Today I celebrated Lois Ehlert's birthday with my son's preschool class. I thought she would be the perfect author for a group of three to five year olds as her books are full of bright colors, unique illustrations, and concise text. Lois Ehlert said during an interview with TeachingBooks, "I really want my books to be a jumping-off point for either the child or the teacher or both, to do their own thing. I want them to interpret whatever is in the book in their own way, and use that interpretation as creative inspiration." We read two books, Wag a Tail and Leaf Man. Then we followed each book with an activity, and finished with a birthday treat. The lesson was completed during a 90 minute block of time. Here is how the birthday celebration unfolded:
The Preparation: I immediately knew that I wanted to read the book, Leaf Man. I thought it would be so much fun to make our own Leaf People. Choosing the second book was not that easy of a choice, but I decided to readWag a Tailbecause it is full of dogs which I thought would peak the students' interest.
To prepare for the Leaf Man activity, I had very little to do. I had to collect a bunch of nature's art supplies - leaves! I thought about having the students find their own leaves, but due to time constraints I felt it would be impossible. I recruited my own children to walk around the neighborhood to find the most colorful leaves of all shapes and sizes. We also grabbed some acorns that could be used for eyes. My children wanted to test out the activity as soon as they got home. Luckily, we learned in our trial that regular white glue in bottles worked best to adhere the leaves to the paper. Here are our first leaf creations (my son made leaf fish which were in the book):
In my mind it isn't a birthday party without party hats. I decided to have the students create hats in the style of Wag a Tail. I traced many of the dogs from the book and then retraced them onto textured papers. It took a while to cut them out as I did not have pinking shears. These dogs were used as the center piece of our party hats. The dogs in Wag a Tail have buttons for eyes so I raided my craft bin and luckily found quite a few. Also, I gathered foam sticker shapes that I thought the students could use to decorate their hat.
Lastly, I made two stickers on address label paper. The first sticker said, "I read Wag a Tail to celebrate Lois Ehlert's birthday." The other said, "Today I made a Leaf Man!" I wanted the kids to have these stickers on their shirts and hats so their parents would be able to talk with them about the books and the activities when they got home. There are pre-made stickers available for Leaf Manat Harcourt Books that can be downloaded and printed on label paper. -Click Here to Read More-