Welcome to Paula's Primary Classroom! This blog is where I share ideas for teaching and learning with families, friends and other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rats for Lunch

First, let me say, no animals or children were harmed in the making of this post.  No, we did not eat real rats.  Yes, I know, rats are gross.  Please read on, I promise it is worth while. :-)
Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

It all started 10 years ago, when my youngest was in first grade.  We were very lucky to have Mrs. D as his teacher.  She did a lot of fun things, one of which was to fill those short waits that inevitably happen, by reading poetry, especially Jack Prelutsky's.

One day my son came home reciting the refrain to his favorite poem, Rats for Lunch: 
     Rats for lunch, rats for lunch,
     Yum, delicious, munch, munch, munch.
     One by one or by the bunch,
     Rat, oh rat, oh rat for lunch!

Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

What kind of person talks with 6 year olds about eating rats?!  The kind that know how much children like the ridiculous and silly - like Jack Prelutsky, and Mrs. D.

 Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

I happened to have the book this poem came from, and tried it out on my preschoolers.  Yes indeed, the poem is a winner!

Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

Later that year I happened upon a large gummy rat at the grocery store, which, of  course, we bought for Mrs. D. to share with my son's class.  What's better than reading about "roasted rat in salty slime"?  Why, eating a candy rat while you read it, of course!

 Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

When I also found "bite size" gummy rats, a new tradition was born for my daycare kiddos.  Every now and then I would break out the gummy rats for desert, and we'd recite the poem and chew on a rat.  The book of poetry went out on my classroom bookshelf, and was a very popular choice. 

Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

"Rat for Lunch" was a gateway to more poetry, as the children realized the joy that could be hidden in the pages of poetry books.  We found many class favorites, and many of the kiddos memorized some just from hearing them read so often.

Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

Children forget a lot of details of their early years.  You probably only have scattered memories of being a child, small moments or snippets that have stayed with you.  You may be thinking that this rat activity was a weird mix of cute and disgusting, and nothing more.  Three to five year olds don't memorize poems, let alone remember them years later.  Do they?

Last fall, soon after my family found out that we would be relocating and that I would need to close down my school, I was thrilled to have a visit from two of "my" kiddos, now in eighth grade.  They toured the school with me, noticing changes, revisiting old favorites, remembering.  One of them asked about "that book with a big pizza on the cover".  I knew immediately that it was Jack Prelutsky's A Pizza The Size of the Sun, and as I got it out the two of them spontaneously broke into poem, reciting their own secret friendship code: one of those poems.

Do young children remember poems and books that we share with them?  Can their early experiences with us color their lives even after they move on to the next adventure?  M. and H. do, and I am forever grateful for having been blessed with that knowledge.


P.S.  If there is someone who influenced your life and left an indelible mark of joy, please take a moment to let them know.  There are few things as wonderful as hearing from an old student or old friend who wants to share their happy memories with you! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

2 year bloggiversary FREEBIE!

It's hard to believe it's only been 2 years since I started this blog, so much has happened in that time!  May also marks my TeachersPayTeachers anniversary.  I've learned so much in that time, and have found another way to be involved in early childhood education, without having a class of my own.  I don't get near as many hugs, and I definitely miss the funny things children say, but this new direction is rewarding too.

To thank you all for your support, I've created one of my Sentence Picture Match activities for FREE.
This reading activity makes an excellent center!  There are 12 sentences and pictures for students to match, 2 vocabulary posters to help with the sports words they may not be familiar with, a follow up worksheet, and a leveled list of the sight words used.  My target audience is first and second grade, but depending upon reading level and interest level, you could certainly use it with other grade levels too.  You could also use this with your own children, to keep them reading and learning during the summer, or any other time.  Please feel free to share a link to this item with your friends, but let them download it for themselves.

I have one favor to ask.  If you do download this fun free item, please take 30 seconds to leave me feedback and/or a rating.  Simply go to your "My Purchases" tab on TpT, scroll down, and check a few boxes.  It's so easy, and means so much to me.

Thank you for a fun and interesting couple of years!  I hope you stick around with me to find out what the future holds.  Have an awesome day,