We love the book Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes and we just did a week of fun activities to go along with this terrific book.
Chrysanthemum is a mouse who grows up loving her unique name—until she goes to school. The other mice tease her for having such a long and unusual name. That is, until they meet their music teacher, who has a fantastic and flowery name of her own.
First, we made a Flower Garden of Names. Starting with Chrysanthemum, then adding the names of friends and family members.
I wrote the names of Chrysanthemum, plus many of our family and friends’ names on strips of paper. My 5 year old, The Queen Bee, copied one letter on each petal, then I helped her glue them onto a long sheet of white butcher paper, on which I’d pre-painted stems and grass.
I drew a simple flower petal template and traced it onto a sheet of white paper, then photocopied it onto different colored cardstock. The flower centers are from a 1 inch circle punch (Oh-so-many uses for the one inch circle punch. I’ve actually worn one out and am on my second one.).
Next we did a math activity. We took our name strips and used Unifix Cubes. She made a stack for each name, one cube per letter.
Then we ordered them from most to least. Of course, Chrysanthemum’s was the longest.
Next, I gave her a card with a, e, i, o and u on it and we identified the vowels in all of the names, putting a Unifix Cube on each vowel.
We sounded out the names without their vowels. They all sounded very silly! This attracted the attention of my 7 year old as well and we all went around calling each other by our vowel-less names for a while, followed by fits of giggles. Try it, it’s fun.
This reminded The Queen Bee that there is a song on LeapFrog: Talking Words Factory
about vowels. It was awesome to see her connect this to what we were working on. A lightbulb moment. She even noticed that the y in Chrysanthemum’s name was making a vowel sound so we talked about the “sometimes y” rule.
She then pulled out the cards from our Hello Kitty Memory Match Board Game and made up her own game with the name cards. She matched a Hello Kitty card that had the same beginning sound as each name (Daddy/drum, Bella/bird and so on).
While we read Chrysanthemum, The Queen Bee wore her mouse ears headband that we made during our week of learning with another famous mouse, Angelina Ballerina. The instructions for making them are in my Angelina post.
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