Monday, February 24, 2020

Author School Visits -- Dancing Through the Alphabet

Hello!


       This past month, I have enjoyed visiting children in preschool, kindergarten, first, and second grades, in three different school systems around Ohio.  This is probably the most fun part of being an author and dance educator.  I have the opportunity to share my picture book with young children, librarians, and teachers, and I also have the chance to share my love of movement. 
Reading to a kindergarten class

        I wrote From A to Z with Energy! to inspire children to be healthy and active.  The book's unofficial subtitle, "26 Ways to Move and Play," is a good description of what I do while visiting with young children in their classrooms. 

       After I have read my book aloud, I spend the rest of the time tying movement to early literacy concepts. We dance about the letters in the alphabet. We might start out by thinking of action words that begin with different letters.  For example, the letter S is the first letter in the words Sit, Stand, Stretch, Squiggle, Stomp, Shake, Soar, and making Silly Shapes. I ask the children to first make the shape of an S in their bodies.  Then we try out the many action words that start with that letter.  We have the whole array of letters to choose from, and we move in many different ways as we dance through the alphabet.

       Another early literacy concept is recognizing rhyming words.  My book is a rhyming story, so I make sure to ask the children to listen for rhyming words as I read the story.  Then we play a game in which I create pairs of rhyming words, with one of the words being a movement. I might ask them, what action word rhymes with "ounce?" "Bounce!" Then we all do some bouncing movements together.  Other examples of rhyming pairs are bake-shake, pop-hop, arch-march, fun-run, and pants-dance

"March" rhymes with "Arch!"


       All of the above activities can be done in a large gym with the children moving away from and back to a home spot.  But if you only have a small space, don't worry!  Children can get an active workout even staying in one spot.  They can sit and stand, go up on tiptoe, stretch, squiggle, stomp, shake, balance, make silly shapes, run in place, march, turn, hop, jump, twist, and dance, all in one spot.  

       Another fun movement game is to practice the concept of opposites.  This is a vocabulary exercise as well.  A child might not be able to describe the meaning of the word "opposite," but he or she can learn and experience opposites kinesthetically.  Some of the movement opposites we explore are:
Happy/Sad, Straight/Twisty, Hot/Cold, Quiet/Loud, Tired/Energetic, Slow/Fast, Right/Left, Heavy/Light, Facing Forward/Facing Backward, Up/Down.  All of the above movements can be performed moving through a large space, or staying in a home spot. 

        I would love to visit your school or library!  For more information, please visit the School Visit Info page 
of my website www.movingislearning.com.

Keep on Dancin'!

Connie

MOVING IS LEARNING!





Saturday, February 15, 2020

Montessori-Inspired Oviparous Animal Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Spring is coming! And I love studying oviparous animals (animals that lay eggs) in the spring! Today, I have lots of Montessori-inspired oviparous animal activities along with a new oviparous animal pack (subscriber freebie at LivingMontessoriNow.com)


You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools. 

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links (at no cost to you).

Montessori Shelves with Oviparous Animal Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Oviparous Animal Themed Activities
You’ll find Montessori-inspired oviparous animal numbers, letters, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) Go to my Free Oviparous Animal Printables and Montessori-Inspired Oviparous Animal Activities post at Living Montessori Now for the free printables and activity ideas you see on the shelf and collage above!

Free Montessori-Inspired Oviparous Animal Pack




Montessori-Inspired Oviparous Animal Pack for DIY Cards and Counters, Number or Letter Matching, Number or Letter Basket, Bead Bar Work, Hands-on Math Operations, Number or Letter Salt/Sand Writing Tray, Letter Tracing, DIY Movable Alphabet, and Creative Writing (subscriber freebie, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password – or check your inbox if you’re already a subscriber).



More Oviparous Animal Resources, Including Many Free Printables


Be sure to go to my Free Oviparous Animal Printables and Montessori-Inspired Oviparous Animal Activities post at Living Montessori Now for lots of free printables and activity ideas!

Have fun preparing for spring! :)

Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 44 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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Friday, January 31, 2020

A Winter Dance Story: The Most Perfect Snowman

Hello, and Happy 2020!

I have created a new dance story around one of my favorite picture books: The Most Perfect Snowman, by Chris Britt. This is a fun and lively mid-winter activity, perfect for story time!

This beautiful story is about generosity, kindness, and selflessness, and is told in a gentle way. The lovely illustrations and language portray the story of a lonely snowman, Drift, who only has two skinny stick arms, and a mouth and eyes made of coal.  He has no hat, scarf, or mittens.  He sees the parade of other stylish snow people go by, laughing, dancing, and playing, and he longs for company and to be like the other snowmen. Most of all he wants a nice carrot nose. He thinks that if he were stylish and had a carrot nose, he would be perfect.

Drift spends his days slipping and sliding through the woods all alone.  Three children see him and feel sorry for him.  One child gives him a hat.  Another gives him mittens, and a third gives him a scarf.  Then, one of them gives him a wonderfully big carrot, and says that now he is a perfect snowman. Drift is happy and plays with the children.

A furious storm blows in. Drift thanks the children and waves good-bye to them.  The wind blows his hat and mittens away, and he tries to find them.  He searches everywhere. He's sorry to lose his new clothes, but is happy that he still has his long, warm scarf, and his fancy carrot nose.

He hears a little whimper in the middle of the howling wind.  It is a small bunny who is trying to survive the cold winter night.  Drift gives the bunny his warm scarf.  Then he hears the bunny's tummy growl with hunger.  He gives the bunny his carrot, and this makes him "the most perfect snowman of all."

Now, let's dance the story!

THE MOST PERFECT SNOWMAN

Dance Story

Read the story aloud, then use the following prompts to inspire the children to retell the story through movement.  Call out each one, and give the children plenty of time to respond through movement. This activity takes about 15 minutes, and works best in a large space.

Play a quiet instrumental selection in the background, such as "Just Before Dawn," by William Ackerman, from the album "A Winter's Solstice," Vol 4.

Begin the Dance Story:


  • Imagine you are Drift, the snowman. You have eyes, a mouth, and two stick arms.  

  • You spend your days alone, slipping and sliding through the woods, slowly and sadly.



  • Here comes a parade of fancy, stylish snowmen.  Can you parade around proudly, showing your hats, mittens, and scarves?



  • Have an imaginary snowball fight.



  • Now do a snowman dance!



  • Swish and slide through the woods, like Drift, watching the other snowmen play. 



  • Suddenly, you see three children.  Wave hello to them.  Maybe they will come over to you.



  • One of them offers you her hat.  Put it on your snowman head!  What color is it?  How does it feel?



  • Another offers you mittens.  What do they look like?  Put them on your stick arms.



  • And now one gives you a long, warm scarf.  Can you wrap it around yourself?



  • What is the little girl holding now?  A carrot!  She gives it to you!  Put it on your face, just like you have always wanted.  You are the perfect snowman! Play with the children in the snow.



  • Imagine you are a snowflake flying around in the storm. What shape are you? Blow side to side, up and down, as the strong wind swirls you around.  



  • Now imagine you are Drift, and suddenly your hat blows away.  Oh no!  Try to find it.  Now your mittens blow away.  Slide through the woods and try to find them too.



  • It's time to hunker down for the night and wait out the storm.What do you hear?  Listen carefully. Do you hear a small voice?  Look all around. 



  • Look down and see a tiny, shivering bunny who is lost.



  • Now, imagine you are the bunny.  How does it feel to be very, very cold? The snowman is giving you his warm scarf! Wrap up in the soft scarf. 



  • The kind snowman is giving you his wonderful orange carrot nose! Munch softly on the carrot as you snuggle up next to the most perfect snowman of all.
MOVING IS LEARNING!


Keep on dancin',

Connie

www.movingislearning.com







Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Montessori-Inspired Winter Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Even though I live in San Diego California, I still love preparing hands-on winter activities and love a winter unit. Today, I have lots of Montessori-inspired winter activities along with a new winter pack (subscriber freebie at LivingMontessoriNow.com)!


You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools. 

Montessori Shelves with Winter Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Winter Themed Activities 

You’ll find Montessori-inspired winter numbers, letters, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

Go to my Free Winter Printables and Montessori-Inspired Winter Activities post at Living Montessori Now for the free printables and activity ideas you see on the collage and shelf above!

Free Montessori-Inspired Winter Pack

Montessori-Inspired Winter Pack

Montessori-Inspired Winter Pack for DIY Cards and Counters, Number or Letter Matching, Number or Letter Basket, Bead Bar Work, Hands-on Math Operations, Number or Letter Salt/Sand Writing Tray, Letter Tracing, DIY Movable Alphabet, and Creative Writing (subscriber freebie, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password – or check your inbox if you’re already a subscriber).

More Winter Resources, Including Many Free Printables

Amazon Affiliate:

Be sure to go to my Free Winter Printables and Montessori-Inspired Winter Activities post at Living Montessori Now for lots of free printables and activity ideas!

I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start! :)

Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 43 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.
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