Sunday, February 22, 2015

Groundhogs & Shadows (Rr, 15, Purple)

The theme for the first week of February was "Groundhogs and Shadows". We continued our Letter of the Week study with the letter R. This week we continued talking about colors with the color purple, and we kept going on our number study with the number 15!

This week we readHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
                                        When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman
                                        Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
                                        Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
                                        Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty

Our question of the week was "How much longer will winter be?" Some of these are great!

The color of the week: purple was a lot of fun to explore.  We talked about things that are the color purple and went on a hunt around our classroom to find things that are purple.

We sang "We Love Purple" to the tune of Three Blind Mice.
""We love purple, we love purple,
yes we do, yes we do.
Purple grapes and eggplant too,
Purple plums and grape juice
Just for me and just for you,
we love purple."
I got it from here!

For the number of the week:15 we started off by counting to and backward from fifteen. 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 fifteen. 

When I started in my class, I found a page like this from, so I made my own for the number 15. The children have to practice writing the number and then color in that number of squares. It's a great way to introduce graphing and helps them to work on their one-to-one correspondence.

From The Complete Book of Numbers and Counting, the kids practiced counting to fifteen when they drew 15 bows on the tail of the kite.

I found this idea I think on Pinterest for the children to search for numbers. I created the worksheet, and each child had a different color combination. These are a great worksheet to stick in their portfolios too!

For our theme "Groundhogs & Shadows", we talked about Groundhog day and what it symbolizes. The class made collages with groundhogs, suns and clouds, and an adorable poem about ground hog day.

We sang "Here's a Little Groundhog" to the tune I'm a little teapot found here.
"Here's a little ground hog furry and brown,
He's coming up to look around.
If he sees his shadow down he'll go,
Then six more weeks of winter, Oh No!"

My director actually found the inspiration for this show project, I'll have to be sure to find out where it came from. The kids colored their groundhog, and painted black on a rough outline that I made on a piece of construction paper. When they were dry, I stapled the groundhogs on so that when they "stand up", their shadow appears!

The letter of the week: R activities that we worked on this week were rad! 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 place the "R" items onto the the rabbit. All the other letters? Keep on hopping!

From a Mailbox Letter of the Week book, the kids made a booklet about "Robot's Rocket". I like doing these kinds of books because they can go back and look at the pictures to help tell the story, and they are also able to do the project mostly on their own. When they are finished coloring the pages, they come and get their scissors. When they are finished cutting, they bring their pages to me, put away their scissors and clean up their area of paper scraps. I love it!

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

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 made raindrops. On a construction paper shaped raindrop, the kids finger painted, which is always fun!

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!

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.

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.

The children turned a capital letter R into a rabbit. 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 cut up rectangles of various sizes and colors, and the class turned them into robots!

I found these short videos about "r" animals that we watched through the week. There was one about Rhinos, raccoons, rats, rabbits, and of course I had to show my kids the video of the raccoon stealing cat food. They went nuts for it! The kids really enjoy when randomly throughout the day we take a break to watch an animal video.

I made a cube of cardboard and glued pictures of "R" things one each side. The children say "Rocket ship, rocket ship, 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 for the letter A, 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 R. Here is what we thought of!

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