Raccoons and Ripe Corn, by Jim Arnosky

Materials

  • 6 fresh ears of corn in the husk (sorry to make you go out and buy something extra)
  • 5 paper plates
  • Several dish towels
  • Any small amount of leftover fruit from your breakfast or other food items
  • Raccoon masks
  • 3 shoe boxes or empty toy bins

Vocabulary

  • Autumn (another name for fall time)
  • Corn silk (the hairs that grow at the top of the corncob)
  • Plump and ripe (fat and ready to eat)
  • Kits (raccoon children are called kits)
  • Feast (a special yummy dinner or meal)
  • Rows (lines)
  • Sneak (creep quietly so no one can hear)
  • Sunrise (just before the sun comes up in the sky and morning begins)
  • Nocturnal (animals that sleep during the day and come out at night)

Introducing the Story

Hold up the cover of the book and ask the children if anyone knows what kind of animal is on the cover. Ask the children to look carefully at the cover and if they can tell you anything about raccoons. Point out the leaves of the ground, what season do you think it is? Point out the stars in the sky, what time of day do you think it is? Point out the corn and read the title of the book. Ask the children why do you think the raccoons are in the corn garden?

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows a growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction and non-fiction books and poetry.

Reading the Story

On the page where is says; “At night, a mother raccoon and her almost-grown kits sneak into the cornfield”, ask the children why they think the raccoons are sneaking into the corn?

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; grows in eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks

After Reading the Story

Go back and do a second reading of the story but this time let the children tell the story as you turn the pages. You may have to lead the children through the story (what was falling down from the trees? What season does the story take place? Where does the story take place? What is happening to the silk of the corn? What does it mean when the silk turns brown? Continue letting the children tell the children with you using leading questions if necessary. What happened next? Who were the characters of the story? How do you think the farmer will feel when he finds his corn all laying on the ground? Why?

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

Music and Movement

Turn off the lights and play Raccoons Scat! On paper plates, write a letter on each that you are working with the children to recognize. Have the children form as large a circle large as possible in your space. Put the paper plates in the center. Tell the children that when you call their name, they are to pretend to be a raccoon and sneak into the center of the circle and find a letter that you name and pretend to be nibbling on it like a raccoon. Call 1-5 children at a time depending upon your group’s maturity. When all the raccoons are nibbling another child can pretend to be the farmer and yell, “raccoons scat!”   The children crawl back quickly to the circle’s edge. Continue until everyone has a turn or the children grow tired of playing.  Have each child wear a raccoon mask by coloring and stapling the provided copy to a sentence strip.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds.

Discovery

Put the fresh ears of corn in the center today for the children to husk. Note the silk. Note how the kernels grow in rows.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Blocks

Encourage the children to make rows of blocks today. Can they make a pattern with their rows (tall, short, tall, short)? Can you make 3 rows? Can you make a long row and a short row?

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials.

Art

Give each child a copy of the corn shape. Using stamp pads or tempera paint, show the children how to make kernels of corn by using their finger to print (up and down, up and down). Challenge them to put the kernels in rows like a real corncob. When they are finished, let them cut out green husk shapes to glue on the side of their corn print.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials. Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Sand and Water

Tell the children that raccoons like to wash their food before eating it. Put any fruits or vegetables that you have in the dramatic play center into the table filled with water today. Let the children wash the fruits and vegetables and dry them with the dish towels.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; shows growing independence in hygiene, nutrition, and personal care when eating, dressing, washing hands, brushing teeth, and toileting.

Library and Writing

Bring in books or pictures of nocturnal animals for the children to look at and discuss.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Dramatic Play

Tell the children that raccoons are nocturnal which means they come out while people are normally sleeping. Encourage them to act out nighttime rituals today. You can add blankets or towels to be used for beds.   Ask the children to tell you about some of their nighttime rituals and then encourage them to act them out. ( I brush my teeth in the sink, My big brother reads me books, I watch television, I put on my pajamas and jump on my bed).

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; progresses in understanding similarities and respecting differences among people such as genders, race, special needs, culture, language, and family structures.

Math and Manipulaties

Make a bean bag toss game by setting out shoe boxes or toy bins from a tape mark line on the floor. Place the boxes about a foot apart. Have the children take turns standing on the tapeline and throwing bean bags into the boxes/toy bins. I usually use 3 beanbags to start. The children can then tell you how many they got into the box and how many did not get into the box. As they tell you hold up you fingers and say, “yep that makes three”. (The child might say, “I got one bean bag into the box”, teacher holds up one finger on left hand. “I got two outside the box”, teacher holds up three fingers on right hand. Teacher says, “1-2-3, yep that makes three”. If a child miss counts, 2 in the box and 2 out of the box, have the child count again.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make use of one-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Outdoor Play

About an hour before the children go out to play, take your small amount of food scraps out to the playground and put it into a quiet area where you have seen ants in the past. When the children go out to play, draw them over to the food scraps. Have the ants found it yet? Have they begun to carry it back to their ant home? Did they choose one type of food over another? Encourage the children to observe the coming and going of the ants and to talk about what they are seeing.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Transitions

Tell the children that they are going to sneak to the next activity by tip toeing and being so quiet that no one will hear them. Send the children off using whispering voices.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions.

Dear Parents- Today we read a book about raccoons who come out at night to feed. Take your child on an evening walk and see what creatures you might see, or hear, that are out and about after the sun sets.

Resources

1
2
bear
cricket
badger
deer
hedge hog
fox
bat
racoon
owl
mouse

Ten Red Apples, by Pat Hutchins

Counting, rhyming, and animal voices make this a fun story for children to help tell as a farmer watches all the animals come eat from his apple tree.

Materials

  • Several apples of different colors for taste testing
  • 10 index cards each labeled with a number and corresponding dots/apples
  • Apple shape
  • Bingo dauber, stamp pad, or red marker per child

Vocabulary

Before Reading the Story

Open the cover and show the children the pages with all the apple trees and numbers. Count with the children the numbers from the different apple trees.  Explain to the children that you want them to help read the story by repeating the Farmer’s line on each page.  Say the line, “Save some for me”! and have the children repeat.  Tell them that you will let them know when they are to say this line throughout the story.   Practice one more time with the children and then introduce the book.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest in reading related activities, such as asking to have a favorite book read; drawing pictures based on books; choosing books to look at; asking to take books home; going to the library; and engaging in pretend-reading with other children.

Reading the Story

Point to each number on the page so the children notice what the written number looks like as you say the number orally.  On page with number 8 after the farmer says, “Donkey, save some for me”!  Ask the children if they can guess what animal will come next?  If they cannot, tell them to look in the background (behind the farmer) for a clue.  On each page before making the animal voice, ask the children if they know what the animal voice sounds like?

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

After Reading the Story

On the page where it says, “More red apples hanging from the tree…”, point out that the story started with the biggest animal and ended up with the smallest one eating apples.  Point to the horse and say, “tallest”.  Point to the cow and say, “smaller”.  Continue pointing down the progression of animals saying smaller, smaller, smaller, until you get to the chicken and say smallest.    Now tell the children that you are going to try to line up all together from tallest to shortest.  Have two children stand up and ask, “who is taller”?  Have the taller child stand in the first position.  Have another child come up and ask them to stand beside the tallest child and ask, “Is ____ taller or shorter”?  Have the children get into position according to the tallest to the shortest.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows progress in using standard and non-standard measures of length and area of objects.

Discovery

Apple taste and graph favorite color  If you choose to do apple graphing today, teach the children the following verse; Eat an apple save the core.  Plant the seeds and grow some more.  Then give each child a copy of the apple page and ask them which color apple they liked best.  Have the children color their apple accordingly and staple all the pages together to make an apple book.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness of self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences. AND Literacy/Early Writing; begins to represent stories and experiences through pictures, dictation, and in play.

Show the children the pictures of the wooden animals.  Explain that Pat Hutchins drew wooden animals for her story illustrations.  Encourage the children to go about the room looking for other objects made out of wood.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; beins to make comparisons between several objects based on a single attribute.

Music and Movement

Pass an apple like hot potato when the music stops the child holding the apple is out.

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

Cut out as many apple shapes as there are children.  On the backside of each apple, make a movement direction (hop on one foot, jump forwards then backwards).  Put the apples on the wall and pretend it is a tree.  Each child gets to pick an apple and the whole group does the movement.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness.

Teach the children The Apple Tree finger play.

Way up high in the apple tree                    (Make fists and hold overhead)

Two little apples smiled down on me.

I shook that tree as hard as I could            (Shake fists in air)

Down fell the apples                                     (Bring hands down to lap)

Mmmmm, were they good!                         (Pretend to eat an apple)

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; demonstrates increasing ability to attend to and understand conversations, stories, songs, and poems.

Sing The Farmer in the Dell but change the words to go with the story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m023UjciCpE

First comes the horse, first comes the horse, Hi ho the derry-o, first comes the horse. 

Second comes the cow, second comes the come, hi ho the derry-o, second comes the cow. 

Third comes the donkey

Fourth comes the goat

Fifth comes the pig

Sixth comes the sheep

Seventh comes the goose

Eighth comes the duck

Ninth comes the hen

Last comes the farmer, last comes the farmer, hi ho the derry-o last comes the farmer.

Hold up the corresponding number of fingers as you sing each verse. After singing the farmer verse and you are holding up 10 fingers, ask the children if they know how many fingers this is. Then count backward from 10 to 1.

Mathematics/Number & Operations;begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Blocks

If you have wooden people and farm animals, add them to the block center today. 

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Art

Make red play dough and add cinnamon for scent. (Uncooked Playdough 1 cup plain flour. 1/4 cup salt. 1 tablespoon cooking oil. A few drops of food colouring. 1/2 cup water. Mix dry ingredients, make a mound and then scoop a hole in the center of the mound. Slowly add the oil and water. This will be sticky at first but as you need it it will become pliable. Work until playdough consistency).

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.

Give each child a copy of one of the wooden animals.  Have them draw an apple tree and then glue their animal underneath.

Literacy/Early Writing; begins to represent stories and experiences through pictures, dictation, and in play.

Sand and Water

Put out many puffballs into the table today along with tongs. On index cards, write the numbers 1-10 and also represent with dots/apples. Add several bowls.  Show the child how to pick up a number card and then use the tongs to collect that many puffballs to put into their bowl.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make use of one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Library and Writing

Make a second set of animal cards and write the name of each animal underneath in a print form that you are teaching the children (capital w/ lower, all capitals, all lower).  Put out paper and writing tools and encourage  the children to practice writing the various animal names.  Encourage the children to make illustrations as they write their words.

Literacy?Early Writing; progresses from using scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name.

Dramatic Play

If you have any plastic apples, add them to the center today along with a basket.

Math and Manipulatives

Give each child an apple shape and a bingo dauber, stamp pad, or colored marker. Have the children take turns rolling the dice and then adding that many “apples” to their tree. Continue letting the children take turns until they grow tired.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make use of one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Use the apple pattern page to cut out and color the apples 3 different colors that you are working on as a class.  Make simple patterns for the children to copy (red, blue, blue, red, blue, blue/yellow, green, red, yellow, green, red).

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials.

Outdoor Play

Put 3 hoola hoops in a row on the ground, or draw 3 circles on the pavement in a row.  The teacher names a category and the child must jump into each circle and name something that belongs in that category.  The child will name three things, one in each circle.  Categories can include such things as; farm animals, fruits, things you can make from apples, colors you are wearing, three friends, things we eat for lunch, letters of the alphabet.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem SOlving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.

Transitions

The teacher holds her hands over her head and says’ “One to three, count for me” and unfolds one or both hands revealing a number of fingers to be counted by the child.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make use of one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Resources