Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Digging for Dinosaurs

Wow!  What a great day of school!  The kids loved playing in the indoor sandbox and digging for dinosaurs.  We read the "Magic Tree House" dinosaurs book while they dug away the sand and "found" dinosaur bones.  There was quite a bit of digging and building and dinosauring happening this morning.
 We used the hole punches to decorate our dancing letter D and cut out sandpaper to make dinosaur bodies in our journals. It was a great day of learning!
 This afternoon we worked diligently in our guided reading groups and on our Ready2Read work.  The kids are doing fantastic with their reading.  I'm very impressed with their skills.
 We read "The Kiss that Missed" and drew our favorite parts in our journals.  We included words to describe our pictures and every one of them did a great job at sounding out the word(s) they wanted to write and wrote the letters.  Great work!
We finished our unit about coins today.  Now they know the 4 main coins, a little about them and what they're worth.  It's more of an introductory lesson that will be reintroduced in Kindergarten math. We ended the day with some fun in the sandbox.  What a great day!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dancing and Amazing Peaceful Learning

This morning our preschool A spent their time here talking about letter D and dancing.  We danced for 2 hours of our 2.5 hours together.  My pedometer read that I had taken 3000 steps in those 2.5 hours.  I generally manages around 1k each class.  We were moving!  And there were so many cute pictures I could hardly pick and choose.  So, here's the breakdown.  We danced.  We ate snack. We read our D book.  We danced some more. We made patterns.  Check out the cute pics!

This afternoon was amazing!  Perhaps it was because the tables were put in the other room still and we did our reading lessons on the floor.  Everyone got their lessons done quickly, I read with each child and we were through our work in record time!  Remember to read with your child tonight and tomorrow (practice the W Amazing Action Alphabet mini book and/or review the Ready2Read pages).
 After we finished our reading lessons I read "How I Became a Pirate" to the class.  We orally did a 5 finger retell of the book and then wrote our own book reports about our favorite part.  Then we got to share our reports with everyone.
 We had snack, got to play outside, learned about dimes and then played music and had free time to play with blocks and dolls.  It was a fantastic day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nursery Rhymes and Elephants!

This morning in preschool we talked, actually sang, all about Nursery Rhymes.  When CJ was a newborn, I learned from a dear coworker that teaching children nursery rhymes before kindergarten was of the greatest importance to her.  She was the most fantastic kindergarten teacher I'd ever met and I want to make sure that these kids know their nursery rhymes.  That's why we sing them every week and have a few days each year dedicated to only doing nursery rhymes.  Sing and say them at home with your little ones to reinforce language skills that will help them as they grow and develop.  
In math today we went back to the unifix cubes to attempt to make AAB patterns. It's amazing how complex this idea is to preschoolers.  Please be patient with them at home as they clarify the information about the difference between ABAB and AABAAB.  Practice, practice, practice to make it easier!
 This afternoon our letter focus was letter E and boy did we have fun with it.  We had the blow up elephants and the circus tent out.  We played with all the animal masks and puppets and read "Hiccups for Elephant".  We had a fantastic time.  We moved forward with the Ready2Read program, drew pictures and wrote words in our journals and learned about pennies and nickels. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review Day 1-14-2015

We had so much fun this morning in Preschool A.  We continued practice on our name writing pages and they are looking so fantastic!  Once we had practiced our names a few times we also worked in the Amazing Action Alphabet Handwriting 1 book and did a trace and cut assessment page.  We had tons of fun working on our letter N book at the SmartBoard and learning that an exclamation point means that the sentence is yelled (I apologize in advance for them yelling "NO!" at the end of each page, I was trying to make a point :) ). 
 We also continued our work on ABAB patterns.  Our tool of choice today was colored chips.  We made long snakes in our patterns and then mixed them up and did it again.  We utilized to practice the piano on the SmartBoard because it gave me the ability to circle sets of 2 black keys and 3 black keys and write on the page "A" and "B" above certain notes to practice making musical patterns.
 This afternoon we worked hard in our Ready2Read program.  What you can't tell from the pictures is that my house, and the children, were all covered in glitter by the end of reading.  Glitter certainly makes learning sight words that much more fun!  Four kids passed off their units and moved on to more sight words and word families.  They really like when the whole class cheers for them, it's so cute.  Writing today was tons of fun.  I read "Alice the Fairy" by David Shannon aloud to the class.  Then we did a 5 finger retell as a group.  We each shared our favorite part of the story and then we went to work drawing and writing about that part in the book.
 The kids really enjoyed math today because it involved playdough.  We made the playdough together and then worked on making our 3D shapes with it.  Today was the last day of 3D shapes since we'll be working on coins for the rest of the month.  Please point out spheres, cubes, pyramids, cones and cylinders to your kids as often as possible.  This is important vocabulary.
What a great day of learning!  Enjoy Monday off for MLK Day!  See everyone Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Manners and what was supposed to be Karate...

Yesterday in preschool we had a fantastic time talking about manners, though manners may not be the appropriate word to describe it.  We talked about what good behavior should look like and practiced making the "/n/ /n/ /n/" sound at "David" the book character from "No, David!".  The kids loved it!  Our sight word for the week is "no".  Please read them the book "No, David!", you'll find it in their binders.  While you are reading PLEASE let them read the word "NO" every time you come to it.  You'll also find the word "I" and the word "the" (I think) that they can read as well.  We'll work on the letter N Amazing Action Alphabet book tomorrow in class.

We also spent a great deal of time talking about how to write our names.  It's our goal to have the 3 year old class writing their names by Valentine's.  That's just a month away!  Be sure to practice EVERY day!  Sometimes it works better to use a wet erase marker on the lamination because they have such a fine tip, if you need one please let me know - I have a stash and would happily share.  One of the things we spent a lot of time on was the shape and size of each letter in our name.  Trying to see the shapes of the letters in order to draw them.  There is a great app called iWriteWords (no I'm not paid by them or anything, but if they want to contact me I'd happily give away a copy of their awesome app to a reader on my blog).  Anyway, if you have a device that you let your kids play on, consider installing the app and improving their handwriting skills at the same time.
Wow.  Certainly a lot happened in school yesterday.  We also had the great opportunity to paint with nail polish yesterday.  It's a super fun activity for the kids to practice painting and putting lids on and taking them off.  We only had one bottle drop and explode, phew!  I've already cleaned up with nail polish remover and I'm happy to have all the nail polish given away to preschool families so I can move past this activity in my house. Once again ... phew!
 This afternoon was a whirlwind of reading.  It was the type of day where we never got to our theme (Karate) and only got the bare bones done.  We are doing a little rearranging and with everyone's help (ahem...homework) we'll get into a better spot where I don't have to do 6 different lessons for 8 kids.  We practiced the letter K and worked on reading our Amazing Action Alphabet K book, we began Ready2Read Level 1, we continued work in Ready2Read, we ran around the house like crazies for a few minutes after snack and we drew pictures in our journals while I chatted with adults after class.  There is so much learning going on at this stage of these awesomely absorbent brains that I simply can't fit it all into our short time together each week.  Thanks for enabling your kids to reach great potential by supporting their learning explorations at home!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Moms and Interest Led Learning

We talked all about Moms this morning in preschool.  Since we're practicing the letter O spelling "Mom" is a perfect and engaging activity for preschoolers.  We discussed how we are all fantastic readers and we do all the things that good readers do.  We use our eyes to look at the letters, our fingers go point to the letter we are reading, our lips to say the letter sounds and our ears to hear the letters in words.  Some kids also started utilizing "Baggy Books".  Baggy Books are simply books that belong to me and I loan to kids to read and return.  I use a freezer ziplock bag so the books don't get ruined from snow or a leaking waterbottle.  It helps them come back in one piece.
 We enjoyed drawing pictures of our moms for art today and then we wrote the word "mom".  The pictures turned out so cute!  We continued our lessons on patterns and worked on playing an ABAB pattern on a set of 2 black keys on the piano keyboard.  If you have a piano at home please let your child explore patterns on the keys.  If you don't have a piano at home you can use a computer at or a touchscreen device (such as a smart phone or tablet) and the app "Tiny Piano".
 We transferred our new knowledge about patterns to unifix cubes (or at least attempted it).
This afternoon was chalk full of interest led learning.  Upon arrival we pulled out our encyclopedias and found topics that were interesting to us.  Then I pulled up and found matching books for each topic.  Each child then took their yellow marker and marked the words they know how to read.  Apparently I need to do a little more instruction on this step, since many kids marked many words that they can't actually read :).
 Then we pulled up clips of information on the SmartBoard about each topic.  Afterwards we drew pictures and wrote about what we were learning in our journals.  Then each child took a turn presenting their reading, drawings and writing to the class.
The reading took the majority of the day, but we did get to discuss 3D shapes again today.  We reviewed the sphere (which we learned on Monday as being a ball shape rather than a flat circle) and we talked about cubes compared to squares.  We counted faces of the cubes, we compared what would roll better and what shape would be better for stacking.  Then we built towers out of the cubes.
It was a fantastic day of learning!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Opera and Vehicles

What a fantastic morning of school! We started the day off working on writing our names.  It is a goal for all of my 3 year olds to be able to write their name by mid February with the final push being writing their names for their Valentine cards.  If your child can write their first name already go ahead and start working on the last name.  If they can't write their name yet, start with the first letter and practice it over and over.  Then add the second letter and practice those two in a row over and over.  Repeat the process until they can write their name.  Then we worked on the letter O and sang along to "Carmen" (an opera) with the /o/ sound.
 We had a fun snack of sweet peppers and popcorn and then moved onto art.  It was great fun to paint with corn syrup!  I love how shiny the pictures look.  We also got to play the piano a little bit, looking at groups of 2 black keys and 3 black keys.  We finished up our graphing unit today with a little cut and paste activity.  The kids did great!  Now we are ready to move onto patterning! 
 This afternoon was a ton of fun as well.  I think my favorite part was when they were telling their own jokes at snack time.  They were jokes like, "Why did the chicken cross the cow?  Because a bird held popcorn in its face!"  They were completely hilarious!

We got right into reading today, practicing the letter R with the Amazing Action Alphabet mini book.  The kids are doing fantastic at sounding out the words.  We also played with cars, trucks and blocks to go along with the vehicles theme.
 We found a page all about vehicles in our encyclopedia and marked all the words that each child should be able to read completely on their own.  Hopefully at home you are companion reading these pages and reading all of the hard words for them and letting them read the marked words.
For math we learned all about spheres.  We talked about how circles are flat and spheres are shaped like balls.  We had a few ramps set up in the room and experimented with rolling spheres and circles down the ramps.  It was super awesome!  During art time we drew pictures and added words.  This seems like a simple activity, but it should be done LOTS at this stage.  The spelling doesn't have to be correct, the grammar doesn't need to be correct, they just need to see themselves as writers writing letters to match their pictures.  If you child has the opportunity to draw at home please encourage them to add words to match.  When they ask you to spell a word ask them what sound it starts with and encourage them to write the sounds they hear.

What a fantastic day!  I look forward to seeing everyone again on Wednesday!