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Activities

ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS

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The Elves and the Shoemaker - In the olden days, people used to go to the shoemaker and have shoes sewn for them instead of going to the shoe store. The shoemaker kept a pattern of each person's feet in the store. The pattern was used to make the shoes. Since children grow quickly, the shoemaker had to make new patterns almost every time a new air of shoes was sewn for each child. Adult feet do not change a lot in size. Because of this, shoemakers could keep a pattern of an adult's feet in the shop to make new shoes when the old ones wore out without having to measure the adult's foot again.

Take a piece of plain paper and a pencil, crayon or marker. Take off one of your shoes. Put your foot on the paper, and trace your foot. Put your name on the pattern and cut it out with scissors. Ask your friends to trace their feet - or trace the feet of family members. Compare the patterns and arrange them from largest to smallest.

Compare the sizes of girls shoes to boys shoes and women's shoes to men's shoes, and see how they are alike and different.

 Name of Person  Length of Shoe  Width of Shoe
     
     
     

 

ACTIVITIES FOR PARENTS 

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Activity for the Gingerbread Man

Listen to Dr. Lockett's version of The Gingerbread Man on his album Tales for the Young at Heart while you make gingerbread with your child.

Recipe for Making Gingerbread Men - Makes about 8 fat men (about 5 inches long or 16 thinner ones.

Materials:

  • 1/4/cup butter.
  • 1/2 cup white or brown sugar.
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses.
  • 3 1/2 cups white flour.
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cloves.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Instructions:

  1. Blend the butter and sugar until creamy.
  2. Beat in the dark molasses.
  3. Sift the flour into a separate container.
  4. Add the baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and salt to the flour, and re-sift it together.
  5. Add the sifted ingredients to the butter,sugar/molasses mixture along with about 5 tablespoons of water (maybe more). You may have to do this 1/3 of the mixture at a time - then combine all three parts to finish the mixing.
  6. The last of the flour will have to be worked in with your hands. Grease the bottom of a cookie sheet, and roll the dough out onto it. Thickness will be determined by the size of cookie cutter you have.
  7. Cut out your Gingerbread Men with a floured cookie cutter. Another option is to roll out the dough and draw your own shapes with a knife.
  8. Cut around the outlines and remove the scraps of dough between the figures.
  9. Combine the scraps and re-roll them to make more Gingerbread Men.
  10. Decorate the figures before baking them with small raisins, currents, bits of candied cherries, red hots (cinnamon bits), decorettes, citron, etc. Use the decorating items to make facial features, buttons, etc. You can also use frosting to add more decorations after baking the Gingerbread Men.
  11. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes (or according to the thickness).  Test them with a toothpick.
  12. Remove from the pans immediately as they come out of the over and cook them on the counter or tray.

Children love to use toothpicks to add decorators' icing to add details to the Gingerbread Men before eating them.

 

ACTIVITIES FOR TEACHERS

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Storytelling Activities related to Reading and Language Arts - A written version for each of the stories that match the activities below can be found in the Stories section of this  website.

  • Add stories here...

Lesson Plan for The Little Red Hen - Told by Dr. Lockett on "Tales for the Young at Heart", 2007, Script available free on this website OR you can use any children's book of The Little Red Hen to share the story with the students.

Audience:

  • Kindergarten and Primary Grades

Goals:

  • The students will act out the story of The Little Red Hen. The students will understand how work is easier if everyone helps do it.
  • The students will be able to discuss the steps of preparing wheat seeds to make bread.
  • Finally, the students will participate in discussions on how friends should help one another.

Illinois State Learning Standards Addressed:

  • Language Arts - 2.B.1c
    • Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations.
    • Relate character, setting and plot to real-life situations.
  • Social Studies - 15.D.1-A
    • Demonstrate the benefits of simple voluntary exchanges.

Synopsis of the story:

  • The Little Red Hen lives with a pig, a dog, and a cat. The hen asks for their help planting and harvesting wheat, grinding the wheat into flour and making the flour into break. As in the traditional story, the animals do not help with the work and do not get to share the bread at the end. Dr. Lockett's version of the story takes the plot further and describes in an almost believable fashion how a hen could actually plant, water, cut the wheat and more. This helps meet the goal of relating a fantasy character to real-life situations. 

Method:

  • Have the children read or listen to the story of The Little Red Hen.
  • Acquire or have the students make masks of the animals in the story. An alternative is to wear a sign with the name of the part they are playing.
  • Have students act out the story. This can be done with the students doing all of the lines or by adding a narrator part.
    • The narrator can guide the students through the story and allow them to act out their own parts during the narration.

Story Stretchers:

  • Cooking
    • Make bread with the students to eat at the completion of the activity.
  • Science
    • Plant grass or flow seeds in milk cartons. Experiment by using different conditions to see what makes plants grow better.

Storytelling Activities Related to Geography and Social Studies - A written version for each of the stories that match the activities below can be found in the Stories section of this website.

Geography Activity for stories from England (and the U.K.) - Thanks to About.com:Geography for this map.

Good to use with the stories The Cat and the Mouse, The Cat's Tale, The Little Gingerbread Boy, The Three Bears, The Three Sillies or other stories from England. 

Teachers, you can put your computer mouse on the map below and copy this map for classroom use and paste it onto a blank page in Microsoft Word or on some other program.

  • Students often have trouble differentiating between land and water on line maps without assistance. Consider helping them draw lines as appropriate on the east and west of the map to show where the coast is before letting the students work on their own.

 

  1. Draw and label the western coast of Europe to help students learn where the U.K. is in relation to the continent.
  2. Draw Ireland, then label the following countries.  Lightly color each a different color.
    1. England
    2. Ireland
    3. Northern Ireland
    4. Scotland
    5. Wales
  3. Label the following bodies of water, and color them blue:
    1. Celtic Sea
    2. English Channel
    3. Irish Sea
    4. North Atlantic Ocean
    5. North Sea
    6. Atlantic Ocean
  4. Label the following sets of islands, and color them green:
    1. Hebredes Islands
    2. Ornkey Islands
    3. Shetland Islands
  5. Put stars on the capital cities of London and Dublin 

Geography Activity for stories from India - for the stories The Hare That Ran Away and The Blind Man and the Elephant

Teachers, you can put your computer mouse on the map below and copy this map for classroom use and paste it onto a blank page in Microsoft Word or on some  other program.

  • Students often have trouble differentiating between land and water on line maps without assistance.  Consider helping them draw lines as appropriate on the east and west of the map to show where the coast is before letting the students work on their own.

 

  1. Draw and label the island if Sri Lanka off the S.E. coast of India and color it green.
  2. Draw the following bodies of water, and color them blue:
    1. Arabian Sea
    2. Bay of Bengal
    3. Indian Ocean
    4. Ganges River
    5. Indus River
  3. Draw and label the following areas of high land and color them brown:
    1. Eastern Ghats
    2. Western Ghats
    3. Himalaya Mountains
  4. Draw, label the Great Indian Desert (also called the Thar Desert) and color it yellow.
  5. Put a star on the capital city of New Delhi and dots on Bombay and Calcutta. Label all three cities.

Geography Activity for stories from Taiwan - for the stories The Flies that Repaid a Dept of Gratitude and The Frog in the Well

Teachers, you can put your computer mouse on the map below and copy this map for classroom use and paste it onto a blank page in Microsoft Word or on some  other program.

  • Students often have trouble differentiating between land and water on line maps without assistance.  Consider helping them draw lines as appropriate on the east and west of the map to show where the coast is before letting the students work on their own.

 

  1. Draw and label where China, Japan and the Philippines would be found on the corners of this map.
  2. Draw the following bodies of water, and color them blue:
    1. East China Sea
    2. Philippine Sea
    3. Strait of Taiwan
    4. South China Sea    
  3. Draw and label the following areas of high land and color them brown:
    1. Chung-Yang Shan Mountains
    2. Ping Pan Mountain
    3. Yu Shan Mountains
  4. Draw a star on the capital city of Taipei and label it.
  5. Label the cities of Hinschu, Tai-Chung, T'ainan, and Kaohsiung.
  6. Read about products from Taiwan and draw several products along the margins of the map.

Comprehension Activity - Good for AFTER ANY Story - Thanks to retired educator and friend Molly Norwood for sharing this activity.

Wrapping your hand around the plot of a good story  Notice the 5-W's of comprehension:

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. When?
  4. Where?
  5. Why?

The graphic map of a hand helps improve students' comprehension of stories they read. It is easy to teach and to remember. The pattern also helps students to write more complete sentences.

  • Have the students trace their own hands and tell what happened in a story using the graphic map of the hand as a model.
  • Write one of the above words on the fingernail of each finger of the drawing.
  • Ask the students to draw a picture in the center of the hand that tells about the story.
  • Then either in pairs or small groups, have students tell the who-what-where-when-and why of the story and explain their drawing.

Example: Read The Hare That Ran Away (Download for Free from Dr. Lockett's stories page on this website!)

  • Who: Miss Hare thought the sky was falling.
  • What: The animals ran and said, "The sky is falling."
  • When: The story happened a very long time ago.
  • Where: The story happened near Miss Hare's home.
  • Why: Miss Hare made a mistake about the sky falling, and Young Hare spread the rumor to all the other animals and scared them.

Why draw the picture? Drawing a picture about the story helps the story become part of the student's long-term memory and helps them remember the story in the future.


Teacher Poems to use with The Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Poems - Thanks to CanTeach from Iram Khan and James Horner

Homemade Gingerbread

Stir a bowl of gingerbread,
Smooth and spicy brown.
Roll it with a rolling pin,
Up and up and down.
With a cookie cutter,
Make some little men.
Put them in the oven,
Till half past ten.

A Gingerbread Poem

What do you feel?
The cookie dough.
It's smooth and soft to touch.
Cool and squishy in my hands;
I like it very much!

What do you hear?
The rolling pin.
It's rolling out the dough.
"Rrr-rrr" goes the rolling pin,
A-rolling to and fro.

What do you smell?
A spicy scent.
It's filling up the room.
Sweet and strong, it smells so good-
Much better than perfume.

What do you see?
A fresh-baked treat.
Its color is just right:
What a lovely golden brown!
A very pretty sight!

What do you taste?
The gingerbread!
A spicy treat or two.
Sweet and yummy in my mouth;
Now I'll share some with you!

Where is My Gingerbread Man? (to the tune of "Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?")

Oh where, oh where is my Gingerbread Man?
Oh where, oh where can he be?
He popped out of the oven and ran out the door.
Oh where, oh where can he be?

Gingerbread Song (to the tune of "The Muffin Man")

Oh, do you know the Gingerbread Man,
The Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man?
Oh, do you know the Gingerbread Man,
Who ran and ran and ran?

He said, "Catch me if you can,
If you can, if you can."
He said, "Catch me if you can,
Then ran and ran and ran.

I can run like the Gingerbread Man.
The Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man.
I can run like the Gingerbread Man.
Now catch me if you can.

Gingerbread (to the tune of "Frere Jacques")

Gingerbread,
Gingerbread,
Yum, Yum, Yum,
Yum, Yum, Yum,
I like gingerbread
I like gingerbread
In my tum!
In my tum!

Gingerkids (to the tune of "10 Little Indians")

One little, two little, three little gingerkids.
Four little, five little, six little gingerkids.
Seven little, eight little, nine little gingerkids.
Ten littl gingerbread kids.

The Gingerbread Man (to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus"

The Gingerbread Man goes through the town,
Through the town, through the town.
The Gingerbread Man goes through the town,
Singing, "Catch me if you can!"

He ran away from a cow,
From a cow, from a cow.
He ran away from a cow,
Singing, "Catch me if you can!"

--continue song by replacing "cow" with
man, cow, horse, sheep, dog, etc.

Then he came to a fox,
To a fox, to a fox.
Then he came to a fox,
And the fox said, "You can trust me."

Then he ate him up!
Yes sir-ee!

Five Little Gingerbread Men

Five little gingerbread men lying on a tray,
One jumped up and ran away.
Shouting, "Catch me, catch me, catch me if you can...
I'm really quick, I'm a gingerbread man!"

--count down the numbers repeating the stanza above--

No more gingerbread men lying on a tray,
They all jumped up and ran away.
Oh, how I wish they had stayed with me to play.
Next time I'll eat them before they run away.

I'm the Gingerbread Man (tune of "Skip to My Lou")

Chorus: Run, run as fast as you can!
Run, run as fast as you can!
Run, run as fast as you can!
You can't catch me,
I'm the Gingerbread Man!

I ran from the woman, yes I did.
I ran from the woman, yes I did.
I ran from the woman, yes I did.
Cause I'm the Gingerbread Man!

Chorus

--continue song by replacing "cow" with
man, cow, horse, sheep, dog, etc.

I ran from everyone, yes I did.
I ran from everyone, yes I did.
I ran from everyone, yes I did.
But I couldn't run from the fox...
CHOMP!

Gingerbread Boy (to the tune of "Muffin Man")

Oh will you bake a gingerbread boy,
A gingerbread boy,
A gingerbread boy,
Oh will you bake a gingerbread boy,
Then put him in the oven.

Oh will you eat the gingerbread boy,
The gingerbread boy,
The gingerbread boy,
Oh will you eat the gingerbread boy,
Then take him out right now.

Gingerbread Children by Ilo Orleans

Gingerbread children
Stand in a row--
Very good children
Always, you know.
The never will jump
Or kick or leap.
Or start to cry when
It's time to sleep
They never run off
Or look around
And no one has heard
Them make a sound.
Gingerbread children
Are fine to meet;
But, much better stiff;
They're good to eat.

The Gingerbread Man Song (to the tune of "Jimmy Crack Corn")

A baker took some gingerbread dough
And shaped a man from head to toe.
When it was baked, the cookie fled.
Here is what the cookie said:

Chorus: Run! Run! As fast as you can!
You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!
I'm the gingerbread man!
Run! Run! As fast as you can!
I'm the gingerbread man!

The cookie man ran past a cow
Who said, "I want to eat you now!"
The cookie man just laughed and fled.
Here is what the cookie said:

Chorus

A farmer saw the man go by.
He chased him low, he chased him high
The cookie man just shook his head.
Here is what the cookie said:

Chorus

He finally reached the river wide,
A fox asked, "Would you like a ride?"
The cooke sat on the fox's head,
Here is what the sly fox said:
"You can't run! That's my plan!
I'm going to eat you, gingerbread man!