Chickens to the Rescue!

I take Owen to story time at our local library.  Today we heard this fun story, it was new to me and I loved it!  It was full of silliness and opportunities for children to join in; but mostly I loved it because it would be wonderful to introduce or practice the story elements – Problem and Solution.

Basically this story is about the Greenstalk’s – a farm family who run into a myriad of problems, but luckily their flock of chickens always comes to the rescue, until the end of the story.  The events take place through a week, so it is another chance to reinforce the names of the days of the week.  This would be a fun story to act out.  You could make headbands for the characters using pictures like these.  You could make as many chickens as you’d like to include more children in the retelling.

These directions are to make a mask, I would just staple the chicken head onto a paper strip for a headband.

Here are the farmer, his wife and their two children from the story.   There is also a duck and a cow.

Here are printable versions:

chicken hat

cow duck

Greenstalk’s

After reading this book a few times I would show the children pictures of the problems that occur in the story, and each of the solutions.  After reviewing story elements, I would remind the children that most stories have a problem that needs to be fixed.   I would encourage the children to make two columns of pictures – ones that show a problem, others that depict a solution.

Here are sorting words:

sort

Printable pictures

problem and solution

I put the problem and matching solution on the same page, if you print them just cut them apart.  I always glued pictures like these on construction paper to make them a little more durable.

After sorting the pictures into the problem or solution columns,  I would ask the children to match each problem with the right solution.

I would discuss all the ways these chickens were problem solvers in the story.  I might lead into a writing activity:

writing

Since this book ends with the pigs solving the final problem it would be easy to do a new story as a class, thinking of problems that the pigs might solve.  Of course it would be titled Pigs to the Rescue!

At story time today the preschoolers made this very simple chicken project – it was fast and very cute.  If you plan to display the children’s writing these would look great next to their writing paper.

The comb was made by tracing Owen’s hand, then we folded it in half and taped it to the back of the small (6 inch) paper plate.

One child at story time had read this book before, as soon as the librarian turned to a picture of the group of chickens he started yelling “Chickens to the rescue!”  Soon they were all joining in.  It was so fun!

Farmer Bob

The school year is coming to an end and I know you are all immersed in assessment and report cards, and all that goes along with this very busy time.  I still have so much I wanted to share!!!!

I just came across a copy of my farm book.  My husband grew up on a farm, and the farmer we made looks suspiciously like him, so I called the book Farmer Bob.

The farmer slipped into this pocket on the front of the book, and the children could take him out to use as a pointer, or just to play with on each page as they read it!

The barn doors open and the children drew farm animals inside, and labeled them phonetically.

Along with this seed page we did lots of seed activities.  We read The Tiny Seed, and This is a Seed.  We sequenced the growth cycle, and planted seeds.  One of my favorite activities was soaking lima beans for a few hours, then having the children examine all the parts of a seed – the seed coat, the stem, the root, the food for the plant.  The lima beans were a great size and easy to examine.   Of course we used scientific tools like magnifying lenses and safety glasses.

I realized that most of the children from our suburban community had visited farms, and had quite a bit of knowledge about farms – but their understanding was that a farmer’s job was to take care of animals.  I tried to give them information about how the farmer’s job really is to grow or produce food.

My brother in law who is still farming usually visited my class bringing photographs and lots of farm toys – like cultivators, hay balers, and all kinds of farm “tools.”

We put the big tractor wheel on with a brad fastener and stuck bits of sticky foam to make heavy duty tread.  The projects and discussions just helped raise the children’s awareness of the jobs that people do on a farm, and some of the equipment they use.  Of course we followed up with a visit to a farm!

 

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