Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book of the Week: Curious George and the Pizza

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I really love being on summer vacation!  I'm sure I'm not the only one, right?  I've been busy relaxing and having fun with my son, so I've been slacking at writing blog posts.  Sorry about that!  I'm back today with a Book of the Week with one of my favorite books - Curious George and the Pizza!

I stopped by a local pizza place and asked for an empty pizza box:

Before I read the story, I show the kids the box and ask them what they think my story is going to be about. I get that this should be really, really easy, but some of my preschoolers don't guess correctly (!).  Once I get a few guesses, I reveal what's inside the box:

I ask the kids to tell me what's on the pizza and I ask each one what they like on their pizza.  Then I read the story.  A quick summary - George and his friend head out to the pizza restaurant and George gets into a bit of a mess (literally).  One of my favorite things about this book is that it gives a sequence for making a pizza. George also ends up stuck in the back of the pizza truck while the pizza chef is trying to deliver a pizza to a building behind a locked gate.  How is he going to deliver the pizza? There are a few places in this book where you can stop and work on predicting/inferences and this is one of them!

After reading the story, I ask my wh- questions and we sequence the steps of making a pizza.  We act out the steps during and after the story:
  • grab some dough
  • roll it into a ball
  • flatten it like a pancake
  • toss it in the air (catch it!)
  • spread the sauce
  • sprinkle the cheese
  • put it in the oven (and wait!)  

Using the actions paired with the steps makes this activity perfect for preschool and kindergarten.  If they forget the words, cueing with the action generally makes them remember!

Extending the story:
I found this fun game at a local odd-lot type of store.  It is now marketed under a different name - Poppa's Pizza Pile-Up.  It's one of those games where you add something to the top and hope nothing falls down!  I use this game as a basic reinforcement game for my groups.

With some of my groups, we do this pizza craft:

I give each child a paper plate and ask them to remember the steps of making a pizza.  We talk about the fact that the dough becomes the crust and once they decide what color the crust should be, they color the outside of the plate (the bumpy part) that color.  Then they add the sauce (red).  We use some glue before sprinkling on the cheese and any other toppings the kids want to add.

I found this cute activity from Family Fun Magazine.  There's a printable pizza and printable toppings.  Some of the toppings are real pizza toppings (e.g., bacon, pepperoni, olives) and some are silly (e.g., blocks, cards, pops).  I wanted to adapt this to be a sorting activity for my preschoolers so I created the "Yuck Plate."  I took a paper plate and drew a face on it...the kids LOVE this (not sure why!).  I place the items in a bag and the kids sort what can go on a pizza and what would be yucky/silly to put on a pizza.  I emphasize the "what can go on a pizza" part because the kids will ALL want to put mushrooms, olives onions, etc. on the Yuck Plate!

Lastly, I purchased this Melissa & Doug Make-a-Meal Sticker Pad at my school.  I thought it could be a fun addition to this theme.  The kids can follow directions to add toppings to the pizza or set up a plate.  You could also use these in a barrier game format!

I love using a pizza theme in my therapy sessions!  I have a few other pizza related books (look out for another in the near future) and they're so fun!  What are your favorite pizza-themed books and activities?

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