The focus this term will broadly be on Number. I always like to start a new topic off with a book focus and the first book we’re looking at is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The class has already been introduced to Eric Carle through Brown Bear, Brown Bear so they have a little understanding of his style and his artwork.
The class have also been excited by the addition of a “giant telly” which I informed them is actually a giant monitor for a computer. One of the first things we did with this new addition was to watch Eric Carle talk about his book whilst showing how he created the pictures. We talked about using his tissue paper technique to create our own hungry caterpillars.
We also did some balloon print caterpillars. I love the texture that was created with some of these.
I read a piece from an old book I had found about the Monarch butterfly and caterpillar. It explained that the caterpillar is brightly coloured to distract birds from eating it. The book had a fabulous illustration and we talked about how the caterpillar was basically lots of C’s or oval shapes joined together to form the shape of it’s body. I like to demonstrate and verbalise what I am doing when I model a sketch so the children can hear what I am thinking about as I sketch. I will say things like “Oh I am going to start the head about halfway down the page so I have room for the antennae. I’m going to start it right over on the left so I can make a long body going all the way over to the right.” I gave the children permanent markers to sketch with and later we painted the caterpillars with edicol dyes.
We’ve been role playing the story over several days now. I brought in two brown pillowcaes and some children had a go at wrapping themselves up in their cocoon while we all waited 2 weeks (well ok it was more like 30 secs) for them to emerge. I made some butterfly wings for them to flap around with as well. It was just a large piece of pink spotted material that I tied a knot in the middle of. Then I attached a loop of hat elastic onto the top two corners so the children could put their arms in and flap around.We’ve also been retelling the story using a felt board.
We made up a little finger play to go along with this song I found on the net to the tune of Incy Wincy Spider.
The Fuzzy Caterpillar (move fingers along other cupped hand)
Curled up on a leaf (make a fist inside the cupped hand)
Spun herself a chrysalis (roll hands over each other)
And fell fast asleep (Place two hands together under tilted head like sleeping)
While she was sleeping (snoring noises)
She dreamed that she could fly (flap whole arms)
And later when she woke up (stretch and yawn)
She was a beautiful butterfly (link thumbs and flap hands)
As we read the book over and over I like to pretend I don’t remember what’s happening next to encourage the children to help me out. I will say things like, “Hmmm Monday, Tuesday ummm what day is next?” Or deliberately say the wrong thing to get them contradicting me like, “Oh if he ate 1 thing on Monday and 2 things on Tuesday I think I remember he ate 20 things the next day which was Friday.” And oh how they love to correct me! After revisiting the book a number of times we had a go at sequencing the story outline ourselves. This week I will as them to give me an oral retell of the story too. We painted these with one of my favourite painting techniques. It’s my favourite mostly because its cheap, easy, not particularly messy and creates a nice subtle watercolour effect. We roughly colour part of what we want to paint with water based textas. Then we use water to turn our texta into paint and spread it around the whole picture.
This is just a sampling of what we’ve been doing with this book.