Category Archives: Farm

From Last Minute to Legendary

I had a great time last Thursday presenting my brand-new workshop, “Last Minute Lessons”  at the 52nd Annual Early Childhood Education Conference.  Participants were challenged to come up with creative lesson plans in response to emergency situations – all with limited materials.  Check out some of the wildly creative things they did with waterlogged books, paper goods, and the contents of their pockets and purses.  One thing’s for certain: if I am ever stranded on a deserted island, I hope it’s with a group of these resourceful early childhood educators!

Lacing card made with an index card, hole punch, and the string from a conference badge.

Lacing card made with an index card, hole punch, and the string from a conference badge.

Found objects for each letter of the alphabet.

Found objects for each letter of the alphabet.

Sheep and fence made from clothespins, index cards, and cotton balls.

Sheep and fence made from clothespins, index cards, and cotton balls.

 

Farm animals made from a file folder, paper cups, clothespins, cotton balls, and pictures cut from a magazine.

Farm animals made from a file folder, paper cups, clothespins, cotton balls, and pictures cut from a magazine.

Caterpillar made from soda bottle and crepe streamers, Chrysalis made from plastic cups, Butterfly made from napkins and a plastic fork.

Caterpillar made from soda bottle and crepe streamers, Chrysalis made from plastic cups, Butterfly made from napkins and a plastic fork.

 

Numeracy activities: Number line using cardstock and sticky notes, Number box using a cardboard box and pennies.

Numeracy activities: Number line using cardstock and sticky notes, Number box using a cardboard box and pennies.

A simple activity for a lesson on sickness and health: place a piece of painter's tape on a card, then ask the children to color the card with a crayon.  Remove the tape to show how bandages protect wounds from germs.

A simple activity for a lesson on sickness and health: place a piece of painter’s tape on a card, then ask the children to color the card with a crayon. Remove the tape to show how bandages protect wounds from germs.

 

 

 

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6 Super Ways to Use Sign Language in Your Programs

There are many advantages to using sign language with young children: it reduces frustration, stimulates language development, addresses multiple learning styles, and recent research even suggests it can reduce symptoms of ADHD! But for your programs, you just need to know two benefits: it makes your programs instantly participative, and it’s FUN! Here are six super ways to get started using sign language in your program; for more great ideas, see Try Your Hand at This!: Easy Ways to Incorporate Sign Language Into Your Programs by Kathy MacMillan (Scarecrow Press, 2005).

1) Teach a Seasonal Sign:

 The Sign for Snow

 (This rhyme teaches how to say SNOW in American Sign Language.)

When the weather is cold and the icy wind blows

And you feel a shiver right down to your toes.

Wiggle your fingers from the sky to the ground.

That’s the sign for SNOW you have found!

 See a video of the sign SNOW.

 

2) Take a poll without losing your mind:

Teach the children the signs for YES and NO. Then ask yes/no questions about the story you are reading (“Do you think the fox will catch the sheep this time?”) and invite the children to respond using only their signs. It’s a quick and easy way to get children to participate without making a lot of noise.

See a video of the sign YES. 

See a video of the sign NO.

 

 3) Spice up a song or rhyme that doesn’t have built-in actions:

There’s nothing worse than putting on music and then just standing around to it. Use American Sign Language to create participative movement. For example, you could teach the kids signs for farm animals to make an old favorite like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” instantly hands-on!

See a video of the sign COW. 

See a video of the sign DUCK.

See a video of the sign HORSE. 

See a video of the sign SHEEP. 

See a video of the sign CAT.

 

4) Play a color game:

Extend a flannelboard rhyme into a fun interactive game with this activity. This can be used with any flannelboard that has items of different colors (Five Little Leaves, Five Funny Clowns, etc.). Teach the children the signs for the colors, then invite them to look carefully at the objects. Count to three, then have them close their eyes. Remove one of the objects. Then have the children open their eyes and identify which object is gone, using only their signs. Confirm which object was taken away by showing where it was on the flannelboard. Repeat until all the objects are gone. This activity is appropriate for toddlers and up, and enhances visual acuity, attention, and memory – all important pre-reading skills.

See videos of the signs for colors.

 

5) Use signs for group management:

Sometimes a sign can get kids’ attention in a way no nagging reminder can! Introduce the signs below by signing them along with the words on the first few reminders, then let your voice fall away and do only the sign. Kids will get the message (and you may find them using these signs to police each other!) Even elementary and middle school age students will respond to signed prompts without complaining and eye-rolling. Try it!

See a video of the sign PAY ATTENTION. 

See a video of the sign LINE UP. 

See a video of the sign RESPECT.

 

6) Use signs for a story refrain:

Teach the kids a few simple signs that they can repeat throughout the story. This will give them something active to do as they say the words, and will keep them engaged by stimulating multiple senses. For example, when reading Karma Wilson’s The Cow Loves Cookies (Simon and Schuster, 2010), ask children to sign the refrain with you each time.

See a video of the sign COW. 

See a video of the sign LOVES (for objects for activities) 

See a video of the sign COOKIE.

Springtime on the Farm Storytime

Recommended Books

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett. Walker & Company, 2011.

In fairy tales, kissing a frog turns him into a prince, but if you kiss a pig,will you get a princess? In this clever and fun new book, the characters base all of their fortune and misfortune on what they have read before in fairy tales. When Priscilla the princess accidentally switches places with Pigmella, the farmer’s new piglet, the farmer and his wife believe it’s the work of a good witch, while the king and queen blame the bad witch. Isn’t that what happens in fairy tales? This book is entertaining for both adults and children and provides a wonderful opportunity for extension lessons discussing other fairy tales referenced.

 

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. Candlewick Press, 2010.

Every night Papa Rooster tries to get Little Red Chicken to settle down and goto sleep by reading a few bedtime stories. But every night, Little Red Chicken gets too excited by the stories Papa Rooster reads and interrupts Papa to save the characters in the story – THE END! Unfortunately, Little Red Chicken’s involvement in the story doesn’t make her sleepy, so Papa Rooster suggest Little Red write her own story and tell it to him. Soon Papa Rooster is interrupting Little Red Chicken in his own way, but Little Red knows just what to do.

 

Song

Springtime on the Farm

(To the tune of “Down on Grandpa’s Farm”)

Chorus

It is spring, it is spring, springtime on the farm!

It is spring, it is spring, springtime on the farm!

 

Springtime on the farm, there is a new baby calf,

Springtime on the farm, there is a new baby calf.

The calf, he makes a sound like this – moo-moo.

The calf, he makes a sound like this – moo-moo.

 

…chick…cheep-cheep

…piglet – oink-oink

…lamb…bah-bah

…duckling…quack-quack

 

 

Flannelboard

Springtime Five Little Ducklings

Five little ducklings went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost their way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but only four little ducks came back.

 

Four little ducklings went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost their way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but only three little ducks came back.

 

Three little ducklings went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost their way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but only two little ducks came back.

 

Two little ducklings went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost their way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but only one little ducks came back.

 

One little duckling went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost his way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but no little ducks came back.

 

Wah, Wah, Wah, cried mommy duck.

She looked for her ducklings with no luck.

The mother duck said, “Quack, Quack, Quack.”

and covered in flowers her ducklings came back!

 

 

Craft

Baby Bird Puppet and Nest

Pieces Needed: paper bags, twigs or other small woodsy items, craft stick,bird (cut out of a magazine or construction paper)

Directions:

  1. Crumple up the bag a few times to give it a soft, wrinkled appearance.
  2. Cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag that a craft stick could fit through.
  3. Fold the sides of the bag down about half way.
  4. Glue assorted woodsy items onto the bag to create a natural looking nest. Give it time to dry thoroughly.
  5. Glue the bird to the craft stick, and place in the bag with the stick through the hole in the bottom of the bag.

 

After making your craft, show off your puppet with this fun little rhyme.

Little bird, little bird, up in the tree,

Little bird, little bird, say hi to me!

(Pop up bird and “tweet, tweet, tweet!”)