Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Wonderful Woman Lived in a Shoe

I love Nursery Rhymes!  When I was teaching preschool I tried to include at least one nursery rhyme in our lessons each month.  As a child I loved it when my mom would sing or recite old rhymes and songs for me.  Nursery rhymes bring so many rich opportunities to teach and make learning connections with children.

I had quite a collection of nursery rhyme books, posters, songs, puppets, and activities that I used to help children gain phonemic awareness and enjoy playing with words and sounds.  I was super excited when I started using Conscious Discipline and discovered that Dr. Bailey has modified many of the old nursery rhymes into loving rituals for children and adults to enjoy together.  The whole collection is published in her book, I Love You Rituals.  

Do you all remember the old Nursery Rhyme about the "Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe"?  Let's admit, there are times as teachers and parents that we just don't know what to do!  In Dr. Bailey's version of this rhyme which she calls "The Wonderful Woman", children and adults are wrapped in a sense of safety as are assured that the Wonderful Woman knows exactly what to do. 

A Wonderful Woman Lived in a shoe.
She had so many children,
She knew exactly what to do.
She held them,
And rocked them,
And tucked them into bed.
"I love you, I love you," is what she said.
(From:  I Love You Rituals by: Dr. Becky Bailey)
We did so many different activities in our classroom with this nursery rhyme.  I'd like to share a few of my favorites with you!
I have had this old "shoe house" for YEARS!  I use it over and over again for many different activities.  I even had to trace it with a black marker because the lines are so faded!  You know what they say about old shoes!  Nothing fits better!  :)
We used this to have the children practice fine motor skills by lacing the shoe string in and out of the holes.  We had the children look through magazines and find a picture of a woman to cut out and glue to the shoe.  Then we had them either cut out or draw pictures of many little children hanging out around the shoe. 
When I introduce the "Wonderful Woman" I like to use pictures of the students in my class to represent the children and pictures of the teachers in the class to represent the wonderful woman.  One classroom I visited used a large shoe that hung on the wall.  There were pictures of all the children and teachers that were attached with Velcro to the shoe.  Children could retell the rhyme and use the photos to help them act it out.  You could attach the written names as well and children could match the written name to the correct photo.
One of my favorite books to read that goes along with this nursery rhyme is If the Shoe Fits by: Alison Jackson.  This is a cute story about a mother that wants to find a new house for her children since things are so cramped in the shoe.  Throughout the story, the family learns through trial and error, that the best place to be is home.  There are so many fun activities you can do along with this story.  One thing we did was bring in different objects that the family could live in such as a shoe box or a teapot.  We used people from our dramatic play center to act out new versions of the rhyme.  An example might be, "There was an old woman who lived in a box...."  Then we would think of different words that rhyme with box and twisted the words of the rhyme to include new words.  I had the children imagine what it would be like to live somewhere else.  If they could live in a different house what would it be.  We drew pictures and wrote about our answers.
The discussion from this story lead us into more conversations about houses.  We looked at pictures of various types of houses such as apartments, trailers, condos, etc.  We did various activities related to house, but I will have to share those later!  ;)
One thing I always did with my nursery rhymes was to make a poster that we could hang at circle or in the literacy center.   The children love the opportunity to come up and use the pointer to read the rhyme.  They also like to highlight various letters or words they know.  I always have props available for them to use as they act out the rhyme with classmates.  You should check out the website for Dade County Schools from Miami Florida.  They have a lot of free resources available to use along with nursery rhymes and Conscious Discipline.  Loving Guidance has also just released a new set of "I Love You Ritual" posters this fall.  Each ritual has motions that you can do with the child or children can do with each other and include eye contact, touch, presence, and playfulness!  Building neural connections and wiring the brain for success!  It's like two for one! 
For an activity that helps connect home and school I sent home some construction paper and asked the children to trace the shoe for each member of their family.  When the children brought the shoe prints back to school we let them cut them out and put them in order from smallest to largest then we used a little ring to bind them in order.  We talked about what each person in the family does to help keep the family safe and I helped them write it on the shoes.
I hope this inspires you to continue the tradition of using nursery rhymes to enrich the lives of children!  What is your favorite activity to do with the "Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe?"  Share your ideas in the comments below!