art · story

Strawberries

This weekend, my son and I went to pick strawberries. Have you ever gone and picked strawberries? There is nothing sweeter than strawberries picked fresh off the plant.

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Let’s start by listening the Cherokee story The First Strawberries retold by Joseph Bruchac. In the story, the man went out to hunt for food and the woman stayed home and picked flowers. The man returned tired, hungry and upset, so the wife left. The sun offered to help the man and tried to catch the woman’s attention. Many berries were created by the sun, but it was the strawberry that caught her attention. The story ends by saying that the Cherokee people believe that the sweetness of the strawberry is a reminder that respect and friendship are as sweet and ripe as strawberries.

Watch this time lapse of strawberries growing . Draw out a part of the time lapse, or draw out a time line of the growth.

The watch Art for Kids Hub to draw a strawberry.

Create a list of favorite strawberry items.

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STEAM · story · topic · writing

Mushrooms

This morning I went to go check on my garden and there were sooo many mushrooms. There are mushrooms in the grass too. As you can guess we’ve had both rain and heat lately. I decided that it would be a good day for you to get out with your kiddo and learn a bit about mushrooms.

Let’s start with some science about these fun-guys… Fungi: Why Mushrooms are Awesome from SciShow Kids

Here is a fun story, similar to Jan Brett’s the Mitten, Mushroom in the Rain adapted from the Russian of V. Suteyev by Mirra Ginsburg. How many animals can take shelter under the mushroom?

Did you find any mushrooms in your yard? Can you count all of them? How many different types did you find?

Now create a picture. You can create a picture of one of the mushrooms you spied in the yard or the one from the story. What do you think would fit under the mushroom. Be realistic or creative in your answer.

story · topic

Little Bird Takes a Bath

Today’s story is again about a bird, but I think you will see that this story is closer to realistic fiction than yesterdays. Little Bird Takes a Bath by Marisabina Russo. In this story, little bird does not like the rain, but the rain bring puddles and puddles means a bath for little bird. Follow along as little bird tries very hard to enjoy a bath in the just right puddle.

This story is perfect for a timeline project. Having children retell stories is important. We want them to tell the story in order. What came first, then, next and finally. But, often times there are more details that they want to share. The key still is to get the details in the right order. This is where the concept of a timeline comes into play. Teaching timelines and reading timelines will be beneficial as your child gets older and needs to understand and explain many historical activities. But, at this age, we work on the timeline of yourself and of stories.

Create a timeline of the book Little Bird Takes a Bath. Notice I didn’t add big details or write in full sentences. The key is to put the main idea with a picture clue. This will help your child retell the story. We are looking for the main points, and the picture cues are to help your child recall.

Another fun timeline project is to have your child make a timeline of their day. This can be done in one sitting or done over the day.

family activity · story

Pigeon Needs a Bath

This week we will read stories about bath time! Today’s story is Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems. I really like this fun reading of the story. Joel Waggoner really shows the children how to become involved in the story. He reads the story twice, once showing him as part of the story and the second time, having your child help act out parts of the book.

Acting out stories is a fun and imaginative way to connect to the text. This can be done with a new story and helps the children focus on the story listening for the key words they need to say along, or act out. It can be done with a familiar story by having your child fill in the words and phrases as they come up in the text. Acting out stories is a great way to get up and move. It is also a great way to practice social skills such as taking turns and the ebb and flow of conversations.

Reading stories to children multiple times might seem like a chore, but it is really important in their understanding of the story. When you read stories multiple times the children are able to pick up on the words and phrases used by the author. Rereading books builds vocabulary, comprehension and a love of literature… and more! When your child begins to learn to read on their own, teachers encourage multiple readings of a book to build fluency, and to help retain facts and information about the content of the story. When children begin to read independently they are focused on the one word they are reading, and often miss the whole of the story, but when they read the same book over and over they become more fluent and start to recall the details.

So today, listen to Pigeon Needs a Bath and act along with Joel Waggoner. Then later pick out a favorite book and have your child choose the words and actions to add the story they are reading along with you.

story · topic · writing

Earth

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…

math · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Ten Eggs

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.

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 · 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.