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.

family activity · STEAM · story

It’s finally spring!

March 20th was the spring equinox. What does that mean? It means it is now spring. Let’s start by visiting SciShow for Kid’s and learning about the science of spring. Then we can listen to the read aloud Spring is Here by William Hillenbrand.

Now take a walk and search for signs of spring. Make it fun! Create a scavenger hunt sheet for your child to use on the walk. Have your child think about the colors he/she might see as signs of spring. Or, have your child think about items they might see. I have created two examples here:

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!

STEAM · story · topic

Weather

March is a great month to learn about weather. It is one of those months that you see ALL kinds of weather: sunny, cloudy, snowy, rainy, windy… hot, warm, cold and really really cold!

Today let’s listen to a story about the different types of weather. National Geographic Kids Weather by Kristin Baird Rattini. Want to learn more? Watch What is Weather by AnuClub.

Today let’s make a drawing! I folded a paper into thirds and then folded that in half creating 6 columns on my page. I am going to draw one picture that shows 6 types of weather! You could always do that same concept with 3 or 4 types to make it simpler.

Learning about the weather and the effects of weather are learning standards in both kindergarten and preK. We learn about how to dress for weather, what patterns can we see in weather, how plants and animals are effected by weather and more. The biggest piece is talking about how it effects everyday life.

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.

art · story

Hats!

Today is Read Across America Day! March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and today is a day to celebrate how much his literature has helped children develop a love of learning.

I decided to focus on the Cat in the Hat’s hat! First, let’s read the story Who’s Hat is This? by Sharon Katz Cooper. This story shares many hats that are worn for different careers.

Now… let’s draw a hat that is easy to recognize… the Cat in the Hat’s hat! Follow along with Art for Kids Hub as they draw this famous hat! Or, make your own out of paper or markers or whatever creative materials you want! I made mine out of Lego.

Today is a great day to read. The best way to help your child to learn to read… is to read to your child!

math · teaching thoughts

Addition

Most kindergarten classes are taking on addition at this time in the year. Addition is more than just memorizing facts. Often times families help their child memorize facts and then the child does not want to do that work behind understanding addition concepts. While this is not a huge deal now, it might be later on.

Educators have recognized the need to teach mental math, that is what “new” math is in the early years… mental math on paper. We teach children to not just memorize, but think math. You will see there is a lot more story problems and very few facts sheets.

Now this does not mean that we do not want children to memorize math facts, but we want them to understand the thinking behind the facts too.

For example instead saying solve 4+5, teachers might say: There are 4 large books and 5 small books on the table. How many books are on the table? We want to see the children move from drawing 4 large books and 5 small books and counting each book to moving towards 4+5=9.

For this fact, they might say:

  • Put the big number in my head and count up from there 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • that they know that 4+4 is 8 and one more is 9
  • Or they may say that 5+5 is 10 and one less is 9.

While these steps might seem like a lot to teach and learn, it is actually how you do mental addition. Look at the numbers you have, determine a fact you know and manipulate the numbers from there. We talk about making the facts less messy. Later they will learn to break down numbers into 100s, 10s and 1s and then use this breakdown to add.

Ok… so what does that mean for me as a parent? I encourage you to get your child to manipulate math facts. Tell them number stories and help them illustrate the answer. Challenge them with multiple addends. Look at addition as anything that means more.

  • 6 birds are in the tree. 4 more land on the branch. How many birds are in the tree now?
  • There are some children in the room. 3 have on jackets and 7 have on sweaters. How many children are in the room?

They also will need to solve facts with missing addends

  • There are 4 pink candies and some yellow candies on a plate. There is enough candy for 9 children to each get one piece. How many of the candies were yellow? 4+__=9 (four pink and how many yellow makes 9 pieces is this fact)
  • 10 children line up to get a drink of water. Some have their own water bottles and 2 need to get a cup. How many have their own water bottle. 10= ____ + 2

Present facts as number sentences with the answer on either side of the = sign. Use symbols to represent the missing fact piece. Often you will see a box used, but try to use other signs too, this will help later when getting into harder algebraic equations.