Go Away, Big Green Monster! Monster Face Craft

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It’s October! Monsters, skeletons, and Jack-o-lanterns are the perfect spooky characters to help us learn “All About the Body”. This week we’ve been learning about the face- the features, where they are, and what they do.

The book Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly is the perfect book to bring together learning and Halloween fun. Each page of the book features a different part of I’ve monster’s face. After reading the book I had the boys identify each part of the face and glue it on the monster in the correct location (well in Patrick’s case not quite correct). The other great thing about the book is its broad appeal. Ages birth-5+ would enjoy and learn from “Go Away, Big Green Monster”.

I just cut out the pieces the night before. The “long blueish green nose” was just blue because come one-who has teal construction paper. You could cut the purple hair out squiggly looking, but I thought it’d be a good fine motor activity for Maxwell to squiggle his own.

This activity is great for teaching:
—Position words (the nose goes ABOVE the mouth BELOW the eyes etc)
—Facial Features (I had Patrick 20 months point to each part of his face)
—Fine motor skills (squeezing the glue and precisely placing the pieces)
—Literacy (the book is pretty simple but great)

This video on YouTube is a great extension song-the boys ask for “the monster song” all the time.
Video: Go Away,  Scary Monster! Go Away!

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Morning 8: Making the Most of Nursery Rhymes

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We all know about cows jumping over the moon and mice running up clocks, but let’s take a second to think a little more about all of the things we can do with the ubiquitous nursery rhyme.

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This may seem like a very simple activity, but if used to it’s full advantage it can pack a real educational punch. Seriously, you can address more than a dozen learning objectives (if anyone is interested, I’d be happy to list them, but otherwise, I’ll spare you.)

Getting the most out of nursery rhymes:
One of our morning routine staples is our weekly nursery rhyme.
-Each week I write a new nursery rhyme on our school board. We use dry erase because it’s easy to change, buto you could use anything as long as it’s big enough for you little one to easily see and circle specific words/letters.

-Maxwell uses pointer to touch each word as we read. Knowing to read top to bottom and left to right is called directionality of print in case you’re ever interested in reading through state prek standards 😉

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-Then we act out any portion of the rhyme that can be acted out (not always possible, but be creative). This is a great way to engage younger siblings Examples: jumping over a pretend candle stick for Jack Be Nimble Jack Be Quick, Having a mouse cutout run up and down a clock  for Hickory-Dickory-Dock

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-Identify, circle, and/or count various sentence components throughout the rhyme: focus letter, words, spaces, numbers, color words, punctuation, and anything else that makes sense.

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-Draw pictures and do crafts related to rhyme
-Have child “read” the rhyme to other family members
-Keep the same rhyme all week (or longer), but change it in small ways to encourage observation skills and to focus on more skills. Example: this week we’ll be doing “Brown bear, Brown Bear” and I’ll change the colors and commands. Last week we did “Jack Be Nimble” and I changed the position word-jumped under, beside, on.

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-When you erase the rhyme have your kiddo help by strategically erasing the sentence components you counted and circled earlier. This is a great no effort review activity.

Easily modified to reach wide range of abilities
-For more advanced/older kids have them add words, write in letters you’ve purposefully omitted, discuss which letters you have more/less of, and incorporate sight words.
-For younger kids focus on the musicality of the rhymes, the fun actions, and simple letter identification.
-If child struggles to indicate where you should start reading, draw a smiley face at the top left of the rhyme.

Choosing a nursery rhyme:

-Keep it short. We’re talking less than 30 seconds to read. I usually shoot for 2-6 lines and can increase as Maxwell gets older, but for the two to five year old range keep it simple
-You can do excerpts longer rhymes
-Think seasonal, thematic, and/or what’s going on with your family. If you’re going to the rodeo do Old Mcdonald. If it’s the holidays do a little of Frosty the Snowman (not traditionally a nursery rhyme, but hey, whatever works)
-Find rhymes that have actions or sounds built in.
-Use rhymes that can be easily changed. NON-Example: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star may be nice, but really there’s not much you can do with it. Example: Hey Diddle Diddle can be changed in a million ways by altering animals and actions

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