Saturday, August 29, 2015

Farewell for now!

Thank you everyone who has checked out this blog and followed our classroom goings on. It has been a joy.

You never know what the future is going to hold, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Study of Buildings!

Our school follows the Creative Curriculum. In this curriculum are studies of different topics (buildings, clothing, bread...) Each study lasts as long as the children are interested in them, and they can be customized to the class's interest in the subject. We decided as a school to start with the study "Buildings".

Week One:
In the sensory table I put some building blocks in dirt to make a construction site.

We began by exploring the topic. We went outside our school and sat in front of it, and each drew an Observational picture of it. It was really cool to see the the children take such an interest in it.

Using different size and shape blocks, the children worked in pairs to build.

We talked about different kinds of buildings and the types of things that happen inside them.
The children each picked a kind of building to draw the inside of, and we turned it into a book.

Week Two:
 This week we focused on the buildings around our school. Since our school is on a busy road, and there are no buildings very close to use, we focused on our own. To start off, we made a map of the school on the white board, working together to remember things to draw on it. then the children made their own.

We compared pictures of our school to different schools. First the children looked at four pictures, and chose two to compare.

As a large group we made a map of our classroom. Then on their own they drew a classroom map.

We compared pictures of different classrooms. I found 4 pictures for the children to look at, and they picked two to compare.

We looked at some road maps, and the children made map art. With markers they drew roads first, and then added buildings. I cut out building shapes from dollar store sponges for the children to use.
Week Three:
We focused on the people that build buildings and how they do. The children made a class book filled with illustrations of Construction Sites.

My assistant teacher brought in a toolbox for the children to explore tools. They felt them, picked them up and asked questions about them.

The class had a discussion of who the different people were that built various parts of our classroom; plumber, electrician, general contractor.

I emptied out my sensory table and added unifix cubes and pieces of construction paper. The children worked in small groups to build different height buildings and create a Unifix city.

Week Four: 
We focused on the rooms at home and at school. First the class worked together to make a list of all the different rooms that we have at school, and the rooms that they have in their houses.

They each picked their favorite room at school, wrote which room it was a drew a picture of it. I turned this into a book that we put in the library center.

The children worked and played in partners to build with different size and shape blocks.

Next they picked their favorite room at their house and drew a picture of it. After they drew the picture, they wrote on the back, and we turned it into a book for the library center.

We talked about the features of a room, and looked around at our classrooms windows, doors, sinks, doorways etc. The children picked on to draw a picture of. They sat in front of the feature so that they were able to observe it while drawing.

Week Five:

Week Six:
Leave a comment below and let me know that you stopped by!


The theme for the third week of August was "Math!". The children are having so much fun in our "summer camp" this year!

This week we read: 1-2-3 Peas by Keith Baker
                                       Animalia by Graeme Base
                                       Little Green Peas by Keith Baker
                                       Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
                                       LMNO Peas by Keith Baker 

The older children that join my class for Summer Camp do not nap during rest time. They have time in the gym in a small group while my class does. To keep them working on their skills, I make them  packet to bridge their grades.

The games that we played this week at morning meeting were so fun!
"Pass the Vader" is a fun game. It's just like Hot Potato, except we do it with a small stuffed Darth Vader that children gave me this past Valentine's Day. Love it!

We played "Find the Clothespin". I found this game on KindergartenSmorgasboard, and I thought it just sounded so fun! While the children are not peeking, I hide a clothespin one myself, on a child or somewhere close around us. When they look for it, they can't yell out where it is, they put their finger on their nose! They have so much fun searching.

We played "Crocodile Snap". I found the idea for this game last year and adapted it to be my own. I turned a box into a crocodile with bulletin and construction paper, then filled it with little cards that have a letter, number or shape on them. The children have to reach into the crocodile's mouth (while he's sleeping of course), pull out a card and name what's there. Also hidden in the belly of the crocodile though are SNAP cards (the crocodile wakes up and SNAPS his mouth shut!). Once we pull three SNAP cards, the game is over!

We played "1,2,3" which we have played before and is definitely a fan favorite! We stand in a circle and each child says 1,2 or 3 consecutive numbers starting with 1 up to 9. So for example: "1,2,3" "4" "5,6" "7,8,9" and the next child who would have to say 10 sits down and is out of the round. Then it starts back at one. My class really loves this one, and usually if we play it in the morning, I will hear them in centers or at their lunch tables playing their own facilitated versions of the game.

We played "Alphabet Catch" with a beanbag. We toss the beanbag around the circle and the kids have to say the next letter in the alphabet. If they drop it, we have to start back at the letter "A". This game helps us work on our communication, because the children have to let the person know that they are going to toss it to them!

The special activities this week were a blast. Bubble day is quickly turning into a favorite. This week we just had a good time running around and blowing bubbles.

Since we are the oldest in the school, our class took over the little school garden. We spent time weeding it. It seems that our store bought plants are surviving, which is great! We've started to get some blossoms, so that is definitely promising!

Every Wednesday my class has sprinkler day. This is always a fan favorite. The children wear their bathing suits and water shoes, run around in a sprinkler outside, and play in a water sensory table. It really helps beat the summer heat!

Exercise is very important, so I thought it would be fun to have some kind of special exercise activity. This week, we had a number relay! I put numbers in a bucket that the children had to run to and name, and then run back to the group. We had fun running and doing different kinds of movements.

I LOVE having a movie day in the summer. It gives the kids a chance to relax, wind down and just enjoy themselves. Plus we have snacks and make it feel like the movie theater... who doesn't like going to the movie theater? This week we watched Meet the Robinsons. 

Our question of the week was "What do you love about the summer?"

For our theme "Math",  we did some neat math activities. The class made bingo marker patterns.

Check out our sensory table!

Using pattern blocks I made pictures of different animals and objects. I put out the blocks and my pictures and let the class explore them, making the pictures and their own.

I cut out shapes from paper and the class sorted them. If I can find where I found these materials, i will post it here!

Using Unifix cubes the class made pattern and color towers.

I made a memory game with index cards and stickers. The children had to practice their counting whenever they flipped over a card, to try to find the match.

We sang "Numbers Marching In" from here.
"Oh, When the numbers march right in,
Oh, when the numbers march right in.
We will count them one by one,
When the numbers march right in.

Oh, one-two-three and Four-five-six,
And Seven-eight and nine and ten.
When we finish all our numbers,
We will count them once again."

For our seventh week of the  study "Buildings" we had a lot of fun. We reviewed the different things that go on inside them. They each made a flip page project about their house. On the top fold they drew the outside of their home, and on the inside they drew a room(s) that is in their home. I found it here!

With empty cardboard boxes, we made a box city! Over a few days we set up the city, deciding what kinds of buildings we would make, how to decorate them and where to put them. So much fun!

 Leave a comment below and let me know that you stopped by!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Treasure Boxes

I'm gonna come right out and say it... treasure boxes are LOVED! I love them, other teachers love them, and most importantly, my class loves them. I created them at first way back when as an option for children who were growing out of naps. They have come a long way since then.

The children over the past three years have loved them so much, that I have started to incorporate them into our day to day. They are a great option for in-between times, transitions and free time, as well as some nice structures partner play and individual play. I love to search dollar spots and sale sections for some new exciting things to add, only following the parameters that they have to fit in the boxes. (Around back-to-school time, you can get these boxes at Walmart for 57cents!!)

Here are the "regular" boxes that we have now!

 I drew a town map and put in cars that I got from the dollar store.

 I found a few sets of magnetic letters at Walmart for pretty cheap. The kids love to put them together and try to sound out the crazy words they create.

I wrote shape names and numbers on colored popsicle sticks. The kids have to try to put the shapes together. They use the drawn pictures to help out if they get stuck.

 They love this squishy, gooey and creepy crawlies.

 These flashcards are a favorite.

 I actually found this bunny game at Stop and Shop last year for $2. Can't beat it!

 Legos are always a beloved classic. I even find myself playing with them sometimes. 

 How cute!

 A very fun hodge-podge!

Good old fashioned playing cards. Don't underestimate simple stuff like this. The kids love to sort them, look at the numbers and letters on them.

I found these little puzzles at the dollar store. They came in a pack of 4 and have different numbers of pieces. anything with animals is always a hit with my kids.

These three connector sets I found in the Dollar Spot of Target.

In addition to the above treasure boxes, this year, I created some "small group" boxes. The toys I put in these I think lend themselves better to a small group of children.

 This cute little finger puppet set came from IKEA!

$Spot at Target!

 These cool guys came from Pottery Barn Kids! They were a bit more pricey than I would usually spend, but with all the superhero mania, I knew my class would really like them.

How about some feeling balloons? I filled them with sand, flour, corn, and sprinkles. Yay Texture!

Do you use treasure boxes in your classroom? Leave me a comment and let me know!