Mouse Shapes {Shape Attribute Lessons}

This week, math officially became the most treasured time of the day.  Oh my, the "power" of learning when kids are excited!  Through our weekly explorations, my kids created interactive shape books with activities to house the work from this entire week.
For those that are unfamiliar with Mouse Shapes, it's about three mice that find themselves running from a cat the entire story.  In an attempt to hide, the torn paper mice find a pile of shapes. With synergy, the mice construct different objects using the shapes.  After the cat pounces, the mice develop a plan to scare the cat away.  This story is an enchanting way to review shapes and introduce composing.  I purchased my book with felt retelling props from  All the felt pieces are simply irresistible. 


Do you see why my kids are enchanted with the props?  The props perfectly align with the book and allow the kids to visualize how to compose shapes. 

There are so many resources made available for shapes.  At the end of the post, I will link a few freebies and activities I used this week.  For now, here's a glimpse into my week...

The following images are previews from the unit I created to support our learning. 

Click the image to purchase Mouse Shape felt set.

The following file is available in the Mouse Shape Unit.  I'm also providing this portion as a freebie file so that your kids may manipulate the story.

Click the image to purchase Five Busy Shapes felt set.

On Wednesday, I used Anna Brantley's Guess My Rule Freebie for a partner work-time assignment.  She has a few freebies for attributes in her blog post.  Click image below to link.

On Friday, I used Katie Mense's Drawing Shapes unit.  I displayed the various pages for guided drawing of shape formations.  After, we worked on creating shape books, extending our lesson into writer's workshop.

Here is a sample of one book...

A few fun freebies to align with Mouse Shapes include Mouse Shape Retelling Props at Read Rabbit Read.

Learn colors and the result of mixing them with a freebie unit to align with Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh.  This file is available from 123 Homeschool 4 Me.

Kathy Law has terrific games and freebies for Mouse Count, Mouse, Shapes, and Mouse Paint.  Her blog post for Mouse Count is jammed pack full of freebies to snag.!)

A few activities of Kathy Law that I plan to use in centers this week include Roll a Shape freebie and Mouse Shapes game. 

To extend on our attributes lessons from last week, I will open each day with shape songs. 
Shapes Song
(Tune: 'Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush')
Author: Unknown
This is a (square) as you can see.
It has (4 sides all the same).
This is a (square) as you can see.
Now draw it in the air with me!
Other verses:
Rectangle: 2 short sides and 2 long
Circle:  goes around without an end
Triangle: 3 corners and 3 sides
Oval: goes around, but is squished in
Another center for this week will be to create shape collages as inspired by Miss Renee's Kindergarten Pad

Prior to shape collages, I will begin my instruction with the book, When a Line Bends... A Shape Ends.  Click the book image to link to several freebies I shared a few years ago.

Patriotic Week {Freebie}

Happy Patriot Day! I'm stretching out my lessons for a week.  I'm unsure how most instruct on this week but here is my stance... 9/11 is a historic event in American history.  I feel my first graders are too young to know specifics but they're not too young to understand that bad things can happen and how we must persevere.
I started my week with community helpers and had a discussion on heroics.  We defined heroes and heroines. As the week progressed, we learned there are many misconceptions about what a hero might look like. 
By Tuesday, I introduced the Twin Towers and shared facts.  Some facts included...

  • 110 stories in each tower
  • 1368 feet high—the North Tower
  • 1362 feet high—the South Tower
  • 50,000 people worked in the Twin Towers
  • 7 underground levels
  •  43,600 windows in the twin towers
  • 239 elevators in the World Trade Center complex
  • 71 escalators in the complex
  • 2,000 parking spaces in the 5 underground parking levels
  • 30,000 cups of coffee served each day
  • 17 babies born at the World Trade Center
  • 3 men parachuted from the top of the towers
  • 12 mountain climbers scaled the outside of the towers
  • 1 man walked a tightrope between the two towers

  • It's on this day that we celebrated the towers with the story: The Man That Walked Between the Towers.  This is a favorite book of mine.

    Each year, both boys and girls are captivated by French aerialist, Philippe Petit.  It was the year of 1974 when Philippe decided to disguise himself as construction worker and climbed to the top of the Twin Towers.  Philippe set up a tightrope and prepared for his quest to walk between the North and South Towers at 1300 feet in the air. 

    After reading, we discussed center of gravity and how Philippe Petit could remain on the tightrope without falling.  My kids were amazed with his ability to do tricks on the rope.  To incorporate STEM into our day, we built two towers.  In the story, Phillipe rode the elevator to the tenth floor of the towers. From this point, he was to climb the final 180 stairs to the top.  We counted out and divided 180 cups between two groups.  Lots of math happening by this point of the day. Between the towers, I set out a long string and had the kids walk across.  For each toe or heel that hung off the string, the kids would make a cartoonish noise, as if the road runner came crashing down from a cliff, signifying that a students' step would have prevented them from successfully crossing the tightrope. Quickly, my darlings realized balance included the use of their arms to ensure their body remained steady.

    The follow up readers response/writing activity was created by The Best Chilren's Book. I loved the simplicity of the activity. I had kids with a variety of personal goal; a few include being able to touch their head with their toes, wanting to be a policeman, selling their artwork, cleaning peoples teeth, and riding bikes without training wheels.  
    The following day, we studied the illustration on the cover of the book.  Distance perspective became a hit. Learning to draw objects that looked far off in the distance and well below captivated my youngsters.  It took a minute for my kids to understand that Phillipe wasn't a giant as they first predicted. The renderings became a quick favorite.
    Patriotic pride was at it's height on Thursday.  All students wore red, white, and blue.  We made flags, ribbons, and sang patriotic songs!  On this day, my kids were exposed to the statement: Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover.  I shared a few great examples from the library.  Some of the most used books look old and uninviting but they're truly treasured.  Their continued use explains why they're showing their age!
    It's at this time that I introduced Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John J. Harvey.  This book is filled with teachable moments. I fell in love with this little boat and its heroics on Sept. 11th!  When broken pipes prevented first responders from fighting the fires in NYC, the John J. Harvey Fireboat came out of retirement to help its great city. Our discussion of heroics continued.  We also dove into judgments, comparisons, and historic events. You can find a remarkable CBS news video featuring the John J Harvey and crew member Jessica DuLong online.

    As a follow up to the story and our comparisons, my kids wrote letters to the local firehouse thanking our first responders for their daily heroic actions!  Our day wouldn't be complete without a little poem for our poetry notebooks.  You won't want to miss the fantastic freebie Caitlin from Kindergarten Smiles prepared for poetry notebooks. Link here.

    Today, we had a remarkable lesson that revolved around overcoming loss using the story: September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right. No real specifics, just how to go about life when bad things happen.

    I began the lesson asking students to discuss things they do daily.  I guided the discussion with thoughts on how they started today.  As they chimed in with an answer, I charted their responses.

    During the reading, I asked the kids to listen to things described in the story.  With a T-Chart on hand, we determined if things described would happen on a normal day or if they were specific to September 11th, following sad events.

    Once the story was over, I shared my feelings on loss, acceptance, understanding, and moving on.  The kids were able to add to the list created before reading.   Each child created a response.  I order their writing to align with our normal day and read to the class.  Oh, they are so very excited about publishing our first class book.

    If you are interested in creating your own class book, I've prepared an editable freebie file for you.  Click the image to download.