Monthly Archives: November 2009

red yellow orange

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So this week we’re learning about orange.  Yes, we are still in our farm theme – but it’s fall so I put this mini unit into the mix.  This past weekend I made a batch of yellow and a batch of red playdough.  As you’ve probably guessed, we are mixing the two together to get orange.  I give each child a little ball of yellow and a little ball of red and just let them play – most mix the colors, a few choose not to.  However, the color is coming out more of a red-orange then a true orange.  I should have made a batch and a half of yellow and a half batch of red because as it stands now the red is overpowering the yellow.  Oh well, I’ll have to mental-note that for next year.

Another activity we did was I put a squirt of yellow and a squirt of red paint into a small zip-lock sandwich baggie, sealed it, and gave one to each child to squish around.  After a bunch of manipulation we discovered that the two colors mixed and made orange!  Some children told me they already knew that would happen – but I could tell that for a lot of them it was a new discovery!  I loved the looks on some of their faces when they saw the color changing!

One of the last activities we’ve done so far this week is painting with yellow and red.  I put some red and yellow on a large piece of white construction paper and give them a paintbrush.  Almost every child mixed their paints and painted until their entire paper was covered in orange!  Then, when their painting was finished I put a strip of paper in the middle that read “Red + Yellow = Orange” – which made the kids excited because they had a “real” math problem on their paper!  (We had talked about the “+” and “=” signs as a group beforehand when we did the paint in the baggies and I wrote it on the board)

So far, a good start to our week!  🙂

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sniffles, sneezes, and coughs

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With cold and flu season bearing it’s ugly head again, we’ve been trying to remind the children how we cover our coughs and sneezes and how we wash our hands correctly.  I’ve had a few children out all week sick, and with the H1N1 Virus spreading, I don’t want to take any chances.

We have taught the children that once they put soap on their hands they have to rub the soap and scrub the whole time they sing “Happy Birthday”.   When the song is over they can put their hands under the water and continue rubbing and scrubbing until all the soap is rinsed off.  Some have got the hang of this – others have not.  But, I’ve got to say it’s very funny hearing the children sing “Happy Birthday” at the top of their lungs in the bathroom!  LOL  And I’ve gotten some strange looks from other teachers!  But that doesn’t bother me – I just want to keep the germs to a minimum!

I’ve also been sanitizing and washing the toys and furniture in my room. With kids out sick, I might as well clean the items the children use all the time.  Ms. Bennet and I have also had colds within the past few weeks – and I for one would just like to feel good again!

our barn

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barnIn honor of our Farm Theme I have transformed our playhouse into a barn.  I have use a very large cardboard box to make a barn.  I have no idea what this box was used for – all I know is that it came from a body shop.  I believe at one time it might possibly have housed a hood for a car.  It’s been painted red with white on the doors.  Windows have also been cut into the sides.  I use a combination of duck tape and staples on the ends that touch the walls to make it stand up.  It’s in one corner of our room and big enough for 4 children to lie down inside!  It’s really awesome!  The playhouse clothes are overalls and cowboy hats (all acquired at thrift stores or the goodwill) and the baby dolls have been switched out for small scarecrow dolls.  I even have two of those horse head things on a stick (totally can’t think of the names of those things right now!) – the kids love to play in the playhouse and pretend to live and/or work on a farm!  Parents, teachers, and children alike seemed impressed!  And what fun time we have in our big red barn! 🙂

I got this idea from another teacher – and a friend sent me the picture!  Excuse the crappy cell phone pic – this is what the other teachers looked like – I don’t have a picture of mine but I pretty much copied it exactly!

trees

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This week we are working on sequencing the life of an oak tree.  This is kinda review for them as we have already talked about the life cycle of an apple tree last week.  First I go over this paper with the class (and then again when they come to the table to do this activity) – I love that it uses photographs!  Then, when they come to the table and we review the sequence, I give the child this paper and have them cut out the pictures.  Then they glue the pictures to a piece of construction paper in the correct order.  I have to thank Karen over at PreKinders for these awesome printables!

I am surprised how well my kids do cutting out these pictures!  I know we’ve been snipping, cutting playdough, and doing a few other cutting activities – but in the back of my mind I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to cut out these pictures.  Boy, was I surprised!  I don’t expect them to cut exactly on the lines – that wouldn’t be realistic for a 4 year old – but many of them came really close!  It always makes me happy when I get surprised by how much they have progressed!  🙂

turkeys

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Today I cut out turkey shapes and gave the children multicolored feathers and glue so they could decorate them!  They look very cute!  I’m gonna hang them from the ceiling on Thursday and I think they will give a nice splash of color to the room!  Feathers is a medium we don’t work with a whole lot – so the children were very excited!  They played with the feathers as they did their art – so it took a little longer than normal and we’ll have to finish them up on Thursday!  🙂

I’m a big believer in not telling children how to do art.  I usually set out the supplies and let them do whatever they want.  Of course I have an idea of what I’d like them to do – but I don’t force anything on them.  If I want a certain shape I usually just cut the paper into that shape before hand.  If I only want certain colors, I only put those paints (or markers or crayons, etc) out to choose from – but I never tell a child how or where to put something on their paper.  They write their name on the back (unless they want it on the front – which is rare).

I walked into another class this evening before I left and they too had made turkeys this week.  They too had used multicolored feathers.  The difference?  The teacher did the art for the children.  How could I tell?  This was a class of 3 year olds, and all the turkeys only had 6 feathers each on them nicely outlining the tail of the turkey.  I know, having worked with this age group, that if they were allowed to do this project on their own, feathers would have been plastered all over those turkeys!  My class is a year older and that’s what most of my kids did!  I thought it was sad how this experience had been taken away from the children because the teacher was more concerned about the end product instead of the creative process. My only consolation is that next year these kids will be in my class and they will finally be able to have the freedom to express themselves!  🙂

the dentist

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A visitor came to our class this week – a dentist.  He gave a 15 minute presentation to the kids complete with pictures, demonstrations, props, and even gave a little goodie bag to each child.  The children were excited to learn that at this age they each have around 20 teeth!  Some tried to count theirs!  🙂  He showed pictures of various foods and asked the children if they thought the food was good or bad for teeth.  I was proud that they got them all correct!  He also had a set of false teeth and showed us how to properly brush and floss.  He brought in a giant tooth with holes in it and told the children about cavities and the importance of brushing.  He even had a set of teeth in clear acrylic to show the children how their permanent teeth are tucked up into their gums waiting for their baby teeth to move out-of-the-way – even I found that cool!  It was a really good presentation and the children came away very excited!

apples

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Well – I’m back!  After a ton of computer issues over the past week – I’m finally back online and back on my blog!  This week we started our unit on Farms.  At the start of our farm unit I always like to do a couple days on apples – because they are being harvested this time of year and because most children are familiar with the fruit.

I teach all the different parts of the apple:  the skin, the core, the seeds, the flesh, and the stem.  We cut them open and look at the different parts.  We smell apples.  We touch them.  We taste them.  I buy red, yellow, and green apples and we compare their tastes, smells, textures, and appearances.  When we’re done, we graph which apple we liked the best and then compare those results.  We count which color had the most people like it and which color had the least.

We sing songs about apples.  We read books about how apples grow and about orchards.  We sequence the life of an apple tree – from seed, to full-grown tree.  And we make apple prints with red, yellow, and green paint to match the color of our apples.  I don’t usually do art with food – it makes me feel guilty because I feel it’s a waste – but every so often I make an exception.

Apple days in my class are always fun for everyone – and it’s a good way to lead in our farm unit!  🙂