“Harold and the Purple Crayon” By Crockett Johnson


I have to admit that I read this book for the first time only a few weeks ago! I see it everywhere and finally grabbed it from the library.  After reading it, I can understand why it is still so popular (it was written in 1955!).  Harold and the Purple Crayon’s author Crockett Johnson is the illustrator of another classic, “The Carrot Seed,” which is written by his wife, Ruth Krauss.  If you are familiar with “The Carrot Seed”, than you know the style and feeling of “Harold and The Purple Crayon.”

If you are like me, and haven’t read the book before, it is about a boy named Harold and his purple crayon-as you can tell from the title.  Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight.

The scenery throughout the entire book is created by Harold’s purple crayon.  He wants a moon, he draws a moon, he wants a path, he draws a path, and so on.  Although the text and setting is very simple, the book is very powerful.  It shows kids the power of their imagination.  It encourages kids to draw and write their own worlds.

So, if you are looking for a fun, creative read, I recommend picking up “Harold and the Purple Crayon!”

Other Books by Crockett Johnson

  • Harold’s Fairy Tale (1956)
  • Harold’s Trip to the Sky (1957)
  • Harold at the North Pole (1958)
  • Harold’s Circus (1959)
  • We Wonder What Will Walter Be? When He Grow Up (1964)
  • Harold’s ABC (1963)

If you are interested, here is a reading of the book:

Author Study: Kevin Henkes

Playing Dress Up!

Playing Dress Up!

Today I had the pleasure of meeting the adorable kids in my Awesome Author class!  It meets on Saturday for two hours every month, for five months.  Every class I focus on a different author and/or illustrator.  For the first week, we learned all about Kevin Henkes (one of my all-time favorites).

I went to the library and took out one of every picture book that they had written by Kevin Henkes.  I specify picture book because he wrote chapter books as well.  I probably had about twelve books.  We ended up reading “Wemberly Worried” and “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse”.  We also looked through “One Day” and “Owen”.  The other books were available for the children to look through and for parents to note for future library or bookstore trips.

During our first circle time, I read “Wemberly Worried”.  The kids really liked it.  We stopped several times and talked about all of the different things that made Wemberly worry.  We talked about how she cuddles with her stuffed rabbit, Petal, to feel better.  I tried to encourage the kids to make text-to-self connections.  We talked about different strategies that they try when they are feeling worried.  Many mentioned that they had stuffed animals of their own that they snuggled with when they were feeling upset.  We also talked about what made them worry (most had issues with being in the dark).

I made an enlarged picture of Wemberly and hung it on the easel.  When we were finished with our conversation, I had the kids take turns sharing something they learned about the main character, Wemberly.  As the kids were sharing, I wrote their ideas on a sticky note and they stuck it up on the picture.  This showed the children’s words in print, that they were describing the main character of the story, and reinforced active participation in learning. These are all strategies that are used in Kindergarten. I am finding that I get really into my classes and cannot seem to remember to take pictures of everything!! It is very frustrating!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of Wemberly with the sticky notes on it, but the kids came up with great details from the story.

Next, we studied the cover of “Wemberly Worried”.  I got this idea from this website.  This blog has a ton of great ideas and all of the templates for this cute craft.  We took watercolors and created circles with different colors until the page was filled, pretty much. After the paint dried, the kids glued the different pieces of Wemberly onto their painting to create the cover.  Next, we attached it to a large paper.  At the bottom, I asked them to think back and share something that worried Wemberly and then something that worries them.  Some of the children wanted to look back through the book, which was a great strategy for remembering. Here is the end result….


The second craft that we did was a modified version of  this, based on “Old Bear”. I changed a few of the icons and the paint colors.  We divided a paper plate into four sections and then painted them. Then we came back after the paint dried to glue on the pictures and construct the bear spinner.  One note, the paint took FOREVER to dry and I ended up having to extend class a few minutes to finish this one.  If I had more time, we would have played with the spinner a bit and talked about the different seasons a bit more.


Waiting for our plates to dry…

We cut out different characters (Wemberly, Lilly, and Owen) from here.  We glued them to popsicle sticks to make puppets.  As the kids were enjoying their snacks and playing with their puppets, I read “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse”.


Overall, this was a really fun class!! Seriously, I was bummed when it ended.  In addition, we covered so many concepts taught in Kindergarten!  I can’t wait for our next class!


A Few Notes:

  • For an additional activity for parents to take home, I printed a coloring sheet to go along with Owen (and their stick puppets) found here
  • I previously wrote a post on Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes here
  • I was surprised by how many other topics and concepts we were able to touch on with these books.  For example, Henkes uses great word choice.  He is able to choose vocabulary that may not be familiar to kids this age in a way that they can understand.  In “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse”, Lilly gets angry and then she gets furious.  I asked if anyone knew what furious meant and no one did.  By looking at the pictures and thinking about the story, the kids were easily able to figure out that furious was feeling angrier than angry.

Preschool Theme: Winter Clothing

My class this week focused  on the clothing that we need to wear in the winter in order to stay warm in cold temperatures.  If you would like to see my guidelines for planning my class check out my link here.  Enjoy!

Greeting/Beginning Carpet Time:

one mitten

  • Book: One Mitten By Kristine O’ Connell George
    • The book is a simple tale of a little girl who has one of her mittens and needs to find the other one.
    • She shows the readers different activities that you can do with one mitten and then what you can do with two.
    • “One mitten can wave a mitten hello.”
    • The book was very cute and the kids could make little mittens out of their hands and act it out.
  • Poem: 5 Little Snowman
    • I have five snowmen that I cut out and laminated.  I am going to have five students stand up and be the snowmen in the poem.  We start the poem with five snowmen, then four, then three, etc.  Here is the poem…

Five Little Snowmen

standing in a row.

Each had a hat

and a big red bow.

Out came the sun

and it shone all day.

One little snowman melted away.


  • Listening Center
    • I have Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing By Judi Barrett available for the kids to listen to.


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Snowman Class Update with Pictures

Our Snowman Snack

Our Snowman Snack

I had a so much fun meeting my new little toddlers and parents!  It turned out to be an all-girl class, except for my son.  At times, it was so quiet until my son would come crashing down the slide!

Our Book Table

Our Book Table

Our "S" I-Spy Bottle

Our “S” I-Spy Bottle and key

Our Sorting "S" words pocket chart

Our Sorting “S” words pocket chart

I added this ABC puzzle.  I put magnets on the back of the pieces to create a self contained activity.  I also added a microphone, from the dollar store.  When the kids were finished, they could read the ABC's into the microphone!  It was sooo cute!!

I added this ABC puzzle. I put magnets on the back of the pieces to create a self contained activity. I also added a microphone, from the dollar store. When the kids were finished, they could read the ABC’s into the microphone! It was sooo cute!!

The Craft turned out even cuter then expected! The kids were able to do a lot more on their own than I had anticipated.

The Craft turned out even cuter then expected! The kids were able to do a lot more on their own than I had anticipated.

Hard at work!

Hard at work!

The "Snow" playdough turned out great!

The “Snow” playdough turned out great!  You can’t quite see all of the glitter in the picture, but it’s there.

My son enjoying his snack.

My son enjoying his snack.

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Preschool Theme: Winter Part Two

I have three classes to plan for in the month of January.  We meet once a week for an hour and a half and it is a tot and caregiver class (check out my guidelines here).

Snowmen is the theme for the first week.  We are going to “read” The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.  I say “read” because it is actually a wordless picture book.  I am also going to have a wide selection of  snowmen books available for caregivers to browse throughout class.  I have listed a few in my Preschool Class Winter Theme, part one here.  Here are the centers that I am planning, please excuse the spacing issues!



Materials Needed

Sensory-Snow Play dough Kids can play with the “snow” and practice their fine motor skills, use their imagination, and try new tools in a safe way. There are a ton of different recipes out there, this is the one I used from The Marathon Mom. (Play dough Recipe is found here)1 cup salt2 cups flour2 Tablespoonscream of tartar2 cups water

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

one small container sparkly white glitter

Sensory- Winter Themed Tub Kids can play and learn about different animals that live in cold climates.  They can use their imaginations to play with the animals or objects in the “snow” Tub (I bought mine at the dollar store)White Rice for the snow-or you can use shipping peanutsWinter Themed animals and or objects (again, dollar store)
Craft- Making a Snowman There are a TON of different snowmen making posts and pictures on the internet.  Here is one from Enchanted Learning that has ideas for patterns for hats and gloves. 2 or 3 white paper plates (for each child), depending on how big you want to make yoursConstruction paperAn orange pipe cleaner (for the nose)A short length of yearn or ribbon or bracketsHole punchMarker or crayonsScissors


Optional: googly eyes, large buttons, stickers other decorative objects or shapes cut out of construction paper

“S” Pocket Chart One pocket chart will have words that start with the “s” sound and the other will be world that do not start with the “s” sound Two pocket charts-dollar store has some, but they are pretty smallPictures of different objects, animals, laminated, if available, some that start with “s” and some that do not start with “s.”  This is an activity that I plan of doing several times, with different letters
Shaving Cream Writing Shaving cream is so great to use with kids!  It cleans and it looks like snow!  For this activity, kids can write different letters with their fingers in shaving cream Disposable lasagne tray or tub, I had one sitting around the house and of course shaving cream-dollar store, again.
Letter Discovery Bottle Kids need to find the different objects in the bottle that start with the letter “s,” that are pictured on a card that you provide.I love this idea!  I found a version on Second Story Window (There are a ton of great activities on this site) here, but I am going to do different bottles for the letter of the week or something that goes with the theme. Water bottle or the likeHot glueWhite RiceSmall objects that start with “s” that you have laying around.  Here are some examples:-Snake-Spider








I am so excited to try these out on Monday!  I will update you will pictures and feedback on how everything goes! Enjoy!


My Goals and Guidelines for My Class

SONY DSCI planned out the activities that I am doing this month and wanted to share them with you.  But first, I thought that I would share some of the goals and guidelines that I had in mind when planning.  My classes are unique in that they are caregiver and tot, ages 18 months to five years old, and they focus on literacy.

My Goals:

  • To be able to provide different resources to the caregiver that they may use at home, such as literacy activities, crafts, book ideas, etc.
  • I also wanted to do a class that could be an alternative to a child that may not be ready for preschool or whose parents might not want their child to go to preschool yet, if at all.
  • I planned some activities at a level where a parent needs to guide or assist a child.  I thought doing things this way would be the most beneficial to the child and caregiver.  The caregiver would pick up tips on how to administer literacy activities and the child would be exposed to a higher level of vocabulary and learning.
  • I want to do some activities several times so that the kids get familiar with the activity and lesson and become more independent.  For example, I found small pocket charts at the dollar store.  I am going to have kids sort words that begin with the letter “s” the first week.  A different week, I am going to use all of the same materials and sort the objects with a different beginning letter sound.
  • I want to do activities that can be easily replicated at home without having to buy too many materials (and the cheaper, the better), therefore, I want to reuse materials whenever possible.  I have a ton of activities using toilet paper and paper towel rolls, dollar store finds, etc.
  • Most of the activities that are planned are literacy-based, however, some themes lend themselves well to science and math, so there are a few of those included as well.
  • The timing is tricky.  The class is one and a half hours long.  We need to fit two circle times (beginning and end), free play, snack, and a craft into this time.  Therefore, we are going to have about twenty minutes to do centers.  Depending on the class size that may only come out to three learning centers and a sensory center!

So, these are the guidelines for which I am planning for my class. Enjoy!

Building Self-Esteem Videos Via Sesame Street

I have been on kind of a self-esteem and confidence boosting kick lately! And it continues…I was watching Sesame Street today, well I guess I should say that my kids were watching Sesame Street and they played a video that I thought was so inspiring!  It is called “Count Me In” and it is on the subject of believing in yourself.  Not only is it a catchy song, but it shows a very diverse group of people with diverse interests and has a great message to boot.

I added a couple more videos on this theme from Sesame Street and some of their lyrics.  My daughter and I watch the videos from Sesame Street all of the time!  That show constantly impresses me and here are a few examples of why….Enjoy!

“Count Me In”

“I am special

I’m outstanding

I can win

so count me in”

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“Dancing in the Wings” By Debbie Allen

self esteem dancing pics

This is another one of my favorite books (I, know, I say that a lot)! I read “Dancing in the Wings” to my fourth and fifth graders AT LEAST twice a year for different purposes.  The text is a bit long, and there is some name-calling and teasing in the book, so elementary-age children may be able to enjoy this book more than younger children.

Sassy, the main character, is a tall, big-footed, young woman who loves to dance.  Due to her height, she is unable to participate in recitals because she is too tall for the boys to pick up and would stand out too much if she danced in a group.  She is forced to “dance in the wings.”  To make matters worse, she is teased by her brother and her fellow dancers.  She sticks up for herself, however she feels discouraged.  An opportunity arises and Sassy is able to try out for an important ballet.  After some encouraging words from her uncle, Sassy gains the confidence to put her best big foot forward.

Debbie Allen wrote this book based on some of her own experiences which gives this book its authentic feel. I am assuming that she had a brother because the back and fourths between Sassy and her “big forehead lookin’ like a street lamp” brother are right on. I love how they tease each other, yet when Sassy needs it, he is there to cheer her on.

The illustrations by Kadir Nelson are beautiful.  The details in the way that the ballerinas stand add to the charm of the book.  There fingers and toes always seem to be standing perfectly, just like a ballerina.  Also, I like the Degas-type paintings in the background of the dance studio.  Nice touch!  Enjoy!

“I Like Me” by Nancy Carlson

self esteem i like me pic

I remember using this book with my Kindergarteners when I was student teaching.  The book helps to teach kids to feel good about themselves in a very simple way.  “I Like Me” features a cheerful, confident pig.   She likes herself so much that every morning she looks into the mirror and says “Hi, good-looking!”  The text is easy with few words, however, in these select words, readers learn the following:

  • Self-confidence
  • Enjoy yourself
  • Take good care of yourself
  • Cheer yourself up when you are feeling down
  • Pick yourself up after falling down

Like many other children’s books, the ending is very powerful.  It reads “I’ll always be me, and I like that!!”  It would give me great joy if my children and students could feel this way about themselves, now and in the future.  Enjoy!

Here is a reading of the book, if you would like to hear and see it:

“Giraffes Can’t Dance” By Giles Andreae

self esteem giraffe pic

“Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees is a book that I used to read every year with my fourth and fifth graders.  It is another book that can be enjoyed with a very wide age range.  I read it to my daughter all of the time.

The plot of the book is rather simple, but the message has a huge impact.  A giraffe wants to dance at the jungle dance but due to his long figure, it is hard for him to move around.  To make matters worse, the other animals make fun of him and tell him that giraffes can’t dance.

Usually, I do not tell the ending of books, because I want you to be able to experience it on your own, but I have to share the last page of this book.

“Then he raised his head and looked up

at the moon and stars above.

“We all can dance,” he said,

“when we find music that we love.””

SO BEAUTIFUL!! I love, love, love that last page!  It is so inspiring.  Even though the other animals discouraged the giraffe, after a little encouragement from a small friend, he was able to believe in himself.

Due to the fact that this is such a simple story, it can be used with children of all ages to help them understand complex subjects such as believing in yourself and bullying.

Here is a reading of the book, if you would like: