In Kindergarten, we organize our weeks around various skills, strategies, and themes. Included in these themes are several author studies. Last week, we immersed ourselves in the world of Eric Litwin and Pete the Cat.
Being the book worm that I am, I love a series of books that easily lends itself to integrated studies. Through Pete, we explored all of our literacies and addressed common core standards while we were at it. If you aren’t familiar with Pete, you are missing out on one groovy cat. With his gaining popularity, more books are being released, but we focused on the first three in the series last week.
As far as read alouds go, the series is pretty much perfect. They all have a rhythm (and songs!), a positive message, the opportunity for audience participation, and humor.
We started out the week by listening to the stories as I read them aloud. The students started reading/singing along right away. We then explored the Harper Collins website and watched animated versions of the stories. Anytime we needed a quick time filler – I would hear “let’s do Pete the Cat!” It amazing to find stories that the children truly love and remain engaged in no matter how many times they read/hear them. Each time we read, a student would point out something new or make a comparison. We were truly thinking on higher levels – all within the first few weeks of school.
Pete continued into center time where students honed scientific literacy by categorizing and sorting various tins of buttons throughout the week. Students used magnifying lenses, sorting buckets, plates, and charts to place buttons into various piles. The discussion regarding which pile specific buttons would go into were telling. Students worked on inquiry and social skills by working together and reasoning through their thinking.
In Math, we played “Roll and Record” with Pete and also practiced our counting with dot to dot. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons introduces early subtraction skills. We discussed counting backward, what is one more, and what is one less.
Writing time gave us several opportunities to challenge ourselves this early in the year. What I found was that the students worked harder because they were to engaged and motivated by Pete. Our first writing was on Tuesday after several readings of Pete the Cat Loves His White Shoes. Students chose a color and filled in the color word.
As a wrap up of the week, we created an anchor chart all about Pete and what we learned from him.
This chart was used for our 4 square writing all about Pete. We did this in small groups. Students copied words or created their own and illustrated.
There are so many other great ideas for Pete the Cat – many we didn’t get to.
What I loved the most, was the willingness for all of my students to try, challenge themselves, and keep singing their songs. Just like Pete.