As I begin to organize my lesson plans for the start of kindergarten, of course I am making sure to include all CCSS based and district mandated instructional activities, however, there are some valuable themes I make it a point to fit in. One of them is “Exploring Feelings.” This is because throughout each day, the children experience many feelings, ranging from happiness to sadness. The purpose of the theme is to have children develop an understanding of feelings. Specifically they should learn that feelings are something we all share, and feelings are acceptable.
I like to use classic literature that lends itself to discussion and that can also be dramatized. I’ve always found that children not only enjoy the dramatization of a story but it also takes their knowledge to a higher level of understanding.
I’ve choosen very simple crafts and snacks to compliment each story. Ideally, this theme could be completed during a five day week- completing a story and activities each day. However, with the mandates we all have, and really, just the nature of the unpredictable days we have, do what you can, when you can!
By Judith Viorst
I remember this book from my own childhood, and kids today even have the pleasure of seeing it as a movie. Alexander went to bed with gum in his mouth, woke up with gum in his hair, and could tell from that point it wasn’t going to be a good day.
After reading, discussing, and dramatizing the book children can do a group shared or interactive rewrite of the book. Change everything bad to something good. Because Alex couldn’t get the sneakers he wanted it would be fun to have kids use https://www.allfreevectors.com for sneaker patterns and have them design their own.
For a special, yet healthy snack, cut an ice- cream cone shape out of a sandwich and top with bananas and strawberries. Super Easy and the kids will love it!
I love the book Corduroy by Don Freeman because it is so easy for young children to relate to. How many times are we shopping and have to put back something we want in order to make sure we have what we need ? Then, there is the overwhelming feeling of relief when Lisa goes back to the store and Corduroy is still there. This story is also great for the beginning of the year because the theme of friendship is explored when Corduroy tells Lisa he thinks what he ways wanted was a friend.
After reading, discussing and reenacting the story, thr children can discuss their own experiences in stores and even chart wants/needs on a graphic organizer.
The teddy bear paper plate project is great for children to practice fine motor skills and so be creative. They just tear construction paper into small pieces and glue.
I’ve been making teddy bear toast for my kids for years – either with honey or peanut butter as a spread. Super yummy!
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a beautiful story about a friendship between a boy and a tree. There are many opportunities to stop and discuss how the two main characters are feeling and why.
After reading and dramatizing the story it would be fun to graph their favorite color apple, make the torn paper apple craft, and make baked apples. The easiest way I have found is to cut the apples in half, place in cupcake pan, top with 1 caramel, and 1 dot of butter and bake for 15 minutes at 475 degrees. You could also place apples in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup of water.
I absolutely love Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus because so many of the children are nervous about writing their name and learning to read. This book helps the children to understand that these feelings are normal and that everyone will learn at their own special time.
A good extension of this story is practicing name writing with playdoh, pipe cleaners, or blocks.
I , obviously , love paper plate projects, and this is a really cute one that kids like making. You could also cut eyes out, add a large Popsicle stick and turn it into a mask.
The snack is so easy and adorable – substitute honey for peanut butter if allergies are an issue.
I don’t think I could start the year off without the book I Like Me by Nancy Carlson. It’s so wonderful to read to children and have them talk about what they like about themselves. It’s a great way to celebrate differences as well.
Of course, I have them make a paper plate image of themselves. They make a great bulletin board display, as well. You can even cut up different colored yarn for the kids to glue as hair.
You might want to ask families to provide different kinds of fruit and mini marshmallows to combine together to make ” Friendship Fruit Salad.” It’s really good with cinnamon sprinkled on top!
Hope you found this useful and maybe gained an idea or two to use when working with your young children!
Thanks SO much !!!!
See you soon…