Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola

                  What happens when Big Anthony does not listen to Strega Nona and does what she asks him not to? 

Materials

  • A box of cooked spaghetti
  • Several different kinds of pasta that can be strung
  • Box of cornstarch
  • Two to three cookie sheets

Vocabulary

  •                   Pasta (another name for fancy noodles)
  •                   Grazie (thank you in Italian)
  •                   Confess (tell the truth)
  •                   Hero (someone who everyone admires and thinks is cool)

Before Reading the Story

                  Talk with the children about the importance of listening to adults.  Why do you think they make rules for children?  Have you ever disobeyed your parent, what happened?  Explain that the story today is about a boy named Anthony who did not listen when an adult told him not to touch something.

Reading the Story

Sing song Strega Nona’s directions to the pot. Encourage the children to hum along with you. There is a great reading of this story on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=PGVXwMX0e5w.

After Reading the Story

                  Ask the children if they can recall some of the jobs that Big Anthony does for Strega Nona.  Ask them if they ever help anyone at home or school?  What kinds of jobs do they do for others?  List on a piece of paper.

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

Discovery

                  Put out cookie trays with a cornstarch and water mix.  Put the cornstarch onto the tray and slowly add small amounts of water.  You will know when the consistency is correct because you can scoop up the cornstarch mix in your hand but then the warmth of your skin makes it sort of melt between your fingers.  Let the children experiment with this mix.  Can they write their name in it?  Talk about the cause and effect.

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

Music and Movement

Sing the Pasta Pot song to the tune of Are You Sleeping? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVnmz2t5q-k

Blocks

Encourage the children to build Strega Nona’s house. The children can build it and then destroy it pretending that they are the pot of spaghetti.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; approaches tasks and activities with increased flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness.

Art

                  Cut pieces of yarn about 8 inches long.  The children can dip these into bowls of paint and then drag across a piece of paper. Add a spoon to the bowl of paint to help the children with dipping the yarn.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer. AND Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and water

                  If you center allows you to use food, add cooked noodles to the table.  How do they feel? 

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.

Library and Writing

                  Use cooked pasta or pieces of yarn (pretend spaghetti) to draw letters and shapes with.  You can draw the child’s name on a large piece of paper and the child can take glue, cover the lines and then attach yarn on top.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; progresses in abilities to use writing, drawing, and art tools, including pencils, markers, chalk, paint brushes, and various types of technology.

Dramatic Play

                  Add a large pot to the center today and the children can act out the story.  What else can you cook in your magic pot? Also add a kerchief and a small apron if available. Hang the picture of Strega Nona in the center.

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.

Math and Manipulatives

                  Bring in several different kinds of pasta that the children can string.  Can they make a pattern with their pasta?

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing patterns and shapes, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Outdoors Play

                  Weather permitting, give the children large buckets and add dirt, water, pine needles, rocks, sand, etc.  Make bubbling pots of whatever.

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.

Transitions

                  Re-read the magic chants that Strega Nona said to the pot.  Ask the children if they can name the rhyming words.  As the children go to the next activity, give them a word and ask them if they can make a rhyming word for it.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; progresses in recognizing matching sounds and rhymes in familiar words, games, songs, stories, and poems.

Resources

Pumpkin Faces, by Emma Rose

                  This very simple text helps children be aware of faces.  This is a cute book to begin a discussion about emotions and also to give the children ideas for drawing their own pumpkin faces.

Materials

  • A pumpkin shape from poster board or paper plate with holes punched out about ¼ inch from the edge and ½ inch apart all the way around.                 
  • Ribbon or yarn                 
  • 2 or 3 pumpkins.
  • Metal Spoons for scooping a pumpkin

Vocabulary

  • Jack-o-lantern (a pumpkin that someone has made a face on)
  • Naming a variety of emotions
  • Emotions (the different ways that you feel during the day)

Before Reading the Story

                  Bring a pumpkin to the carpet and ask the children what it is.  Find out what they know about pumpkins.  Do pumpkins grow in trees?  What do you think is inside of a pumpkin?  I wonder if they ever grow purple pumpkins?  Roll the pumpkin around the circle.  Can you think of other things that you can roll?

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes. AND Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Reading the Story

                  As you read, go slowly to see if the children can interpret the pumpkin face and name before you read the word.

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

 After Reading the Story

Enlarge copies of 3-5 pumpkin faces. Hold one up and ask the children if they can tell you what feeling the pumpkin is representing. Then ask them to share something that makes them feel that way. (I get scared when my Dad turns off the light at night. I feel proud cause I can ride my bike with two wheels. I was mad cause my sister took my toy and threw it on the ground and it broke).

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

Discovery

                  Put a pumpkin into the science center.  Cut the top so the children can begin to pull the guts out and explore the pumpkin using all of their senses. If the children are hesitant to putting their hands inside the pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half so that it is easier and less gooey to scoop. As the children work, write down their responses to how it feels, smells, tastes, what did you find inside, how does the outside feel, etc..

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops growing abilities to collect, describe, and record information through a variety of means including discussion, drawings, maps, and charts.

Music and Movement

              Sing, If You’re Happy and You Know It.  Sing using different emotions with each verse.  Have the children make the facial and body language to go with each emotion.

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

Teach the children the poem, Scary Eyes.

See these big and scary eyes, (Make two circle with hands and put around eyes) It’s a Halloween Surprise. BOO! (Wait a beat and then Pop hands away from eyes)

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

Blocks

                  Encourage the children to build ramps and then find things that they will roll down. Have the children sort things that roll and do not roll. Can they tell what all the rolling objects have in common? (roundness)

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.

 Art

                  Put large pumpkin shapes at the easel.  The children can paint pumpkins or try to make a jack-o-lantern face.

Creative Arts/Art; progresses in abilities to create drawings, paintings, models, and other art creations that are more detailed, creative, or realistic. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; progresses in abilities to use writing , drawing, and art tools, including pencils,markers, chalk, paint brushes, and various types of technology.

 Library and Writing

                  Play the Pumpkin Memory game.  The children find pairs of pumpkins and then must name the emotion and something that would make them feel that way.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows increasing abilities to match, sort, put in a series, and regroup objects according to one or two attributes such as shape or size. AND Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; grows in abilities to persist in and complete a variety of tasks, activities, projects, and experiences.

 Sand and Water

                  Do a float and sink experiment today.  Fill the water table up with water and then ask the children if they think a pumpkin will float or sink.  Put a pumpkin into the table and see what happens.  Encourage the children to explore further float and sink .

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.

 Dramatic Play

If you have old Halloween costumes you could put them in the center for the children to experience with. (I have found that children like old hats and wigs also but you must make sure that no one has lice in your classroom).

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.

 Math and Manipulatives

                  Give each child a pumpkin shape with holes punched out all around the edges.  Show the children how to lace the ribbon through the holes to go around the pumpkin.  When the child has finished lacing the pumpkin, encourage them to draw a face.

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. AND Creative Arts/Art; progresses in abilities to create drawings, paintings, models, and other art creations that are more detailed, creative, or realistic.

Outdoor Play

                  Practice rolling on the grass.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; progresses in physical growth, strength, stamina, and flexibility.

 Transitions

                  Let each child pick a pumpkin face card and act out the expression.  Can the other children guess what emotion the child is trying to express?

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; grows in recognizing and solving problems through active exploration, including trial and error, and interactions and discussions with peers and adults.

Resource

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

            Chester was about to begin his first day of school and he was scared.  See how his mother helps him to overcome his fears in a gentle loving way.

Materials

  • Lots of small pre-cut hearts
  • Manila file

Vocabulary

  • Raccoon (A small ring-tailed animal that sleeps during the day and comes out at night)
  • Nocturnal (All animals that sleep mostly during the day and come out at night to eat and play)

Before Reading the Story

            If this is the first week of school you can introduce the book by saying you know it feels kind of scary right now at school. But you will soon have lots of new friends.  Talk about things that you will be doing at school in the near future (later we will get to go out on the playground and ride the bicycles, after breakfast we can get out play dough).  Tell the children that they are all being very brave and that it will be ok.  Let them know that you are there to make them feel safe and to have fun.

Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; demonstrates increasing comfort in talking with and accepting guidance and directions from a range of familiar adults.

            If you are reading this book at any other time, talk about how sometimes we do things that feel scary but after we do them we know that it was not so hard.  Ask the children to try to think of examples (I rode my bike with no trainer wheels and I fell, I climbed to the top of the big slide, I ate that food on my plate, I slept in the room all by myself).  Tell the children each time that they were brave.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; demonstrates growing confidence in a range of abilities and expresses pride in accomplishments.

Reading the Story

            On the page where Chester’s Mother shows him what a kissing hand is, stop and kiss your own hand and then when she tells him how to rub it on his cheek, do on yours. Encourage the children to follow your example.

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

After Reading the Story

            Turn to the last page with all the animals in the tree.  Tell the children that this is Chester’s school, have you ever seen a school like this?  Ask them if they can tell what time it is?  Can you name some of the nocturnal animals in the picture? 

Science/Scientific Knowledge; develops a growing awareness of ideas and language related to the attribute of time and temperature.

Discovery

            In the story, Chester used his mouth for kissing his mother’s hand.  What other things do we use our mouth for?  Put mirrors in the center so the children can look at their mouths.  Help the children name the parts of the mouth (teeth, gum, tongue, lips)? 

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. AND Language & Development/Speaking & Communicating; uses an increasingly complex and varied spoken language.

Music and Movement

Teach the children the song, I’m Thinking of a Name.  On individual pieces of paper, write each child’s name.  Hold up one name at a time and cover all but the first letter of the name with another piece of paper.

I’m Thinking of a Name (sung to All Around the Mulberry Bush)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTgxW32ie5E

I’m thinking of a name that starts with _____,

Starts with _______, Starts with ________.

I’m thinking of a name that starts with _____.

Do you know the name?

(slowly pull the paper across the letters to reveal the name.  As you pull, pronounce the letter sounds as you go)

Literacy/Early Writing; develops an understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes. AND Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; increases ability to notice the beginning letters of familiar words.

Blocks

Make markings on the shelves to show the children how to put the blocks away neatly. Explain that when Chester, and they, were new at school, they also had to learn where and how to put the toys away. Encourage the children to pull out the blocks and carefully put them back according to their shapes and sizes.

Literacy/Early Writing; develops an understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes. AND Mathematics/’Geometry & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as shape or size.

Art

            Let the children use stamp pads and make handprints onto a large piece of paper.  Cut out hearts that they can then glue to the palm of each hand.  Older children can trace around a heart shape and cut it out themselves. Label the pictures ‘The heart is you.  The hand is me.  It says I love my family”.  Have the children look carefully at their hand print.  Note the lines and patterns that make up your hand print.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer. AND Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increased ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences and comparisons, and form generalizations.

Sand and Water

            Dampened sand.  Show the children how to make sand castles and hand prints in the damp sand.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Library and Writing

            On a manila file cut out a heart shape.  The children can then trace around the heart, cut it out and write their name on it.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer. AND Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from 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

            Bring in ‘school supplies’ (pencils, paper, lunchbox, book sack, three ring binder). Encourage the children to play school and to do writing.

Literacy/Early Writing; experiments with a growing variety of writing tools and materials, such as pencils, crayons, and computers.

Math and Manipulatives

            On a piece of paper write each child’s name.  Cut out many small hearts from construction paper.  Ask the children to glue a heart underneath each letter of their name.  Ask the children to count their hearts to see how many letters are in their name.  You can graph these on the wall by the number of letters in each child’s name.  Who has the least, which has the most?

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Outdoor Play

            Tell the children to pretend that they are walking to school.  Can you walk very fast?  Can you walk backwards, in a curved line, zigzag line, on your tiptoes?  Can you skip to school or gallop?

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills;shows increased levels of proficiency, control, and balance in walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, and galloping.

Transitions

Play I’m Thinking of a Child. Say I’m thinking of a child who has red hair and is wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt with letters on it. Let the children guess. If the children are just learning names, you could say,”Yes, I was thinking og Jenny”.

Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; shows progress in developing friendships with peers.

Resources

Shelves are labeled to keep blocks neat and in order.