October’s gotten really sneaky these past few years, and whenever I’m too immersed in my classroom to notice, it suddenly pops up.
Good thing I have a week off to cope with the idea, because October heralds the holiday season and all the crafts that season entails from now to December.
But October is also one of my favorite months, since fall in southern California makes itself known in an occasional crispy morn. And Halloween means I get to pull out some old favorites in my read-aloud collection.
One of the best I’ve run across in recent years is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams and illustrated by Megan Lloyd. While not quite Halloween-specific, it does have a scary pumpkin head and deals with the theme of fear.
The illustrations in this book are vibrant-colored and eye-catching–guaranteed to keep my wiggly kindergartners’ attention. But the bravado of the little old lady (“not afraid of anything!”) as various articles of clothing and a pumpkin head meet her on the path through the woods is a great discussion point.
The other superb bit about this tale is the repetition and actions of each item the old lady encounters. Acting out the CLOMP CLOMP!, WIGGLE WIGGLE!, SHAKE SHAKE!, etc. is part of the delight, and more than one class has demanded an immediate reread of the tale.
Extended activities for my classroom include a reenactment–with each child encountering the old lady holding a paper piece of clothing and doing the required action. From the safety of the playhouse, the little old lady whispers to the pumpkin head child, and puts together all items on a frame–to which I’ve affixed Velcro dots. We end up playing this one multiple times, because everyone wants to be the little old lady.
Now that we’re going full day, I’m beginning my writing program. And one of the first things we’ll draw and caption will be a scarecrow on the day I read this story. We’ll also retell the story using sentence strips.
And since one of our standards this trimester is retelling a story, I’ve got some images of the old lady, shoes, pants, etc. that they can use when they retell the story to me. It’s a perfect tale for the standard–easy to remember and interesting enough that they enjoy the retelling.
If you don’t have this one in your library yet, make sure to get a copy. It’s a wonderful reading experience for all!