Monday, February 11, 2013

Fort-building 101

This week our dramatic play area has been turned into a fort-building paradise. The children were building forts with our tablecloths anyway, so we decided to specify an area for this.

We included a large number of different sized pieces of fabric, some large blocks and tall sticks, and random pieces of furniture that they could cover.

I love building forts, I remember doing this wen I was little, and I think that every child needs to have this opportunity. I also love to watch the children in my class build forts because I can see their gears turning as they use their problem solving skills to figure oh what to cover, where to put the fabric, and how to make sure that the fabric pieces don't fall. This is also an incredible opportunity for teamwork and social skills, as they have to work together to figure these things out, an they begin to learn that they can turn to each other for help.

Considering all if the other things that we've got going on this week - learning about Mardi Gras an celebrating Valentine's Day, an area for some good basic play is going to be welcome and very much needed!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine math game

This is a super easy number recognition and matching game that I found on Pinterest and adapted for our classroom. I'll tell you my version, and you can check out my pin boards for the original!

First I traced a large heart on a sheet of paper, then I made 15 dots around the edge of the heart with a bingo marker. You could do more or less depending on the needs of your class, my guys really need to work on the teens.

I then used the same color bingo marker to mark the bottoms of 15 Hershey kisses. I made three game using three different colors so that I was easy to keep track of which number went with which game board, but if you are only making one the. This step would not be necessary.

After everything was color coded, and the marker had dried, I wrote the numbers 1-15 on each dot on the game board, as well as on the bottom of each Hershey kiss.

The children have to find all of the kisses that match their game board color, and then match each numbered candy to the corresponding numbered dot on the game board.

My kids aren't usually attracted to typical math games, but I couldn't keep them from arguing over this one, maybe because it smells so good! And surprisingly not one of them even attempted to sneak a piece of the candy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Calendar work with Preschoolers

For many classrooms calendar is an essential part of the daily routine, and while I won't go into the argument of whether this is developmentally appropriate or not, I do want to show you all something that we have in our classroom that the children love.

When we began our birthday project, the first thing that we put up was a birthday calendar - each month got its own piece of paper with each child's birthday, the birthdays are colored in so that the children can easily recognize which days are birthdays. This has helped the children really visualize the year and understand when their own birthdays are.

We use it like a timeline, we are able to show them which day it is today, and where their birthday is, so they can visualize the amount of time. They are also able to locate the other children's birthdays, and show each other how long it is before their birthday.

Another thing that we did was color all of the holidays a different color than the birthdays, so the the children can easily see which important days are birthdays and which are holidays, as well as when their birthdays are in relation to Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.

Our students love this calendar and refer to it numerous times throughout the day. The parents also love it because they can double check the things that their children are telling them. Our kids are constantly having pretend birthday parties, so this definitely helps parents differentiate when the children are talking about pretend play and actual birthdays.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's a birthday... everyday

To a preschooler there are two important days every year, Christmas, and their birthday. In our classroom we had two birthdays to celebrate right after Winter break, and ever since our class has been consumer with every thing birthdays. Even the children who don't have a birthday for 6 more months are excitedly planning their own parties (and I do apologize to their parents)!

It seemed only natural that we make this a tangible part of our classroom, so today we introduced birthday items into our dramatic play area. We included birthday plates, cups, and napkins, special ice cream bowls and an ice cream scoop, birthday candles, cupcake wrappers, gift bags, tissue paper, and vases with fake flowers.

Oh. My. Goodness. You would have thought that we let them loose in a toy store. They were loving it. At one point the entire class was in the dramatic play area, but there was no fighting whatsoever. Wow. Eventually we did have to break it up, so we added some felt cupcakes that I had cut out last week - in another area of the room, so that everyone got to use new materials, but they weren't on top of each other.

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's cold outside!

It has finally gotten cold and snowy in our neck of the woods, which means no more outdoor play time and planning lots of extra activities to keep our energetic kiddos busy. Here are a couple o the things that we have been working on:

Masking tape resist snowflakes: simply use making tape to make snowflake shapes on a piece of white paper, then let the children paint over the tape. We used different shades of blue paint with a little extra sparkle, but silver or gray would be pretty too! When the pint has dried you can peel the tape off and you have white snowflakes.

Name snowmen: this one has a little more teacher prep, but once we cut out a bunch of white circles, the children were able to complete the rest of the activity independently (with a little letter-writing assistance). Start with one circle and have each child make a snowman face. The. They get one circle for each letter of their name. Glue all of the letter circles to the face circle and you have an adorable snowman that helped with letter-writing skills. We hung all of ours on the wall together so that they can watch us work!

Writing weather words: we usually have the children practice writing specific words in their journals, not so much for the spelling practice, that's still a little beyond them, but more for the letter formation and word recognition practice. This time I really wanted something that we could hang on the wall for everyone to see, because their writing skills blow me away! I wrote the word snow at the top of a piece of chart paper and the kids all tried their best to write the word as well. I love to show them off, they are 4 year olds and they are amazing!