Dinosaur Dig

After the success of the “J” week jellybean treat, we decided to send in another themed snack to the nursery school class during “D” week.  We combined some Chex mix recipes and came up with a dinosaur style snack mix.  The idea was to have kids dig for dinosaur bones and dinosaur eggs in the snack mix.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Corn Chex cereal
  • 2 c. Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 1/2 c. oyster crackers
  • 1/2 c. small pretzel sticks or pretzel snaps
  • 2 c. graham sticks (dinosaur bones) or Stauffer’s original animal crackers (dinosaurs)
  • 6 oz. dried fruit (we liked a combination of dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries)
  • 1 c. yogurt-covered raisins (dinosaur eggs)
  • 5-6 T. butter, melted
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 13×9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place cereals, oyster crackers, pretzels, and graham sticks in a large bowl; mix lightly.
  • Combine butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in small bowl; mix well.  Drizzle evenly over cereal mixture.  Toss to coat. **If the mixture is pretty dry, mix another half batch of butter/sugar/spice and add.
  • Spread the coated cereal mixture in an even layer on the pan.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring gently halfway through.  Cool completely.  Stir in dried fruit and yogurt-covered raisins.

Variations

  • Instead of graham sticks or animal crackers, you could use mini-dinosaur grahams.  I can’t ever find these at my grocery store, but I think they are out there.
  • For “G” week, you could make Gorilla Grub and substitute the yogurt-covered raisins and dried fruit for plain raisins and dried banana chips.

Jellybean Joke Bags

My daughter’s nursery school class sent home a small Ziploc bag every Friday with a “letter of the week” printed on the outside. Over the weekend, we would find a small item at home to represent the letter and return the filled bag on Monday for a class share. During “J” week, we sent treats for the whole class.

I used a Word label template for the joke inserts and printed them on cardstock.  They are roughly business card size.  We purchased clear cellophane bags from Michael’s, added a handful of jellybeans, and tied up the treat with curly ribbon.

I’ll need some fresh letter-of-the-week-treats for next year so if anybody has suggestions, please comment!

SIDE NOTE: Not all 4-year olds get the humor in the elephant joke even after 7-year old siblings try to explain.

Author Letters

There is nothing like getting personal author letters to peak interest in a book.  Many of my students wrote to various favorite book authors and received replies this year.  Overall, we had about a 50% success rate and learned a few things along the way. (To download the lesson plan for free, visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store.)

author letters

Newer authors have websites with an e-mail address and are more likely to send a personal reply.  We e-mailed Annie Barrows, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Kate Klimo, Jody Feldman, Jonathan Auxier, Tracy Barrett, Erica Kirov, and a few others.  In most cases, we received replies within three days.  The replies were unique and specifically responded to the letter written by the students.  Some authors even gave new book suggestions, which built excitement among the students to pick up an unfamiliar book.

author letters

Other authors provide a snail mail address on their website. These replies take longer– sometimes up to three months, so be patient. Kate Klise wrote us back twice and each letter contained different content.

Mega authors like J.K. Rowling are overloaded with letters and are less likely to reply to fanmail. But Rowling and other popular authors like Sharon Creech will send a generic reply if you include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your letter.

If you can’t find contact information on the author website, locate a mailing address for the author’s publishing company.  Mail a letter to the author c/o the publisher.  Publishers will forward all mail to the author.  We mailed a letter to John Christopher via his publisher.  We did not realize that the author had passed away, and his daughter actually replied to our letter several months later!

No matter how you try to contact an author, it will encourage a child to reach for that next book and establish a personal connection with a writer. To read more tips for contacting book authors, check out THIS POST by author Annabelle Fisher.

Favorite Books Bookmark

This is a fun keepsake to help students and teachers remember their class from a specific school year.  It could also be used as a back to school activity to generate a reading list of recommended books for the start of the school year. Teachers survey the students for their favorite book title and author from the year.  This is also a project your class room parent can handle by sending a Group Email to all of the parents asking them to send one of their child’s favorite book names from the year.

Once all of the book titles are collected, create a list of the student names with their book selections in a Word document (landscape orientation, 3 column set-up).  You can also insert a class picture if you have any spare white space.  Your list should not exceed two columns in the Word document.  After printing, cut the lists into two strips and paste them onto 9×4 inch construction paper strips (front and back). Then, run the assembled bookmark through the laminating machine.

laminating bookmarks

Make enough copies for all the students and the teachers!

Teacher Tip: picture book titles appear in quotes, chapter book titles are underlined. Alternately, all titles could appear in italics.

favorite books bookmark in books