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!