ACTIVITIES TO ACCOMPANY
HERE A CHICK, WHERE A CHICK?
By Suse MacDonald
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1. For children one to two years of age
a. Play the old game of peek-a-boo with your child. Build on that
experience by playing "Where's the ____?" with
a favorite doll or toy animal. Hide the toy behind your back or
under a table or place a cloth over it. When your child has this
concept firmly in place, graduate to the book.
b. Before reading the
book, call your child's attention to the front
to each animal on the cover and name it. Then read the book, inviting your
child to identify each animal.
c. If your child has a toy farm set of animals,
or a book of animals, point to each
animal and say its name. You can also teach your child the sound
makes. When you read the book, have your child say the name of each
animal as it is discovered. They can then compare Suse MacDonald's
each animal with the animals depicted in other books or in the farm
set. In this
way, your child will become familiar with the concept of "cowness"
"pigness", even when they appear in different artistic versions.
d. As you read the book repeated times, have your child identify each
making its sound.
e. This book and others that your child especially enjoys,
can be read over and
over. An adult sometimes tires of a particular book, but children seldom
A book becomes a familiar friend, giving security and comfort in
predictability. Repeated Reading is an important step to literacy.
the child is able to read, he/she is absorbing knowledge about books:
goes page to page from front to back, that a story has a beginning,
a middle and
an end, and that characters in books often use vocabulary and a style
speaking that is different from everyday conversation.
II. For children three to four years of age.
a. Use any or all of the activities above, based on each child's
level of maturity.
b. Teach your child the old song, "Old MacDonald Had A Farm",
being sure to include verses for each of the animals depicted in
c. Once your child is very familiar with the book, you
can vary your Repeated Readings by "singing the book".
Have your child point to each animal, and sing the appropriate MacDonald
verse with them.
d. Encourage your child to "read" the book to you,
after becoming familiar with the content. Pretend Reading is another
step towards "real" reading, but has nothing to do with
actually decoding print. The child should use his/her own language
and simply tell the story, guided by the pictures. They may, indeed,
use the only words in the book, Here a chick, There a chick, but
it is not necessary that they do so. This should be a game of imagination.
Use the stick puppet activity. Templates and instructions are below,
III. For pre-school or kindergarten classes.
a. Read through the activities
above and adapt your favorites to a group
situation. The "Old MacDonald" activity is especially
well suited to a
b. Either individually or in small groups, have students
make their own flap
books. Start with a base piece of construction paper. Cut another piece
of construction paper into small rectangles. Glue or tape the small rectangle,
only at its top end, to the base piece of paper. Bind or staple several
sheets together as a book. The topic could be adding other animals to this
story or it could be on any subject students choose.
Note: it may be unnecessary, but here you
could draw a large rectangle, with a
smaller rectangle inside, as a model.
c. Dramatize the book. There are enough
animals to ensure that all students can
participate. Since each animal discovered joins in the search, it will
end up as a big parade. If you are presenting this for an audience, the
searchers should say, "Here a Chick, Where a Chick?" at each new search site.
The performance could end with a rousing version of "Old MacDonald".
IV. Extension Activities for all ages.
a. Using a large piece of butcher paper, have the students make
a barnyard mural. They could use poster paint, crayons, colored markers
animal hand puppets from brown paper lunch bags. The children can decorate
the bags with crayons, yarn, construction paper scraps, etc.,
Encourage dramatic play by asking 3 or 4 students to ad-lib a conversation
between their animals.
c. Play a Where's the Chick game.
Inside version: One child is "IT" and wears the hen mask.
The mask template is below, Figure 2. IT decides where the chicks
will be hiding. The others then ask one question each, "Are
the chicks in the _____?" (Must
be a location inside the room). The person who correctly guesses the hiding
location becomes the next IT.
Outside version: The questioners run to a location and ask, "Are
the chicks here?" The adult in charge should set safe boundaries
and keep all activity within them.
d. Hands On Experience: If you do not
live in a rural community, arrange a trip
to a child-friendly farm. Some cities also have programs that will bring
animals to your school. 4-H clubs might also welcome young visitors.
—Activities by Mary Lou Meerson, Educational Consultant, San Diego
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