. Help your child practice the experiment several times so she’ll feel confident when she does it in front of her classmates. We will have “The Scientist of the Week” at 2:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon and we’d love for you to join us.


Hint! If you are in a school where family participation is a struggle, perhaps you could let a 4th or 5th grade student buddy help a different child each week.

*To encourage informative writing, have children make science journals where they draw pictures or write observations of the presentations.


Science at Home
Here's a fun experiment that you could send home in a bag for your students to do with their families.

Toothpick Trick
Materials: wooden toothpicks
cup of water

Directions: Take 5 toothpicks and bend them in the middle. Do not break them apart. Place the bent edges together in the middle to make a 10 pointed star. How can you turn it into a 5 pointed star without touching the toothpicks. (Let children brainstorm all the possibilities.) Dip your finger in the water and put a drop in the middle of the 10 pointed star. Observe as the toothpicks move to form a five pointed star. What made the toothpicks move?



Come back tomorrow for more of my favorite experiments you can do at school or you can send the directions home for families to have some STEM fun.

Monday, April 8, 2024

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!




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 7, 2024

NAME YOURSELF DAY

Have you ever wished that you had a different name? Apparently April 9th is "Name Yourself Day." Wouldn’t your kids get a kick out of changing their first name for a day?

Tell them about it on Monday so they’ll have time to make their decision. (They’ll probably sort through dozens of names before choosing one.) Start Tuesday by having each student tell their classmates their new name and explain why they chose it.

Sing this good morning song to the tune of “Good Night, Ladies” using their new name.
Hello, (new name).
Hello, (new name).
Hello, (new name).
We’re glad you’re in our room.

Let them make nametags, necklaces, bracelets, or crowns with their new name. Their new name could also be the catalyst for a story about an adventure they might have.


You should probably change your name as well. How about Queen ___ or King ____?


Money, Honey!
And if you name yourself, why not make some money with your picture? Wouldn't your kids love to draw their face on this $100 bill? I found this template on the internet.


I couldn't resist!

Saturday, April 6, 2024

HIGH FIVE DAY

April 21st is National High Five Day, but you can start any day with a high five and a smile! Wouldn't your kids be surprised if you drew a smile on your hand like this one?


High Five Cheer
Teach children how to give themselves a “high five” for a job well done. Hold up both palms facing each other in front of your chest. Pretend to wave with one hand as you hold up five fingers on the other hand. “Hi 5!” Get it?


Pat on the Back

Trace around each child’s hand on construction paper and let them cut it out. Write a positive comment about each child on the hand and tape it to their back at the end of the day. Parents will be proud when they see their child’s “pat on the back.”





Pickle Tickle Partner Game
Up high. (Give a high five up in the air.)
Down low. (High five down by knees.)
Cut the pickle. (One child touches fingertips horizontally as the other child pretends to slice in between.)
Give a tickle. (Gently tickle each other.)


High Five
Write sight words on hands and tape to your classroom door. Students must "high five" a hand and read a word before exiting the classroom.



*Adapt for letters, numbers, colors, vocabulary, or other skills children need to master.

Friday, April 5, 2024

WE'RE POETS AND WE KNOW IT!

Ask the children, “What do poets do?” As they respond comment, “You know, we can do that, too. We can all write poems and be poets!!!” Here are some simple activities to start your students on the road to writing poetry.


ACROSTIC
An acrostic is an easy way to begin writing poetry. Model how to do this on the board by writing a word vertically. Have children to think of a word that begins with each letter. Read over what you have written, and you have a poem.

Name Acrostic – Children think of a word that describes them for each letter in their name.

Holiday or Season- Write the holiday or season and then add an adjective that begins with each letter.

Non-fiction – Write a vocabulary word from a unit or theme and then
challenge children to write a word that begins with each letter.



Hint! Make banners or puzzles from poems that the children create.


BLANK POEM
Write several lines of poetry, leaving blanks at the end of each line. Encourage the children to fill in words that rhyme. Have them help you sound out the words as you write them. For example:

I saw a pig
Who could ______.
I saw a cat
Who could ______.
I saw a sheep
Who could ______.
And I can rhyme
Any time!

*Use similes for blank poems. For example, children could fill in the line to “Hungry as a _____. Quiet as a______. Sleepy as a ______. Mad as a _______. Good as _______. Sweet as ______.” And so on.


PREDICTABLE POEMS
Give children predictable sentences similar to the ones below. All children have to do is fill in a missing word, and they’ll have a poem.
Hint! They can use words that rhyme, nonsense words, or words that don’t rhyme.

I like_____.
I like _____
I like _____.
Do you like____?

I can _____.
I can_____.
I can_____.
Can you_____?

*I know….I wish….My mom is…Dogs can….Spring is….Green is…. And so forth!
*Write predictable poems using the five senses. It looks like…It sounds
like…It tastes like… It smells like…It feels like…It’s a ….


Poetry Quilt
Give each child a square and let them write an original poem or rhyme on the square. Let them decorate a frame around their poem with crayons. Glue the children’s squares to a large sheet of bulletin board paper. Be sure to leave at least an Inch between the squares. Take 12” pieces of yarn and tie them in bows. Glue the bows between the squares so it will look like a quilt.

Windsock
Give children a sheet of paper 12” x 8”. Let them illustrate or write an original poem on the paper. Next, glue 12” x 1” tissue paper strips on the bottom of the paper. Bring the edges together to make a cylinder and staple. Punch 3 holes in the top and tie on 12” pieces of string. Bring the ends of the string together and knot.


Thursday, April 4, 2024

POCKET POEM


Pocket Poem
Seal an envelope, cut it in half, decorate, punch holes, tie on a piece of yarn, and let children choose a favorite poem or nursery rhyme to tuck inside.

Here's a poem for your pocket that my daughter Holly wrote.


A Poem
By Dr. Holly 

A poem, a poem 
Is a very special thing. 
It takes the words 
And makes them sing. 

A poem is a present, 
A poem is a treat 
With words piled like ice-cream 
In your bowl to eat! 

A poem, a poem 
Is a treasure and an art 
So always carry one 
With you in your heart. 


Visiting Poet
Invite a poet from your community to visit and read poetry. Encourage the children to generate questions to ask the author before her visit.


Poetry Café
How about a poetry party where you serve hot chocolate instead of coffee. Let children choose favorite poems for you to read or encourage them to recite nursery rhymes or finger plays. Explain that in the coffee houses instead of clapping, the audience would “snap” their fingers for the poets.




Poems from My Past

MY WHISTLE

I bought a wooden whistle,
But it wouldn’t whistle.
I bought a steel whistle,
But it still wouldn’t whistle.
I bought a tin whistle,
And now I “tin” whistle!


THE MOON

I see the moon,
And the moon sees me.
God bless the moon,
And God bless me!


WISH UPON A STAR
Star light,
Star bright.
First star I see tonight.
Wish I may,
Wish I might,
Have this wish come true tonight!


FIND A PENNY
Find a penny.
Pick it up.
All day long
You’ll have good luck!
But if you give
It to a friend
Then your luck
Will never end.


LADY BUG
Lady bug, lady bug
Fly away home.
Hour house is on fire
And your children are lone.


WORMS
Nobody loves me,
Everybody hates me.
Guess I’ll go eat worms.
Short, fat, squishy ones,
Long, skinny, slimy ones,
See how they wiggle and squirm.