Saturday, March 23, 2019

Hibernating Animal Fun: Chipmunk Lesson

Hibernating Animal Fun

A unit of preschool ideas 
for different hibernating animals

Welcome to the final week of my Hibernating Animal Fun unit.

Each week there will be books I recommend to go with each topic, a craft or two, songs, and motion rhymes/finger plays. 

This is the schedule:

Week 3: Chipmunk

We continue to start each class with the song "Good Morning to You" plus the snowy songs/fingerplays I found in a book I reviewed last year called I'm a Little Teapot!: Presenting Preschool Storytime compiled by Jane Cobb. 

We sang: 

(to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)

Snowflakes whirling all around,

all around, all around

Snowflakes whirling all around,

They are covering the ground.

(The original last line was, "Until they cover all the ground," but it didn't sound quite right to me, so I changed it. We fluttered our fingers all around through the song and spread our arms out for the last line.)

And of course our poem/finger play:

The Snow Fell Softly

The snow fell softly all the night
flutter fingers downward

It made a blanket soft and white
spread arms out

It covered houses, flowers and ground,
make pointed house, finger flowers, flat hands

But never made a single sound

get quieter and put finger in front of mouth

The children love this poem.

Then we got into the actual lesson.

Chipmunk Lesson

Our book for the class was:

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner follows a father and daughter as they travel over the snow on skis while discussing the animals that are hibernating under the snow. I decided to do the chipmunk craft because it shows that some animals wake up and eat before going back to sleep in the middle of winter. So, our chipmunk is awake in our craft, snacking on an acorn.

Paper Plate Hibernating Chipmunk

You can find the details for this craft over in my Littles Learning Link Up Paper Plate Hibernating Chipmunk Craft post.


Yes, we are still singing "Did You Ever See a Brown Bear?" which I patterned after my "Did You Ever See a Polar Bear?" song which is featured in my Arctic Animal Fun posts. In fact, we are going to be singing that song, as well as reciting "The Snow Fell Softly" during our end-of -year program. As I did with the Polar Bear song, I added verses for each new animal. 

Did You Ever See a Brown Bear?

(To the Tune of Did you Ever See a Lassie?)

by Karen Waide

Did you ever see a brown bear

a brown bear, a brown bear

Did you ever see a brown bear

Sleeping til spring?

Sometimes he's snoring,

And sometimes he's yawning.

Did you ever see a brown bear

sleeping til spring?

Shrug shoulders with hands raised as in questioning for the first three lines.
Fold your hands together with flat palms and place them to the side of your tilted head.
After singing "yawning" pause to make a big yawn and tap your mouth with your hand.

Go back to shrugging and then place hands at the side of your head again.

Did you ever see a dormouse

a dormouse, a dormouse

Did you ever see a dormouse

Curled up in a ball?

Snuggled up in a ball here

Snuggled up in a ball there

Did you ever see a dormouse

Curled up in a ball?

Shrug shoulders with hands raised as in questioning for the first three lines.
Curl up in a ball
Pretend to roll from side to side

Go back to shrugging and then curl up in a ball again.

Did you ever see a chipmunk

a chipmunk, a chipmunk

Did you ever see a chipmunk

Waking up for a snack?

Eating this snack and that snack

Eating this snack and that snack

Did you ever see a chipmunk

Waking up for a snack?

They're Going to Hibernate

(to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)
by Karen Waide

They're going to hibernate

They're going to hibernate

hi ho the derry-o

They’re going to hibernate

March in place.

The bear is in the cave

The bear is in the cave

hi ho the derry-o

The bear is in the cave

Arch your hands above your head, joining fingertips, making it look like a cave.

The mouse is in the hole

The mouse is in the hole

Hi ho the derry-o

The mouse is in the hole

They'll sleep all winter long

Cup your hands in front of you, fingertips touching to form a ball.

The chipmunk has a snack

The chipmunk has a snack

Hi ho the derry-o

The chipmunk has a snack

Fingers in front of mouth, pretending to eat.

Do they sleep all winter long?

Do they sleep all winter long?

hi ho the derry-o

Do they sleep all winter long?

Fold your hands together with flat palms and place them to the side of your tilted head.
Then for the last line, lift both hands to the side of your head and shrug shoulders.

And here is our third song:

I am Sleepy

(tune of Frere Jacque)
by Karen Waide

I am sleepy, I am sleepy

Hibernate, hibernate

I’ll wake up in springtime

I’ll wake up in springtime

When it’s warm, when it’s warm

First two lines, fold hands to the side of head and tilt like sleeping
Second two lines, reach arms above your head and stretch.

Bear is sleeping, bear is sleeping

in a cave in a cave

He’ll get up in springtime

He’ll get up in springtime

Stay away, stay away!

First line, fold hands to the side of head and tilt like sleeping
Second line form arch over head with fingertips touching
Third and fourth line, crouch down to the floor and spring up (do it for each line).
Final line, hold index finger up and shake for emphasis on each syllable.

Mouse is sleeping, mouse is sleeping

In a hole, in a hole

He’ll get up in springtime

He’ll get up in springtime

Let him rest, let him rest!

First line, fold hands to the side of head and tilt like sleeping
Second line, form hole with hands cupped in front of you, fingertips touching
Third and fourth line, crouch down to the floor and spring up (do it for each line).
Final line, hold index finger up to mouth.

Chipmunk is sleeping, chipmunk is sleeping

Under the snow, under the snow

He will wake up early

Then go back to sleep

Eat a snack, eat a snack!

First line, fold hands to the side of head and tilt like sleeping
Second line, crouch down and place hands over head
Third line, stand back up, reach and stretch
Fourth line, fold hands back to side of head like sleeping
Final line, fingers in front of mouth, pretend to eat

Extra craft

We ended our class by finishing the extra craft we started the previous week.

Here is our 

Hibernating Environment Lift-the-Flap Poster.

That is the end of our Hibernating Animals lessons Stop by next week for my Frog Life Cycle lessons post. I haven't decided if I am going to share these in a series or as just one post.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Exploring Seasonal Themes with STEM Challenges from Tied 2 Teaching {A TOS Review}

We love hands-on learning in our homeschool. This is something that I have mentioned time and time again here on my blog. So, I love when we find new and exciting ways to include more hands-on learning in our days. A big thing I see all over the place these days, from schools, to libraries, and other blogs, is the mention of STEM learning. A couple of years ago our library had a weekly children's program where each session they did some projects based on one letter of the acronym: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And yes, science and math are subjects we focus on regularly at home, though I admit technology and engineering are not included near as much. When I learned about the STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching I realized this could be a wonderful opportunity to include STEM in a more deliberate way, along with extra Language Arts through the Close Reading articles. 

What did we receive?

We received a bundle of over 60 challenges that came in PDF format. These were sent via email, and when I clicked on the link they were automatically added to my Google Drive. From there I found I had to actually download each of the files I wanted to use to my computer in order to print them out. I mean, I was able to view them on Google Drive, I was even able to click on links to the readings; however, it wouldn't print without actually being downloaded. 

Speaking of printing, you do need to have a printer to print out the different worksheets included in the challenges. Additionally, the challenge projects themselves require easy-to-find materials in order to complete them. So far, most of these materials have already been in our home, or have been found in our local grocery store or Walmart. 

The STEM Activities Bundle includes four seasonal challenges per month, plus bonus Building Block Challenges and other Additional STEM Challenges, which include "100 Day of School" projects. I will mention that when the files downloaded they were organized alphabetically, so the only way to know for sure which challenge was meant to go in each month is to check the Bundle Description on the website page. Most of them are obvious, like Leprechaun Traps in March and Love Bugs in February; however, some are a bit harder to place, especially the summer months which have such challenges as the Giant Pyramid and the Alien Spacecraft. 

Here is a little peek at the different challenges that are included. You can see the full list under the Bundle Description in the Tied 2 Teaching store.

I did want to mention that there was a slight discrepancy between what was listed and what we received. I searched through my files and couldn't find a few that were listed; however, there was one we received that isn't on the list. In fact, it was one that we ended up using as it fit perfectly with what we were working on with our core curriculum.

Each 21-page challenge is laid out in the same way. After the title page, there is a page with images and links to other resources from Tied 2 Teaching. Then there is the Close Reading section before moving into the Design Challenge. The Close Reading assignment is meant to raise the children's interest in the topic. In order to get to the reading passage there is a link in the lesson, plus the child can access it via the QR code on the question worksheet if a QR code reader is available to them. Once they read the article they answer the questions, some of which are multiple choice, others require a bit more thought and need to be written out. 

The children then get to move into the Design Challenge. 

First they are introduced to the specific challenge:

Then they are shown examples of completed projects:

And next they are given instructions, including criteria, material suggestions, and questions to think about for the final product.

Finally, there are seven different worksheets to aid in the completion of and reflection on the challenge. No, you do not have to use all the sheets. At least, that is my understanding. I decided to choose the sheets that I felt would work best for us. 

There are three different planning sheets to choose from. Each of them, though formatted differently, have the child asking, imagining, planning, creating, and improving. One does add "testing." There is a sheet where the child can share the steps they took. Another one asks the child what they noticed while working on the challenge and what steps may have been taken to improve the project. Another asks the child what went well and what could be improved upon the next time. The final worksheet has the child look at the S.T.E.M. words in relation to their design.

These are the worksheets we used with each project.

Here are some filled out:

The files all conclude with a letter to parents (for use in schools), more offerings from Tied 2 Teaching, and information on how to connect with them via social media. 

So, how did we use this product?

As we received the STEM challenges in February, we decided to start with a Valentine's themed project. Next we made the Lincoln Cabin in honor of President's Day. We then moved on to a Human Heart Model because we were learning about the cardiovascular system with our core curriculum. Then we thought it would be fun to make some Marshmallow Snowmen. Finally, we did something we have never done before. We made Leprechaun Traps. I have to admit it was quite fun, even though the children know that leprechauns aren't real. 

Prior to working on the design, I had the children read the Close Reading passage and answer the questions to the best of their ability during their computer time. The girls all completed the reading, as they are all in the recommended grade range. Later on, I read the articles to all the children, including Harold, and we went over the questions. 

Here are some of their completed question sheets:

I actually found the information quite interesting. 

Next I had them sit down and think about their design. I have to admit, they would have preferred being able to gather their materials and get started. I think it was good for them to have to take some time to plan. Then they started working on their projects. While they were working on the design, sometimes they found they had to change their plans (especially when making the Marshmallow Snowmen). Once they were finished they took some time to evaluate their work. Again, not a favorite step. 

Let's take a quick look at each of the projects they worked on.

Love Bugs

Lincoln's Cabins

Human Heart Models

Marshmallow Snowmen

Unfortunately Amelia learned that her design needed some help.

She got a bit upset, but I reminded her that that was the idea of the challenge. Figure out what is working and what isn't, and see where you have to change it.

She ended up putting the marshmallows closer together and ended up with a more sturdy snowman.

Tabitha was having trouble too. So, she decided to twist her snowman a bit.

He stood for a while, but then he fell too.

Hannah and Harold decided to make theirs a bit shorter. In fact, Hannah decided hers was a snow monster.

Leprechaun Traps

Hannah ended up working on her trap, and then painting her heart model. She was still working on the heart because, like Tabitha, she used paper mache and it was taking a while to get it finished.

Completed traps waiting for the leprechauns.

 I have to say, I had a lot of fun helping Harold with the Leprechaun Trap. 

The children loved all the design challenges we have tried so far. They are looking forward to the chance to make a Jelly Bean Tower soon. Though, the still aren't very fond of having to evaluate their designs. They don't seem to mind planning them as much as they do trying to figure out what went right and where they could improve the design. 

The articles for the Close Reading have been quite informative. I love that the children aren't just working on reading comprehension, but on increasing their vocabulary as well. The articles have words highlighted, and if you hover over the highlighted word it will show the definition. 

I really appreciate that their are worksheets to choose from, so we can pick the one that works best for us. While the children aren't fond of them, I can see their worth.

We are so thankful we have had the opportunity to add these STEM Challenges with the Close Reading into our homeschool days. It's awesome that we can do a project a week for more than a year. Plus, I'm sure the children would love the chance to redo some of these. I can see new Love Bugs next Valentine's Day, and more Marshmallow Snowmen when winter rolls around again, and let's not forget our new tradition of making Leprechaun Traps for St. Patrick's Day!

Tabitha and Hannah said their favorite project was the Love Bug. However, both Amelia and Harold said their favorite was the "yummy one," a.k.a. the Marshmallow Snowmen.

If you are looking for a way to add more hands-on fun to your day, you can't go wrong with this bundle of STEM Challenges. 

You can find Tied 2 Teaching on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of these STEM Challenges from Tied 2 Teaching.

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading {Tied 2 Teaching Reviews}

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