Happy New Year! January is the perfect time to practice calendar work with your child or students. The book When Lucy Goes Out Walking: A Puppy’s First Year by Ashley Wolff provides a great platform to kick off learning or practicing months of the year.
My daughters both enjoyed this book. They are dog lovers (although we don’t have one ourselves… yet!) and liked seeing the different activities that puppy Lucy does in each month. They also liked the rhyming text that could be easily incorporated into a poetry unit.
Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade
Read through the book once with your child. Afterward, give your child a calendar and ask them to flip to each new month as you read Lucy Goes out Walking. (If you only have a digital calendar, you could pull that up on a screen or you could purchase a hard copy calendar at the dollar store.)
Go through the calendar together, practicing the names of each month in order. Discuss the special events, birthdays or holidays you celebrate during various months each year.
Count how many months there are in one year (12).
If you speak more than one language, or want your child to learn a second language, this is a great opportunity to practice the months of the year in that language. Check out these fun songs for months of the year in Spanish and French.
Go through the months of the year as a class. Give students a print-out of the 2017 calendar and ask them to find dates that you say – write out a list in advance. For example, you could say, “Draw a star on April 5th” or “Circle October 1st.” Review as a class.
Play this song for your students. Have them point to the month as the song sings each one. (Start at 0:15 to skip ad for the Learning Station).
Use this free resource for calendar practice as morning work, a learning station activity, or small-group or whole-group practice.
My preschooler really likes to listen to me read aloud poetry. Something about the language and rhythm of poetry captures her interest. She will snuggle against me on the couch and contentedly hold her favorite teddy bear as I read through an entire anthology of children’s poetry.
And I’m really enjoying reading poetry aloud!
So I’d like to give a challenge to parents and teachers out there to read aloud more poetry at home or in the classroom. And to make the challenge easier on you, I’m going to provide a list of 5 books of children’s poetry our family has especially enjoyed. 🙂
1. Polar Bear, Arctic Hare: Poems of the Frozen North by Eileen Spinelli
This is my favorite book of children’s poetry my daughters and I have been reading over the last month. The poems are short enough to hold my two-year old’s attention but detailed enough to prompt questions and discussions with my preschooler. Bonus: Further details at the back of the book for each of the arctic animals featured in the poems.
2. Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt by Patricia C. McKissak
This is a lovely compilation of poems based on the incredible African American quilt art that comes out of Gee’s Bend in Alabama. Can be used for an interdisciplinary unit on African American history and art. Bonus: An introduction to the book explaining the discovery of the quilt artwork and the history of Gee’s Bend.
3. A Spectacular Selection of Sea Critters by Betsy Franco
Concrete poems that would be a wonderful addition to a poetry unit for any elementary school classroom. (Concrete poems are created by formatting words in an image that represent meaning. Lots of fun for kiddos!) The images are bright and bold and fun to read. My preschooler LOVES this book. Bonus: A list of books and websites to discover more about sea animals.
4. Animal Poems by Valerie Worth
A fabulous book to showcase different styles of poetry and robust vocabulary. To be honest, the first few poems in the book didn’t “wow” me, but the later ones really make up for it. My personal favorite is the porcupine poem, whose illustration is featured on the book’s cover.
5. Prayers for Children by Eloise Wilkin
A close family friend gave us this book as a gift when we were expecting our first child. Our daughters love reading this book and I enjoy the classic prayers written by famous poets including Ralph Waldo Emerson. This book has many formats of poetry and beautiful illustrations.