Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Manners

What a fantastic day of learning!  We continued working with the letter M today and had a fantastic group reading lesson with the M book on the SmartBoard.  We each took turns reading the pages of the book and demonstrating the skills that good readers do.

 1. Good Readers Look at the Letters
2. Good Readers Point to the Letters
 3. Good Readers Say the Letter Sounds
4. Good Readers Listen to the Sounds They Made
 Keep practicing using all of those skills when you read your beginning reader M book from the Amazing Action Alphabet.  We also had a fantastic conversation with a few books and posters guiding our discussion about manners.  We talked about how different actions make us feel (hitting=sad, sharing=happy, etc.).  The kids LOVED their Popsicle stick happy and sad faces and used them to show me how characters in books were feeling and how they would feel if a particular thing happened to them.  We had our first handwriting lesson today about how to hold a pencil.  We practiced the chant from the back of their name writing page to pinch the pencil and put it into place.  PLEASE help your child hold their writing tools in the correct tripod grip.  If you need me to show it to you please ask!  We had so much fun with our math lesson today.  It involved M&M's and captured their interest quickly.  We talked about what "the same" is.  I had one plate and I gave one to EMan.  Do we have the same number?  Etc. After we all had plates we got mini M&M's (3 each) and talked about how we had the same amount.  Color is hard to separate at this age for this concept.  I could see their little brains thinking, "I have green, she had brown, we do not have the same."  We worked through it a bit and understand that it's just an introduction that we'll revisit for understanding later.  One activity we did was hold up 2 (or 1 or 3) fingers on each hand and touched them to each other.  If they all had one to touch they were the same.  If any fingers were left wiggling they weren't the same.
 Preschool B also worked on handwriting today for the first time.  It took unexpectedly much longer than I had anticipated.  We discussed the proper way to hold a pencil and the different lines of the writing grid.  Remember that to aid kids in writing their writing paper has a top line (sky line), a bottom line (grass line), and a middle dotted line (branch line).  This helps us learn to size the different parts of the letters correctly.  Today we only practiced writing letter M.  We did both capital M and lowercase m.  If you work on handwriting at home (on a whiteboard or on paper) please encourage writing the letter m for the next week.
We also worked on the skills that good readers do.  We talked about how we make the sounds of the letters and if we blend the letter sounds together our ears can hear the word we're reading.  We'll be going at a slower pace with learning the alphabet and reading than I had originally intended.  Please look for an email soon with the new calendar and an explanation of details.  We need to make sure we have these basics down solid before we move on!  We had such a blast with math today.  Similar to the morning class we had mini chocolate chips (white/dairy free chocolate of course) and talked about "More" and "Less".  Zero is an interesting part of our conversation as it seemed difficult to understand more and less in the terms of has something and has nothing.  Use the vocabulary "More", "Less", and "Equal" for the next couple weeks around the house to help kids fully grasp this concept.

Have a great Labor Day Monday!  I look forward to seeing everyone again next Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I Am Special

First off, THANK YOU to all the wonderful families of Little Adventures Preschool.  Yesterday was a busy day learning about the program that CJ gets to attend on Monday's and I appreciate the willingness to allow the one time change to school being on Tuesday.

Today we had a blast learning the letter M.  We talked, sang, danced, and traced letter M.  We learned all about M the Moose and how he just loves his Meatballs!  Be sure to grab the flip chart and review letter M at home with your preschooler.  Also, take out the alphabet cards (they were in the binder, PLEASE take them out) and display letter M somewhere.  I added magnets to the back and stuck them on a whiteboard.  Do what works for you!
 We also made fun phonics headbands from the Moffatt Girls.  The kids loved wearing the headband/crown all day.  For art we traced over our names with a paintbrush and glue and added glitter to them.  It was a fun and sparkly activity!  We spent lots of time talking about our "Star Student" posters.  We talked about how everyone is unique and special.  We had fun finding out favorite colors and how many people are in each family.  We hung the posters up in our classroom and will return them in a few weeks.
 We practiced the sign language for letter M and had an introduction to hand bells lesson.  Boy were those loved!  Check out our facebook page for a fun video.

This afternoon we got closer to being settled in to a groove.  I'm still sorting out the details of what each child needs, but we're really close!  We had a fantastic time listening as each child shared about themselves on their posters.  They talked about the photos and the pictures they drew and it was fun to compare favorite colors.  We read our new book "The Day the Sheep Came" and worked on highlighting letters and words we could recognize in the book.  It's a fun story about how the sheep is a different animal, but they are all barnyard animals and like to play together.  It tied in nicely with our conversation about how each of us is special.  We worked in our reading teams today for small group lessons.  Please check your child's binder for the homework.  There aren't any worksheets, but there are reading books.  You should be reading each book 3 times a night.  Please focus on the letters we've already talked about in class (M, T, A, and possibly S, B).  Help your child remember their names and sounds by reading the flip chart story and supplementing with anything else you have at home. PLEASE take the flip charts out of the binders and keep them at home.  We don't need them here and they are in the way in the binder.
We had an AWESOME lesson in math today.  It simply didn't get photographed :(.  We talked about the word "SAME" in relation to quantities.  It took a theatrical teacher, but I think they finally got to the point that we all agreed that 1 is the same as 1, 2 is the same as 2, 3 is the same as 3, and so forth.  Then our new vocabulary word "EQUAL" came into play.  We patted our legs as we chanted, "Equal means the same" over and over.  Ideally, tomorrow we can build off that concept and talk about more and less.  It's a fun lesson to do with the kids, they always love it.
We also got to do glitter for art today.  I wrote the kids names on word strips and they traced the letters with glue and added glitter.  Music was quite interesting today as they were allowed to play with all the musical toys we have and they formed their own band.  It was fun to watch as they organized themselves to "play" and "be quite" at the same time.  What smart kids!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

School Tools

What a busy and fun second day of school!  Today we talked all about the school tools that we'll be using in class, but before that we talked about being SUPER FRIENDS!  Can you believe it?  I turned all the preschoolers into Super Friends today.  They learned that super friends do some important things: 1. STOP 2. Think of a solution 3. Act.  We talked about our super powers being solutions to problems.  The four main super powers we have as super friends are: 1. Use Nice Words 2. Share 3. Walk Away 4. Get the Teacher.  I heard so many nice words and witnessed so much sharing today, it was fantastic!  Of course we all got to make and wear super hero masks to show our Super Friend abilities.
 We also got super hero pointer sticks.  We talked more about reading today and how good readers (and Super Readers) do four main things: 1. Look at the Letters 2. Point at the Letters 3. Make the Letter Sounds 4. Listen to the Letter Sounds.  We practiced these skills with our super hero pointer sticks all around the room.  For art today we explored many school tools.  The biggest hit was the scissors and the hole punch.  PLEASE let your preschooler cut scrap mail at your house as often as possible.  Have them sit at the table with a pair of scissors and some junk mail and cut it any way they would like.  Don't guide them to do anything, but let them explore it on their own.  Letting them cut often improves the muscles in their hands and will help them gain dexterity which will help with handwriting, too!
 During math time we talked about the quantity of 2.  We had a super fun math game where we had to match pairs of socks.  We also practiced our super friend abilities while playing with the blocks and toy cars and trucks.  It was a fantastic second day of school!

This afternoon I turned our second bunch of preschoolers into Super Friends as well!  It's so fun to give them a task like making their masks and watching how the tackle (or don't tackle) the project.  They loved the masks and practiced finding words around the room with their pointer sticks.
 We spent the majority of time in reading today.  As I sorted through what each child already knows and is ready to learn I was able to get a better idea of what and how I should be teaching reading in the coming weeks.  I'm so excited about all these little learners!  I worked in small groups and one-on-one with almost every child during reading while the rest of the group practiced their Super Friend abilities while playing blocks.  We also read to our sock monkeys again, I have a feeling the sock monkeys will be WELL loved by the end of the school year.
Art was a lot of fun as we talked about the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and what would happen if we mixed the colors.  We got to find out with finger paints.  As our first painting experience it went really well!  Thanks to all the parents for being patient at pick-up today.  We were so crazy busy all day and running behind.  I do appreciate when the kids help clean up after class.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome back to school!  We had such a fantastic time learning and playing together today.  This morning we had our preschool A class join us for lots of fun.  We played puzzles and with Starfall.com on the SmartBoard.  We read books about going to preschool and talked about the different fun things we'll get to do in preschool.  We learned the morning routine and talked about how we can wash our hands before snack time.  Each child gets to pour their own water at snack and we had zero spills, fantastic for a first day!
For art we colored our names in our journals and drew a picture of what we did in preschool on the first day of school.

We read The Napping House for math time and talked about the quantity of one.  Each child got their own copy of the book, so be sure to check for it in their backpack and pull it out to read at home.  We also went "fishing" to catch one fish at a time.  The kids were so full of excitement telling me all about the type or color of fish they were able to catch.  We enjoyed talking all about sound in terms of volume during music time and then got to play with all the different instruments.
There is new homework in their backpacks.  Remember that it is completely optional and if you choose to do it you may take as long doing it as you need.  There is no need to return it.  Today's homework is working on the colors red, yellow and blue.  You can sing and color the pages with your child.

This afternoon we had a fantastic preschool B class.  We also started our day with puzzles and playing on the SmartBoard.  Quite a few of the 48 piece puzzles were pulled apart and we worked in teams trying to put them back together.  What great teamwork they all exhibited!  When we sat down to start reading we talked about the most important things that good readers do.  They LOOK at the words, POINT at the letters, MAKE THE SOUNDS of the letters with their mouths, and LISTEN with their ears.  We worked on the letters M, T, A and the sight word "the" today.  Please work at home on those letters and reading their mini reader books (in their binders).  At school we got to practice reading our mini books to our new reading buddies, the sock monkeys.  It seemed to be a hit with the kids. In our encyclopedias we looked through lots of different pages and marked the letters M, T, A and the word "the" with highlighter tape anywhere we could find it.  You could continue that activity at home if you'd like.
 For math we also read The Napping House and talked about the quantity of one through five.  There were two pages that we did in school where we needed to identify how many fingers were held up and then color the same number of items (some kids didn't finish - finish at home if you'd like) and the second page we talked about which items there were 1 of, 2 of, 3 of, and so forth.  After math we moved into music where we explored all the different types of instruments we have in our box and danced around to music.
We also learned to pour our own drinks for snack time and worked on coloring our names and drawing a picture of our first day of school in our journals during art time.  There is new homework in their folder.  It is a focus on red, yellow and blue.  We'll be mixing colors of paint on Wednesday to learn what makes orange, green and purple.

School today was a whirlwind of excitement.  Please holler my way if you have any questions.  It was a fantastic day of learning!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back to School!

YAY!  It's August and time for school to start!  I LOVE getting back into routine and having a calmer life after the summer.  We had a fantastic Back to School night last week.  We got to play and run around at Monkey Bizness.  Kids got to see their old friends and meet their new friends.  We had oodles of fun!
 I spent much of my time talking to parents and giving all the details of school starting so we would all be on the same page.  These are the few photos I was able to snap in the short time I got to play with the kids.
 It is going to be such a fantastic school year with these awesome families!  I can't wait for tomorrow morning!  Everything is all set up and ready.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Getting Excited!

It's been quiet here on the blog, but I've been working over time getting ready for the school year. I updated the bulletin board and replaced a light bulb. It's super bright and cheery in the classroom now and I can't wait for everyone to see it. We're going with a monkey theme this year and the cute little sock monkey school set is ready and waiting to be read to!
There is one spot still available for Preschool A (Monday/Wednesday) in the morning. Back to school night is this Wednesday and we start school on Monday.  Holler my way if you're interested in filling the spot or share the info with friends if you're already enrolled.  I'm so excited for the school year to start! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Christmas in July!

I'm busily getting ready for the next preschool year to start and thought a little Christmas in July sale would be fun!

It's Christmas in July!  The Little Adventures Preschool Curriculum is on sale! All purchases made July 25-27 qualify for double reward dollars (for every $10 spent, receive $1 reward to be used towards a future purchase). To earn rewards, members need to rate and provide feedback for purchased products. Swing on over to see what would help you! http://www.teachersnotebook.com/shop/LittleAdventuresPreschool