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Thursday, October 27, 2011


October is a month of spiders at Literacy Launchpad. I've been doing my best to freak the kids out (in a preschooler-friendly, G-rated way) with these creepy crawlers. My favorite is my friend Harry that I bring along each week. He's a furry little fake spider, with a long tube attached to him, with a bulb at the end that you use to pump air through the tube that makes him jump and wiggle. I try to wear something that allows me to wind the tube through my sleeve and really freak them out when I make him move. But the first week in October I had on short sleeves and I still startled quite a few of my students. Then those very same students were startled the following week when Harry came back, even though they knew how he worked at that point. I love preschoolers! One little boy said, "It's a necklace! It's a necklace. It's a necklace... Right?" Hee.

We read The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Roly Poly Spider to start off October. The Itsy Bitsy Spider lends itself well to some predicting practice. The kids like to see if they can guess what's going to send the spider flying. And The Roly Poly Spider is all kinds of fun, because it's kind of gross. So we have all kinds of fun ewwwing and ickking at each page turn. The kids all pointed out that this spider was "not a good friend." Indeed! Smart kids!

We reviewed and practiced the sequence of The Itsy Bitsy Spider with a fun activity in which we sent plastic spiders down a piece of a real water spout. This also helps connect this story to real life and make the story concept more concrete for the kids. Most of them ended up saying, "Oh! I have a water spout on my house too!" And then they could actually see just how a big gush of water might wash a spider out of a water spout.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Michael Finnegan

I'm still playing catch-up with keeping you all posted on what we've been up to in class.

At the end of September we wrapped up our Names unit with a book based on one of the most fun, rhyming, names, songs - There Once Was A Man Named Michael Finnegan. There are certain books that are just more fun to read aloud, and this is one of them. I kind of sang the song as I read the text. The kids stayed riveted the entire time. I love those kinds of lessons.

We made Michael Finnegan puppets out of paper plates, complete with whiskers that grow out and in again! So. Much. Fun. We sang the song lots of times as we played with our puppets. What wonderful rhyming practice!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Library Bags

Last month I bought some inexpensive canvas bags from Walmart, along with some puffy paints, and let my kids decorate their own library bags. The idea was to get them a little more excited about choosing their own books at the library since they would have their own personalized bag for carrying them.

It's been working great with my three year old. I bring his bag along on our weekly trips to story time, and he proudly throws it over his shoulder as he browses the book shelves during our visit. He has become more discerning in choosing his books lately. He used to just choose any old book off the shelf. Now he'll carefully examine each cover (the wrong way to judge a book, I know. Hee), and often put the book back on the shelf. Sometimes I'll pull a book off the shelf to suggest to him, but my selections have been getting shot down a lot lately. (In addition to my preschoolers book selections, I usually choose a stack of picture books on my own, that he doesn't get any say in.) Today he chose several books, but was particularly proud of a tiger story that he picked.

My older son has yet to make his bag. He was busy doing something else when we were painting and hasn't taken the time to sit down and paint his yet. My daughter has painted her bag, but has yet to use it. I'm still trying to figure out a good routine for bringing my older two to the library. It's tough to make it work with their school schedule, and the various other activities during the week. And it's even harder to force myself to do it, when it's like pulling teeth to get them to go. My preschooler that I've had since birth loves going to the library though. Tough!

I would love to hear how you work in library visits during the week with your school aged kiddos. Do tell!