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‘Alphabet Under Construction’ Unit of Study Highlights Book by Denise Fleming Airbrushing A ….. Buttoning B ….. Carving C …… In Alphabet Under Construction, Mouse finds 26 ways to add a construction ‘flavor’ to the letters of the alphabet. Children will have fun designing, creating and ‘constructing’ their own letters. The more children are exposed to letters and words, the more they see writing and reading as an important way to communicate. There are MANY books that use the alphabet to explore other topics or content areas. This is a great way to help preschoolers (and even school-agers) develop and expand their vocabulary. Loving letters and words can lead to a life-long love of reading and writing. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that can be planned using the letters of the alphabet. Through hands-on activities, children: • Create through illustrations a ‘word wall/pictionary’ of construction words • Use cardboard boxes to build, (and rebuild), a variety of structures • Demonstrate their agility and balance on ‘letter balance beams’ • Make yummy vegetable soup and fruit salad, (identifying vegetables and fruits based on letters of the alphabet) You will be amazed at how children start using more descriptive vocabulary when they talk about what they are doing. The more they learn, the more they want to share with you!‘Elmer’ (the Patchwork Elephant) Book by David McKee Playing with your best friend ….. Wearing the ‘cool’ shoes ….. Being on a team…… Fitting in and being part of a group is really important as we grow from children through adolescence. ‘Elmer (the Patchwork Elephant)’ just wants to be part of his group too. This story helps children understand that we are all unique and special, and this is wonderful! Children discover that we do not all have to be alike in order to be a group. And, that it is the talents and uniqueness each of us bring to the group that helps make the group strong. Seeing differences and similarities as strengths, children learn to value each and every member of the group. Elmer learns that his colorful appearance helps make him unique and special. Activities in this Unit help children: • See that their name can be unique by making a Name Card • Make ‘trumpeting’ sounds with their very own trunk trumpet • Learn about camouflage and how it can help us be more invisible David McKee has written many books with Elmer as the main character. We all can learn a lot through Elmer’s trials, tribulations, and escapades.‘Firefighter Frank’ Unit of Study Highlights Book by Monica Wellington Hat, coat and boots ….. Ladders and hoses ….. Lights and sirens …… These are all things that most of us can relate to the brave men and women who fight our fires. Firefighter Frank helps children to understand the work of a firefighter, AND the importance of good fire safety practices. Although October is generally thought of as ‘Fire Safety’ month, learning about fire safety and developing strategies to be safe is something that needs to be addressed all year long. Children are learning through everything they do and experience. Through hands-on activities, children: • Draw a picture of themselves as a firefighter • Create a fire truck from basic shapes • Develop large motor skills and coordination by climbing up and down steps, stairs, and ladders • Plan out a nutritious lunch The Fire Safety Unit of Study, available at http://earlylearningsuccess.net/product/fire-safety-unit-of-study/is a great companion Unit!‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ Unit Book by Crockett Johnson A cardboard box made into a spaceship….. Blankets tossed over a table that turned into a castle….. Making the most delicious cake out of mud …… Imaginary friends and pretend play made up much of our early years. Through this, we learned to be creative and problem solve – just as Harold does in the story ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’! Problem solving and creativity often go hand-in-hand. Usually, to solve a problem, higher level thinking, analysis, and innovation are needed which is part of the creative process. Every day, children are thinking about the things in their lives and what to do with them or how to use them. As children solve problems, they gain knowledge and self-confidence in their ability to succeed. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that can be developed based on this book. Through hands-on activities, children: • Increase their usable vocabulary (helps them get ready to read!) • Discover how to make the color purple • Strengthen finger muscles and fine motor coordination through a cutting activity. Harold has several other adventures too. Crockett Johnson wrote stories that children could easily relate to.$12.00‘I Like Me’ Unit Book by Nancy Carlson I am unique ….. I am special ….. I am different, but I am the same …… These are things that are true for each and every one of us. The understanding of ‘self’ is central to how everyone sees and interacts with their world. Educators and parents know that an infant’s first awareness is of themselves and their needs. As they become toddlers and preschoolers, they become more comfortable in expanding their explorations to what is in their world. Supporting young children in developing a positive self-concept and self-esteem will help children feel confident in their ability to explore and conquer everything in their world! Through hands-on activities, children: • Practice writing words to describe their abilities and likes • Use their visual discrepancy skills to match different wallpaper patterns • Create a chart to explore similarities and differences in their group • Make a ‘Me!’ paper bag puppet Using I Like Me by Nancy Carlson as the book for this Repetitive Reading Unit is a great way for children to see all of the wonderful things to celebrate about themselves.‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’ Book by Laura Joffe Numeroff Milk and cookies ….. Scissors and tape ….. Crayons and paper…… We all have memories of these items, which are critical parts of the book ‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’. The story line of this book is so typical of many of us – we do one thing and it triggers another activity or memory! (How many of you go to put laundry in and end up doing something entirely different when you get to the laundry room!) One key literacy skill that is developed through this book is the ability to remember and sequence the order of activities. This is an important school readiness task. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that can be developed based on this book. Through hands-on activities, children: • Participate in a reenactment of the story, based on the sequence of events • Practice counting skills with the ‘Cookie Count’ game • Experiment with different ways to paint, using different painting tools • Improve scissor skills when cutting grass ‘hair’ This book is the first in the ‘If You Give…’ series by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond. Children will delight in the antics of Mouse as things they might also do!‘Marshmallow Kisses’ Unit Book by Linda Crotta Brennan Picnics and lemonade ….. Blanket forts ….. Beach balls and sand castles …… ‘Marshmallow Kisses’ brings these great summer memories back to us! Infants, toddlers and preschool children are all developing memories of the events and activities they experience every day. This memory development helps in their cognitive growth and development. As children develop memories, they become more conscious of things around them, helping them to acquire knowledge of their world, and to become who they are. “When you put together all these different modes of remembering -- intellectual, practical, and autobiographical -- the awesome role that memory plays in our lives becomes apparent. We are who we are largely because of what we can remember.” http://www.parenting.com/article/developing-your-childs-memory Reading this book can help create and trigger memories, as do the activities included in the Unit. Through hands-on activities, children: • Create stories of their summer memories • Use common summer items to practice counting sets and complete easy numerical equations • Make Styrofoam prints of summer memories The early years in a child’s life are the perfect years for creating lasting memories!‘Olivia Forms A Band’ Unit Book by Ian Falconer Marching bands and parades ….. Picnic on a blanket under the stars ….. Fireworks on the 4th of July …… Summer memories usually include at least one of these happenings! Olivia wants to be sure that her memory of the 4th of July includes a marching band …. even if she is the one providing it!! Not only is this book about a common summer event many of us attend, it also shows how determination and problem solving can make things happen. Through this book, children can see how Olive solved her problem, hopefully encouraging them to find solutions to solve problems that they encounter. Music is a huge part of summer. There are a lot of fun learning activities that include music on all levels. Through hands-on activities, children: • Create their own ‘one-man’ band in a math game • Explore the different tones of ‘musical glasses’ • Move their bodies to music using scarves, ribbons and paper plate ‘skates’ Olivia is a well-loved children’s literary character. Children will delight in her ability to create her own ‘music’.‘Planting A Rainbow’ Unit Book by Lois Ehlert Sunny days in the garden ….. The sprinkler swishing to and fro ….. Amazement as the seeds turn into beautiful flowers …… The book Planting a Rainbow can evoke these memories of childhood gardening. Planting seeds and watching them grow into beautiful flowers or wonderful vegetables is a great way to expose children to the wonders of the environment. Once children have experienced the colors that can be found in the garden, they will be more aware of colors in every part of their world. Gardening is also great physical exercise, can be a tool to teach scientific observation and recording, and may instill in children the love of caring for our environment … all good things! There are so many great activities that can be based on gardening, and all the colors that surround us. Through hands-on activities, children: • Write their names (letters or other words) using seeds • Use rainbow ribbons in a Maypole dance • Squish-paint to make a crown of rainbow-colored flowers • Turn fruit into rainbow skewers, yum! Planting A Rainbow by Lois Ehlert may inspire young children to become ardent gardeners, a practice that can become a life-long interest.‘Sneezy the Snowman’ Unit of Study Highlights Book by Maureen Wright Rolling, rolling, rolling ….. Stacking huge snowballs ….. Adding nose, mouth, eyes and a hat …… Making a snowman is something many of us have done time and time again. In this story, Sneezy the Snowman is cold. In trying to warm up, he makes choices that are not in his best interest! Children will find the humor in this story as they realize that the choices made have a negative consequence. This is a good way to talk about choices with children. The story is also written with rhyming words which can help children develop listening and literacy skills. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that are inspired by this book. Through hands-on activities, children: • Develop visual discernment skills in playing snowman matching games • Use higher level thinking and problem-solving skills to describe why their snowman melted when creating their own melted snowman • Discover the ‘life cycle’ of a snowman, and snow or ice • Create a unique, one-of-a-kind snowman with a balloon, paint, and art scraps$12.00‘Stone Soup’ Unit of Study Highlights Book by Ann McGovern Peeling potatoes, slicing carrots ….. Setting the table ….. Washing dishes in a sudsy sink…… Most of us loved to help with kitchen tasks. The book Stone Soup lends itself to recreating these tasks for the children in care. Providing them opportunities to learn real-life, self-help skills such as cooking will help them develop independence. Children that are confident in taking care of themselves often are more open to caring for others. Sharing resources is one thing we can do to care for others. In this story, children see how everyone gets a lot from sharing just a little. Children that are ‘caring and sharing’ are developing important personal attitudes such as empathy which will help them become caring and contributing citizens in their communities. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that can be developed based on this book. Through hands-on activities, children: • Participate in a reenactment of the story, based on the sequence of events • Compare vegetables based on weight, size and color • Make beautiful designs using vegetables • Toss beanbag vegetables into a cardboard pot And of course, make soup!‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Unit of Study Highlights Book by Maurice Sendak Talking back or sassing ….. Consequences ….. Re-instated with the ones we love …… Most of us have experienced this sequence of events when we were children… misbehaving, having a consequence, and then back in the fold of our family’s love. Children will act out and push their boundaries … this is how they learn about their boundaries, and how to interact in an appropriate what with family members and out in society. There are consequences for all of our behaviors – some are positive consequences, and some are ‘learning experiences’. When positive behavior guidance strategies are used with love, children learn what appropriate expectations are. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that can be developed based on this book. Through hands-on activities, children: • Write a letter to a loved one • Create their own monster using a variety of art materials • Use ‘monster feet’ and their large muscles when following an obstacle course We all have a ‘wild thing’ inside of us…. we just need to know how to tame it!