Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Integrating Culture: WorldHelp-Japan

Osh Kosh is one of the many companies giving to help those in Japan. Visit their site to see how you can contribute by making cranes. Visit: Cranes for Kids
On the site it says, "Invite friends and family to join in the fun! Pick up a free Cranes for Kids action pack at your local OshKosh store, which includes origami paper and instructions or download our Origami Crane or Easy Origami Crane instructions here and make your own at home."
Bring in what you make through April 25th and receive 10% off your purchase.

A book about Oragami that would go great with this activity would be Pink Paper Sawns by Virginia L. Kroll

About the book: "Janetta, intrigued by the paper animals her neighbor Mrs. Tsujimoto makes, learns the art of origami and becomes Mrs. Tsujimoto's hands when her arthritis makes it difficult for her to continue. In the sizzling heat of summer, eight-year-old Janetta Jackson discovers the captivating art of origami from her neighbor, Mrs. Tsujimoto. In this account of how Janetta Jackson began helping Mrs. Tsujimoto, an origami expert, there are instructions for making a pink swan."

Have fun making the Cranes and enjoy your discount on clothes for your growing child.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Integrating movies: The books that inspired them

I am the type of person that has to read a book before seeing the movie, and so I share the same habit with my students. With my 4th graders, we read Ella Enchanted before seeing the movie. It allowed for some serious compare and contrast activities.

Writing can really be fun. What better way to write about a good movie and a great book!? In school, we always wish that students felt comfortable with writing. Parents, you can help!

I finally saw "Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs" and I have to say, I am so glad I read the book first. I was amazed with how much "meat" they added to make it into a feature film. Watching the movie got me thinking, how many more childrens books were amazingly extended into a movie. From my memory I thought if these few:

Polar Express still amazes me as to how they took such a short book and turned it into a favorite must see Christmas movie.

The next time you get ready to view a children's movie, see if a book inspired it first. If so, pick up the book with your child, read it, watch the movie, then afterwards compare the two.

To extend as a writing activity, you can use:
Venn Diagram: Book in "A", movie in "B", and what was the same between both in "C"

"T" chart: compare the two side by side.

A Concept chart would be great for older writers.

At the end, the could work on paragrah writing. Make sure it contains a beginning, middle, and end. For the primary writers it would look like this:
In the book, there was a story told by the grandpa. In the movie, it was real. They both had to leave the town.

As the children get older, you can expect more detail comparing the two. What a fun way to pass an otherwise boring day. You can stock up for Spring Break!

For more books that were made to feature films, click: Books into Feature films

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Integrating Seasons: Spring books

Spring is on its way! March 20th marks the official day on the calendar. While in some places it is still snowing, we like to stick to the calendar and welcome it in.
Animals are the most interesting to children. With Spring comes baby animals!
To introduce what Spring is:

An explanation about why some might "bloom" later than others.
For the little hands in your family, these books introduce the baby animals and summarize what Spring is all about.

Enjoy! Spring activities throughout the Season will be posted in the blog. Hope Spring will arrive not only on the calendar but in your weather!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Integrating Culture: St. Patrick's Day

The stores are ready and have tons of green and people are scheduling parties. While St. Patrick's Day is not a huge party day in the schools, teachers do take a week to do crafts, host scavenger hunts, and teach students about what March 17th is all about.

For the younger children, the perfect book that explains the day is: Hooray for St. Patrick's Day! by Joan Holub. It is a read over and over again for children. It has rhyming and a leprechaun that the readers must spot on each page. It also have a lift and flap for toddlers.

Afterwards, children can make their own leprechaun man. Take green construction paper and make it into a shamrock. Fold the green (or brown construction paper) back and forth to make the folds. Children can do this also. Add mini shamrocks for the hands and feet and a yellow top hat. Emergent writers can write about where they would hide if they were a leprechaun.

For the older children a great book that combines history and folklore is: Mary McLean and the St. Patrick's Day Parade, by Steven Kroll.

After they have had a chance to read about what Mary wishes for, they can take to a creative writing activity where they write about their three wishes.

(The good thing about teachers is that we don't reinvent the wheel, we share. This paper has been in my bag of teaching materials for years.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Integrating Art: Emergent Literacy with Crayola

Introducing art to infants and toddlers allows them to explore the world around them.

In our area, one way I began to introduce art was to take advantage of the free first Wednesdays of the month they have at the Art Museum. (They even have one at the History of Natural Museum). It has been nice to go for a little bit at a time as her attention span has increased, we have stayed longer and longer.

After you have exposed your child, allow them to create:
1. Find some great books to read.
2. Invest in Crayola finger paint, Crayola mess free color wonder, or the good old fashioned crayons.
3. Find a study easel (I found mine at Ikea)
4. Of course, a bib to cover up.


I found this easel at Ikea:

The bibs also from Ikea.

The result, a long creative train of artwork. She walked her art back and forth for a half and hour. Who knew it would turn into that. The nice thing about taking pictures is you can see the growth in strokes and maturity of creative vision.

I will take pictures of all of her art to turn into a book by using snapfish or shutterfly so that paper doesn't clutter the home and she gets to keep her artwork.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Integrating books: Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss we love you!
Dr. Seuss we really do!

Happy birthday! He would be 93 years old if he were here today.

Visit his official site: Dr. Seuss for ideas.