What a fun and snowy day of school! We had a great time this morning in preschool A. We got to work right away on writing thank you notes. We read stories about being thankful and discussed some of the things we were particularly thankful for from the holidays. I LOVE the thank you note template in the Preschool Thank You Notes pack. They are perfect for this age to practice tracing and writing their own names. I wrote down the item(s) they were thankful for and then quoted their "why" they were thankful for it. They turned out super cute!
Monday, December 29, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
We had a great day in preschool yesterday. We started the day playing puzzles and reviewing the letter J. We talked about the different holidays that happen this time of year: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Winter Solstice and New Year's. We read tons of books about each one. Then we made popcorn strings to feed the birds, a winter solstice activity. The kids did fantastic with this activity, and I think they LOVED it.
Monday, December 15, 2014
What a wonderful day of school! Today we learned all about the letter J this morning with our Ocean Animals theme. We used the phonics headbands from the Moffatt Girls and added "tentacles" to the back of them. It was so much fun to dance around as jelly fish. We worked on reading the letter J and the J book. We also spent some time going back to the beginning and reading together all the mini readers. It seems that a couple of kids are stuck at about the B book. When you are working on reading at home please back up and read the books that your child is attempting with most success and leave the other letter books (with more letters) for study later. Next we worked on art, coloring J the Jellyfish and adding tentacles to her. We also drew our favorite sea animals and practiced writing our names. In math we continued graphing. It was a super fun day!
Friday, December 12, 2014
SHHH! Please don't spill the beans! It's a Christmas surprise!
I'm setting a few things up so we're ready to rumble Christmas morning. The boys will be getting a new iPad mini for Christmas. Our iPad 1 has near reached the end of its life and this was an upgrade we decided would most benefit our home. As I have been playing with the different activities I want to set up on it for the boys I have learned about so many options that will revolutionize our homeschooling. The boys will have zero access to TV and movies on their iPad. There are folders set up for each subject with apps appropriate to their developmental level.
Apple has their iOS set up so that children younger than 13 can obtain their own Apple ID which is awesome with their new "Family Sharing" system. I can download the apps and music that I've already purchased onto their iPad. It's so sweet!
Happy Learning in the Digital Age!
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
We had so much fun with the Polar Express today! We started the day working on puzzles this morning. The kids worked really well together putting all the pieces where they go. We had a great time reading the story out loud and then watching the audio book video that reads the story aloud with visual clips from the movie. We narrated the story and completed a sequencing chart about it. I was so impressed with the cutting in this class. It appears that some great strides in ability have happened lately. We also drew pictures of what we would like to ask for from Santa.
Monday, December 8, 2014
This morning we had a great time talking about snow. We played with shaving cream and glue "snow" as well as powdered "snow". We learned the letter F and never before has the letter F been so easy to teach (Thank You, Frozen!). We're working diligently to sound out the letters and blend them into words.
This afternoon we were talking about the letter D and dinosaurs. We started the day being paleontologists digging for dinosaurs in our mini sand boxes. The kids really loved this activity.
We read a book about dinosaurs and used yellow markers to mark the words that we could read. Then one group continued that strategy by marking the words in their mini readers. We also read the page in our encyclopedia about dinosaurs. In their encyclopedia you'll find a small paper glued into the dinosaur page. It's a b and d reminder picture to help kids remember which is which.
We had a ton of fun with math today. We're talking about 2d shapes and their characteristics. Today we utilized a shape building toy I have to work on it. I first pulled out the pieces to make a shape and asked them what shape I could make. We talked about how we could know for sure what I was going to make (shape of the sides "curved or straight", how many sides, how many corners) and then I built it. After the lesson I set them loose to make any of the 4 basic shapes on their own. It was quite interesting to watch them figure out what pieces they need in order to complete the task.
We did a lot of great learning today. Don't forget that Wednesday is Polar Express day and kids are welcome to wear their pajamas and bring a teddy bear!
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Today was quite literally a marathon of awesome. We had so much fun! We started our morning class with a gingerbread foam art project. There were so many stickers to choose from and the kids had a really fun time deciding how to decorate their houses. We also played on the gingerbread game on Starfall.com. The kids thought that the end where he says, "Run, run as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!" was hilarious. We then read a couple versions of the gingerbread man and the kids repeated that line with me every time we came to it. We had gingerbread cookies for snack and then got to make our own cookies to send home. Gingerbread is a hit or miss type of cookie and some kids loved it and some didn't like it at all. Then we wrapped our holiday presents for our parents. We used a lot of tape but got them securely wrapped up. Be sure to open them soon to add to your holiday decor. Plus, I CAN'T wait to post a picture of how cute they are!
Monday, December 1, 2014
Today was a great day learning all about sharing and manners. We had a review of letters in the morning and the kids are doing fantastic! We started the day playing with puzzles. If your child struggles with 12 piece puzzles I'd highly suggest getting a couple for Christmas and practicing with your child. Being able to put a puzzle together is a problem solving skill that needs to be learned. We simply don't have enough time to practice enough in school. We had a blast fishing for letters during our review. Once a letter was caught we sang the "Every Letter Makes a Sound" song for that letter and then put it back for someone else to catch. We enjoyed art time drawing pictures in our notebooks and working on a secret art craft that turned our toes green! We learned about graphing in math today. It was an introduction that used hats as the example. We only wear our own hats and they have to go right on top of our head or they will fall off if we put them up too high. They did great for a first introduction! We also played "Motorboat" for music time talking about the tempo of music, boy did they love that!
Monday, November 24, 2014
What a great day of review today! We had lots of fun in preschool doing many art projects and practicing concepts we've already learned. We made do-a-dot turkeys as everyone arrived. Painted with shaving cream all over the table and danced to get our wiggles out.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
We had a very interesting day in school. It seemed that I spent most of the time running around helping kids with their individual 3 year old type needs and didn't spend enough time teaching. Nonetheless we had a great day talking about Animals in Winter. We talked about how the weather is changing and now it's cold outside. We talked about all the animals that live outside and not in our warm houses. What do they do during the winter? They either hibernate, migrate, or adapt! We had lots of fun playing with the animal toys and our blanket den, reading "The Mitten" and acting out the explosion out of the mitten, and drawing winter animals in our notebooks. We even added a little glitter snow!
This afternoon we had a lot of fun breaking into reading groups and working on our puzzles. At this moment I'm able to work with all kids in 2 groups making management and engagement much easier. The first group were rock stars right off the bat. They were working on blending an initial consonant and vowel a or i. We really focused on reading it the first time by blending the first sound into the second. Another way to phrase that is to "not stop the first sound until your mouth is making the second sound." It seemed to click. I'm trying to get them to jump from sounding them out separately to sounding them out as a chunk, which will help them in their future reading.
We combined art and math today since reading went so long. Today we decided we were a jewelry shop designing necklaces. Our customers wanted all different types of necklaces but they wanted them all to be in patterns. We played around with adding a third color so we could do ABCABC patterns and all the variations that come with that. They did as many patterned necklaces on their pages as they could before their parents arrived for them. I thought they did quite well and it was tons of fun!
Monday, November 17, 2014
In preschool this morning we introduced the letter P with a "Play Ball!" theme. We had tons of fun playing with different types of sports balls and talking about our favorite sport to play. We used the foot print words under contact paper to play our reading ball game. Everyone got a ball at the beginning, read the letter or word of each step they would step on and then shot a basket at the end. They seemed to love it. We talked about P the Pelican popping popcorn from the Amazing Action Alphabet and glued popcorn onto the activity page.
This afternoon we had some fantastic reading lessons. We practiced our nonsense words and sounds to warm up and then dove into some hard core reading. We worked on the strategies readers should use when they get to a word they don't know. There are 8 strategies in my February Dr. Seuss Preschool pack that we covered. We'll continue referencing them as we're reading more difficult text. We also talked about giving a 5 finger retell (1. Characters 2. Setting 3. Beginning 4. Middle 5. End).
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
This morning we had such a blast with the Scarecrows theme. We started the day with decorating our own flippy floppy scarecrow hats. Then we read and sang songs about scarecrows. We practiced reading with the letter L and had so much fun making dancing scarecrows.
Monday, November 10, 2014
We had a fantastic lesson about Thanksgiving today. We made a giant list of the things we are thankful for. I was so proud of them for listing things like: family, books, friends, hugs, houses, someone even said "life". What a fantastic group of kids! We learned the letter L the Lizard and practiced making the /l/ sound. It's such a tricky sound to make! We continued working on "Guess My Secret Rule", this time with the silverware drawer. The idea of the game is much like the Sesame Street game "One of these things is not like the others". There are 3 items that match and one that is different. The children are to identify which is different and why (such as it is bigger than the rest, it's a different color, it's a fork not a spoon). The game is actually REALLY hard and we're struggling with understanding the concept. So... please pull out your own silverware draw, line up 4 objects (3 the same and 1 different) and ask your child which one is different and why. Play it every day!
Preschool B had a blast talking about snow. It was fun to read all sorts of books about snow and discuss the weather and then see that it was starting to snow outside! We worked hard in our reading groups mastering the letter F and working on the Moffatt Girls Ready2Read program. We moved to ABB patterns in math and they picked up the concept right away!
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
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.
In the afternoon we started our day out with the corn (it was out already and cleaning it up after didn't seem so daunting to me with such great helpers). They LOVED playing with the corn. It was "popcorn" and "ice cream" and "for sale". The creativity was awesome! We had our regular reading lessons working within our small reading groups to master the skills appropriate.
We had great fun this morning as everyone came in they colored their I headband from the Moffatt Girls. We added feathers behind the I for a headdress and a Pilgrim style hat on the back side so they could decide what side to have in front. We listened to Native American Round Dance music while we made our headbands and while we read stories about the Pilgrims and Indians. Next we moved into reading. We practiced the letter Ii on the SMARTboard and each child took a turn tracing the letters while we all said, "/i/"!
I took a video of our reading lesson this morning. Because of the blog restrictions I had to split it into 3 videos (a total of 15 minutes in length). It may be helpful to watch through them to see how we do our shared reading lesson together. The way I read through books (even one-on-one with beginning readers) is to sound out each word and then go back and fluently reread the sentence. I'd highly encourage you to do this at home. The beginning reader books that we use throughout the whole year come from The Amazing Action Alphabet.
Monday, November 3, 2014
What a great day of learning! In our morning class we talked all about Insects and the letter I. We learned the sight words "I" and "my" and did some great hand print art from the Amazing Action Alphabet Activity Book. We spent lots of time in small groups today really working on learning our letters and sounds and blending the letters to make words. Remember to reference the blending video found here to help you with reading at home. We also got to pull out the rhythm sticks to start our month long study of rhythm in music. Boy did we love that!
Our afternoon class started off with a bang reading, "Pete the Cat, Play Ball!" It's impressive how many of these kids (3 and 4 year olds) can read SO MUCH of this book already by themselves. We learned the sight word "ball" and the letter p today. Continue your work at home reading the mini readers every day and add to it the Pete the Cat book. Remember to read the big words and encourage them to read the highlighted words that they've been working on (we highlight the appropriate words with highlighter tape in class).