Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Eric Carle's The Very Lonely Firefly

Today we read Eric Carle's The Very Lonely Firefly. This book is worth reading, just for the ooohs and aaahs on that last page where it starts blinking!  I always leave one side of the lights off when I read this book for an extra big effect. :)

I  like to make a quick graph to see how many children call these "fireflies" and how many call them "lightning bugs."  I am usually always in the minority with "lightning bugs," except for the few who then feel sorry for me and try to switch their answer to make me feel better. :)   I love any excuse to make a quick graph so we can practice "how many more."  My kids are always very good at most, least, more, less, but "how many more" is sometimes tricky for them.  Just a couple weeks ago, everyone finally got it!  We match up the ones we can, and whatever votes are left without matches are the "how many more." 

My kids LOVE to know things they think maybe even grown-ups might not know- so today I taught them that the male, or boy, fireflies fly around and blink up in the sky, but the female, or girl, fireflies blink in down in the grass and don't fly.  I had the children turn and teach each other this fun fact, and we acted it out with our hands  up high blinking for the boys- and down low blinking for the girls.  I bet lots of moms and dads learned something new at dinner tonight!

We watched the lifecycle of a firefly on my Eric Carle Prezi, and the children were excited to learn that they are called "glowworms" before they are fireflies.  Another fun fact!

We made some of our own fireflies to hang up in our bedrooms. First, the children colored the fireflies beautifully- all except the back end. Then, with a cotton swab, the children paint the back end of the firefly with glow-in-the-dark paint.  The paint needs to be quite thick on the back, and then it will really glow great!

I also printed this sheet on cardstock, and  cut out some of the bigger fireflies so the children could make a firefly to clip on something in their bedroom.  For the back end, we dipped the cotton ball into the glow in the dark paint, then glued it onto the firefly.  I just used Elmer's glue to glue the firefly onto the clothespin.  You could also use hot glue, but Elmer's worked fine.

This is them actually glowing! :)
I have also made the garden bug fireflies, like my grouchy ladybug stones, and painted the back end with glow-in-the-dark paint, and they have worked well glowing outside in the garden!
During Writing Centers, we talked about times we felt lonely and then wrote about them.
I got a kick out of the clever way the children spelled "nobody."  I had never seen this way before:

When I handed back the dried firefly pictures to take home, I had the shades pulled and I turned off the lights at the count of three, so everybody's paper glowed.  I loved the sound of eighteen  "ooooohhhhs!"  

Finally, before buses were called, we played the firefly word wall game.  The lights were off, and my laser pointer was my firefly. The children had to read the word it landed on as fast as they could!  I have also done this with a flashlight.

Thank you for visiting!
Happy Teaching,


  1. Cute idea! I can't wait to make these with my kiddos next year during our insect unit.

    Your newest follower,
    Here's the Hoot

    1. Thank you, Marissa! It's easy and one thing they really remember! :) Thank you for following me! :)

  2. We are reading "The Very Lonely Firefly" this week. After reading this post, I went back and revised my lesson plans. Super cute ideas! I especially love the fun facts!

    1. Oh thank you, Rachel! I also found some other facts the kids loved! :) In Japan, people used to keep fireflies in lanterns (like our solar lanterns) to light their gardens. In jungles, men sometimes tied a net full of fireflies to their ankles to help then see as they walked. A medical doctor (named William Gorgas) once was operating on a wounded soldier in Cuba during the Spanish-American War when the lights went out. Dr. Gorgas was able to finish the operation using the light of fireflies. The kids love to feel like they know something grown ups don't know! Have fun! Thanks for following me! :)


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