March 28th, 2013

Today was jam packed full of events.  We started out doing centers in one room and pictures in the other.  Our centers included making volcanoes with hot lava, dinosaurs and plants (red sand worked great for the lava), geo boards (rubber band boards great for fine motor control), color sorting with blocks and plastic teddies, chalk drawing with individual chalk boards and full table drawing with butcher paper.

We sang a fun circle game song that had each child sing a certain pattern if they got the ball.  It is a good song for teaching the so, mi, la, so, mi.  This pattern is common in many children’s songs and by repeating the song so frequently in this game, they get a lot of practice in pitch recognition and get to have fun showing off singing alone.  This game is always a hit.

After going outside and having snack (snap peas, raisins, and a fruit bar) we got to listen to our special guest from the Portland Opera today.  She sang two songs, O mio babbino caro, and Chacun le sait.  They were a perfect contrast.  One was sad and slow and the other was happy and fast.  The kids got to give there opinions of the songs, whether they were happy or sad or whatever other expression they had.  My favorite was Ryland’s.  “That made me angry”.  I think he was referring the high note that was so loud at the end:)  The kids were very attentive and a great audience.  Next artist we have coming is a flute player!!

We also had yoga today and talked about bats and made our own bats out of paper plates.

Have a great Spring Break!!








March 25th, 2013

Dance Relationships:








We also had new flubber.  By the way, if this gets on clothes, it comes out with vinegar and water.


We also made up our own stories.  Tyler, Nigel, and Cooper made up one that goes like this:

Once upon a time there was a dragon.  This dragon was so lonely that he flew away to find a friend.  Along the way he found some magical blue crystals that he shot at another dragon that turned him into a 2 headed dragon.  They hugged.  The hug then turned him into a 3 headed dragon.  The other dragon thought that the 3 headed dragon had burned down his home but they talked about it and found out that he didn’t.  They then shook hands.  The end.

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Jackson then came along and started making his own story about an alien.  I told them they could work on these stories the whole week.

Music time and snack was outside since it was so beautiful.  We celebrated Sam’s 5th birthday with cupcakes that his dad brought from treat and at trail mix that Eileen had given us.

We set up all the instruments outside and played some of our favorites.  The only difference was that they had to watch the conductor.  We used green and red scarves and played red light green light while improving our own songs.  I have to say it was very effective although it was so beautiful outside that their interest was only for a good 20 minutes.  Oh well.  It was fun to play in the open air!

MIss Heidi worked inside with the kids making volcanoes with salt dough.  We are going to set them all off on Friday.


March 22nd, 2013

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Jackson’s Picture                                            Zoe’s Picture

Today we started our day by coloring and cutting out triangles, squares and circles. The children first colored all “like” shapes the same color, then used scissors to cut them out and finally organized them from largest to smallest.

Nigel and Tyler became enthralled on the subject of which animal was the biggest and fiercest of all time. Nigel thought it was the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Tyler said it was the Megalodon Shark – they sat at one of our tables like two longtime friends sharing a coffee and discussed this for a good half hour! Hilarious.

Outside time today was spent with photo-sensitive paper, choosing shapes and letting the sun bleach the images onto the squares – I think we will incorporate these into the art auction as they turned out quite well.

Lunch and sharing time are always good times for songs and great discussions.

Once again the children chose to listen to the “Fantasia” soundtrack and dance to Tchaikovsky’s “Russian Dance”….over…and over….and over….and over. Did I mention they REALLY enjoy that one? Melissa and I laughed out loud when we saw Cooper and Jackson with hands on hips spinning around on one foot…sheer genius!


March 21st, 2013

Well, I was sick today so the Magical Mr. Tom came in and subbed. I swear when he comes in for me, the kids are talking about him weeks! He’s like the rock star of preschool.

He and Miss Melissa had the kids listen to parts of Fantasia and created a drama with Night on Bald Mountain. The kids were sleeping dragons that took flight as the music intensified. The had to sleep when the music got slower. The kids really took on the roles of the dragons and participated well listening for the sound cues in the music.

They also did an group story/ art project. One person began a story with a piece of paper that had a blank body on it. Each person was responsible for telling part of the story and drawing it on the body. Izabella’s part of the story involved the figure having super powers in her nails so she drew really long fingernails. Kelwyn drew a protective armor of bacteria that repelled the enemy. Nivaran drew a double mustache man. These are the story-tellers of the future!

They talked about shapes in circle time, did a pattern race and read don’t eat the teacher!

Centers included tangrams, water colors, light table with magnets. They had great dramatic play with a self-constructed fire station.

They tried to go outside today when it wasn’t raining. Yep, it’s spring.

March 20, 2013

Capitalism was a lesson that we didn’t intend teaching today, but somehow creeped into the day. We talked about finishing some of our art projects for the Art Auction coming up. The kids were curious what an art auction was so we discussed it. All of a sudden, kids were making art projects just to sell. Cooper “I’m gonna sell this for $50”, Nigel “how do you spell, Buy This Now Before it’s Gone, Max “This is going to be $400!” We tossed around the idea of having the kids do their own auction with fake money as a fun, hands on, math activity.

In Circle Time we played a game of putting numbers in order and talked about what numbers came before other numbers. We also talked in depth about the “u” sound. The kids at this point are pretty savvy about what the letter and sounds are. Almost every child came up with a good word that had the “u” sound in it. We also read Bugsy’s Very Buggy Day, Snug as a Bug, and Bug in a Mug. The kids were encouraged to make pictures of where they might sleep, if they were a bug. If your child made one of these books, ask them about their pictures. We also sang this song:

Good Night, Sleep Tight,
Don’t you let those Beddy Bugs bite
Pleasant dreams till morning light!

We saw and heard some seriously creative books. “In a clean sock” (clean since we were encouraging them not to get gross), “In a mossy bed with leaves for blankets”, “In my dad’s coffee mug” (I think that was Marley during circle time).

Since today was the first day of spring, we finished our spring painting let the kids add flower stamps to it. Every child got to also put their thumbprint fish on our Underwater School of Fish picture today. It’s really cute.

We did let the children go outside today despite the rain. It was very fun for them since the sand was so wet. They decided to make “Beer” in the wagon by filling the wagon with the sand and some of the water from the puddles. We encouraged them to make lemonade but they were intent that it was beer. Geez you parents:)

Snack: fruit leather, crackers and cheese sticks.

March 19th, 2013

Today was an adventure in bubble blowing. We mixed bubbles with blue food coloring and the kids blew the bubbles and put their papers on top. The goal was to make rainy looking picture with colorful umbrellas made out of pipe cleaner and coffee filters. Many mastered it but there were a couple who accidentally sucked in and got a mouthful of bubbles….ew So we learned for the next group that we need to provide a lesson prior to the actual blowing of bubbles.

We read Snug as a Bug which provided many, many opportunities to make our Umber Umbrella Bird motions because of how many “u” sounds were in the book. We then talked about where they would sleep if they were a bug. We got…..”Gorilla Toes, Under Rocks, and….. in the Toilet”. Hmmm, bugs do live in interesting places.

We also talked about all of our hard workers, the vowels. They work soooooo hard because they make many different sounds. Talk to your child this week about the different sounds each vowel makes.

Here are some pictures:

March 18th, 2013

“Today went fast!” Thomas made that statement and it was totally accurate. We don’t know where the day went. We started the day making Underwater or Underground pictures with U’s. I also had out all of the spirographs, which are quite challenging even for the 5’s. By the time I had some of them working it was off to dance.

Miss Liz talked about relationships today. Our relationship spatially to other people, our relationship to our bodies (where our hands are in relationship to our heads, etc.) and our bodies relationship to objects. We got to visit the museum of shapes where one group finds a space to make a shape and freeze with their body while the others travel through the space and observe the shapes and find a relationship to the shapes. This is one activity the kids could do for hours, or at least 20 minutes.

Since we were talking about the sea and under the sea, we did one of my favorites songs by Lynn Kleiner, “The Ship Goes Sailing.” I use this one at least twice a year. It’s a fun but challenging song because the kids have to listen for sounds cues of when to play and what to play. The drummers have to wait for their cue, which is hard enough. Then to only get to play one little bit…..unbearable. Also, the mallet instruments have to listen for up and down the scale. It is a good lesson in self control and the end product is a neat, short musical story. The chant is:

The ship goes sailing on the sea,
It sails for you, it sails for me.
The waves go up and the waves go down.
The waves go rolling all around
and the ship…..the ship

We repeat this whole chant 3 times before the ship actually sinks, the part the kids love the most.

Here are some great photos from the St. Paddy’s Day Parade last Friday. If you have anymore send them to me and I’ll post:

March 14th, 2013

Today we continued our Water Cycle discussion and St. Paddy Day themed projects such as the Today I let the little ones create their own water cycle pictures. Some are quite creative I must admit, but try to get your child to discuss their pictures with you at home or have them replicate them. Talk about the the sun heating up the water to make clouds and the clouds getting so heavy that they create rain, and the rain collecting in ponds and lakes.

Our book today was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Miss Astara was sick today so we had extra music time.Our music today was fun. The song was:
The Raindrops fell from the sky so high
Pitter Pat, Pat, Pat.
Pitter Pat, Pat, Pat.

I made up my own chant to the end of the song that we played on instruments about the water cycle:
The raindrops gather in the lakes and the sea.
The sun heats them up and then they fall on me!

I know I’m brilliant. Each of the children had to play a different part of the song. We’ve had a few of the children decide to be the conductor of each song. It is pretty funny to watch them direct the other kids.

We also sang our song about the leprechauns marching down the hall, on the ceilings and the walls.

Snack: Graham Crackers and cheese sticks

Outside Time: We pulled out a big container with water and another with sand. They blazed new trails and some got really dirty and wet. Always remember to pack those extra clothes!

Wednesday, March 13th 2013

Today we talked about the Water Cycle. This is quite a lively discussion and rather fun to make them say each name of the different aspect of the cycle: Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, and Collection. It is almost as much fun as hearing Miss Liz having the kids say “Symmetrical” and “Asymmetrical” and then forming each of those shapes with their bodies.

We also made books about the water cycle and pots’ o’ gold with a rainbow. Bella introduced me to a new song about the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue and Green. Indigo, Violet. It was some tune that I could not replicate now, but I need to learn it because it obviously stuck in her head. We also made clovers out of green pepper stamps. Very cool Miss Heidi!

Music was lively. We read the Itsy Bitsy Spider, which also has aspects of the water cycle (might be a stretch but it worked). The students listened for Up and Down and played them on the instruments or if they were the spiders, made Up/Down shapes with their bodies and scarves. We also did “We are the Dinosaurs” for the first time ever with instruments. I have to say it was quite a hit. We may be doing it for Spring Program. The last song we did was a song about leprechauns marching on the ceiling and the floor, listening for their cue on when to play their instruments.

Thanks to Bella’s mom for the popcorn and carrots with greek yogurt ranch. Yum!

Photos of the Day: Nature vs. Nurture? Cooper made a “Water Gun” or “Cheeseburger Gun” (we’ve been trying to put an end to constructing guns but my word, they’ll make em’ out of anything) and Rory drew a beautiful princess. Hmmmm…..


Zoo-phonics poster
We’ve used Zoo-phonics as a starting point for weekly themes. We focus our music, storytimes, and centers around these critters and have found that the kids love having a character to associate to the letter and it’s phonetic sound. They also have a very specific motion that goes with the sound. Above is a picture of what each character looks like and below is the sound of movement. Every vowel is the short vowel sound and each letter is lowercase since most printed text is lowercase:

a – Allie alligator: Open arms wide like an alligator mouth and say the short “a” sound.

b – Bubba Bear: Put one hand up in the air, pretend grab honey, brin to mouth and say “b” as in Bear.

c – Catina Cat: Rub the side of mouth as if cleaning like a cat and say “c” as in cat.

d – Dee Dee Deer: Make bunny ears with both hands and bow them forward saying “d” as in deer.

e – Ellie Elephant: Wave one arm up in the air like an elephant saying the short “e” sound as in elephant

f – Francy Fish: Put one hand on top of the other, palm down, and extend thumbs and say “f”.

g – Gordo Gorilla: pretend peel a banana pulling down one peel and say “g” as in gorilla.

h – Honey Horse: Rub both hands down the front of thighs one time saying “h” as in horse.

i – Inny Inchworm: Hold up pointers and bend them down as you say the short “i” sound as in “inny”.

j – Jerry Jellyfish: Wiggle finger downward in front of your body as you say the sound “j”.

k – Kayo Kangaroo: Hold hands in fists like a boxer. One up and one down. Alternate moving the fists up and
down one time and say the sound “k”.

l – Lizzy Lizard: Hold hands under chin, palms down, and say “l”.

m – Missy Mouse: Pretend to nibble a piece of cheese saying “m”.

n – Nigel Night Owl: Hold fingers like glasses around eyes and say “n”.

o – Olive Octopus: Wave arms at sides like tentacles and say short “o” sound as in “olive”.

p – Pee Wee Penguin: Hold hands at the side of you body like penguins wings with hands extended saying “p”.

q – Queenie Quail: Hold pointer and middle finger up to your forehead like a quail feather and say Qu (kwuh).

r – Robbie Rabbit: Hold hands up like bunny paws and say “r” (ihr not ruh).

s – Sammy Snake: wiggle hand out in front of you like a snake and say “s”.

t – Timmy Tiger: hold hands out like you are holding the bars of a cage and say “t”.

u – Umber Umbrella Bird: hold hand right on top of head like you are holding an umbrella and flap your other hand at your side like a bird saying the short sound “u” as in “up”.

v – Vincent Vampire Bat: hold hands at your lips like vampire teeth and say “v”.

w – Willie Weasel: Hold your hands together and do a mini “wave” like a breakdancer from the eighties (it’s the only way I can think of saying it) and say “w”.

x – Xavier Fox: extend pointer fingers and make an x and say “x” (ks).

y – Yancy Yak: Hold hand up to your ear holding out pinking and thumb like a pretend phone and say “y”.

z – Zeke the Zebra: Holds hands up to the side of your face as if going to sleep and say “z”.