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Communication

We decided to do communication as one of our end of the year themes.  In part it was because I was given a bunch of floor model cell phones from Best Buy.  I thought, what a great time to learn our phone numbers.

We started the day by with a little outdoor time as usual and then gathered for circle time.  A lot of us had been gone over the weekend for the holiday so we passed our ball and got to discuss our weekend. Some of us had been camping and some of us to the beach.  I then talked about our weekly theme.  I asked the kids what communication was and the different ways we communicate and I heard some very unexpected answers.  The first answer was “Texting” by Cooper.  I realized very soon that we are in a new world from when I was in preschool.  Today I heard “Tablet” by Sam.  Pretty soon the kids were discussing that the tablet was a smaller version of an Ipad and then we started talking about whose parent had a tablet.  Of course, I encouraged the list to continue and prompted “talking”, “body language”, and “sign language”. There is so much information in this unit that circle time could really have gone on for quite some time.

We read “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket” by Dr. Seuss.  I let them fill in the rhyme and they were able to successfully do it.  Most of them had this book at home and had remembered the answers.  We then played a rhyme game.  I had a funnel that we spoke into as a phone.  The small end went close to one ear and they talked in through the funnel cone.  I gave one word and they had to rhyme it all the way around the circle.  I’m pretty sure we never got it all the way around, but it sure was a good discussion of rhyming for sure.

This unit has been a good time to learn numbers.  We had all the kids look at their own phone numbers and match them up on our big phone keypad. We then had those that could write their numbers try to do so.  Since it was their phone number, they had ownership and excitement in having to write it or punch it in.  Many of the kids had their phone numbers already memorized from work at home.  Those that did not we tried to use beat and song as a way to help memory.  It is the way I got through college so why not help preschoolers learn this way as well!!  If it is a fun game, they’ll be more than willing to do it.

Snack yesterday were Cheese crackers.  Today we had mango, strawberry cream cheese, and bagels.  Thanks to families who provided snack!!

Since it rained so much today, we pulled out the clay and new blue sparkly playdough.  Here are some creations.

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The 5 Senses

This week we have been focusing on the 5 senses. I always love this unit because I get to pull out my smelly bottles and have the kids either guess what the smells are and draw pictures of their predictions or get a partner (usually with the older kids) and draw what their faces look like when they sniff each.  The faces are pretty hilarious.  It’s a also a fun way for them to write their numbers on the bottles without them knowing they are working on handwriting.

We also passed around a box with a surprise scent.  The kids had to give a thumbs up or down if they liked it.  We then made a graph of who liked it or didn’t and talked about if there were more or less people who liked the smell.

Another fun activity was making smelly flowers by letting the kids cut out stems and petals or draw them using the markers, gluing on a muffin wrapper, putting a cotton ball in the middle and putting some sort of flowery scent on it, usually air freshener or perfume.  We used lavender oil and air freshener this time.  The kids loved it!

Today we also talked about what we see with our eyes.  We took magnifying glasses and had to find 8 differences in two pictures and circle or color them.  We also found the most beautiful things we liked to see in a magazine and cut them out and put them on a paper that said “I can see __________with my eyes”.  Miss Melissa sat with them to discuss and write what they saw.

We sang a piggy back song today to the tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie, but it included things that we see or hear with our eyes and ears.  We also practiced all of our plays and songs for the upcoming end of the year performance and Dad’s Day celebration.

Snack this week was popcorn on Monday, toasted cheese with oranges and carrots on Tuesday, and cream cheese and jam sandwiches with bananas today.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

I’m really enjoying this unit!! This book about Harold who uses a purple crayon to create an adventure that leads him back to his bed, is a wonderful way to encourage creativity and imagination.  We read the book and the kids were asked at the end to close their eyes and find a story they wanted to tell with their purple crayons.  They were then allowed to go and draw their ideas, paint with red and blue to discover purple, or sort buttons onto plates of blue, red, and purple.  It was so quiet for the first twenty minutes!!

We also got to discover our freshened up playground (lots of new bark, paint, shoveled rocks, and newly built entryway to our garden, oh….and a come inside gong!).

Lunchtime were purple grapes, red strawberries, and half of a homemade snicker doodle.

We are now in the process of putting together our end of the year performances for dance class and our potluck on June 18th.  The kids will be performing on our little stage.  We are doing the story of Kwaku Anansi in the M/W/F and There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly in the T/Th along some other songs that we will be performing

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May 7th, 2013

Mother’s Day celebrations are right around the corner so we worked on our Sakura paintings today.  The Sakura are cherry blossom trees that are beautiful.

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We used fabrics swatches that a former students mom had donated to us this year.  I cut them in half.  The top half had rivets so I save it.  After the kids had painted their trees using paint brushes for the trunks and their fingertips for the blossoms, I super glued it to the piece with the rivets.  We put a tree branch through the two rivets and it made a perfect wall hanging.

Our group also read I Stink!  The small group activities were creating and finishing patterns while the others worked on gluing more pieces of litter onto our recycle tree the older kids started yesterday. The difference between yesterday and today was the game it turned into.  Nivaran made a rule to the game that if you found a piece of garbage you had to say “I Stink”.  Pretty soon I heard it throughout the playground. Kelwyn and Ronan then made the tricycles the garbage trucks.  They put glue containers on the backs of their tricycles  and drove around the yard looking for garbage to come and drop off at the tree.  It was hilarious.

During music we worked on three songs that we’ve sung throughout the year to perform on the stage for the Mother’s tea.  They were awesome!  I hope they do as well at the tea.  I never, ever know what’s going to happen:)

Snack was cheese sticks and crackers today.  The kids drank tons of water as well since it was so hot.  Be sure to put sun lotion on your kids. Some of our normal activities that are inside have been outside these days since it is so beautiful.

Revenge of the Sixth, 2013

Today we read I Stink!, a book about a garbage truck and what happens to the garbage.  The kids found it especially amusing because it mentions dirty underpants and puppy poo.  We talked about where the garbage goes and more about recycling.  We cut out a tree out of cardboard and talked about how we could re-use the garbage by making art out the it.  The kids got to find trash during the day and glue it to the tree.  We will paint it at the end of the week and add it to the wall.  I wish I could take ownership of this art project but we saw it at the Children’s Museum in Portland.

We also had garbage games that the kids were chosen to come and play with me while the others worked at other centers. We had a memory game of different cards of pictures of garbage trucks, recycling, pictures of garbage.  There was also a pattern game of the same pictures.  We also had 20 garbage trucks they got to put in order and a recycling symbol that was made into 8 different sizes.  The kids were challenged to put them in order from smallest to largest. We’re going to continue these games throughout the week.

The kids are learning their new dance for our show on June 9th at the Durst.  They are sooooo incredibly attentive during this dance because the music challenges their ear and self-control.  Miss Liz is the best!!  We then came back and ate snack outside, planted some more plants and found more garbage.  The kids also carried around journals and were drawing pictures of the plants outside.  It was something we did on Friday.  It left such an impact that 2 of the kids brought their own journals from home and several more asked for paper to staple together and make their own.

Mother’s Day Tea is on Thursday and Friday from 11:30 – 12:30.  Mother’s will be celebrated and served lemonade and iced tea.  Should be fun!!

 

May 2nd, 2013

Today after a brief outside gathering, we came in and had circle time.  I realize how ingrained their routine is when they ask as we are going in at the beginning of the day from outside time if it’s snack time.

At circle time we sang our hello song following by another popular hello song, Wibbly, Wobbly _________(fill in your child’s name here).  We always alter it with different consonants we may be learning.  Today we did Zibbly Zobbly.  They consistently giggle maniacally when it’s their name.  This is when I know I’ve found a successful song.  We read “I Know A Rhino” by Charles Fuge.  It is full of rhyme, steady beat,  big bold black print for group reading and practicing our left to right reading, and lots of our zoo-phonics critters.  Every time we came to a big bold word, we all did the sound and sign.

Today at centers, I pulled out some mega geo boards that are meant for yarn and crocheting (I think) and we used the rubber bands to loop around.  That was verrrrry successful.  The kids swarmed around it like moths to light.  We also made number 10’s gluing construction paper 10’s to the plates and adding 10 objects to the plate.  I have this great bucket full of different buttons, jewels and just small scrap-booking supplies.  Not only was it fun to glue and count, but also fun to sift through all of the fabulous treasures.  We also had a colored macaroni sorting and necklace making station as well as a shape-matching station.

After snack of pineapple, pretzels, and applesauce,  the kids had yoga and did call-out cards with mister tom and finished putting stripes and hair and tails on their Zebras.  Kids that were finished got to play bingo with me.  Cooper and Max took turns calling the signs and sounds of the letters on the cards.  Then, of course, they went outside. Hurray for sunshine!!

May Day, May 1st!!

Yesterday was beautiful, although started cloudy. We still played outside and planted our veggies.

Centers were new dinosaur magnets, a whole bunch of re-usable sticker word books found at Lil’ Dudes and Divas (a consignment shop down the street from us) drawing with our oil pastels, and cutting and pasting stripes and zig-zags.  I made a striped present and pretty soon everyone was making a present, either drawing or cutting.  Sometimes I hesitate doing an example because I want it to be a more organic project, but sometimes I guess it’s just good they are cutting, glueing, drawing and creating.

We did re-enforced some of the concepts in music class singing our wild-animal beginning sounds such as “p” for panther.  We also sang all of our folk songs we have been learning.  Some of the kids have been playing C-G bordun on the low big instruments beats while others chose drums to keep our beat during the folks.  On certain parts of the songs they may do a glissando up and down movement on each key to represent a certain sound effect on typically the B section of the music.

We also read Z Goes Home by Jon Agee.  Each page is dedicated to a certain letter and word.  At first glance you may not know that you are looking at an “F” because it represented by a factory. The “z’ is hiding in every page on it’s way home.  Very cute book.  On Friday we are going to read it again and find a way to make our own letter art in drawing.  Very ambitious I know, but I don’t put anything past these kids anymore.

Again, we had pizzas that the kids had made as part of center time.  Nothing more challenging for a teacher trying to be good than a preschool smelling like pizza.

April 30th, 2013

Yesterday was pizza day.  We struggled with snack ideas and although the double “z” sound in Italian is “ts” we thought pizzas would be fun nonetheless.  We’ll just think of it as a cultural experience:)  The kids got to assemble their individual pizzas during center time.  We also had out a center of cutting and making their own zig-zags.  It sort of came out as just a creative project of making a picture of whatever they wanted.   We’ll throw out scissors and paper and glue and let them go to town.  I was sitting there with Ryland, who is a young three, at the center and he created this elaborate picture of his house with a sun and grass.  He even drew his family in this picture.  It was very cool as his teacher to see because I hadn’t seen him express himself quite like this yet.

We also had out playdough, a common morning center.  The kids made plateful after plateful of cookies and food.  We also had out a geo boards.  Nivaran made the most amazing picture with the rubber bands. He spent the most part of center time doing it. The most important thing during center time is that the kids find an engaging activity and participate in it for a good amount of time.  It means they are focused and are learning self-control and follow-thru.

Circle time was fun.  We read a book about wild animals.  Zeke the Zebra was the star so we started talking about him and how his stripes protect him in the wild.  We then did a phonics song about animals.  Each of the kids got to sing about their favorite wild animal.  We also sang a song called, The Monkey from Zamboanga and The Zulu War Chant.  Last night while my son was drawing he burst out into the Zulu War Chant and we had to dance it and sing it for a while.  That darn song gets stuck in my head.

We ended the day with starting some pictures of Zebras and will finish them on Thursday.

April 29th, 2013

Mondays are always fun since we get to go to dance at Columbia Dance.  Today was our invitation to join Columbia Dance in their end of the year program on June 9th at the Durst Theater in the Vancouver School of the Arts from 2:10 – 2:30.  They are providing leoards for the girls and boys need to wear black or navy pants with a white t-shirt.  Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children.

We started the day outside again brought them inside to talk about what they did over the weekend and what they would be doing for the day.  We had centers open with black paint and paper on one table to draw their own zebras and zig-zags,  wiki sticks, and stencils.  I left the roll the dice game out since they played it last week but they really didn’t want to do it today. Rory and Ronan also played the piano for us since they both participated in the piano recital this weekend at the Brickhouse.

At dance they got to create their own dance leaps, learned how to be an attentive audience, and learned what song they would be dancing to at the Durst.

In Music we danced the Zulu Warrior Dance and sang At the Zoo, a phonics song listening for the beginning sounds of animals at the zoo.  It was a piggy-back song sung to The Farmer in the Dell. After music we made Zeke the Zebras, which were very colorful.  We’re going to do this activity with the other class tomorrow.  Check out some pictures from the day:

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March 24th and 25th, 2013

Wednesday and Thursday have both been beautiful days.  We started both days outside. I was concerned this would throw them out of their routine and perhaps distract them but surprisingly, they were more focused.  Maybe not surprisingly.  The sun has that great vitamin D we need for all sorts of goodness.

Mr. Tom made a new water feature that we will be adding to .  We’re hoping to do something similar, although not as extravagent, as the Children’s Museum.  We went to the Rebuild It Center and purchased a couple of sinks that will be flowing into each other.  One is already set up next to the water pump.

Yesterday we had spirographs, tangrams, magnets, and a word building table with stamps and letter recognition dice rolling game out for centers.

 

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The dice rolling game was about planting trees, which was appropriate for earth day, which we talked talked about in circle time.  Here is Alexander’s drawing of Earth:

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Today we had lacing boards, magnets, a big drawing station, a felt board house, and monkey magnet board with shape match-up.

Yesterday and we sang the Saran Rap, and danced 3 folk dances with instruments, and sang a rhyme practicing syllable differentiation while the other group made Yaks.  Today the kids made yellow yarn block prints and added hand prints to one our group art project while the other group did yoga story-telling.

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Just for the heck of it, here is Jackson’s drawing of a knight.

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We popped fresh popcorn in our popcorn maker and ate cheese sticks outside today and ate cucumbers, peppers, apples, graham crackers and cheese sticks yesterday.