Nursery Rhymes are short poems/songs that children have learned for years and years. These are still important to learn today. They allow children to play with words. Also, by reading these simple rhymes in story book form, we encourage the connection between the text and spoken word. The goal is for children to recognize that they can tell the story. While we do not want children to believe that the way to read is to memorize all the words, we do want them to make the connection between what is said and what is written. We do want them to view themselves as readers. We do what them to gain the confidence that they can and will read books. So… provide your child with books they love. Provide your child with books they know. And read, read and read some more.
This week we will look at how learning songs is important in literacy development. We will take one song format and listen to a different version of that song. For centuries and in all cultures, songs have been past down as teaching tools. We need to continue this tradition, and recognize the importance of using songs and music as teaching tools.
Today we will look at the song Over in the Meadow. This is considered an “Old counting rhyme”. It has been transformed over and over to focus on other ecosystems. But, we will start with the original. Over in the Meadow, illustrated by Jill McDonald.
The use of this song/story is much more than just enjoying the music, while this is important also. The use of this song works on counting, vocabulary development, rhyming and much more. When children learn to sing songs they are building language skills. When they learn songs that are easily manipulated they learn to play with language. Working on oral language development and listening skills are key pieces to reading and writing development.
Where do we go from here?
Have your child pick their favorite version and illustrate an animal from that ecosystem.
Pick a different ecosystem and see if there is a version of that song, or better yet, write your own.
Re-write the song using items and animals you see in your backyard, your playground, your city block, or wherever your child has the opportunity to explore.
Did you know that Earth day is also International Mother Earth day? Well… it is! Did you also know there is a song inspired by the Indian poet Abby Kumar that has become the Earth Day anthem. Here is a Multilanguage version of the song.
Today, listen to the story Mrs. Fox’s Class Goes Green by Eileen Spinelli. Mrs. Fox challenges her students to think of ways to use less stuff (recycle), use less energy and use less water. The students then begin looking at the way they use things in their own homes and lives and figure out ways to live a greener life.
How can you live a greener life? Remember to turn off water, electricity and recycle. Those are easy ones. What about the use less stuff part? That is harder. In the story they have a toy swap. Helping your child learn to donate toys and clothes to charities is one thing you can do. Look into your local Buy Nothing Project and give and receive items is another.
Today is a good day to have your child go through all their toys and determine which ones they want to keep and which ones they can either give to a charity or other means of giving away in leu of putting them in the trash.
Today we will listen to Todd Parr read his book The Earth Book. This book talks about the things that you can do to help the earth… and why! Remember a big part of what we need to do in taking care of the earth is taking care of the natural resources we learned about yesterday. Children look to take care of things. Today use the format of Todd Parr’s book to write about what you do to take care of the earth and why! It is important to talk about the whys with children. We want them to understand the reason we reduce, reuse and recycle. Just learning the words and doing the actions is great, but understanding the need to preserve and protect will motivate your child to continue these actions beyond Earth Day, this week, this month, this year, their childhood…
Are you enjoying learning about insects? Today let’s talk about BEEEEESSSSS! Bees! While often people are afraid of bees, honey bees or bumblebees are very important to our world. Let’s learn more. Today’s story is Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton.
Are you willing to give bees a chance? What will you do to help the bees?
Children need to learn that they can help. Often times children want to help the environment and other causes, but can’t figure out what they can do. Help your child brainstorm ways that (s)he can help the bees. Can they help plant flowers? Can they make and hang a bee box? Eat local honey?
Today we will learn about one type of insect, a dragonfly. Let’s listen to the story Are You a Dragonfly by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. Then head over to SciShow Kids (Super Strong Dragonfly) to learn some more dragonfly facts. Just for fun, listen to the song D-D-D-Dragonfly by Pinkfong.
Now… let’s draw a picture and write some facts!
Teaching your child to create a can, are, have chart will assist them in collecting facts. This also becomes the start of writing paragraphs about the topic. When learning to write, provide your child the sentence starter and have them complete the fact “Dragonflies are _____. Dragonflies can_____. Dragonflies have____.” As they get better at writing and understanding the format of writing, they will then begin to use this format in their own informative writing process.
We will wrap up this week with one more egg story. Today’s story Ten Eggs in a Nest by Marilyn Sadler. Gwen the hen and Red the rooster are very excited for their eggs to hatch. Since it is “bad luck to count your eggs before they hatch”, Red doesn’t know how many eggs were laid. When the eggs begin to hatch, Red travels back and forth to the worm store to purchase worms for the new chicks.
This book would be a great opportunity to discuss the difference between fantasy and reality. We want children to enjoy the imaginative worlds that are created for them in their cartoons and storybooks, but at the same time we need them to begin to see that there is often a big difference between the fantasy of a fiction story and the reality of life (non-fiction or informational text).
Create a T chart to compare items in the story that are fantasy and those that are based in reality. Have your child explain why they believe each item belongs under fantasy or reality. If the item belongs under fantasy, challenge your child to explain what the reality would look like.
To extend the learning…
This book leads easily into math!
one to one correspondence (the ability to match items to other items or to a corresponding number. this helps solidify the concept of quantity)
provide your child with 10 eggs, have your child use items or illustrations to match one chick to each egg and then take it a step further and create one worm for each chick. If your child is struggling, remove eggs and start with a much smaller number.
Use the same eggs, chicks and worms to compare quantities. set out a number of eggs, chicks and worms (have them be all different quantities to begin). Then ask “What can you tell me about the amount of eggs, chicks and worms now?” Notice I didn’t point the children into using specific terms yet. You want to see what they observe on their own first. We hope they will say there are more/less _____ than _____, or _____ has the most/least. The ability to compare quantities is a key piece in number sense and will assist them moving into addition and subtraction as well as graphing and other math skills.
The other direction you could easily take with this story is ways to build a 10. In the story they mention that 1+2+3+4=10. This is another skill that is key for children to develop. We want them to understand that the concept of addition is to bring more into a group of items. Often times we focus on ___+____=____. This is important, but being able to decompose numbers into a variety of groupings will help with mental math later. Have your child use Lego or other colored items to group items into 10s. 2 red +3 yellow+2 green +1 white +2 black = 10 Lego bricks. This will help your child when they are approaching word problems later. You could easily state this in terms of a word problem and have your child illustrate it as well. I have a building that has 10 bricks. 5 are yellow, 1 is red and the rest are green. How many green blocks do I have? Then have your child build it to determine how many green they need.
Today we will continue to learn about eggs! Our story What is Growing Inside This Egg by Mia Posada, uses riddles to learn more about various animals that are hatched out of eggs. At the end of this recording, the teacher provided the directions to an activity for her class, but this can be done by your child at home. Cut out an egg shape. Now glue that egg shape onto a sheet of paper. Use this egg shape to make an adult animal who lays eggs (turtle, bird, frog, octopus, spider etc…). Then have your child write a fact about this animal.
Do you need more facts about oviparous animals? Watch this power point video made by Mattahunt Elementary School about oviparous animals and their eggs.
To extend our learning today, lets do some math! Here are a few ideas.
Draw simple nests on a sheet of paper and have your child roll a die or a pair of dice to find out many eggs to draw in the nest. Do not want to draw nests? That’s fine… not all eggs are in nests! You can draw egg cartons, a line to draw octopus eggs, etc…
Another fun addition or number practice would be to cut out a variety of eggs and write numbers on the eggs. Then provide your child with dominoes. Have your child sort the dominoes so the addition fact matches the number on the egg.
Ready to go beyond that? Practice greater than, less than and equal to with the number eggs you made above. Teach your child that the symbol eats the bigger number. But, make sure you also have your child read the number sentence to you. Many children can set up the fact, but then struggle to state what the number sentence says. 9>3 nine is greater than three. 1<8 one is less than eight.
Sometimes it is hard being good all the time. As adults we recognize the fact that you can’t always be good, you can’t always be perfect. But, often times we expect children to behave all the time. While we recognize that it is ok for them to have fun and be silly, do we tell them this? Do we explain to children that it’s ok to make the wrong choice? That they learn from their mistakes?
Let’s read the story The Good Egg by Jory John and Pete Oswald. This story is about one out of a dozen… eggs. What is it like to feel like you need to be the good egg? Well this egg knows. When one egg feels responsible for the actions for the others in the carton, the stress is too much.
Children need to learn this. They need to learn to take care of themselves. They need to recognize when they need to ask for help and that it is ok. They need to learn how to relax when things are stressful. Today help your child brainstorm a list of things they can do when life gets too hard. Talk about a time when you, their loving adult, just needed to step away and do something to relax yourself.
Ideas for your child to use to relax:
go for a walk with an adult and just be quiet in nature
look at the clouds
take a bath
listen to music
read a book
breathing activities (pretend to smell a flower then blow out a candle)
play with playdough
learn yoga poses
give yourself a hug
Remind your child that they are a good egg. But, that doesn’t mean that they won’t make mistakes. They won’t make the wrong choice from time to time. Making bad choices does not make you a bad person. We learn from our mistakes and grow from them. Take time to talk about this when your child is not having a tough time so that when they are, it isn’t something new to learn on top of dealing with emotions.