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February 15, 2016

5 Fun Dental Health Month Activities for the Common Core

By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    I love February and not just because it’s the month of Groundhog Day, the 100th Day of School, Valentine’s Day, and Black History Month, but because I love teaching my students about Dental Health Month.

    The American Dental Association began celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month in 1981. I started celebrating it as soon as I became a teacher! This isn’t something that I have ever seen in a curriculum but it’s an important topic that easily allows work on multiple skills that are part of the Common Core State Standards while still teaching about teeth.

    Activity 1

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.9
    With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.

    Read Tooth Trouble by Jane Clarke and Cecilia Johansson and Clark the Shark Tooth Trouble by Bruce Hale and illustrated by Guy Francis. There are enough similarities, including the book titles, and differences that your students will able to create a great Venn diagram that they can share with the class. These books are also a great introduction to the “rules” about tooth brushing.

     

    You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? CoverActivity 2

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.2
    Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if it is apparent that something is not understood.

    Read You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt and illustrated by David Slonim. This is a great book because it’s a fun, novel take on the idea of the Tooth Fairy. Reading it aloud and then asking comprehension questions works on the listening comprehension that students are asked to have mastered by the end of kindergarten.

     

    Activity 3

    A Surprise or the Tooth FairyCCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3
    Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.C
    Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).

    Reader’s theater scripts are great tools to use during your guided reading lesson. Repeated use of a reader’s theater script works on fluency but you can also use the script during the “cold reading” (the first read through), to work on the CCSS that cover decoding words and recognizing common high-frequency words by sight. A Surprise for the Tooth Fairy is a fun script that fits perfectly into a dental health unit.

     

    Food Crushers SheetActivity 4

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.7
    Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of books by a favorite author and express opinions about them).

    I love using this free download sheet to discuss the difference in the front and back teeth. I introduce this lesson by reading What If You Had Animal Teeth!? by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam. This book is perfect for looking at the different jobs that teeth have and leads perfectly into the discovery method lesson the Food Crushers activity. Kids love it!

     

    I Lost My Tooth in Africa CoverActivity 5

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.2
    Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

    Start off this activity by reading I Lost My Tooth in Africa, the amazing book by Penda Kiakite and illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite. This story tells about a girl who travels to Africa with her family to visit relatives and what happens when she loses a tooth. The contrast between the customs of the U.S. Tooth Fairy and the African Tooth Fairy is stark and will create conversation.

    Using this book as a writing prompt is my favorite activity. With each student having a clean sheet of paper in front of them, I write “I lost my tooth in ______________.” on the board and ask the students to create a story about a time they lost a tooth. For students who haven’t lost their first tooth yet, I quickly pull them to the side and ask them where they hope to be when they lose their first tooth and have them imagine what it may be like if that happened to them.

    Students are encouraged to use words from our anchor chart in their writing.

     

    Other Resources

    My fellow Top Teaching blogger and kinder friend Allie Magnuson wrote a terrific post with "10 Games and Activities for Dental Health Month."

    Moose’s Loose Tooth by Jacqueline A. Clarke and illustrated by Bruce McNally

    The Tooth Fairy Wars by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Jake Parker

    Little Critter: Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer

    Online Word Matching Game

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

    I love February and not just because it’s the month of Groundhog Day, the 100th Day of School, Valentine’s Day, and Black History Month, but because I love teaching my students about Dental Health Month.

    The American Dental Association began celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month in 1981. I started celebrating it as soon as I became a teacher! This isn’t something that I have ever seen in a curriculum but it’s an important topic that easily allows work on multiple skills that are part of the Common Core State Standards while still teaching about teeth.

    Activity 1

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.9
    With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.

    Read Tooth Trouble by Jane Clarke and Cecilia Johansson and Clark the Shark Tooth Trouble by Bruce Hale and illustrated by Guy Francis. There are enough similarities, including the book titles, and differences that your students will able to create a great Venn diagram that they can share with the class. These books are also a great introduction to the “rules” about tooth brushing.

     

    You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? CoverActivity 2

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.2
    Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if it is apparent that something is not understood.

    Read You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt and illustrated by David Slonim. This is a great book because it’s a fun, novel take on the idea of the Tooth Fairy. Reading it aloud and then asking comprehension questions works on the listening comprehension that students are asked to have mastered by the end of kindergarten.

     

    Activity 3

    A Surprise or the Tooth FairyCCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3
    Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.C
    Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).

    Reader’s theater scripts are great tools to use during your guided reading lesson. Repeated use of a reader’s theater script works on fluency but you can also use the script during the “cold reading” (the first read through), to work on the CCSS that cover decoding words and recognizing common high-frequency words by sight. A Surprise for the Tooth Fairy is a fun script that fits perfectly into a dental health unit.

     

    Food Crushers SheetActivity 4

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.7
    Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of books by a favorite author and express opinions about them).

    I love using this free download sheet to discuss the difference in the front and back teeth. I introduce this lesson by reading What If You Had Animal Teeth!? by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam. This book is perfect for looking at the different jobs that teeth have and leads perfectly into the discovery method lesson the Food Crushers activity. Kids love it!

     

    I Lost My Tooth in Africa CoverActivity 5

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.2
    Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

    Start off this activity by reading I Lost My Tooth in Africa, the amazing book by Penda Kiakite and illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite. This story tells about a girl who travels to Africa with her family to visit relatives and what happens when she loses a tooth. The contrast between the customs of the U.S. Tooth Fairy and the African Tooth Fairy is stark and will create conversation.

    Using this book as a writing prompt is my favorite activity. With each student having a clean sheet of paper in front of them, I write “I lost my tooth in ______________.” on the board and ask the students to create a story about a time they lost a tooth. For students who haven’t lost their first tooth yet, I quickly pull them to the side and ask them where they hope to be when they lose their first tooth and have them imagine what it may be like if that happened to them.

    Students are encouraged to use words from our anchor chart in their writing.

     

    Other Resources

    My fellow Top Teaching blogger and kinder friend Allie Magnuson wrote a terrific post with "10 Games and Activities for Dental Health Month."

    Moose’s Loose Tooth by Jacqueline A. Clarke and illustrated by Bruce McNally

    The Tooth Fairy Wars by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Jake Parker

    Little Critter: Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer

    Online Word Matching Game

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

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