Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Make Your Day Count!

Make Your Day Count! 
The wonderful thing about numbers and counting is that they are all around you in so many different ways.  The sounds and shapes and ideas of numbers are some of the most important things you can share with your child.  And the nice part is that your house and yard and neighborhood are full of numbers to be discovered.  Just start counting and you can't stop!

ALL BOOKS ARE COUNTING BOOKS!   The books listed here were written to explore and teach numbers, often within a story.  My favorite counting books include big examples of the numerals, not just the number words.  But any book offers many opportunities to count things.  So after you read any book together, go back through the pictures and count things.  Take turns choosing what you will count on each page: people, trees, stars, toys, doors and windows, flowers, words in the text, blue things, red things, whatever you find interesting.  Some picture books have page numbers.  Or you could just count the pages yourself.  Count the number of letters in the title or in the author's name.   Share a book with your child and count your day away!

(If you library does not have a book, be sure to ask for it through their interlibrary loan service.)

The Completed Hickory Dickory Dock by Jim Aylesworth
Big Fat Hen   by Keith Baker
Potato Joe  by Keith Baker
Duckie's Ducklings  by Frances Barry
The Water Hole  by Graeme Base
1, 2, 3, to the Zoo  by Eric Carle
Over in the Meadow  by Jane Cabrera
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!  by Eileen Christelow
ROAR!  A Noisy Counting Book  by Pamela Duncan Edwards
Fish Eyes  by Lois Ehlert
Turtle Splash!  by Cathryn Falwell
Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats
Ten Red Apples  by Virginia Miller
One Duck Stuck  by Phyllis Root

For this ACTION RHYME I use the tune to the traditional song A-Hunting We Will Go.  You can find the song on the internet.  Sing the song together a few times, clapping as you go, so everyone knows the tune and connects with the rhythm.  You can even march and clap and really get into it!  When you are ready, try using my words for A-Counting We Will Go!   Be sure to clap along while you sit, stand or march.  Make sure your child can see your actions to enjoy and, when he/she is old enough, to make the movements with you.
                                                  A-Counting We Will Go!

                                     A-counting we will go, a-counting we will go!
                                     We'll see the sun, and count to one.......1!
(Stop clapping, look up, shading your eyes, then hold up one finger and say "1" very loudly.)
(Start clapping again.)   A-counting we will go!

                                     A-counting we will go, a-counting we will go!
                                      We'll find a shoe, and count to two.......1, 2!
(Stop clapping, lean over and touch your shoes, then hold up two fingers and count "1, 2.")
(Start clapping again.)  A-counting we will go!

                                      A-counting we will go, a-counting we will go!
                                      We'll climb a tree, and count to three.......1, 2, 3!
(Stop clapping and make climbing motions with arms and legs, then hold out arms to be a tree, then hold up three fingers and count "1, 2, 3!")
(Start clapping again.)   A-counting we will go! 

                                       A-counting we will go, a-counting we will go!
                                        We'll close the door, and count to four.......1, 2, 3, 4!
(Stop your rhythmic clapping and clap one big clap for closing a door, or, better yet, go find a door and close it, then hold up four fingers and count "1, 2, 3, 4!")   
(Start clapping again.)    A-counting we will go! 

                                        A-counting we will go, a-counting we will go!
                                        We'll take a drive, and count to five......1, 2, 3, 4, 5!
(Stop clapping and hold your hands as if on a steering wheel and make a driving motion, then hold up five fingers and count "1, 2, 3, 4, 5!" )  
(Start clapping again.)    A-counting we will go!

Now be creative together and think up rhymes for 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!

COUNT WITH THE CALENDAR:  Not only does a calendar have numbers to recognize and to read, it has boxes perfect for writing in more numbers.  Every day choose something around the house to count: the number of pictures on your walls, windows in a room, beds in your house, pieces of mail in your mailbox, people in your family, spoons in the drawer, etc.  Write the number on the calendar with a note of what you counted.  Review all that you counted when you get to the end of a week or the month.  Take turns choosing what to count each day!

COUNTING CARDS:   Make your own flash cards up to 10 until your child is ready for up to 20!  This is so much better than the one you buy because you make them with your child, choosing a different color for each number, drawing the right number of circles or whatever shape you like on each card.  I believe as soon as a child can recognize a number or a letter, that child is READING.  Both your child and you should think in those terms.  Now, use your beautiful, homemade COUNTING CARDS to create and play lots of games.  The simplest game is to place the COUNTING CARDS one the floor or table and then put with each card the number of correct objects such as blocks or cars or crackers.   What ideas can you put into action with your COUNTING CARDS?  How about making a second set together and find matching numbers? The possibilities are endless!

FIND, COUNT AND COME BACK!     Here is a good game for using your COUNTING CARDS.  It teaches counting, memory, taking turns and vocabulary building.  It was one of my mother's favorites to play with her kindergarten students.  Children much younger than five love it and learn from it, too!

Everyone who wants to play sits together on a couch or wherever you decide is home base.  Take turns telling each other what to find, to touch and count before coming back to  home base.  Start with just one thing so it is easy to remember and so everyone learns the game.  DISPLAY THE NUMBER 1 COUNTING CARD.  Now, Player 1 tells Player 2:  FIND A CHAIR.  So, Player 2 gets up, finds and touches a chair, counts "1" (counting loudly makes it more fun!) and then comes back to sit down.  Now Player 2 tells Player 3: FIND A STUFFED ANIMAL.  After everyone gets the idea and has success, make it more challenging by adding a item.  DISPLAY THE NUMBER 2 COUNTING CARD.  Now, Player 1 tells Player 2, FIND A WINDOW AND A PILLOW.  So,. Player 2 has to find and touch and count "1" for the window and then find and touch and count "2" for the pillow and then come back and sit down.  Have fun and create lots of ways to use this game.

YOU CAN COUNT ON IT!   A day filled with seeing numbers, hearing numbers, experiencing the ideas of numbers will always make for easy sharing times in your family.  Before you go to bed on a busy COUNTING DAY, make up a good COUNTING SONG to put everyone to sleep!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

You Never Know What a Spring Day Will Bring!

I am writing from Kansas, where we enjoy all four seasons, just as the calendar says.  Everyone everywhere may not experience fall and winter quite like the Midwest does, but the often times sunny,  sometimes rainy, other times windy days of spring can surely come along to surprise and delight you no matter where you live!

Before spring turns into summer,  let's see what spring can bring!

(Some of these books may be out of print or your library just may not have them.  Request them on interlibrary loan.  It is always interesting to see where they come from.  Your child and you can then locate that city on a map!  It is amazingly true:  every moment can be a learning moment!!)

Rabbits & Raindrops   by Jim Arnosky
Move Over, Rover  by Karen Beaumont
Home for a Bunny   by Margaret Wise Brown
Planting a Rainbow  by Lois Ehlert
Play with Me  by Marie Hall Ets
Hurray for Spring!  by Patricia Hubbell
One Monday  by Amy Huntington
Hamilton Duck's Springtime Story  by Arthur Getz
The Carrot Seed  by Ruth Krauss
Who Took the Farmer's Hat?  by Joan L. Nodset
My Spring Robin   by Anne Rockwell
The Itsy Bitsy Spider  by Iza Trapani

Gather books about spring from your library and around your house.  Read at least one book at the beginning of the day so everyone knows about what spring brings.

Be sure to spend a lot of time outside.  That is certainly one thing spring is all about!  When you come inside, tell each other stories about what you saw and heard and smelled and felt of spring.   If you collected some interesting leaves and seeds and stones and twigs,  make an exhibit on the table to make dinner even better!

I hope one day you have a good rain that leaves lots of inviting puddles.  Take a walk in the rain with or without an umbrella if it is warm enough.  Go puddle marching and jumping and stomping! When you come in and dry off, try learning these poems and action rhymes.  And keep on marching and jumping and stomping all around the house.
                                                       It's Muddy Outside
(I made up a simple tune for these words,  and you can, too.  Or just recite with lots of rhythm.  This quickly becomes a tongue-twister.  Ask everyone to think of more words to use.  Remember to march and stomp and jump!  And be just as playful and silly as a good puddle stomp makes you feel!!)
                                       It's muddy outside, it's muddy outside,
                                       it's muddy, muddy, muddy, muddy, muddy!
                                       All night long it rained and rained,
                                       it's muddy, muddy, muddy, muddy, muddy!

                                       It's puddly outside, it's puddly outside,
                                       it's puddly, puddly, puddly, puddly, puddly! 
                                       All day long it rained and rained,
                                       it's puddly, puddly, puddly, puddly, puddly!!

Now use goopy and soupy.  Then try splishy and splashy.  How about squishy and squooshy.
There is always mooshy and pooshy.  Or soggy and boggy.  Make up your own words have a good time!
                                                                                Jane Willis Johnston  Copyright 2008

Spring brings to mind partnering with nature as you plant flower and vegetable gardens.  Here are a couple of ACTION RHYMES to use with Ruth Krauss' The Carrot Seed.

For Spring Is Here, read the poem several times, clapping out the rhythm as you go.  Make sure everyone knows what "sow some seeds" means.  Talk about what actions the words suggest and make up your own series of movements.  Be sure to face each other or do your movements in front of a mirror together.  Put it altogether and HAVE FUN!!
                                                         Spring Is Here

                                                        The grass is green,
                                                        the sky is blue.
                                                        Spring is here
                                                        for me and you.  

                                                        We'll plow the garden,
                                                        pull up weeds,
                                                        mark out rows
                                                        and sow some seeds.

                                                        We'll dig a hole
                                                        and plant a tree.
                                                        Spring is here
                                                        for you and me!  

                                                                                  Jane Willis Johnston  Copyright 1999       

For Here Is a Carrot Seed, pinch your fingers together on one hand as if holding a tiny seed, then reach down to the ground, dropping your voice to a low pitch.   For the cloud, hold your hands together high over your head, then let go and wiggle your fingers for raindrops, then shake two fists for thunder.  Say "thunder" very loudly.  Make an arch over your head for the sun.  For the carrot top, put your hands together down low, bring them up in prayer position as high as you can, opening your hands to make the carrot top.  Make your movements with lots of energy and say the words with lots of rhythm.             

                                                      Here Is a Carrot Seed

                                                       Here is a carrot seed
                                                       way down under.
                                                       Here is a cloud
                                                       filled with rain and thunder.
                                                       Here is the sun
                                                       shining warm over all.
                                                       And here is the carrot top
                                                        green and tall.     
                                                                               Jane Willis Johnston  Copyright 2002

For Rainstorm, find some big paper and markers and draw wind by making long marks across the paper.  Draw rain by making dots everywhere.  Draw a big sun or just color yellow all over everything.  Draw a rainbow across, letting everyone have a turn choosing a color.  Now you are ready for the words and then the movements.  Read the words two or three times.  Now you are ready:  stand up and swing your arms way to the left, way to the right and up high to show the wind.  Wave your arms back and forth above your head and wiggle your fingers for rain.  Hold your arms in a big arch over your head for the sun.  Now open the arch, reaching out with the full length of your arms to make the rainbow.  This is really great fun to do over and over again.


                                                  The wind, the wind, the wind blows high,
                                                   scattering rain across the sky.
                                                   The sun, the sun, the sun comes out,
                                                   spreading a rainbow all about!

                                                                                       Jane Willis Johnston  Copyright 2005

Before bedtime, ask everyone to remember something special about spring your day did bring.  If you collected things on a walk for a table exhibit, put those things in a basket.  Sit together and make up stories about your experiences.  Choose an item from the basket and use that to think of a story.  Talk about what you want or think the next spring day will bring!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Zoo Day Is a Great Day!

A Zoo Day Is a Great Day!

Spring is a good time for your children and you to go visit a zoo if you happen to have a zoo in your community.  But if you do not have a zoo available, or even if you do, you can always find one around your house and neighborhood!  Teachers and librarians can use these ideas in the classroom or library.   Let's start gathering a few things and see what sort of zoo you can discover!

(Look for these books at your library, requesting them through interlibrary loan services if necessary.  Add whatever other zoo or zoo-like books you have around the house.)

My Visit to the Zoo   by Aliki
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo   by Eric Carle
May I Bring a Friend?  by Beatrice Schenk deRegniers
If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo   by Mary Jean Hendrick
Down by the Station   by Will Hillenbrand
A Children's Zoo   by Tana Hoban
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?   by Bill Martin, Jr.
The Baby Beebee Bird   by Diane Redfield Massie, illustrated by Steven Kellogg
We're Going to the Zoo   by Tom Paxton
Goodnight, Gorilla   by Peggy Rathman

Start the day with a zoo book or two so that everybody knows what a zoo is all about!

Take a zoo book break anytime during the day when someone feels like a story.

Give everyone a chance to chose a book and sit in a difference place each time you read.

Create your own ZOO AROUND THE HOUSE. Find as many stuffed animals as you can and place each one somewhere special:  on a chair, under a chair, on a sofa, on a table or under a table, on the floor in a corner, on a pillow, behind a curtain, wherever you think that animal would like to live for the day.  Include your zoo animals in book breaks and activities.

Sharing ACTION RHYMES is a wonderful way to connect visually, aurally and physically.  They are a creative combination of building attention span and getting the wiggles out!  As I mentioned in the Have a Bear Day! post, even if a child doesn't do the actions at first, the brain's mirror cells are registering all movements and will be ready to make it all happen when the child is ready.

For the ZOO HAND JIVE, sit facing your child or stand before a mirror together.  Show your child how to keep a rhythm going by using your hands to SLAP SLAP on your knees and then CLAP CLAP in front of your body.  You and everyone in the room will keep up that action and rhythm throughout the following rhyme.  Be sure to read with lots of bounce in your voice.  Read fairly slowly so everyone can maintain the rhythm.  Repeat enough times so that you can work up to going faster.  It works best to do a SLAP SLAP, CLAP CLAP on each of the first four and last four lines.  On each of the longer middle lines, do SLAP SLAP, CLAP CLAP, SLAP SLAP, CLAP CLAP.

                                                                 ZOO HAND JIVE

                                                                   Zoo zoo zee boo,
                                                                Hippa potta mee goo,
                                                              Monka skunka tee noo ,
                                                               Kanga wanga coo moo!

                                                          I walked to the zoo at half-past one,
                                                          just to see a zebra sleeping in the sun.
                                                          I skipped to the zoo at half-past two,
                                                          just to see a baboon with a face so blue.
                                                          I danced to the zoo at half-past three,
                                                          just to see a tiger climbing up a tree.

                                                          I ran to the zoo at half-past four,
                                                          just to see a lion roar and roar.

                                                          I rode to the zoo at half-past five,
                                                          just to see a monkey do a wild hand jive!
                                                                     Zoo zoo zee boo,
                                                                  Hippa potta mee goo,
                                                               Monka skunka tee noo,
                                                                  Kanga wanga coo moo!!     

                                                                                               by Jane Willis Johnston
                                                                                               Copyright 2002

For TEN MONKEYS, make sure everyone is standing up and ready to be very active monkeys.
Hold your hands up next to your face, then bend your elbows and pull your hands down to your sides,  That is the movement to do each time you hear "monkey" or "monkeys" in the rhyme.  For "jump," jump as high as you can!  For "swing," hold your hands together and swing as far as you can to the left, right, left, right.  For "race up a tree," reach up,moving your arms and legs as if you are climbing.  For "wave," make the biggest wave you can with one arm.  For "laugh," point to yourself and laugh as loudly as you can!!

                                                                   TEN MONKEYS

                                                           One monkey, two monkeys,
                                                                three monkeys, four
                                                                jump right through
                                                                  the big zoo door.   

                                                           Five monkeys, six monkeys,
                                                                 seven monkeys, eight
                                                                    swing right on
                                                                     the big zoo gate.  

                                                            Nine monkeys, ten monkeys
                                                                       race up a tree,
                                                                       wave their tails
                                                                       and laugh at me!!

                                                                                              by Jane Willis Johnston
                                                                                              Copyright 2000

If you set up a ZOO AROUND THE HOUSE or room, go on a tour and talk about each animal you find.  If you have a globe or a world map, take that along and locate where in the world each animal lives in its natural habitat.  If you know what each animal eats, be the zookeeper and feed each animal lunch.

Let's call this zoo activity the  ZOO PARK SONG.  Start by holding hands in a circle and singing and moving to the song Ring Around the Rosy.   (If you don't know the tune, look it up on the internet.)  Gather up all of your animals and put them in the middle of the circle.  And be sure to "all fall down" in the silliest way you know how at the end of the song.  Now that you are sure everyone knows the song, sit down together and think of a story that might sound like this:

          Once upon a time there was a very silly zoo full of very silly animals who always watched carefully for a night when the moon was full.  Because whenever the moon was full, all the locks on the doors of all the cages at  Zoo Park Hill would fall open, and all the animals were free for one full night. 
          Well, sure enough, one night the lion looked up and said in his special lion voice:

                                                  "The stars are bright,
                                                    the night is still,
                                                    the moon is full
                                                    over Zoo Park Hill.

                                                   Animals, get ready
                                                    for the Zoo Park Song.
                                                    If you're feeling really silly,
                                                    you can sing along!"

         Soon the animals came singing, just as silly as can be, dancing in a silly circle all around the old oak tree.     Yes, they sang and  danced and they all fell down 'til the morning showed its sunny face and woke the silly town! 

        (This is the part of the story were you fit in.  Chose an animal and practice making your animal's sound.  When everyone is ready, form a circle and using only your animal sound, sing Ring Around the Rosy and be sure to fall down!! You could also chose one animal sound at a time and have everyone sing with that sound and then try another sound.  If you were a lion, you would sing like this:  Roar roar-roar roar roar roar.  Roar roar-roar roar roar roar. Roar-roar.  Roar-roar.  Roar ROAR ROAR ROAR!!   The important thing is to be really silly!!  Each time you sing again, make sure you repeat the lion's words.)

         And they say that is what happens every night there is a full moon over Zoo Park Hill. 


I hope you had a great ZOO DAY!