The Pout-Pout Fish!

Pout Pout Fish I am so grateful to the Kohl’s Cares Program, because they are sharing so many wonderful, quality books for only $5.  I hadn’t had a chance to read this new book they are offering, and I just love it!   It is so much fun to read stories that have a catchy refrain that makes children want to join in and chant along. You just can’t help but join in … “I’m a Pout-Pout fish, with a pout pout face, so I spread the dreary wearies all over the place!” refrain The illustrations are really engaging too.  The colors are bright and the characters have personality.  The story is told in rhyme, and includes some great new vocabulary words like tentacles, grimace, and locomotion.  But my favorite part of this book is the way it shows how your feelings affect other people. Young children are usually very egocentric, it can be difficult for them to see another point of view, or understand other people’s feelings and reactions.  In this story. while the Pout Pout Fish was spreading dreary wearies all over the place, other ocean animals were trying to encourage him to cheer up.   The whole idea that when you have a “pout pout face” you ARE spreading dreary wearies is a good introduction to a discussion about how our feelings, and the way we act affects other people. I thought it would be fun to make a chart – or list – of other types of feelings, and what you would be spreading if you were experiencing those feelings.  Here are a few ideas … chart You could recite the chant, replacing Pout Pout like this: I’m a Giggle Giggle Fish, with a Giggle Giggle face so I spread lots of laughing all over the place. You could also encourage them to think of positive behavior traits too – a Friendly Friendly Fish, or a Sharing Sharing Fish, etc. Here are some clipart pictures of fish. If you click on the pdf link after the pictures you will find enlarged copies.  You could laminate these, or put them on necklaces and pass them out to children.  They might work in pairs or as a whole group to think about what trait each fish has – friendly, pokey, angry, helpful, etc.  and then what they would “spread all over the place.”    Then they could chant the phrase from the book about their fish. Fish page1 Fish page2 fish pics     Later the children could choose what kind of fish they would be and create it by cutting out a construction paper fish or drawing a picture.  Then they could think and write about what they would be spreading “all over the place.”   Here are a few samples of writing papers you might like to use. writing1 Or you could post their writing next to fish they draw or make: 2 on pg I noticed that the children in my class often had trouble filling in the blanks with this type of writing – if they couldn’t read all the words they weren’t sure what they were supposed to write, and where to write it – so I like this form a little better. Writing no pic   I’ve been having fun reading this book to my grandchildren!.  I hope you get a chance to pick up a copy at Kohls and that you’ll enjoy reading it to the children in your life too!


10 Little Rubber Ducks

I was so happy when I found out that Kohls was releasing more of Eric Carle’s picture books in their Kohls Cares for Kids program.  These are such wonderful hardcover picture books for the bargain price of $5!  If you don’t live near a Kohls you can find them online!

I already owned a copy of this book, but it was one of those that I had not taken time to develop lessons and use.  When I reread it I was so excited about all the possibilities!

1.  I loved the whole idea of talking about HOW AN AUTHOR GETS AN IDEA.  Eric Carle shares a news article that inspired this book on the inside cover.  He read about a cargo ship containing toys that dumped into the ocean, and decided he just had to make it into a picture book.  It would be really fun to look for simple news stories that the children might adapt – or to create a story as a class based on something in the news!

2.  This book is wonderful for RETELLING and acting out.  I found some clipart pictures that you might be able to use, either staple pictures on headbands, or punch holes to wear as a necklace – or even glue them onto construction paper for the children to hold.

Here is a link to full sized pictures:

Necklace clipart pdf

3.  Along with retelling – this book makes great use of DIRECTIONAL TERMS!  You could choose one child to be a duck – or 10, and have them go in the specified directions.  This would be a great time to label North, South, East, West in your classroom – if you can figure it out!  I am a bit directionally challenged myself!  I do have a good concept of left and right though!


4.  This book would be a good tool if you have children still working on basic NUMERAL RECOGNITION.  I am sharing some pictures of numbered ducks, but it would be even more fun to get small plastic ducks (they come 2 in a pack) from a dollar store or somewhere, and put numbers on them!

Number ducks

5.  COUNTING BACKWARD!  You could also use these pictures or the plastic ducks to practice counting backward from 10 – 0.

6.  When you first read this book it is obviously a great way to introduce or reinforce ORDINAL NUMBERS!  Here are the same ducks labeled with ordinal numbers.

Ducks ordinal

Then I had an idea – you could run off copies of a box for each child and cut a vertical slit in it. Each child will cut out these strips, overlap them and glue them together.  Then they could cut out the numbered ducks and put duck 1 in the box under the word 1st, etc.

This is kind of large – you might just want to use it to demonstrate or play with as a group – you could probably reduce all the pages on the copy machine to make a smaller project for each child!

out of box

7.  In the story they packed 10 ducks in each box.  This would lead right into practice COUNTING BY 10’s!

I had a couple of ideas to use with this story.  You could give each child a copy of the cargo ship and just let him/her glue on 5 boxes labeled 10, 20, etc.

Or you could give them pictures of 5 boxes full of 10 ducks each.  After cutting out the boxes they could glue on the numbers counting to 50 by 10’s on the back, and then glue them onto the boat.  That would give them a more concrete idea of what it means to count by 10’s.

Count by 10s

8.  Of course this book would tie in to an OCEAN UNIT very well because the ducks fall into the sea and met a variety of ocean animals.

9.  There is some great VOCABULARY too!  I loved the  “Chuckedy-chuckedy-chuck” sound of the rubber duck machine.  I would spend a few minutes talking about “bob” and “drift.”  The more I read this book, the more I love it!!

10.  One of my favorite parts of this book is the wonderful STYLE and VOICE!  A technique that Eric Carle uses is to repeat the last few words of some paragraphs, I would tell the children that when I read this book it touches my heart!

He repeats phrases like “whistles across the sea,”  “10 ducks overboard!” and “only water and sky.”  It is a very effective way to include emotion in this story!

If you don’t already own this book I hope you get a chance to pick it up at Kohls!  And I hope you love it as much as I do!

The Ocean

When I began to put together a unit for my Kindergarten class I usually tried to begin with a few simple facts that I wanted them all to learn about the subject.  Then it was easy to organize the books, projects and activities that I wanted to use, to support these important facts.  My Ocean unit evolved and changed over the years, but basically I wanted the children to learn that ocean water is salty and has waves, there are lots of fish and animals in the ocean, boats travel in the ocean, shells come from the ocean, and there are many plants growing in the ocean.

I put these words into the pocket chart at the front of my classroom.

We read and reread these sentences throughout the unit.  In my files I had lots of different versions of these sentences that had fewer words, or simpler sight words, depending on the time of year I presented the unit, and the readiness of my class.  Sometimes each sentence began – The ocean has waves, The ocean has fish, etc.  Another version was – Waves are in the ocean, Fish are in the ocean, etc.  I was able to reinforce specific sight words by including them in these sentences.  Reading pocket charts like this gave us great opportunities to talk about things like spaces between the words, all kinds of punctuation, using picture cues, pointing to the first letter of each word, etc.

The children each made a book with one page for each of these sentences.  Because we read and reread the pocket chart, every child was successful at reading their book.

To illustrate this cover the children drew a fish on a separate paper, an did a blue paint wash over it.  Then they cut it out – outside their crayon lines and glued it on the cover of the book.  Their books were already stapled with the Title on the top of the cover.

When I typed the words for the book I left 2 spaces between words, to help the children see the individual words.  Every day each child read his/her book to me, one at a time, pointing at the words.  For this page I gave them 3 colors of paper in graduating sizes, they cut the waves and added details.  Along with this we did some experiments with salt water and we made a wave in a bottle – using mineral oil, blue food coloring and water in a large soda bottle.

I picked about 6 types of fish that I wanted the children to be able to recognize and identify.  Roxie Heart helped me teach about them.

I got my information from simple books about fish.  Here are examples of what I taught about different fish:

Zebra fish can change colors

Puffer fish swallow water or air and puff up to scare off other fish

Sawfish cut up other fish into little pieces to eat them

Flounder are flat fish that like to lie on the ocean floor, both eyes move to one side of their body

Lantern fish have lights along the sides of their bodies

Roxie came and talked about the facts and names of different fish, then I showed them simple drawings to reinforce these facts.  After that we read the information book, noticing where Roxie learned her facts.  After reading we tried to remember all the facts Roxie shared with us.  Then I asked them to draw and write about 3 kinds of fish.

On this page of our book we used scrap construction paper to make 3 of the fish we learned about, adding details to show which fish they were, and then they labeled them phonetically.

We live in an area of Michigan with lots of lakes, so we talked about boat safety too.  We read books about different kinds of boats and did activities with float and sink, etc.  This boat opened up to show a passenger wearing a life vest inside.

We read Eric Carle’s A House for Hermit Crab and on the shell page of our book we made a hermit crab, and added all the things that were in the book, labeling with phonetic spelling.

I loved the conversation that went on as they tried to remember all the things the Hermit Crab added to his shell.  If they really couldn’t remember them all they could go back and look at the book.  We talked about how good readers go back and re-read if they can’t remember a fact; but I wanted them to try to remember on their own first.

For the last page of the book we used pieces of crepe paper or strips of tissue paper as seaweed.

Here are the words for this book

new ocean book

I used one of Dr. Jean’s songs to teach the names of major oceans, here are the words:

Here is the song to print:

Oceans song

One of the books I read was Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen.  It was a good story to reinforce characters, I also used it for Writer’s Workshop when we were talking about story endings.

As a follow up to this book we made a simple boat and added the characters to retell the story.  Sorry I don’t have pictures – I gave the children 9 x 12 brown paper folded horizontally (hot dog fold)  They traced a canoe shape and cut it out, then they could hole punch and sew sides, or staple them.
They drew the characters on this paper, then cut out the boxes.
boat characters
Then they each retold the story to a partner, or to me.
I set up our dramatic play center as an Underwater Adventure where the children studied seashells and plastic ocean animals.

We also sang the song There’s A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea.  After the children knew the words we made a flip books.  I cut the verses apart, each part was a different length and I stapled them together into a little book – then the children added the pictures that matched each verse.

We had motions for each verse, and when we sang it we included a wing, on the flea, on the frog …

Hole in sea

hole in sea pictures

Each year I offered 2-3 parent/child activity days when I asked every child to bring an adult to school for a few hours.  I tried to include activities across the curriculum to give parents some ideas about what the children are learning through fun projects, and to give them some ideas of things they could do at home.  Oceans was one of the themes I sometimes used for parent/child days.  I tried to vary the themes different years because I often had repeat parents.  Every year I did one evening activity that was geared more to things Dads might like (I know that is stereotypical but we did get more Dads at night.)  The evening themes rotated between Cowboys, Outer Space and Pirates.  Some of the pirate and ocean activities overlapped.   I am sharing these ideas because you could use most of them as a center or activity in the classroom, most of them don’t require a parent’s help.

Here is the invitation for our Ocean Day.


When the parents and children arrived they got a check-off list of activities.

Here is a printable copy


Here is a short explanation of these centers:



I made 3 sided signs that gave directions for each activity to set at each center.  Here are copies of some of the directions that we used.

ocean directions

more activity directions


I also saved some various recording sheets and masters that I used for these activities.  I hope you might find something you can use.

Sink the ship

more fish clipart

sight words


List for fill in story

fill in book

fill in story

Estimation record sheet

fish boxes

fish measure

fish words 1

fish words 2

Food chain

For the food chain we made a string of linked paper chains, and glued on increasing larger fish from the bottom to the top, and added this word as the top.