Thursday, November 21, 2013

Animals in Winter

We had such a great time in preschool today.  I just love this top picture of all of them in our Bear Den.  They loved playing "Bear Family" and pretending to hibernate in our cardboard box den.  We continued working on letter P today as well as working on our Guess My Secret Rule game.  We read many stories about animals in winter and acted out hibernating and migrating.  They are such cute kids!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tot School - Animals in Winter

We had such a fantastic day learning all about animals in winter.  We talked about the letter P and loved playing on the SmartBoard game.  We built dens and burrows out of blocks, dressed up in winter clothing and pretended to be animals hibernating in a big cardboard box den.  One of our favorite activities was reading "The Mitten" and acting it out.  As we came to each new character each child got to hold a mask and be that character.  Our favorite part of when the bear sneezes at the end, "ahh, ahh, ahh...choo!" and all the animals flew out of the mitten!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Play Ball!

We had a great day in school today. Our class was a little small due to illness but that just means that we got more one-on-one time than usual.  Our theme was "Play Ball" with the introduction of the letter P and sight word "ball". We read a number of books right away this morning all about baseball. One of my favorites is the Berenstain Bears Play T-Ball.  It describes how to play the game in a very simple story.  After reading all our books we got out the T-ball equipment and got to work playing!
 We had popcorn for snack to go along with the letter P.  After snack time we glued the extra popcorn into P shapes.  We did more baseball reading and enjoyed playing our math game with attribute blocks.  We're still playing "Guess My Secret Rule" where we have a set of 4 objects, 3 have the same attribute and 1 is different.  Kids are working on creating their own sets to try and trick Miss Amanda.  We had a lot of fun playing today!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


We had a fantastic day talking all about scarecrows.  We read stories and non fiction books about scarecrows and then got busy making our own scarecrows.  I love this activity because the scarecrows are completely adorable and the kids work really hard on their coloring and cutting to put it together.  They are so proud of their work when they were done.  Plus, along the way they get to enjoy conversation.  The conversation at the all girls table was about whether or not they each had cup holders in their cars.  It was a very memorable conversation. 
 We continued working on identifying which objects fit into a group and which don't.  Part of that is being able to verbalize "Why".  We've got a handle on the game when there is only one variable changed (all circles, 3 are yellow and 1 is red).  It gets much trickier when more than one variable is different (a triangle, a square, a circle, a rectangle - 3 are blue and one is yellow.  In this case they often say the circle doesn't fit because it's not a square... etc. Where the shape doesn't actually matter but the color is the common denominator).  I'd encourage you to play this game at home with your silverware drawer or your chest of toys, even with your shoes.  Remember there are always 4 objects, 3 of them have the same characteristic and 1 has a different characteristic.
We continued working on our L book by building the pages from it.  We talked about how it was like a puzzle and we had to match the words to the picture.  They got a kick out of fixing incorrect sentences.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Toddler Scarecrows

We had so much fun today learning all about the letter L and scarecrows.  We made a few really cute crafts (a scarecrow hat to wear and a scarecrow face out of Popsicle sticks).  For all our lessons and fun printables be sure to check out the Scarecrows Tot Pack.  Everyone loved the letter L game on and playing with the dry corn was a whole lot of fun.  I was very proud of everyone for helping to clean it all up when we were done. 
 We also had a fun story time where we learned about scarecrows and acted out scaring the crows away from the corn.  It was such a lovely day that we enjoyed the sunshine for the last 10 minutes of class as well.
It was such a delightful day of learning!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Preschool Thanksgiving

On Tuesday of this week we were able to talk about Thanksgiving.  Since we already spent a day talking about the first Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Indians we were able to focus on the thankful part of Thanksgiving.  We talked about all the different things that make us thankful and read a great book called "I'm Thankful Each Day". For the rest of our lesson plans and printable activities be sure to check out our Preschool Thanksgiving Pack

We learned about letter L this week in many fun ways.  We searched all around the room for the letter L and put highlighter tape on all the L's we found.  We also practiced saying /l/ by licking a lollipop and making our tongue touch the top of our mouth for /l/.   
We're working on using our newly acquired descriptive vocabulary to verbalize why an item doesn't match a set in our "Guess My Secret Rule" game.  Today we used silverware to play this game.  Silverware is great because there are different types (spoon, fork, knife), different sizes and different colors or material (metal/plastic).
Overall, we had a fantastic day of learning!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Indians and Pilgrims

NOTE: This theme is meant as an introduction to Native Americans and Pilgrims. I have intentionally used the word Indian to introduce the letter I. Indian, however, is not an accurate description of Native Americans. For more information please see this link. There are also many different tribes of Native Americans that have very different traditions. Though the Pilgrims were in contact with the Wampanoag, this theme introduces ideas from many different tribes. 

Yay!  It's the holiday season!  We talked all about letter I in tot school today.  We made Indian headdresses (though I should remember to make the feathers smaller next time) and the kids loved them!  They all picked their favorite colors for the feathers.  It was funny that they all picked 2 of the same color. 
 We also were stringing beads to make necklaces and building houses from Lincoln Logs.
 We made totem poles with large cardboard tubes markers and stickers.  It was fun to watch them decorate their totem pole in so many different ways.  We also made a game with a stick, string and pipe cleaner.  The idea is that you swing the circle and try to catch it on your stick.  I was successful exactly ZERO times while trying to demonstrate it to the kids.  I hope they're having better luck at home with it!
 It was really fun when I started setting out green mats for story time they all ran over to find a mat right away without me being done setting up mats or even saying anything.  They love story time and we read oodles of books about Pilgrims and Indians.  We talked about the very basics of the events that led to the first Thanksgiving.  Each time I finished reading a book I'd hand it to a child to look at.  That ended up working really well because they were fully engaged in the books and wanted to be closer but all those kids in my space at the same time doesn't work.  I think I'll try it again next week where they each get a book to look at while I'm reading.   We had a fantastic day!  I look forward to seeing you all again next week!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


For the start of November we're introducing the letter I.  We love talking about insects, who doesn't? So, though most insects are starting to hide from the cold, we're happily playing with plastic bugs of all sorts.  We learn different facts about insects, such as they use their antenna to smell and they have compound eyes.  Imagine a group of preschoolers wearing glittery antenna and "smelling" everything around the room.  It was so fun!  We also got to go on a bug hunt.  Our cute ladybugs had letters and sight words on them.  As we found them we got to read them to the group. Check out our Insects lesson plans for all 43 pages of the printable goodness :)
 We practiced reading our letter I book from the Amazing Action Alphabet.  It's the first really "hard" book that we encounter.  Every page isn't exactly the same anymore and we really have to pay attention to what we're reading.  We also introduce the sight words "I" and "my", which also make the book tricky.  As we were practicing our reading one-on-one the other kids were playing a "Catch those Bugs!" game with tweezers.  They LOVE that game!  Today we also cut, glued and handprinted the letter I insect. Our cutting is really improving!  Keep up the practice at home!
 Throughout November we talk about rhythm in music.  Today was the first day that they got to play with the rhythm sticks and explore playing them fast, slow, loud or quiet.  We also had fun playing with insects in math and exploring a Montessori style insect matching board.