Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lots of Learning with Jack and the Beanstalk!

Jack and the Beanstalk: Comprehensive Resources! at PreK+K Sharing

Hi! This is Carolyn from Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together.  Last year, I saw an idea about growing beanstalks from Lessons from a Teacher, which I just loved and couldn't wait to make with my class.  At the time, I could not find bean seeds- so I had to wait patiently until now. That gave me lots of time to find and make some wonderful resources to go along with Jack and the Beanstalk, and now I can pass them on to you!

We read two different versions of Jack and the Beanstalk. There are MANY to choose from, and it's funny how different they are. Some of  the versions are scarier than others. Some of the illustrations are scary. I found two (non-scary ones) that I liked.

Here is one of them. It is from 1964 and illustrated by Art Seiden. I liked the illustrations in this one.

We compared/contrasted the different books.  The children had a very good idea of the story by the time we were done with our discussion. 

Here is a 12 minute video of the story, if you want another version.
This song/story is from Debbie and Friends.
Here is a song from The Happy Ape.  
Here is Super Why Jack and the Beanstalk.

We did a quick writing activity about beans.  The children noticed the "ea" and someone actually said, "When two vowels go walking, the first does the talking." I was thrilled! We thought of the different kinds of beans that we knew- and found some other chunks in those words. "Garbanzo" was a lot of fun to use to help the children see that using chunks helps them to read and write words.

While I was waiting for stores to stock my bean seeds, I got everything else ready to go.  I copied some different castles to use and printed them on cardstock. If you would like a copy of my castles, just click on the picture below.
There are LOTS of great clip art castles at the  Best Clip Art Blog, if you want some different ones.

I bought some dowels, cut out the different castle choices, and hot glued the castles onto the dowels.

After we planted our bean seeds, the children each chose a favorite castle, stretched out and glued on a cotton ball for the cloud base, and stuck the dowel into the cup.
Now we are just waiting  for Jack's beanstalk to climb up to the castle.  It has been about a week since we planted the beans, and here is how they look today:

I found these great time-lapse videos of beans growing to show the children.
 I love how this one shows the bean sprout right up through the dirt.

If the children have an extra wonderful day as we are watching and waiting for our beans to grow, they each may find a magic golden egg by their cup.  Who knows... 

Fairy tales are so good for sequencing, retelling, character and setting discussions, and acting. I love to use them because the children are usually familiar with them (although not so much anymore as they used to be!), and they are usually easy to break down and sequence. I was going to say "easy to understand" but they are really pretty crazy when you actually think about them- and not the least bit easy to understand. "OK- so this giant lives on top of a beanstalk that grew from these magic beans, and he has this goose and harp..."  WHAT?!

My favorite resource that I found and loved using is this Jack and the Beanstalk Bundle from Whimsy Workshop. My class enjoyed the activities so much.
I could not believe how comprehensive this packet is.  It is 50 pages and packed full of useful activities. I was THRILLED.

What I loved so much at first about the packet were the beautiful masks. The script to go with the masks was perfect for the kids! It is such great practice for the children to get up in front of each other to perform and learn to speak clearly and loudly enough for everyone to hear.

The writing prompts are exactly what I was looking for. I like that I can  keep the unit going, and do an activity every so often as our beanstalks grow.  Can you tell I was excited to get this packet?
Here is Susanna's description of what is included in the packet, just so you have an idea:
-Master 2-page easy-to-read script for the teacher

-5 copies of the script with each character's lines in bold (and a picture of the character to avoid confusion). Just print the copies out and they will already be organized! There is also an indication of how many lines each character has for differentiation when assigning roles.

-5 full size black and white paper masks (one for each character). Students can color, cut out and assemble to wear as they read the script!

-Black and white paper stand-alone puppets; color, cut out and glue the bottom into a ring so they stand up on the table alone! Use them to act out the story in a small group setting.

-Large black and white coloring sheets of each character. Working in a small group, each student colors one character and glues to a mural paper. When done, use to discuss the plot, write about each character on the mural, discuss the setting or add details.

-10 Literacy Centers/Writing Prompts:

*Character study: Jack
*Character study: The Giant
*Writing about Jack's choices
*Letter to the Giant
*Letter to Jack
* Compare/Contrast Jack and the Giant
*Compare/Contrast Giant and his wife
*What are they thinking? Giant and Jack
*What are they thinking? Magic Hen and the Giant's Wife
*Write your own Script Challenge

*5 large color printables of each character for class displays or bulletin boards

*Color version of stand-alone paper puppets

*Color version of stand-alone paper puppets (Large version)

*5 Full Size printable Color Masks of each character. Print, laminate, attach a paper strip that sits just above the ears - and use year after year!

You can get this set separately, or as part of a Fairy Tale Mega Pack which has all of these activities for Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks, and Little Red Riding Hood. 

I printed out the  masks on cardstock, added a strap to the back,  and we had a BALL with them! My top reading group was able to read and perform the play.  So, I had them practice the play, and then perform it for the class.

(My "Giant" is giving a 'thumbs down' because he lost all of his treasures.  "Jack" is celebrating.  They completely got into the roles.)

The other groups were great at retelling the story. So, we drew the setting on a big paper (the beanstalk, the castle, and the house), and used the finger puppets on the paper to retell the story to a friend.

I sent home the puppets in a little bag with some "magic" beans, so they could retell the story to their family. I put a special golden egg in their bags once they were all packed up to surprise them when they got home.

Some groups made a big posterboard to use as they retold their story.

We shared opinions about whether or not we thought Jack made good choices, and then the children wrote their opinion on this paper from the packet.

This was a great activity for the children to write an opinion answer.  Each child wrote a reason why they thought Jack did or did not make good choices.  It's sort of hard to argue with this one... because he did get the gold! 
The next day, for morning work, I let the children choose if they would like to write a letter to Jack or to the Giant.  Here are some favorites:
("You are a good saver and a very brave and awesome boy.")

 ("Why did you take Jack's dad's stuff? Why are you nasty?")

I also found some other freebies to share with you!

This  packet  called Jack's Giant  Fairy Tale and Activity Poetry Center  is from Virginia Olivelli's Little Language Learners.  It has some great activities.
Poetry Center- Jack's Giant  Fairy Tale and ActivitiesPoetry Center- Jack's Giant  Fairy Tale and ActivitiesPoetry Center- Jack's Giant  Fairy Tale and ActivitiesPoetry Center- Jack's Giant  Fairy Tale and Activities

Here is a great sequencing freebie from Sparkle Box.
Jack and the Beanstalk is also a good story to reinforce how important it is to listen to and obey adults.

Although, if Jack had listened and obeyed, he wouldn't have had much of a story to tell- so there is that side of it, too, I suppose...

My story would go like this.  Carolyn's mother asked her to go sell the cow for money.  Carolyn went to town and sold the cow for money.  She went home.  Her mom bought food with the money.  No mention of beans of any sort unless that is what my mother bought at the store for dinner.

That story would be SOOO boring easy to sequence! 

It's pretty safe to say, I'll stick to Jack and the Beanstalk and my listen and obey lesson.

Pre-K Pages has some adorable printables for retelling Jack and the Beanstalk.
jack and the beanstalk printable flannel board set made and shared these adorable printables so your children can retell and act out the story.
 Early Learning HQ has some really cute stick puppets you can download, too!
  Jack & the Beanstalk Puppets
Ana-Ingles360 shared some Jack and the Beanstalk Flashcards at her TPT store.  These would be fun for Reading/Writing the Room and great for writing stories.
Jack and the beanstalk
Kara Williams also has a fun Write the Room Activity
Jack and The Beanstalk write the roomJack and The Beanstalk write the roomJack and The Beanstalk write the roomJack and The Beanstalk write the room
Jack and the Beanstalk Golden Egg Count {FREE} Jack and the Beanstalk Golden Egg Count {FREE}Jack and the Beanstalk Golden Egg Count {FREE}Jack and the Beanstalk Golden Egg Count {FREE}

I always loved this craft idea from No Time for Flashcards.  That would be adorable outside our door.
I found these golden eggs and filled each one with the letters and objects from my Mystery Word Builders from Lakeshore (which are now discontinued for some reason).

You could also use magnetic letters to build, spell, and write a sight word. I have ten eggs. The first day we used these for centers, I had the children just build the words in each egg. 

The next day, the children made the words, and recorded them on their recording sheet. I had two children build five of the words, and two others build the other five.  Then, all four children wrote all ten words.  That worked best for the 15 minute center time that I had.   If you would like a copy of my simple recording sheet, just click on the picture below!   You COULD also write letters on "magic beans" (aka lima beans) to spell the sight words and have the magic beans inside the egg.
Another fun activity for a small group lesson is to keep out the middle vowel, hide it under half of the golden egg,  and have the children tell you what letter is missing.  For example, for "gum" they would have to hear the "u" sound and tell me that the "u" was missing. Then, we would check to see if they were right. I played this with some of my students who needed extra help with this during RTI time.   Sometimes I would hide the beginning letter, the end, the whole thing...

We had lots of fun sorting different beans, and doing math activities with beans.  For math centers, we did addition and subtraction problems with beans, and made numbers to twenty on ten frames with beans. 
I found this wonderful bean activity from Heidi Songs. Thank you, Heidi! This was a perfect activity.


We played this game in a small group math center, decomposing numbers to 5.  I had five beans in a golden egg. I told the children that they were magic, because they couldn't see inside the golden egg, but they could use magic math to figure it out. They were so proud! I took a picture of one group before we started this activity. I was going to take another, better one, after I saw this, but instead, I am going to just use this one. It sort of made me laugh. I didn't realize you could see ME in the picture, taking the picture. But look at the faces of the boys who couldn't wait to play.  That made me smile. So- it's not a very professional picture, but it is real.   :)

Later, with the projector on the Smart board, we worked on decomposing numbers to ten with ten beans inside the egg. 

I like to introduce the children to the harp, too.  They were fascinated with the harp.  Here is a beautiful video from Owl City of Fireflies. 

This seven year old harpist is wonderful. The children loved seeing someone close to their age being able to do this.   I know I was amazed!

It makes me happy to see the little sprouts of the beans growing in my classroom.   It just brings spring that much closer. I hope you found some fun ideas, too!
Thank you for stopping by,


  1. I don't think I've ever seen so many great ideas in one post before! Fantastic!

    1. Thank you so much, Susanna! I had so much fun putting them all together!

  2. I love this post!!! What wonderful resources!!! I've pinned to save for our fairy tale unit later this month. Can't wait to try some of these activities with my class! Thanks, Carolyn! :)

    1. I am so happy that you found some things to use, Ayn! I always love trying new activities. Have fun!

  3. What an amazing post. So many great ideas done so creatively! Thanks for sharing this. Thanks also for including my song about Jack and the Beanstalk.




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