story · topic · writing

Frogs Hibernating

When you think about animals that hibernate, I bet frogs do not come to mind. But, did you ever wonder what happens to frogs during the winter? Think about it. They live near water, they are cold blooded, the eat insects, but they can’t migrate somewhere warm… that’s a long distance to hop!

Let’s listen to a few fiction stories about frogs dealing with winter.

Frog in Winter by Max Velthuijs

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London

Do you think that frogs really just get dressed in warmer clothes and try to stay warm in the winter? Do they snuggle down in their beds under layers of blankets? Nope…

Frogs hibernate, but when frogs hibernate it is very different from bears and other mammals that hibernate. Frogs don’t have fur. They can’t regulate their body temperature. So… frogs actually freeze. Yes, you read that right. Frogs ice over, but stay alive!

Watch this NatGeo video and learn about how frogs survive the winter.

What do you think other pond animals do for the winter? Do they migrate? Do they hibernate? Do they adapt in some other way? Draw a picture of what you think the pond looks like in the winter.

STEAM · topic · writing

What is migration?

This week we will focus on the topic of migration. So…. what is migration? Migration is when animals move from one place to another to survive. This is done to find the resources needed to survive (food, water, shelter, and space). Check out this and more facts here.

Amazing Animal Migrations by Land, Air and Sea by Nat Geo Wild. You will need to read this to your children, but there is fantastic images of desert elephants of Africa, black-browed albatrosses, and great white sharks migrating.

Migrations: Big Animal Trips from SciShow Kids explains the concept of migration and then shares the migration maps of some of the furthest traveling animals by land, sea and sky.

Animal Migration: Move It from Science Trek explains migration, discusses various animals that migrate and why.

Today we will make a can, are, need chart for animals that migrate. Create a chart and have your child illustrate or dictate the things that migrating animals can, are and need. Such as migrating animals can travel long distances. Migrating animals are moving to meet their basic needs. Migrating animals need to find sources of food. (or in simpler terms… Migrating animals can walk, fly, swim, move etc…. Migrating animals are deer, whale, birds etc.. Migrating animals need food, water, shelter, etc…)

art · topic · writing

Monster’s Underpants!

When we are nervous about life we are told to picture others in their underpants… maybe this helps children too if they think about monsters in underpants? Children love monsters… and they think underpants are too funny. So put monsters in their underpants and there is nothing that will bring more smiles, giggles and funny images!

Today listen to the story Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort.

Time to draw, paint… create a monster of your own!

My monster is wearing plaid underwear

Not sure how to get started or can’t think of a monster on your own? check out Art for Kit Hub’s paint a monster as inspiration… But, make sure to add underpants to your monster!

This is a great opportunity to encourage your child to write!! I guarantee your child has a story in his/her head about this underwear loving monster. You can provide words like monster, underpants, but encourage him/her to sound out the words the best they can. The purpose of children writing is not for them to spell every word correctly … it is for them to see him/herself as a writer. To put down their thoughts on paper. To see the connection between sounding out words to read and write. So encourage your child to write. Have them read what they wrote and praise the attempt, not criticize the imperfection.

STEAM · topic · writing

Pumpkins Can, Have, Need, Are

Today we will think about pumpkins! Today’s story is Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli. I hope you enjoy this story!

Today for our activity we will create a chart of facts about pumpkins. First, I encourage you to watch Dissect a Pumpkin from SciShow Kids. Watch Jessi and Squeeks learn more about pumpkins.

After learning a a bit more about pumpkins, lets chart some of our knowledge! In this example I created a four box page to collect information on what pumpkins can, have, need and are. You could also limit this to two or three concepts. The purpose of charts like this is to begin writing informative sentences: Pumpkins can rot. Pumpkins have seeds. Pumpkins need space to grow. Pumpkins are fruits.

In my Teachers Pay Teachers store, you will find a collection of Can, Are, Have charts for fall. In this kit, Fall Graphic Organizers, you will also find circle maps, writing pages and venn diagrams. Topics covered: apples, pumpkins, spiders, bats and owls.

STEAM · story · writing

Five senses poetry

This week we will talk about the five senses. The five senses are your child’s main way to explore the world and the science of life!

Did you see my live stream on Friday, Sept 25? (part one and part two… sorry technical issues!) I introduced the topic of the five senses with popcorn with my son Colby! Listen to the story I Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch and Taste it too!) by Rachel Isadora. Talk to your child about the five senses. Here is a poem to learn about the five senses too.

My sense are a part of me

A nose to smell and eyes to see

Ears to hear and hands to touch

A tongue to taste good foods and such

My senses are a part of me

Working in harmony

If you have a Mr. Potato Head, this is a great time to use this too… have your child add the attributes that show the different senses as you explore how we use the senses.

Now let’s explore one thing with our sense and write a 5 sense poem of our own! Have your child pick something he/she loves: a food, a location, an experience, a season, a holiday or whatever they choose. Just like at the end of the book above when they describe the pickle with all your senses you will do the same thing! You can either just type out a template OR have your child create a something and add the poem to the picture. I cut out an apple and wrote a poem about apples.

A trip to the apple orchard inspired that poem!

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
STEAM · topic · writing

Life cycle of an apple

The life cycle of an apple takes us through all four seasons. This is a great learning opportunity to discuss life cycles, the four seasons and so much more!

Videos to check out:

Apple Life Cycle— This one is done in CGI

Life Cycle of an Apple Tree— this one has a fun song to learn and sing along

Life Cycle of an Apple— this one is kids telling kids

Flower to Fruits— this is a time lapse going from the apple flower to picking the apple off the tree.

Today we are going to work on a four square of this life cycle. I will show you two variations: In the top photo you will see I showed how a seed grows into a tree. The bottom shows how an apple grows on the branches.

The important part of this activity is the process of the growth. Have your child explain how the apple tree/apple grows. If your child is comfortable in their writing process, encourage your child to write labels or sentences to go with the pictures. The important item is the explanation… “Tell me the process” “Why did you draw this in this block?” “What do you think the next step will be?”

Do you follow me on Facebook yet? (link in sidebar… or just search @mydayinprekblog) Last Friday I did a live stream on apples! I will be back live on Friday, September 18th (2pm EDT) to read From Acorn to Oak Tree and have some more learning fun with my pre-k and kindergarten friends…. or anyone who wants to visit!

Also… follow me on Instagram @mydayinprekblog

art · teachers pay teacher · writing

September Self-Portrait

If you have been following my blog for a while, you have seen that I have my students draw… a… lot! Yes, draw pictures. The developmental range of drawing is very diverse in this age group. You can read about the development of drawing here.

The drawing of a self-portrait is often used to show developmental levels in children. As a teacher, I work hard with my students to help them progress through these stages. I have my pre-K and kindergarten classes draw a self-portrait every month and then send them home as a book at the end of the year. Parents are usually shocked with the progress from Mr. Potato Head to a fully recognizable person.

So… I encourage you to have your child draw a monthly self-portrait. You can use a sheet such as the ones I have in my teachers pay teachers store that provides a place for your child to write his/her name, the month and draw their picture in a frame or just draw it on a white sheet of paper. The most important thing is for your child to draw him/herself!

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Mr Potato Head — young self-portrait

Children who are young 4s often draw a head with arms and legs. At this age, it is totally developmentally appropriate for this level of drawing. But, I encourage you to point out things that he/she might be missing. Simple additions at this age: hair, hands, feet, ears.

Image may contain: drawing
lots of body parts, I cheat on the hands and put my arms behind my back (:

As your child progresses you will start seeing the addition of more body parts. One of the big things I push with my students is the addition of a torso. I’ll say do your arms and legs come out of your head? Nope! What are you missing? You are missing your torso the middle section of your body. How can we draw a picture including your torso?

Have your child look at him/herself in a mirror to see what else they can add to the picture.

I drew mine on a whiteboard, but I would have your child draw with crayons on paper. If you have multicultural crayons, that’s even better as you can get better representation of skin tones. You want the picture to be as realistic as your child can make it!

story · teaching thoughts · writing

I Can Try New Things

This week we are going to talk about trying new things. The book I encouarge you to listen to is called I Can Try New Things by David Parker (There are two books in this video, I Can Try New Things starts around 3:09).

The last two pages of the story state “Trying something new may be scary and hard, but it makes me feel good to do it. Name three new things that you will try today.” So that is what we are going to do!

Children at this age (3-6 year olds) have a love/hate relationship with new things. While they love trying new things like a new game, a new song or a new activity, they often are very hesitant with new things like foods, textures and often places. You the caregiver can have a huge impact on when children are willing to try new things. The calmer you are, the more encouraging you are, the more willing they are to take the chance.

With my own children, and students, I typically encourage them to try new things but don’t make a big deal about it to start. Here try a bite of this. Come and play this game with me. Let’s go to the dentist. Then if I see concern I talk. I tell them honestly what is going to happen. Often times adults try to trick children or sugar coat things. I find that the more information the child has the more willing they are to do things. Prime example… I taught my sons to look at their arm when getting a shot. Have the issue is the surprise, if there is no surprise then it is just the initial pinch and it is over.

story · writing

Pete the Cat Too Cool For School

Shameless plug! If you enjoy what you see here in this post, consider following my blog via e-mail (click on the button on the sidebar), on Intagram @mydayinpre_k and now on Facebook (another button on my sidebar) @mydayinprekblog… now onto today’s post.

Pete the Cat Too Cool for School by Kimberly and James Dean– Pete is trying to decide what to wear to school. He asks his friends and puts on everything they suggest, now he feels silly. Pete decided to put on HIS favorite items. Now he feels cool!

Free photo Birds Knickers Drying Clothesline Clouds Dress - Max Pixel

Ok… now is time to play dress up. This is a simple way to add in dramatic play into your house. Let your child pick out mismatched clothes for him/herself AND for you. Have fun with it. Then put on your favorite outfit and get ready to draw and write.

Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. On one side, draw a picture of yourself wearing a bunch of mismatched clothes. On the other side draw a picture of yourself wearing your favorite clothes.

Have your child write his/her name (only capitalize the first letter) on the paper. I encourage you to have your child write their name on EVERY paper, it is the best way to master that skill.

If your child is in pre-k– Say to your child “Describe your two outfits to me.” or “Why did you choose these outfits?” You are looking for your child to explain not label. We want full sentences and logical thinking behind decisions.

If your child is in K– ask the same as above, but then encourage your child to pick one of the pictures to label or write a sentence about. Note in the first picture I wrote the labels using phonetic spelling. Read more about the stages of writing and drawing here.

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art · teaching thoughts · topic · writing

Stages of writing and drawing

I often mention these stages in my posts and wanted to have one post that I could link to to share the stages. I am also including some thoughts for you to consider when working with your child on writing and drawing.

In the world of pre-K and kindergarten children’s writing ability can be all over the map. I encourage you to tell your child to write. Even if they write scribbles or goobly-goop, they are writing! Then ask your child: “Read to me what you wrote.” Often times, they will say, I don’t know what it says. My answer to this always is “You wrote it, you can read it… tell me what it says.”

Pencil scribbling | Free SVG
  • Squiggle lines to represent words
  • Random letters that have no connection the word they are writing (JmtIop=flower)
  • Writing just the beginning sound (f=flower)
  • Moving into hearing more sounds in words – teach your child to slowly stretch out the word to hear all the sounds (flr=flower)
  • Moving more into conventional spelling (flwer= flower)
  • conventional spelling (flower=flower)

Each of these steps is an important part of learning to write. I promise you… your child will not memorize flr as the spelling of the word flower, but giving them the freedom to write phonetically WILL give them the confidence to write. When children are dependent on adults to spell all the words they are afraid to write and won’t write. When they are given the freedom to write on their level, they will want to write!

There are typically 4 stages of drawing development .

  • Scribble-(18 months to 3 years)–random exploration of art materials. This helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor dexterity, independence and much more
Brown Colored Pencils on White Printer Paper · Free Stock Photo
  • Pre-Schematic Stage – (2 to 4 years)– drawing are simple, but are begin to look more like objects. Color plays a more important roll. Most drawing is outlines. People are heads with arms and legs (Mr. Potato Head people). This continues to work on the previous skills, but adds in observation, problem solving and pencil grip work
  • Schematic Stage (5-8 years)– more details are added including background and correct coloring. Learn to draw things in a specific way and use it over and over (always draw a house the same way etc). There are typically stories to go with the illustrations. They now work on trial and error, patterns, and interpreting illustrations
  • Pre-Teen Stage (9-11 years) –Drawings are more detailed, realism and spacial perspective. This is that point where children typically feel they can or CAN’T draw.

Children often need permission to be creative. When children draw we need to recognize that it may not look like what adults expect it to look like, but it is perfect to the child. Do not try to guess what your child drew, ask! Your child will love to share lots of details about the picture. Children need to feel pride and acceptance in the drawing stage they are already in!

We need to ask children questions about what they write and draw. Conversations is so important. Showing interest and excitement in what your child draws and write will spur him/her on to write and draw more!