Out of the Woods, By Rebecca Bond

A forest fire brings animals and people together in an unlikely place. This is a real story of an unforgettable event.

Materials

  • A bag of thin sticks, 3-8 inches long (use a fallen branch and break into many smaller sticks)
  • Small disposable drinking cups
  • A gallon of school glue
  • An index card for each child with their name written upon it. If you have access to a camera, you can add a picture of the child also.
  • 2 sets of Forest Animal Cards
  • 1 set of other animal cards
  • I set of jumping bean cards

Vocabulary

  • Unforgettable Event- something you do not forget, even when you are old.
  • Hotel-a place where people can stay for a vacation or for a longer time.
  • Stoking a stove-to put the wood into the stove and make the fires in the stoves before there was electricity.
  • Boisterous-noisy and over the top, crazy
  • Dense-thick with lots and lots of trees

Before Reading the Story

Before reading the story, spend a few minutes talking to the children about fire safety. Explain that there are several rules one should always follow if there is a fire. 1. Don’t be scared, be smart. 2. Never hide, get outside and get outside quickly. 3. Sit and wait outside until your parent/an adult tells you it’s all safe. 4. If it’s smoky crawl on your knees. Have the children repeat the rules back to you as you say them. Tell the children that your story today is about a little boy who’s home got caught in a forest fire. Encourage the children to think about the fire safety rules you have just talked about as you read the story.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; builds awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.

Reading the Story

When you get to the page where Antonio is looking into a travelers room, ask the children if they think that Antonio should go into the room to explore or not? Why? (“It’s not his room”, “I’m not allowed to be near a gun”, “The man might get mad”, “My big brother would go in the room and see the fishing stuff cause he likes to fish”.) On the page where everyone is standing in the lake, ask the children if they can find the baby, find Antonio and his mother. Ask them if they remember what fire safety rules Antonio and all the people were remembering. (Never hide, get outside and get outside quickly). When you get to the page where the animals come out into the water with the people, ask the children why they think this is happening? (Water puts out forest fires so all are safest in the water). Explain that all the people and animals were remembering rule #1, don’t be scared, be smart.

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

After Reading the Story

Go over the four fire safety rules with the children. Did the people in the story follow any or all of them? Talk to the children about your fire safety plan. Make sure they understand what they are to do when they hear the school fire alarm sound. Talk about the importance of staying as a group and walking out of the building. Use a bell or another sound to make a mock fire drill and practice it with the children.

Physical Health & Safety/Health Status & Practices; builds an awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.

Discovery

Make a copy of the forest animal cards and the other animal’s card. Put out a piece of paper with a line down the middle. On one half write ‘forest animals’, on the other write ‘not forest animals’. Have the children sort the cards accordingly.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting together in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

Music and Movement

Make one copy of the forest animal cards. Cut out and put into a container that the children cannot see inside. As you put them in, have the children name the animal. Add one jumping bean card per three children. Put these into the container also. The children take turns picking out a card and naming the animal. If they pick out a jumping beans card, they shout “Jumping Bean!” and everyone gets up and jumps. Continue until everyone has had or turn or the children grow tired of playing.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple, and multiple-step directions.  AND  Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; develops increasing abilities to give and take in interactions; to take turns in games or using materials; and to interact without being overly submissive or directive.

Blocks

If you have fire trucks add them to the center today. Encourage the children to build a firehouse that the trucks can go inside of.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; begins to be able to determine whether or not two shapes are the same size and shape.

Art

Pour school glue, an inch or two into the disposable cups. Let the children add sticks into the cup and leave it until it dries. This will take several days. After it is dry, show the children how to take a paintbrush, dip it into a color of paint, and allow it to drip over the sticks.   When they are dry, group the cups together for a 3d modern art forest sculpture.  Ask the children if they think it looks like a forest, why or why not? 

Creative Arts/Art; begins to understand and share opinions about artistic products and experiences.

Library and Writing

Put out cards with the words EXIT and 911 on them for the children to practice copying. Talk to the children as they write about the importance of these two ‘words’. EXIT, find the exit and explain that in an emergency to look for the EXIT sign to get out of a building quickly. 911 are the numbers you call in case of an emergency. Talk about what is an emergency and whom one would ask for when they call 911.

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

Sand and Water

Fill the table with a very small amount of water. Add rubber style animals and people that you might have. Encourage the children to stand an animal next to a person. Can they name all the animals in the water? Can they tell you anything about what happened in the story that put the animals and people in the water or what happened after the fire went out?

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.

Dramatic Play

Add any play tools that you might have so the children can help maintain the center and fix the broken chair or door to the stove. As they play, ask them to name the different tools, do they know what they are used for?

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops a growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.

Math and Manipulatives

Lay several of the name index cards on the table saying and pointing out whose name is on each card. Ask a child to pick a card from the pile. Can they name the name on the card? Ask them to put it onto the table with the others ones but in a specific location. (Can you put Ryan’s card under the card that says Paula, can you put Alison’s card next to the card that says Sean?). Continue, naming the cards and putting them in positional places on the table with the other cards (under, over, next to, beside, on top, underneath).

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; builds increasing understanding of directionality, order, and positions of objects, and words such as up, down, over, under, top, bottom, inside, outside, in front, behind.  AND Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; Knows the letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named.

Outdoor Play

As you prepare to go outside, remind the children that in the story Antonio loved to look for signs of animals when he went outside. Challenge the children to look for sign so of animals on your playground. Encourage them to look carefully at the ground for signs of insects or, squirrels, birds, or any other creature that you are lucky enough to find.

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

Transitions

Ask the children if they can remember the 4 rules of fire safety?  Help them if they cannot.  Number four is, “If it’s smokey, crawl on your knees”.  Have the children crawl to the next activity.

Physical Health & Safety/Health Status & Practices; builds an awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.

Dear parent, today we read a story about a forest fire and how all the animals and people stayed safe. There is a good link for talking to your child about forest fire safety. Check out the web site; www.smokeybear.com.

Resources

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A Grand Old Tree, Mary Newell DePalma

This is the story of a tree’s life cycle, how it lived and was a home to many animals. This is a good book to use to introduce a tree unit or to be used to talk about animal homes.

Materials

  • Tree trunk shape
  • Collect a variety of leaves from different kinds of trees.
  • 1 large pinecone per child, peanut butter, plastic knives, and a bag of birdseed.
  • Collect a bag of leaves (green or colored) to use in dramatics, make sure that they are NOT poisonous.

Vocabulary

  • Grand (outstanding and wonderful)
  • Scurried (to run back and forth)
  • Sowed (spread or plant seeds around)
  • Bask (to lift up your head to the sun and feel its warmth.

Before Reading the Story

Bring in a variety of items that are made from wood or trees. Say, “Guess what all these items have in common?  They are made from trees!  Trees give of wood to make many things and also foods to eat”.  Talk to the children about what each thing is. Say thank you tree as you introduce each item. (paper, pencil, bowl, chair, book, cardboard, chocolate, many fruits, etc).   

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

Show the children the cover of the book and ask them if they know what the word grand means. Tell them that it means something or someone who is really wonderful. Ask them if they can think of what would make a tree really wonderful (It makes apples, I can swing on the swing that my Dad made on the branch, I climb the tree in my yard).  Introduce the story.

Language development/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.

After Reading the Story

Ask the children if they can recall any of the animals that lived in the tree. Can they think of any other animals that might live in a tree?

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

Discovery

Bring in pictures or objects of things that come from a tree. (Things made of wood and also paper). Also pictures of animals that make their home in trees. Add parts of trees to the center for the children to explore (bark, seed pods, leaves, branch, birds nest).  Give the children magnifying glasses to look more closely at the tree parts.  Help them to name the various parts of the tree.  Talk to the children about the importance of trees.

Science/Scientific Skills & Method; 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

Have the children act out parts of the story. Ask them to show you what it looks like to sink your roots deep into the soil; reach your branches high into the sky, sway in the breeze and dance in the wind. Show what cracking looks like and falling down.

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. 

Put on the song If I Were A Tree video by Jason Mesches. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mt79JW9u18

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

Do the 5 Little Monkeys in the Tree finger play.

5 little monkeys swing from the tree,                        Hold up 5 fingers
Teasing Mr. Alligator, You can’t catch me!                Hold hands by ears making nah nahs
You can’t catch me!  You can’t catch me!                   Say in teasing voice with nah nahs
Slowly Mr Alligator comes,                                           Put hands together to make an                                                                                                                                         alligator head
Slow as slow can be                                                         Move alligator around
And snapped that monkey right out of the tree!       Snap hands

4, 3, 2, 1, 0 monkeys but Mr. Alligator is full.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; demonstrates increasing ability to attend to and understand conversations, stories, songs, and poems.  AND Mathematics/Numbers & Operation; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Blocks

Remind the children that the blocks are made from wood and that wood comes from trees!

Art

Give each child a tree trunk shape and a variety of collage materials.  Let them decorate the trunks to represent a tree in various seasons or stages of its life. Or cut out 4 large trees about three feet tall and have the children work together to make classroom trees depicting the seasons.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; approaches tasks and activities with increased flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness.  AND Creative Arts/Art; progresses in abilities to create drawings, paintings, models, and other at creations that are more detailed, creative, or realistic.

Writing and Library

Encourage the children to write with pencils today. As they write remind them pencils come from wood and wood comes from trees!

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

Ask the children to write a thank you letters to a tree and illustrate. (Thank you for pears that I like to eat, Thank you for letting me climb on you, Birds thank you)

Literacy/ Early Writing; develops an understanding that writing is a way of communicating for varied purposes.

Sand and Water

Add pieces of bark to the water and pretend that they are boats.  How many small bear manipulatives can the child put onto the boat without sinking it.  Try adding leaves, can the bears float on these?

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.  AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination such as  building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Dramatic Play

Add a large bowl of leaves to the center and encourage the children to pretend that they are food.

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

Math and Manipulatives

Put out your other bag of leaves and let the children sort them in various ways.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; Shows growth in matching, sorting putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

Outdoors

If you have a tree on your playground, go out and examine it. Look for signs of animal life. Look and ask the children to help the parts of the tree. Give the tree a thank you hug.

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

Let the children use the plastic knives to spread peanut butter onto the pinecones. Then have them roll the pinecone in the birdseed and attach a string. Hang these in a nearby tree as snacks for the birds.

Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; shows growing capacity to maintain concentration over time on a task, question, set of directions or interactions, despite distractions or interruptions.

Transitions

As each child gets up to go to the next activity, ask them to say, “Thank you tree for ___________”.  Encourage the children to try to think of a variety of objects and foods that come from a tree.

Science/Scientific Skills Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships.

Have the children look around the room and name objects in your classroom that come from trees.  Remind them that things made from wood or paper are the products of trees.

Science/Scientific Skills Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships.

Dear Parent- Today we read a story about a tree and all the animals that lived in the tree.  Ask your child to help you name animals that might live in a tree.  Then ask your child what else does a tree give us? (Think of wood and paper products and foods).

Resources

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Ant Cities, by Arthur Dorros

This book is full of ant facts. It would be a good introduction for children who show interest in ant communities.

Materials

  • Ant picture
  • Dice

Vocabulary

  • Harvester ants (the little black ants that collect seeds for food)
  • Larvae (little worm looking babies that will turn into ants as they grow)
  • Tunnels (underground passageways)
  • Colonies (the home where ants live, underground)

Before Reading the Story

Show the children the cover of the book. Ask the children if they know what the boys are looking at? Ask the children if they have ever seen any ants and where? What were the ants doing when you saw them? Tell the children that the story today is about ants and how they live. Give the children a chance to share any information they might have about ants.

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

This book has detailed pictures, it should be read in smaller groups where you can really point out the ants and what is happening.  

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

After Reading the Story

Ask the children if they have any questions about ants? If it is something that was in the book, go back and review that page. If it was not in the book, tell the child/ren that you will help them find the answer, and do. Remind the children that ants can bite and sting. Be careful that you do not step on their colony.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; builds awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic, and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.

Discovery

Make an ant farm and bring in ants to observe. There are directions in the back of the book. Make sure to only make it temporary and put the ants back when you are done.

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

Set out three small plates in a place where you have seen ants. On one put sugar, on the second put a piece of fruit, on the third put bread. Occasionally check to see if the ants have found the plates. When they have, invite the children to observe the ants. Which food do they seem to like best? Can you see their path, where are they taking the food?

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

Music and Movement

Have the children line up on their hands and knees and crawl like ants in a line. They can crawl into their hole (under the table), over a stick (a chair), around a rock (another chair).

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Sing the Ants Go Marching One by One https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pjw2A3QU8Qg

Teach the children La hormiguita, a traditional Mexican fingerplay

La hormigita                                           The Little Ant
Andaba la hormiguita            A little ant was walking               ( Fingers climb up arm)
Juntando su comidita             Gathering her food                       (Cup hands together)
Le coge un aguacerito            When along came a rainstorm        (Use fingers to show rain)
Que corre para su casita       So she ran towards home             ( Run fingers down arm)
Y se metio’ en su covachita     And dove straight into her anthill                                                             (Place fingers under your  lap)
English translation by r. trevino

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

Blocks

Cut out ants from ant page and put in the center. Ask the children if they can make tunnels for the ants to go inside of.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; begins to determine whether or not two shapes are the same size and shape.  AND Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; demonstrates increasing ability to set goals and develop follow through plans.

Art

Let the children help make ant antenna’s by twisting together two pipe cleaners. These can then be stapled to a sentence strip and used in dramatic play.

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

Let the children cut out food pictures and glue them to a paper plate. When they are dry, hang several on the wall with a sign that says No Ants Allowed!

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

Put out damp sand and let the children experiment making tunnels.  

Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; grows in abilities to persist in and complete a variety of tasks, activities, projects, and experiences.

Library and Writing

Review with the children that ants live in groups called colonies. In the colony everybody has a certain job. Explain to them that in your child care center everybody has a job also. On a piece of paper write the names of the people in your center whom the children know. Ask the children to explain what this person’s job is and write their definitions beside. When you have made a list, you can have the children make thank you cards for each person and deliver them.

Ms. Ada-she cooks our food

Ms. Edna-she drives the bus

Ms. Ivette-she sits with me until my Mommy comes if I am sick

Ms. Annette-she helps me get off the bus

Ms Janey-she types letters for my parents

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops a growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.  AND Literacy/Early Writing; develops an understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes.

Dramatic Play

Make ant hats by attaching pipe cleaners to a sentence strip. Encourage the children to play ant colony and everybody work together to prepare a meal.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

 Math and Manipulatives

Copy the ant picture page and cut out the ants. Make sure you make, black, brown, and red as these are the colors of real ants. Also make several other colors. On index cards write the color names using magic markers that correspond. Ask the children to sort the ants and put them on the correct color name. Ask them which colors they think real ants are. What other color ants are there? Have them choose their favorite color ant and copy the color name onto an index card and then cut around an ant and color it.   As a group look at the cards and decide which color is the most popular.

 Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.  AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Outdoor Play

Ask the children why they think ants like to join people on picnics? Bring out a picnic basket, blanket, dishes, and let them use plastic food or sand to make food for a picnic. Children can pretend to be ants and crawl up and sneak off the food crumbs.

 Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; develops increasing abilities to give and take in interactions, to take turns in games or using materials, and to interact without being overly submissive or directive.  AND Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; participates in a variety of dramatic play activities that become more extended and complex.

Transitions

Tell the children that you are going to pretend that the dots on the dice are ants.  Let the children take turns rolling the dice and counting the number of ants that they see.

Mathematics/Numbers & Operation;demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.

Dear Parent-today we read a book about ants.  Though ants are interesting to watch, please remind your child that ants bite and to keep a distance between themselves and an ant colony.

Resources

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