I think if you got to draw sticks to see which letter/sound you were going to teach, the short U sound would be the short stick..
I don’t know, maybe X, too. That’s kind of a hard one. (Well, except for “X marks the spot” and pirates and treasure hunts and maps!)
Never mind, I would take X over U.
But, alas, it was my turn for preschool and my turn for short U. The prompt was “umbrella,” but since we’ve had mostly snow and cold and it is dead winter, umbrellas, April showers, rain and springtime just didn’t sound seasonal or appropriate.
So we went with “underground” and “underwater.”
I’m getting a head of myself. First we had circle time and displayed all the things we had brought that began with the short U sound. We got some underwater animals (must have been reading my mind), a couple umbrellas, a unicorn (points for sticking with the correct letter), an umbrella bird (?), and some middle short U sounds in bunny, rug, and gum! Good enough.
What did my son bring? Uhhhhh……. that is what he brought. “Uh.” Because I couldn’t come up with anything that he liked. Underwear? No. Umbrella? No. A picture of your uncle? No. Ugly things just didn’t sound nice and preschoolish, so uhhhhh…. that was all I had left.
I introduced the theme of Underground and read a FABULOUS underground book. Highly recommend this as an out-loud reading story. The story is simple, the pictures are cute, and they are very engaging. There is a lot to see without being too busy. After “Underground,” I performed a dramatic reading of “The Two Bad Ants.” We all piled up on the little loveseat, some on top and some on bottom, and I did my best to convey the greed, terror, hopelessness, desperation, and then pure relief experienced by those two naughty little ants as they went about their adventures in somebody’s kitchen. (We skipped the worm book, but later near the end I curled up on the little couch with another boy who had been having a hard time, and we read it together, just us two. Sometimes it is hard to be in a big group, you know.)
We also looked at the underwater books, which honestly I thought would be the big hit (you know, The Little Mermaid, Nemo, and Dory), but because the books I got were just for looking at the pictures and less for dramatic interpretation, they were also less interesting.
Therefore, although at first it was a surprise, it should have been no surprise when most of the kids (all the girls) chose to make an underground picture instead of an underwater picture. One boy, my son, chose the underwater picture and the other boy chose to abstain from crafting – he was having a hard time, remember. (Those are both my sons in the top right photo – they went to town on all the leftovers after the preschool kids went home.)
I found this paper craft idea on Pinterest. These are really cute, but unless your kids are maybe 1st grade or older, you will have a lot of pre-cutting on your hands. And by lots I mean LOTS. I had the dirt, grass, sky, ocean, sand, sea animals and plants, ants, and worms all precut for the kids. All they had to do was glue them on and color them however they wanted. Despite my aching hand, I am glad we did these crafts. They turned out really cute and I was actually happy to see girls excited about worms and ants. (Maybe because they all colored the worms pink?)
Snack time? Yes, I did actually forget about snack time until the night before. I just generally don’t have snack foods here. So I got up extra early (see how much I love these kids!) and baked a bunch of cinnamon and sugar muffins to serve with milk. “Muffin” technically has a short U sound in it. And my muffins ended up looking like mushrooms, which also contains a short U. I am giving myself a “D” grade for failure to prepare, but an “A” for recovering gracefully from a potentially hazardous situation (famished preschoolers) and a half way smiley for making it kind of seem related to the topic at hand. (Overall I passed! Whew!)
1 7/8 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup blueberries (optional)
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix in other ingredients. Batter should not be smooth. Spoon into greased muffin tins, having the tins about two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees about 15 minutes. For berry muffins: reserve 1/4 cup flour. Sprinkle it over 1 cup blueberries or huckleberries. Stir into the batter last. Increase the sugar in the batter to 1/2 cup. (Source: Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1965.)
During snack time, while everyone was contained in one general area and mostly all sitting on their bottoms, I finally introduced our umbrella theme. We sang “It’s raining/It’s pouring” and “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man.” One little girl got so excited, “MY MOM KNOWS THAT SONG, TOO!!!!!” Oh, I’m so glad. Preschoolers are so good at getting excited about singing and doing hand motions to the music. Snack time went off without a hitch.
After snack time, the idea was that the kids would go back down and do the other craft picture (they all said they wanted to), but the reality was that nobody really wanted to do anything at all.
So we just played. (And I got to read the worm book to the boy who had perked up a little after his milk and muffin. He’s such a good kid.)
I sent the kids home with enough craft material to make the underwater picture for themselves later – and the materials to make these little umbrellas which we obviously never made during preschool. I’m not sad about that. Even just making these two by myself, they weren’t worth the effort.
They are WAY cuter on Pinterest, though.
But then again, everything is way cuter on Pinterest.
Everything here is just honest, no matter how mediocre that may be.