This month in our kindergarten readiness time, we are reading Mary Had a Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. The popular nursery rhyme is set in a beautifully illustrated setting. The result is an endearing interpretation of the little lamb that followed Mary to school and how the teacher handled it. Below are a sampling of activities your child may participate in throughout the month.
Intro to book (predicting)
The teacher will tell the children the title and author of the book before opening it. She will ask the children to describe what they see in the picture on the cover. Without showing them the inside of the book, she will ask what they think the story is going to be about and what do they think will happen to the little girl and lamb on the cover. The teacher will record predictions. The group will then turn the pages, without reading them. Do the children have any new predictions?
The book says that the girl’s name is Mary. The teacher will ask the children what they think the lamb’s name is. The group will vote for their favorite name, with the teacher making a chart of what name has the most/least/zero votes?
The teacher will write each child’s name on a dry erase board. She will call out a child’s name, asking them to come up and make their name into a lamb by drawing a lamb shape around it.
Who would you choose to be? (feelings)
The teacher will ask the children what kind of farm animal they would like to be and why. She will make a graph of their responses.
Who would you bring to school?
The teacher will ask the children if they could bring any kind of farm animal to school, what it would be and why?
Animal Sorters (sorting)
The teacher will put 20-30 farm animal sorters in a container with a lid. She will shake, shake and shake the sorters. She will roll them out on the floor. The children will scramble to sort. They can sort by animal, color and what the animals eat.
Who am I? (DP/observing)
The children will take turns imitating farm animals (they can pick the animal or the teacher can draw from can). The teacher will have the other children try to guess what animal is being acted out. The group will discuss what they think each animal eats (classifying/ habitats/charting); what do they think a lamb would eat. She will chart results.
It weights how much? (observing/weighing)
The teacher and the children will read the book together. Using scales and farm animal sets, the teacher will have one child put a certain number of animals on one side of the scales. She will then have another child try to balance the scale by placing animals on the other side. Everyone will get a turn.
Farm animals as pets (classifying/animal habitats)
The teacher will ask the children if someone gave them a farm animal for a pet, would they keep it? What would they feed it? Which one would they choose, if they could pick from all farm animals? Why would they pick that one? What would they do with this pet?
The teacher will laminate the written name of items that are in the story and mount them on the dry erase board. She will then laminate the pictures (from Slap Jack cards), put tacky tape on the back of pictures, and place them in the “magic can”. She will ask the children to pick a picture out of the can and place it next to the written name on the board.
Who said it? (listening)
The teacher will record the children reading the story. Each child will read a page.
The teacher will have the children draw a picture of their favorite part in the book. She will have them tell her about it and she will write their dictation on the bottom of the page.
The teacher will ask the children if they think the story is real or is it pretend. Could a lamb really follow someone to school? Why/why not?
The teacher will ask the group why they think the children in the story laughed when they saw the lamb at school. She will ask them how they think the lamb felt when the children in the story laughed. Has anyone ever had someone laugh at them? Did they like it or not? What did they do about it?
Writing a new story (language)
The teacher will ask the children what they think would happen if the lamb did something funny, such as played a trick on the children, after the children laughed at him. They will write a story, with a different outcome.
The teacher will start a new story and each child will add the next line (it doesn’t have to rhyme):
______(who?) had a _____ (what size?) lamb.
It’s fleece was _____(color) as _____ (item).
And everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to _____ (where), one day
Which was against the rules.
It made the children _____ (do what?) and _____ (do what?)
To see a lamb at _____ (place names from line 4).
My favorite part is (recall)
The group will read through the story together. The teacher will have each child open their book to their favorite page. She will ask them why it is their favorite. Toward the middle of the month, she will ask them to tell her what it says on that page.
The teacher will write individual words (Mary, had, a little, lamb) on cardstock. She will hold them up, one at a time, and have the children write the word on their “homework paper” with pencils.
Alphabet soup (letter recognition)
The teacher will spread out the Q-Z foam letters in the middle of the circle. She will explain to the group that it’s soup…alphabet soup. She will then write a letter, name it, and ask a child to find that letter in the soup. The teacher will then write a farm animal’s name, name it, and then have the children take turns finding a letter to spell out the animal’s name.
The lamb’s tail (listening)
The teacher will ask the children to listen closely to the story and when they hear the word “lamb” they are to wave their hands back-in-forth, in front of their bodies, like a lamb’s tail. Are their tails moving quickly or slowly?
Recognizing site words
The teacher will write “lamb” in large print. As she reads through the story, she will not read the word “lamb,” but instead, she will hold up the written word, pausing for the children to say “lamb.” (Variation: the teacher may announce what level of voice the group will use on each page.)
The teacher will record someone reading the book. She will put the book and recording in the reading area. She may also record any of the above conversations for the children to listen to again.