Saturday, December 6, 2014

Turkeys, Pilgrims and Native Americans! (Jj, 7, Star)

The theme for the third week of November was "Turkeys, Pilgrims and Native Americans". We continued our Letter of the Week study, with the letter J. This week we also focused on the star shape, and we kept going on our number study with the number 7!

We celebrated a birthday!

This week we read: Red Fox and His Canoe by Nathaniel Benchley
                                        The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene
                                        1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy
                                        Thanksgiving Cats by Jean Marzollo
                                        The Thirsty Moose by David Orme

Our question of the week was "What would you bring on the Mayflower with you?" My favorite part of this question was a conversation that it sparked between a child and parent at pickup. P: What was a the Mayflower? C: A boat. P: Do you know who was on the Mayflower? C: Yea, some old people.

The shape of the week: star was fun to talk about.  We practiced drawing stars in the air, and talked about where we see stars. The children worked on their fine motor skills and shape recognition by coloring shapes. I made this sheet myself based on recognition sheets that we have already done.

For our song this week we sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"

For the number of the week: 7 we started off by counting to and backward from seven. They love doing this every day and when we get to the end of counting backward, they all scream blast off!! ;) The kids also practiced writing the number and word for seven. 

When I started in my room I found some papers in my room I found a random number page like this from, so I made my own for the number 7. The children had to practice writing the number and then color in that number of squares. What a great way to really introduce graphing and what a great way for them to work on their one-to-one correspondence.

For our theme "Turkeys, Pilgrims, Native Americans", we talked about the way Native Americans lived before the pilgrims. We looked at some materials from the Lenapes (which is our local tribe).

We sang the song "Indians and Pilgrims" to the tune of Row your Boat.
Beat, beat, beat the drum, 
Beat it loud and clear.
To tell brave Indians everywhere
That hunting time is near.

Cut, cut, cut the logs,
Make them long and short.
To help the pilgrims build a house,
A warm and friendly fort.
(C) Copyright 1997-2014 by Preschool Education

We talked about how corn was a staple crop and used it in an art project, which conveniently doubled as cool Thanksgiving decorations! =]

We made handprint Mayflowers! I love hearing my kids' giggles as i paint their hands, and they're always fascinated by the amount of things that we turn their handprints into.

Speaking of which, we turned their handprints into turkeys for a keepsake Thanksgiving placemat. So cute!!

We made strawberry juice while channeling the Lenape Indians. I cut the tops off of strawberries and put them into plastic baggies. The kids did all the work mashing them, to which we added hot water. I let the strawberries sit in the hot water and we observed the juices coming out of the berries. It was really cool to watch. For a little sweetness I added some honey. I was really happy that almost everyone tried it... and liked it!

The letter of the week: J activities that we worked on this were were jubilant! The book Sounds Like fun, Phonemic Awareness has great phonics activities for the alphabet. For the letter J, the children have to cut out and glue the words that "Begins like Jaguar". Together we talked about the beginning sounds of the words, and then they work on their fine motor cutting skills.

I created envelope games for each letter of the alphabet. I adapted them from activities from Mailbox Letter of the Week projects, both book one and two. The children had to put the "J" patches on the jacket. All the other letters? Not on this fashion statement!

As we work through the alphabet, the children make projects to go on  our "alphabet wall". It's a very fun way for the class to see the alphabet in a new way. This week we colored and cut out pictures of jet planes. I attached them to toilet paper rolls so they popped a little!

We practice and work on our handwriting for each letter as well. The Original Summer Bridge Activities, for PreK-K has great handwriting practice sheets. The kids trace and write the letters and then have a little phonics practice at the bottom.

Using 7 Jellybeans, the kids sorted and colored the pictures. This helped them work on their color matching and one-to-one correspondence.

Each child has a journal that they write in every week. When we focus on a letter, they write for that letter. On shorter weeks and during our review later in the year, they write to the theme. This is such a great way to get children excited about writing and reading. I start the children out by tracing, and once they are comfortable and controlling the crayon well, they move onto copying.

From the book Alphabet, Colors, Numbers and Shapes, the kids practice letter recognition AND direction following. Some weeks certain letters have to be colored specifically and sometimes it's up to them. I love these!

From one of the Letter of the Week books, we made little flip books about a Jet flying around. I love these because we can work on whole group activities and following sequential directions. They are also simple enough that when finished they can look through it and tell the story to themselves.

The children turned a capital letter J into a jaguar. I got the idea from the book Alphabet and Counting from Twin Sister Productions. They give tips for how to make it a 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.

I made a cube of cardboard and glued pictures of "J" things one each side. The children say "Jaguar, Jaguar, what do I see.... I see a ____ looking at me!" They roll the cube and fill in the blank. This idea came from a Mailbox activity book, and let me tell you, it was a hit!! They loved it!

During the week we made a list of words that begin with the letter J. Here is what we thought of!

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