Wednesday, December 25, 2013

PreK Week 19: Christmas

Our last week before winter break was a shorter one with one whole day and three half days. We spent this week focusing on Christmas, including cultural Christmas traditions. I had sent home a note asking families to share the holiday that they celebrated, as well as any holiday traditions so that we could discuss them in class.

On Monday, a lot of the school had a 'Polar Express' day.  All the kids (and teachers) wore their pajamas (again!), and watched the movie 'The Polar Express'.  In my classroom, we started by reading the book (which is awfully long for Pre-K kids to sit through).  Then we let the kids watch the movie, and I pulled kids one at a time to dictate a letter to Santa (thanks to a Polar Express activity packet from Houghton Mifflin.  

After the movie, the kids all had hot chocolate and a snack. I was going to do an adorable train snack as well, but didn't get to the store in time.  If you want ideas, I found this candy train  and this Graham cracker train.



On Tuesday I focused on Pete the Cat. I read 'Pete the Cat Saves Christmas'  and then did this cute Pete the Cat gumdrop Christmas story and activity from MissSarahsStoryTime with my kids. It involved a mixture of a Christmas story with Pete's Groovy buttons.

The kids then got to make their own Pete the Cat with gumdrop buttons. Next year I'll add a Santa hat to make him a little more festive!


On Wednesday, we read 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' and sang the song.  We then made these easy peasy Rudolph Ornaments ... one of my kids pointed out the sticks made an 'A' when you put them together... they made me so proud! Later on we watched 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' movie.


On Thursday, our last day of school, we did two easy crafts.

The first on was these Paper Plate Santa Masks from imgur. I had already cut out the paper plates and the hats, and the kids had painted them red the day before, so all they had to do was add the cotton balls.



The other craft was these Light-Up Christmas Trees from AllKidsNetwork that just involved gluing squares of tissue paper to the back of already-cut and hole-punched trees so that when you hold it up to the light it looks like it's lit up!


That was all for our Christmas activities... All the kids and I are certainly ready for a break!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

PreK Week 18: Winter Wonderland

On week 18, which was our second-to-last week before winter break, we focused on a 'Winter Wonderland' theme complete with learning all about snow.

Now this is a hard concept to teach young kids in Florida, because it's very likely that the majority of them have never seen snow, or don't remember it.

We started by reading a whole lot of books about winter and snow, and talked about how in the season of winter it begins getting cold, and in some parts of the country it gets so cold that it snows. I also showed them a video of a class on a field trip in a blizzard, which was fun for them to watch.

We then made our very own Easy Homemade Snow from GrowingAJeweledRose.  All this involved was some shaving cream and some baking soda, and the kids loved making a mess and playing around!






We also talked about activities that you can do in the snow, such as go sledding, have a snowball fight, make snow angels, and build igloos.

The kids then got to build their very own igloos out of sugar cubes.  This was from "Creative Crafts for Clever Kids".



On Wednesday, we talked all about penguins and how many penguins live in the snow. We read a few books about penguins, and I tried to show them SeaWorld's Live Penguin Feed, but it didn't work on my iPad.

We did two penguin crafts, including this footprint penguin from MeetTheDubiens...

... and this freaking adorable Feed the Penguin Game from LittleFamilyFun.  This game was my favorite because it was not only relevant to what we were learning, but the kids had a blast making it, it helped them understand that penguins eat fish, they got to take it home to play again and again, and you can adapt the fish that you feed the penguin with any skill. 

 For my kids, I kept it to basic colors, but I made a whole set of colored fish that I laminated for my game... they included letters, numbers, and shapes. 

This was a fun game to play with all the kids.  To play the game, all I did was go around in our small group and say 'Feed the penguin the letter B' (example). If there were too many fish to choose from or a student needed help, I could add the color in there, such as 'Feed the penguin the blue B'.  


This project took a lot of work before-hand... I cut the paper to size, cut the holes out of the box, cut out the fish, and cut out all the little pieces so all the students had to do was glue and tape it together.


On Thursday we talked about polar bears and made these Polar Bear Masks from TheCraftyCrow.



Finally, on Friday they talked about Snowmen, read and watched 'Frosty the Snowman', and painted these adorable Puffy Snow Painted Snowmen from SleepyHeadsDesignsStudio.



For parent presents, I bought these clear ornaments from Michaels and painted the kids' handprints plus name & date on them.


Pre-K Week 15 & 16: Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, we focused on the story of the first Thanksgiving during week 14, and more modern Thanksgiving traditions for our short week (week 15). Most of these activities are from old files.

On Monday and Tuesday, we talked about Pilgrims.
We made Pilgrim Hats.



We also made Penguin Hat Name Plates.

On Wednesday we focused on the Mayflower, and made these adorable Paper Bag Mayflowers from Parents.com.
On the inside, I put strips of paper saying what the kids were thankful for.

On Thursday and Friday we talked about Native Americans, how they wore feathers in their hair, lived in tepees, and helped the pilgrims find food like corn and vegetables.

We made these Paper Bag Vests from 'A Kid's Multicultural Art Book' (p17).

And these feather headbands.

The next Monday and Tuesday, we talked about Thanksgiving dinner, spending time with family, and turkeys.

We made these cornucopias by making a cone out of brown construction paper (cut a large brown circle into quarters), decorating it, and filling it with treats (popcorn).

We also made handprint turkeys and a turkey table setting.
We read A Turkey for Thanksgiving and 10 Fat Turkeys, and also played pin the hat on the turkey.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pre-K Week 17: December Holidays

For our first week of December, we talked about some of the holidays that are celebrated in the month of December, including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. We discussed Christmas as well, but not too much since we were going to spend a whole week on Christmas later.

This was right after Hanukkah, so it was the perfect time to talk about it. We spent the majority of the week on Hanukkah, and on Friday we talked about Kwanzaa and had a Kwanzaa celebration. 

We also worked on Ms. P from the letter people curriculum, and talked about the parts of our body.

On Monday, we read 'Head to Toe', labeled body parts on a worksheet, and played a face race game (from http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/face-race/)

On Tuesday, I introduced Winter Holidays with the Winter Holidays BrainPop Jr. video. We read the book Llama Llama Holiday Drama',
and made homemade wrapping paper by decorating pieces of butcher paper with dot paint and holiday stamps. 

To practice our body parts, we sang Head,Shoulders, Knees and Toes.

On Wednesday and Thursday, we focused on Hanukkah.

We made these Cheerios and Pasta Menorahs inspired by http://ms-stubbs-class.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html
This was a great project because I prepared the papers with a key of red and blue. The students knew to put the Cheerios o
On all the red lines and the pasta on the blue lines. They turned out great, and the students really worked on their concentration and fine motor skills.




We played with a dreidel and sang the dreidel song, then the older students did a dreidel counting activity where they spun the dreidel and counted how many times it went around before it fell, then they graphed it.

We also read the book 'Latkes and Applesauce' and actually made and ate latkes and applesauce for snack! 
I brought in a griddle, and used this recipe from EggBeaters website: 
http://www.eggbeaters.com/recipes-Skillet-Potato-Pancake-5999
Some of the kids gave it a thumbs-up!



On Friday for our Kwanzaa celebration, I read two children's books about Kwanzaa (I already returned them to the library and forgot the names...
Sorry!)

We then did Kwanzaa Mat Weaving from the book Art for All Seasons. This was a basic paper-weaving activity that
really tested the students' fine motor skills and basic pattern skills. We weaves green and red strips of paper into a black
 sliced sheet of construction paper and glued it down. Each student's was a little different because they chose what color to out next and also
tried their very hardest to keep up with the over-under pattern, though this was difficult for all of them.



Another great video we watched was the Rugrats Hanukkah episode. Nickelodeon has it on their website, though the graphics
are a little outdated. 

This was our December bulletin board:


On Friday morning we also did a gift exchange to incorporate the theme of giving and kindness. I had each child bring 
In a $2 or homemade wrapped gift, and I put all the gifts in a big bag. We then played pass the present, where the students passed
the bag around and whoever had the bag when the music stopped got to choose a present to open. 
This was sweet because the kids loved giving and opening the gifts (of course) and we talked about how important
it is to be thankful to our friends and families and say Thank You.



Look at this cute Toilet Tube Christmas Tree we made to store the presents under! It's from
http://goodideasforyou.com/ideas-a-inspirations/christmas/kids-christmas-crafts.html.



Ohmygosh... I almost forgot to mention our change in door decoration! I got this idea Reindeer Door Decor idea from http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/reindeer-door.
It's all over Pinterest, and it is absolutely adorable. I love it, and so does everyone in the school! (Though my little 
ones don't quite get it).


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pre-K Week 14: Neighborhood and Community Workers

On the fourteenth week, we discussed neighborhoods, community workers, and houses... It was a very busy week!

On Monday we talked about homes, how homes are all different, and how everyone needs a home. 

We made Paper Bag Homes (from http://www.thecraftycrow.net/2012/09/paper-bag-houses.html) and used it as a chance to discuss what our houses look like, such 
How many doors and windows it has, if it is big or small, if it is one or two stories, and if it has a pool.


The next day we were able to put all the houses together to make a neighborhood... This was a great hands-
on learning activity!


We also invited the kids to draw a house for a letter person, which was an activity that allowed them to be imaginative and creative.

The next day we talked about neighborhoods, and some things you might find in your neighborhood such as a post
Office, a grocery store, a library, etc.

We played neighborhood bingo (from and made these freakin adorable paper cities (from http://madebyjoel.com/paper-city). You should check out the 
Different paper cities on the site... I might do the Paris one for myself!


For these we had the kids color the cities and the people, then we cut them out and put them together. It was once 
again way too much adult work, but the kids liked playing with them afterwards.

For the rest of the week, we talked about people who work in your neighborhood, or community workers. 
I shared a few Sesame Street videos of the song, Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood, including one with Ben Stiller singing that a cheese 
is a person in your neighborhood. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_yohVlVbEA)

We made Paper Plate People based on what each student said they wanted to be when they grew up. They turned out really cute!

We read a whole lot of books, including Houses and Homes, Busy City, Yoyo Goes Next Door, Little Monster's Neighborhood, Let's Discover the City, Safety Heroes, Police, and What Will I Be from. To Z?