Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner, is a wonderful tale about the adventures snowmen get themselves into when they come to life at night. It’s all in an attempt to explain why snowmen don’t always look the same the day after they’re built; a little hunched over, a bit more ragged. The illustrations are detailed and fantastic, and even contain some hidden pictures that kids love to find! The storyline is just as enjoyable with rhyming text that aids in building phonological awareness.
Percussion instruments are great for young children! Perhaps the human voice is the only instrument that comes so naturally! Try this activity for combining music and language activities together.
Begin by showing an assortment of percussion instruments. This could include drums, rhythm sticks, cowbell and mallet, wood blocks, anything that produces a sound when struck. Let the children know that first they will watch and listen, and then they will get a turn to play the instruments as well.
Build snowmen indoors, no matter the weather! Here’s what you need:
White paper plates
Photo courtesy of hworks.
The advent of writing is a momentous time in any child’s life. It is important to realize that the process preparing a child to write begins very early in life; long before she puts pencil to paper. I view the development of writing as having three major components: 1. Fine motor control, 2. Understanding that print carries meaning, and 3. An increased awareness of the alphabetic principle, leading to more conventional spelling.
Do you ever run into this problem? You have a child who has been slaving away on a block project and is devastated when it’s time to clean up? Here are a couple of ideas for handling that situation.
Take a picture, it’ll last longer. Keep a digital camera handy and snap a few shots. Tell Little Jimmy you will email the picture so that he can look at it on his computer at home, and show it to his parents. Kids quickly shift gears into photo-op mode, when they contemplate the idea of having a picture magically appear on their computer! Sending the pictures home also goes a long way in communicating with the parents about what their child has been doing at school. Add a note such as, “Jimmy was so proud of this structure, I just had to send a picture so he could tell you about it himself. He worked on it for 15 minutes and showed an eye for detail and symmetry.” When Jimmy gets to show off this picture at home, it reinforces the home-school connection, encourages use of language skills as he describes what he did, and it is a huge boost to his self-esteem.
Here’s a great fingerplay for a snowy day:
(Holding out five fingers.)
This fantastically fun read is by one of my favorite authors, Robert Munsch. He began as a storyteller who always knew how to get and keep a child’s attention, and was later convinced to put his stories into print. This silly tale follows a little boy through his mischief as he makes pretend cookies out of playdough and serves them to his unsuspecting family and friends. It’s sure to grab the interest young children as they join in the repetitive text and absorb the outrageous illustrations of the characters’ outlandish reactions to eating playdough.
Each time Christopher makes a new cookie, this book implements a fantastic use of onomatopoeia with a repetitive text that just begs for kids to join in. Here’s how I do it (words in italics from the text):
Photo provided by Bies
“A bandaid feel me better.” We relish the quirky sayings our children devise as they wade through the task of decoding the furtive rules we use as we communicate. Our children’s faulty contrivances are not only endearing, but give us some insight into their progress as they decipher our mysterious code.
The development of language and literacy skills are key to success not only academically, but in life. Brilliance of thought or tenderness of feelings can easily go unnoticed without the ability to properly and effectively communicate. In the words of psychologist Lev Vygotsky, “A word devoid of thought is a dead thing, and a thought unembodied in words remains a shadow.” Moreover, language serves as the channel for most learning, as it involves the ability to receive information whether it be instructional, social, or otherwise.