Friday, April 10, 2015

Flowers! (Z, 23, Triangles, Blue)

The theme for the first week of April was "Flowers"! It was a short week this week as we were off in observance of Good Friday, but we worked hard the days that we were in school! We finished our Letter of the Week study with the letter Z and continued our number study with the number 23! 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 worked this week on blue and triangle.

With the beginning of April, we finished our calendar pattern, and we compared this month's weather with last year.

This week we readQuiet Bunny by Lisa McCue
                                        1,2,3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle
                                        Easter Mice! by Bethany Roberts
                                        Happy Easter Curious George by Margret & HA Rey
Our question of the week was "What is your favorite flower?"

To review the color blue we colored pictures of blue 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! At our group times, we would also brainstorm things that are blue.

To review the  triangle shape the children practiced recognizing the shape and colored triangles. I created this little picture with hidden triangle in it. They needed to color the triangles blue and then the rest of the picture! At our group times, we talked about real things that are triangles... Mmm, pie!

For the number of the week:23 we started off by counting to and backward from twenty-three. 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-three. 

When I started in my class, I found a page like this from, so I made my own for the number 23. 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 "Flowers", we went outside to search for flowers! It was such a simple activity, but the children love it and get so much out of it. We had some trouble finding many flowers, as the weather was still a bit chilly, but the search was the fun part!

In our structure book that I have in the block center, I added pages of creations made with flowers!

In the Plants and Animals book in the science center, I added information pages of flowers and flowering plants native to New Jersey.

We sang "Pretty Flowers" to the tune of Jingle Bells.

"Pretty flowers, pretty flowers,
Growing everywhere.
Here are some pretty flowers
For your coat or hair.

Pretty flowers, pretty flowers,
Gold and pink and blue.
Red and yellow, orange and purple,
I picked them just for you!!"
(C) 2001 - 2011 Jean Warren

The kids played a quick flower sorting game that I made. I made a set of flowers that I "laminated" with contact paper. The set worked so that they could be sorted by color of the petals or number of the petals. They did so great!

Making flower art with yarn was a great way to the children to work on their fine motor control. I "drew" a flower with glue, and the children picked yarn pieces to put on the glue. 

The letter of the week: Z activities that we worked on this week were zany!! The book Sounds Like fun, Phonemic Awareness has great phonics activities for the alphabet. For the letter Y, the children have to cut out and glue the words that "Begins like Zebra". 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 the children had to give the Zebras their stripes!

We have now finished our Alphabet wall!!

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 "Z" items in the zoo.  All the other letters? Maybe there's room at the aquarium!

The children water color painted animals going to the Zoo! I can't show you the final projects because this is something we will be putting into our Eric Carle themed art show in April, but here's a preview!

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.

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!

The children turned a capital letter Z into a Zebra. 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 watched these cool videos about zebras! One, two, three and four.

I made a cube of cardboard and glued pictures of "Z" things one each side. The children say "Zebra, Zebra, 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 Z. Here is what we thought of!

There is our wall of alphabet words!!

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