Here are some ideas for those of you who use Frank Asch books in the classroom or homeschool environment.
Many thanks to those who have shared your wonderful ideas! If you have anything you would like to see added to this list of activities, please send your submissions via email and be sure to write the word “teachers” in the subject box.
A Week of Frank Asch Centers for Kindergarten After introducing Frank to the class using his autobiography and some pics of mine, we walk the class around to the centers that they will be doing that week.
Drama Center – Using “I Can Roar Like A Lion” and “I Can Blink Like An Owl”, the children read the books and act them out for each other.
Art Center – After reading “Moongame” , the children take a yellow ‘moon’ and hide it in a creative drawing of their own. They loved this one.
Listening Center- This center went on for 3 weeks using “Barnyard Lullaby”, “Baby Duck’s New Friend”, and ” Baby Bird’s First Nest”. The children listened to the stories and had to rate the story and tell what they liked best about the book.
ABC Center- Using “Long Train, Short Train” and “Little Fish, Big Fish”, the children looked at the books and then created their own opposite books.
Math Center- After reading “Popcorn”, he children had to estimate how much popcorn would fit in Bear’s house ( using a template of his house). Then they filled the template with real popcorn and counted it to check their estimates, and lastly, they got to eat the popcorn in Bear’s house. They loved this one.
Overhead Projector- After sharing “Bear Shadow” with each other, the children at the center made shadows on the wall using the projector.
Reading Center- a comfortable place with lots of pillows to share Frank’s other books like “The Last Puppy”, “Good Night Baby Bear”, “Ziggy Piggy” and “Oats and Wild Apples”, etc.
Writing Center- The children read “Skyfire” and then had to answer the question “Where have you seen a rainbow?”
Sand Table- The children read “Sand Cake” and then got to make their own sand cakes and ‘eat’ them!
Science Center- weather study using “Water”, “Like A Windy Day”, “The Sun Is My Favorite Star” and “The Earth and I” as inspiration, the children had to answer the question “What is your favorite type of weather?” and illustrate it.
Social Studies Center- Using “Flags of the United Nations” sticker book as inspiration, the children designed their own “family” flags. This was fun.
Art- One activity that worked really well was cross-grade grouping of first graders with fifth graders. One 1st and one 5th grader teamed together to create a diorama of one of Frank’s Bear stories, and gave an oral report.
Math- Integrating Popcorn into Mathematics in both first grade and kindergarten, a cardboard house was made by the teacher and filled with styrofoam “popcorn”, and the children had to estimate how many “kernels” were in the house. Then they counted the “kernels ” to compare their answers to the exact number.
More Math- Also in Kindergarten and First grade, graphing was used to record their favorite main character ( which for 3 years has been won by “The Last Puppy”)
Writing skills- were developed in Kindergarten in creating their own “accordian ” books, “Just Like __________” , based on Frank’s Just Like Daddy.
More Writing Skills- In Second Grade, writing skills were further developed as the children chose 2 animals that they thought were usually enemies and wrote their own “Here Comes the _____” stories, based on Frank and Vladimir Vagin’s Here Comes the Cat.
Reading Skills- Kindergarten to foster further reading, a class book of opposites was created using “Little Fish, Big Fish” and “Short Train, Long Train” as examples. Each group of 6 children did 3 pages of the big book, working in partners. -Karen Burdorff, Elizabeth Lane Elementary, Matthews, NC
Moongame We are doing our SPACE unit right now and are also doing Frank Asch as our author study. The kids are enjoying the stories. One fun activity that we did was with the book Moongame. We copy the following poem onto pages and use black construction paper with aluminum foil for the moon shapes.
The Moon Game (Author Unknown)
Page 1 I’m the moon and I play a game,
I don’t always look the same.
Sometimes I’m round, A silver sphere.
Page 2 Sometimes just half of me Seems to be here.
Page 3 Sometimes I’m a crescent, Shaped like a smile.
Page 4 Sometimes I surprise you And hide for awhile.
Page 5 Look up in the sky For my friendly light.
What shape will I have When you see me tonight?
We also follow the activity with soft yellow cheese spread on Ritz crackers. We bite the cracker and try to make it into the different moon shapes. -Latta Amanda
Bear Shadow Using Bear Shadow, we integrated science and literature to learn how shadows fall in relation to the sun. First, draw Bear. Then put a piece of black paper under your drawing and cut both out at the same time. You will have Bear and Shadow. Glue Bear’s feet to a half sheet of green construction paper so that Bear is standing up perpendicular to paper. Take Shadow and glue it flat on the green paper so that it becomes Bear’s shadow on the ground. Take a blue sturdy piece of paper, the same width of the green paper, glue one-third of it under the green paper and fold it up at the “horizon.” Now you have a sky that is perpendicular to the green paper. Cut out a sun and place it in the sky in the position that will cast the shadow of Bear. Embellish with cotton balls for clouds, standing trees with their shadows, and any creative representations of scenes from the story. -James Garrity, creator and kindergartner We have been studying your books in our Kindergarten class and doing projects on some of them. One book the children really enjoyed was Bear Shadow. We went outside to look for our shadows and talk about why we see them at certain times. Our project was to fold a piece of paper in half. On the top half, draw and color Bear and his surroundings with the sun in the background. Next, the children were to shade in the shadows of Bear and his surroundings below the folded line. We use the folded line as a guide to begin the shadowing. They came out great and now whenever we go out for recess the children are chasing their shadows and trying to catch them! This was a fun project and the children really seemed to understand shadows and the necessity of the sun for them. -From Debbie who teaches Kindergarten in Chicago.
Bread and Honey In Grade One I using the book “Bread and Honey” I give each child a piece of paper and have them draw as we read. I do not show them the illustrations as we read. First they draw the outline of Mother Bear’s head and as Ben meets each of the animals on his way home I have the children add the facial features. We compare pictures after we have finished the story and look back at the illustrations in the book. Of course we celebrate the ending by having bread with honey on top. Thanks – I really enjoy your books – Pam Arcuri I made large cut outs of pieces to go with the story – a large bear, 2 ears, a neck, 2 eyes, etc. I start by showing the children pictures of various animals and discussing characteristics of each animal. Then I tape a large cut out of Moonbear to my easel. As I read the story, I add cut out pieces to Moonbear to go with the story. For example, the first animal Moonbear sees is owl. On top of Moonbear’s eyes, I tape large owl – like eyes. I continue this until the end of the story. The children love it and can see the progression of the bear picture. I then made smaller cut outs like the ones above and gave a set to each child. As I reread the story, the children put the pieces on top of Moonbear. We do this a few times until the children are very familiar with the story. I then ask the children to retell the story using the pieces. Of course we end, by eating some bread and honey. We love your books………..Thanks for writing them……….-Renee Sachs
Mooncake Frank Asch is my “Author of the Month” each November in my Junior and Senior Kindergarten Class. One of my favourite and most successful spin-offs is to the book “Mooncake”. We bring in “junk” such as kleenex boxes, paper towel tubes etc., and each child chooses the materials he or she wants to use. They have to design their spaceship before building it, by drawing it on paper. We encourage symmetric designs like the spaceship in the book. I help them label the materials in their design. Then they go about building their own spaceship. I bring in a large box afterwards, and we add to it to create our own large spaceship. We punch small holes in the top, and it’s a great place to crawl into for a rest, because the light coming in the holes looks like stars! It’s also a great book to use to discuss hibernation and seasonal changes. We also make “Mooncake”, using a regular cake mix and some green food colouring. We eat it to celebrate our month of Frank Asch books! I think that all of the Bear books lend themselves to great science explorations! -Debbie Boaz
Frank Asch’s Original Recipe for Mooncakes Mooncakes Yield: One large mooncake which can feed 1-4 people depending on how hungry they are. I usually serve them for breakfast but they’re good any time. Ingredients: 3 eggs dash of salt 1/4 cup Grape Nuts dash of cinnamon (optional) butter Maple syrup (preferably real Vermont maple syrup) Procedure: Melt a small amount of butter into an omelette pan. Beat eggs lightly, add dash of salt, and pour into pan. Let cook on medium to low flame for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle grape nuts on top of eggs, add cinnamon, and let it cook until bottom is light brown. Flip (carefully) and let the other side cook until done. Serve with butter and Maple syrup,as you would a pancake. (Bear prefers his with honey) Mmm delicious!