Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Week 38 & 39 - Beach/ Summer

For the last two weeks of school, we talked about Summer and the Beach.

We read the books, "Spot Goes to the Beach", "Bonnie on the Beach", "Moe the Dog in Tropical Paradise", "Baby Beluga", "One Hot Summer Day" "Tar Beach" "When You Go to Kindergarten" and "How I Spent My Summer Vacation".

Of course, since it was the last few days of school, and many of them were half-days, we were focused mainly on getting data notebooks finished, cleaning the classroom, and doing gifts for the end of the year, so we it was a more relaxed environment with less structured activities, but there were a few things we did.

Our learning goal was to tell ways to stay safe in the sun and water this summer, so we talked a lot about using sunscreen, wearing clothes and hats and sunglasses in the sun, and staying next to adults in the water.

We did an 'Animal Action' game where the kids had to pretend to be different animals at the beach - they always love this game!

We also did an Alphabet Beach Ball, where I wrote the letters of the Alphabet all over a beach ball and we did different activities with it.
First, we sat in a circle and passed the ball around to each other, saying the alphabet together. Next, we kept passing the ball around in a circle, but only the person who had the ball could say the next letter.  Finally, we rolled the ball to one another, using each others' names. When the person picked up the ball, they had to identify and name the letter that was under their hand. The kids had a lot of fun with this, and it was amazing how many activities we could do with a simple ball!

For art projects, we did a Paper Plate Seashell from Localfunforkids, and we also did Gluey Sand Castles from Shareandremember.

They also sorted shells and listened to the ocean.

We had a water day, where we spent the day out with the hose and water toys. It really ended up being a mud day, but the kids had fun!
At the end of the water day, the kids all ate my favorite... Sand Cake!!!

We took our End of Year Pictures, and I printed their first day of school, 100th day of school, and last day of school pictures out and we put them together in a homemade frame. Adorable!

For end-of-year gifts, each of the kids got a memory bucket filled with summer goodies, and they got to sign each others' buckets, and I wrote messages that they dictated to each other.

For the assistants and SLP, the kids helped me make these adorable Class Plates inspired by a picture on flickr.  I took all of their thumbprints (they got to choose the color), and when they dried I wrote their name and decorated it to look like the student. I also added a nice quote to each plate. I had to make one for myself, too of course!


Overall, it was a very successful year, and I look forward to doing it all again next year!

Week 37 - Mothers & Fathers' Day

Week 37 was the week following Mother's Day, so I decided to devote the whole week to Mothers and Fathers, that way we could work on Mother's Day gifts, as well as get Father's Day gifts ready to send home for June.

On Monday and Tuesday, we focused only on mothers.

I read the books, "Our Mom," "Just Me and my Mom," "Are You My Mother?" and "My Monster Mama Loves Me So". 

We played the games 'Mother May I?' and 'Mommy Says' (Simon says).

The kids made Flower Mother's Day Cards that said "My love for you grows and grows" and opened up into a big flower coming out of a pot (this was inspired by pinterest).

For a Mother's Day gift, we made Mommy Coasters inspired by my genious roommate. I bought 16cent tiles at Lowe's, glued felt to the back, and had the kids decorate them with Sharpies.  Then, *when they were dry* (made that mistake at first), I put mod podge over the top to seal them in.  Cute, cheap, and easy!

I also interviewed each of the students for a Mommy Questionnaire, which I made myself. In this questionnaire, I asked the kids different questions about their mom, and wrote down their answers, no matter how silly it sounded or even if it didn't make sense.  Some of the questions I asked were, "What's your mom's favorite color?" "How old is your mom?" "What's your mom's favorite thing to do?".  Then I had the kids draw a picture of their mom, and I glued them side by side on a large piece of construction paper.
We did the same thing for our fathers later in the week so they didn't feel left out!

On Wednesday, we talked about both moms and dads, and we read the books "Moms and Dads," "Tell Me Again", and "With My Mom and Dad".

On Thursday and Friday, we focused on dads.  We read the books "Knuffle Bunny," "Dad," and "My Dad's Job".

For a Father's Day Card, we did a 'Hooked on Daddy' Fish Handprint Card from in-the-corner.

For a Father's Day gift, we made 'I love you to pieces' frames (from pinterest) by gluing puzzle pieces to picture frames and putting the kids' pictures in them. The pieces lasted a whole 2 hours before they started falling off the frame, so I know to use something besides Elmer's and hot glue next year!

The kids also got to play in Shaving Cream to commemorate their daddies!!!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Week 35 - Transportation

On the last week of April/first week of May, we focused on transportation and things that move. 

We started off the week on Monday with a transportation anchor chart, making a list (using pictures) of all the things the students could think of that help them get around.   We also read the books “Wheels Go Round” and “Hot Rod Hamster” to talk more about cars.

For our movement activity, we played ‘Red light/green light’ and sang the song ‘Where is red light?’ (which is just like ‘where is thumbkin’ but you use red light/ yellow light/ green light instead of the name of the finger, and hold up that color circle when you say it).

For the art activity, the students did a Transportation Collage by coloring and cutting out the different ways to get around and gluing them on their very own poster. 

They also did a ‘What’s Missing’ memory game, where the teacher put up 5 different types of transportation, took one away, and asked what was missing.

At the end of the day, we read “My Race Car.”

On Tuesday we focused on buses.  We read “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Cars and Trucks”, then of course we had to do a fine motor (finger play) of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, as well as a gross motor version walking/crawling/jumping around the classroom.  One interesting version of the song that I did was that I would substitute in a child’s name, and they had to do something on the bus (e.g.: The Brandon on the bus goes… wah wah wah… etc). 

For our art project, the kids did a School Bus Collage.  I pre-cut school buses and windows, and the kids glued them on to a paper to make a bus, added a background, and glued pictures of kids’ faces out of magazines in the windows.

They also played the Parking Lot Recognition game that I made last year.  I drew a parking lot on a posterboard and laminated it.  Then I wrote in different things in every parking spot, and to play the kids would have to drive their car (matchbox car) to the spot you told them.  Last year, I used sight words in each of the boxes.  This year, I did letters, numbers, and shapes.

On Wednesday we focused on trains.  We read “Chugga Chugga Choo Choo” and “The Train Ride” during circle time.  For our song and movement, we sang ‘I’ve been working on the railroad’.  Of course, we had to watch ‘Thomas the Train,’ and while they watched the movie, we pulled them one at a time to make a Name Train from funinprek.

On Thursday, our focus was airplanes.  My assistant let me borrow the cutest little book she had called “The Little Red Plane”, and we read how the pilot got the plane ready by checking the gauges, filling the tank, and making sure everyone was seated. 

For our movement activity, we played the stop sign game, where the kids were given something to do (hop, jump, crawl, dance, etc) and had to stop when I put up the stop sign.  It’s kind of like freeze dance.

For art, the students made Paper Airplane Mobiles inspired by etsy.  I taught each student how to make a paper airplane, then we made 4 planes together and hung them up on large popsicle sticks from the ceiling.

Finally, on Friday, our focus was boats.  We read “Richard Scarry’s Great Steamboat Mystery” and sang ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’.  The kids made a Popsicle Stick Boat from Pequeocio.

Week 36 - Mexico and Cinco de Mayo

The week of Cinco de Mayo was another one of my favorite weeks in Pre-K all year.  We celebrated Cinco de Mayo on Monday, May 5th, then continued talking about Mexico all week. 

Throughout the week we read some Mexico books that we got from the library, but most of them were to high-leveled for the kids, and we just had to look through the pictures and talk about what we saw.  We learned the numbers in Spanish up to 10, and practiced them by singing ’10 in a Bed’ with Spanish numbers, as well as counting on the calendar in Spanish each day.  I was shocked at how quickly some of the students picked up on learning the numbers.

Each morning, we also sang a Cinco de Mayo song from PreschoolExpress. 

 On Monday, we focused on pinatas, as that was a great way to celebrate the holiday.  We read the story ‘Pancho’s Pinata’, then of course did our own piñata (which we had made the week before using paper mache).  I wish I had pictures of the kids breaking the piñata open (with a wrapping paper tube), but I was the one holding it up and trying not to get hit!!

For snack, we ate chips and salsa and pretended to be in a cantina.

The kids got to make their very own Mini Pinatas from ADayofWonders.  To do this, we put small candies inside two Dixie cups taped together, put a string on top, then decorated the outside by gluing squares of tissue paper to it.  They turned out really cute!!

We also did a Mexican Flag Color sorting activity, and when they were done sorting they got the ‘Seal of Approval’, which was the Mexican seal to glue on top.

On Tuesday, we pretended to be Mexican jumping beans as we jumped around the room to Mexican music. 

For art, the kids all decorated their own Serapes by gluing together parts of a person to a piece of construction paper, then gluing designs on the construction paper to make a beautiful poncho.

On Wednesday, the kids watched the Disney movie ‘The Three Cabelleros’, which I was bummed I didn’t get to see because I had a training that day.  While they were watching the movie, they painted their plates for the next day’s activities.

On Thursday, our focus was on Sombreros.  We danced to the ‘Mexican Hat Dance’, and the kids made their very own Mini Sombreros by gluing a yellow cup to a painted yellow plate, and adding pompoms and string to hold it on. 

As a learning activity, we did Sombrero Bean Counting, which was an activity I made for them.  They each got a worksheet with 5 sombreros on them, numbered 1-5.  The kids had to trace the numbers, then color the sombreros according to their numbers, then put that many beans on the sombrero.  They had a lot of fun with this, and the leftover beans were great in a sensory bin!

On Friday we focused on Maracas.  In the morning, we danced around for almost 45 minutes with maracas that we already had, and the kids loved shaking them around.

For art, the students made their own Plastic Spoon Maracas (from Celebrations 

) using those leftover beans from yesterday (I made $4 worth of beans really last)! 

The week was so much fun, and everyone had a blast learning about Mexico!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Week 34 - Earth Day

For week 34, which contained Earth day, we talked about the Earth and ways that we can help it.

 On Monday, we read the book, “The Earth is Good”, and also watched ‘Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures Earth Day Video’. 

For our art project, the kids did a handprint activity where they made the Earth with their hand.  We did this one last year, too, but it’s just too cute! 

On Tuesday, we read “The Lorax” using the iPad app that has guided reading.  We talked about how important it is to protect our trees and our Earth.  The students made Lorax paper plates from alittledelightful, and also started working on a Pre-K Earth Day Pack.


On Wednesday, our book for circle time was Eric Carle’s “With Us, on the Earth and Sea”.  This was a great way to talk about how the seas and oceans are on our Earth as well, and it’s important that we keep them free of trash and pollution.  The students were able to watch ‘The Lorax’ movie (the older animated one), and while they were watching the movie some of them painted pots to get ready for the next day.


On Thursday, we focused on the concept of recycling.  In the morning, we read the book, “Save that Trash!”, as well as the book “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. 


For a group game, we did a really fun recycling race.  For this, I split the class into two teams, and gave each team a trash bag full of recyclable materials (either paper or plastic).  I especially used the tops of the milk cartons I cut off for the milk carton Easter baskets last week.  The teams had to take turns getting an item out of the bag, running to the front of the room, and putting the item in the right box.  The goal was to be the first one to empty your bag and put all the items in the right place!
The kids also finished up their Lorax Planter Pots from thepartywall.


Finally, on Friday, we read the book “My Earth” and “Who Will Help”.  For art, the kids made a Stained Glass Planet Earth from momontimeout.  We also finished their Handprint Earth Promise by asking each student what they are going to do to help the Earth… this served as a great end-of-week assessment!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Week 33- Easter

The week before Easter was a very fun week, and we had lots of adorable Easter activities that ended with an ‘Easter Party’ on Thursday.  It was also a short week, since we all had off Friday for Good Friday.

On Monday, we focused on ducks.  We read the stories “Five Little Ducks” and “Little Quack”, then for a movement activity we did duck races where the kids had to race from one line on the floor to the other holding their ankles to make them waddle like ducks!

The students did a paper plate duck from here, and they also played Easter Bingo!

At the end of the day we read “Little Quack’s Hide and Seek”.

 On Tuesday, we focused on eggs.  We read the story, “The Big Bunny and the Easter Eggs”, then we played two games that involved big, colorful eggs.

I traced, cut out, and decorated 20 eggs in pairs, so there were 10 different designs in all.  These were big, cardstock eggs, about 10 inches tall.

For our first game, called Egg Match, the kids all closed their eyes and I gave them one of my eggs. They then had to find the person in the classroom that had the same egg as them.

In our second game, called Egg Hatch, we put the eggs on chairs in a circle and played musical chairs with them, pretending like we were chickens sitting on our eggs.  When the music stopped and someone was left without an egg and a chair, we said their egg hatched (instead of they lost).


Snack, of course, was hard-boiled eggs.

For art, the kids got to decorate their very own big eggs, and I hung them all on a Big Easter Basket bulletin board.

At recess, we did an Egg Relay, where the kids had to walk to the fence and back, balancing a hard-boiled egg on a spoon.

On Wednesday, we focused on bunnies.  We read “Bunches and Bunches of Bunnies”, then we did my favorite ‘Little Bunny Foo Foo’ fingerplay.  After learning the fingerplay, we did a gross motor of ‘Little Bunny Foo Foo’, where the kids hopped around the classroom.  For our craft, we made Easter Baskets from milk cartons, which was from the book “Early Childhood Themes”.  I absolutely LOVE the way they turned out, and we filled them up with goodies for Easter!


I found a great Easter Egg Letter-Writing Assessment from MadeByTeachers that the kids did as well to see how many letters they could write or copy!


On Thursday, we had an Easter Celebration.  We started by reading “Happy Easter Little Critter”, and of course doing an Easter Egg Hunt around the classroom!  The kids put their Easter eggs in their new baskets!

We also had them do little activities for basket-fillers. 

First, the kids made Goldfish Carrots (from ADailyDoseofDavis) by filling pastry bags with goldfish, securing it with a rubber band, adding green ribbon and a construction-paper leaf.

They also made Rabbit Tails (from indulgy) by counting out three donut holes and putting them in a bag, then attaching a bunny print-out and writing the words Rabbit tails'.

Finally, they added in these Chick Fruit Cups from Kelly's Healthy Kitchen that I had made for them earlier that day.

The week was very exciting, and full of new and fun activities to celebrate Easter and Spring!

Week 32 - Food

The second week in April was food-themes, and we worked on understanding that everyone needs food, as well as the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods.


We started on Monday by reading "Mouse Mess".  We also did the finger play 'Hickory Dickory Dock' to go with the mouse story, and we made a Healthy and Unhealthy food anchor chart, where the kids helped me think of healthy foods (foods that made you strong) and unhealthy foods (ones that make your belly hurt). 


For our art center, the kids colored their favorite healthy food, the made it out of play-doh. We out all the pictures together in a class healthy foods book.


We also did a cracker sorting activity, similar to the Dino egg sorting activity, where I cut out paper crackers from cardstock and drew differ numbered dots on them, and the kids had to sort them by number.


On Tuesday, we introduced Mr. C, who wears a Colossal Cap because he’s shy and likes to hide under it.  We read the books, “Gregory the Terrible Eater” and “Who Stole the Cookie”, then did a ‘Who Stole the Cookie game’.

For our game, I made a big cookie out of cardstock and put the kids in a circle. They all closed their eyes, and I gave the cookie to one student to hide behind their back or sit on.  Then I told them all to open their eyes, and I would ask someone, “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” and they would reply with who they think did it; “Bobby stole the cookie from the cookie jar!”  I would then go over to Bobby and he would say “Who me?”. We would all reply “Yes, you!” and if Bobby didn’t have the cookie, he would say “Couldn’t be!” and I would say “Then who?”.  It would then go on until they figured out who had the cookie.  It was a great activity to practice hiding objects, and using our friends’ names!


For art, we made our very own Colossal Caps to match Mr. C’s! I did this by having the kids decorate a big piece of construction paper with things that started with C, then I taped the two ends together to make a cylinder, then cut & added brims.


On Wednesday, we read “What Do We Need?” from the letter people curriculum, which reminded the kids of all the different needs that we have, including shelter, food, water, and sleep.  We also read “On Top of Spaghetti”, then sang the song and did a movement activity to go with it.  If you don’t know the song, it’s one of my favorites!  You can find it here. 


For a game, we played ‘Hot Meatball’, which was just like ‘Hot Potato’, but with a meatball (red ball)!


We also watched “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”.


On Thursday, we focused on breakfast foods.  We read “Sheldon’s Lunch” and “An Elephant Comes to Breakfast”.  The kids made and ate pancakes, then did a Healthy/Unhealthy food sort by putting magazine pictures in the correct column based on if they ‘made you strong’ or ‘made your tummy hurt’. 


At the end of the day, we read “We’re Making Breakfast for Mother”.


Finally, on Friday, we read the book “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie”, as well as “Stone Soup”.  With “Stone Soup”, I turned it into a group story activity, where each student had a paper version of the ingredients in the soup, and as I was reading the story they had to come put their ingredient in the ‘pot’ and stir, stir, stir.  It was a great activity for recognizing and naming foods, plus made sure they listened to the whole story!


The kids also played food bingo, and at the end of the day we read “The Berenstein Bears and Too Much Junk Food”

Week 31? Dinosaurs!!!

I'm quite a few weeks behind on posting, but now we're really getting to the end of the school year and the massive workload is thinning out, so I can try to play catch-up.

Sorry in advance for the lack of pictures over the next few weeks (including dino-week, sorry!), I feel like I've barely been in the classroom with all the end-of-year assessments, and when I am in the classroom the last thing I have time for is documenting!
Back at the beginning of April, we had Dinosaur week, a week that I had been looking forward to all year.  We also worked on the letter person Q that week.

On Monday, we focused on the letter Q so that we could have lots of dino-fun the rest of the week.  We met Mr. Q, and we read two books about quilts: "The Quilt" and "The Quilt Story".  We even made a class quilt!  I wasn't sure how I was going to do this (I was debating having them color on squares of fabric with fabric markers and sewing them all together, but ended up going with an easier option).  The kids all decorated a square of white paper however they wanted (we tried to get them to decorate them with things that started with Q), and then later I traced all the squares onto an old sheet to make a mini-quilt... the perfect size for Mr. Q to use! The best part was that is was the simplest option... no fussing with 3 year-olds with fabric markers, and no sewing!!

We also had the students try to ask QUESTIONS, which was actually a much harder thing than I had expected.  We played a guessing game, where I put something inside a tin and the kids played '20 questions' to try and guess what was in there.  Most of the responses I got were nowhere near a question or anything to do with the object, so we'll have to work on it some more.

On Tuesday, we did an introduction to dinosaurs. The learning goal was that the students would understand that dinosaurs lived long ago, not now.  I read the book, "My Dinosaur", and then we got started on our amazing dinosaur songs.  Now, these songs were passed down from my mom and her classroom (back when dinosaurs were in the curriculum), and they are on a cassette tape that I had to keep rewinding and playing just to get to the right song.  After much searching, I found that these songs are actually from 1978 (!) on the album 'Our Dinosaur Friends' by Pam Johnson, Wayne Parker, and Eric Miller.  I found the playlist of all our songs on youtube.

On Tuesday, we learned the Stegasaurus Song and the Pterodactyl Song, and danced along to them.  I played them through each three times (I really wanted them to learn them), the first just with them listening, the second with me showing them the dance moves, and the third with them singing and dancing along. 

For our craft, the kids painted a Dinosaur Scene by water-painting a background with different colored stripes, and adding die-cuts of different dinosaurs.

We also did a dinosaur egg sort, where I cut out lots of different eggs on cardstock, added different colored and numbered dots to one side, and added a shape to the other.  The kids could then sort them by color, number, or shape!

At the end of the day, we read "How Do Dinosaurs Play with their Friends?"

On Wednesday, we learned the Brontosaurus Song.  We also read "Can You See What I See? Dinosaurs" and "Dinorella" (which was a cute dinosaur version of Cinderella that was about a brontosaurus).  We watched the movie, 'We're Back!' (one of my favorites from childhood), and started preparing for Thursday's craft by painting snack boxes green.

At the end of the day, we read "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?" and had the kids try to do Glue-Resistant Dinosaur Painting from ThatArtistWoman, but our versions didn't turn out quite as well as they did in her version!

On Thursday, we started off the day by reading "Mrs. Toggle and the Dinosaur", then we learned the Triceratops song and the Tyrannosaurus Rex Song. 

For our craft, we finished our Trex puppets from FamilyThemeDays! We made these by cutting three sides of a snack box down the middle and folding them to make a puppet.  Then we painted them green (during our dinosaur movie on Wednesday), and when they were dry we added a tongue on the inside, and construction paper eyes and teeth. Finally, the kids drew on nostrils for a nose, and gave their dinosaur a name.

I also did this Dinosaur-Themed Letter Assessment from MakingLearningFun, and let the kids paint-dot each letter that they knew.  This was a great way to take data at the mid-end of the year, and was wonderful to send home to the parents to keep them on track!

At the end of the day on Thursday, we read "How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?", which was the last book I owned in this adorable series.

Finally, on Friday, we focused on bones, since it was important for the kids to understand that bones are the only thing we have left of dinosaurs since they lived a long long time ago. 

In the morning, we read "Dinosaur Garden" and "Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones." The Skippyjon books might just be my favorite, besides Pete the Cat.  I have so much fun reading them, but it definitely takes some practice!

We did a dinosaur bone hunt, where the I hid a bunch of cardstock bones around the classroom and the kids had to find them, bring them to me, and tell me where they found them.  We learned about how looking for dinosaur bones is a real job, called an Archiologist.  Finally, we learned the very last dinosaur song, called 'Our Dinosaur Friends'.

For our art project, the kids made Dinosaur Skeletons from Q-tips from StuckOnGlue.  I pre-cut out dino-skulls from white construction paper, then I drew white lines in to make dinosaur skeletons on black construction paper for the kids to glue on top of and stick the q-tips.  The kids then had a choice to draw their very own dinosaur skeleton, or use the ones I had already drawn.  One parent of a non-talkative child told me later that the child brought home this 'q-tip' creation, and the parents didn't know what it was.  When the asked the child and he responded 'T-rex!', they were so proud they hung the 'creation' on the fridge.  Hearing this story made me proud, too!!  "It's the process, not the product". 

One other activity that the students did on Friday was make fossils with various objects and play-doh.  We used shells, mini plastic figurines, beads, and anything else with different textures, and showed the kids how to make 'fossils' by imprinting the objects in the dough. 

Dinosaur week was lots of fun, and just writing about it makes me want to play the songs for the kids again and see what they remember!