Monday, November 29, 2010

Super Fun with Shawn Brown

I have been to a LOT of trainings lately. One of the most exciting this year was a training with Shawn Brown. I was introduced to his music several years ago and have been sharing his music with my students ever since. They love the upbeat tempos and rhythms. Anyone that sounds that fun on a CD just HAS to be fun in a training, right?   Oh, yeah!

If you are not familiar with Shawn Brown, you can visit his Super Fun Show website or can get a little sample here:

I had the pleasure of speaking with Shawn Brown for a few minutes, and he is a very nice guy! I browsed the booths (there were only a few) and met a few old friends from other childcare centers. 
I do find it interesting that these conferences are a PRIME spot for a children's book vendor, yet at the last several I've been to, children's book vendors are conspicuously absent!

The conference started with a local step/marching band that marched in to greet us and get us pumped up.

We went to a couple of classes, then reassembled for lunch and the afternoon session with Shawn Brown. I love a conference session where you are up and moving --- not sitting in the same spot every minute fighting the "nods"! There was no sitting out of these sessions.

 The Grand Finale was doing the Super Fun Show with Shawn Brown! 

Of course, I bought a couple of the CD's to take with me and he was kind enough to autograph them for me!

We were given a CD of his chants as part of the conference, too!




I went back to school today and realized there was so much I wanted to post, that I just never managed to find the time. We were crazy that last week (but, really, we're crazy EVERY week) and Thanksgiving had come and gone before I 'd had a chance to post it all. Here's the leftovers~mostly for me so I won't forget to do some of these again next year!

Family Project
We sent home a blackline turkey on white cardstock for the families to decorate/disguise together. We have some really creative families! We had turkeys disguised as ballerinas, Santa, snowmen, Batman, Indian Chiefs, Angels and Devils. Some were just decorated so cute that they would never be found by an unsuspecting farmer looking for his turkey!

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Chart Stories
We wrote several chart stories related to our Thanksgiving theme. This one was called "We Are Thankful".

I also gave each student a Native American name.

Bulletin Boards
Thanks to my wonderful assistant, we had some neat bulletin boards, too! Our big bulletin board was about Healthy Food.

 And this one was one our art display boards.

This was our "Talkin' Turkey" lobby display.

And finally...our favorite songs of the season:

Mr. Turkey
 (tune of: Are you sleeping)
Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey
Run Away, Run Away!
If you are not careful,
You will be a mouthful!
Thanksgiving Day,
Thanksgiving Day!

Albuquerque Turkey
(sung to the tune of "Clementine")
Albuquerque is my turkey
And he's feathered and he's fine
And he wobbles and he gobbles
and he's absolutely mine.
He's the best pet  you can get yet..
Better than a dog or cat.
He's my Albuquerque turkey
And I'm awfully proud of that!
My Albuquerque turkey
is so cozy in his bed,
'Cause for our Thanksgiving dinner...
We had spaghetti instead!

Happy Turkey Day!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving......A Little Science & A Literature Tie In

Some themes are easier than others to work in lessons from all the learning domains. We managed to work in a few Science lessons among the many Social Studies and Language experiences with our Thanksgiving theme.

We did experiment with some of the Thanksgiving decorations we had to see what would sink or float.

Making Butter
One of the activities that I remember from childhood was making butter. I've tried it many ways, but find it is a really quick activity, with less individual frustration if we make it in one container as a class, rather than individually in separate jars for each student. I use a sealing plastic container, 1 container of heavy whipping cream and add a large marble to help agitate. The kids get to shake their their wiggles and/or frustrations all out and we have yummy butter for the feast. I like to open it several times throughout the process to show them how the cream goes from being a heavy (thick) liquid to separating into a thin liquid and a solid.

Painting With Berries
I love The Legend of The Indian Paintbrush retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. It tells how Indians began using the materials around them to create art.

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush 

We crushed cranberries and used them to paint with. Our cranberries were so firm that I had to really work to get the kids started crushing with a rock.

We used the crushed berries as paint and painted some beautiful pictures. It was a great experience, and certainly more about process than product, as the cranberry juice dries almost invisible.(So, no pictures :) Next year, I'm planning ahead and getting some blackberries and blueberries from my mother's farm to use as well.

Talkin' Turkey

In the South, we not only pride ourselves on our drawl, but also in some of the funny ways we say things. Our colloquialisms are fodder for humorists and comedians. Some may think it makes us seem uneducated ~  personally, I find our language beautiful and quirky. In addition to the Turkey Tips I do with the kids each year, I also give them a portion of a familiar idiom or colloquialism and ask them to complete the phrase. The answers are hilarious. Thanksgiving is perfect time of year to have the kids share their answers. I think it also gives a little insight into how a 4 year old brain thinks. Some of the phrases have been completed identically by different children over the years.

A tree is only as old as the squirrel!

After sunshine comes a ladybug!

All things must go to the house!

All work and no play makes Jack a frog!

Beauty is in the eye of the world!

Better late than time!

You can lead a horse to water, but he won't swim!

Too many cooks cook something!

The early bird gets turkey!

His bark is worse than his turkey!

All that glitters is Mommy!

Beggars can't be silly!

A bird in the hand is better than a cow!

A friend in need is jumping up and down!

Out of the frying pan and into the door!

A watched pot never gobbles!

When the cat's away, it stays away!

           ....and the same answers 2 years running......

It only takes two to make three!

What's good for the goose is water!

I display these in our school lobby (sorry, no pics this year--I'll add some next week :) with some of the turkeys they've made and the caption "TALKIN' TURKEY".

Thanksgiving.....Fun and Games in Pre-K

As I've mentioned before, our themes are just a vehicle to deliver content in a fun way. We play a lot of games and learn as as play. Some of the fun games we've played with our Thanksgiving theme reinforced our literacy skills, coordination and social skills.

Toss The Turkey
We made a turkey out of a paper lunch sack and clipped it to a chart stand. I would show a letter (or rhyming word, letter/sound recognition  ~which ever concept we were working on with that group) and ask the child to identify it. If they were able to identify the concept correctly, everyone chanted "Toss the Turkey!" and the student gets to try to toss a beanbag at the turkey. (This could also work by hanging the paper plate from The Great Turkey Chase from the chart stand as well!)

Great Turkey Chase
I saw this on a couple of websites~not really sure who came up with this first. I taped a picture of a turkey to one small paper plate, and pictures of Pilgrims to another. We started passing the Turkey plate like we would playing "Hot Potato", but after the Turkey plate made it halfway around the circle, I added the Pilgrim plate. Pretty soon the kids are all cheering for either the turkey or the Pilgrims.

Pilgrim Games
I try to impress upon the children that there wasn't a lot of toys (or time for fun) as a Pilgrim child. They made games with what they had. Sometimes it's hard for them to imagine a world without all the electronic devices and games they have access to. One of the games we play is rolling a hoop with a stick. this takes a lot of coordination, but it's always so much fun to watch them try!

Turkey, Turkey....Dinner!
We just love "Duck, Duck...Goose!" and change it up to fit most themes. "Turkey, Turkey....Dinner!" just seems appropriate, since you get put in the pot if you get caught!

Mayflower Syllable Sails

In Pre-K, our themes are simply a vehicle to deliver content. I try to work in phonological awareness activities to tie in with whatever theme we are learning about. We talk a lot about syllables, counting and clapping them as we are group reading, writing or learning new vocabulary.  I made this Mayflower ship and as we learned a new vocabulary word for our Thanksgiving theme, we clapped out the syllables and added the word to the sail number of the appropriate number of syllables.

This started as a large group activity, but after a few days, the kids really started to listen to stories, trying to add words to the list. This really got them thinking independently and they would often contribute words they thought of. I think this year, I'm going to try to make a tree for the holiday season that serves the same purpose!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving... Our Thanksgiving Book

When my youngest daughter was in kindergarten, her class frequently made Kinderlit books. I loved the idea, but things like this have never been in our budget. I decided a few years ago to make our own version, using some of the art projects we already do and tailor them for the book pages.

We traced our hands and colored them to resemble turkeys for the cover.

We made little Mayflower boats for the first page.

We made wigwams from construction paper and paper towels for the second page. This was great fine motor practice using our cutting and tearing skills.
Log cabins are fun to make using construction paper shapes and craft sticks.

We made indian corn by painting with bubble wrap. This was a lot of fun for the kids to do and even more fun for me to watch. Some of the kids painted each bubble separately, some painted sections with different fall colors and others just slathered on the paint. No matter which process they used, the corn looked great and was a wonderful tactile experience! We added a little "vanilla" (manilla) paper fringe for the husk.

Since the last page talked about the feast, we cut out pictures of scrumptious meals from magazines.

We made our books over a period of about 2 weeks and read them as a class at circle time. Our last reading was shortly before our big Thanksgiving feast with our families, then sent them home to enjoy for the holiday!

Thanks for stopping by!

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