For pre-k this week, I decided on a Groundhog Day/Hibernation theme. I agree with Miss Sarah that most of the Groundhog Day books I saw were pretty long. I only have each pre-k group for 20 minutes, so I can’t stick on one book too long. I started with a brief explanation of Groundhog Day, which segued nicely into Miss Sarah’s Groundhog Day flannelboard. The kids LOVED it! Here are pics of mine (forgive the groundhog–he’s not as artistically rendered as Miss Sarah’s!
Little Groundhog and his burrow. (I didn’t use velcro. I just held the puppet in my left hand and put the shapes up with my right hand.)
I decided to use shapes for my story. Little Groundhog took a deep breath, mustered up his courage, peeked his head out of his head and saw…(is that a groundhog?) No! It’s a (eeek!) triangle! And he ran down into his hole. He told his mama what he saw and she said “You silly groundhog! That’s not a groundhog, that’s a triangle! You’ll have to go look again.”
So Little Groundhog took a deep breath (take deep breath) mustered up all his courage and peeked out of his hole again and saw….(is that a groundhog?) No, it’s a (eek!) square! And he ran down into his hole. He told his mama what he saw and she said “You silly groundhog! That’s not a groundhog, that’s a square! You’ll have to go look again.”
I won’t post the ending here because I followed Miss Sarah’s directions for it, and my flannel looks pretty much the same. Thanks again for the idea, Read It Again!
Groundhog Stays Up Late, by Margery Cuyler, Illustrated by Jean Cassels. Groundhog thinks hibernation is BORING! Despite warnings from his friends, he decides to skip it altogether. However, Groundhog learns that staying up all winter long isn’t as fun as he thought it would be. Lonely, cold, and hungry, Groundhog decides to play a trick on his friends by telling them that spring has come early! In what is apparently the grand tradition of Groundhog Day books, this one is just a teensy bit long, but I liked the pictures and thought it was very cute. It also went nicely with my hibernation books, since the bear is very grouchy when Groundhog tries to wake him up.
To transition from the “groundhog stuff” to the “bear stuff”, I used a small bear puppet (pictured above) to lead the song “Bears are Sleeping” (to the tune of Frere Jacques). I instructed the kids to do the first verse quietly and the second verse loudly. I pretended that the bear was sleeping in my arms during the first verse, then by the end of the second verse he woke up!
(Softly) Bears are sleeping, bears are sleeping
In their caves, in their caves
Wonder when they’ll wake up, wonder when they’ll wake up
In the spring! In the spring!
(Loudly) Time to wake up! Time to wake up!
Sleepy bears! Sleepy bears!
Now it is springtime, now it is springtime!
Wake up now! Wake up now!
Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman. Could you sleep through a party in your room? During his hibernation, Bear has a number of uninvited guests in his cave. Mouse, Hare, Badger and others talk and share snacks around a fire just inches away from sleeping Bear. Despite the noise, Bear continues to sleep until a stray pepper fleck makes Bear sneeze! This is such a good read aloud book! The illustrations are colorful, large, and easy to see. The rhyming text has a nice rhythm to it, the kids liked the repetition of “the bear snores on”. It’s also a nice surprise to see this phrase change when the bear wakes up and starts to cry because he is left out of the party. Finally, Bear is awake, but “his friends snore on.” Note: This book does say “burp”. I had minor misgivings about it, but it turned out to be no big deal. I just didn’t emphasize it, which is fine because it is directly followed by “the bear snores on”, which you can emphasize.
Old Bear, by Kevin Henkes. I really love Kevin Henkes. Really. Ever since I read Kitten’s First Full Moon, I was hooked. This book certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s a nice, simple story with breathtaking illustrations. I love how each of the seasons are depicted in Old Bear’s dreams. The daisy sun, butterfly leaves and blueberry rain in the Summer were particularly popular with my audiences. I liked using it as a last story because of its slow, dreamy tone. There were also some moments of participation, to keep it from being dull. I invited the kids to yawn with Old Bear as he yawned, and stretch when he stretched. Finally, I asked them if they thought it was still snowing when Old Bear woke up.