STEAM · story · writing

Dragonflies

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.

STEAM · teaching thoughts · topic · writing

Head, Thorax, Abdomen…

This week we will learn about bugs! First let’s watch SciShow Kid’s Inspect an Insect. Think about bugs you know… are they insects? Remember an insect has an exoskeleton, 3 body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and six legs. Here is Dr. Jean singing a song about insect body parts.

Now let’s draw and label an insect. Which type will you draw? An ant, a beetle, a walking stick, butterfly, dragonfly?? Make sure it has a head, thorax and abdomen, only six legs and an exoskeleton.

Children love learning about the world around them. Learning about items found in nature and discovering the fascinating facts about these items motivates children to learn more. This lesson taps into a child’s natural curiosity about why things are what they are. What fits into the category of an insect and why? Learning to draw detailed pictures and label them will help with later studies in science. The incorporation of music helps to connect to additional levels of learning, fun and so much more.

STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · writing

Robins

On your spring walk yesterday, did you see any birds? I know there are a lot of birds back in my yard. One bird that has come back from their winter migration is the robin. Robins are often considered a sign of spring’s return. Let’s listen to the story Robin, Songbirds of Spring by Mia Posada. Now, lets see some video about robins while we learn a bit more at FreeSchool’s All About Robins.

I hope you learned a little more about robins.

If today is a nice day where you live, go outside and count how many robins you can find. Or watch from a window. Maybe even put out bits of fruits for the robins to eat.

Maybe you want to do a loose parts project and build your own nest? Think about the items that a bird has access to and use those to construct your own nest. Can you manipulate the twigs, grasses and other natural items to form into a fit and sturdy nest?

Later when you go back inside, draw a picture of one of the robin activities you did outside.

Why do we encourage loose parts projects? Loose parts can be any materials that do not have to be used in a specific way. These can include natural items you find outside, building blocks (including Lego), bottle caps, chenille stems, clothes pins, paper clips, paper, and the list goes on and on and on. Ok… but why? Loose part play provides your child with open ended materials and an idea (the idea isn’t necessary) and then encourages them to use their imagination and creativity to manipulate the materials for play, crafts, creations and so much more. It gives the children the freedom to be open and think of items in different ways.

art · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Rainbows

When looking for rainbow stories to share I came across The World Made a Rainbow by Michelle Robinson. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of our world shutting down. On March 13, 2020 my world was shaken. That was the last day my sons went to school in the building, the last day my husband went into work, the last day I was teaching in person. It was the first day of major change. One year is a long time in everyone’s life but a really long time in the life of young children. But, we make the best of it. We learn. We grow. We have fun. We can hope that one day really soon life will begin to look a bit more like normal. We can search for the rainbow of hope and know that it is coming….

Let’s learn a bit about the science of rainbows. Listen to the story All the Colors of the Rainbow by Allen Fowler. Then watch SciShow Kids How to Make a Rainbow.

While in the science of rainbows we learn that the colors in light are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, there are so many other beautiful colors in our world. They are the colors of nature. The colors of our skin tones. The colors in my crayon box. Listen to the story Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy. This is a great conversation piece about the rainbows of our world. Color a rainbow with skin tone crayons. Color a rainbow with only your favorite colors, or least favorite colors. Color a rainbow based on yourself.

While we want children to learn about the science behind rainbows and understand that the light is broken down into the colors we can see, we also want them to understand that rainbows are a sight of beauty … and all colors are beautiful.

art · family activity · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Today I want to share one of my favorite books to read in my classes Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. Grandpa tells the best stories… Travel to the Land of Chewandswallow where it rains food three times a day. (In my opinion this book is WAY better than the movie!). There are two more books in this series Pickles to Pittsburgh and Planet of the Pies.

Each of these fun books easily lends themselves to lots of fun and creative activities! Write a weather report for the Land of Chewandswallow to go with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. What would you like to see it rain for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Have your child help you plan and cook a meal of their choosing and pretend the ingredients fell from the sky.

Design a machine that the Falling Food Company can use to help move and package the food for delivery, after reading Pickles to Pittsburgh. This machine can be drawn, built, or even just explained from your imagination.

After reading Planet of the Pies, design a box to deliver the Martian pies to Earth. Create a machine to safely catch the pies before the hit Mars. Bake a pie!

Using literature as a jumping off spot for lessons is a great way to expand upon the learning. When children begin to make connections between the story and real life they are more connected to the learning. It will also help with working on comprehension skills as you can ask them to share pieces of the story that connect to the activity you are choosing to do at home.

STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Meteorologist

Today we will continue to discuss the weather. Let’s read the story The Meteorologist in Me by Britteny Shipp. Summer Winter loves the weather. She loves to learn about the weather, watch the weather reports on the news and even dreams of becoming a meteorologist when she grows up. Others around her question her desire to become a meteorologist, but her mom always tells her “you can do anything you put your mind to, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise”.

Let’s take a virtual field trip to learn about some of the tools that a meteorologist uses.

Now let’s watch SciShow Kids Be a Weather Watcher and learn about how you can be a meteorologist too!

Today, pull up your local weather report. I really like weather underground’s features, but there are lots and lots of weather sites and apps to choose from. Set up an opportunity for your child to be the meteorologist for your backyard. Using the information they learn from the weather site, using their powers of observation and whatever weather tools you have around, have your child predict the weather for today.

Today’s activity is full of learning! You obviously get science in the learning about weather. Math if you begin looking at the patterns of weather and the numbers associated with it. Social skills in speaking and from the story standing up for what you believe in, as well as in the dramatic play of pretending to be a meteorologist. Social studies in learning about a career and what is needed for that job. So much learning, while having so much fun!

story · teaching thoughts · topic

Never to late to read

Yesterday was Read Across America Day, this day celebrates children’s literature. Today I wanted to share a story about the wish and will to learn to read. Listen to the story The Oldest Student How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and watch a news clip from WRBC Chattanooga about Mary Walker.

Why share this story you ask? Children at this age are learning to read. They struggle to sound out words and think that it is just something that all adults do, but it’s not. There was a time when this skill was denied many American’s due to the color of their skin.

There was a time when people believed that some could never read or write because they struggled with learning issues. Were blind or deaf. Or too poor.

When we celebrate reading, we need to celebrate the changes that occurred. These changes view reading as a right. We work to educate all to read. We want to instill the love of reading as well as providing the functionality the this skill affords one’s life.

This story is a talking point. It is an opportunity to talk about the past, the present and the future. It is a chance to talk about hard work, dedication and tenacity that Mary Walker showed. It is a chance to learn.

story · topic

Purim

Let me start with a disclaimer… I’m learning about this holiday along with you. My goal is to share more varied holidays and traditions to enlighten us to the world greater than our own homes. Children love a celebration and teaching these often sparks an interest in learning more.

Last night was the start of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which continues until tonight.

Everyday Jewish Mom’s explains the history behind Purim here, this is more of an explanation for the adult.

A fun story for the kiddos. The Princess of Persia from BimBam

Here is a link to Everyday Jewish Mom where she shows some fun activities she did a home with her own little ones. a

Here is the link to the Hamantschen Dough that she uses to bake Hamantschen cookies with her children.

Today get out and celebrate Purim. Read the story, dress up in costume, make Hamantschen (even if it is just with play dough), learn something new.

family activity · story · teaching thoughts

Laundry Time

Did you know that even laundry time can be a learning opportunity? Have your child help you with the laundry, especially his/her own laundry. First let’s read Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks. Now I’m sure you are not going to wash and hang up some of the crazy things Mrs McNosh washes and hangs up in her story, but it is a jumping off point.

Have your child draw a picture of rhyming things (s)he could hang up with Mrs. McNosh.

Have your child collect the laundry from around the house and help bring it to the washing machine (pushing a full laundry basket is great “heavy work” for young children). They can also help put the clothing into the machines.

When the laundry is done, they can help sort the clothes (put the shirts in this pile, the pants in that pile or put your clothes here and your brother’s there). Matching and rolling socks. Then help them put away their own clothes.

If you have clothes pins, these are great for fine motor practice. Your child can use them to pick up pompoms, beads, or other small items. Clip together pictures that match. Pop bubble wrap or so many other learning opportunities while working those fine motor skills.

Ok… let’s get to the laundry!

family activity · story · topic

Scat Singers

Yesterday we looked a little bit at Jazz music. This musical expression is a lot of fun for children. Today let’s look at Scat! First listen to this clip of Louis Armstrong singing Dinah. You will notice that Armstrong uses scat to create the music with out words. Let’s read the story When Louis Armstrong Taught me Scat by Muriel Harris Weinstein.

Want to hear a bit more scat? Here are Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington in It Don’t Mean a Thing. Want to learn more about this amazing singer? Let’s listen to the story Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by Andrea Davis Pinkney or Little People Big Dreams Ella Fitzgerald by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara.

Scat is a singers opportunity to express sounds beyond the words. They play with sounds and phonemes. Phonemes is the sounds that make up words. Children need to play with phonemes and learn to manipulate the sounds letters make on their own and blended together before they try to read the written word.

Today spend some time dancing and singing. Listen to more Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald songs, or find other scat singers such as Sammy Davis Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin or many more. Listen to the sounds they make with their voices and how it impacts the feel of the song.

Listen to this song by Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme, notice that there are few actual words, but there is feeling, there is rhythm. Can you use your voice to sound like instruments? Can you express feelings with out words?

Now let’s get moving! Jazz music is all about movement. Can you move your body to match the musical feeling? Make yourself big when the tone goes up and smaller when the tone goes down. Move fast when the beat is fast and move slow when the beat slows down. Play copy me: I move you move and see if you and your child can create some jazzy moves to go along with the beat. Get up and feel the music!