Leo Lionni


We’ve spent the last two weeks wrapping up our Leo Lionni author study, which has been so colorful and fun!

Math Projects:  Leo Lionni often writes about mice, but he occasionally delves into the crocodile world, which provided a great source for math projects.  As we all know, crocodiles have so many teeth!  During one of our math explorations, each child was given a piece of green paper in the shape of a crocodile’s head.  On each piece of paper, a number was written.  Each child was tasked with finding the designated number of white paper “teeth” from a pule in the center of the table, then gluing them onto their crocodiles.  What a vicious way to practice our concept of quantity!  This project lent itself to differentiation quite easily: children who are confident and comfortable with one to one correspondence were given larger numbers, while those still developing their sense of quantity worked with smaller numbers.  For an extra challenge, a group of kiddos worked with Peter to begin discussing the concept of “greater than” and “less than.”  Using our numbered flash cards and a set of crocodile mouths, the children practiced using the crocodile’s mouth to eat the larger number!  Once the students are older and practice using greater than/less than symbols, we hope they can look back to this activity and find a useful mnemonic device!

Science Projects:  With all of his stories about animals, Leo Lionni’s work provides plenty of opportunities for science discussion and exploration!  After reading about a silly crocodile who hatched from an egg, we talked about the many animals, most certainly not humans, who are born and hatch from eggs.  We practiced cracking open “dinosaur eggs,” made from a baked dough, as though we were archeologists out in the field.  We also imagined what different animals’ eggs look like and decorated our very own eggs!  During one project time, we attempted an experiment to help us study the formation of crystals and rocks, but that project did not pan out as we had hoped.  One day in the future, we’ll have to revisit our attempts at making rock candy!

Art & Sensory Projects:  After reading Geraldine, the story of a mouse-shaped piece of cheese, we decided to do a little bit of cheese molding on our own!  One of my favorite sensory projects to date was on this particular day, as we used cream cheese as if it were play dough!  Each child was given a small chunk of cream cheese and asked to try forming a mouse.  It was messy and very, very silly, but a fun opportunity to practice something they always long to do: play with their food!  It’s also a valuable fine motor task for children to use their hands to shape materials of different densities.  Frederick tells another mouse tail, this time about the four seasons and how they are all so different from one another.  After reading this story, we thought about which colors we see most often in the four seasons.  Breaking into groups, we painted four large pieces of paper using our season-specific color palettes.  The result is a beautiful seasons chart we can add to our Circle Time resources!