Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

Letter I & J

Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)

Mystery Bag objects: play ice cream, play juice, real jar of jam

Because we’d already talked about the letter, I introduced each story or song by having them guess what I- or J-word it was about.

should-i-shareStory: Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems (ice cream).  The kids were really split on whether or not Gerald should share.  They all appreciated Piggie sharing, though.  I wonder if that’s because it’s from Gerald’s perspective and it’s always better when someone shares a treat with you than when you have to share with them?  This is a fun story for being really melodramatic and silly, which is, in turn, excellent for keeping the kids’ attention.

peanut-butter-and-jellySong: Peanut Butter and Jelly: A Play Rhyme by Nadine Westcott (jelly).  We actually did this without the book, just clapped out the rhythm and chanted the words.  It also worked well for both kids and adults.  And of course everyone loves, at the end, pretending to chant “Peanut butter, peanut butter, jelly!  Jelly!” with their mouths full of sandwich.

manana-iguanaStory:  Manana Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul (iguana).  I usually find that adult participate fine in stories with lots of repetition, but I had this glorious idea from a recent ALSC blog of kicking it up a notch by giving the adults a specific part.   Usually when I use this book I have the three characters give the same response every time (the book changes it slightly each day).  Conejo says, “Yo no!  I’d do it too fast.”  Tortuga says, “Yo no!  I’d do it too slow!”  Culebra says, “Yo si!”  Iguana says, “Really?” and then Culebra adds, “I’ll do it manana, iguana, when I grow arms.”  I had some leftover stick puppets of Conejo, Tortuga, and Culebra from a past event, so to start with, I handed out puppets.  The kids could choose between Conejo and Tortuga, and the adults were all Culebra.   In retrospect, I should have skipped the puppets.  They did not increase participation, and the amount of time it took to pass them out just created chaos which was hard to recover from.  By the time I was done with this, it was so late that I didn’t have time for my second song (Jim Gill’s “Jumping and Counting” – on bubble wrap, of course) or my third story (Oh, No! by Candace Fleming.)

Closing Song: “See Ya Later”

Activity:  Experimenting with ice.  It’s too bad I didn’t get any pictures of this, even the mess leftover after it was done.  I made two sets of ice cubes.  One was plain water, jazzed up with glitter, sequins, and beads.  The other was made up of baking soda, water, food coloring and some extras like glitter, sequins, beads, shells, and rocks.  The kids got one plain and one baking soda ice cube in a little plastic container along with containers of plain water (tinted slightly blue), vinegar (tinted slightly yellow), droppers, and salt.  Then they just went to it and made a glorious mess.  I might have put more water than I needed in the baking soda cubes, or maybe the vinegar was just really, really old, because it didn’t fizz as much as I expected.  But still, fizzing concoctions that include glitter and sequins are pretty awesome.  The last family to leave stayed almost a full 30 minutes, and the kids were really having a great time.  A lot of the adults talked about messing around with ice and/or baking soda and vinegar at home later, which was awesome, since part of the reason we do this is to inspire them to do it more on their own when they have more time.  This was another activity where not having chairs was definitely a bonus.

Possible subthemes:  imagination, ice cream, iguanas, ice,  jumping, jaguars, jungle animals, jelly/jam, jobs, jellyfish


Other possible titles:  

Not a Box or Not a Stick or Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Portis  (imagination)

Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball by Randall De Seve (imagination)

Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling & Deborah Hembrook (jobs)




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