Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Little Red House

Follow Me on Pinterest As I was going through my September files recently, I came across a copy of the story "The Little Red House With a Star Inside."  I think I picked it up in a children's lit course way back when.  I love this story and tell it to my class every year.  The best part is the collective gasp from the kiddos when I cut open a little red apple and show them the star inside.  It's these magical moments that make me love teaching kindergarten.  This story is a classic and I'm sure most of you are familiar with it, however in case you aren't, I'm including it below.

There was once upon a time a little boy named John who was tired of all his toys and tired of all his picture books and tired of all his play.

"What shall I do?" he asked his mother? And his dear mother who always knew beautiful things for little boys to do, said:

"You shall go on a journey and find a little red house with no doors and with a star inside."

Then John's eyes grew big with wonder. "Which way shall I go?" he asked, "to find a little red house with no doors and a star inside?"

"Down the lane and past the farmer's house and over the hill," said his mother. "Come back as soon as you can and tell me all about your journey.

So John put on his hat and his jacket and started out.

He had not walked very far down the lane when he came to a merry little girl dancing along in the sunshine.

"Do you know where I shall find a little red house with no doors and a star inside?" John asked her.

The little girl laughed. "Ask my father, the farmer," she said. "Perhaps he knows."

So John went on until he came to the great brown barn where the farmer kept barrels of fat potatoes and baskets of yellow squashes and golden pumpkins. The farmer himself stood in the doorway looking out over the green pastures and yellow grain fields.

"Do you know where I shall find a little red house with no doors and a star inside?" John asked the farmer.

The farmer laughed, too. "I've lived a great many years and I never saw one," he chuckled; "but ask Granny who lives at the foot of the hill. She knows how to make molasses taffy and popcorn balls and red mittens. Perhaps she can direct you.

So John went on farther still, until he came to Granny sitting in her pretty garden of herbs and marigolds. She was as wrinkled as a walnut and as smiling as the sunshine.

"Please, dear Granny," said John, "where shall I find a little red house with no doors and a star inside?"

Granny was knitting a red mitten and when she heard the little boy's question, she laughed so cheerily that the wool ball rolled out of her lap and down to the pebbly path.

"I should like to find that little house myself," she chuckled. "It would be warm when the frosty nights come and the starlight would be prettier than a candle. But ask the wind who blows about so much and listens at all the chimneys. Perhaps the wind can direct you.

So John took off his hat politely to Granny and went on up the hill rather sorrowfully. He wondered if his mother, who usually knew everything, had perhaps made a mistake.

The wind was coming down the hill as the little boy climbed up. As they met, the wind turned about and went along, singing, beside the little boy. It whistled in his ear and pushed him and dropped a pretty leaf into his hands to show what a good comrade it was.

"Oh, Wind," asked John, after they had gone along together quite a way, "can you help me to find a little red house with not doors and a star inside?"

The wind went singing ahead of the little boy until it came to an orchard. There it climbed up into an apple tree and shook the branches. At John's feet fell a rosy apple.

John picked up the apple. It was as much as two hands could hold. It was red as the sun had been able to paint it, and the thick brown stem stood up as straight as a chimney. It was a little red house. It had no doors.

"I wonder," thought John. He took his jack-knife from his pocket and cut the apple through the center. Oh, how wonderful! There inside the apple, lay a star holding brown seeds.

John called to the wind, "Thank you," and the wind whistled back, "You're welcome."

Then John ran home to his mother and gave her the apple.

Be sure that you cut the apple horizontally about half-way down between the flower and stem ends.

The cut apples also make great stamps for making prints on paper place mats for the apple feast. Use the shortened version below as the center of the place mats and the children can make apple prints as a border around it.

When cutting the apple, remember not to cut from stem to blossom. You must slice through the center in order to find the star inside.

After telling the story, we make apple prints using the apple halves and yellow paint.  Here is a photo of the project we make with the prints.

Happy Printing!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Follow Me on Pinterest Fall is my favorite season.  I love the subtle changes in the lighting and the cooler weather.  Every year I look forward to September and bringing out my apple activities.

Tomorrow we will be making applesauce as part of our Johnny Appleseed celebration.  Although Johnny Appleseed Day isn't until Monday, we usually do special activities on Fridays.  However, due to unforeseen circumstances, this year we'll be making it on Thursday.  I can't wait!  The room smells so good as the apples simmer in the electric skillet.  The kids love the little machine that cores, peels and slices the apples into rings.  They enjoy cutting up the apple rings in to smaller pieces after they come off the machine.  I give them each a plate and a serrated plastic knife and they do a terrific job cutting with those little knives.  Afterward I add the apple pieces to the skillet.  While the children wait for their turn at the applesauce table, I provide other apple-related projects to keep them entertained.  I found a  Johnny Appleseed puppet over 20 years ago in one of the lesser-known classroom magazines.  (I only wish I could remember which one!)  It's really cute.  I give the kids one of those teeny tiny bags one size down from lunch-sized.  They color, cut and glue the pieces, et voila--they have a puppet!  The smaller bags  stay on their little hands so much better than those awkward lunch bags, and it's also a nicer fit for the puppet pieces.  Click here to get your copy.  (I hope I'm not infringing on somebody's copyright.)

We always eat our applesauce at the end of the day.  As my contented little ones snack on their delicious treat, they watch the Disney movie about Johnny Appleseed.  It was made in 1948, but it's just as charming today as I remember it being when I was a child.  This is one of those films that Disney releases for a short time and then returns to their vault for several years before re-releasing.  If you're interested in finding a copy, hop on over to asap as they currently have it in stock.

How do you celebrate September?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Follow Me on Pinterest I love using food to teach concepts to kinders. Every year, on the first day of school, I have the children make a sunflower cookie.  They are sickeningly sweet, but the kids love them.  I give each child a sugar cookie and a craft stick with a generous dollop of lemon frosting (lemon because it's yellow.)  After spreading the frosting around, they count out 8 pieces of candy corn and place them on the cookie as petals.  We aim for symmetry, but don't always succeed.  To top it off, they add chocolate sprinkle seeds in the center.  The little ones enjoy creating their first day snack.  It's a happy way to start the year.

(Click on images to enlarge.)
We had a great time eating our way through the shapes last week.  It was fun to watch the children in action.  Some drew their shapes meticulously with great attention to detail.  Others were created with a quick flick of the wrist and a few swipes of the crayon.  Either way, each child was pleased with his or her effort and the book is a favorite.  The rectangle (sugar wafer cookie) was the tastiest shape hands down.  I think it was the pink that made it taste so good :)

Last Friday we used M&Ms to sort by color.  On Monday, we used the data to create graphs.  It's a great way to reinforce the concepts of more, less and equal.  Over the summer, I found the cutest sorting and graphing sheets to go along with everybody's favorite classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? 
Hop on over to Making Learning Fun to grab your copy.

Have you seen Fran's Happy Birthday book over at Kindergarten Crayons?  It's darling!  I'm thinking about introducing the book next Wednesday, baking cupcakes in class on Thursday (I LOVE cupcakes!) and then decorating them during free choice time on Friday.

How do you use food in your classroom?

Bon Appetit,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Eating Shapes

Follow Me on Pinterest I've been considering a kindergarten blog for some time now.  As, traditionally, September is the start of a new school year, this seems like the perfect time for a new beginning.

It's hard to believe we're into our 5th week already!  The kids are hard at work learning how to write their names properly.  We're three weeks in to the Ti and Mo phonics program, working on numbers to 5, AB patterns, sorting and shapes.  I found some great patterning ideas over at my favorite blog, Kindergarten Crayons.  Fran is amazing!  Be sure to check her out.  She's got a wonderful pattern book up right now, and it's free!  She's very generous.

I love making little books with the kids, don't you?  We're making one right now called Eating Shapes.  I got the idea from my priceless partner Lisa.  Then wonderful husband Glenn formatted it and added some graphics and a border and voila!  Here it is!

(Click on the picture to enlarge.)

If you would like to use this with your darlings, you'll find it here. Enjoy! 

Here is a list of foods we used for this activity:
• Circle ~ Chips Ahoy cookies
• Square ~ Big Cheez-Its
• Triangle ~ Triscuit Triangles
• Rectangle ~ Pink wafer cookies
• Oval ~ Flipsides crackers

I hope your year is off to a great start and that you're having a relaxing Labor Day.