Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Feelings (C, Triangle)

Our theme this week was "Our Feelings" and we focused on the letter Cc and the shape triangle.

We read this week: Corduroy by Don Freeman
                               Curious George Goes Camping by Margret and H.A. Reys
                               The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
                               The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
                               The Pout Pout Fish in the Big Big Dark by Deborah Diesen

Our question of the week was "What is something that you're not so good at?" We talked about not being good at something is not always a bad thing, that with practice we can always get better. Some children raised their hands multiple times to tell me things. I love when we get a great discussion going like that.

In the beginning of the year I always like to have the students practice tracing and writing their names.  I found this great website that lets me put in the words that I want them to practice. I choose the largest text and it gives three lines of tracing and one where they have to write the letters on their own. I like to do this activity a few times a year and keep them in their portfolios to see the improvement in their writing over the course of the school year.

For our theme of the week, we talked a lot about our different feelings, why we feel them and how to deal with them.

We made "Happy Cards" I found the idea at this blog. The kids loved getting smiley faces painted on their hands. After they made their hand prints, I asked them to tell me "Things that make me smile"and I scribed what they said.

 We made water color relief sad faces. They used white crayons to draw sad faces on white paper. Then they used blue watercolor paint to make the faces "appear"! They loved the "magic" and it got us talking about why blue is a color associated with sadness.

We made our own class feelings book. In the same idea as those emotion posters, we practiced making happy, sad, mad and worried faces. Then I took their pictures for each child with each face, then turned it into a book! I got the idea from a blog online that I know can't find :(.

I cut out circles in different colors (blue, orange, red and green) and we talked about what happy, sad, mad and worried/scared faces look like. Then I asked them to make each circle into one of those faces. I let them decide which colors to make each face.

We talked a lot this week about the shape triangles. We sang the song:
"Triangles, triangles, triangles I see,
Count the points and count the sides,
Count them 1,2,3
Triangles triangles, just for you and me,
Count the points and count the sides,
Count them 1,2,3!
-Found here, to the tune of 'twinkle twinkle' 

The kids practiced drawing triangles with this cool worksheet of triangles and squares, which I found here. We also worked on recognizing triangles among of other shapes.

For our letter activities, we used our handwriting sheet for the letter C, the sheet that helps work on letter recognition, both are from books that are mentioned in the "All About Me" post. The students also wrote in their journals for the letter C.

From one of The Mailbox books, I got the idea of having the students make a "C Collection" book. 

We turned C's into Caterpillars!

We also made Crocodile Puppets!

For our alphabet wall we made clouds of white paint on blue paper. I showed the kids examples of the three main kinds of clouds (Stratus, Cumulus and Cirrus). We talked about the differences, where they are and what they look like. Then each child got to make their own cloud.

And with the C addition, our wall now looks like...

Our list for words beginning with C's was very impressive. Here it is!

Up next week: The letter Dd, the number 1, rectangles and "Being Healthy".

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our Five Senses! (B, Circle)

Our theme this week was "Our Five Senses" and we focused on the letter B and the shape circle.

We read this week: Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
                               Paddington by Mark Brown
                               Paddington and the Busy Bee Carnival by Mark Brown
                               The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
                               Stellaluna by Janelle Cannon

Our question of the week was "What is something that you are really good at?"

For our theme of the week, we talked a lot about our senses, what they help us do and why we need them.
We made texture collages:
 This week is full of some of my favorite activities from the year, these texture collages being one of them. I love how each one is different, and the kids are so proud of the texture choices that they make. AND they look amazing on the wall.

We tasted sweet, salty and sour things, and the kids had to vote on their favorite taste. (They think it's awesome when they get to eat things as part of a project.)

We tested their sense of smells with this project where I asked them to describe the things that they were smelling. I used perfume, shampoo, chocolate syrup, pickle juice, toothpaste and (the most tricky) water.

Out on our schools nature trail we talked about the different sounds that we could hear. We did this at various points of our walk, close to the school, by the parking lot and deeper in the woods.

Lastly we did another activity with the sense of touch. I set up my table with different texture objects. I used flour, rice, oatmeal, sand and a scrubbing sponge.
As the students felt each thing, I asked them to describe what they were feeling. It was hard to get them away from just telling them what the items were and to use describing words, but we got there in the end.

For our shape of the week, the kids practiced drawing circles with this cool worksheet of circles and another with squares and circles. We also worked on recognizing circles out of other shapes.

We talked a lot about things that are circles. We sang the song
"This is a circle, this is a circle.
How can you tell? How can you tell?
It goes round and round,
No end can be found, 
It's a circle, it's a circle."

For our letter activities, we used our handwriting sheet for the letter B, the sheet that helps work on letter recognition, both were mentioned in the "All About Me" post. The students also wrote in their journals for the letter B.

We turned B's into Bees!

After we read Ferdinand we all made our own bees. This was a great way for the kids to practice their cutting skills.
I love how each child's bee is different.

Another project that we did (another one of my favorites all year) is the Boat Builder activity. I love it because I give the students the materials and the end result is something completely their own. 
Each child got a piece of white paper, a square of brown paper, a skinny black rectangle, scissors, a glue stick and crayons with the instruction of make me a boat however you want to. (They love when I say that). If I get "I don't know how..." or " I can't do it.." We go back a few steps and talk about boats.. what do they look like, where do we find them, what do they do, and then the creative juices start flowing. Here's the end results!
Love it!

For our Alphabet wall we made butterflies with coffee filters and water color paint. After the children painted their coffee filters and they dried I used small pipe cleaners to turn them into butterflies!
And with the B addition, our wall now looks like...

Our list for words beginning with B's was very impressive. Here it is!

As a side note, teachers always need to be flexible, and as such, it was in the best interest of the flow of the classroom to switch two centers, the library and dramatic play center.
And I'm always telling the kids to make sure that they turn off the water faucet after getting a drink or washing their hands. I tell them to "Save the water for the fishes, so I painted a mural for above the sink to remind them.

Up next week: The letter C, Triangles and "Our Feelings".

All About Me! (A, Squares)

The second week of school we started to really get used to the routine of the classroom and really started to get to know each other. The school's weekly theme was "All About Me" and we started with a letter and shape focus this week. We started with  the letter A and squares.

This week we read: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr, John Archambault
                                L, M, N, O, Peas by Keith Baker
                                Curious George Feeds the Animals by Margret and H.A. Rey
                                Always by Allison McGhee
                                A Book of Friends by Dave Ross

Our question of the week was "What kind of animal would you be?" but I LOST THE PICTURE! I'm so bummed, but i will try to ask the question again.. The answers were great.

I have a few books that I have some great letter activities. Every week we have a handwriting day (Tuesday) and I use the pages from The Original Summer Bridge Activities PK-K. ISBN 978-1-60418-817-2. At the top of the page there is room for the students to practice writing the capital and lowercase letters, and then on the bottom of the page there are pictures, that they have to figure out which words have the same beginning sound.

For letters, I also like the alphabet pages from Alphabet, Colors, Numbers and Shapes. ISBN 0-88724-419-x. They challenge the kids to recognize the letters in different pictures and they love them.

I also love to have the kids turn letters into different animals. I got the idea from the book Alphabet and Counting from Twin Sister Productions. ISBN 157583819-2. They give tips for how to make it glue and paste projects, but I like to give them crayons and the challenge to add the parts of the animal to the letter. It opens up room for more conversation about the shape of the letter AND the features of the animal.

Our big project this week was an All About Me book. These pages were given to me by another teacher, but I found them again here. We didn't do all the pages, but we did one or two a day. The books I kept and will be giving to the parents on Back-to-School night. It's a fun book for the parents to look at while exploring the classroom.
Here is one page where the kids made their handprints.
The kids made a page about their family, their pets, their eye color, favorite color, favorite food, their age, hand prints and a self portrait.

They practiced tracing squares with this cool worksheet I found here.

We also played a game this week where they had to pick a picture out of a basket and name the "A" think that they were looking at.

The school bought my class student writing journals and I LOVE these! Every week for the alphabet, the kids pick about what they want to write about for that letter. This week I introduced them to their journals, and i think they love them just as much as I do.

We tasted Red Delicious and Granny Smith Apples and talked about the differences between them. We also made apple prints!
I found these great short videos on YouTube about the journey of apples from tree to store to home that the kids loved. We watched each one twice by request. They especially thought it was hilarious when Jim says "From Blossom to Awesome."
Video One
Video Two
Video Three
There is a wall in the classroom that I made the "Alphabet Wall". Each week we do a project to go up on the wall. Last year the kids loved to guess the possible things we could be making.  This week we made apples. I cut the inside circle of a paper plate, the stem and leaf and a rectangle of red paper. The kids got to rip up the red paper to glue onto the circle. The kids really enjoyed the glue and the ripping, and the apples came out great and unique!
 And here is what our alphabet wall looks like so far!

This was our first week! I will leave you with the list of words that begin with "A" that the kids came up with!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We're Wild About Preschool!

The first week of school was a mixture of exciting and terrifying. I have had to mentally go back to last year to remember what it was like, and readjust myself.
Our school weekly theme was "Welcome Back! We're Wild About Preschool!" and I didn't start a letter this week so that myself and the new class had a chance to get used to the classroom, focus on making friends with each other and adjusting to the classroom and school.

This year I'm going to ask the class a Question of the Week and at the end of the year I want to make a book for the class.
This week's question: What was your favorite thing about summer?
Here are some of the answers that I got.

This week we read: Curious George's First Day of School by H.A. Rey
                                Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
                                The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood
                                The Loud Book by Deborah Underwood
                                (Monday was Labor Day, so only 4 days this week)

We played responsive classroom games, The Weather Changed, Just Like Me, I have, Who has, and Body Drumming.  Great ideas from teachers here! I've used these games before and the kids really love them!

Other activities we did this week were to go on a Nature Walk on our school's trail,
Drew a picture on the children's first day of school (I tucked those away in their portfolios) and I got the idea here
I traced the kids' hands and had them color them and write the numbers 1-10,
 Paper Plate Lions, 

 Paper Plate Snakes, 

A School bus craft, 

and a paper towel roll giraffe.

The kids had a great week playing, working and getting to know their new friends! This year is going to be so fun!