Monday, September 29, 2014

Spiders, Bubbles and a Hail Storm

This morning's class was all about the letter S as we talked about Spiders, Miss Muffet and the word "the"!  It was jam packed with activities right from the start.  They all have a new reading book, the letter S book.  I couldn't find my stapler so they are just a sheet of paper.  You can assemble them yourself or send them back Wednesday and I'll cut and staple them for you (found it at the end of the afternoon class!).  The S book is a BIG jump into reading skills.  We are blending words like "Sam" and "at" in the book and can now make "sat".  With the introduction of the sight word "the" we now have to memorize what "the" looks like and remember it!  It's not a word that can be sounded out like the other words.  We made bracelets and a clip card game with the word "the".  PLEASE point it out everywhere until your child has it memorized!  It will give them access to much more text this year once they've mastered it.  We also had a ton of fun making spiders in art and singing spider songs!

Our afternoon class focused on the letter B with bubbles today.  We had a great time blowing bubbles in the back yard.  We even tried to blow some for the chickens who seemed more scared than thrilled with the idea :).  We headed inside when the clouds began to rumble and spent the rest of the class time in the basement with hardly any mention of the larger than grape sized hail pelting down on the world around us.  Please work on the letter B book called "Bam" as homework.
 We drew and wrote in our journals all about blowing bubbles and we played with and started discussing the attribute blocks.  We will begin classifying the blocks with our game "Guess My Secret Rule" on Wednesday.  Have a great Monday night!  I look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nursery Rhymes and Lots of Reading!

What a great day of learning!  Preschool A spent the day learning and playing with Nursery Rhymes.  We learned a few more nursery rhymes from our song that we'll perform at our year end celebration.  We made sparkling stars for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, mittens for 3 Little Kittens, played with blocks, farm animals and practiced reading letters m, t and a!
 Preschool B had a great letter review lesson and then set to work reading and finding letters in their encyclopedia.  Find the page that is marked with a tab and read it with your child before class on Monday.  We also spent time reading one-on-one, coloring and drawing in our journals, playing music, dancing and practicing counting flip chips!

Monday, September 22, 2014


We had such a fun day today learning about families.  We were reviewing the letters M T and A today in our morning class.  I used a company called Create Jigsaw Puzzles to have each child's family picture made into a professional puzzle.  They turned out so fantastic!  Each child has their puzzle as homework.  Keep them at home and do them over and over again.  The minimum goal by the end of the 3 year old preschool year is to be able to do a 12 piece puzzle.
 We had fun with our reading lesson today practicing being a blender (like the video from last week).  We are practicing words like: at, am, mat, tam.  We talked about 'tam' being a nonsense word that isn't real but fun to read.  In math we started talking about ordinal numbers.  We talked about first, second and third.  At home point out different situations like: Mom will be served fish for dinner first, Daddy second and EMan third.  It was fun to watch the 3 year olds explore drawing people.  Some have been drawing people for a while and others are brand new to the idea.  We talked about the different shapes that make up bodies and how to draw them.

Our afternoon 4 year old class got much bigger puzzles.  Unfortunately the options available are pretty much 12 pieces or 100 pieces so we jumped to the big size. This is a REALLY big challenge that kids sometimes don't master until they are 5, 6 or even 7 years old.  Practice with them at home to make your fun family photo puzzle.
We had a great reading lesson with the letter S this afternoon.  We are continuing the strategies from the video posted last week.  Sound out each word slowly, reread the word quickly, move to the next word.  At the end of the sentence go back and reread the whole sentence quickly.  This strategy may seem very repetitive right now, but the books get much harder in the next few weeks and we'll benifit from practicing this way.  Some of our afternoon kids are working on the Moffatt Girls Ready2Read level 1 and are just about done with unit 1.  We're excited to move into the next word families!  We're still working on mastering counting one-to-one in preschool.  Today we played with the pattern blocks while counting.  We also built towers, forests, dragons and other cool things with the shapes.

We had a great day of learning!  I look forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Animal Friends and Reading

This morning was so much fun playing with our Animal Friends theme!  We read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" which is a perfect text to read the word "at".  We also read "Big Red Barn" and found all of the a's.  We had tons of fun coloring our A watches from the Moffatt Girls, playing on and working on our Amazing Action Alphabet activity page and handwriting page.
In math we had oodles of fun learning about MORE and LESS.  We watched a few short clips of Sesame Street characters explaining the concept and then got to work on our game.  This is a great activity to encourage identifying more and less.  If you don't have flip chips you can easily spray paint one side of a poker chip and achieve the same affect.
On Monday we had a monumental reading lesson in our morning class.  Today's monumental reading lesson was in the afternoon class.  The morning class will get this lesson in about 3 weeks, though it'll be a year long lesson.  It was such an awesome lesson that I have no pictures.  But I do have a video to walk you through it.  The video is 9 minutes in length but shows you the key parts of our reading lesson.  Please watch it to know how to support your reader at home or, if you are a teacher, watch to see the strategy I teach in my classroom.  (The video was too large and had to be split into two sections, find both below.)

In math we learned the rules to the game Compare. This game is identical to the card game "War" but sounds much nicer to call it "Compare".  Using a set of 20 cards each with a quantity of stickers 1-10 (done twice to make twenty cards) we split the deck evenly.  Each player turns over their top card at the same time and the person with more stickers gets to take both cards.  Continue play until your deck is gone.  Then pick up the cards you "won" and repeat.  This is a fantastic game to be playing at home!
Preschool B enjoyed drawing and writing with colored pencils today and we had a fantastic time doing the "Freeze Dance" during music.  It was a great week of learning!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Opposites and Animal Friends

We had a fantastic day in preschool today learning all about the letter A.  In our morning class we talked all about opposites.  We talked about black/white, wet/dry, hard/soft and many other opposites.  Start pointing out opposites to your preschooler throughout your daily life. As we started learning about the letter A today we played on and played with the Amazing Action Alphabet.  The army ants take away the alligators apple, making him very angry!  Learning the letter A is the beginning of reading in preschool.  It's the first time that kids put their reading skills to a real challenge.  Write the word "at" or "am" on a piece of paper or a white board.  Ask your child if they know how to read the word.  Guide them to do the 4 things good readers do: Look, Point, Say, Listen.  Some kids at this stage show that they need more work and play with the letters before they are ready to read and that is perfectly ok!  Other kids are ready to start reading with a bang.  You can quickly identify where your child is at in order to set reasonable goals.  All children should be reading the A book 3x per night, regardless of if they have it memorized or if they are actually reading the text.  Acting like a reader is being a reader!
We continued our theme of opposites with art where we colored with wet and dry chalk.  Our math lesson is continuing on the counting and number sense topic.  Each child came home with a ring of 4 cards and 4 clothes pins.  They are to hold up one card and find the clothes pin with the same number of stickers.  They attach the clothes pin to the card and then move on to the next card.
I encouraged the language, "One is the same as one.  Two is the same as two." and so on.
In our afternoon class we explored the theme of Animal Friends with our new book, "Big Red Barn" (I think that's the title....).  Regardless, it gave us a fantastic opportunity to read through the book looking for adult (capital) A's and princess a's.  We also read about animals in our encyclopedias.  
For math today we made our cards for "Compare" (alternately known as "War", but "Compare" sounds so much more appropriate for preschool....doesn't it?).  Though we made the cards we didn't get past sorting them into sets, so PLEASE make sure the cards in the pocket in the binder come back to school on Wednesday.  For math homework tonight your preschooler can find matching sets.  Spread the cards all out and find both cards that have an equal number of stickers (8 is the same as 8) and stack pairs.  If you're feeling adventurous you could teach how to play Compare.  We will spend plenty of time playing it on Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Letter T with the Dentist and Interest Led Reading

We had so much fun in our morning class today!  We started the day with the puppets and toothbrushes.  We had a silly time talking about where we use our toothbrushes (On our hair?, NO!).  The kids got a kick out of brushing the puppets teeth.  We then moved into our shared reading activity.  We reviewed all the things good readers do and read the "T Book" on the SmartBoard.  I love reading together that way because I can highlight letters and everyone can see what we're doing.  Next we read the dentist book together.  For this activity every child had their own copy of the text (it's in their binder, they get to keep it at home!).  I introduced my magic tape that can help us identify letters.  The letter "T" can be quite confusing.  There is a unique design that we call the "Princess t" to identify it.  It gets confusing with a capital "J" but they'll pick it up as they identify more letters.  With our magic tape we highlighted all the T's we could find on the cover and then a t or two on the following pages as we read it.  As you're reading to your children encourage them to point out the letters they know and what sounds they make.
 We had a ton of fun with our math lesson today.  It was our first time playing "Hop Along the Path" a game we'll play often during the school year.  The idea is to hop from object to object while counting.  It's the first step in learning how pieces move in board games, helps with counting one-to-one and is a FANTASTIC large motor activity!  Art was also a ton of fun because we had tiger teeth that needed a cleaning.  We "cleaned" them with toothbrushes and "toothpaste" (white paint).
 Our afternoon class got to look through the dentist book today as well.  We marked many different Ts as we found them.  It was really exciting to have our first day to pick our own theme to read about.  They thumbed through the encyclopedias and found a page that looked interesting.  Then they would read the words they knew or point out the letters and their sounds to their sock monkey.
This is such a cute example of what they do with their encyclopedias.  The volume is really quiet, so if you turn up your speakers be sure to turn them down after :). 
 We also played the "Hop Along the Path" game today.  The afternoon kids picked up the process of standing in a line, waiting your turn, moving up and going when appropriate quite well.  For art we played with do-a-dot markers and wrote words or letters to describe what we drew.  Their journals will reflect their wonderful growth in learning throughout the year!
If you turned up your speakers for the previous video be sure to turn them down for this one.  It's a little "Hop Along the Path" fun!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall, Autumn and the Dentist

What a wonderful day of school.  We had so much fun talking about the letter T and how the season fall will soon be beginning.  We played with paper leaves by tossing them in the air over and over and saying, "It's Fall!"  The kids had a complete blast!  With the introduction of the letter T they each now have a new Amazing Action Alphabet mini reader book in their binders.  Be sure to have them read it 3 times a day.  We loved reading them to our sock monkeys today in class.  In art we colored a tooth brushing chart, be sure to use it this week and reward your preschooler with the certificate at the bottom of the page.  They also received 4 tooth picks in art today to make them into two Ts, a "Mommy T" and a "Baby T".  Have them recreate them at home!  During math we played with equal quantities up to 5.  Please see the details below on how to play this homework.
In our afternoon class we talked about the letter T with the Dentist theme.  We read in our encyclopedias about the human body with muscles and bones.  We marked words we can read or simply the letter T.  Please read this page with your preschooler tonight or tomorrow as their homework.  Let them point out additional ts or read the words they highlighted (and any additional ones they can read).  This strategy is called companion reading which gives kids a way to access text they can't yet read on their own.  In math today we also played with creating equal quantities.  Each preschooler received their own paper with two circles on it.  We used tokens (poker chips) to put an equal number in each circle.  If they had 2 tokens on the left side they needed to have 2 tokens on the right side. These papers went home as homework tonight.  Using pennies or other small tokens recreate the game.  Let them put some on the left hand side and then an equal number on the right hand side.  PLEASE encourage children to MOVE the token as they are counting it.  Perhaps they have 3 tokens in one circle, as they count them they move the token from the top of the circle to the bottom of the circle.  This reinforces one-to-one counting which nearly all of my preschoolers are missing.  If your child is 3 years old only allow quantities up to 5 in each side.  If they are 4 years old you may allow quantities up to 10 per side.
 We had a fantastic time talking about letter t saying /t/ and not /tu/ if you open your mouth after /t/ to make an /u/ sound the tiger might accidentally bite off his finger!  We loved our reading groups and enjoyed helping T the Tiger brush his teeth in art.  After our 'teeth' are dry I'll send them home!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I LOVE the feelings theme in preschool.  It's such an important topic and there are so many fantastic resources!

Preschool A homework today includes 3 mini pre-reader books.  Simply cut them into fourths and staple them together.  Read them to your child while you demonstrate the skills that good readers do (look, point, say sounds, listen).  Read it over and over and your child will soon "read" it back to you.  Acting like a reader is the first step to reading success.  So, yes, even though they are memorizing the pages it is important to encourage it and go through the process with them!
 Today we looked at the different emotions and faces we make with mirrors.  We used our mirrors to help us find the letter M around the room and we watched a fun little video of The Count counting different emotions.  We talked about how colors can represent emotions and then finger painted with the two colors that seemed to fit our moods.
 We had fun playing with the emotion bean bags and bowls, matching colors and emotions.  We practiced our beginning handwriting with our Amazing Action Alphabet handwriting notebook.  Continue to practice the correct holding of a writing tool at home!  We also had tons of fun talking about how many fingers we have on each hand.  Believe it or not, many in this class didn't know how many and needed to count.  Sometimes our count got off before we got to 5.  Help them count their fingers over the next few days to make sure we point at one finger and say "one" the next finger while we say "two" and so forth.  We're trying to get the one-to-one correspondence counting more consistent.

This afternoon we had quite a delightful preschool B.  We had fun reading and hunting for letters in our encyclopedias.  We talked about how people have feelings, but houses and chairs don't.  That's why we started with reading about people. We also had the opportunity to read books to our sock monkeys and work in small reading groups together.
 In math we talked about ordinal numbers.  It's a tricky concept, but I think they've almost got it.  "First" is an easy idea because we use it all the time in our every day vocabulary.  Getting to second and third is fairly okay.  "Fourth" and "fifth" are harder to understand.
We also watched a movie today.  It is Kira Willey's "Colors" video.  It was fun to watch the lyrics on the screen and see the kids point out the word "the".  We also painted with two colors indicating our emotions and then wrote and drew about it.  I was impressed that nearly everyone was holding their pencil correctly.  We had such a fun day! I apologize about the slightly stained hands.  I promise I bought the washable paint,  It certainly doesn't seem that washable though!