Have you ever had to plan a lesson last minute? If you've been in education for any length of time you know that sometimes you have to come up with an exciting lesson on the fly. Well, time got away from me this week, as my oldest son was celebrating Senior Week at school, I had a major assignment due for grad school, and was feeling a little under the weather early in the week. I spent so much time planning and preparing for my picture book lessons to introduce my older students to Picture Book Month that I didn't really spend any time preparing for my kinders. I usually do a read-aloud and a simple activity or library skill practice. But this week, I had nothing. So....frantically, I looked around the library for an exciting picture book to share with them. (And when I say frantically, I mean I was looking for a book about 15 minutes before the class was to arrive!)
I landed on Dan Santat's Beekle. I'm not sure why. I just love the cute story, adorable main character, and the illustrations. This is one of the new books in our collection, so I figured that the students did not know the story. Well, I was wrong. They all said, "I heard this story!" and then I knew that the reason they had heard it was because the book had been on a new books display and their teacher had already checked it out and read it aloud. Hmmm....well, I smiled and said something to the effect of we can read books over and over again and enjoy them. They all wanted me to read the book again, so I did.
In an effort to have a little activity, I pulled out some pipe cleaners that I had stashed in a drawer from the previous month's monster activity and told the students we would be using these to make our own imaginary friend. We talked about friendship, imagination, and many of them told me they had imaginary friends. My favorite was a girl who shared that she has a dog named Macon who is imaginary and wears a bathing suit!
The activity wasn't the best. They did have a little trouble with getting started, but it turned out okay in the end. It was fun to hear their ideas. We had one young fellow who created a dinosaur foot and told us all that his friend was "Dine-E-Saur" and several girls made princess jewelry (think crowns, bracelets, earrings) out of their pipe cleaners. The designs were simple, but cute. My favorite was a little fella who told me "music is my friend" and he made earphones out of his pipe cleaners and then began to rock out! I snapped a quick photo before he stopped and giggled to himself.
I don't recommend doing lesson prep in this way, but if you ever have to, just know that you are not alone and things will work out. Kids are so resilient and they just want to hear a wonderful story, use their imaginations, and make a connection with you. No fancy lesson plan required.
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