Sunday, October 28, 2012

Using the Early Childhood Common Core and Communicating with Preschool Families

 Even though the common core is not yet in it's final draft in Ohio, I am beginning to use the new Core in my planning and working to communicate what we are doing in the classroom to my families. I am undergoing something in my district called "Comprehensive Evaluation."  If I do well, I will have Lead Teacher Status.  So far, it is going well!  One thing I have to do is provide evidence of various things I do.  This is an example of how I sometimes communicate with my families.  I hang up a project in the hall with a short write up and explanation.  Many people in my district are in special schools that have to have work displayed that provides rigorous lessons.  It is often hard to explain this by just looking so this is an example of how I accomplished communicating the project with my families.  I often will type up something similar to this and glue it on the backs of the projects the students do.  This too helps families have conversations about what happened at school!   We still have this hanging up in our hallway.  SO many of the other classes ask me about it and like it.  It is coming down this week so I just thought I would share what we display! 

Pumpkin Fun for Class

I am always trying to find new things to do each year.  This year it was pumpkins.  What could I do that I had not yet tried?!  I decided upon painting a pumpkin with chalkboard paint.  I think I did not buy the best chalkboard paint.  However, I went for it.  I loved how into the pumpkin they got.  Each day last week tons of kids were into drawing on this black pumpkin.  It turned out to be lots of fun and it was an activity the class waited in line for!  So I say try it if you just need one more fun thing with pumpkins like I did.   

My old stand by favorite activity with pumpkins is to hammer gold tees into it.  I love watching how excited the kids get with this.  We had 2 different types of hammers.  I had some made of dowels that my husband made, and then I had the yellow plastic ones from Lakeshore.  The youngest kids in my class began singing the tune from Bob the builder and it was adorable!  One little guy would say, "Can we fix it?"   And the whole class sang back, "YES... We can!"  It was cute.  I  hope the pumpkins last through the week.  They were very into this and it kept 4 kids very busy.  If you have never tried this before...head out and get a few golf tees from the sporting isle at Target and get this station going.  Kids love this!  It is great fine motor!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Water Beads

Okay everyone!  I have searched and found these three types of water beads!  The Xploderz are sold in the boys toy section with a gun.  But these are the refiles and this is the pack to get.   These were $4.99.   The packet in the middle is the best value.  I got them at Michael's.  They have the most in the packet and were only $2.99.  They come in tons of colors.  Michael's also had them in a jar already hydrated.  I think seeing the beads grow though was half the fun for my class!  The last packet is called OrBeez and they are sold in the girls department.  They are about $4.00 and come in little packets all in a box.  They too come in lots of colors.  A friend mentioned to me the ones at the Gardening section, like the water gems say keep out of the reach of children-however that is because they could be a chocking hazard   You would have to have a pretty large eater to chock on one.  They are so small.  If you have kids who mouth thinks I would not recommend these.  My class is past the oral stage so we love them!  Next week we are adding shaving cream to them!!!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Fun Memory Game Freebie!

I was playing around with my Power Point and in doing so, I made a monster memory game to share with all of you!  Click the link below and print it on card stock.  Laminate it and it is ready to go!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Water Beads

Water beads are the latest and the most fun sensory experience I have seen in a long time!  They are so wonderful! They begin as tiny hard balls that are the  size of a seed bead.  You put them in water for about 2-3 hours and then the tiny beads grown and become slippery and a bit squishy!  They come in every color and they even bounce!  I have started my class using them in small amounts at individual station in this box.  I used bubble grabbers to pick them up.  I got those at Lakeshore Learning and use them for everything.  I love them!  I will be adding googly eyes later this week.  A tip to keep them fresh:  Keep a strainer handy and rinse them each night and add a little fresh water.  This keeps them the right size as they will shrink back to small if left out long enough.  Get some today!  They are sold as water beads in store like Michaels in the gardening or plant section.  They are also sold in the kids toy isle for boys in the toy guns.  There is a gun that shoots them called the Xploderz and these beads refill it.  They cost about $4 for 1000 of these beads.     In the girls section of toys they are sold as Orbeeze. They sell refill packets too.  All about the same price and all of products do the same thing. I highly recommend these!  My students stand in line to wait for a turn!  It is nuts!  I am going to get brave and fill my whole sensory table up soon and add the shaving cream.  That will be a site to see I am sure!  So what are you waiting for...go grab some of these today for your class! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pizza Math

 This summer we did a pizza project.  I incorporated listening skills with color and number concepts.  We also worked on basic writing skills with the children who were ready to copy letters and write simple words.  The pictures above are of the activity.  I gave instructions and watched to see if each child could follow simple instructions.  We also worked on number recognition and listened to hear each child count out loud as they put pepperoni bingo marks on their pizza.  We had a lot of fun filling up the pizzas!  We had plans to actually have pizza and count real pepperoni but we never got to that.  I plan to next time I try this activity.  It was good learning for all levels.  Can't wait to do it again!

Number Smack Math Game

This past summer I had the opportunity to work in a great summer program designed to give kids who did not go to preschool, a jump start before they got to kindergarten.  It was a short program but we got the opportunity to do a lot of fun things with our class.  The activities we did were really hands on and incorporated very active learning.  This game below was designed to get the kids moving and working to identify numbers in various ways.  We began by reviewing the numbers 1-20 for our upper group and 1-10 with my lower group.  Then I would take a piece out of our number puzzle and say the name of the number.  Once I called the number, the students could run around the big table that had the number smack poster and find the number I called out.  When they found it, they had to smack it and hold their hand on it.   Then I yelled out, "Peek!"  The students lifted their hand but kept it right next to it so that I could check and chart the students who got it and who did not.  We made it harder for the children who already could recognize numbers and just yelled out the name.  I have repeated this activity in my preschool classroom and used fly swatters from the Dollar General.  This gave my students something extra to make the game interesting.  I used a rectangular table with chairs all pushed in so that the students could run around to find the numbers.   Next week we are going to draw shapes all over our poster to review shapes.  I think getting my students up and moving to learn makes them work harder and gets some of their energy out too!  It is a win, win!  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Body Awareness

We were so excited this week to teach and talk about the body and bones in our body!  Skeletons have always fascinated my classes and this year was no different.  As soon as our full sized plastic skeleton was hung the chatter began.  "Is it Halloween?"  They were so curious!  We did this great lesson where we touched and talked about what bones we could feel. Then we connected and created our own skeleton.  They loved this and had fun while they were practicing their bone knowledge.  We gave them cups of glue so that they could dip the cotton part of the cotton swab.  They look great all displayed in the hallway.   Try it with your class.  I am trying out writing all of the new "soon to be out" Common Core for preschool and we did it a little deeper than point to your nose.  The inside of the body is more fun than that, right!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pizza Party!

 P is for Pizza!  We finished up our two week theme with our Taylor Academy Pizza Parlor!  As the last day activity we make a class pizza.  It was a lot of fun!  Each child was given a triangle and a brown paper bag that they covered the triangle up and then decorated.  Our class was trying for perfect attendance and was in competition to win a pizza party.  (We were not even close on this as they counted tardiness!)   Although we did not win, we made this cool class pizza and talked about things people order and then focused on the shapes.  As you can see in the picture below, it was messy and fun.  We are still working to get everyone using glue sticks appropriately!  Our students were digging and dumping toppings out everywhere trying to get just what they needed for their piece on our group pizza.  The best part of the day was watching them search for their piece when they went home.  We placed the pieces in a real pizza box and on this silver pizza pan.  One parent wanted to know when the real party was and I had to let her know we did not win.  So to our surprise  she said she would bring all the kids pizza to go along with our project!  They are going to get really excited when I tell them tomorrow!