Children line up at a designated starting line. At the word "waddle" they bend over, grab their ankles and begin waddling toward the finish point. The child first to finish, without letting go of his or her ankles, WINS. Asking children to quack while waddling is ducky too.
Flying Paper Duck Craft
Materials: A paper plate, glue, stapler, pencil, yellow and orange construction paper, yellow paint, black marker, string, and a hole punch.
Method: Trace the child's hand on yellow paper and cut it out. Fold a paper plate in half and paint it yellow. After it dries, staple the hand shape onto the left side of the plate to become the tail feathers. Cut out a 3" circle from the yellow paper for the duck head and cut an oval from the orange paper for the duck's bill. Make a tab on the end of the bill by folding in half and glue it to the end of the circle. Draw eyes with the marker or glue on "googly" eyes. Punch a hole in the top of the plate, thread string through it and hang up to fly.
Fun Fingerplays - All the Little Ducklings
All the little duckings line up in a row.
(Stand up in a line.)
Quack, quack, quack away they go.
(Clap 3 times and then walk in place.)
They follow their mother waddling to and fro.
(Put hands behind like a tail then waddle.)
Quack, quack, quack, and away they go.
(Clap 3 times then waddle away.)
Miss Pennypack's Funnies
Question: What happens when ducks fly upside down?
Answer: They quack up!
Question: What does a duck say when he buys something?
Answer: "Please put it on my bill!"
Question: How do you get down from an elephant?
Answer: You don't. You get down from a duck!
Listen to Feathered Friends in the audio player, below.Play Audio:
Did you know that when you are involved in music, more parts of your brain are being activated than with almost anything else?
There is so much research out now describing the many ways music can help children learn! Studies have shown that using music to teach content can actually increase test scores. Learning to read is enhanced through music because music is motivating and engaging.
Below is a brief description of how songs can help within the five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension:
For example, take a look at my lyrics for Bumpbibble Bump. As you can see, this song builds phonological awareness of the /b/ sound, and its association with the letter "B." Children love to use hand motions with songs, further increasing their interest, involvement and comprehension.
Listen to Bumpbibble Bump in the audio player, below
Did you know that there are 34 million people of Irish ancestry in the US? That's almost 9 times more than the population of Ireland (3.9 million). It's no wonder that St. Patrick's Day is such a widely celebrated holiday in the US! The St Pat's Day Parade in the New York City is the largest in the world, with 150,000 marchers and 2 million spectators.
Here are some great ways to celebrate this holiday in the classroom, incorporating Social Studies, art, reading and writing:
Listen to Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day in the audio player, below.Play Audio:
From Months of Music by Karen Rupprecht and Pam Minor
Red Light, Green Light
Racing Car Craft
Materials: A cardboard box, 4 paper plates, black and colored paints, paint brushes, white and pale blue construction paper, scissors, and glue.
Method: Paint the box a color of your choice and let it dry. Paint the four plates black and let them dry. Cut out two headlights from white paper and glue to the front end of the car. Cut one windshield and two windows out of pale blue paper. Glue the windshield onto the front of the box above the headlights, and stick each window onto each side of the box toward the front. Ask the child to pick a number and paint that on the sides of the car. Gentlemen (and ladies) start your engines!
Fun Fingerplays - The Airplane
The airplane has great big wings, it's propeller spins around.
(arms outstretched - one arm circles around)
The plane goes up, the plane goes down.
(lift arms)(lower arms)
The plane flies high all over the town.
(arms outstretched and turn body around)
Pigella's Racing Car Snacktivity
An adult mixes the cream cheese with a few drops of red food coloring until smooth. The child then spreads the cream cheese onto the graham cracker and places two pretzels at the bottom for wheels. Choose a number and outline it on the cracker with the raisins. Please don't race when you eat this car!
Miss Pennypack's Pointers
Riding in a plane, train, or car is a treat but...
The healthy way to go is to use your feet.
Walking here and there is great exercise,
It builds strong muscles in legs and thighs.
You can walk fast or be very slow...
Just keep on walking and go...go...go.
I am always looking for ways to incorporate instruments into my lessons with young children. Instruments make a fun addition to any song or activity, and they can also serve as effective aids in teaching a particular skill or concept.
Take shakers, for instance. I use bright, multi-colored egg shakers and chiquitas (egg shakers with handles) on a regular basis for several reasons:
a) they fit right into my students' little hands
b) virtually no skill is required (Shakers sound good no matter what!)
c) they can be worked seamlessly into many goal-based activities.
In fact, I've written several songs based on the use of shakers. While some are just for fun, others have a specific objective in mind. Shakers, Up High! is an example of the latter; this song combines shaker playing, color identification, taking turns, and following directions. Sounds complicated, right? Well actually, it couldn't be any simpler.
Everyone gets a shaker, which could be one of five colors (or more/less, depending on the shakers you have on hand). The students play their shakers throughout the song, holding it high in the air when his or her color is called. Listening is key to this activity!
For students who are just beginning to learn colors, it is helpful to include a visual (either a card displaying each color or an actual shaker) when naming the different colors in the song. I always change up the order in which I name them, just to keep everyone on their toes.
Dr. Suess' imagination and his whimsical rhyming stories have become a staple of childhood for millions of people. His books bridge gaps between generations, allowing parents to share their favorite characters with their children. The 250 words that comprise the Cat in the Hat were a major breakthrough to help fight illiteracy in schools. Beginning reader books were no longer uninteresting as that trouble making, hat sporting, friendly feline lead the way into Dr. Suess' world.
With over 40 books published throughout his career, Suess, touched on various political views incorporating them into his stories. Environmental concern is apparent in The Lorax, while anti-consumerism is touched on in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and The Sneetches preaches equality. Dr. Suess managed to keep the books light-hearted and interesting for young readers, yet make them deeper than the typical Dick and Jane books of the time.
So raise your glass to honor the day
the Cat in the Hat had asked to play.
On the second of March, it's Suess' birthday!
Read your favorite Suess books
in your comfy book nook
and remember the one that made reading fun.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss
(Sing to the Tune of If You're Happy and You Know It)
There’s a wocket in your pocket, Dr. Suess
There are red and blue fish, green fish in there, too
There’s the Cat in the Hat with Horton and the Whos,
Singing Happy, Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!
Oh no, Thing One and Thing Two are on the loose
There’s a fox that’s wearing socks but has no shoes
There’s the Lorax and the Sneetches standing with Bartholomew
Singing Happy, Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!
There goes Thidwick, he’s the Big-Hearted Moose
And the boy who ran the zoo, he’s Gerald McGrew
There’s the Grinch and Cindy Lou on their way to Solla Sollew
Singing Happy, Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!
How sad it is to me when I am speaking at a kindergarten conference and teachers tell me they “Don’t have time” for fingerplays anymore! What? I understand the pressures of the trickle down curriculum, but honestly, fingerplays are an important connection to all the cognitive areas.
The use of fingerplays (child controls puppets) develops:
1. motor control;
3. a strong foundation for building math skills
(in fingerplays with numbers and counting)
4. self-control; and
5. control of fine motor finger skills for writing
Fingerplays also meet the directive of child-directed activity. Once you introduce a song, you leave the props for the children to then make it their own.
Here’s a suggestion for the upcoming holiday this week:
Written by Maryann “Mar.” Harman
Listen to a clip from "Five Valentines" in the audio player, below.Play Audio:
Black History Month offers teachers a wonderful opportunity to teach students about some of the great heroes in American history who are sometimes overlooked. Teaching about history through music is an exciting and effective way to engage students.
Two of a Kind has recorded a number of songs about African American heroes including
These songs give some facts about individuals who made a difference in the history of the United States. It can be valuable to pair these songs with a research activity, such as making a poster about an individual person. A wonderful book by Faith Ringgold called Dinner at Aunt Connie’s House will introduce students to a whole host of people about whom they may never have heard.
In addition to songs about specific African Americans, it’s also important to talk about why we have Black History Month and why it is important to learn about the contributions of African Americans. Learning songs from the time of slavery, such as Follow the Drinking Gourd and Oh Mary Don’t You Weep will help put some of the history into context.
Two of a Kind has also recorded songs about confronting racism, celebrating diversity and human rights for all. These songs include
These are just a few of the many resources available to help celebrate Black History Month with your students.
Written by Jenny Heitler-Klevans. Two of a Kind
Despite the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, it can often feel like the longest. Winter is in full force, which means inclement weather, often keeping our students inside. Long days spent entirely in the classroom can result in a bit of cabin fever for both students and teachers, and this is when the countdown to spring usually begins!
But since there are still several more weeks of winter (according to the groundhog), here are a few fun facts for February to share with your students:
Luckily, there are several special distinctions and holidays that give us reason to celebrate during this month. Black History Month, Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, Holidays and Presidents' Day all occur during the month of February, all of which provide wonderful opportunities for learning through song and fun activities.