Monday, March 28, 2011

BOOK OF THE DAY: Bring on the Birds by Susan Stockdale

Bring On the Birds

Bring on the Birds by Susan Stockdale.

There are many preschool books about birds, but here is a newly release book that I absolutely LOVE! I cannot stop flipping through this book! The pictures are so vibrant, engaging, and realistic that I imagine kids will want to read again and again. The text is simple, catchy, and informative: "Skimming birds, swimming birds, birds with tails held high. Racing birds, riding birds, birds that never fly." Each page features a different bird and the end of the book includes a child-friendly index with facts about each bird.

Related Activities:
  • Read my interview with Susan Stockdale and learn about how the author began her career as an author.
  • Visit Susan's website and use the interdisciplinary teacher guide for Bring on the Birds.
  • Visit the First School website to find coloring pages, crafts, and bird patterns.
  • Visit Enchanted Learning to find more bird facts and background information.
  • Learn about birds that are native to your area. If you learn about birds that live in other parts of the world or other parts of the United States, find those places on a map.
  •  Cut and laminate different bird pictures. Cut out and laminate several nest patterns. Allow children to sort the pictures in different groups. For example: put all the birds that fly in one nest and all the birds that don't fly in another nest.
  • Find reasonably priced binoculars (like these from Discount School Supply) and go bird watching with a small group of children.
  • Make a bagel bird feeder (warning: this recipe calls for the use of peanut butter; since many child care centers are peanut free zones, you can try this one from Family Fun).
  • Visit National Geographic and National Geographic for Kids sites and find loads of information, videos, and pictures of birds.
  • Make a collage using bird seed purchased from a local store.
  • Make a memory game: print, cut out, and laminate 2 identical pictures of several types of birds. Allow children to turn the cards face down and try to find matches!
  • Make a feather collage or paint with feathers. (visit our friends at Discount School Supply for all kids of feathers!)
Other Bird Books:

Bird (DK Eyewitness Books)The Bird Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta's Alphabet Books)Feathers for Lunch

Other Books by Susan Stockdale:

Fabulous FishesCarry Me! Animal Babies on the MoveNature's Paintbrush: The Patterns and Colors Around YouSome Sleep Standing Up

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

...and Goes Out Like A Lamb

In Like a Lion, Out Like a LambLamb (See How They Grow)One Little Lamb (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))

March comes in like a lion...and goes out (hopefully) like a lamb!

Hopefully, you have tried a few lion-related activities and are ready to welcome spring with a few of these lamb activities:
  • Make lamb (or lion) paper bag puppets.
  • Copy and scenes from Lamb (See How They Grow) and have children put them in sequential order.
  • Make a "Signs of Spring" Chart: Cut a large sheet of bulletin board paper into the shape of a lamb. Each day allow children to add any signs of spring that they notice: warm weather, spring shower, flower buds, robins, etc.
  • Have a "Welcome Spring" party on March 21 (first day of spring is Sunday, 3/20). Serve dirt cups!
  • Visit a farm to see the sheep and lambs. Or you may be able to have a farmer come to visit your school and bring a lamb.

Friday, March 11, 2011

BOOK OF THE DAY: A Birthday Cake is No Ordinary Cake

"We're riding the Earth in a great spinning circle around the Sun, from your birthday to your next birthday.... You will need exactly 364 more sunrises, all clouds included."

 "In Debra Frasier's A Birthday Cake Is No Ordinary Cake we circle the Sun collecting the ingredients for our cake: summer shade, red leaves, snowy shivers, and robin's song."

Related Activities:
  • Visit the author's webpage for related classroom activities such as a paper plate cake clock and birthday booklets. 
  • Make a birthday graph and count how many birthdays are in each month of the year. You might want to include other classes, staff members, or classroom visitors in the graph!
  • Learn to say Happy Birthday in other languages.

Other Birthday Books:
Birthday Customs Around the World (Pebble Plus: Happy Birthday!)Birthdays!: Celebrating Life Around the WorldBirthdays in Many Cultures (Life Around the World)
Moira's Birthday (Classic Munsch)Happy Birthday, Maisy: A Maisy Lift-the-Flap ClassicHappy Birthday, Moon (Moonbear)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March Comes In Like a Lion...

If I Were a LionThe Lion & the MouseThe Reasons for Seasons

March starts out pretty blustery and cold in many parts of the United States. Discuss with children what the saying "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" means. Talk about how cold weather days are like lions (ferocious or windy) and warm days are like lambs (soft and gentle). Here are a few additional supporting activities:
  • Cut out small lions and lambs that will fit on your calendar. Each day, talk about the weather and decide if it is a "lamb day" or a "lion day." For added math activities talk about weather there are more or less lion/lamb days. Children can also learn how to do a tally of the days. My kindergarten students loved learning to make tally marks!
  • Read information books like The Reasons for Seasons to help children understand the changing seasons.
  • Since Lion and Lamb both begin with the letter L, make a cut of or a lion and a cut out of a lamb to hang in the room. For the entire time you are doing the lion/lamb unit, encourage children to think of words that begin with L. They can write the words on the cut outs or cut pictures out of magazines to glue to the cut outs.      
What are your favorite lion and lamb activities? 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Learning to Read: A Right or a Privilege?

What if all the children in the world could read and write? This simple but poignant question is posed by Many of us take it for granted that children will have access to books and will learn to read, but did you know:
  • Nearly a billion people entered the 21t century unable to read a book or sign their name.
  • According to the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 37 percent of fourth graders and 26 percent of eighth graders cannot read at the basic level.
  • As recently as 2006, more than 8 million U.S. students in grades 4-12 struggle to read, write, and comprehend adequately.
  • Children in poor families are less likely to be read to daily.
  • Across the globe nearly 171 million children could be lifted out of poverty if they left school with basic reading and writing skills.
  • Reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for building knowledge required for eventual success in reading.
Today is World Read Aloud Day. I challenge you to read aloud to a child today. If you don’t have a child to read to, pass this information onto someone who does and encourage them to read to a child today. Learning to read is a RIGHT, not a privilege.

Related Posts:
World Read Aloud Message from Kenya
10 Tips on Reading to Baby 10 Tips for Reading Aloud to Children
10 Benefits of Reading to Baby
10 Books I Love To Read Aloud

Monday, March 7, 2011

BOOK OF THE DAY: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

When I taught kindergarten there were a few books that I knew by heart, and this was one of them. That's why it made it to my Books I Love to Read Aloud post!  Here are some supporting activities for this classic story:

  • Sequencing Activity: Cut out and laminate at least 2 different types of cookies (for example, a chocolate chip cookie - click HERE for pattern from ABC Teach-  and a heart shaped cookie) and have children make A-B-A-B patterns. For children who are ready, cut out 3 or 4 different "cookies" and make more complex patterns (A-B-B-A or A-B-C-A-B-C). Younger children can sort cookies by size, shape, or color.
  • Visit the Virtual Vine site to find how to make a cookie graph along with other cookie math activities such as cookie addition and much more.
  • Visit Quirky Momma to see how children can use cookies to learn about fractions.

  • To enhance literacy when baking, always use a recipe chart so that children can see the steps and follow along. After the cookie activity is over, hang the recipe in your dramatic play area so that children can continue to recall and imitate the experience.
  • To enhance scientific learning, talk about what happens when you add liquid to the dry ingredients or why we have to add egg to the recipe. Remember, cooking and chemistry go hand-in-hand!
  • For added fun, use a mouse cookie cutter. I used to use the companion book, MOUSE COOKIES 10 Easy-to-Make Cookie Recipes and  cookie cutter by Laura Numeroff but it's hard to find these days.
  • To enhance social-emotional development, make a batch of cookies to give to someone. Let the children decorate paper bags for the cookies. You can make the cookies for another class, a sick friend, the janitorial crew, or anyone who might enjoy them.
  • To enhance mathematical thinking while cooking, talk about the measurements. For example, Is two cups of flour more or less than 1 cup of sugar? Two half cups equal one whole cup, etc...
  • Sorting C sounds and M sounds: Cut out pictures that begin with C (cookie) and M (mouse). Give children two unbreakable cookie jars (I love my local Dollar Store for these kinds of goodies) and have them sort the pictures by placing "C" words in one jar and "M" words in another.
  • Sequence the events in the story by photocopying the main parts of the story, laminating them, and putting a piece of Velcro on the back. Using a flannel board, have children put the events on the flannel board in order.
  • Allow children to make up their own stories (individually, in groups, or as a class) such as, If You Give a Raccoon a Raisin or If You Give A Kangaroo a Coconut.
  • Don't forget to visit the websites for Laura Numeroff and the Mouse Cookie Books for additional activities.  
  • Also check out If You Take A Mouse to School and other books by Laura Numeroff like:

If You Give a Pig a PartyIf You Give a Moose a Muffin Big BookIf You Give a Pig a Pancake Big Book (If You Give...)

I was inspired to choose this as the Book of the Day because my niece had an awesome third birthday party at Little Hands Cookie Company (there is also an outreach program, where they will come to your school). If you live in the Baltimore Area, please check out this awesome place! The staff was awesome and you can tell that for Ms. Lisa, owner and head cookie baker :), this is a work of love. Here are a few snapshots of the event:


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