Archive for the ‘Lesson Plans’ Category

Spring Craft: Egg Carton Caterpillar

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Caterpillar TCR-Art for All Seasons

This spring craft offers kids so much room for imagination and learning. This is a great craft to bring a butterfly life cycle lesson to life! This project requires some recycled egg cartons so this would also be a perfect classroom craft for earth day to demonstrate recycling and reusing materials for new projects.


-Cardboard Egg Cartons
-Green Paint
-Pipe Cleaners
-Tape (optional)
-Wiggly eyes (optional)

Let’s Do It!

  1. Cut off the top of the egg carton, and cut the bottom half into two strips to make two caterpillars.
  2. Place the egg carton strips upside down so the hollow of the cups cannot be seen. Paint them green, then allow the paint to dry.
  3. Once dry, use markers to add details, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth, or glue on wiggly eyes.
  4. Cut two pipe cleaners into thirds. Insert one piece of pipe cleaner on the side of each cup to create the caterpillar’s legs.
  5. Cut two pipe cleaners into thirds. Insert one piece of pipe cleaner on the side of each cup to create the caterpillar’s legs.
  6. Inside each egg cup, bend down the ends of the pipe cleaners. Tape can be used to secure the antennae and legs.

Our little crafters loved the caterpillars so much they immediately took them to the trees so their caterpillars could eat leaves!

TCR Caterpillar-Art for All Seasons

Butterfly Life Cycle Idea: 

TCR Caterpillar

Have the students make butterfly wings out of construction paper and hold on to these for later. Keep the caterpillars in the trees. The next day, before the students come to class, add the butterfly wings to their caterpillars and put each caterpillar in a brown bag, like a chrysalis.  Hang them up in the trees and when they notice them, tell them we will have to wait and see what “those bags” could be.  The following morning, tear open the bags and have the caterpillars hanging half in and half outside the chrysalises, drying their butterfly wings.

More Ideas

-Add more personality to your caterpillars by using plastic wiggly eyes or construction paper for clothes and shoes.

-Other insects can be made from single sections of an egg carton. Try making ladybugs, painted black with red spots, or spiders, painted black with eight pipe cleaner legs.

-Obtain a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Putnam, 1969) and A Guide for Using The Very Hungry Caterpillar in the Classroom and try some of the creative writing activities and pocket chart patterns.

For more spring crafts and activities see, Art for All Seasons.

The Cat in the Hat: Classroom Discussion Topics & Free Activity

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The Cat in the Hat Classroom Discussion Topics & Free Activity

Read Across America Day is March 3 and many teachers and students will be celebrating by reading and having classroom discussions about Dr. Seuss’ classic story, The Cat in the Hat. This book is about a girl named Sally and her brother who don’t know what to do on a rainy day. Suddenly, in comes the Cat in a Hat, and that’s when the trouble begins! The pet fish reminds the children that the Cat should not be in the house because their mother is not home. However, the Cat insists on staying and entertaining the children with a variety of tricks. When Mother finally gets home she asks the children what they did while she was out. The kids cannot decide what to tell her. The Cat in the Hat ends by encouraging the readers to decide what they would tell their mothers in that situation.

There are a variety of fun classroom activities and discussion topics based around this story. Here are a few discussion topics:

  1. Discuss rainy day activities and create a Rainy Day Bulletin Board. Cut raindrops out of blue paper and have the students write down some rainy day activities on the raindrops to post on the bulletin board.
  2. Consider using The Cat in the Hat to introduce your social studies unit about safety or stranger awareness.
  3. Collect real hats and/or pictures of hats that can be displayed around the classroom to promote interest. Each day you teach the unit put on a hat (or show a picture of a hat) to signal to students that it is reading time. Encourage students to figure out who would wear such a hat.
  4. Have the students wear a hat when it is their turn to read a page out of the book. Discuss the feel and look of the hat and who would typically wear it.
  5. Set the stage and build background by discussing the following:
  • Have you ever been left home alone?
  • What activities are you allowed/not allowed to do when you are alone?
  • Talk about a time when it took courage to tell something to your parents
  • What would you do if a stranger came to your door while you were home alone?
  • Discuss and do(or review from the Rainy Day Bulletin Board) any fun rainy day activities

Need more Cat in the Hat activities? Download the free Pocket Chart Sequence Sentence Strips.

540 Cat in the Hat TCRPocket Chart Sequence Strips 2Use the Cat in the Hat sequence sentence strips to create a pocket chart activity. Teach and practice sequencing skills, reproduce, cut out and laminate the sequence sentence strips below. Have the students put them in the correct order and display them on a pocket chart. Students may also work in groups to create a book by cutting the strips, pasting them on drawing paper, and illustrating their sentences. Staple the strips in the correct order and read them to the class.

For more Cat in the Hat activities, discussion topics, and lessons see A Guide for Using The Cat in the Hat in the Classroom

10 Fun Facts about the Olympic Games & Free Lesson

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Fun Facts about the Olympic Games

The Winter Olympics Games will be held in Sochi, Russia on February 7-23, 2014. The Olympics has a rich history in ancient Greece and is a fun and interesting topic to discuss in the classroom. This momentous occasion can create learning opportunities about history, culture, sports, healthy competition and personal achievement. Here are some fun facts to share with your students:

  1. The first Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece and the first recorded date of the games was in 776 B.C.
  2. The Olympic Games in Greece were held in honor of Zeus, because the Greeks believed that the gods were pleased with mortals’ application of hard work and personal achievement.
  3. In A.D. 394 a Roman emperor believed that the Olympics had no place in the Christian world and     banned the Olympics for 1500 years.
  4. In 1904, the first American Olympics were held in St. Louis at the World’s Fair.
  5. In 1924, the first winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix, France.
  6. Baron Pierre de Coubertin (a French educator) is considered the father of modern Olympics. In 1896, He revived the Olympics and announced that it should be a way to bring countries together for world peace and to help abolish racial discrimination.
  7. In 1952, American figure skater, Dick Button performed the first-ever triple rotation jump at the Winter Olympics; he won the men’s singles figure skating event.
  8. In 1956, the Olympic summer games were actually held in November in Melbourne, Australia since that was the year of the summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
  9. Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track at a single Olympics.
  10. The five rings in the Olympic flag stand for five continents, the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and    Australia.


Need an Olympic lesson plan to tie these fun facts too?

Download a FREE Olympic Games lesson

Great Olympic Games classroom decorations


*Facts from the following books:

TCR3719 Greece, Pages 81-82
TCR575 Ancient Greece, Pages 89-90
TCR2027 The Fifties, Page 65
TCR2028 The Sixties, Page 65 & 96
TCR2024 The Twenties, Page 72 & 96



The Mayflower Sails Again!

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013


Mayflower Bulletin Board

Time to learn about Thanksgiving and why we share a day with family and friends to give thanks.

Since most students today have little concept of travel to our country in the early days, I like to show them what the Mayflower looked like.  We talk about the sails and why wind was so important—no engines! No refrigerators, microwaves or computers either, but for now, let’s concentrate on the ship.

The whole bulletin board can be done with different kinds of paper, but we like to get “fancy” in my class!

The Mayflower
1. Cut out a ship.  I cut large pieces of Styrofoam and we paint it brown.

2. Create “wood grain” by painting long, vertical lines using a darker color.  Demonstrate by painting the top plank and if appropriate, have each student add a “plank” by following your line above. (Great for eye-hand coordination!)

Hint:  Don’t put a lot of paint on the brush so it will be streaky.
3.  I use dowels and yarn to create the rigging and we add cloth sails.

4. We will add details to the ship as time and interest allow.  Sun, birds, fish, student writing….

Mayflower Bulletin BoardThe Pilgrims 

1. The Pilgrims heads are circles and their bodies are black or brown rectangles.

2.  Create templates for hair, collars, and hats based on the size of your Pilgrim’s heads.

3. Have each student draw a face and other details on his or her Pilgrim.  This year I found eye stickers to use as a special treat!

4. Don’t worry if you have to crowd your Pilgrims on the ship—it was very crowded on the voyage in 1620!

Finishing Touches

TCR5358Ocean Waves Border Trim

TCR4397Black Scalloped Border Trim


 Thanksgiving Today

This next bulletin board is about Thanksgiving today, though the word “maketh” in the title connects it to our study of the first Thanksgiving. Thankful Bulletin BoardFirst, we listed and graphed some of our favorite Thanksgiving holiday foods and talking about our different family traditions.  Then, we got busy creating our board.  Since food is such a big part of Thanksgiving traditions, we started with our stomachs!

1.  We each painted a paper plate to use as the mid-section (stomach).  It’s best to let the plates dry overnight.

2.  I found clip art for our favorite foods, pasted them on a piece of paper, and made color copies.

3.  The students cut out their favorite foods and glued them onto their “stomachs.”

4.  We made our heads using circles cut smaller than the paper plates.   Students cut hair similar in color and length to their own and glued it to the heads.  They used eye stickers and added other facial features using crayons and markers.

5.  We used long rectangle shapes for legs and added precut shoes.

6.  After stapling the head and legs to the stomachs, we added the finishing touch—hands!  I use the die-cut ones but you could have students trace their own.

Thankful Bulletin Board

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving!


The following items were used to complete this board:

TCR5347—Blue Polka Dot Funtastic 4” Letters.  These letters make the board pop and the kids love them!

TCR 4173—Blue Scalloped Border Trim

TCR 4751—We Are Thankful Straight Border Trim from Debbie Mumm