Leo Lionni’s picture books all contain wonderful stories, extended vocabulary, great illustrations and usually a very pertinent moral lesson. I read lots of his books throughout the year.
It’s Mine is a great example of all of these qualities – it is the story of 3 “quarrelsome” frogs who could not get along – each of them claimed that their own personal space belonged just to themselves – one claimed the air, one claimed the land and one claimed the water. This book fits in so well when you need to have some discussions about sharing and getting along, but it also fits into the science curriculum under air, land and water. Best of all it has clear characters, easy to identify setting, specific problem and resolution; and a definite beginning, middle and end – that makes it a great story for retelling!
There are so many absolutely wonderful books – it has always been a problem for me! I want to read them all to my class – and every year new, wonderful stories are published. But I learned that rereading a story multiple times turns that book into a wonderful teaching tool. I learned this when I began to experiment with Elizabeth Sulzby’s Kindergarten Literature Program that I used at the beginning of the year. I found that when I read and reread a story it became part of our classroom culture. I would hear children using the vocabulary from the book, referring to the characters and making connections between that story and others we read later. Of course I couldn’t reread every book lots of times, but it was really worthwhile to do!
After I read It’s Mine! and we discussed it a bit we acted it out together.
I turned the story into a simple script – you don’t actually have to write it out all the time – but I did it for this book and it made reusing it every year very simple.
Here is I needed to act out the story:
I enlarged frog clipart and ran it off on green construction paper. I made the pictures into necklaces – you could also staple them onto a headband.
I put an initial on each frog for Milton, Lydia and Rupert. (Also reinforcing beginning sounds!)
I made the toad a bit bigger and ran it on tan paper.
For the air I cut out a large white cloud from construction paper.
For land I cut out a large tan oval, big enough for the children to step on.
For the water I cut out a shape with waves along the edge – also large.
For the rain that came down I cut strips of blue crepe streamers.
Several children could hold a streamer and make it “rain” in the story.
We usually acted out a story several times, if the children were really engaged and loving it I sometimes repeated it until each child had a turn to actively participate. I always left the materials out for the children to use on their own later.
I did a follow up project for this story – the children wrote about how they would solve a problem, or ways they could share things – I would be specific and brainstorm ideas with the group.
Then they would make this frog – they would draw a picture to go with their writing on the tummy of the frog.
I cut a large piece of green paper in half for each child, traced a curve on the top (you might not need to do that) and glued a white paper onto it for the illustration.
For each child I cut 2 rectangle arms and a strip for a tongue – my paper cutter was my friend!!
The children cut the bottom of the green up the middle to make 2 legs, glued on the arms, cut out triangles, cut a white circle, then cut it in half for the eyes and bent the arms and legs.
I often put these on display with a heading – Kindergartners Can Solve Problems! or We Know How to Share!
Here is a printable copy of the story.
I also came across some pictures of frog art projects I did with my classes.