You know you work with young children when you associate changing seasons with certain Eric Carle books. For me, spring means “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
Remember when Beanie Babies were a thing? As it turns out, I had not one, but two Beanie Baby caterpillars (one large, one small). Last time I was home for Christmas I rescued them from my basement, knowing they would come in extremely handy when retelling the story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
Kids LOVE this book.Here is my theory on why they love it:
-It is colorful
-It is repetitive
-It is tactile (you can touch the little holes in the book)
-It is familiar (most of my students had heard this story before they read it with me)
Here are some things we did with the story this week:
1. We retold the story using story props. I made another”story retelling bag” to keep all of the items together for next year.
Here is what is in the bag:
-A coffee filter butterfly
-A plastic egg
-Cut out pictures of the food from the story
-A paper leaf
-A toilet paper roll (for the “cocoon”)
2. We targeted language concepts while “feeding” the caterpillar.
Some targets included:
-Pronouns (e.g., “He ate 3 plums.”)
-Irregular Past Tense (e.g., “He ate four strawberries,” “He felt sick.”)
-Quantitative Concepts (There is so much to count in this book! The kids can also touch the holes in each fruit, which adds a nice tactile element)
-Qualitative Concepts (big;small; colorful; beautiful etc.)
3. We sorted fruits and vegetables.
These little buckets are great,and I use them all the time. Since the space was too small to fit the word “vegetables,” it was a great time to talk about abbreviating words and using “nicknames.” I told my kids about how my real name is Katherine but people call me Katie. Then we made up funny nicknames for the fruits and vegetables (e.g., “naners” for bananas, “cukies” for cumbers).
4. We made egg carton caterpillars!
I will admit…they were not that cute, however, this was a great time to talk about the word “antennae!” We talked about which insects have them and which do not.
Some students practiced following directions while they made their caterpillars. For example, I might say “put purple polka dots on the first segment of his body.” As it turns out, egg cartons are not that easy to color on with markers. Next time I will use paints.
All in all, we had lots of fun with our friend the caterpillar. The child in me loved dramatically retelling the story with my students, however, the adult in me felt slightly envious as the caterpillar ate delicious treats and then took a long nap in his cocoon.
We only have one more week until spring break. Just like the caterpillar, I think we are all ready for a little time to recharge. When we come back we will be vibrant and energized butterflies ready to tackle the end of the school year!