Did you know that Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a bet that he couldn’t write a book with fifty or fewer distinct words? After doing some checking, I discovered that the bet was made in 1960 with Bennett Cerf, the co-founder of Random House, and was for $50. Ironically, even though Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham using EXACTLY 50 words, it's been reported that Cerf never paid up.
This Old Man Is A Scarecrow!
One of my favorite themes in the fall was scarecrows. It’s a great non-Halloween theme for those schools that don’t celebrate that holiday too.
I liked to involve music and gross motor movement whenever I could, to help make learning extra fun and get the wiggles out at the same time.
Incorporating rhyming songs via music with a beat, helped children get the hang of things quickly.
This Old Man is a terrific vehicle to introduce counting. After reading that story, and playing the CD, I told my Y5’s that they were going to pretend to be scarecrows.
I showed them how a scarecrow would stand, and pointed out the 2 scarecrows we had propped in the corners of our room.
I demonstrated how to slap, clap, and snap and asked them if these words rhymed.
After passing out the manipulatives I read the teacher's edition of This Scarecrow; the students did the movements.
Afterwards, children transitioned to their desks to read, trace, write, count and spy numbers of scarecrows completing their own booklet.
Once everyone was done, we read the booklet as a whole group to reinforce concepts of print.
Click on the link to view/download This Scarecrow
My favorite scarecrow "craftivity" I did with my Y5's was the "Personal Scarecrow"
I pre-cut large sheets of construction paper into the various shapes.
Students cut and glued smaller shapes to the body portion of the scarecrow.
We reviewed them as they assembled their scarecrow.
For the head, I enlarged their school photograph on the copier.
When you enlarge to that size, it becomes pixilated so their face really does take on a burlap-scarecrow kind of appearance!
For great fine motor practice, have students snip yellow pieces of construction paper so that they look like straw.
Children glue these behind the end of the sleeves and pant legs.
I used brass brads so that the arms and legs were "jointed." The scarecrows could dance and prance down the hallway wall.
I wrote a poem for Mailbox Magazine that I posted under the scarecrows. You can imagine all of the cool comments we received.
Click on the link to view/download the Personal Scarecrow
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“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” –Mark Twain
My Pumpkin Book Easy Reader
October will soon be here; this easy reader covers a variety of standards, skills and subjects.
You can use the straight version of the booklet and concentrate on reading and writing skills, or you can use the "cut and glue" version (pictured) and incorporate fine motor, cutting, gluing, sequencing, listening and following direction skills as well.
When students make these easy readers you can review concepts of print with them by asking simple questions: Where is the cover, where is the back page, what is the title? (RI.K5) They will delight in the fact that they are part author as well as the illustrator of the booklet. (RI.K6
You can point out to them that the first word in the sentence is capitalized (L.K2a) and remind them to capitalize it when they rewrite their sentence. Ask them what the end punctuation is. (L.K2b) and again remind them how important it is to include it when they write their sentence. By rewriting sentences or making up additional ones, in some of my easy readers, children are practicing and reinforcing these standards.
Students are also following words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page. (RF.K3a ) They are seeing and understanding that words are separated by spaces in print as they trace and then write them. (RF.K3d)
I specifically choose common high-frequency words in the easy readers and repeat them through out the booklets so that simply via repetition students learn them. (the, of, to, you, she, he, my, is, are, a, do, does, it, etc.) This is also a Common Core State Standard: (RF.K3c)
The text has rhyming words which make it a fun read-aloud as well as covering RF.K2a which is being able to recognize and produce rhuyming words. Take this opportunity to ask your students what other word(s) rhyme with that word. Which other ones could have fit that would make sense in the sentence.
This easy reader makes a nice activity for Daily 5 or an independent reading or writing center for October. When everyone has completed their booklet, be sure to read it together as a whole group to review concepts of print.
Because the life cycle of a pumpkin is also sequenced, this is a nice way to cover a bit of pumpkin science too. so don't forget to point out the various stages as you read it aloud.
Why not laminate a completed booklet, attach Velcro or magnet strips to the back and have students sequence the stages on a flannel or white board?
Children will enjoy taking it home to share with their family, which will reinforce lessons learned at school.
Click on the link to view/download My Pumpkin Booklet
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"It is not so much what s poured into a the student, but what is planted that really counts." -Anonymous