Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I love school outside!

We had a fantastic time outside today.  I love doing school outside and am so glad the weather finally cooperated.  With the new setup of the backyard (new patio and walkway with some new storage furniture pieces) all the kids are completely independent at getting out the toys and tools they want and putting them away.  Yay!  They had tons of fun playing in the sandbox, climbing the climbing wall and "feeding" the horse dandelions. 
 We worked on our letter Z and reading the Amazing Action Alphabet mini reader book.  We're doing excellent at blending those sounds together.  I love that they are self correcting their b's and d's and making their best efforts to read with me!
 This afternoon we had a super awesome lesson about digraphs.  We learned the digraph /ch/ today because it was prominent in our baggy book story.  It is so fun to start teaching slightly more advanced phonics and see the world of reading open up more and more to them.  I love that we had our lesson and then they were able to take their work pages and find a place in the yard to work.  The variety of work spaces was fun.  Who knew 3 girls could fit on that little yellow bench?
 Along with super reading (we practiced using all of our reading strategies) we also worked on counting to 100 by ones and by tens.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Zoo and Guided Reading

This morning we had so much fun learning the letter Z with our Zoo theme.  We had the blow up zoo animals and the animal masks out for some run play.  We read a book called ZooBorns that was super cute, and there were plenty of words that we could read.  Our Amazing Action Alphabet mini book for the letter Z was a fun one to read about a monkey named Liz.
 We practiced our handwriting in our Amazing Action Alphabet handwriting book and even did stamps of zoo animals for art time.  Today we learned the numeral 9 and worked on all the numerals by having our zoo animals jump on the mats the correct number of times.
This afternoon we had an AMAZING guided reading lesson with the whole group based on a book about zoo animals.  We talked about more reading strategies and what we can do when the words are tricky.  We discussed punctuation and practiced using periods, question marks and exclamation marks.  Then we read our books to ourselves utilizing the strategies as we got stuck.  We also worked on a decodable reader and our Ready2Read phonics and sight words sets.  All the kids were super on task and so much fun to read with today that we didn't get to math.  We did, however get writing and art into our reading lessons, so I call it a win!  Great work kiddos!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

This morning in preschool A we had a great time learning about plants.  And how fitting that it fell on Earth Day.  We talked about the parts of plants that we eat (a review) and then had oranges for snack time.  I love having the preschoolers peel their own oranges.  They feel so proud of themselves when they are successful.
 After snack we dissected seeds.  The key to this is to soak large beans (I use large white beans) overnight and then let the kids take them apart. There is the skin, the food (cotyledon), and the baby plant inside each seed.  It's fun to let them discover this.  Then we moved on to art where we made pictures of plants and labeled them with their parts.
At the end of the day we reviewed numeral 7 and introduced numeral 8 on the TouchMath app.

This afternoon we had a fantastic lesson about reading strategies.  We talked about how we're really good at all the things that good readers do (look, point, listen, say sounds).  Now we need strategies to help us when words are harder than the basic phonics we know.  Each child now has a flip book of reading strategies in their baggy book to help them when they get stuck.  If they ask you what a word is in their book turn the question back to them and ask what strategies they have used to try and figure it out.
 Our reading lesson moved into a lesson about cement patios as the cement truck (finally) pulled up and there was a group of men working on pouring a patio in the back.
We continued our lessons with work on decomposing numbers and counting to 100.  We're working on writing numbers to 100 and then counting to 100 by tens.

Monday, April 20, 2015


This morning in preschool we had fun talking about the different types of trees and how they change (or don't change) through the seasons.  We drew trees and learned the letter X.  We worked on our super fun X book "Max" from the Amazing Action Alphabet.  We did leaf rubbing pictures and learned the number 7.
This afternoon in preschool we had a really fun lesson about our reading strategies (what we can do when we're reading and we are stuck).  We worked on utilizing those strategies in new guided reading books that are a bit trickier for us.  In art today we made our own puzzles.  They were super fun and are REALLY hard to put back together.  We continued our work on numerals and the 100 chart.  Today we also started talking a little about comparing numerals with "greater than", "less than" and "equal to". 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers

This morning in preschool we talked about April Showers.  We talked all about the water cycle and used our recent experience of being wet on Monday and drying in the sun to talk about evaporation.  We acted out the water going up to the sky, making a cloud, and then raining down on us.  We reviewed the letters we've already learned and talked about numerals up to 6.
 This afternoon we worked on our constructing numbers game and started a couple kids on the numerals 50-100.  I did one-on-one assessments to determine which kids were ready for more in reading and math.  Math will keep us on the 100 chart for the next few weeks at least.  Many kids are ready to attack non-decodable texts now in their guided reading groups so we'll be able to move forward and have guided reading groups more similar to what they'll experience in Kindergarten classrooms.  Great learning today!

Mud and Worms - Preschool B

Seriously!  How many times can I crash my photo collage software?  Oiy!  There are so many cute pictures I want to share with you.  I'm sorry it has taken me so long, I had to walk away.

Anyway, mud and worms was so much fun with the 4 year old class.  There was no hesitation to jump in and get muddy or immediately start a mud kitchen.  I had to prompt the 3 year old class to make mud pies, but these guys just got started.  
There is hardly any explanation necessary from this point on...

 This was really cool - we found a piece of dirt that had some well preserved worm holes that we were able to investigate.  Since the morning class had already picked out most of the worms from the swimming pool we soaked some out of the ground by the chicken coop and were able to watch the water circling around and down a few worm holes like drains.

This kind of hands on learning is my favorite.  It makes much more sense when you can get in and get dirty with a concept.  Yay for fun and messy learning!

Mud and Worms - Preschool A

After sorting through 300 pictures and then crashing my photo collage software, I finally have the photos to share from Mud and Worms day.  This is one of my favorite days of school.  I shovel some dirt from the garden into a swimming pool.  Then we search for all the worms we can find in it.
 We read about worms and learn about their characteristics and how they help the earth.  And then we feed the worms to the chickens or put them in a safe home in the garden.
 Then, with the aid of another pool of water, I turn the kids loose to explore...
 There is a lot of working together, playing, and finding even more worms.
 I love the mud kitchens that pop up and the different items kids decide to make.  Today in class they were making cinnamon pancakes (the very large mud mess on the table is the over-sized pancake).
 Eventually, we get all sorts of muddy and parents get to come shower off their own kiddos at the end of the day.  I hook my hose up to my shower so it's a warm shower off - that helps keep the worn out kiddos from falling apart.   It's such a fantastic day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Preschool A had a fun morning learning all about fruit.  We sorted fruit by color, picked our favorites and added them to our journals.  We practiced our letter V and the funny lip vibration sound it makes.  We had fruit for snack time and many kids tried kiwi fruit for the first time.  Yum!
 We had a great time learning the numeral 4 and practicing counting the TouchPoints on the TouchMath app.  It's an easy way to visually and physically count representations to remember the numeral.  We also spent the last 15 minutes playing outside in the lovely weather, I love this time of year!
 This afternoon we started outside but it got too chilly and we came in to continue our work in comfort.  We read some of "Pippi Longstocking" and had fun conversations about all the silly things she does.  We drew and wrote about our favorite parts of the story in our journals.
 We also continued our work on our Constructing Numbers game.  It went home as homework - PLEASE play it at home AND RETURN it on WEDNESDAY (mud and worms Monday, so keep it a couple extra days to practice).  We'll add numbers 51-99 for kids who are ready for it on Wednesday.  We also worked on our guided reading groups and Ready2Read lessons.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Vegetables and Constructing Numbers

This morning we had a super fun time playing with the kitchen toys and talking all about vegetables.  We learned the letter V and made sure our sound was /v/ and not /vu/.  Try to practice isolating the sound when you teach letter sounds to kids, it will help them in their future reading.  We ate three different types of vegetables for snack time and talked about 3 servings of vegetables each day helps keep our bodies healthy.
 We also learned the numeral 3 today.  We had tons of fun playing with the TouchMath counting app.  A great one for basic recognition of numerals up to 9.  We played with the texture numeral cards and got to jump on the floor numeral mats.  You can find a lot of fun TouchMath ideas here.
This afternoon in preschool B we continued working on Constructing Numbers.  We're using unifix cubes to build the numbers up to 50.  Our focus is on understanding the tens and the units (ones) position in the number.  It's helping us be able to say the numeral if we don't know it (build it, count it) and it's helping us sort out our teens issues.  It seems that the teen numbers are always the hardest to master, they don't follow any of the rules of the higher numbers (like stating the tens before the units).
 We also worked on our guided reading lessons with baggy books and Ready2Read.  I'm loving the "Now I'm Reading" sets that we are using right now to help us solidify sounding out short vowel words.  We're also working in level 2 and B to practice utilizing other strategies like "beginning sound" and "picture clues" to help us figure out what the word says.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Planting Seeds, Constructing Numbers and Enjoying Spring

I LOVE when the Planting Seeds theme falls on a warm spring day.  It makes it so much nicer for me to clean up.  We spent the morning cutting out pictures from seed catalogs and gluing them in our notebooks.  We also used liquid glue to make seed pictures and we practiced our letters on the big outdoor chalkboards.
 We got VERY muddy when we got to work planting our very own pea plants.  We had to squish the soil with the water and then fill our little pots with it.  Then we planted our peas and enjoyed playing in the yard.
 This afternoon we spent a chunk of time learning about our "Constructing Numbers" game.  It's a download from and I LOVE using it with my 4 year old class.  There are cards with the numerals on it and hidden pictures of the blocks.  The kids make their representation of the numerals in the tens and ones boxes and then can self check to see if they made it correctly by lifting the flap.
 We then were able to go outside and do our group reading lesson of "Biscuit in the Garden".  We love reading Biscuit books and I'm so proud of these kids for being able to read the majority of the book by themselves.  We had a little time at the end and the kids created "Rainbow Power" where they got power by putting chalk on their skin.  I had stepped inside to put books in folders and came back to colorful children.  What fun!