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 · teaching thoughts

End of the Day and Social Emotional Learning

As we move into summer, the sun stays longer. It gets harder and harder to settle in each night. So much excitement and fun to remember. This story takes settling for bedtime and turns it into a lullaby based on the memories of the day. A Lullaby of Summer Things by Natalie Ziarnik.

Often times summer means less structure and routines. Children thrive off routines and this is especially evident at bedtime. But, now they stay up a bit later and have a harder time settling down. Instead of throwing routines out the window. Take a bit of time to revamp the bedtime routines.

Think about ways to add in items such as reflecting up on the fun of the day. What fun things did you do that you want to do again? What is something you learned today? What is something that made you smile? What is something you struggled to accomplish? How will you work on that skill tomorrow? What are you looking forward to doing tomorrow?

Taking the time to reflect on the emotions of the day will help your child settle down as well as work on those social emotional skills that are so important to develop. We want children to see growth and progress. Discussing things that went well, things that didn’t go so well and the next steps for both are key.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

Children are growing in all areas of life. One critical area of development is social emotional. As adults we need to guild children in developing healthy social emotional skills. It is the interactions we have with the children as well as the interactions your child views between yourself and other adults that is the guiding light of social emotional growth. Children need positive yet constructive words. They need you to talk about what they are doing that is going well. “I noticed that you worked really hard on your art project today. What did you think about the final result?” Notice I praised the effort and then allowed the child to reflect on the result. Often times adults praise the result and not the effort. And this can backfire if they child was not proud of the the end product, but that is what made their adult happy.

“You have really worked hard this week on learning to swim across the pool. What is your next swimming challenge?” Again the focus is on the work and effort. This allows the child to feel pride in accomplishing a goal and challenges them to set another goal.

“I noticed you were upset when you were trying to pump the swing. It’s ok to get frustrated, I was proud to see you keep trying. What can we do tomorrow to work on this skill?” Again you are focused on the skill, you acknowledged and accepted the emotions and then moved onto what can we do next? The last statement allows the child to ask for help, or not. They may need you to watch and give suggestions. The key is the child is determining the next step.

Remember that empty threats, empty promises and empty praise is not constructive. Children need to be guided to discover the best way to grow. They need to hear what they can do to move forward in their learning. Children learn what they see, they are watching and listening. Children need to see your pride, but they also need to see that they have room to grow in all things. Praise effort. Praise persistence. Offer alternatives. Discuss ideas. LISTEN to what they have to say.

family activity · story

Next… summer

Hello Readers,

I have missed posting for you, but life has been busy wrapping up life and the end of the school year. Here is a great story for the end of the school year And Then, Summer by Tom Brenner.

As you get read for summer, make a list of your favorite summer time activities. What activities do you look forward to doing this summer? What stories will you read? What games will you play? Will you go to the beach? Will you swim in a pool?

Start by planning the adventures of this week… What will you do in these last few days of spring and as you start your summer vacation?

story

A bath- No Thanks

Today we will read the story 101 Reasons I’m Not Taking a Bath by Stacy McAnulty. This boys thinks of all the reasons why he doesn’t need to take a bath, but in the end… he takes one and enjoys it.

This is a fun book to read with your child. Can (s)he think of other crazy reasons not to take a bath?

This book format makes an excellent opportunity for a re-write. Have your child think about something else they never want to do: go to bed, brush their teeth, take out the trash, clean their room…. whatever. Now have your child think of all the excuses they could use to get out of this activity. In the end, have them do it! hahaha they never really get out of doing the things they make excuses for not doing.

phonemic awareness · story

Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm

Today let’s read the story Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm by Joy Cowley. When the farm animals do not want another bath, they decide to leave the farm. They travel from the farm to the city. This is a great rhyming story.

Can you find the rhymes in the story? Practice listening for rhymes (you say two words and your child says if they rhyme or not). Creating rhymes (you say a word and your child says a word that rhymes). Do these with your child leading too… when your child is able to create their own rhyming pairs and understands the difference between words that rhyme and don’t they are mastering one of the phonemic awareness skills needed for reading development. Want to read more about rhyming? Click here, here, or here.

Mrs. Wishy-Washy loved to give her animals a good scrub. Let your child rub and scrub some of their toys today. Fill up the sink or a bucket in the backyard and let your child wash their toys. This encourages sensory play which is important for development.

Sensory play is any play the stimulates the senses. Allowing children to play with textures- hard, soft, wet, dry, sticky, smooth, bumpy etc encourage and allows for acceptance of these various textures in other aspects of life. The use of sensory play is soothing for children who are anxious or frustrated. This play also helps develop and connect brain pathways that are needed in more complex learning. Want to read more? Check out this article Why Sensory Play is Important for Development by Educational Playcare

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

Families Everywhere

Today we will continue to learn about families. Today’s story Families, Families Everywhere by Megan E. Mills is read by the author. This story explores what makes families. It compares and contrasts some family dynamics and celebrates these differences.

Today talk about other families you know. How are they the same and different from your own. What can you learn from that family? Do they celebrate different holidays, eat different foods, speak a different language? What is the same between your two families?

Maybe do something special for that family or with that family.

The goal is to have children see, understand and appreciate the differences. We want them to see that even when people/families are different from your own, they are still held together with love. And, when we see and appreciate these differences, we can learn and grow, together… in love.

story · topic

Families

This week, I decided we would learn about families. The concept of family is one that children understand, but they only relate it to the image of their own family. We need to help children see that all types of families exist and the glue that holds all families together is love.

First let’s read a story. Today’s story is Families by Shelly Rotner

Now have your child draw a “My Family” picture. Help your child label the members of the family they included in their picture. (make sure to use your “people crayons”). The story states that all families are different. What makes your family special? What do you like to do together? What are some of your favorite memories?