Jack and the Beanstalk


One of my favorite things to do for Earth Week and Spring was to plant seeds and watch them grow.  Large lima beans work great for this, and before planting I always soaked beans in a small amount of water for a few hours, and allowed the children to investigate and explore them.  When the beans are softened it is easy to remove the seed coat, and to open them up and see the roots and shoots inside.  Here is a great recording sheet I found on Pinterest for the children to label the parts of a bean.

LabelPartsofaSeed

And of course studying beans leads so nicely into the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk!   I found another great idea on Pinterest that combines Jack and the Beanstalk and planting beans!

greenbeankindergarten

Here is a page of castles – the children could color them, add cotton balls or fiberfill clouds, then tape them onto pencils or straws and push them into the cup where they planted bean seeds.

castle project jpg

Fairy tales are a wonderful way to encourage children to retell stories.  It’s always fun to read lots of different versions, and then compare and contrast them, but I love just telling fairy tales first.   It is always great to have pictures to use on a magnet or flannel board.

jack-beanstalk-flannel-board (1)

jack-beanstalk-flannel-board2

jack-beanstalk-flannel-board 3

Thanks to pre-kpages and Scrappin Doodles for these images!

Here is a link to a simplified version of Jack and the Beanstalk that I liked to tell.

Story copy

I also love to have the children act out stories, here are some pictures of the characters you could use for headbands or necklaces.

Characters 1

Characters 2

Here are some pictures that could be used for sequencing or retelling the story too.

sequence  You might put these pictures onto writing paper, and ask the children to write a sentence about what is happening in each picture.

story pics

My grandson in Kindergarten this year has been learning about persuasive writing.  I thought it would be fun for the children to discuss and write about whether Jack was right or wrong to take the hen and magic harp from the giant.

Jack

Here are some giant footprints.  They could be copied onto construction paper or cardstock and tied onto the children’s feet to retell the story, or they could just be cut out and used to measure things or distances in the classroom.

Giant feet

footsteps

I hope you have a great time celebrating Spring and loving the earth!

The Gingerbread Man!

Fairy Tales are one of my favorite kinds of stories to retell, and I especially love telling stories with a refrain that encourages the children to chime in.  Of course these stories are also great for acting out.  There are so many different versions of The Gingerbread Man, and so many take-off stories like Gingerbread Baby, etc.  Here are a couple that I used.

The characters are often different, and sometimes the story ends in a different way, but the basic idea is that they bake a gingerbread man and he runs away.

Here are some pictures of the characters from one version that I used to make necklaces or headbands for kids to act out the story.  Sometimes I reduced the size of the pictures and mounted them on popsicle sticks to make stick puppets too.  You could also glue them onto an upside down paper lunch bag and make puppets that way.

Here is a little game that can be used to retell the story.  After coloring and cutting out the Gingerbread Man and Fox, fold them so they stand up and can “move” along the gameboard.

Here are pictures that can also be used to sequence and retell the story:

Along with our reading, acting out and retelling of this story we made cinnamon applesauce Gingerbread Men ornaments (equal parts cinnamon and applesauce – then cut with a cookie cutter).  We also cut out gingerbread men shapes and used paint and markers to decorate them.  Afterward. each child would write a short sentence about something or someone that he or she could outrun.

I would make a display of this writing along with their paper decorated Gingerbread Men.  On cooking day we sometimes made real Gingerbread men to eat too!

I know that I often felt like I was in this story right about this time of year saying  Run, Run, as fast as you can!

I hope you are able to slow down and enjoy this special time with your children!

Red Ridinghood

Red Ridinghood was another Fairy Tale that I loved to use with my Kindergartners.  I usually told this story using props before I read it.  I always found that my whole class was really paying attention when I told a story, and I could look around at their reaction when I wasn’t looking at the pages of a book.  I liked having simple props or pictures to show while I told them the story.  These pictures fold in half and stand up.

Here is the basic story that I told my class:

story

Here are printable copies of the stand up figures:

Red and Hunter

Mom and Gma

wolf

cottage 4

wolf bed 1

Sometimes I used these sequencing pictures.  You could show these while you tell the story.  You could use them as a follow up activity to help the children retell the story.  Sometimes I gave the children a few of the pictures and had them write a sentence about what was going on in that part of the story.  Sequencing pictures like this is great for practicing the beginning, middle and end of stories – or putting events in order.

My class loved to take turns acting out the story too!  I had a red cape, left over from Halloween for Red Ridinghood.  The Woodsman held a paper towel tube for an axe.  We used a basket from housekeeping, and I made a paper headband for the wolf.

The wolf face was fastened on a headband strip.  I used paperclips to hold it on instead of stapling the headband so it could fit a variety of children.  I loved hearing the children acting out the story – they used such great language and remembered so many details.

When I told the story I always said that the wolf shoved Grandma in the closet.  When we read the book by James Marshall the children always noticed that in his version, the wolf ate Grandma.  I like the G-rated version better myself!  There are lots of versions of this story available and it is fun to read and compare them.

This story also lends itself very well to talking about strangers.  This was part of our Social Studies unit so it fit right into our curriculum.  I made a simple outline of a child wearing a hooded sweatshirt and each child glued his/her face onto the picture.

Then I gave them a picture of a wolf and talked about how he was a stranger.

Then we talked about how scary the wolf looked and that I knew they were all too smart to talk to someone that was so scary.  We talked about how strangers don’t always look scary, but that it really is not safe to talk to anyone that they don’t know unless they are with a grownup that they trust.  So we glued a picture of Bob the Builder on the back side of the wolf picture.  I thought that Bob the Builder was a recognizable, friendly character to represent a stranger that did not look scary.

I have started telling Fairy Tales to my grandchildren.  It’s even better than sharing them with Kindergartners!

The Little Red Hen

When my own kids were small I used to tell them to “remember the Little Red Hen,”  any time they needed some encouragement to cooperate or help with a job.  The timeless message of this fairy tale – that everyone needs to work together and help, makes it an essential story for Kindergarten!   I also thought it was important to expose my Kindergartners to classic stories like this.

There are so many versions of this story that are available at libraries and bookstores.  The main difference I found was the cast of characters.  The setting, problem and overall theme was usually the same.  There are a few copy-change books that have been published.  I used one called Who Will Help published by Creative Teaching Press, I bought it from a teacher’s store.

The theme was the same but it was a mouse who asked for help (if I remember right) and he was making applesauce instead of bread.  It was a great step by step story about the process from picking the apples to making applesauce!  It is really interesting to see if your children can make that text to text connection when you read a similar story.

Like most fairy tales, The Little Red Hen is great for acting out.  It was one of the stories that my class acted out for our end of the year program.  I tried to avoid stories with one main character because I didn’t want to have one child stand out as a star – so I took a little liberty and the main characters in my version were the hen and one of her chicks.

Here is the adaptation that I used to act out this story:

The Little Red Hen

I made headbands with pictures of the characters stapled to the front.  Usually I cut out the animals for the headbands, but these pictures would work just as well!
I would copy them onto cardstock – or glue them on with rubber cement (works great!).  Then I would ” bubble cut” around each character, and laminate it,  to make it stiff enough to stand up when stapled onto the headband.

Here are these pictures to print:

Hat pictures to copy

Here are pictures that you can use to sequence the story – or you can enlarge and color them to use when you are telling the story to your class.  You could also have the children write a caption for each picture to retell the story.

These pictures have a pig and duck instead of a cow and dog.  No problem!  It would be fun to make a class story using different animals!  Here they are to print:

sequencing pictures

Check out the post about the Three Billy Goats Gruff too – you might want to change the titles on those projects and ask your children to write about their favorite part of the story, or use the little booklet to sequence and write about it.

We had a big discussion about things that Kindergartners can do to help – both at school and at home.  The children made a cut and paste red hen, then they wrote about one way they could be helpful.  I loved doing craft projects like this with my class – they had to follow step by step directions to make the hens, and these projects gave them lots of great fine motor practice using scissors, tracers, etc.  Developing those fine motor skills really makes handwriting an easier process!

Here it is to print:

Writing

We always did a cooking project to go along with this story too!  Sometimes we made yeast rolls, other times we baked biscuits.  You could even buy frozen bread loaves and the children could form them into rolls.   You could make biscuits with Bisquick, or even just bake the refrigerated roll biscuits!  The important part of the cooking project is including all the children, and finding opportunities to ask “Who will help me …”

Here are some bread machine roll recipes (really yummy!) and the recipe I used for rolls made from scratch.

Bread machine rolls

roll recipe

So, the next time you are looking for a little help around your house, you might want to remind your own family of the little red hen!

The Three Little Pigs

Another favorite fairy tale that goes along with the farm unit is The Three Little Pigs.  I loved acting this story out so much that we included it in our end of the year program.  My husband cut out 3 house shapes from masonite, and some parents helped me decorate them to be the straw house, the stick house and the brick house.  They were large but light weight and the children could easily carry them and hold them.  They had a cut out window for the children to peek through.

I wrote a simplified script of the play that we used for the program.  The characters in this version were:

Mother pig

Straw pig

Stick pig

Brick pig

Peddler

Big Bad Wolf

Here is the script I used:

The Three Little Pigs

Here are the props I used when I told the story to my class.

Here is a reproducible that children can use to retell this story.

Here are pictures to sequence this story.

Here are printable versions:

3 Pigs printables

3 Pigs project

I made up a song for this story to the tune of 3 Blind Mice

Three little pigs, three little pigs

Each built a house, each built a house

The big bad wolf came and huffed and puffed

The straw and stick houses were not so tough

Only the brick house was strong enough

For three little pigs, three little pigs.


Three Billy Goats Gruff

My class always took a field trip to a nearby farm in the spring.  There are so many wonderful stories and activities that tie into a farm unit.  It’s also a great way to review characteristics of animals, living and non-living things, healthy food, and the jobs people do on a farm.

I loved to have my class act out stories, and there are several fairy tales featuring farm animals that are great for acting out.  Although there are only a few characters in the Three Billy Goats Gruff, I love the language that is used and it is really easy to sequence and retell.

When I introduce a fairy tale I often like to just tell it the first time, instead of reading it from a book.  I just feel like the children are so engaged when I am telling a story, and it is so easy for me to make eye contact when I am not reading.  Here are some props I used to retell this story.  They are double because they fold in half and stand up – that way kids all around the circle get a good view.

I got these pictures from this resource book:

You could easily use just one image and make a stick puppet or put a magnet or sand paper on the back to tell this as a magnet or flannelboard story.

When my children acted out the story – after hearing it a few times, we actually used a classroom table for the bridge, and they trip trapped over the top – on their hands and knees, with the “troll” hiding underneath!

We used these pictures as necklaces for the characters:

I had 3 sizes of stuffed animal goats, and a monster puppet that we used to retell this story sometimes too!  It’s fun to retell in lots of different ways.

These 4 pictures can be used to sequence the story, or to go along with an oral retelling.  I reduced the size of these pictures for a writing project.  The children cut the pictures out and glued them into a booklet in the correct order.  Then they wrote a sentence or two describing what was happening in that picture.

For example –

“The littlest Billy Goat Gruff went across the bridge.”

“The second Billy Goat told the troll to wait for his big brother.”

“The biggest Billy Goat Gruff pushed the troll into the water.”

“The goats went across the bridge and ate the green grass.”

I photocopied these two pages back to back, then cut them in half and stapled them to make a booklet numbered 1-4.

Each child also need one set of these pictures – there are 2 sets on each page.

I liked this project because it gave the children a chance to retell the story, and write sentences, but they didn’t have to create the idea this time.  It was fun to see which children added descriptive language like “trip trap” or “mean, ugly troll.”

Sometimes I just asked the children to write about their favorite part of the story instead of sequencing the parts.  I had lines at the bottom for the children to write, I left them off so you could add the type of lines your children are used to writing on.

Here are printable copies of the props and writing papers.  I hope you have fun acting out stories with your class – hey – you might make a great troll!

3 Billy Goats printables

3 Billy Goats favorite

Retelling The Three Bears

I already shared a book about the Three Bears that my children always made to retell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but before we made that book we read and retold the story.  I used these props to tell the story to my class:

These were 2 sided, laminated pictures that stood up.  I used to sit on the carpet with the children at circle time and I put out these figures as I told the story to them.  They were always amazingly quiet when I told a story – they were great when I read to them too, but they were so engaged when I was telling a story.

The 3 Bears is a great story to introduce the story elements because it has very clear cut characters, setting, problem and solution.

When I told them the story I tried to give them the language they would use when they were acting it out.  I usually chose a few children and acted it out at circle time – I was the narrator and the children added in the dialogue.  After we acted it out once or twice the children started taking more ownership of the story.  Then I left out the story telling props for the children to use at free choice time.  I loved hearing them use the story vocabulary and great expression!

These were designed to be masks, but I punched holes and strung them to be worn as necklaces.

When we acted out this story I found 3 different sized bowls in the classroom – I think the smallest one was a margarine dish.  We also had 3 different sized chairs – the smallest was a light stool that was easy to tip over when it “broke.”  For the beds I took 3 colors of roll paper and cut them in 3 lengths – the longest for Papa Bear was about the height of the children.  I drew a very simple pillow on the end of each paper.  Then I taped all the papers on a wall so the children could stand against them when they were pretending to lie in bed.  For this story we usually just acted it out in the middle of our circle.  Sometimes I had all the children scoot back to leave a “stage” area in the front.

The children loved having a chance to be one of the characters and really took ownership of the story.  My favorite published book of The Three Bears was James Marshall’s book.  I loved how Papa Bear yelled “Patooey!” when his porridge was too hot!

We acted out and retold Little Red Ridinghood and the Three Little Pigs in very much the same way.  Starting out with familiar stories like these really helped the children feel confident taking on the roles.

Another important reason that I really believed in acting out stories was to help the children see other points of view.  All young children are very egocentric, but as they begin school they need to be able to have empathy and understanding of other children’s needs too.  Lots of behavior problems can result from a child who just doesn’t understand that his needs or wants don’t take precedence over everyone else’s.  We need to help children think about other people, other perspectives, other points of view.  Taking on a role as they do when they act out a story – or get involved in dramatic play – can really make a difference.

I will be sharing a few other stories that my classes liked to act out!

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