Monthly Archives: April 2009

a-hunting we will go

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Today we spent a wonderful day outside.  After reading and talking about bugs for a month I decided to take the children outside in search of the real thing!  They loved every second.  Scince we don’t actually have any nature on the premisis we had to use our buildings flower beds.  For those of you who don’t know, I work at a preschool located in and operated by a church and they maintain very nice flower beds.  The children were super excited and loved searching for insects – they were also very respectful of all the plantings.  We saw spiders, snails, ants, flies, a ladybug, a roly ploy, a moth, and more.

Everything was going along smoothly until Ms. Lezze-Faire’s boss came out and told us that the children were not allowed inside the flower beds!  No excuses!  Bummer.  I don’t see what the big deal was…but we complied.  Searching for insects wasn’t quite as fun after that but we made do with what we had.  After we finished looking for insects we stayed outside and played Red Light,  Green Light.  This was a new game for them but they caught on quckly and loved it!  They were even playing it on the playground this afternoon.  A fun filled day for all!

bright spots

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Oh, what a day!  I can honestly say I’m glad it’s over!  This morning was quite hectic and we got way behind schedule!  I was still optimistic about the children making their own books…but in the end it didn’t work out.  Ms. Bennet and I had to clean up three different children after three different accidents!  We had a little girl just stand in the middle of the room and wet her pants.  She didn’t even ask to go potty.  It doesn’t help that our entire room is carpeted.  So one of us had to clean her and the other had to clean the floor.  We also had two children get sick and vomit today.  Once again, one of us cleaned the floor while the other cleaned the children.

I did observe some bright spots amidst the chaos today.  We had Lego’s out and all the children playing with them started making Lego cell phones – with antennas.  They started “calling” each other and having long conversations about where they were going and what they were going to do.  Then all of a sudden one little boy started yelling into his phone, “I can hear your speaker phone all the way over here!  You need to turn that thing down!”  I almost started laughing!  He repeated it two time until she responded to him, “I can’t turn it down or I won’t be able to hear you!”  He looked very annoyed by her answer.  Then another girl said, “Mine won’t turn off – this button won’t work!”  She was “pushing” a button on her phone over and over again.  It was too cute – I love seeing them use their imaginations!

Later on the playground I was very proud of my girls when I observed two of them playing with a car.  They were sitting each other pushing the car back and forth between them.  Then another girl from our class came up and said, “Can I please play too?”  The response she got was, “You have to ask Kitten, she had the car first.”  So she asked Kitten and got a quick nod, and the three of them started playing.  A few minutes after that two more girls from our class came up to the group and one of them said, “Please can we play with you guys?”  And they soon joined the group.  A little while later 3 more girls from our class came up and sat down to watch the game.  Then one of them said, “Kitten, can we please play your game?”  After Kitten said yes, all the girls joined the circle and there they sat pushing the car around from girl to girl.  I was very proud that they had all used their manners and could take turns and share so nicely!  I was also secretly happy that the other teachers on the playground saw this too – it’s not impossible to teach young children manners – it just takes patience and persistence!

becoming authors?

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I don’t allow my children to bring toys to school.  They are, however, allowed to bring books.  So, everyday I have at least 4 books to read that the children have brought in…but I don’t mind.  Usually they bring books they’ve gotten from our Scholastic book orders.  Today was different.  Today a child brought a book in for me to read that she made!  Her dad wrote down the words and she drew all the pictures!  It was too cute!  All the children loved the idea!

Since it was right before lunch, I told them that tomorrow I would staple together some small books and they could ask us to help them write the words while they drew the pictures.  I told them I would even read them to the class when they were done.  This got them really excited!  I hope they’re still this excited tomorrow when I remind them of the activity!  I would love for my class have the confidence to see themselves as authors!  That would be great! So, we’ll see how it goes tomorrow – I’m excited!

bargins

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What teacher does just love a dollar store?!  I have found such great finds in our local Dollar Tree – from art supplies to toys to storage baskets!  I also find a lot of my playhouse clothes and great books in local thrift stores and Goodwill’s – great items and low prices!  I would love to hear if any of you out there have found great items at a dollar or thrift store and how you use them!  Sometimes I find great items but don’t buy them because I can’t quite figure out what I would use them for. Either that or I leave them because I don’t have any place to store them when they aren’t in my classroom!  I have officially run out of storage in my home and classroom!  😦

My most recent find was a ladybug and worm that start out small but grow when you put them in water.  So, I put them in clear plastic containers so we could observe how they change.  The children are getting a kick out of watching them grow!  The good thing is the package says if you take them out again they will shrink back to their original size and then they can be reused – this is great to hear because now for an investment of $2 I can use these year after year until they stop working!  Awesome!

Next week I think we’ll walk around the grounds of our building (lets hope Ms. Lezze-Faire says yes) in search of insects to observe…I’m sure the children will get a kick out of that!  Not quite as cool a walk around the neighborhood would be but at this point I’ll take what can get!  The children have been drawing bugs in their journals lately…lots of ladybugs and butterflies.  They even draw the very hungry caterpillar – a green body with a red head – very cool!

I’ve put plastic bugs in the oatmeal table and I die-cut leaves and wrote numbers on them and we’ve used them as counting mats with our bug counters.  I’ve also added large bug stuffed animals that I found around the school to our Jungle (read: playhouse area).  Furthermore, I’ve been reading books about insects and stories that have insects as the main character.  All I need to do is find an art project for next week and I’ll be set….so I’m off to search the web for something good!

musical day

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There was nothing planned today.  Nothing.  Only a blank lesson plan.  I know, kinda sad.  We usually have an art project going and various centers open and the children play and create things during our morning.  I didn’t feel like that today.  So, today we did music – which the children loved!  Don’t get me wrong, I try to do a little music each day – but not like we did it today.  Today we used our musical instruments and dancing ribbons.  Unfortunately, this isn’t something we do a lot.  They are stored in a cupboard and I tend to forget we have them.  But not today – today they came out on all their glory!

The children had a blast dancing with the ribbons and playing instruments.  I liked watching how some children tried to move their bodies differently to get the ribbons to move a certain way.  And I loved the way the children with the instruments paraded around the class as if they were in a band.  They really enjoyed themselves…and so did I.  This entertained them for almost an hour!  I was surprised…but happy!

After our musical instruments and dancing ribbons – we continued our musical day by putting in a CD with songs that told us what to do or how to dance.  I like these because it makes the children  listen and think about what they are going to do.  Nice sometimes. Usually for this type of music activity we turn to one of our favorite artists Greg & Steve.  The children love them!   But today we did another CD.  We put in Stephanie Burton’s Wiggle Worm Workout.  This is another CD we love  a lot!  We love the way that almost every song has a different tempo and it isn’t so over-produced that you can’t understand the words.  It’s simple, clear, and fun!  We almost did the entire CD before we had to go to lunch.  This is definitely a CD I would recommend to other teachers.

So, even though today wasn’t planned – everyone still had a good time!  No misbehavior or time-outs the entire morning!  I think it’s a miracle!  Trust me, looking back – I can hardly believe it myself.  But then again, we all know that happy, engaged children don’t really have the need to act out.  Now, on to the weekend…

happy earth day!

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Happy Earth Day everyone!  As you know we’ve been learning about different insects over the past few weeks – and having a great time!  We’ve also been talking about taking care of our environment and all living things on earth.  This is a conversation I try to incorporate into everything theme I can.  I feel it’s very important.  So, again today we talked about the ways to take care of the earth and the creatures in it – I always like the ideas the children are able to bring to the discussion!

After our talk, we walked around the school and picked up any trash we found.  I was surprised and glad that there wasn’t much garbage lying around!  We also talked about reusing items and making them into something different.  I pointed out some of the art we have hanging up that uses toilet paper rolls or egg cartons.  They seemed to get the idea – which pleased me.  Then I told them we were going to use paper plates to make art.  So, with a permanent black marker I drew a spiral in the paper plate – starting in the middle and working out – and we water colored them.  These will turn into snail shells – the children were excited that we were making “rainbow snails” from paper plates!

The fire martial came by our school to make sure all the rooms were safe and I was happy my room passed!  The children literally froze and stared at her when she walked in – they are not used to strangers coming into their space and looking all around!  A couple asked who she was and why she was there – she didn’t answer – she just smiled and ignored their inquiries.  So we told them that she was from the fire department and she was checking our school (and our room) to make sure it was safe and we could get out in case of a fire.  They wanted to know if the fire truck was there – and were disappointed when we told them no!

All in all, a good but busy day!

finally 4!

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Sweetie finally turned 4!  She’s the youngest in my class…and she was sooo excited that she finally turned 4 and she was a “big girl like all her friends”!  She was even more excited to share mini chocolate cupcakes and juice with all her friends at snack this morning!  You would have thought she’d won the lottery!

And she got to wear our class birthday vest and birthday hat and she stood in front of the class as we sang happy birthday to her!  Our birthday vest has balloons on it and our birthday hat is shaped like a cake with candles on top (I got two hats at the Dollar Tree last summer – great find).  Everyone knew it was her birthday and this made her even more excited!

She also got to pick a sticker and pencil from our birthday box.  Our birthday box is a shoebox I wrapped in birthday wrapping paper and I keep our hats, vests, pencils, stickers, and birthday cards (from the teachers) in it – very handy!  I try to make them feel special on thier birthday – after all,  it is the day they were born and it only happens once a year!  I think Sweetie was very happy with her day and I got the feeling she felt very special!

For those of you that might want to purchase a birthday vest or two this is the website I got them from.  I also got two star of the week vests for my leader of the day.  Not incredibly cheap – but well made and totally worth it in my opinion!