A Fish Out of Water, by Helen Palmer

When a boy does not follow the directions on how to feed his fish, things turn into a big problem. This is a good book to use to introduce a new fish tank into your room, or to help the children notice the fish you have. It is also a reminder about the importance of following directions.

Materials

  • Animals for pet graph
  • Fish bowl and five simple fish
  • A live fish in a tank or even just a simple bucket

Vocabulary

  • Veterinarian (a doctor who takes care of animals)
  • Big, bigger, biggest/smaller, smallest

Before Reading the Story

Talk to the children about pets that they might have. Make a graph of pets that the children have. Use the animals for the pet graph but make sure to leave a space or two incase someone has an unusual pet.

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

Reading the Story

As the boy keeps moving the fish to different containers, ask what is happening (the fish is getting bigger). When the boy puts the fish into the bathtub and says this tub holds my father… ask the children what they think is going to happen. After the tub scene, let the children make some suggestions on what to do next.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to describe and discuss predictions, explanations, and generalizations based on past experiences.  AND 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.

After Reading the Story

Continue your discussion about pets that the children might have. Ask them if they help care for their pet. (My Daddy and I walk my dog after we eat dinner. I put my cat in my room at night. My sister’s lizard has to have the light on when it is cold outside). Talk about how we have to be gentle with pets so that we do not hurt them.

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

Discovery

If you have fish in your room, this would be a good day to let the children record/draw the fish. Help them notice all the details of the fish (its fins, its little flippers. How he opens and closes his mouth). If you do not have fish in your room, consider setting up a tank or bowl. A beta fish is very easy and goldfish are not expensive. I have also gone fishing and brought in a 4-6 inch catfish for the children to observe for a day or two.

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

Music and Movement

Sing Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Pop! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTlbZL8XKa8   Make a fish bowl and five fish. With each verse remove a fish.

Five little fish are swimming in the water
Swimming in the water, swimming in the water
Five little fish are swimming in the water
Bubble, bubble, bubble, POP!
Four little fish are swimming in the water
Swimming in the water, swimming in the water
Four little fish are swimming in the water
Bubble, bubble, bubble, POP!

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

Ask the children to make themselves big. Now make themselves bigger, and biggest. Make yourself small, smaller, and now smallest. Make yourself long, longer, longest.

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

Blocks

Otto grows so big that he needs a very long and deep tank to hold him! Ask the children to use your blocks to build a tank that might hold Otto.

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

Art

Give the children a copy of the fish bowl and encourage them to draw their own fish inside.  After they are finished with their drawing, ask them if they would like to tell you anything about their fish.  Write their response on the bottom of the page.  (My fish name is Sparkles.  I feed my fish just a little, my fish swims in the circle).

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.

Library and Writing

Write each child’s name onto an index card.  Try to use the same size letters for each child.  Put the name cards on the table and encourage the children to put in order from shortest name to longest name.  For younger children just pick 2-3 names for them to put into order of shortest, the same, and longest.

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

Sand and Water

Water Play today.  Add measuring cups and bowls of various sizes.  Ask the children if they can guess which container will hold the most water? Encourage the children to count how many scoops of water it takes to fill a container or bowl. Encourage them to scoop and count.

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

Dramatic Play

Encourage the children to be animal owners for any stuffed animals you might have.  What does this animal need for food?  Where will it sleep?  Does it need any special equipment to help take care of it?  Can the child use his/her imagination to figure out what is needed?  (My dog needs a leash, can I use the red yarn?  My cat wants a toy, can I get the ball from the block center?  My tiger needs to be in this cubby/box because he bites).

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

Math and Manipulatives

Encourage the children to use building manipulatives today. As they build make comments about how big their structure is, can you build it bigger? Who can build is the biggest one on the table?

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

Outdoor Play

Pretend to be fish swimming in the water. Then do other animals that the children have as pets. Let the children suggest what other animal walks they would like to do.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.  AND Physical Health & Development; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise to that enhance physical fitness.

Transitions

Make several shapes that you are working on (oval, rectangle, and triangle). Cut out the shapes in three sizes, big, bigger, biggest. As the children move to the next activity ask them to show you a shape and a size. (Kerry, can you find the big triangle, Roger can you find a bigger triangle)?

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

Resources

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Millions of Cats, Wanda Gag

What happens when only the prettiest cat can stay? And how is it decided which cat is the prettiest?

Materials

  • Cat head
  • Pictures of cats from magazines or calendar
  • Turkey baster (or sponge if you do not have a turkey baster)
  • Stuffed cat and box big enough to go inside of.

Vocabulary

  • Lonely (feeling sad because needing a friend)
  • Fuzzy (to have fluffy hair/fur all over the body)
  • Quarrel (to fight)
  • Homely (not pretty)
  • Kitten (a baby cat)
  • Whiskers (cat whiskers help them to see in the dark by feeling what is beside them)

Before Reading the Story

Bring in a picture or pictures of cats for the children to look at. Talk with the children about cats, who has a cat at home? How many feet does a cat have? Do they know what whiskers are? Talk to them about how to care for a cat and how to be safe with a cat. Talk about how cats do not like to be handled roughly and may bite if you try to hold them or restrain them. Most cats do not like to be pet on their lower back and abdomen. Cats will bite or scratch if they are scared.

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.

Reading the Story

Emphasize the quantity of cats. A million fills the whole page; a million would not even fit in our classroom!

Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrated increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.

After Reading the Story

Bring in pictures of real cats cut from magazines or calendars. Put them up on the wall and let the children show which cat they like best. Give each child a sticky note with their name on it to put beside their favorite cat picture. Literacy/Print Awareness; develops growing understanding of different functions to forms of print such as signs, letters, newspapers, lists, messages, and menus. Then count with the children how many children liked each cat. Take another sticky note and write the number on it and put beside the cat. (Look, 4 children liked this cat best).

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

Discovery

Put pictures or a non-fiction book of cats in the center today for the children to be able to examine. As you look at the pictures with the children, use words to describe cats; calico, striped, furry, whiskers, paws, etc).

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

Music and Movement

Sing or chant Naughty Pussy Cat

Naughty Pussy Cat    (Hold up pointer and move back & forth)

You are very bad.      (Continue to shake pointer finger)

You have butter on your whiskers                                                                  

                                      (Pretend to pull on your whiskers)

Naughty Pussy Cat-SCAT!     (When you get to SCAT! pretend to shoo                                          cat away)                                                                                                            

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

Blocks

Give the children a basket of counters (bears, unifix cubes, insects). As they build encourage them to add the counters to their construction. You can then talk about millions, many, or lots.

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

Art

Give each child a cathead to cut out and paint with watercolors. These can be attached to a sentence strip to make a cat hat. On the cat hat, ask the child what they would name their cat and write it out for them. Then use your finger to point out the name and/or the letters.

Literacy/Print Awareness & Concepts; shows progress in recognizing the association between spoken and written words by following print as it is read aloud.

Have the children draw a house on a piece of paper. Then let them use a stamp pad and their finger to put “cats” in the house. Ask them to put four cats in their house, then two more. Ask them to put hundreds of cats and millions of cats in their house.

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. AND Mathematics/Numbers & Operations; develops increasing ability to count in sequence to 10 and beyond.

Library and Writing

Ask the children to make a self-portrait and then tell you something that they like about themselves. (My grandpa says he likes my freckles, I got pretty hair, I am strong and can beat up my big brother).

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness if self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences.

Sand and Water

The cats drank up all the water in the story. Show the children how to use a turkey baster to suck up the water in your water table. They can then fill up a bowl or transfer the water from one container to another. If you do not have a turkey baster you can use a clean sponge.

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

Dramatic Play

Make several cat head hats by stapling the heads onto a sentence strip. The children can use these to act out the story in the dramatic center. Invite as many children into the center today who want to join in the play. Talk about how millions of cats would be very crowded! Bring in cat props; a can of cat food, a brush, a ball, a stuffed cat, etc.

Literacy/Book Knowledge and 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

Put out a bowl of small counting objects (bears, crayons, pom poms). Ask the children to grab a handful. Before they put it down, ask them if they can guess how many they have picked up. Then have them put the items down and count them. Did they guess more, less, or correctly?

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

Outdoor Play

Play Cat and Mice. The teacher is the cat/it and chases the mice/children. The children can run to their home (a safe area/tree) but if the cat catches them they are eaten and must sit out for several minutes.

Social & Emotional Development/Self Control; demonstrates increasing capacity to follow rules and routines.

Transitions

Bring in a stuffed cat and a box. (If you do not have a stuffed cat, use any animal). Tell the children you are going to play a game called Where’s the cat? As the children go to the next activity have them take turns following a placement direction. (Kerry can you put the cat on the box, Roger put the cat in front of the box, Tammie put the cat in the box). Use; under, over, in, out, in front of, behind, next to, over.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; builds an increasing understanding of directionality, order, and positions of objects, and uses words such as up, down, over, under, top, bottom, inside, outside, in front, and behind.

Dear Parent- Today we read a story about cats. If you have a pet at your home, let your child help care for it (feed, walk, brush). Tell the story of how you chose your pet to become a member of your family.

Resources

Accompanying Book;  Everything Cats:What kids Really Want to Know About Cats, Marty Crisp

JANBRETT.COM has several nice cat coloring pages you could use instead of this cat.

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