Friday Fun!

We enjoyed our second Friday Fun of the year!. Two of the activities had a five senses sense of sight theme, which is the sense we are currently exploring. First, students made sun catchers using pony beads and these small pie tins. They carefully arranged the glitter pony beads inside the tin.

I plan to cook the tins in the toaster oven later today. Once baked, the plastic beads will be melted and a beautiful sun catcher will emerge! (When the plastic is melting, it can be quite stinky….so I always plug the toaster oven into an outlet outside the kitchen!)

Update: Here they are!

Here are the supplies I used:

Another sense of sight activity today was making kaleidoscopes! The students had so much fun assembling and decorating these!

Our third rotation was the Listening Center and the fourth was a math activity! Students used these adorable, little grocery carts filled with mini fruit erasers, and they had to stock the grocery store shelves with a specific number of pieces! It was so much fun watching the students load the carts, deliver the fruit, and count the number they were to put on a shelf.

These items are guaranteed to bring many hours of engaged play for young children! In addition to the fruit erasers, I have mini cupcake erasers that the students will use at a later date to stock the bakery shelves!

The Hungry Thing

Just like I love using children’s literature to teach social-emotional skills, I actively use books to teach academic concepts! One of my favorites is “The Hungry Thing.”

When a Hungry Thing comes to town, he is very hungry! He asks for common food items using different beginning sounds, causing the townspeople to have to figure out what it is he wants. This book helps students develop a very important reading skill called phonological awarenessPhonological awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate the spoken parts of words, including syllables, onset–rime, and phonemes. Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. For example, the Hungry Thing asks for “shmancakes.” The townspeople wonder what are shmancakes?! They soon realize that “shamncakes….sounds like fancakes…sounds like pancakes…!”

Students delight in listening to this story over and over again! This naturally leads to many, many activities that help develop and strengthen students’ phonological awareness. We play listening games, like:

“Count the number of words in this sentence: The Hungry Thing Came to Town.” (5)

Or “Tell me what word is missing: He wore a sign around his neck. He wore a _____ around his neck.” (sign)

“Do these words rhyme? hamburger/shamburger?” (yes)

“Say Gum. What word rhymes with gum?” (mum, tum, lum…)

“How many syllables do you hear in pancake?” (two)

“Leave out a syllable. Say townspeople without people.” (towns)

“What is the first sound you hear in the word cereal?” (/s/)

“What is the last sound you hear in the word chicken?” (/n/)

“What sound is in the middle of the word gum?” (/u/)

“What word does this make? /wh/ /ea/ /t/?” (wheat)

“Tell me the sounds you hear in the word chicken.” (/ch/ /i/ /ck/ /e/ /n/)

“Let’s change some letter sounds. Say cookies. Instead of /c/ say /l/.” (lookies)

Another activity is feeding the Hungry Thing rhyming words. Students choose a set of picture cards that rhyme. They say the rhymes and then feed the Hungry Thing!

Students can then illustrate their own food item, but they have to change the initial sound when feeding it to the Hungry Thing! So pizza may become feetza!

For added fun, I created this quick art project. Students use one color marker and make a scribble monster. Then using a black marker, they add hands, arms, legs, and feet. I found these cute stickers that

the students use for eyes and a mouth. Look how fun their creations are!

The next step, to make the Hungry Thing relate to our lessons, is for students to choose a food item for their Hungry Thing to eat. Can you figure out what they ate?

I am beyond excited about how these turned out!!

This book, “The Hungry Thing” provided my students with so many different learning opportunities. Students looked at “syllable soup” to identify how many syllables each food item has. They also identified the beginning sounds of the food items!

You can play this game at home! Have your child grab a food item from the pantry and practice feeding the hungry thing on a stick (included in your Friday Folders this upcoming week.) It won’t eat cereal…but pereal. No bagels…but snagels!


First Days Read Alouds

Those first days of school can be filled with lots of teacher talking and procedure learning. Why not make it a little more fun by adding engaging read-alouds each day?! Students LOVE listening to a good book, and I LOVE reading a good book! Here are some of the stories I have or plan to share with my students:

1. “Don’t Hug Doug”

I use this story to introduce greetings, keeping our hands/feet to ourselves, and boundaries/consent. Each day, when they enter the classroom, students have the opportunity to choose from eight different greetings. Some of these greetings include a high-five, a bow, a micro finger wave, and a hug. The students let me know which greeting they prefer, and we start the day by honoring their choice.

2. If Everybody Did

In this funny book, we see the hysterical consequences of everybody doing their own thing. This read-aloud provides a great opportunity for us to begin exploring classroom expectations. What if everybody shouted my name because they needed help? What if everybody ran in the classroom? To keep students engaged during this read-aloud, I sometimes have them all try it out….”Everybody tell me your favorite color.  One, two, three…..” It becomes clear that if everybody talks at the same time, I have no way of hearing anybody!

3. “Boo Who”

This is the sweetest story that encourages inclusion. “Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can’t play any of their games. (“You tagged me? Oh, sorry. I couldn’t feel it.”) Can Boo find a way to fit in and make friends with the rest of the group? From the creator of Rex Wrecks It! comes a funny story about feeling invisible — and finding a way to be seen and appreciated for who you are.” As we were reading, students brainstormed activities we could do that would include Boo.

4. “The Name Jar”

Names are so special and so important to who we are. In this story, a new student is struggling because her peers can’t pronounce her name. Having grown up with a challenging-to-pronounce first name, I am extra proactive in honoring pronunciations of students’ names. After reading this story aloud, students engage in many name activities.

Students make a name crown.

They graph the number of letters in their name.

They use a giant pokey pin to poke the letters in their name. This is great fine motor practice too!

Here is a link to the pins we use in class.

5. “Chrysanthemum”

This is another great book that celebrates unique names.

6. Elmer

“Elmer” is a must-read. I have read it the first week of school each year for the last 15 years!

“Elmer the elephant is bright-colored patchwork all over. No wonder the other elephants laugh at him!

If he were ordinary elephant color, the others might stop laughing. That would make Elmer feel better, wouldn’t it? David McKee’s comical fable about everyone’s favorite patchwork elephant teaches readers to be themselves and celebrates the power of laughter.”

After listening to this story, I walk students through creating a guided self-portrait using only a pencil. We then outline the image using a Sharpie. While I cut out students’ drawings, they glue colored pieces of tissue paper on white cardstock to make a patchwork background. Once dry, I take the self-portraits and glue them onto the patchwork creations, making a beautiful work of art!

Next week, I look forward to using literature to teach academic concepts….I will share more about this particular lesson soon!