One of our favorite series of books is the beloved "Pete the Cat" books by Eric Litwin and James Dean. We enjoy the fun illustrations, the predictable text that helps us join in and read along, the funny things Pete say and does, the songs he sings, and his laid back attitude, taking everything in stride. (You can watch a live version of the author reading and singing "Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes" at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUubMSfIs-U )
Throughout our exploration of Pete the Cat books, we were inspired to:
- Practice math skills using groovy buttons
- Read and write color words
- Write about the shoes WE loved, kind of like Pete with his white shoes.
- Take a sensory walk with our bare feet, feeling and describing how each step on the path felt.
- Learn to draw Pete the Cat by following step-by-step instructions
- Put on puppet shows with Pete the Cat and other characters, too.
We also learned that we were going to see "Pete The Cat: The Musical" onstage. Live!
We discussed what happens in a play and how it is different from seeing movie characters or characters in books. There are a lot of elements to putting on a play, both onstage and backstage and way before the show! There are costumes, sets, words to learn... so many roles for many people.
The day of the play was very exciting. We met in the lobby with our special grown-ups before walking in to the beautiful theater together.
Upon returning to school, we reflected on the play and shared our favorite things. "I liked when the cat catcher tried to catch Pete!" "I liked when the girl wanted to get married and she put a tutu on him!"
Once we expressed our ideas, we drew and wrote about it in our journals.
We were so inspired that we decided to put on our own play. Through much dialogue, we decided the setting of our play would be at the beach, so we got to work creating an ocean and beach backdrop.
We also discussed possible characters. We needed costumes! We drew a design of our character, if we chose to be one, then gathered materials to make our creations.
A play usually needs words, so we split our class into two groups and worked collaboratively within our groups to write a script. Both groups were set at the beach, since that was what we decided as a large group. Each group came up with a bit of a different story, with characters they created previously, and, of course, Pete the Cat. Some friends narrated and some friends worked behind the scenes. We all took part in the process, which really is what it's all about!
Once it was all put together, we practiced, then presented our plays to our friends in the preschool. The Kindergartners did an amazing job, and the preschool was a fabulous audience.
After performing, we reflected on how we felt about the process. Some of us felt nervous once we saw the other kids watching. Some said they were nervous, but then the nervousness went away! (These kids are so great about expressing how they feel!)
We love what can happen when you start with a simple idea ... "we're going to see the play Pete The Cat"... add a few books, a few more ideas, then follow the children's lead after that. As we often say, Kindergartners really can do amazing things!