Mo Willems: Author Study

I figured it was time for another author study, and who better to choose than the legendary Mo Willems! Author of the Knuffle Bunny trilogy and the Pigeon books as well as the Elephant and Piggy series, his adorable illustrations and easy text make his early reader books both accessible to beginning readers and also fun to read! Let’s just call him the new (more PC) Dr. Seuss of the 2000’s! LoL

Literacy:

-Story comparison: We read and compared “I will Take a Nap” with “Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late”. After reading both stories, I had my little tell me how they were alike and different and I wrote his thinking on a Venn Diagram on our board.

-Knuffle Bunny timeline: Read all 3 Knuffle Bunny books and have your littles tell you what the main events were for each book. Use them to make a timeline.

-“Lets Go for a Drive” retelling: We read “Let’s Go For a Drive” then chose characters and reenacted the story together.

-Story comparison: We read and compared “I will Take a Nap” with “Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late”. After reading both stories, I had my little tell me how they were alike and different and I wrote his thinking on a Venn Diagram on our board.

-Pigeon guided drawing: Guided drawings are so much fun and are a great way to get kids listening carefully to oral language. Pigeon is fairly easy to draw, but you can do any of the Mo Willems characters. Just use a picture from one of his books as a guide, and describe each part to your little and have them draw it.

-Mo Willems story prompt: This week I had my little write a story about his favorite stuffed animal (much like Knuffle Bunny is Trixie’s favorite stuffie). You could also have your little write their own story about Pigeon after reading a few of his adventures.

-Mo Willems booklist:

Math:

-Shape Knuffle Bunny: I gave my littles all the pieces they would need to make a Knuffle Bunny, then gave them oral instructions using shape words to help them put the pieces together correctly.

-Mo Willems character graphing: We’ve been working on graphing often lately, so I was excited when I found this horizontally oriented graph. You have your little hunt for, find and color each character the same color (ie. Pigeons are all blue, Piggies are all pink) then count them and graph them. I got this activity from Teachers Pay Teachers.

-Mo Willem character number comparison: I printed this Mo Willem number comparison from Teachers Pay Teachers, then had my little identify each number, circle the greater one and figure out how much greater it was by using the “count on” strategy (start at the lower number, count up to the bigger number using your fingers- your fingers tell you the answer).

-“The Duckling Has a Cookie” baking with fractions activity: First we read “The Duckling Has a Cookie”. Then we used fractions to bake chocolate chip cookies (with or without nuts!)

-Hidden character scavenger hunt: Mo Willems often hides other characters in his books, so I had my littles picture walk through several and count how many of each character they found (ie. if it was a Knuffle Bunny book they could look for Piggie, Pigeon, or Elephant- it had to be a character that wasn’t in the story). I tallied the characters they found (K.B. is Knuffle Bunny), then we counted our tallies to see who got the most.

Science/Social Studies:

-“Today I Will Fly” friendship activity: In the story “Today I Will Fly” Elephant is not supportive (to say the least) of Piggie’s dream to fly… however a few of the other characters in the story are. We read the book and then discussed the characters’ reactions to Piggie’s dream and how we can be supportive and helpful regarding our own friends’ dreams and ideas by building them up rather than tearing them down with our words and actions.

-“Watch Me Throw the Ball” attitude activity: We read “Watch me Throw the Ball” and discussed Piggie’s positive attitude about throwing the ball only 3 feet. I asked my littles if she had fun (yes) and why (because she had a good attitude even though maybe she didn’t do a good job in some people’s eyes ::coughELEPHANTcough::) I asked if she would’ve had as much fun if she was grouchy about only throwing the ball 3 feet (no). Then we discussed how having a positive attitude about something can make it more enjoyable even if you don’t do well at first. (yay Piggie!)

-“Can I Play Too?” inclusion discussion: I read this story to my littles then asked them if Elephant and Piggie included Snake in their play even though he was different. I asked if they had fun. Then I asked what they thought the author was trying to teach us through this story.

-“I Really Love Slop” mixture activity: First we read “I Really Love Slop”, then I gave my littles small containers filled with random food items like ketchup, mustard, ranch, syrup, and grits. I gave them each an empty container and a spoon and had them mix and taste as they liked.

-“The Pigeon Wants a Puppy” wants vs. needs activity: First we read “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy”. Then we discussed the difference between wants and needs. Last we made a t-chart on our board of things everyone needs to survive, and some of the things my littles want.

Art:

-Pigeon handprint craft: I had my littles trace and cut out their hands (My 5 year old worked independently, I helped my 3 year old…hands are tricky!), then add necks, heads, beaks, eyes, and legs to make one of Mo’s most famous characters- the pigeon! I got this from Simple Everyday Mom.

-Elephant toilet roll craft: First I asked my littles what color they thought it would make if they mixed white and black. After they predicted the color, I had them mix them and discover- it’s grey! Next I had them each paint a toilet paper tube with the grey paint. When the tubes were dry, they glued on ears and a trunk and drew one some eyes to make Elephant from the Elephant and Piggie books. I got this idea from Creative Family Fun.

-Piggie paper plate craft: I had my littles paint some paper plates pink. When they were dry, I had them cut out the center and draw on eyes and a mouth. Then they cut out snouts and ears and glued them to the circle to complete their artwork!

-Letter B bus craft: After reading the modern classic “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” we made letter B busses (with printouts of the pigeon as the driver!) I got this idea from Virtual Book Club for Kids.

-“The Pigeon Needs a Bath” muddy bath play: My kids adore taking “muddy baths”- basically you mix shaving cream with cocoa powder and a sprinkle of water until it’s lovely and brown and smelling great, then let them play! (Use a whisk to mix!) It looks like a crazy mess, but it’s super easy to rinse right off! We read the story for bedtime after their muddy bath to tie it into this week’s learning.

Extras:

-Letter of the week: Uu, each day we do a different activity focused on our letter- introduction/have your little practice it on the chalkboard (or white board), think of words that start with the letter and make a list, workbook letter writing practice, workbook word writing practice.

-Word of the week: get, each day we do a different activity focused on our word- introduction/sound the word out/have your little practice writing it on the chalkboard or whiteboard, word family list- think of other words that rhyme with your word of the week, use the word in a sentence (have your little come up with the sentence and write it for them) then have your little illustrate the sentence, and workpage practice.

-Bible verse: This month’s Bible verse is “But now these three remain; faith, hope and love- but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 I write each word in the verse on a post-it, stick them to the wall then have my little point to each word and read it each day all month.

-Character trait of the month: love…this word is reviewed and posted at the start of the month then each time one of my littles freely demonstrates generosity I use the word to specifically praise what they’re doing and encourage the trait in them. (ie. “That was so loving when you shared some of your cookie with your brother!”)

Supply/shopping list:

  • all 3 Knuffle Bunny books
  • Elephant and Piggie Biggie (volume 1)
  • Elephant and Piggie “I will take a nap”
  • “Don’t let the Pigeon stay up late”
  • “Duckling has a cookie”
  • “Pigeon wants a puppy”
  • shaving foam
  • cocoa powder
  • toilet paper tube
  • paper plate

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