art · family activity · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Today I want to share one of my favorite books to read in my classes Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. Grandpa tells the best stories… Travel to the Land of Chewandswallow where it rains food three times a day. (In my opinion this book is WAY better than the movie!). There are two more books in this series Pickles to Pittsburgh and Planet of the Pies.

Each of these fun books easily lends themselves to lots of fun and creative activities! Write a weather report for the Land of Chewandswallow to go with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. What would you like to see it rain for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Have your child help you plan and cook a meal of their choosing and pretend the ingredients fell from the sky.

Design a machine that the Falling Food Company can use to help move and package the food for delivery, after reading Pickles to Pittsburgh. This machine can be drawn, built, or even just explained from your imagination.

After reading Planet of the Pies, design a box to deliver the Martian pies to Earth. Create a machine to safely catch the pies before the hit Mars. Bake a pie!

Using literature as a jumping off spot for lessons is a great way to expand upon the learning. When children begin to make connections between the story and real life they are more connected to the learning. It will also help with working on comprehension skills as you can ask them to share pieces of the story that connect to the activity you are choosing to do at home.

game · letter of the day · math · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts

Letter of the day- Tt

Tt is a great letter! Tigers, turtles, turkey, typing…. so much more. But today we are going to learn…

Tt song by Jack Hartmann

Printing Tt

Capital T– start at the top, straight line downnn, back to the top (but, on the left of the line), draw a line across the top past the center line

lowercase t– start at the top, straight line downnnn, up to the middle (but, on the left of the line), draw a line across the middle past the center line

Today’s activities: Transportation!

Before you even start, talk about the word transportation. Ask questions:

What form of transportation would you use to travel to Disney World? School?, Grocery Store?, Alaska?, the mailbox? … When asking these questions, ask why. When children answer questions they will often give you a one word answer, but we need to push for the reasoning…. why would you choose that? Why did you not choose ______? Why would you not use an airplane to go to the mailbox? Why would you not use a cruise ship to go to the grocery store? Encourage your child to think beyond the one word response!

graph of vehicles you see on a walk

Modes of transportation— this video shows various modes of transportation that are used on land, sea and sky.

Create a graph of different types of transportation. Have your child pick 4-6 types of transportation you might see in your own neighborhood. Take a walk and collect the data of how many of each type of vehicle you observe on your walk.

When you return discuss the graph. Which vehicle did you see the most? Why do you think that was the result? Which did you see the least? What else can you tell me about the graph? How many more cars were there than trucks? How many more planes would you need to see to match the number of bikes?

build your own vehicle

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen– Jack describes all the things he would include if he

built his own car.

Encourage your child to create his/her own car (or other vehicle). They can use whatever they want… Lego, loose parts, draw it on paper, whatever. Encourage them to be creative… think outside the box. Then say “Tell me about your car”. If they can’t figure out how to start ask “What does this do?”

driving lazy eights

Crossing the midline is a skill that is normally developed by 4. Your body has two invisible midlines… down the center of your body and across the torso. Children need to be able comfortably cross the midline to correctly write letters, draw shapes and so much more. Your child needs to be able to fluidly move their limbs across the midline (move your left hand over to the right side of the body in one fluid movement).

There are many skills and activities that practice this skill. But, today I’m going to share one… lazy eights (infinity signs). Having your child draw these in the air or with materials is a great way to practice. But, you can also have your child drive the lazy eight. They need to do it in fluid motions with only one hand at a time. (children who cannot cross the midline will try to swap hands in the middle) The bigger (within a child’s arm reach) the 8 the easier it is for them to drive. This is a great sidewalk chalk activity… create a lazy 8 on the sidewalk and have your child drive their vehicles on the eight.

art · letter of the day · story

Letter of the Day- Ll

My original thought when I was planning for the letter Ll was to do Lego. Lego building blocks are such great learning tools. When you buy the kit, you are showing your child the importance of following step-by-step directions. When they take it apart, they can engineer the same pieces into a new design and structure. They can be used for math, science, art and so much more.

But, I decided to take detour and go art for a change…. So here we go!

Jack Hartmann Ll song

Printing the letter Ll

Capital L- start at the top, straight line downnn, straight across at the bottom from left to right

lowercase l- start at the top, straight line downnnn

Today’s activity– Lines!

  • Lines that Wiggle by Candace Witmann— all types of lines are used to draw pictures.
    • Have your child draw a picture using lines of a variety of types. There are a variety of ways do complete line drawings, show your child a few different types and have him/her pick one or more to use to create a drawing
  • The Line– by Paula Bossio– a wordless book that shows a little girl playing with a pencil drawn line.
    • This is a great way to show children how they can tell a story with their pictures even if they can’t/don’t write any words.
    • Have your child draw their own story based on the format of “The Line”.
    • Play some music and have your child draw a picture using only lines (or include a person as in the story), based on the feeling created by the music
  • Mondrian Animation— watch the art of Mondrian transform and move
    • Piet Mondrian is a Dutch artist is considered one of the great artist of the 20th century. He is known as a pioneer for abstract art. While he has a diverse collection of art types over the years, most people think of his work with black lines and red, yellow and blue squares.
    • Show your child examples of Mondrian art. Show your child how to use a ruler to draw straight lines. Let your child decide the direction, width, length and intersection of the lines. Then have your child pick a few random spaces to color red, yellow and blue.

art · letter of the day · topic

Letter of the Day– Aa

Today we will talk about the letter Aa. When teaching children vowel sounds, we focus on the short sound /a/. This is the sounds we hear in the beginning of apple and the middle of cat.

In my pre-K class, I teach the 26 letters of the alphabet one day at a time in the beginning of the year. I use Jack Hartmann’s letter songs to help introduce the letter to the class. They love these songs and look forward to hearing the new one each day. The songs are very formulaic, which they children love. I encourage you to share this video for the letter A with your child.

In the video, Jack shows the children to draw the letters as if they are holding a light saber, I discourage you from doing this. While it won’t hurt, it isn’t helping with muscle memory. In the past, I had they children write with “their pointer pencil” but, I too have realized this won’t help either. Children need to pretend they are holding a pencil when they make the letters in the air. Holding an imaginary pencil, or a real writing utensil while writing in the air helps with muscle memory.

Writing the letter Aa – these are the words I say when we practice penmanship

Capital A- start at the top! slant down, slant down, cross in the middle

lowercase a- start like a c, go up and down

Today’s activity: Astronauts!

If I Were an Astronaut read aloud— read from ISS!

What Do Astronauts Do from SciShow Kids (a favorite youtube channel of mine for school)

Children are often fascinated by the concept of traveling through space. It is always cool to hear their interpretations of what it would be like to travel in space.

—Here is a quick art project to have your child transform him/herself into an astronaut. I used a paper plate, cut the middle out and used the middle circle to make the visor (this was tricky and in my opinion can totally be skipped!)

—Hunt for “moon rocks”. Go outside and see if you can find moon rocks in your backyard. Trust me children will find rocks they think may have come from the moon!

—Swing on a swing and pretend you are blasting off to space

—Make a cardboard box rocketship and pretend to blast off

—Practice the countdown 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Keep making the countdown longer to practice counting backwards.