Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shamrocks! (X, 21, Heart, Green)

The theme for the third week of March was "Shamrocks". We continued our Letter of the Week study with the letter X and our number study with the number 21! We have gone through our shapes and colors once, so from now until graduation, we will talk about two each week and do some small review activities. We started off with green and hearts.

This week we readThe Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing
                                        Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
                                        Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
                                        The Rain Came Down by David Shannon
                                        Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss

Our question of the week was "What would you do with a Leprechaun's gold?"

To review the color green we colored pictures of green things. I found these pages on pinterest, and I love the concept! My general rule of thumb is that if the children can explain to me their reasoning for coloring an object, then I am all for it!

We painted in shades of green to review as well. I put dollops of green, black and white paint on each child's paper, which they painted and mixed to make their own green masterpiece.

One of my children brought in a treat to share with the class.... and bonus: it was GREEN!

To review the heart shape the children practiced recognizing the shape and colored hearts. I created this little picture with some hidden hearts in it. They had to at least color the hearts, and for a challenge, really work on their fine motor control to color the whole picture! 

I made a bit of a blunder while lesson planning this week and included a circle project. Whoops! But it was still a fun whoops. We brainstormed a list of things that are circles in real life, and then created a book!

For the number of the week:21 we started off by counting to and backward from twenty-one. 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 twenty-one. 

When I started in my class, I found a page like this from, so I made my own for the number 21. 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.

For our theme "Shamrocks", we started off my making leprechaun traps! The children each made a rainbow out of half of a paper plate (because leprechauns just can't pass up a rainbow, you know?) and we swirled them all over with glue to try to catch one. We want that gold! We did not succeed, they were way too smart for our traps.

We sang "I'm a Little Shamrock" from Preschool Express.

On St. Patrick's Day we make some chocolate chip muffins, that magically turned green in the oven!! Wink, wink!

The kids each made their own handprint rainbow, complete with a pot of gold at the end!

For the Structure book that I created for the block center, I made some information sheets about buildings in Ireland.

And for the Plants and Animals book in the science center, I found information about different plants and animals that are native to Ireland!

The letter of the week: X activities that we worked on this week were extra cool!!
The book Sounds Like fun, Phonemic Awareness has great phonics activities for the alphabet. For the letter X, the children have to cut out and glue the words that "Begins like X-ray Fish". 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 place the "X" items (which have x in the word)on the big X.  All the other letters? No room!

The children worked on coloring a picture using a key. My class really seems to enjoy pages like this because they feel really proud when they're finished, because they've pretty much done it all by themselves! I gave them the instructions for how to color it first, and then let them go! I got this page from a former teacher, but it says it's from

The children turned a capital letter X into two  x-ray fish. 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.

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.

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!

When talking about the letter x, there's one game that your definitely can't ignore..... Tic Tac Toe! We played tic tac toe together and with parters, which was a lot of fun, and something that they now do on their own when they're in the art center. I actually made these stone bees and ladybugs to play tic tac toe outside in the summer. I might have to make a set to have in the classroom!

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 x-ray fish to go in our pond. The pieces were cut out for them ahead of time, and they created their own pair of x-ray fish.

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.

I made a cube of cardboard and glued pictures of "X" things one each side. The children say "X-ray Fish, X-ray fish, 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 X. Here is what we thought of!

We celebrated a birthday this week! Mmm, ice cream cake!

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