STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · writing


On your spring walk yesterday, did you see any birds? I know there are a lot of birds back in my yard. One bird that has come back from their winter migration is the robin. Robins are often considered a sign of spring’s return. Let’s listen to the story Robin, Songbirds of Spring by Mia Posada. Now, lets see some video about robins while we learn a bit more at FreeSchool’s All About Robins.

I hope you learned a little more about robins.

If today is a nice day where you live, go outside and count how many robins you can find. Or watch from a window. Maybe even put out bits of fruits for the robins to eat.

Maybe you want to do a loose parts project and build your own nest? Think about the items that a bird has access to and use those to construct your own nest. Can you manipulate the twigs, grasses and other natural items to form into a fit and sturdy nest?

Later when you go back inside, draw a picture of one of the robin activities you did outside.

Why do we encourage loose parts projects? Loose parts can be any materials that do not have to be used in a specific way. These can include natural items you find outside, building blocks (including Lego), bottle caps, chenille stems, clothes pins, paper clips, paper, and the list goes on and on and on. Ok… but why? Loose part play provides your child with open ended materials and an idea (the idea isn’t necessary) and then encourages them to use their imagination and creativity to manipulate the materials for play, crafts, creations and so much more. It gives the children the freedom to be open and think of items in different ways.

family activity · STEAM · story

It’s finally spring!

March 20th was the spring equinox. What does that mean? It means it is now spring. Let’s start by visiting SciShow for Kid’s and learning about the science of spring. Then we can listen to the read aloud Spring is Here by William Hillenbrand.

Now take a walk and search for signs of spring. Make it fun! Create a scavenger hunt sheet for your child to use on the walk. Have your child think about the colors he/she might see as signs of spring. Or, have your child think about items they might see. I have created two examples here:

art · family activity

Friday Fun- Name flower pot

Colby and I were discussing what to do for our fun Friday activity. I considered giving you a spring scavenger hunt, but there are so many of those out there I know it is easy to Google that and find a ton. I thought about doing a craft, but then realized that I don’t have any construction paper here, and there is a good chance you don’t either. We considered doing another direct drawing, but could not decide what to do that was spring and not a flower like last week.

Ms Lori’s name flowers

Colby said he always thinks of flowers when he thinks of spring. So we decided to create a drawing project. Have your child draw a flower pot or bouquet of flowers. Draw one flower for each letter in his/her name.

We started off by drawing everything in pencil. We both drew the pots first. Then drew the plants. I outlined in marker and Colby just used marker to color his.

Colby’s name plants

I took the project very literal…. Colby well not so much. Just to give you an idea, he is 11, almost 12, and very, very creative. So the fact that he has a grape vine, apple tree, family tree, aliens and more in his drawing does not surprise me. Part of the reason I’m showing this is to remind you that there is no wrong to this project. Let your little one be creative.

I would encourage you to have your child write their name correctly. Yes, I know many preK teachers have children write their names all in capital letters, but I will tell you that the first thing a kindergarten teacher will do is correct this so that the name is written with only a capital for the first letter. So, I encourage you to help your child learn to write it correctly.

letter work · writing

Word Work Wednesday- spring words

Word work is the manipulation of letters to focus on word spellings and/or meanings. There are many different ways to have children participate in word work activities. Today I am going to share one of my students’ favorite and how you can tweak this and make it work at home.

Write the Room/Read the Room

spring write the room words

This activity is fun for children because it gets them up and moving around the classroom, or in this case your house. You can use this list of words, google spring words for kindergarten in images (there are a ton), or just label items around the house.

Print the words or create your own illustrations. Put the images, with word underneath, around the room. Have your child number a sheet of paper 1-6. Then they have to go around and find the pictures.

Once they find the picture, have him/her read the word. Next they copy the spelling of the word onto their paper. Finally, they draw their own illustration of the word. After they have completed all 6 words, have your child read your the word and then go find the picture card to match the word he/she just read.

If your child struggles to write the word, you can write the words on the paper you are giving your child and have him/her match the printed word to the word on the card and then draw the illustration.

If copying the word is too easy, you can either write the beginning sounds on the paper and have your child match the word with the beginning sound and then sound out the rest of the word. Print out the picture without the word and try to sound out the word. OR have your child write a sentence instead just a word.


You can also use these words to help your child move into sentence writing. These sentences can be as complicated as writing “I use an umbrella in the rain” (spelled phonetically except umbrella that he/she copied off the sheet, or as simple as “I see a bird.” This is an opportunity to work on leaving spaces between words, sight words, and matching the words to the illustration.

art · writing

Topic Tuesday- MUD!

Since we are learning about the season of spring, I thought for today’s topic Tuesday we would do a song/poem rewrite. Song and poetry in the young child are building blocks of literacy skills. The are able to play with words, sounds and recognize the patterns and fluency of the written word.

When we teach poems and songs, it works best to teach them without the written words and then add the written words to the learning process. This works on those phonemic awareness skills first and then later when we connect the known song to the print they can make connections.

original I love mud

I shared this song on my class dojo today. I wanted this connection with my class and I wanted them to hear the words before they saw the words. I also wanted to put it in their head as a song and not just as spoken words. I found a video of Rick Charette singing this song so you can hear it here if you do want to hear I Love Mud as a song.

I Love Mud, class book page

After your child gets comfortable with the original song, the cool thing with this song is it is easy to change up and make it your own. Have your child think about what he/she is absolutely, positively wild about and then substitute that for the word mud. They could choose anything… a food, a toy, a tv show, a location, a person… who knows.

After your child has created a new version of the song, have him/her create an illustration to go along with the words. When your child is drawing, encourage them to use multiple colors, I tell my students they need to use one crayon for each year of their age (4 years olds needs at least 4 colors, 5 years olds at least 5 colors). This project can be revisited over and over changing the words each time. Create your own song book with the various versions of the songs and illustrations.

Have fun! Let me know what fun thing your child is absolutely wild about, share the pictures, most important… have fun!

art · game · math · STEAM

Monday Math- Spring Flowers/Showers

Today is Monday, which means time to share a math lesson. Since this week we are going to focus on the season of spring, I thought I’d share an easy and fun math/art activity.

Image result for spring showers

In this activity we are working on number concept (counting, number recognition and numeral writing), number sense (the understanding that 5 means 5 items no matter the size… 5 pompoms is the same quantity as 5 bowling balls), subsidizing numbers (the ability to recognize a quantity of objects without counting – dice configuration, tally marks, fingers, etc). Check out this Jack Hartmann video to help your child practice subsidizing.

Tools needed for this activity: a sheet of paper (or two), crayons an/or markers, one die(two if you want to make a it game or add another level of challenge) or number cards.

The first step can be completed by you or your child. You will need to draw either flower stems or umbrellas.

Have your child roll the die and write the numeral and then draw that many petals, or raindrops depending on which image your child choose to pick. (You will notice that I colored the umbrellas with the number of stripes to match the numeral as well.)

Keep going until your whole sheet is complete. Do not worry about duplicate numbers or getting every number on the board. It is all about the process of recognizing the quantity. Make sure your child counts as he/she add the items (petals or raindrops).

If your child is struggling, pull out a deck of cards and limit the numbers to 2,3,4. Struggling to write the numeral?- write the numeral with a yellow marker and have your child trace over it. Say aloud how to form the numeral so they form it correctly.

Your child has grasped all the concepts with the numbers 1-6? Provide two dice. They then have to combine the two dice to form a number 2-12. Have your child state the quantity on the first dice and then count up from there (you roll a 5 and 3 say 5,6, 7, 8). This is the concept of counting on.

story · Uncategorized

Blog Direction and Spring

I have been doing a bit of thinking about the flow or set up of this blog. I have decided to put a bit more form and structure to the blog which will allow you to see where we are going each week.

So this is my thinking: Each week I will focus on a specific topic (for my student’s families, this will match the topic I use in the lessons on dojo). I will use this topic as the direction for the daily activities.

Daily activity schedule:

  • Sunday- introduce new topic and suggest stories
  • Monday- math activity
  • Tuesday- topic/theme based activity
  • Wednesday- work work/writing
  • Thursday- phonemic awareness
  • Friday- fun activity
  • Saturday- family activity

I encourage you to read books based on the topic daily. Children enjoy listening to and learning from both fiction (make believe, made up, untrue… these are terms we use when describing what a fiction story is to children) and informational text (a book/story that teaches you information).

Many authors are doing read alouds at this time, youtube search read alouds, storyline online, and many other locations can be found for on-line read alouds.

Image result for hello spring

Spring is our theme for this week. Here are some read alouds for you

How Do You Know It’s Spring? (informational text)

The Thing About Spring (fiction story)

Welcome Back Spring (sing along book)

Spring is Here (fiction story)

Happy Equinox (scishow kids lesson on Earth’s rotations and why we have equinox)

art · story · writing

First Day of Spring!

Happy spring! It is a gray drizzling day here today, but signs of spring are still popping up all around. I thought today would be a good day to give you a few reading connections and how you can stretch a story.

You can pick a spring story you have at home, search one up on youtube or watch the one I have linked here for you. When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes. This fun and colorful story show how the world changes as spring takes over the environment. It also plays into a fun writing project. In the world of pre-K children’s writing ability can be all over the map. Some children will need to draw the illustrations and then dictate to you what they want to write. Others will use one of the many stages of writing.

Stages of writing:

  • Squiggle lines to represent words
  • Random letters that have no connection the word they are writing (JmtIop=flower)
  • Writing just the beginning sound (f=flower)
  • Moving into hearing more sounds in words – teach your child to slowly stretch out the word to hear all the sounds (flr=flower)
  • Moving more into conventional spelling (flwer= flower)
  • conventional spelling (flower=flower)

Each of these steps is an important part of learning to write. I promise you… your child will not memorize flr as the spelling of the word flower, but giving them the freedom to write phonetically WILL give them the confidence to write. When children are dependent on adults to spell all the words they are afraid to write and won’t write. When they are given the freedom to write on their level, they will want to write!

Here is a writing activity based on the wording in the story, When Spring Comes, but can easily be used with any spring changes story.

writing prompt

Have your child brainstorm changes they see in the spring (snow melting, trees growing buds, flowers starting to bloom, animals coming out of hibernation and more). Have your child complete the illustrations first and then work on the writing. Providing the sentence starter allows your child to form a sentence without the work of sounding out all the words. If your child is ready to write a sentence on his/her own… just give him/her a blank paper and have them fold it in half and do the work on top and bottom leaving space for their words.

example of finished product

I decided to also share another fun and great learning activity that will go with spring… direct drawings. This is a great activity for so many reasons. It helps children see the drawing process, but there is so much more going on. This works on focus, listening to and watching the steps and directions. Following along and while being creative, following step by step. Everyone can put their own little spins on the art, but for the most part they are true to form. Art Hub for kids is a great youtube channel for these direct drawings. Here is a link to a direct drawing of a tulip in a pot.

I always have my students complete the drawing in pencil. Then the go over their pencil lines with a black maker to make the “coloring book” lines. Then they can color the picture. This would make a fun family project. It is crazy to see how different ages and personality interpret the drawings.

I had my sons help me show this process. You can see the step by step work on my i/g account

Share what you did on the first day of spring. What is your weather? What story did you read? Did you complete the writing or tulip drawing? Let me know in comments.