- organizing information
- precut puppet people from tag board (figure that is 5 inches tall, or use a large gingerbread cookie cutter)
- tongue depressors or popsicle sticks
- scissors, markers, yarn, pieces of fabric or felt old wall paper books
- Invite children to talk about how each one of us is special. Emphasize that each one of us has qualities that make us unique and unlike anyone else (feelings, background, voice, footprints, hand prints). Then discuss the many ways we are alike (we all have facial features, basic needs, go to school).
- Now play the category game. At group time, explain to children that they will be organized into various groupings that describe special characteristics about themselves and their friends. The teacher will ask a question such as, "How many children have brown hair?" Children with brown hair will organize together in a group on the floor. The teacher will direct the "questioning" to begin with, but as children become familiar with the game they'll have categories to contribute or share. The movement from group to group allows the children to see both the likenesses and differences among them. Ask as many questions as possible so children can find themselves members of many different groupings. Sample questions can invite children to group themselves by eye color, number of family members, birthday dates, pets owned, or number of siblings.
- Provide precut tag board people that children can use as "me puppets." Invite them to add their own features and clothing to the puppet cutouts, reminding them to think about their hair length and color, as well as eye color, as they do so. When finished, ask the children to glue tongue depressors to the backs of their puppets and use them to share with the group one way they were categorized in the category game—"Hi my name is Chantal and my family drives a red truck," or "my pet is a 4-year-old lab."
- After children have shared their "me puppets," place them in your literacy area, where children can continue the category game with them later on. Have a chart listing questions that you used in the game posted in the center so children can use it as a resource.
Remember: Five and 6-year-olds are the center of their own universe. It is especially important to remember that they do not see the world the same way adults do. They complete activities in their own way, so be sure expectations are communicated clearly and simply. Children's puppets should all have their own personal flair. There is no right or wrong in these activities. The more children can do on their own, the stronger they feel. Keep in mind when doing this activity that the process is more important than the product!
Curriculum Connection: Music
Have Fun With Music. Create a class song to the tune of "Where Is Thumbkin?" For example, "I like ice cream, I like meatballs, How about you? How about you?" Invite the children to each sing a line of the song. Make a big book of the class song for the group in which each child can illustrate the line they contributed.
Send a note home asking parents to talk with their child about their family. What do they have in common with family members? Who looks like who? Do they have hobbies or move like other family members? Encourage parents to share family stories. Ask them to bring out the family albums and explore the likenesses and differences among family members. They can also work together to draw a family portrait that children can later share with their classmates.
I Like Me! by Nancy Carlson
Available in the Teacher Store
Just Because I Am by Lauren Murphy Payne (Free Spirit Publishing, 1994)
We Are All Alike We Are All Different by Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners (Scholastic Inc.)