Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you're having as much fun as we are!  We started our day decorating our classroom.  We cut out many different Halloween images and taped them all around the room. 
 We also worked on reviewing the letters we've learned thus far by writing them in our Halloween Letter Book.  Get your copy of the book in the Halloween Preschool Pack!
 We also had oodles of fun playing with shaving cream and food coloring on our Halloween table cloth!  Those are just the super highlights of our day.  We also read oodles of stories, make Jack-O-Lanterns on Starfall, and had our parents join us for a party!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tot Halloween

Our Halloween party today in tot school was oodles of fun.  We were wearing costumes and dressing up all day long.  We played with colored rice, pumpkins galore and read oodles of books.  It seemed the favorite book is "Go Away, Big Green Monster".  There is also an Android and Apple digital version of this book that is fantastic.  I'd recommend checking it out. 
 We had a very spooky and sweet snack time followed by a half hour of Halloween Oobleck play.  I'm fairly certain that oobleck is just as fun for the adults as the kids!
Check out all our Halloween Lesson Plans in the Halloween Tot Pack Here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Preschool Pumpkins

Pumpkins day in preschool really is a lot of fun.  We get to explore so many different aspects of pumpkins.  We colored on pumpkins with washable markers and used washcloths to wipe them off and color them again. 
We practiced the letters we've already learned with our pumpkin spinner.  We circle the word "the" in our song Five Little Pumpkins and we played with squishy sensory bags.  For all of our awesome lesson plans and printables see our Pumpkins Preschool Pack.  
 Every child got a copy of the book "Pumpkin Town" as their first book of the year.  I love getting every child a copy of a book that we can read together.  This gives them the responsibility to turn the pages appropriately and stay along with the group.  Directionality, one page at a time, and matching the pictures to the one in my copy of the book were what we were working. As we get a little better at reading we'll also start choral reading.
 I love our science time on Pumpkin Day.  We measure, weigh, count seeds, and talk about sink and float.
 We're starting to play "Guess My Secret Rule" now.  We'll be playing it for the next few weeks. Remember Sesame Street's "One of these things is not like the other..." segment?  This is exactly the same.  We have 4 items, 3 of those items have a matching characteristic and the last one doesn't match.  We talk about which one doesn't match and WHY.  As an introduction today I used pumpkins and we had characteristics such as color, size, face/no-face.  They started to pick up on the game rather quickly but aren't quite ready to verbalize the WHY element.  We'll keep working on it and they'll get better with time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tot School Pumpkins

Pumpkin day is oodles of fun in tot school.  There was a whole lot of this going on all day: 
 We played with sensory tubs filled with pumpkin buckets and pumpkin erasers and orange and green rice.  There was also a pumpkin ball that kids took turns rolling to each other.  It was really fun to watch the kids as they found others to play pass with.    We also did oodles of art today.  We had white paper cut into big pumpkin shapes and used glue and tissue paper to decorate them.  We also colored all over our pumpkins with washable markers, washed it off with a baby wipe, then colored on them again!  During art time we also cut open a pumpkin.  We made the sound of /c/ (also known as the /k/ sound) while we were cutting.  When you cut your pumpkins or practice cutting at home for the next little bit practice the letter c by saying /c/ /c/ /c/ as you are cutting.
We were able to spend about 10 minutes at the end of the day outside.  They got to play with mini pumpkins outside.  It was fun to watch them take the pumpkins for rides, cover them in sand in the sandbox and pile them in the flower boxes on the play house.  We had a fantastic day.  Check out our pumpkin tot pack here!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Caterpillars and a Preschool Reading Lesson

We had a great day learning all about caterpillars and butterflies.  We talked about the life cycle and some of the key words (like cocoon) that they'd encounter in their reading.  Everyone got 5 'C' stickers and got to look through all the reading books that we had about caterpillars.  They were so engaged in looking at the pictures and finding the letter C within the text. 
 We continued our reading lessons following the Amazing Action Alphabet.  Grab our caterpillar preschool lesson plans here!
 We had oodles of fun doing leaf rubbings, cutting leaves like crazy, and practicing the vocabulary "near" and "far".

Sometimes when we're working with preschoolers it's good to see how a lesson might actually happen.  Today I spent about 5 minutes per kid in some one-on-one reading lesson time.  I took video of a few of the kids, but due to the nature of the beast there are names used etc so I can't post them all.  Here is my reading lesson with EMan (now 3yrs 2months).  I haven't edited it so it's very realistic to what really happens in our little classroom.  

video


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Doctors

Last Thursday we had a fantastic day learning about doctors and the letter H.  We started the day with many fine motor games including using tweezers to pick up pompoms and cheerios and put them in containers. 
 We had a great day of reading one-one-one.  We worked on the H book but also reviewed a few other books.
 The kids were excited about the opportunity to learn above/over and under/below.  I let them stand on the table (aren't they excited!) and crawl under the table.  We also do the H the horse maze from the Amazing Action Alphabet, danced and played doctors.  We had a great time!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Doctors

Ok, we had so much fun today that I simply couldn't do any less pictures!  They are all so great.  We learned about doctors and the letter H today (H the horse is helped at the hospital by a doctor).  Check out the corresponding tot pack here. We had so many activities and so much fun today!  One of the activities that was out right off the bat was filling bottles with pompoms and cheerios.  There were tweezers out as well to make it a little more challenging. Toddlers (and even my kindergartner) LOVE this activity!
 We also had the doctor set out with the baby dolls and about 100 band-aids.  Yes, I let the kids put the band-aids on anything they wanted too.  Yes, I did have to clean up 100 band-aid wrappers and remove band-aids from most surfaces before the day was over.  (A note to the others that may try this at home: If band-aids get put onto clothing or carpet and are left there it is VERY difficult to get off.  I'm fairly certain it took me a few months last year to get some stubborn band-aids off the carpet.)

 We used eyedroppers to paint on coffee filters for art today.  My kitchen table is now stained a lovely hot pink :).  It'll take a few weeks and some magic eraser but it'll eventually return to normal. We used cupcake containers filled with water and food coloring as the paint.  The kids loved to stick their eyedroppers in the paint and then squirt it onto their coffee filter.  Today's theme ended up with lots of fine motor activities, which are fantastic for toddlers!
 After we did some major clean up we got to spend the last 15-20 minutes outside.  It's getting chilly here but they still love to go play!
I can't believe that I forgot to weigh each child and measure their height.  It's something we'll do with preschooler's tomorrow and had intended to do it with the toddlers today but it simply slipped my mind since it wasn't written in my toddler plans.  Oh well!  We had a fantastic day with fantastic kiddos!

Helpful Kids

I love the theme "Helpful Kids".  We learn about the letter H and we talk about how kids have an important roll to play in the world.  We read few of the "Bucket Fillers" books and talk about how our actions affect not only ourselves, but the people around us.  All day long we get to put pompoms into our class bucket as we're doing things that really help out.

We spend the majority of the day working on our reading skills.  Now that we've introduced the letter H we can work on so many new words (ham, hat).  We love using whiteboards in our reading groups.  I utilize the Amazing Action Alphabet mini readers and write one word per board for each of the kids so they are each presented with a different word they need to read.  We go around the circle many times so that in the end they practice every word, but never right after the person before them. 
 Some of our preschoolers are still working on remembering our letter names and sounds, and that's a perfect place to be!  We practice with our letter cards from Amazing Action Alphabet because the picture of the animal always helps us remember the story about them and the sound they make. We also play funny word games with the white board.  I put a word on like "hat" and together we sound it our really slow, then a bit faster.  Then I'd say something like "I know, it says socks!" and they'd all giggle and we'd talk about how it can't say socks because socks starts with the letter s.  The concept of the letters matching the sounds coming out of your mouth in speech can be a really tricky one to master.  The more you play with the letters and letter games in words the better at this age.  We're having a fantastic time in preschool and I hope you are too!  Check out our Helpful Kids Preschool Lesson Plans Here!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Preschool Bubbles

We loved continuing to learn about letter B on Thursday in preschool.  It was very exciting to explore bubbles of all sorts as well.  We played the letter B Starfall.com game and with the Bubbles App when the kids first came in. 
Everyone got their own letter B stickers to put on their shirt as we sat at circle time reading stories about bubbles.  We've also started working in reading groups.  We have half of the kids work on a project on their own (reading from available books, playing making words, etc.) and the other half of the kids work with me at the reading table.  This helps me do more one-on-one with each child.  We play different games at the reading table that target the specific needs of the kids that are playing.  One of my groups is working on the letter names/sounds and quickly recalling them for reading.  We're playing matching games with mini Amazing Action Alphabet cards and tracing sandpaper letters as we say the sounds.  The other group is working on reading and writing words.  We're reading and writing words like "the" "at" and "mat".  We only work on reading words that we've studied the letters in our class.  Even though they may know all of the letters and letter sounds it is difficult to learn to read so isolating a few letters and slowly adding on more is the best approach to take. I always have readers point at the letters with their fingers so I know (and they know) where they're looking and what words they're working on. We always sound it out slow and then move to reading the word quickly.  Even though they're able to memorize the mini books that we're reading we need to practice the actual reading of the words.
 After snack time we got to wash the dishes in the sink and run through the bubbles on the rug.
 We spent a portion of our day outside.  Each child got their own container of bubbles and got to practice blowing them.  We had oodles of fun and are learning so much!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bubbles

We love letter B and Bubbles day!  We had such a fantastic day learning to make the /b/ sound and playing with bubbles of all sorts.  We played with bubble wands (no solution) during our story time.  We practiced making the /b/ sound every time I pointed out a /b/ sound in one of the books I was reading.  
 We started the day with bubble wrap on the floor for popping with feet as well as bubble wrap on the table for popping with fingers.  We played the letter B game on Starfall.com and with a Bubbles app on the iPad.  We colored letter B watches from the Moffatt Girls and chased bubbles from the bubble blower. We read oodles of stories about bubbles and washed our dishes after snack in a little bit of water and a LOT BIT of bubbles!
 After snack time we got to head outside and everyone got their own bottle of bubbles.  It was amazing to watch as the majority of the kids then spent the next 45 minutes walking around and mingling in different groups as they practiced blowing bubbles.  Just a note to those playing with bubbles: ours weren't producing bubbles at all so I added 2 squirts of dish soap to each bottle, shook it up and then they worked great!  I was totally impressed that only one child spilled their bottle of bubbles.  It's a tot class so I figured there would be lots of spilling.  They are growing up to be so responsible!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bears and Bats

We had a great day in preschool today.  We introduced the letter B, the 5th letter in our non-alphabetical order.  We started the day off with drawing and writing about what we play to be for Halloween. 
 Then we read through many books about bears and bats and looked for all the letters that we know.  I did this one letter at a time.  I held up the Amazing Action Alphabet flip book on a letter, we talked about it and then we individually searched for that letter.  Then we'd move onto the next letter.  B was the last letter we did in this game since it was our new letter of the week. I don't have any great pictures, but we spent a LOT of time working on reading the letter B book today.  We talked about the 4 things that really good readers do and we practiced them while reading new words with the letters we've learned.
 As we continued our study about the letter b and bats we learned that bats hang upside down to sleep.  We first talked about what upside down means.  Where is your head when your standing?  What would you look like upside down?  Then we practiced being bats.  We slid the table away from the wall and did headstands one of two ways.  The first way is to look at the wall and walk your feet up the wall (easier).  The second way is to do a headstand like a handstand, looking away from the wall and pushing your feet off the ground and balancing them on the wall behind you.  We LOVE pretending we're bats and this took quite a bit of our time today.  When you're at home make sure you identify what wall this is acceptable to do on, you don't want feet on every wall of your home I'm sure!
 Next we played Making Words. There is a formal Making Words book with printables and activities, but they're geared towards older kids.  We're making words with the letters we've already learned.  There are letter cards in the Bears and Bats Preschool pack.  Cut and laminate the cards and then see what words you can make out of them.  How many two letter words can you make?  How many 3 letter words, and so on.  Make it a big funny deal to make a nonsense word and giggle about it.
 There were so many other things we did today including do-a-dot art, gluing with liquid glue (always a mess the first year around), we learned about "large" and "small" and continued working on our music lessons, calendar lessons and just all around having fun.  Thanks for a great day!  Keep reading at home!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Safety - Preschool

Talking about safety helps preschoolers take a possibly abstract rule and understand its importance in keeping them safe.  We love talking about safety at Little Adventures Preschool.  We start the day building puzzles and talking about firemen, policemen, medical personal, etc.  We're also working on the letter S this week as well as recognizing the sight word "the".   In the Safety Preschool Pack there are 41 pages of fantastic activities that relate to staying safe and practicing letter S and the sight word "the", including the money and pockets sorting below. 
 We loved sequencing different events that will help us stay safe, like how to cross the road safely.
 We're currently reading the letter S book from the Amazing Action Alphabet.  It only includes letters that we've already studied (MTAS) and the sight word "the".  We're continuing to work on sounding out the letters in each word.  We talked about how there were spaces on the pages that didn't have any letters.  Those spaces indicate that we need to stop and reread the letters faster and faster until we can say the word.  When we can say the word we get to move onto the next word.
 During art we played with salt on plates and practiced writing the letter S and other letters that we've already learned. LilE was so excited after she wrote this S, and she should be because it looks fantastic!
 We played with the clip cards from the Spiders and Miss Muffet pack on Tuesday.  We're still working on recognizing the word 'the'.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Safety - Tot School

We had such a delightful time learning about safety this week!  We talked all about firemen and policemen and how they are there to help us stay safe. In the Safety Tot Pack {FREE download} we played a short path game where we had to get the fire dog to the firetruck. It's such a fantastic game to practice counting to 3 and moving that many spaces.
 We also sequenced firemen helmets according to size.
 We LOVED playing with our Melissa and Doug puppets today. It was important to stress throughout the day that firemen and policemen are there to help us stay safe.  They are just like moms and dads that wear a uniform to keep us safe.
 After we headed outside we enjoyed cutting paper, exploring the tot pack, playing in the sandbox and playhouse, and drawing "fire" on the chalkboard.

 We also utilized our new swing to look at books.  It was a very popular activity!