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.

art · story · topic

Jack O’Lantern Art

It’s Friday!! Did you have fun learning about pumpkins this week? You will have to let me know which activities you tried and which types you’d like to see more of in the weeks to come!

Today’s stories:

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell– Tim carved the best pumpkin and named him Jack. He puts the pumpkin out into the garden as it begins to rot. Tim watches Jack change over time. Watch to see what becomes of Jack over the days, weeks and months.

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson — in this informational text you follow the life cycle from seed to seed of a pumpkin. Story written in flowing and bouncy verse to match beautiful and vivid photographs.

Here is a fun song to learn and sing together.

Little Jack O’Lantern (sung to the Battle Hymn of the Republic)

  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Till somebody blew it out. (then blow out the “candle”)

Now let’s make a Jack O’Lantern!

For this activity in school I would typically give the children the option of drawing and cutting out their own pumpkin shape or using a tracer. At home, you can either let them create their own or trace something to make the basic shape (plate, bowl, or other roundish item).

  1. Determine if you want your pumpkin to be tall and skinny or short and plump.
  2. Trace/draw the outline of your pumpkin onto an orange sheet of paper… or make it a green pumpkin, or a white pumpkin… you pick!
  3. Does your pumpkin have a stem or is it a “stumpkin”?
  4. now cut out the pumpkin… only cut the outside (trust me say this as some will cut ALL the lines they drew!)
  5. Now design the face of your pumpkin.- you can either cut pieces out of yellow, white or black paper and glue it onto the pumpkin or cut the pieces out of the orange paper. I show the children how to bend the paper to start cutting into where you want the openings.
  6. Use markers or crayons to add the pumpkin lines, color in the steam, and add more details
  7. If you cut out the eyes, you can either leave them or back the pumpkin in yellow or black paper to see the depth.
phonemic awareness · word work

Word Family Pumpkins

Here are two more great Pumpkin stories: Christopher Pumpkin by Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet and Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins. Both these stories talk about pumpkins that don’t quite fit in, but stand out all the same.

For Words Wednesday we will work on short “a” word families. Word families is a great way to work on sounding out words, for those ready for this skill, but it is also a great way to work on rhyming words. I will explain how you can alter these activities based on what skill your child is ready for at this time.

For the first activity, have your child draw 2-4 pumpkins on the page. Make sure they are big enough to draw inside. Label each pumpkin with an “a” word family (-ab, -ack, -ad, -ag, -am, -an, -ap, -at). Brainstorm with your child words that could fit in that word family. I typically ask the children if they can come up with one on their own, if they can… go from there. If they can’t then I will give an example or two and then see if they get the concept and can move on. For children who are working on this skill strictly as a phonemic awareness skill, they will just draw pictures of the words. For children who are working on reading and writing these CVC, CVCC words, they will illustrate and write the word. Continue to do to the same for each pumpkin on your page.

The second activity is real vs nonsense words. Children love playing with nonsense words. They love to create words that just sound funny. So… why not play with nonsense words with word families. Pick a word family, see list above. Divide a sheet of paper in half, and write real words on one side and nonsense words on the other side. Now work the same concepts. Put different beginning sounds on to the rime and see if the word is real or nonsense. Using magnetic letter or other letter tiles helps with this skill as children often struggle to go through the alphabet to find more words. You can do this totally orally as a phonemic awareness skill or write it on paper as a phonics activity.

letter of the day

Letter of the day- Zz

This is it…the last letter of the day post. Not sure where I will go from here. Lots rolling around in my head about the rest of the summer and then the fall. Who doesn’t have lots of questions about the fall? I think for the rest of July and the first part of August I will post fun activities that don’t feel academic, but are! Who doesn’t like a learning activity that doesn’t feel like a learning activity? Stay tuned!

Jack Hartmann’s Zz song

Printing the letter Zz

Capital Z- start at the top, straight line across to the right, slant to the left until you are under the point you started, straight across to the right

lowercase z– same as capital, just smaller

Today’s activities: Zebra

  • Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham– Zebra and Moose are going through the alphabet, and Moose is excited to be part of the alphabet. Watch what happens when M is not for Moose…
    • Create your own alphabet book, what would you use for each letter of the alphabet?

The Zebra Said Shhh by M.R. Nelson–Zebra wants to sleep, but the other animals in the zoo were still busy playing. This is a calming bedtime story.

  • Create a timeline of your bedtime. Creating a bedtime routine helps children settle each night. What do you do every night to get ready for bed?

art · letter of the day · story

Letter of the Day– Xx

Ugh… Xx is such a hard letter. People don’t always even know to pronounce it never mind what activities to work on when teaching it. To answer the first part… Xx is pronounced /ks/ like in the end of ax, box, and max. The second thing… that is harder. The sound of Xx is heard at the end of words not at the beginning. So what to do, what to do… a bit of both?

Jack Hartmann’s Xx song

Printing the letter Xx

Capital X — start at the top, slant down going left to right, jump back to the top right above where you finished, now slant down to the left crossing the line you just drew. (if your child struggles to cross the midline, they will struggle making the letter x)

lowercase x– same as the capital, just smaller!

Today’s activities— Xxxxxx

  • What to Do With a Box by Jane Yolen– a box can be so many things. Children love boxes and boxes allow children to explore with their imagination.
    • Provide your child with a box, or multiple boxes, and let them be creative. Ask questions. What are you doing? Where are you going? How will you_____? Why? Let them play and encourage the to change their play.
  • Jessica’s X-Ray by Pat Zonta- Jessica hurts her arm and needs to have an x-ray. She learns about the various ways to look inside (x-ray, CAT-scan, MRI and ultrasound). This book was written by an x-ray technologist!
    • Have your child choose a body part to look at via x-ray (google images has a wide variety), then provide cotton swabs to have your child use as bones to make an x-ray picture. Gluing onto a sheet of black construction paper helps it show up better.
  • X Marks the spot… Make a treasure map. You can either make a pretend one or even better… hide something in your yard and make a map for your child to follow to find the item.
letter of the day · topic

Letter of the Day- Ww

T, U, V, ….. WWWWWW

Jack Hartmann Ww song

Printing the letter Ww

Capital W- Start at the top, slant down to the bottom, slant up, slant down, slant up. Sometimes people will write it Straight down, slant up, slant down, straight up, but the lowercase is all slants, so it is easier to teach them both the same way (IMO)

lowercase w- slant down, slant up, slant down, slant up

Today’s activity— WATER!

Water is such a great topic and can go in so many directions. It is also typically a big chunk of two areas of preK standards– needs of plants, animals and humans (drinking water) and the water cycle.

  • Hey Water by Antoinette Portis– A girl explores her world and sees water everywhere. She notices how the water moves and sounds.
    • Create a bubble map of all the places you can see water.
  • A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley — Everyone across the globe depends on water to drink. This National Geographic book displays people across the globe gathering and drinking water.
    • This is a great opportunity to talk about how plants, animals and humans need water to survive.
  • Other water activities:
    • fill the sink and let your child wash their toys (dolls, cars, or other washable toys)
    • play outside in a sprinkler
    • have your child help water the plants
    • test out items that will sink or float (fun item to try… a peeled and not peeled orange!)
family activity · letter of the day · STEAM

Letter of the Day- Vv

is for so many things…. vegetables, vehicles, vacuuming, vacation and..

Jack Hartmann’s Vv song

Printing the letter Vv

Capital V– start at the top. slant down to the left then slant up to the right. (I often have the children draw a dot at the bottom where I want them to stop and change directions when they start learning how to form this letter. The challenge is to not stop between the two slants.)

lowercase v— same as the capital, just smaller!

Today’s activities: Volcanoes!

All About Volcanoes from SciShow Kids — this shows information about how volcanoes are formed and erupt.

  • Time to get out the baking soda and vinegar! This is a favorite. You do not have to build a volcano to do this experiment. Put baking soda into a dish (glass dish, baking pan, something with high sides). Next you need vinegar. I typically color this with food coloring, but you do not need to color it. In school, we use pipettes which works on fine motor control, but you do not need to buy these. Have your child
  • scoop it out with a spoon or even pour it slowly. As you add the vinegar to the baking soda you will see a chemical reaction! Vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base, so this is causing the reaction. It is creating carbon dioxide, which is the same thing that puts fizz in your soda. Read more here!
  • When you finish, have your child draw a picture of what happened and then tell you what they saw. It is during this conversation that you can get deeper into the chemical reaction occurring.

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook– Louis has lots to say. But, he doesn’t know to wait his turn. He interrupts and blurts out anything and everything in his mind. But, he learns to wait and be respectful of providing others a turn to talk.

  • This is a skill that is hard when children begin going to school, and for some even years into schooling. Children love to share what is on their minds, and while teachers love to listen to their stories, 18 children talking about 18 things at the same time is tough. Children need to learn to wait their turn to talk. This isn’t just in school, but in life. There is a give and take of conversation that children need to develop and learn when to interject and when to stop and listen. It is worth practicing at home.
art · family activity · letter of the day · STEAM

Letter of the Day- Qq

Qq is often a letter that is hard to teach. There are some great Qq words, but they are more abstract for kids… quarter, quartet, quarantine?? I don’t typically like to go with queen either so… here we go

Jack Hartmann Qq song

Printing Qq

Capital Q- start like capital C, close it up, jump inside the bottom right of the “O” and draw a slanted line from left to right

lowercase q- start like a lowercase c, go up just past the start, back downnnn on the same line, give it a hook to the right

Quilts is typically a topic I teach in January. This year I did not since I taught polar animals instead. It is a fun topic and easily allows for math, writing, and art projects… so here we go!

Today’s activities: Quilts!

The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy Tanya loves listening to her grandmother talk about their family quilts. Grandmother collects fabrics from the family clothing to collect memories. When Tanya’s grandmother becomes ill, Tanya teacher herself to quilt in order to finish the quilt.

** Make a paper quilt. Her are two suggestions…

each letter gets its own color
notice the “d”s are all the same color

Name quilt. Provide your child with a paper that has a grid on it. Have your child write his/her name in the squares on the grid over and over with a marker. Then color each letter to create the quilt pattern… see the photo. Point out that this creates a pattern.

each shape got a color…note they aren’t perfect and that’s ok!

Geometric quilt- provide your child with a paper and have your child use geometric shapes to create the quilt. Squares, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, rhombus and other shapes work.

The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace Minna’s teacher asks the students to work on a kindness project. Each child is asked draw and share and act of kindness. Minna cannot decide which to share, so she makes a “quilt” of all of her examples.

**Create a family kindness quilt. Have each family member create a square or two or more to show acts of kindness. This is a great way to focus on how we each can do more to be kind to each other.

What else can you do?

  • Make a quilt fort
  • Take a quilt outside and have a picnic
  • Make your own family quilt
  • learn to sew (paper with holes punched into it and shoe strings are a great way to start)
  • cut images out of magazines into squares and/or triangles and use them to make a quilt

art · family activity · letter of the day · story · writing

Letter of the Day- Pp

Can you believe we are already up to the letter Pp? This was a hard one to pick… people, popcorn, pancakes, penguins, so many great Pp words. So what did I pick?

I would typically say… Who doesn’t love pizza? But, I know there are people who don’t. My youngest son would not even touch pizza until he was about 11 years old. But, the nice thing with pizza is everyone can make it their own. He started eating pizza without sauce, but now he loves a good slice of pizza– preferably with bacon or meatballs.

Jack Hartmann’s Pp song

Printing the letter Pp

Captial P- start at the top, straight line down, jump back to the top, curve to the right and back to the middle

lowercase p- straight line downnnn, back up on the same line (almost to the top), curve to the right and back to the middle

Today’s activities– Pizza!

Pizza Day by Melissa Iwai- A young boy and his father gather the ingredients to make a pizza! This book show the child and his father going through all the steps to make homemade pizza.

**So… make pizza! At home, I make Alton Brown’s pizza dough, this needs to be made the night before, but is soooo worth it if done correctly. But, when I made pizza with my students in class we used this recipe:

Biscuit Pizzas (makes 8 individual pizzas)

  • Can of Grands buttermilk biscuits
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Roll out biscuits until flat
  3. Top with sauce and cheese
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes

This is a great activity as your child can do ALL the steps by him/herself. And, trust me they will love the process of making their own pizza. My students gobble these up.

While we talk about making pizza, here is the Pizza Party Song from Super Simple Songs. This also talks about the steps for making a pizza

**This easily leads into a simple expository writing activity… yes you read that correctly! Writing, or in the case of most preK kiddos drawing, the steps to a process is expository writing. We typically have the children demonstrate 3 or four steps at this age.

Fold the paper into quarters, your child should be able to do this with limited assistance, just remind them to “iron down the folds” so you see the lines. Have your child illustrate and label (or tell you what to label) to show the steps needed to make a pizza

Here’s one more song… this one is funny Silly Pizza Song by Signing Time. What would you put on a pizza if you can put anything on a pizza? Sing along with some crazy pizza toppings.

**Have your child draw a picture of pizza. You can either have him/her draw real toppings or crazy ones you heard in the song. Have your child count the number of each topping they used on the pizza and write it on the page.

letter of the day · story · teaching thoughts

Letter of the day– Oo

When thinking about Oo I was originally going to do octopus, but decided to go with something that will enrich your child’s vocabulary instead… opposites. Why do we teach opposites? Well for a few reasons, one as I already stated it is for enriching vocabulary and stretching those sentences. But that is not all! Many opposites are positional words which help children describe things AND follow directions. Finally… opposites is a way to compare and contrast. Compare and contrast is one of those 21st century skills that you hear teachers and schools talk about. This skill/concept is used a lot in projects, explanations, open-ended questions and so much more in school. So… today we will play with opposites

Jack Hartmann’s Oo song

Printing the letter Oo

Capital O- start like the capital C and close it up (remember teaching how to make the letter C is key to many letter writing)

lowercase o- start like lowercase c and close it up

I tell my kiddos this is one of those easy-peasy lemon squeezy letters!

Today’s activities: Opposites!

The Opposite Song from KidTV123– this song is a bit long in my opinion, but it does repeat itself at the end so you could always stop it early. Using music is a great way to introduce a skill

A Garden of Opposites by Nancy Davis — While this book uses simple pictures and single words it is a great way to review opposites. I would actually turn off the sound on this story and have your child try to determine what opposite is being shown in the picture. Some of the illustrations could be seen a multiple opposites and you might be surprised to see what words your child thinks of… but make sure to also share the word on the page!

Big Bear, Small Mouse by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman (They write a book series including the story Bear Snores On… a popular child’s book)– This book reviews opposites, but it is written in story form. I like this to enrich language and show that you can work on opposites while speaking in full sentences. When working on opposites with your child encourage him/her to speak in full sentences — The rock is on top of the table. Now, the rock is under the table. Make sure to model this for your child… the more they hear you speaking in complete and longer sentences, the more they will do this on their own

Marta! Big & Small by Jan Arena– Marta is an ordinary girl, but she has some extraordinary friends. This story watches Marta, una niƱa, compare herself to the animals she meet. The story teaches: opposites, animals and some Spanish too.

Time to play!

I took some toys outside and played with opposites… here are some examples:

The mini figure is dry, then wet. But, you could also say it is in the pool and out of the pool. He is right side up, and then upside down. He is also on my hand and off my hand. See LOTS of examples just in this pair of pictures.

When looking at the monster truck, you see left/right, large/small, close/faraway and much more.