Monday, January 24, 2005

A Snowy Day (by Ezra Jack Keats; Publisher: Puffin Books; ISBN: 0140501827 )

In this book a little boy makes different kinds of
prints in the snow: footprints, railway tracks, uses a
stick to make a third track, snow angels etc.

My colleague Tanya describes here how she has used
this lovely book with her class:

"It is a wonderful story of a little boy who wakes up
on a snowy day and has great adventures. It is one of
the few childrens' books set in a city, as well as
using a non-white child as the main character. I grew
up with this book, and love reading it to my young
son, as well as to an English playgroup playgroup I
teach in Gotha, Germany. After reading it for the
first time, I handed out salt-dough snowballs for the
kids to take home.

Other activities to do that help you recycle the ideas
and language on this book:

1. Snow or ice cube painting, adapted from Trish
Kuffner's books:

Warning: messy alert! Children should wear a painting
smock, an old t-shirt or clothes that can be
Line a baking sheet or cake pan with a piece of
drawing paper (thicker is better). Alternately, use
the lid of a shoe box or another cardboard type lid.
Sprinkle the lid with a bit of powdered tempura paint.
Place an ice cube or very hard packed small snowball
on the paper. The wee one can swirl the ice or
snowball around with his or her fingers to create
designs. Older children may chose to tip the lid or
baking tray to swirl the design around. (Note: I
haven't been able to find powdered tempura paint here
in Germany yet. I've been using tubed tempura and
watering it down a bit.) I think powdered jello("Rote"
or "Grune Grutze" powder her in Germany) works
too. Powdered food colouring would also work, but is
too strong in terms of staining ability.

2. Snow painting: place a bit of powdered tempura
paint in a squirt bottle or spray bottle. Add water.
Let the wee ones draw on the snow with the squirt
bottle or spray the snow.

3. Total physical response: the adventures Peter has
in the snow lend themselves to mimicking. Take your
wee ones out into the snow, let them walk with their
"toes pointing in like this ... and walk with their
toes pointing out like that." Let them hear the
"crunch, crunch, crunch" of their foot prints. Make
snow balls, snow angels, railroad tracks with dragging
feet, find a stick to make another track. Then go
have some hot chocolate. Bigger kids can help make
the hot chocolate. No snow? Mimick Peter's behavior
in the course room or your living room. Draw "snow
angels", trace your feet many times (or every child
contributes a set of prints to a collaborative trail),
cut out the footsteps and make tracks like Peter's.

4. Salt dough: there are many recipes out there.
Trish Kuffner's books have many good ones. Form the
dough into snow balls, snow men, snow forts. Roll it
out and cut out angels. Dry and decorate. Really wee
ones will enjoy just squishing the dough around inside
a well-sealed Ziploc bag or smushing it on the table
and printing the dough with cookie cutters (don't
expect the little kids' craft time to be "perfect",
just having the experience of playing with the
materials in their own fashion teaches them a lot
about texture, touch and the world around them).

Tanya Harding
Naturally English
Gartenstrasse 11
99894 Friedrichroda

I am a Canadian citizen, now living in central
Germany. I teach English privately, as well as at a
local children's club. There is more information on
my website, listed above."

Here are the snowy day scraffito footprints that Lucy's classes did. I got black paper, got the kids to cover it in white water-based pastel and then to scratch out footprints etc.

Snowy day footprints

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Owl Babies (by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson; Walker Books; ISBN: 0744531675)

This is a lovely book with realistic pics of baby owls. The owl babies worry that their mum won't come back, she does of course.

We collected toilet roll tubes and used these to make an owl-shaped pen holder. This took about 45 minutes with 8 kids! So be warned. It is a useful thing they can use themselves or give as a gift.

Two tubes per kid, some additional pale card for eyes, beaks and wings and some brown construction paper for a base.

Cut one tube into two, about two thirds up. Resulting in three tubes one big, one medium and one small. Stick onto base and against each other. add beaks, eyes and wings. We painted them with glue and dipped them in imitation snow to give that fluffy baby owl look.

Owl babies pen holder

Pen holder with pens and things

We also illustrated our own mini books:

Owl babies mini-book

Goodnight Lulu (by Paulette Bogan; Bloomsbury; ISBN: 0747564930)

This book is about a mum (chicken) saying goodnight to her kid (chick) and allaying all her fears of what might happen, e.g. "What if a tiger comes in while I'm sleeping". Two piglets listen in and creep closer and closer so as to be protected too. Cute, and comforting, my classes really enjoyed taking it in turn to act out the story while I narrated.

We made pictures of the piglets peeking in the window. We used a potato print for the pig's nose as a starting point (cut potato in half, make two holes in each cut edge for the nostrils, a small slit at the bottom for the mouth, dip in pink paint and press on the paper).

All the kids were able to make pigs with eyes and ears and most of them painted the front trotters too. I also had some curly pink ribbon to stick on for those who needed tails.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

One Two Three Me (by Nadia Budde and Jeremy Fitzkee; Hammer; ISBN: 3872949225)

This is a great book for teaching English. The pics are cool and funny for any age and yet the vocab is very limited (but mostly very useful) and it's a rhyming repetitive story. The story goes:
1,2,3, me
Sue, Molly, Claire,
Polar bear
In a vest, in a dress, in a coat, (here you see the bear wearing the clothes)
in the rain, in the snow, in the fog (pics of the goat standing in the rain, snow and fog)
spotted, plaid, pale,
Gigantic, average, wee,
and so on.

It's the perfect book for inspiring kids to make a minibook using exactly the same formula.

Before the lesson I thought of a few animal names that rhymed with words the kids knew:
boat + goat, house + mouse, tail+snail, big+pig, hat+cat, hair+bear, dish+fish, shower+flower, frog+dog, zoo+you

We then used those as a basis for thinking of our own rhymes and the two additional situations needed for each sequence.

Here's what the kids came up with during one class:

1, 2, 3,
With a ship, with a fish, with a boat,
In trousers, in a dress, in a hat,
In a tree, in a boat, in a house,
With a spider, on the cheese, with a frog

The kids had lots of funny ideas. I then asked each child to draw one sequence. Colour photocopying the resulting book for each child turned out to cost a lot more than I'd imagined (that may be beyond your resources, but you could cover the original in plastic and make it into a class book). With my other classes, I asked them to do it in black and white, and then photocopied it for everyone to have as a colouring book.

Wearing shoes, in a dress, in a hat, cat

The kids went home talking about rhymes and thinking up new ones.

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