CLAMDIGGERS: April’s Literacy Enrichment Collection

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CLAMDIGGERS: April’s Literacy Enrichment Collection

Winter’s done, and April’s in the skies; Earth, look up with laughter in your eyes! ~ Ch.G.D.Roberts

Rain, rain, rain is usually the song April sings as it welcomes Spring and its bright greenery, vibrant flowers, and new baby animals. It almost appears to be magical how the Earth transforms from gray and white to a rainbow of colors everywhere!

April’s Magic can encourage your flights of fantasy into the world of Fairy Tales, inspire your creative side during Cloudy & Rainy days, empower your Earth~Saver awareness, and strengthen your respect for the beauty, diversity and power of Trees.

Opportunities for creative expressions in art, science, math, social studies, and writing are included in April’s activities.

Each and Every Unit of the Literacy Enrichment Collection

The Components of each Unit include:

  • colorful Front & Back covers
  • a Contents list
  • an Introduction Sequence
  • a Master Materials List
  • a Thematic Literature List of fiction& nonfiction trade books
  • an overall Lesson Plan
  • Projects/Activities with Construction Instructions written on an Independent Reading Level for Grades 3 ~ 6

Ready, Set and Go!

Preparation for each of these units can be done  by following this sequence:

  • Read over the Materials & Tools needed for each project in the Master Materials List ~ a component included with each Unit.
  • Gather the Materials & Tools together specific for each Activity ~ card-stock, printing paper, scissors, glue, pencil, colors, etc.
  • Protect your work space with a plastic, washable tablecloth, newspaper, or butcher paper ~ the latter invites doodling & checklists.
  • Read all the steps included in the Sequence part of the Instructions provided for each Project/Activity BEFORE beginning.
  • Keep a copy of these Construction Instructions close by, so you can re-read as you create.
  • Clean up your work space when you have completed what you wanted to do.

What Is the CLAMDiggers’ Literacy Enrichment Program?

Click on this link for more information on CLAMDiggers’ Literacy Enrichment Program:

CLAMDiggers: An Enrichment Program for Upper Elementary Learners

Read on for more Details on each Unit, but, first, take a look at April’s Poetry Posters to provide each Unit with a little focus.

CLAMDiggers’ April Poetry for the Literacy Enrichment Collection

During my years in the classroom, I discovered the best way to focus my students’ attention for new content was a choral read of thematic poetry written with colorful images.

April’s five poems are printed onto five thematic 8 ½ x 11″ images you can enlarge if needed. The font sizes are large as well.

You can access this PDF freebie in Mz. Bizzy Lizzy Biz’s TPT Shop by clicking on this link:

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/CLAMDiggers-April-Poetry-Posters-6686360

Fairy Tales

Everything you look at can become a fairy tale and you get a story from everything you touch. ~Hans Christian Anderson

Week One of CLAMDiggers:  April’s Literacy Enrichment Collection is a 33-page unit entitled Fairy Tales. 

It contains the following Projects/Activities:

  • Fairy Tale Kingdom Board Game includes how-to make directions & placement Diagrams using a File Folder with Images/Labels,  Game Cards, Treasure Coins & an Answer Scroll
  • Pixie Puffs & A Magic Potion are recipes to make & eat while playing the Fairy Tale Kingdom Board Game

General Supply List: file folder, card-stock, printing paper,  paint sample cards, small yellow sticker dots, small toy animals, feather, star cluster, large button, ribbon, rubber bands, scissors, ruler, glue stick, large paper clips, baggies, recipe ingredients, cooking & serving tools/ utensils

You can access the Fairy Tales unit by clicking on the link below:

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fairy-Tales-6686403

Clouds & Rain

There is a way out of every dark mist, over the rainbow trail. ~ Navaho Song

Week Two of CLAMDiggers: April’s  Literacy Enrichment Collection is a 40-page unit entitled Clouds & Rain.

It contains the following Projects/Activities:

  • Cloud Study Booklet includes informative text, images & an observation log with  Comprehension & Vocabulary Fill-In components
  • Rainy Day Activities Poster provides directions, images and multiple Rainy Day Activities

General Supply List:  card-stock, printing paper,  binding materials, pencil, colors, scissors, ruler, glue, poster board, removable tape

You can access the Clouds & Rain unit by  clicking on the link below:

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Clouds-Rain-6686444

Earth Day Every Day

Nature does nothing uselessly. ~ Aristotle

Week Three of CLAMDiggers: April’s Literacy Enrichment Collection is a  36-page unit entitled Earth Day Every Day.

It contains the following Projects/Activities:

  • Eco ~ Desk Set: Upcycle Chipboard, Tin Cans & A CD includes a Recyclable Diagram with How-To make directions
  • 5 Upcycle ~ Action Lists calls all  upcyclers to create projects with Activity Cards for  reusing milk jugs, plastic bottles, tin cans, old socks and more
  • Earth Walk Journal: Track Your Carbon Footprint provides Earth-Savers  an opportunity to document  their progress with template inserts on tips for eco-friendly actions

General Supply List: chipboard boxes,  contact paper, metal cans, old CD, scissors, tacky glue, felt, printing paper, cardstock, hole punch, O-ring, laminate, pencil, binding materials

You can access the Earth Day Every Day unit by clicking on the link below:

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Earth-Day-Every-Day-6686518

Arbor Day: A Celebration of Trees

Shade outstretch, wide and free; Grow well, good tree! ~ N.B. Turner

Week Four of CLAMDiggers: April’s Literacy Enrichment Collection is a 31-page unit entitled Arbor Day: A Celebration of Trees.

  It contains the following Projects/Activities:

  • Hello, Trees !  includes a collection of information formatted in cards, a diagram, leaf identification, tree sort game with  comprehension & vocabulary components
  • Hug A Tree Book provides the reader with informative text for writing & illustrating a book
  • Make A Twig Frame comes with sequential directions and a visual How-To diagram
  • Tree of Life Wall Sculpture gives step-by-step instructions for constructing a 2 (or 3) dimensional tree sculpture

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, binding materials, pencil, colors, construction paper, paper scraps, glues, tape, stapler, scissors, twigs, cardboard, photo, heavy book, brown kraft/butcher paper, brown paper bags, decorative papers

You can access the Arbor Day: A Celebration of Trees unit by clicking on the link below:

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Arbor-Day-A-Celebration-of-Trees-6686564

 How About a Bundle ?!?

You can  access CLAMDiggers:  April’s Literacy Enrichment Collection units individually or as a 4-Unit bundle for your convenience & savings.

Just click on the link below:

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/CLAMDIGGERS-April-A-Four-Unit-Bundle-6686675

AND….as an added appreciation bonus…..

Here are two PDF freebies to thank you for reading!

A Home Reading and Writing Guide

Let Me Show You What I Learned-AltAssess

Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!

 

Copyright©2021BizzyLizzyBiz

 

Enriching the FLC with your First Grader’s Play & Creative Arts Skills

Welcome to Part Two of The FLC First Grader’s Series

Your 6-year-old’s Learning & Language Skills have been growing exponentially since last year. (See https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/first-graders-learning-language-skills/)

First Grade is encouraging lots of new vocabulary words -seems like everyday a few more are expressed with accuracy- in your serious, yet exuberant learner. S/he loves using them during play.

And, although s/he seems to prefer structured, play-by-the rules activities, free, unstructured play time is just as important, as always, for your child’s healthy growth & development.

PART TWO :  Play & Creative Arts Skills

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. ~ Albert Einstein

Have you noticed your 6-year-old is becoming more aware of  others and prefers playing in groups (with a new best friend everyday)?

Are his/her self-control skills improving?

Is s/he  willing to share and work out problems with others more frequently-withOUT adult supervision- (even though tattling is still an issue)?

Does s/he LOVE showing off her/his talents?

Is his/her Pretend Play becoming more elaborate with the desire to use REAL objects NOT toys-food, clothing, vacuum cleaner ?

Are blocks, Legos, paints, poems & songs in the Top 10 List of her/his favorite things to do?

Lesia Oesterreich, a Human Sciences Specialist at Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, offers a few ideas to continue encouraging the growth & development of your child’s Creative Arts & Play Skills at home:

  • To help promote an understanding of rules: make connections by playing simple table games like cards, dominoes, tic-tac-toe & some board games like Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Qwirkle
  • To show how to work together: solve jigsaw puzzles, plant a garden, make a snack, perform household chores
  • To encourage a sense of accomplishment : provide opportunities to weave, build models, cook, make crafts, practice music, present plays & puppet shows

However, if your child attends a public school without the benefit of daily recess…...

Structured vs Non-Structured Play Time

Although your youngster is becoming quite fond of the predictability of routines both at home, school & after-school activities, child development experts continue to agree on the value of daily, unstructured play time. Click on the link below for a great article on this :

https://habyts.com/screen-time-limits-benefits-unstructured-play/

If you think your child is not  getting some unstructured play time during the school day, you might want to check with the district/state guidelines.

l found it very disappointing that as of March 2018, according to an article written by Irena Schunn for the Capital News Service (“Virginia Makes Play Time A Priority in Elementary Schools”),  only 8 states in the USA REQUIRE elementary schools to provide daily recess (not counting PE).

Speaking of PE, the Council on Physical Education for Children and the National Association for Sport & Physical Education, both agree that PE does NOT have the benefits of good, old-school recess:

Recess allows ” elementary children to practice life skills such as conflict resolution, cooperation, respect for rules, taking turns, sharing, using language to communicate, and problem solving in real situations.”

Oh Yeah-we could all use some recess, I’d say…..

Then, there’s the “hindering of children’s Executive Functioning”……and this is a biggie in your child’s growth & development.

HUH?!?!?

And what is “executive functioning”? Hint…..it may or may not be part of a CEO’s job description…. But, seriously……

The formal definition: “The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.”

Here’s an in-depth explanation with a list of what these functions are and do:

http://www.ldonline.org/article/29122/

Ellen Wexler’s 2014 article, “Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children’s Executive Functioning” was contributed to the site educationweek, with several unsettling findings.

Researchers have found that working to achieve goals  using the self-directed executive function -planning, decision-making, manipulating information, and switching between tasks- develops mostly during childhood.

Too much time spent in structured activities, according to a study by psychologists at the University of Colorado & the University of Denver, interfere with children’s, specifically 6-year-olds, ability to make decisions, work towards goals, and regulate their behaviors.

In other words, children NEED to spend time deciding what they’re going to do with their time.

SOME time is NOT a free-for-all…..EGADS!!!!

And I Do This How????

Unstructured Play-MarkusSpiske
Unstructured Play-MarkusSpiske

I’m NOT advocating dis-enrolling your child from his/her favorite soccer team, dance class, art session, music lesson, or theater group. On the contrary, ONE, not several, of these extracurricular activities is a wonderful opportunity for many reasons (which I will get into later on in this post…You Know IT~).

First of all, the benefits for “free time” are: cultivating independence, encouraging imagination, boosting creativity & strengthening problem solving skills. (K. Ginsburg MD, pediatrician @ the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia)

Instead of turning on the video-sitter, try these non-structured~no rules or guidelines other than safety, of course~ activities:

  • Whatever the weather (within safety reasons): GO OUTSIDE ~ splash in puddles, make snow sculptures,  capture bugs, hike, climb & swing in trees, ride bikes & scooters, construct forts & houses, stir up some stone soup, gather leaves, hop & skip around.
  • Outside Games: Hide & Seek, Swinging Statues, Hopscotch, Simon Says, Scavenger Hunts, Hula Hoop, Jump Rope, Jacks, Tic-Tac-Toe w/ rocks & sticks, Blow Bubbles, Ball Games~catch, 4 square
  • Create & Get Messy: Indoors & Outdoors~ water & mud play (bakery, cafe, sculptures, buildings, roadways), paint, chalk, leaf collages, rock formations
  • But I’M BORED!!!!!! :Time to brainstorm  how not to be without too much adult “interference”……What worked for my mom and me ~ “Find something to do or I will find something for you to do…….”

Of course. there are some Pretend Play scenarios that can be accommodated for Outdoor play, especially if a tent or playhouse is available….

“Pretend I’m A…….. & You’re A……..”

Almost all creativity requires purposeful play. ~ Abraham Maslow

Have you noticed a change in your 6-year-old’s Pretend Play?

OR do you need to get that Pretend Play started? Check out my resource in BLB’s Library for 8 Helpful Websites by clicking on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/8-helpful-pretend-play-websites/

Yes, the scenarios are becoming more involved ~ with engaging others, with creating “plot” layers, with inventing props. You could have a budding playwright, set designer, actor, director and/or screenwriter on your hands.

You might want to set your phone on video……

Although his/her imagination is “running wild”, understanding the difference between real and make-believe is taking hold. Using real objects while doing real activities during “pretend” play is becoming more important.

BLB’s Shop has a colorful PDF product for 6/7 Pretend Plays complete with props, signage,  & templates ready to download & print. Just click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/simple-pretend-plays-proptemplates/

You might, also, want to read the “6 or 7 Simple Pretend Play Scenarios & Materials List” section with an easy-to-use table  of this post: https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/kindergartners-play-power/.

BLB’s  Library has a resource to help you & yours with a more complex approach to Pretend Play. It offers 6 Scenarios involving more characters engaged in more involved activities with performance ideas & tips. Just click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/your-growing-childs-pretend-plays-reality-show/

I’ve, also, created matching Invitation Templates for each Scenario. Just click on this PDF link to download & print:

PretendPlayRealityShows Invites

But, it’s NOT all about Pretend Play at home…..

Continuing Literacy Through Play At Home

Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher & pupil are located in the same individual. ~ Arthur Koestler

Whether you are homeschooling or enhancing your child(ren)’s education at home, there are many ways to include play as a learning strategy.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children states  young learners need to begin their days with time to :

“develop self-regulation; language; cognition; social competence; opportunities to explore the world safely; emotional control; symbolic & problem-solving abilities; emerging skills……play is the engine that drives their learning”

I had planned to include a TON of information regarding this, but, instead, I’ll supply links to the articles I found written by experienced, primary educators. There are many! Here’s a few listed alphabetically by author, not importance:

Sarah Cooley’s http://firstgraderatlast.blogspot.com/2016/08/why-i-am-bringing-play-kitchen-back-to.html

Renée Dinnerstein’s https://www.investigatingchoicetime.com/

Kaplan Early Learning Company’s http://www.kaplanco.com/blog/post/2016/03/08/how-to-incorporate-active-play-into-math-and-literacy.aspx

Andrea Sabean’s https://thekindergartenconnection.com/10-ways-to-incorporate-more-play-in-the-classroom/

Olivia Wahl’s https://medium.com/@heinemann/why-every-kindergarten-and-first-grade-school-day-should-begin-with-inquiry-and-imaginative-play-323f110e64ec

Some Play~Pretend, Free, Open-Ended, Structured, Non-Structured, etal~, though, can be influenced by the imaginations of centuries-old minds~think Fairy Tales….

Can That REALLY Happen in Real~Life???

Come On, Tooth Fairy!-MohamedAbdelgaffar
Come On, Tooth Fairy! MohamedAbdelgaffar

Fairy Tales are indeed alive & well in your 6-year-old’s vivid imagination. Think~ Tooth Fairy visits!

A major experience in a First Grader’s life is the losing of his/her baby teeth, especially those two front teeth. As a first grade teacher, I had to “help” out many of those dangling pearls, mainly for fear the children would swallow them.

One of the best, and most endearing, as well as imaginative, class-books we wrote was entitled, “What the Tooth Fairy Does with My Tooth”. From giving it to babies to crushing it into fairy dust (crushing?! OH NO!), each child had an interesting perspective on what happens to her/his tooth.

Here are a few engaging Tooth Fairy Tales to share with your “toofless~wonder”:

  • Bear’s Loose Tooth by K.Wilson & J. Chapman is a rhyming (YAY) story about a young bear experiencing his first loose tooth while he & his forest friends are eating lunch. He wonders how he will eat without it. The illustrations are soft, yet bright forest colors.
  • Tooth Fairy’s Night by C. Ransom is a Step-Into-Reading book your child will enjoy reading with/to you. The text shares the tooth fairy’s daily evening rituals & travels. The illustrations are colorful & cheerful renderings of her starry nights.
  • Loose Tooth by L.M.Schaefer & S.Wickstrom is a funny,  My First I Can Read book about a young boy trying to get his stubborn, loose tooth to come out (NOOO not the string on a doorknob!!!!). The illustrations are comical in a cartoon-style.

But, on a more serious note about those make-believe tales…..

To Tale or Not To Tale……

Tales of all kinds are part of all cultures~fairy tales, folk tales, tall tales. Many have been verbally handed down to new generations from thousands of years ago. These tales hold within them legends of bravery, trickery, good and evil. Aesop, a Greek storyteller who lived 2600 years ago, engaged his listeners with talking animals that taught life lessons.

I, like millions of other children, was raised with fairy tales told by the Grimm Brothers and/or adapted by Disney (loved the music!). Whether read to me or seen on the big screen, these 1000s-of- year-old tales, full of wonder & magic, engaged my imagination, and, still do.

However, not all children are fans of this genre. My son preferred the whimsy & humor of Dr. Seuss (an absolute FAV of mine) and stories with talking animals.

Child experts agree most fairy tales (except maybe The Three Little Pigs & Goldilocks’s visit to The Three Bears’ cottage) shouldn’t be shared with children under 6-years-old.

What do you think?

The Fairy Tale Debate

It's Raining Rainbow Bubbles-MyungWonSeo
It’s Raining Rainbow Bubbles-MyungWonSeo

Lisa Lipkin, a New York-based storyteller & author of Bringing The Story Home: The Complete Guide to Storytelling for Parents~a very informative read~ shares her Pros & Cons in “The Fairy Tale Debate”:

Yes! Yes! Yes!

  • Fairy tales have resourceful characters, who figure out how to outwit the villains & their dastardly deeds.
  • The “hero” characters make good choices in spite of the odds.
  • The tales show: faithfulness to a belief or character; kindness & patience are rewarded; and teamwork brings success.
  • The imagery in fairy tales is fantastical with enchantments, talking animals, and super-human courage.

NOOOOOOOOO~Too Scary!!!

  • The villains, who are scary & evil, do cruel & heartless things.
  • Sometimes, those villainous deeds~full of greed & spitefulness~go unpunished.
  • There are ominous forests full of secrets, spells & magic.
  • Some of the phrasing in fairy tales is scary & foreboding.
  • Heroes & villains use gratuitous violence.
  • Men & women are stereo-typed~think beautiful, helpless princess needs to be rescued by a handsome, white knight…..

 Goodreads has several parent reviews of Ms. Lipkin’s book.

Here’s the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1904131.Bringing_the_Story_Home

Yes, I Want to Read Fairy Tales to My Child

Harvey Karp MD, a pediatrician & author of the humorous book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, shares a few ideas ( with my two cents) on how to read & anecdote those “questionable” fairy tales:

  • In the beginning of the story, interactively engage all the senses when describing the characters, using the pictures, expressions, questions, & prior knowledge.
  • During the middle of the tale, talk about the “lesson(s)”~there is always a few~ you want to teach and/or have your child realize as part of the lesson.
  • Towards the ending~it’s usually happy~ make sure to include an emphasis on the little helper characters~think the mice in Cinderella~ and use your voice as a tool for understanding the roles of the different characters.
  • Wait a while before introducing stories with children at-risk~think “Hansel & Gretel”, “Bambi” (I got so hysterical, my mom & I had to leave the theater), “Little Red Riding Hood”, etc.

Love Fairy Tales, but want to challenge those stereotypes with your child(ren)? Joanna Parkes shares a great PDF using drama to do just that:

https://ark.ie/downloads/Far_Away_From_Me_Classroom_Activity_Pack.pdf

So….Speaking of “Drama”…..

“All The World’s A Stage…”

Art is the Literacy of the heart. ~ Elliot Eisner

I See An Artist-BekahRussom
I See An Artist-BekahRussom

Expressions of creativity~ ART~ can be recognized in many forms. 

Bringing to life any abstract, imaginative thought with one’s physical being is, to me, a method of art.

Whether using a paintbrush or a cooking utensil, the inventive energy of an artist becomes a reality.

Your youngster will use this energy to explore, discover, and, then, interpret her/his world in a unique & inspired voice. Nurture, nurture, nurture it.

If you’ve got a perfectionist or a reluctant artist in your midst, a good book might help him/her relax into the world of art. I gathered a few reads into a book list available in BLB’s Library. Click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/creative-arts-book-list/

The benefits of encouraging artistic expression are, not only numerous, but also, essential to your child’s healthy growth & development.

10 Benefits of the Creative Arts for Your Child

Lauren Martin offered “10 Reasons Why Arts in Education Is So Important for Kids” in an article she posted in 2014 for learningliftoff.com.

  • Creativity
  • Improved academic performance
  • Motor Skills
  • Confidence
  • Visual Learning
  • Decision Making
  • Perseverence
  • Focus
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability

I’m just  listed them, but you can read the in-depth version by clicking on the link below plus a few other articles explaining the significance of the arts for your child’s growth & development:

   https://www.learningliftoff.com/10-reasons-arts-in-education-important-kids/

 http://folsomcasharttrail.com/the-trail/blog/10-reasons-why-art-and-music-are-critical-for-our-youth

https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/how-the-arts-benefit-your-children-academically-and-behaviorally

However, there are things you can do at home to enrich your child’s life with the Arts.

Art Enrichment At Home

As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight. ~James McNeil Whistler

In all my decades of teaching children, I NEVER met a child who didn’t enjoy creating an expression in art.

Whether visually through painting, drawing, &/or sculpting or performing through dancing, singing, &/or playing an instrument, every child has an artistic  talent.

As a parent, you can strengthen your child’s growth & development by including into your home some of Jay Davidson’s ideas he suggested in his article for the Child Development Institute.

Performance Arts

Listen to My Song-Pezibear
Listen to My Song-Pezibear
  • Act out stories with props & costumes
  • Save old Halloween costumes & your old dress-up clothes, shoes, etc.
  • Listen to music at home & in the car that is not your usual fare.
  • Check out different music from the library.
  • Dance & sing together.

Visual Arts

My Vision on Paper-Zela
My Vision on Paper-Zela
  • Stock an “Art Studio” at home with a variety of tools & materials.
  • Create a scrapbook together of photos, memorabilia, drawings, etc.
  • Look for an Arts Program after school, on weekends, during vacations, and as a camp. Your local community parks & rec center can help with this.

Want more info? PBS Parents has a great Creative Arts article. Just click on the link below:

http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/six/creativearts.html

 

Whew! I hope you found some useful information & ideas for your child’s Play & Creative Arts Skills. Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!

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