PEAK Teacher Newsletter              
November 2013
Featured Articles
Get Connected
Book Feature
Home-School Connections
Classroom Ideas
Thanks for Teachers
Songs and Fingerplays
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Quick Links
Mary Rieck
Pottstown School District
230 Beech Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
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Turkeys, pumpkins, falling leaves and Thanksgiving come to mind when you mention November. One of the things that we are thankful for is early childhood teachers who make a difference in the lives of children and families each day. Thank you from all of us!


Get Connected!

Just another reminder to check our Facebook page for more resources.


Do you tweet? If so, you can follow us on Twitter @PEAKPartners.


What about Pinterest? There are a lot of classroom activities on our Pinterest page.

Click the links on the left column of this newsletter to connect with us on social media.

 In addition to this newsletter you can follow the PEAK blog at


Book Feature

Arthur's Thanksgiving by Marc Brown

Feather Painting

Materials: feathers, construction paper or manila paper, water, tempera paint, large plastic containers or meat trays, small plates.

1. Mix paint so that it is about 1/2 water and 1/2 paint. Pour small amounts into plastic containers so that it covers the bottom of the container.

2. Use fall paint colors and for each color of paint provide a feather and a plate beside it to rest the feather on when not in use. If the feather is left in the paint, it will absorb too much paint and will not be a good brush.

3. Demonstrate for the children how to float the feather on top of the paint, how to gently lift it over to their paper and how to use the quill end of the feather like a brush handle.

4. Display the children's paintings in the classroom.


Literacy-Retelling the Story

1. Read the story to the whole group several times so the children are familiar with the story.

2. Assign the children different parts of the story and have them act out the story as it is read.

3. To extend the story further, create props or felt-board pieces and place in the literacy center with a copy of the book for the children to use independently.


Music and Movement-Turkey Trot

1. Teach your children to do the "Hokey Pokey."

2. Write new lyrics to the "Hokey Pokey" using the names of the turkey body parts instead of their body parts.


You put your right wing in,

You take your right wing out,

Put your right wing in

And flutter it all about.

You do the turkey trot and

You turn yourself around

That's what it all about!

3. Continue adding verses for the long neck to stretch it all about, spreading tail to strut it all about and beak to gobble it all about.

If you enjoy the Arthur books by Marc Brown click Here

for more ideas.



Home - School Connections
Extend language/literacy learning by home by recommending some of these activities to your parents.
  • Play some classic games like "Simon Says" or "Mother, May I?" Give one-step commands at first and then progress to two or three-step commands. "Simon says turn around, clap your hands and touch your toes."
  • Read a favorite story together, and ask your child to give a signal each time he hears a particular word. For example, "Clap your hands when you hear me say the word bear."
  • Go outside and identify sounds you hear.
  • Teach your child some hand clapping chants or jump rope rhymes you remember from childhood.
  • Talk to your child while you are engaged in household activities like cooking, gardening, or fix-it chores. Explain what you are doing, and tell them the names of the tools you are using. Spatula, spade, or wrench will soon become part of your child's growing vocabulary.
  • Discuss the day's events after your return from an outing or special event.
  • Give your child lots of opportunities to engage in conversation with adults.
  • Let them order for themselves in a restaurant or answer the telephone using phrases you have rehearsed ahead of time.
  • Create silly stories together while riding in the car or waiting at a restaurant.
  • Practice reading environmental print - street signs, store names, favorite foods.
  • Cut out logos from the ad section of the newspaper or the grocery store circular. Paste them on paper, or put them in a photo album to make a book that your child will love to read often.
  • Discuss books with your child after reading them together. Ask "How " and "Why" questions to extend their learning.
  • Use newspaper and magazines for letter find activities. Children love to find and circle the letters in their names.
  • Invite your child to "write when you write."
  • Let your child write on old calendars, order forms, check registers, or grocery lists.
  • Provide a "grown-up" pen or pencil.
  • Encourage all forms of writing, from scribbling to forming letters.


Creating Class Books


Class books are a great method to assist children in adjusting to the classroom and routine. They also provide meaningful literacy additions the various center areas. Here are some ideas for class books that can be made throughout the year.


Schedule Book

Take photos of the children during each part of the day: arrival time, circle time, outside time, center time, lunchtime, etc. Add a photo to each page, and sequence the pages in order. Any time the children want to know what comes next, they can find the answer in the book.


Special Day Book

Each time you have a "special day" throughout the school year, add a photo to this book as a reminder of that day.


Silly Sally Book

After reading Silly Sally , by Audrey Wood, make this class book.

"Silly ___ went to town, walking backwards upside down."

Photos are taken of the children walking different ways. The upside down picture can be pictures of children standing glued upside down or pictures of children hanging from the jungle gym.


Block Idea Book

Take photos of children with something they have built in the block center. Continue to add to the book so that children can see what other children have created.


Idea Book

Take photos of children with things they have made using open ended materials, like pattern blocks or play dough. These books are placed in the center with the material for children to use as ideas for creations. Each material can have a separate book, such as the "Pattern Block Book" or "Lego Book".


How-To Book

Make a how-to book by taking photos of each step in making something. For example, each step of a cooking activity; each step as children make an airplane with blocks; each step for using and cleaning up paint, etc.


Our Town Book

Each page says "In our town, we have a _____." Photos of several places around town are included in your book (gas station, Wal-Mart, fire station, McDonald's, etc.). Ask parents to help out by taking pictures of their work places or places the families visit on the weekend.


If You Give a Kid a ______

This book is based on the Laura Numeroff books. Each page says: "If you give ___ a ___ he'll want _____ to go with it!" For example, "If you give Sarah pizza, she'll want juice to go with it!"




Thanks for Teachers

Thanks to our teachers everywhere

Who teach our children with love and care.

You make the world a better place

And leave us all touched by your grace.

Children may forget the things you say,

Or skills and facts you taught them today.

But they'll remember how you made them feel

Smiles and encouragement are very real.

The difference you make, you may never know.

You plant the seeds that continue to grow.

A simple story, a little song

Will stay with them, their whole lives long.

When you love teaching and things you do,

You'll help your children love learning, too.

Life is short. Let's have more fun!

Thanks for happy memories you give little ones!



Quick Links for Thanksgiving Theme

Here are some quick links from Pinterest for Thanksgiving theme activities. You can follow PEAK on Pinterest - search for PEAK Pottstown.



November Songs and Fingerplays

Five Little Turkeys

Five little turkeys by the barn door,

One waddled off, then there were four.

Four little turkeys out under the tree,

One waddled off, then there were three.

Three little turkeys with nothing to do,

One waddled off, then there were two.

Two little turkeys in the noonday sun,

One waddled off, then there was one.

One little turkey-better run away!

Soon will come Thanksgiving Day!


Mr. Turkey

(Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It)

Hello, Mr. Turkey, how are you?

Hello, Mr. Turkey, how are you?

With a gobble, gobble, gobble,

And a wobble, wobble, wobble,

Hello, Mr. Turkey, how are you?


Mr. Turkey

Mr. Turkey's tail is big and wide. (spread hands wide)

He swings it when he walks. (swings hands back and forth)

His neck is long, his chin is red. (stroke chin and neck)

He gobbles when he talks. (open and close hand)

Mr. Turkey is so tall and proud. (stand up tall)

He dances on his feet. (dance in place)

And on each Thanksgiving Day,

He's something good to eat. (pat stomach)


My Turkey

I have a turkey big and fat.

He spreads his wings (Fan hands at hips.)

And walks like that. (Struts back and forth.)

His daily corn he would not miss, (Pretend to eat corn.)

And when he talks, he sounds like this--

Gobble, gobble, gobble.


Gobble, Gobble Song

(Tune: Pop Goes the Weasel)

A turkey is a funny bird,

His head goes wobble, wobble.

He know just one funny word,

It's Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.


Pretty Leaves are Falling Down

(Tune: London Bridge)

Pretty leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down.

Pretty leaves are falling down, all around the town.

Let's rake them up in a pile, in a pile, in a pile.

Let's rake them up in a pile, all around the town.

Let's all jump in and have some fun, have some fun, have

some fun.

Let's all jump in and have some fun, all around the town.


I'm a Little Acorn Brown

I'm a little acorn brown,

Lying on the cold, cold ground.

Everyone walks over me,

That is why I'm cracked you see.

I'm a nut (click, click).

In a rut (click, click).

I'm a nut (click, click).

In a rut click, click).




Parent Literacy Nights                             

Don't forget Pottstown Parent Literacy Nights.

Pottstown Middle School


3 years old through third grade (child care available for older and younger children.

Dates:  November 12 and December 3.


The complete schedule of the evenings can be found on the PEAK web site or by clicking here.



For more resources visit or the PEAK blog at
Happy Teaching!
Mary Rieck
PEAK Coordinator