Friday, December 16, 2011

Patriotic Alphabet Parade: "J"azz

Last week the AEP kids worked on the letter J: J is for Jazz. It was a simple class, and I think they had some fun bopping around to some music.

The class started as usual with introducing the letter J, reading "My j Sound Box" book by Jane Belk Moncure. I really love this set of books as it appeals to a wide age range - plenty of pictures for non-readers and even my beginning reader loves to hear me read these (or read them himself!).

After, we dug in the Letter J grab bag and shared our discoveries: jet, Jesus (our infant Jesus from our kids' nativity set), jacket, Jack-in-the-box, jelly).

Then to the tables the kids went for some coloring and letter writing practice. When I made these coloring pages, I do not know what I was thinking. I made one of Johnny Appleseed instead of one for jazz. It did not seem to phase the kids though! Here are the sheets for pre-k (tracing) and kindergarten.

Now on to the yummy snack of the day: jello! Since I had a pack with multi-colors, we held a "lotto" to see who could pick first. It definitely calmed the "I want..." that had started as soon as the kids saw the jello. While they ate, the kids listened to a book or two on jazz, which helped move us into the next part of class: making simple instruments (you can see Critter's in the photo below).

Each child had two small plastic cups (think bathroom sized). Two tablespoons of rice went into one cup. The other cup was flipped for a lid, and then both were taped together using duct tape. Stickers were then used to decorate. Not necessarily a pretty craft, but the kids sure had fun shaking them all around!

While some kids worked on the instrument, others worked on the letter J collage: J is for jewels by adding sticker jewels to their sheet. Very pretty!

To end the class, we gathered together to talk about beats and rhythms, using first our heartbeat and then our shakers. We went fast. We went slow. We had the kids make up a beat and the rest followed. It was fun. Then, we flipped on the radio for some kid's jazz music and danced and shook our instruments. We listened and asked how each song made us feel (dancy, sleepy, happy, etc.).

At home, Critter and I wrapped up his scrapbook by doing a little on jazz and a little on feelings, since jazz music is all about how you feel in the moment. Here's what we did:

For the jazz page, we have two pictures of famous jazz musicians: Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. There is also a picture of Critter shaking a beat at home with his instrument. I also included a bit on the Coconut Tree (from the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., a favorite around here). Those few lines felt so jazzy to me. And then Critter finished up with a color-by-shape coconut tree, which he loved doing, and took such care to make it so nice.

The feelings page... I found this cute lapbook file and created some hands-on activities for Critter using it. He has a feelings book (shows faces of different feelings). There is also a How Are We Feeling? "game" where I asked him questions about situations that happened to the boy or girl and he had to put a face on the person to tell me how they would feel. Finally, Critter drew his face - with a very large smile - and wrote in how he felt.

For more ideas on jazz lessons, check out PBS Kids.

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