"Chicken Little" is a folk tale that was made into several children's books by different authors and illustrators. Walt Disney Films turned the story into a full-length feature film in 2005. Preschool activities should revolve around farm animal characters in the story and themes of courage and responsibility. In the tale, Chicken Little gets hit on the head with an acorn and thinks the sky is falling. She takes the situation seriously, but doesn't have all the facts. She neglects to notice her real enemy -- Foxy Loxy.
Have each student make a character chain out of paper strips, suggests teacher Rebecca Haden on her website Fresh Plans. Before class, cut nine 1-inch-by-6-inch strips of colored paper for each student. Write or photocopy the name of one character on each strip -- Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Drakey Lakey, Goosey Loosey, Gander Lander, Turkey Lurkey and Foxy Loxy. Students can color the strips and add stickers if you want them to. Have them make the “Chicken Little” strip into a loop and glue or tape it closed. Put the next animal, Henny Penny, through the first loop and glue it closed. Introduce the concept of story plot by having your students put the animals in order to make a chain that follows the sequence of events.
Seat your students in a large circle, on the floor or in chairs, and play a traditional gossip game. The objective is is teach kids how gossip can lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication -- similar to what happened to Chicken Little and her friends in the story. Whisper a funny, yet complicated, sentence in one of your student's ear and ask her to whisper the same sentence quietly into the ear of a classmate seated next to her. The students must pass the message around the circle until it gets back to the student you first whispered to. The student must then repeat the messed-up, muddled sentence to the class out loud. Repeat the original message to your class, so children can see how the sentence got distorted along the way.
Re-enact the "Chicken Little" story using the 1985 version by Steven Kellogg, as suggested on the Scholastic Teachers website. Have your students make bird beaks out of construction paper to play the different bird roles in the story. For example, you might make a yellow beak for Chicken Little, a brown one for Turkey Lurkey and an orange one for Goosey Loosey. Cut a strip of white teeth for each child who takes turns playing Foxy Loxy. Organize four chairs in two rows to represent the police van, and use a doll carriage, cookbook, toy golf clubs and a plastic bat as props for the re-enactment. Instruct your preschoolers to show fear, excitement, bravery and panic on their faces as you read the story. Discuss the three major themes -- having the courage to warn your friends even when you're scared, the dangers associated with talking to strangers, and the harm that can result by spreading rumors when you don't have all the facts.
Examine acorns as a class, and crack them open so students can see inside the nuts. If you live in a region that has acorn trees, take your students on a nature hike to collect them. Discuss how easy it would be for an acorn to fall out of a tree and bonk someone on the head. Have your students look at the inside and outside of acorns use a magnifying glass. Plant two or three acorns in a potting container and place them in a dark area in your classroom. Have your students examine the acorn every day until it starts to sprout. The objective is to give your students a chance to study acorns and see how a small object caused so much trouble for Chicken Little.
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