Oinky oink oink!
For those of you familiar with the Elephant and Piggy books by Mo Willems, no translation is necessary, but just in case you have missed the book Happy Pig Day!, "Oinky oink oink!" means Happy Pig Day!
We love Mo Willems, and read all the Pigeon books last week, so this week we read all the Elephant and Piggy books we could find. I have 10 of them... okay, I had 8, but bought 2 more last week in preparation for this unit. I had to! (I have a compulsion about children's books. I know the first step in recovery is admitting there is a problem... but I like it, and don't want to recover!)
You should know that there are a LOT of websites with awesome ideas about how to celebrate Elephant and Piggy. Mo Willems' official site is awesome, as is http://www.pigeonpresents.com/. You can also see the free event kit - designed for libraries and classrooms - for Elephant and Piggy books at http://www.pigeonpresents.com/teachersguides/EandP_eventkit2013.pdf. I found a lot of my ideas there.
This idea came from Abby the Librarian. I printed pigeon and duckling pictures from the event kit mentioned above, and the children chose which to color.
Another of our favorite Elephant and Piggy books is I Am Invited To A Party! In this book, Elephant and Piggy prepare for a party - and wonder if it is a fancy party, a pool party, or a costume party. They dress for all three at the same time!
We prepared for all kinds of parties by mix and matching costume pieces. The kiddos LOVED having costume play, and I love that it was also tied in to a literature unit. These kiddos are obviously ready for a fire fighter party...
Another class book we made this week was an innovation on I'm A Frog! The children put the words "I am a...." in order and glued them at the top of their page, then completed the sentence.
The children all wanted to dress up some more, or eat "pig food" like in the book. Pig food doesn't sound appetizing to you? In the illustrations to the book, Elephant and Piggy eat fruit and cookies. Now you know the attraction!
Earlier in the week, when we first read Happy Pig Day!, the children noticed the confetti on the end papers, and wanted a confetti party. I said no, real quick! Confetti? It would be all over the classroom. The children would get wild and crazy and out of control. No way!
During the week I changed my mind. Part of my teaching philosophy is
"When we engage children in rich experiences and make learning joyful, they learn to love learning, and become lifelong learners. To this end we must provide learning materials and experiences that are engaging and meaningful to the child."That being said, I knew I had to provide the learning materials and the experience, because it was something meaningful to the children. Yes, it would be all over the place, but a vacuum would fix that. If we were going to get wild and crazy, we could do it right before heading outside to play... so we did it! I am so glad I let the children have the confetti!
I started by seating everyone ready for a group photo. I showed them the bag of confetti, and told them we would have one chance to throw it for the picture. If they threw it early, they wouldn't have any for the picture, but if they could wait, we would all have some. We practiced throwing together (empty handed) on the count of 3, and quickly mastered it. Everyone held out their hands for a small pile of confetti, we posed, we counted, and.... ta-da!
I grew up in Australia, and confetti was a staple at weddings. I remember my parents trying to keep me out of the used confetti on the ground afterwards, but there were always children scavenging for the colorful pieces of paper, wanting to throw it over and over. Today my students reminded me of myself at their age, only this time I was the adult in charge, and was able to say, "Yes!"
Here they all are, laying in the spent confetti. That $1 packet of confetti bought them at least $10 worth of joy. I'm smiling as I think about it, and maybe you are too. Awesome value for some tiny bits of paper!
We encouraged good behavior choices this week with piggy stamps, and this afternoon got out elephant stamps too.
We finished the week off with a Happy Pig Day snack time. We wore our pig hats, and ate the pig food the children were writing about earlier in the day: applesauce, pink cherry juice, and cookies - no nuts (sorry Pigeon!).
Oinky oink oink!