Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Halloween!

What a great Halloween day!  We continued our Halloween theme with our morning preschool class.  We are reviewing the letters we've already learned and practicing reading our words.  We're getting closer to being readers!
 We had a blast in art today drawing a "Haunted House" and making "ghosts" in them.  Apparently the feet are ticklish!
 Our "Guess My Secret Rule" game has moved to shapes.  Today we had 3 of the same shape and 1 different.  We were identifying which shape was different and trying to verbalize why it was different.  Ex: "The triangle is different because it is a different shape."  This game will get much more difficult in the next coming weeks so I was glad they got this by the end.  At the end of the day we had a dance party and our parents joined us to do Frankenstein art.  It was so much fun!
 This afternoon we got busy with our reading lessons in our costumes.  It was great to be able to split the kids according to needs and get each group going on their lessons.  We practiced blending words, matching words, stamping words and identifying letter names and sounds.
 I love my set of texture sandpaper letters.  They are great to feel and explore as we make words.  I forgot hot much fun they are to use.  We also worked on the song "5 Little Pumpkins" and tried to mark all the words we know how to read.
 For art we also colored haunted houses, made ghost footprints and Frankenstein hand prints.  We danced and had a great party!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween and Pumpkins

What an awesome day of school!  We had so much fun with our Halloween theme this morning.  We were able to play with colored rice in our sensory bins.  We dumped and scooped and buried and made a mess!  We played dress up and explored all the different costumes and then decorated the room by cutting out decorations (note to parents: please practice more cutting at home!  Just let them cut scraps any way they want to in order to develop these very important muscles.)
 We had fun putting Halloween stickers in our notebooks and worked on those fine motor skills to get the backing off of those pesky stickers.  We also started our game "Guess My Secret Rule".  In this game there are three objects with the same characteristic and one object that doesn't match.  We identify the object that doesn't match and why.  It's a tricky game we'll be working on for most of November.
 We also did a fun drawing in our notebooks about what we are going to be for Halloween.  So much fun!
 Afternoon preschool had a fantastic time talking all about pumpkins.  We measured and scooped, weighed and floated our pumpkins all day.  We took notes about our observations and (some of us) squished pumpkin guts in our hands!
 We continued our group reading lessons which are going quite swimmingly.  I'm impressed with everyone's progress.  Keep up the good work!  For art we also drew pictures of our costumes for Halloween and each child was encouraged to write what they were going to be.  It was interesting to watch this first attempt at writing something.  They stumbled upon "sounding it out" just like we do in reading and you could hear each of them thinking about the main sounds in each word.  The pictures below show "Fairy" and "Dragon", for those of you new to decoding preschool writing :).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pumpkin Day

We had SO MUCH FUN this morning with our pumpkins theme.  We started the day playing with pumpkin pie play dough and though it was very sticky it was a hit!  Then everyone got to pick their own pumpkin.  We washed it in the sink and then drew all over it with markers.  The fun aspect of doing that with washable markers is that you can easily wipe it off and start decorating all over again!
 We also did investigations with our pumpkins.  We cut open one large pumpkin to investigate the parts of the pumpkin (and play with the guts!).  We took turns measuring the height, circumference and weight of each pumpkin.  Then we had to see if each pumpkin would sink or float (a great way to wash off the marker so they can go home clean).
 We practiced finding the word "the" in our poem about 5 Little Pumpkins and then we danced and sung along to the song.
 Preschool B started the afternoon in two groups.  One group played Starfall Speedway with me and the other group worked on 38 piece puzzles. I love the Starfall Speedway game.  It has 4 different games in one so you can tailor it to match the needs of the child(ren) you are playing with.  You can work on letter names and sounds, sounding out CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) 3 letter words and you can work on more difficult words that include digraphs and consonant blends.  The kids love playing it and we are able to work on the one-to-one counting and turn taking aspects of playing a game.  I think we'll play this game more often now that I remember how much we all love it.
We also worked on our letter I beginning reader book from the Amazing Action Alphabet today.  That's a tricky one with that tricky 4 letter word: "sits".  Another reading group started Ready2Read Level 1 Unit 1 today.  I was so proud of them being able to move forward in their reading, they're getting it!  For our themes today each student picked a page from their encyclopedia and we worked one-on-one to mark the words they could read.  I'd encourage you to read this way through the whole page with them.  You could even pick other pages to do over the weekend and through next week if you like (no encyclopedia work in school next week).

 We continued our work on graphing today.  We pulled out the scissors and cut and glue pages.  I was proud of them for getting the hang of graphing so quickly.
 We're starting to branch out into our preschool B art format of picking what we'd like to do each day.  Today it was suggested that we paint so out came the water color paints.  They had such a great time mixing colors and making designs all over their page.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Caterpillars and Insects

What a fantastic day of school!  We loved talking all about caterpillars today.  We read the letter C book and learned about the stages of a caterpillars life.  We even got to see a live caterpillar thanks to Lil'S bringing in her pet!  We were just like C the Caterpillar in art today.  We cut leaves!  This class needs A LOT of cutting practice and this would be a great activity to do at home this week while it is still warm.  Just head outside with a pair of kid safe scissors and let them cut all the leaves into confetti.  We also learned more about rhyming words today as we came up with rhymes for "at" and "am".  During math today we went outside and practiced "near" and "far".  The kids ran "near Miss Amanda" and "far from Miss Amanda".  They ran back and forth over and over until they were completely exhausted!
 In the afternoon we talked about the letter I and did a shared reading of "The Big Bug Dug".  It had many letters in it that we haven't talked about yet but most words are phonetic and we were able to read the majority of the book with help on a few advanced sight words.  We practiced reading in our reading groups and played the "i Word Machine" on
 We continued working on graphing today in math.  Today we colored in different graphs.  We also had oodles of fun with the do-a-dot markers and insect stickers during art time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Doctors and Graphing

We had so much fun being doctors this morning.  H the horse needs help from a doctor so we practiced our skills.  Many of us were covered in the nearly 250 band-aids that we used up this morning.  Thank goodness the kids were such great helpers at cleaning up all the garbage!
 We did a few different activities for art today.  We worked on the H the horse maze from the Amazing Action Alphabet, we made doctor charts and marked our height and weight, and we did an eye dropper on coffee filters art.  It was such a blast!
 We had one of my favorite math lessons this morning.  We talked about above/over and below/under.  It's the one day that I tell them to stand on a table or chair and they think they've won the lottery! We do it over and over.  I say, "Make your body be OVER a table or chair." They all scramble to a new location and we raise our hand over our heads and say "Over! Over!" Then repeat with under/below and above.  So much fun!
 This afternoon was awesome!  We had great reading lessons and even got a jump start in learning the sight word "my".  Our math was so much fun because we quickly reviewed all of Comparing and Classifying objects and were able to move on to graphing.
 We practiced our cutting today by making "spider webs" or anything each child wanted to make out of coffee filters.  We finished up our lessons early enough that we spent the last 10 minutes outside.  Wasn't the weather beautiful?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Helpful Kids and Caterpillars

We had such a great time in preschool yesterday morning.  We spent the morning reading "The Little Red Hen" and making bread together.  Everyone got to put an ingredient in the mixer...
 Then they all rolled their own dough, put it in their pan and I put it in the oven.  
 It cooked while we continued our lesson about being Bucket Fillers and helpful kids.  We played with the kitchen toys after decorating our buckets and ended the day with a taste of yummy bread!
Afternoon preschool has really taken off with their reading!  I'm so glad that we have arrived at a place where kids can be actively working and playing while we do all our different reading groups.  We read Amazing Action Alphabet mini books, Bob Books and our Encyclopedias. 
 We've mastered the game "Guess My Secret Rule" and are ready to move on in math a bit earlier than expected, yay!  We had a great time reading and drawing about the life cycle of a caterpillar. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Preschool 10-8-14

Today our morning class enjoyed bubbles!  We had a fantastic time making our letter B crowns from the Moffatt Girls.  We made them because on Monday sweet Little S asked if we could.  I didn't have them in the plans but made room for them today.  We worked on identifying the lowercase b by folding our fingers on our left hand in with the thumb sticking out.  When looking at your hand it resembles the letter b.  This will come in very "handy" (hehe) when we talk about letter d.  We talked about how we read a book appropriately.  Slowly sound out the word, then go back and read the word fast.  Move to the next word followed by the next, etc.  When you get to the period you stop and go back to read the whole sentence fluently.  
 After snack time we went outside for art.  We had a blast with the Amazing Action Alphabet activity page.  We do it slightly differently from the instructions as I've never had success with them.  Rather, we pour a small amount of food coloring and bubbles into a small container, pass out bubble wands and try to blow bubbles to land on the paper.  They turn out really cute.  During math today we talked about the descriptors "heavy" and "light".  We played with a light balloon and a heavy weight.  The kids were so funny.  When handed the weight they responded, "This is light!" and proceeded to lift it up over their heads.  I guess on Monday we'll have to up the weight to the 5 pound set :).
 This afternoon we continued our lessons on letter H.  H is tricky because there is no sound in the throat, only air.  We discovered as we were reading together that many kids have memorized the text.  That is a fantastic first reading skill.  HOWEVER, it is very important that for each of the three reads you are doing at home for homework you spend time sounding out the words on page 2 of each book.  Many of the kids could read me the book but couldn't sound out the words.  Check the blog posts about blending, watch the video, and recreate that at home with each word on page 2 of every book you practice.
 Our math time was filled with the game "Guess My Secret Rule" and the kids did a fantastic job making sets and then asking their friends which one doesn't match.  After snack time we worked in our Amazing Action Alphabet Level 2 Handwriting Book.  I was super impressed that so many of the kids were holding their pencils correctly.  They were also getting better at writing their names.  Keep up the great work!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bears and Bats and Helpful Kids

Preschool had a fantastic time learning the letter B this morning.  We talked about bears and bats and read oodles of books about them.  We were able to split into reading groups to work in smaller groups on our reading for the first time today.  The kids not working with me got to "read" the books about bears and bats to a sock monkey. 
We practiced with our letter cards during reading today.  You'll find them in their binder in a Ziploc baggy.  You can play with them like we did (identify name and sound) or you can play Making Words with them.  Find the Making Words instructions on the bubble making words homework.
 During art we painted toilet paper rolls and made bears and bats.  They turned out super cute!
 This afternoon we were very busy with reading and I had left my camera upstairs.  I'm short on pictures of the day but we were not short on learning!  We learned about letter H as we talked about doctors, loosing teeth and not sharing germs.  We also talked about being helpful kids.  We read all about being a "Bucket Filler" in a few different books and then put a classroom bucket into action.  Our classroom bucket hangs on a wall and when kids do things that fill a bucket they are given a pompom.  When they distract from class or make a sad choice they go get a pompom out of the bucket and return it to me.  It was a great activity!   All the kids have a bucket they've taken home with them.  I encourage you to try it for a while!
We spent time working in our reading groups as well, each practicing at their own level.  Look in their binder for the new book today and work on reading that 3x a day (minimum).  Especially work on sounding out the words on the second page.  It's harder when it's not in an order they have memorized and really challenges them to do all the things that good readers do.

In math today we started "Guess My Secret Rule".  With 3 blocks having a matching attribute and 1 block not matching we ask our friend, "What block doesn't match?"  When they answer we ask, "Why?"  Some of the responses to "why?" may include: color, shape, size, or thickness.  You can play this game with a bucket of play kitchen items (3 spoons and a fork for example).  It gets more difficult with the attribute blocks that we use in class but the most important part of the game is being able to verbalize "Why?"

Friday, October 3, 2014

At The Fire Station

We had a fantastic time visiting the fire station!  Thank you so much to the men and women who showed us around, let us examine the truck, hold the hose and watch a fireman suit up.  I was most impressed with the individuals at this station for their patience and ease in dealing with our big group of (mostly) littles.  It was a great experience!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Safety, Salt, Smoke Detectors and Lots of Reading!

What a fantastic day of learning!  We had so much fun this morning with "Fireman Sam" (the hand puppet) as the teacher of the class.  He helped us review our letters, read us stories about firemen, helped us read and even showed us the smoke detector.  It was loud when it beeped, but now we know what it is for and what it sounds like!  We had tons of fun playing in trays of salt during art time.  We discussed "tall" and "short" during math and drew in our journals about what we learned today.  It was so much fun!
 Preschool B took reading to heart today as we practiced our new game "Making Words" as a class.  It's a great activity in the Bubbles extension pack if you need a printable.  We are practicing blending from one sound to the next in our reading.  We also found an interesting page in our encyclopedia and pointed out the names and sounds of the letters to our sock monkeys.  We read one-on-one with Miss Amanda today and each child is doing fantastic.  Not to be outdone by the morning class, we also played with salt today and it always amazes me how much they LOVE this activity and how long they are fully engaged in it.
Happy learning!  We'll see you all on Monday!