kevin henkes on a stickThe first month of school has come and gone, and I spent it doing a Kevin Henkes author study with pre-k and kindergarten.

Henkes’s mouse stories are perfect for the start of the school year, and this year I was able to jump right in with them. I did this author study with pre-k last year, but not until March and not as thoroughly.

Both grades started out the year with the new Chrystanthemum video I bought this year. It’s wonderful, and Meryl Streep reads the story. We talked about what it’s like to be teased, to start school, etc. Then pre-k read Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, and we did the purse game I used last year.

Next we read Sheila Rae the Brave and talked about being TOO brave and not being safe. I hid a picture I made of Sheila Rae’s house somewhere in each classroom (I go to the pre-k classes for library time this year), just a simple clip art photo of a house with “Sheila Rae’s House” typed under it. I made 2 copies on orange paper, so it’s easier to spot with the little ones who have trouble matching. Then we each paired up with a buddy because it’s always good to have a buddy for safety, and we walked around the room trying to find our way home to Sheila Rae’s. Lastly, we watched the video of Owen, also part of that Scholastic collection. We talked about what our favorite things are.

I made these popsicle pictures of each mouse to play a memory game with pre-k to see what details they could remember from each book. They did a great job.

Then with kindergarten, after we watched Chrysanthemum we read Chester’s Way, Julius, the Baby of the World, and Lilly’s Big Day. We talked about what an author is and what an illustrator is, and now if you ask any of my kindergartners who wrote the Lilly books or Chrysanthemum, they’ll yell out “KEVIN HENKES!” They can also tell you things about the books that help them know he wrote them and not someone else.

The last thing we did in kindergarten was watch Weekend with Wendell from that same Scholastic video, and we did a coloring sheet where we had to listen and only color what I said at a given time (“Color Lilly’s boots red and then stop!”). It was sort of a coloring game.

It was a good unit in both grades. Now it’s time to move on to fall for pre-k, and imagination for kindergarten.