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Vol. IV             October/November 1999            Issue 2

Congratulations to Jackie Oliphant (NV/USA)! She was the winner of last month's contest!



Growing Flowers

We made personal flowers for our hallway. The stem was the height of the child. We used hand prints for leaves and each petal of the flower was the childs footprint. The children printed their names down the stem. They turned our quite well. At the end of the season the children could put see how much they grew.

Contributed by: cherry@cgocable.net

 Letter F Families

We discuss "families" during "F" week and read the book "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch. We invite the parents in for a reading of the book and the kids and parents do a writing page about what the kids "love". (The parents do the writing and the kids do the illustrations.) We then assemble this as a class book for our library. For example, each page says _____loves_______, as in Jordan loves Grandma.We also make cookies and share those with our parents. I expand on this by reading a Robert Munsch book each month and doing an monthly activity with his books.He is WONDERFUL! (Ed:You might want to read through it aloud more than once on your own if you are prone to tears.  The book can choke you up if you aren’t prepared for it.)

Contributed by: joliphan@nsn.k12.nv.us


Here is an idea that I use for a book of how things feel for the letter F. To introduce feeling I teach this poem.
I have ten fingers on each hand
10 toes upon my feet.
I have 2 eyes 2 ears 1 nose.
One mouth to gently speak.
My hands can clap
My feet can tap
My eyes can brightly shine
My ears can hear.
My nose can smell
My mouth can speak a rhyme.
Then we talk about our fingers and feeling. We play a pass the sock game and guess what is in the sock by feeling the outside and comparing it to the same objects on a tray.Then we make a book with objects in it and tell how they feel. I use four or five objects-like bark, sand paper, cotton, foil, fabric, food etc.

Contributed by: schreve1@si-net.com


Talk about what friendship is and what it means to be a friend. Then read and discuss the story "Berenstain Bears" and The Trouble with Friends (First Time Books) by Stan & Jan Berenstain. Synopsis:The new cub in the neighborhood, Lizzy Bruin, is the same age as Sister Bear--and she's also just as bossy. After a fight threatens their budding friendship, both cubs learn that you can't always have your own way if you want to have friends.

 Contributed by: wentz@ns.sympatico.ca


Introduce your students to the French language and culture. Teach them some elementary French vocabulary (Madame,Bonjour, Au Revoir, etc..), or to count to five in French.  Consider teaching them some French songs. Teach them "Au Claire De La Lune" or the French version of the "ABC Song" (tune of Twinkle, Twinkle). Finally, listen to some French musical recordings. Listen to the music of the classical composer Claude Debussy (Clair De Lune, Le Mer), or some of the French recordings of the international pop superstar Celine Dion (album Deux,1995).

contributed by: wentz@ns.sympatico.ca

French Toast

Have the children make french toast. Have them help make the batter, counting measurements. Have different toppings available (my favorite is applesauce). Graph the topping choices in the class. Finish by reading French Toast and Dutch Chocolate by Karen O'Connor

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net

"Five Green and Speckled Frogs"

Teach the children the song "Five Green and Speckled Frogs". It is on one of Raffi's tapes among other places. Have them hop around like frogs afterward.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net



Teach your students a new gross motor activity... teach them to gallop. Have the students travel in this sideways manner as horses do.

Contributed by : CWP


Discuss flower gardens and vegetable gardens. List things that are in each. Read Growing Vegetable Soup and Planting a Rainbow. Both of these are written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Afterwards let the children choose to plant a flower seed or a vegetable seed in a small container. Did more children choose flowers or vegetables?

Contributed by: CWP


Read Goggles by Ezra Jack Keats. Create goggles or glasses with six pack rings (cut into segments of two each) and pipe cleaners.

Contributed by: CWP


Play this game of secrets during circle time. Whisper a secret phrase into the first child's ear and allow him/her to whisper it to the next person and so on around the circle. When the "secret" returns to you will it be the same or different?

Contributed by: CWP

Graham crackers

Allow the children to prepare their own snack.Supply graham crackers and plastic knives. Ask parents to send peanut butter, cream cheese, mini marshmallows, sunflower seeds, etc. The children may create a yummy and nutritious snack during centers.

 Contributed by: CWP


Since it is fall, gourds should be very easy to get. You can show children different kinds of gourds and different things made from them, such as bowls, rattles, spoons or ladles. You can have them make mock gourd bowls using paper mache and a balloon as the mold. Have them blow up a balloon, and shape the paper mache around it. After its dry, you can pop the balloon, then paint. You can do this activity with the book The Drinking Gourd.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net



Make burgers that are sweet to eat! You will need:
2 vanilla wafers (bun), 1 chocolate covered wafer cookie (meat), red icing (ketchup), yellow icing (mustard), green tinted flake coconut (lettuce). To assemble: Place one vanilla wafer on the work surface (flat side up) and spread with yellow icing. Top that with the chocolate wafer cookie. Top with red frosting and green coconut flakes.Top with the remaining vanilla wafer. Yummy!

Contributed by: CWP


Play this "all but forgotten" game. All you need is chalk and a sidewalk!

 Contributed by: CWP

Heart Collage

Provide heart cutouts in a variety of sizes and colors for the children. This can include hearts made from construction paper, stickers and heart shaped confetti. Allow children to glue their hearts as they wish to make a lovely collage.

Contributed by: JAliski@aol.com


Talk to the children about homes.  What do they live in, a house or an apartment?  What kinds of homes do animals live in?  What makes a home?  Show children a variety of different house types and see if they can build one.  Materials could be anything from playdoh, sugarcubes, blocks, even sticks and palms.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net

Healthy manners

Do this activity to show the spread of germs. Give each child a piece of candy (hard candy that comes in multi colors are the best).  Pick one color to be the "germ", so that they're are only maybe a 10% mix (example in a class of 20, there would only be 2 "germs"). Don't tell the children what you are doing.  Tell the children to switch, picking things like anyone who touched the door when they came in switch, or anyone who borrowed a pencil.  After 3 rotations, ask everyone who had touched the "germ" candy to come up to the front. It shows the children how germs are spread, and how quickly they do so. Discuss ways to keep them from spreading, such as covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, the proper way to wash hands etc.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net


Ice Cream Art Project

Give each student a piece of construction paper with a dish either drawn on, or glued on.  Give each child their choice of 3-5 circles (I cut different colors- brown: chocolate, green: pistachio, pink: strawberry,white: vanilla etc.)  Have them glue them on as “scoops”.  Add brown yarn(hot fudge), cotton balls(whipped cream), and a small red pompom(cherry)for the topping.  You have a “Sundae”.  You can also graph the student’s choices as to which kind of “ice cream” was their favorite.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net

Make Ice Cream!

Use this recipe: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tsp. vanilla (Double as needed).  Heat up until the sugar is totally dissolved. Of course, you can add all sorts of goodies to your ice-cream too. Take baby food jars and fill them half full.  Take empty pound size coffee cans and put a layer of ice on the bottom, covered by a layer of salt (you can use table salt, but rock salt lasts longer, and is cheaper).Put the closed baby food jar in, putting ice and salt around it.  Put the top on the coffee can, and let the children roll it back and forth on the floor.  About 5-10 minutes later, you will have your ice cream!

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net


Introduce your students to the iguana.  If you are lucky, you might know someone who has one.  Have the children finger paint a green iguana.  Ask your students what other animals might be related (example, frogs are NOT related, snakes are).

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net


Play John Lennon’s song “Imagine” and ask the children what they think would make this world better.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net


Let the children “paint” icicles.  Using 4 tbsp. salt, to a 1/4 cup water, you can paint pictures of icicles.  The water evaporates, leaving the salt, which shines like it has glitter on it.  For variation, you can add a couple drops of blue food coloring.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net



Bring three different flavors of jam (ex. grape, strawberry, & blackberry)for the children to taste with crackers. Graph the results. How many liked the grape jam? Strawberry?

Contributed by: CWP


Play a variety of music in your classroom in order to expose your students to the many styles. Don't forget jazz!

Contributed by: CWP


Another "oldie but, goodie"... Jump rope is an excellent gross motor activity. Check your local library for a book of jump rope chants. "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear..."

Contributed by: CWP


Learn about your school's janitor. Be sure that the children know his/her name. Talk about how important this person is to your classroom. Bake cookies and make a card for the children to sign in appreciation!

Contributed by: CWP

Joke Day

Have all your students bring in their favorite joke, and have them tell the class.  You can also discuss the difference between a funny joke and a mean joke.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net


Scarecrows Standing Tall in the Cornfield.

Indian Corn Bursting with a Colorful Yield.



Pumpkin Mosaic

Pumpkins are one of the themes I have in October. The boys and girls trace and cut out a pumpkin pattern. They then tear tiny pieces of orange construction paper to glue on their patterns. I also have scraps available for them to use for the eyes, nose, mouth, and stem. This activity takes a long period of time but the children love it.

Contributed by: kelly.obrien@edmail.com

Giant Scarecrows

Each year (in October,) I make giant scarecrows with my kindergarten children. As you will see, it requires a great deal of time, preparation, and parent involvement. If you decide to do the project, I think that you will find it worthwhile.

The week before we make scarecrows, I send a letter to the parents explaining the project. I ask each parent to send in one child sized long sleeve shirt, one child sized pair of long pants, one solid colored pillowcase, and one newspaper(each item clearly labeled with the child's name.) I explain that the clothes will not be returned in their original condition. I have them check off if they can't provide a certain item and tell them that it will be provided for their child. I also tend to get parents who send in extras for other children. I've built up a large collection over the last 10 years! In another letter, I ask for parents to come in and volunteer to help us sew the scarecrows together. I give them a choice of 2 days and times. For this project, I never say no to a parent. The more volunteers you get, the quicker the project goes.


  • Day 1) Legs (no parents needed) - I use string to tie the bottoms of the legs of the pants. The children crumple pieces of newspaper into balls and stuff the pants. When finished, it looks like a full pair of pants. I line them up on the windowsill. They stand quite easily.
  • Day 2) Shirts (parents needed)- I use string to tie the end of each sleeve and the bottom of the shirt. The children crumple pieces of newspaper into balls and stuff the shirt making sure to get inside the sleeves.The children bring their stuffed shirt and pants over to a parent and the parent sews them together. Remind the parents to sew the front of the shirt to the front of the pants!
  • Day 3) Head (parents needed) - I cut the pillowcase in half. Two children can really use one pillowcase. The children spread the pillowcase onto the floor and place pieces of crumpled newspaper into the center. I ask them to decide how big they want the head to be. When they are ready, I wrap the pillowcase around the newspaper balls and tie it at the bottom. The children bring their sewn shirt and pants over to a parent and the parent sews the head to the body.
  • Day 4) Decorating (no parents needed)- The children use any materials that they would like to decorate their scarecrows. They paint the face, use buttons for the eyes, pompoms, yarn for hair, felt scraps for decorations, etc. It is totally up to the child to decide how to decorate his/her scarecrow. Many children sit the scarecrow in a chair(like the beauty parlor) and decorate.
  • Day 5) Sticks (no parents needed)- I have wooden dowels, 3 feet long. The child lays the scarecrow on its "belly." I use a pair of scissors to cut a hole through the pants, shirt, and neck. The child pushes a wooden dowel through the holes. I use a hammer and one thumbtack to attach the scarecrow to the dowel(the thumbtack usually goes through the top of the shirt and into the top of the dowel.)

Well, that's pretty much it. The most important things to remember are to be PREPARED and FLEXIBLE. Some children decide not to put their scarecrows on sticks. Others do the whole thing in one day. They see how it looks and then begin. Some volunteers who come to sew heads might be helping with shirts and pants. I should also mention that all of the string tying and pillowcase cutting is done before the children come to school. I put their pants, shirts, or pillowcases(depending on the day) in their cubbies, read a scarecrow book which describes the sequence and, of course, shows each child with his/her individual scarecrow. We also display them for the school. The children are so proud of them!!!! Parents of past years often tell me how, each year, they put their scarecrow out for Halloween.

P.S. The first year that I did this project was without parent volunteers. I was in school until midnight sewing and sewing. And I hate to sew!!!! As they say, we learn from experience.

Contributed by: hariton@li.net

Pumpkin Estimation

When visiting the pumpkin patch, choose a large pumpkin for the class. Have the children guess (estimation) how much the pumpkin weighs, how many seeds will be inside, the circumference, etc.

Contributed by: sharonb@stargate.net

 Time to Pick the Carrots!

Fill a large tub with dirt and "plant" 10 carrots with leafy, green tops that you have previously purchased. Try to make them appear as if they are growing. Allow children to pick carrots and then replant them. Garden gloves and little spades are a must for this down and dirty activity!

Contributed by: jaa27@cornell.edu

3D Pumpkins

Go to the hardware store and buy dryer vent hose.  This has a wire body, covered by a vinyl plastic.  Cut into sections, and wrapped back to itself (creating a circle) it takes the shape of a pumpkin.  Staple it closed (making sure to catch a rib on either side, or the vinyl will just tear).  Paint it with paint. (Spray paint will definitely work. I've never tried tempera, or other classroom paint.)  Use permanent black markers to add the faces, and add a green stem to the top.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net

corn Indian Corn

Allow the children to see and touch Indian corn. Talk about the variety of colors represented. Give the children pre-cut pieces of white construction paper. These should be cut into oblong shapes like ears of corn. Provide yellow, red, brown, orange, and purple paint. Allow the children to use their fingertips to paint dots on their "corn". Allow them to swirl the colors together and experiment with the colors. When these dry pre-cut brown and/or green construction paper husks can be glued onto the corn.

Contributed by: CWP

A Christian Alternative

The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs is a great book concerning carving pumpkins, etc. for the Christian school or for those who find Halloween offensive.

Contributed by: CWP

Farm Animals

Animal Sounds

I give each child an index card with a picture of a farm animal on it. The children can not tell the others what is on their card. When I count to five the children all start making the sound of the animal on their card. Children walk around the room looking for the rest of their herd or flock. I use sheep, cows, chickens, pigs and ducks. This is also a fun way to divide up in small groups.

Contributed by: Blaser@pldi.net

Rosie’s Walk

During my farm/harvest unit I read the book Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins, then we go on our own walk. I set up the same type of obstacles that Rosie faces and have the kids go over, under, around etc. This year my kids were really into "reading" so I created a map for them to follow. It is a lot of fun and helps with positional concepts.

Contributed by: desertm@ctaz.com

The Little Red Hen

Another idea for the farm unit is to read and act out the story of The Little Red Hen.  Also ,during this time we are reading about cows and where milk comes from. At the end of the week we make bread and butter. When asked the question, "Who will help me bake the bread?" the children always reply, "We will!!"

Contributed by: kpjohn@erols.com

Farmer Says

Play this barnyard version of "Simon Says" to teach the children about farm chores. Have one child demonstrate each movement so the others can follow along.

Farmer Says
"Pick apples"
"Feed the pigs"
"Drive the tractor"
"Ring the dinner bell"
"Plant the pumpkins"
"Gather the eggs"
"Ride your horse"
"Milk the cow"

Contributed by: Jaliski@aol.com

Pig Pen

While doing a farm unit, a colleague of mine covered pigs rather extensively.  Instead of letting the children read on the reading carpet, she had them create a pig pen.

Use either one really large box, or two smaller ones. Break it down so that the flaps are cut off, and you just have the four sides (*double up two sides if you are using two boxes*). The kids painted the outside of it, and used one flap as the door. A certain number of children were allowed to read inside. Around the edges, she used clothes pins to attach a number of different books about pigs. I imagine you could make this a horse corral, a sheep fold, etc. The children loved it, and it folded down easily when not in use.

Contributed by:dhendry01@snet.net

Pig Snack

This same colleague made pig snacks.  Give each child a rice cake. Spread it with pink icing. Put a marshmallow for the nose, and M&M's for the eyes ; For the ears, cut triangles out of fruit rollups.

Contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net

Bulletin Boards

A Garden of Letters

Give each child a paper muffin cup.  Have them write their favorite letter, the first letter of their name, or assign one or two.  Write the letter on the bottom (the flat circle). Have them flatten them, scrunch them up, etc.  Some will look like full open flowers, some like buds.  Add stems and grass.

contributed by: dhendry01@snet.net

Shapes on a Farm

I usually do the farm unit in the Spring, after the children have had many opportunities to draw things (themselves, etc.) using shapes. For a bulletin board the children work on a whole class mural of a farm. First they paint the background (green grass, blue sky, white clouds with cotton balls set in the paint). Next I place a barn made out of construction paper on the mural and the rest is up to the children's creative imaginations! We brainstorm farm animals and discuss the shapes of each (an oval head, triangle ears, an oval body, rectangle legs, etc.) The children choose the animals they would like to make and get busy making them from construction paper and our "scrap box". Each child must contribute one item to our mural, creating silos, fences, trees, the sun, birds, a scarecrow, fields of corn, etc. Best of all, it becomes an exciting cooperative project where the children's imaginations can run wild!!

Contributed by: kpjohn@erols.com

Apple Harvest

You can use this idea year round, but I found it especially meaningful during the harvest time.  I made a big "bushel" basket out of brown bulletin board paper. Then I had the children paint apples to go into our basket. We had fat apples, tall thin apples, and flat apples. I loved it because each child's apple was different. I arranged then in the basket and put the  words -"You'll Find a Bushel of Learning in Mrs. Kim's Class" above it. The children loved it and we got several comments from people who saw it.

Contributed by: kimscott@aeneas.com

Software & Technology


Gather a group of students around the computer as you type lists of words (ex. describing words for a pumpkin). The children can watch the screen as you type the words that they brainstorm for the project.

Contributed by:  CWP

"When I was 4 years old, they tried to test my IQ. They showed me this

picture of three oranges and a pear. They asked me which one does not

belong. They taught me different is wrong."

~ Ani DiFranco ~


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