Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit
by Norman Bridwell (Scholastic Inc., 1993)
Clifford, the beloved giant red dog, loves his family. Emily Elizabeth is especially close to his heart. But what about Thanksgiving when Emily Elizabeth flies to visit her grandparents and Clifford cannot go? Imagine Clifford in a plane!
Clifford embraces the season and fights the normal adventure of travel on the Thanksgiving weekend to visit his mother in the big city. Traffic jams, parades, football games, turkey dinner - all are a part of his Thanksgiving travel. But what is most important to Clifford?
Emily Elizabeth. And his family.
Yes, Clifford is a picture book character, and I hear has his own cartoon on television - though I have yet to see it. But Clifford knows what is valuable.
Let's concentrate on that this Thanksgiving. Family and friends.
Tell someone you love them.
Greet the neighbors.
Smile at people you see walking down the street and in the stores.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
A Turkey for Thanksgiving
By Eve Bunting (Scholastic Inc., 1991)
I love this picture book!
Mr. and Mrs. Moose are hosting friends for Thanksgiving Dinner. Mrs. Moose has always wanted a real, live turkey for dinner. Aided by his friends, Mr. Moose heads off to hunt for the real, live turkey that lives near the river.
Of course, he is successful. Mr. Moose herds Turkey home for dinner. And then what the reader understands to be true changes dramatically.
With adorable illustrations (Diane de Groat) and clever word plays, Eve Bunting delivers a holiday classic. My kinder students were able to understand the play on words that make up this story. They delighted in hearing about the Moose family Thanksgiving in A Turkey for Thanksgiving.
I'm sure you will enjoy it as well.
Celebrate like Mr. and Mrs. Moose
Decorate your table. Look through the book for ideas. Make and display one or more of the following:
~ make paper tube pilgrims with markers, glue, and construction paper
~ make a stand-up turkey (tape to a wooden block to make it stand)
~ display nuts, corn, and fall nature items arranged on a wooden tray
~ hang dried flowers, grasses, acorns, and pinecones around the room
~ paint wooden candle holders with fall colors; add candles (Adults only should light candles.)
~ help arrange chairs for table seating
~ make name cards with cardstock and skinny markers
Decorate and enjoy a festive Thanksgiving, just like Mr. and Mrs. Moose.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Thanksgiving is For Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
(Scholastic Inc., 2000)
Thanksgiving is for giving thanks! This book perfectly gives examples that young children can identify with and understand. I am all for books that help preschoolers and young readers learn about some of the things we do as adults and families.
Like Thanksgiving. Why do we have Thanksgiving? Why should we be thankful? What is thankful?
I totally agree with the need for preschoolers to begin on that lifelong journey of getting outside of themselves and thinking about other people. The idea of saying Thank you! is an excellent skill and I believe, a necessary component of good manners.
We enjoy reading Thanksgiving is For Giving Thanks and talking about things for which we are thankful. It's the right time of the year for giving thanks.
(Though, like Christmas, we should act like it is Thanksgiving all the year round.)
Thanks, Margaret Sutherland, for this simple, delightful book.
Being Thankful Thanksgiving Activity
How about a countdown to Thanksgiving activity? Let's stretch out the thinking-about-being-thankful fun.
1. Check the calendar to see how many days there are in November until Thanksgiving Day. Or you could just use the total number of days in November - 30.
2. Make a construction or scrapping paper chain with your chosen number of links, one per day.
3. Attach the chain to a turkey picture or family photo or something that is important to your family. Set an empty glass jar beside the chain and picture.
4. Each day, tear off one chain link. Ask your child to share one thing for which he or she is thankful. Print what is said on the link. You can let each child list something and add them all to the same link. Put the link in the glass jar.
5. Continue through your number of chain links, taking time to be thankful each day. At the end of the days, look at the filled jar. Discuss all of the things for which you and your family are thankful.
6. Pray and give thanks for all good things.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.
~ Psalm 92:1
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Thanksgiving Day by Anne Rockwell (Scholastic Inc., 1999)
Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
Thanksgiving may be one of my most favorite holidays. The season has usually changed to winter, though winter does not officially start until December. We sometimes have snow. The food is delicious and abundant. We have friends and family visiting with us. We get to decorate for Christmas right after dinner. And watch our first Christmas DVD of the year.
And there are so many good, fun books about Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Day is an adorable story about a classroom of children retelling the story of Thanksgiving - by putting on a play for family and friends. I love how the children act out the different parts for the drama. Thanksgiving Day is an easy to share recount of Thanksgiving, perfect for younger listeners and readers. Details, but not too many details.
Want to know what first captured my attention to this book?
The cover! I love it.
Here are a few Thanksgiving activities I like to do with my students (or my grands). Happy Thanksgiving!
~ Make a turkey. Let your child paint a paper plate brown. While it dries, trace big feather shapes on patterned scrapbook paper. Help your child cut them out. Trace basic shapes for the head and neck, eyes, beak, wattle, and feet on colored scrap paper. Help glue the feathers and body parts to the paper plate. Sometimes I have had to use a stapler to make them not fall off in transit. Hang your turkey where everyone can enjoy it.
~ Use thankful feathers to voice thankful thoughts. Let your child decorate a paper lunch sack. Fill it with several feathers. Take turns pulling out a feather and telling about one thing for which you are thankful. Give hints (grandma, your home, the garden, the car, snow, and so on) and expect some silly answers. But if your child says he/she is thankful for something very interesting, he/she probably really means it and gets great joy from that interesting thing. Pray and say thank you to God for all He has done and given.
~ Act like a turkey. Wear brown or gray clothes. Gather up all of your scarves - winter and dressy. Stick them in your child's collar and pretend they are feathers. Put on a long tube sock and make a beak with your hands. Walk around (with your child, of course) squawking like a turkey. Make your hand do the talking and wiggle your bottom and head to make the feathers dance. Be silly! It's Thanksgiving, after all!
The turkey is a funny bird.
His head goes wobble, wobble.
All he says is just one word -
Gobble, gobble, gobble.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf
by Lois Ehlert (Scholastic Inc., 1991)
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf is one of my all-time favorite seasonal books to read to and with children.
Why? The number one reason is the totally engaging illustrations. A combination of photography, still life, paper cut-outs, painting, and I don't know what else creates a captivating collage that tells the story.
What story? Ehlert masterfully tells the story of a sugar maple tree (hence the maple leaves on the front cover). This maple tree comes from a seed tossed by the winds in the woods.
Who tells the story? The narrator, a young child, loves her tree. (Or his tree - gender neutral.) She wants to tell the reader all about her tree.
What about science? The sugar maple life cycle is a part of the story. The other part of the story is how the tree arrives in the yard of the little girl. Helpful hints on planting live trees and ideas for documenting facts about live trees are included as a part of the story.
What else? Not only is the life cycle of a tree covered, but Ehlert shares the story of how a tree in the woods is processed, purchased, and transplanted to a yard.
Every time I read this book, I want a sugar maple tree. Each fall, I walk my neighborhood, enjoying the colorful leaves and helicopter seeds. Every spring I wonder how I can make a soon-to-be-giant sugar maple tree fit into my tiny yard.
I make due with reading Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf. And I walk the neighborhood.
Three favorite leaf activities (For the kids. Of course.):
1. Sugar maple leaf art. Cut large maple leaves from white construction paper. Working on a washable surface, pour small amounts of light corn syrup on a leaf shape. Help drop a few drops of red and yellow food coloring on the syrup. Using fingers, spread and mix the syrup and food coloring until the leaf is covered. Let dry. You will have shiny colorful fall leaves.
P.S. Aprons and wet washcloths are helpful for this tasty activity.
2. Real leaf decorations. Go on a leaf walk. Gather beautiful specimens of brightly colored leaves. Take home. Layer between newspaper. Stack heavy books on top. Let dry until completely dry. Check every few days or so. Pull out the leaves. Decorate the house, table tops, windows, and everywhere else you want to display fall beauty.
3. Make a leaf mountain. Rake your own or the neighbor's leaves. Make a leaf mountain. Jump into it. Have a leaf battle. Hide each other. Burrow beneath the leaves. Rake into a pile and repeat.
Tip: I have been known to approach neighbors who have plenty of leaves and ask if I can take some of their leaves. They are delighted to share.