I must admit that I really enjoy the spring and Easter themed projects, and I have been looking forward to blogging about them for a while! I guess I should have allowed more time, because it seems that Easter has hopped up on me a bit sooner than I thought! I would have liked to have given you some of these ideas further in advance of Easter than I am doing now. On the other hand, if I do them any earlier with my own class, then it turns out to be a bit awkward on the timing. So I guess we will have to just live with the situation as it is. I hope that you enjoy these fun ideas as much as we did!
1. Bunny Book and Bunny Guided Drawing
Definitely, the best thing that we did all week was make a Bunny Book! My students loved this so much that they simply couldn’t wait to read their books to me and to take them home and read them to their parents! I came up with the idea for this activity when by posting a question about bookmaking on my HeidiSongs Facebook page. I asked people to tell me what their favorite book making activity was, since my class was really enjoying making books this year. I got lots of great ideas, and one idea included making a book out of envelopes. I think that this is usually done by stapling envelopes together and letting the children put props inside them to help tell their stories. Another idea was to make a “Lost and Found” book. For example, the children write, “I lost my _____. I found it on my _____,” etc. As I turned these ideas over in my head, an idea for combining the two types of books popped up as I was falling asleep, so I jumped up and wrote it down!
The next day, I tried to make a sample of my idea and get it ready for the kids to try. I decided to make a Bunny Book with an envelope stapled on as the last page. The text went something like this: “There was a little bunny. He hid some eggs. I found one in my shoe. I found one under my shirt. I found one in my pocket. And the rest are in here!” My idea was that the kids would make a bunch of paper Easter eggs, and then hide one in a pocket, a shoe, and under a shirt, and then leave the rest in the envelope. Then, when the children would read the story, they would be able to pull each egg out of its hiding place as they read each page. The kids LOVED the concept, and were super excited to make their own books! I demonstrated how to write such a story a couple of times, and then how to read it, and then told them that they would be able to take the books home and surprise their parents when they read the book and pulled the secret Easter eggs out of their hiding places!
To help prepare them, I taught them the “Saw” and the “Under” song from Sing and Spell Five so that they could more easily write sentences like, “I saw an egg under my shoe.” I also taught them the “Little” song and the “Down” from Sing and Spell Vol. 2, so that they could use those words if needed as well. We also learned to draw some bunnies in various positions through guided drawing, and I am including the directions for this as a free download for you this week. I hope you enjoy it! Empowering the children to draw pictures to go with their stories seems to make such a difference to my students, and they just LOVE the drawing lessons!
We worked on the booklets in small groups for two days. Lots of children had no trouble at all, but some had a hard time catching on to what I wanted them to do. They were forgetting to include something about eggs being hidden by a bunny and then found. Basically, they just wanted to decorate the paper eggs, but I wouldn’t give them ANY until they finished the entire book! I kept reminding them that if they didn’t include the part about hiding and finding the eggs, then there would be no reason to “surprise” their parents by pulling the eggs out their pockets, etc. This finally started to sink in on day two, when a few of the struggling writers began to change some of their stories around to include this.
Honestly, I was afraid that they would all only write the same exact story that I had written, but that was NOT the case at all! I got a whole variety of stories, with eggs hidden all over the place! One little boy had his paper eggs hidden down in his pants and lost track of them. I had to struggle to contain my giggles as he searched and searched, and then finally found the last egg stuck down in his underwear! And the children were incredibly excited to read the books to me and to each other. I’m so glad that I did it! I will be posting a video or two of my students reading some of their books on my Facebook page soon. Check it out!
2. Bunny Bag and a Bunny Hat
Each year, my class makes a Bunny Bag and a Bunny Hat, and we have a Bunny Bag Hunt while wearing our Bunny Hats. It’s not really an Easter Egg hunt, because they are really only hunting for their own Bunny Bags that they made, and the bags are pre-stuffed with goodies that the parents in my class donate. I like doing this more than having an egg hunt because this way, everyone gets an equal number of eggs and goodies, no matter what. I don’t have to deal with any tears or unhappy children who are insisting that they didn’t get as much as the next person, and that things are not fair. Well, life is definitely NOT fair, but I don’t really want to be the one to deliver that message to them at the tender age of five! I would rather make sure that things are fair and leave it at that. In any case, I am giving you the patterns for the bag and the hat. Be careful with the hat pattern, though! It is larger than the pattern that would fit on the 8.5” x 11” paper. The bunny shape should fill up an entire half sheet of construction paper, so you will have to enlarge it to make it work. Just trace around the outside of the bunny shape to make the whole thing larger, and that should just about do it. Or, put it on a copy machine and enlarge it that way.
One thing that I do for them earlier in the week is give the children a chance to hunt in small groups for some plastic eggs that they do not get to keep. We just count them up and figure out who has the most and least, etc. Then those children hide those same plastic eggs for the kids in the NEXT group to come on out. They love this! We call it a “Cooperative Easter Egg Hunt.” It will be pretty sad if I don’t have enough volunteers on that day to pull it off. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
3. “Boing!” Game
This game is a fun “Bang” style game that plays a lot like the “Barnyard Bang” game and the “Jingle Bell Bang” game that I told you about last fall, but it has a spring theme. It is actually part of the Musical Math Resource CD, but is also sold as a download, so this one is not free. Sorry! It is part of the “Musical Math Songbook and Visual Aids Set download.” It focuses on counting skills, and especially works on getting the kids to count to 100. This is how it is played:
What Comes Next “Boing!” Game Directions
1. Practice telling what number comes next on a few of the cards by saying the numbers aloud in sequence, and then having a child tell what number should come next. Check a hundred’s chart with the children if necessary.
2. Shuffle the cards and choose a child to go first. On each child’s turn, place a card in front of him or her . If the child receives a number card, he must try to tell what number comes next. You will probably have to read the sequence of numbers aloud to the child, and then have him respond. If the child receives a “special” card, then he or she must do the following: Rabbit (Boing! card): The child hops up and down like a rabbit, says “Boing!,” and gets all of the cards at the table (except the dealer’s cards.)
Duck: The child gets up and quacks and waddles like a duck. Optional: Have him choose two friends to get up and follow him around like baby ducks following their parent.
Frog: The child gets up and hops all the way around the table like a frog.
Bee: The child buzzes like a bee and says, “Give me some honey!” The teacher must give him a small treat, like a piece of cereal. Optional: Give the child a extra card instead.
Bird: The child must fly around the table like a bird and choose a friend with whom to trade places. That child gets up and flies to the other child’s seat, both of them leaving their cards behind.
Basket: The child must say “Happy Spring!” or “Happy Easter!” etc., and give someone a card.
Puppy: The child must give someone in the room a hug (if they are comfortable with it.) Optional: Or, the child must whine like a dog, begging someone for a card.
Here’s a little video of my class playing the game. They LOVED it! It was a nice break from subtraction; I think that they needed it!
4. Easter Sight Word Surprise!
Last week was my spring break, and I PROMISED myself just one day to make something fun for my class. I really wanted to draw something like this, and I am really glad that I found the time to do it! I decided to make an Easter Sight Word Surprise to go along with the “series” of sight word water color resist projects I have been making. My kids love these things! In case you are just joining us and are not familiar, all you have to do is find a cheap brand of white crayon (such as Roseart) and write some sight words on the eggs at the top. (Make sure that you duplicate it on white paper, of course!) Then let the children water color it, and the secret sight word appears. After it dries, then just drill the class on the sight words by showing them the stack of papers. When I do this, I write four different sight words on the papers so that there will be a variety of words at the painting table rather than the same one everywhere. Then I have the adult helper there always ask the children lots of times to tell him or her what words they see the children working on at the table. It’s fun! And I am including it as a free download again for you this week. Probably, this summer we will pull all of the free downloads from this year’s blog off and make them downloads for sale on my website, so if you like what you see, you might want to try to find the time to download whatever you can now while the getting’s good!
I hope that you have a wonderful Easter, Passover, or holiday of choice for you and yours to celebrate. Be blessed!