Monthly Archives: January 2010

coundown

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My children have been having a harder time this year learning their numbers and counting.  So I’ve used the space unit we’re in to count as much as possible.  One of the activities we did was to order numbers to create a countdown.  I used this sheet to have them practice writing their numbers and I used this paper to help the with their cutting skills and number recognition.  For the first paper I had a number line for them to copy the numbers.  This made it much easier for them to do – I also only had 2 or 3 kids at a time so I could help the ones who needed more guidance.

The second paper we did I let the children cut out their rockets and then once again I helped those that needed more assistance.  I was completely surprised by the number of students who could do this activity almost completely independently!  I was also impressed with how well all my kids could cut!   I didn’t expect them to cut on the lines – but the majority did!

To go along with these countdown activities we learned this:

It’s A Blast

Put on your spacesuit. We’re going to the Moon.
(pretend to step into pants and buckle boots)
Climb aboard your rocket ship.  (pretend to climb inside and shut door)
We’re going to blast off soon.
Put on your helmet.
Strap yourself in tight. (pretend putting on helmets and buckling your safety belt)
Check your controls and instruments.
Get ready for the flight. (pretend to turn on switches)
Time for your journey.
The countdown has begun. (wave and salute)
Here we go, Get ready, Get set!
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
(slowly rise from seated position)
Blast off!
(jump up)

After we jumped up we would pretend to fly around space and land on the moon.  Then we’d slowly walk on the moon, get back in our ship, and land on earth (which basically meant we “landed” on our spots on the carpet to prepare for a story or other sitting activity).  This was also a favorite of the children and they’ve requested it everyday since I introduced it to them!  🙂

planets

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this is not the actual art project...this is a real planet

One of the art projects we did for space was to make our own planets.  I die-cut circles our of white paper towels and then I let the children paint them using liquid watercolors and eye droppers.  They turned  out awesome!  🙂  So bright and colorful!  Once they were dry we glued them black construction paper and put rings around them using glitter.  I love looking at them hanging on the wall!  We’ve gotten many compliments on them!

To go along with our space theme we taught the children a song to help them learn the plant names.  Here’s how it goes:

I Know the Planets to the tune of “Skip to My Lou”.

I know the planets, how about you? I know the planets, how about you? I know the planets, how about you? Lets say the names together!

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars; Jupiter and Saturn among the stars; Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto too; All spin around in space its true!

Everything goes around the sun. Spinning, Spinning everyone! The Earth is ours, it’s number three. Its atmosphere is right for me!

________

The children have really fallen in love with this song and request it all the time!  The parents have even said how surprised they are to hear that their children know the names off all the planets!  And, yes, I know that Pluto is no longer considered a planet – but I still teach it.  I just tell the kids it’s more of a minor planet because it is so small but it is still a part of our solar system.  It’s exiting to see how my children have fallen in love with our space unit!

random acts of reading

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This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for about a week now.  One of the blogs I really enjoy following is My Montessori Journey – I’m not a Montessori teacher but I have incorporated many of her activities into our classroom and the children love them!  If you haven’t read her preschool blog – I recommend you check it out!

At the beginning of the month, she started a new blog, entitled Our Random Acts Of Reading.  When I first read about this, I have to admit I was greatly intrigued.  Her basic concept is the “idea of anonymously leaving children’s books with corresponding activities in public locations for people to discover”.   In this post, she explains where the idea of this blog came from and what she hopes to accomplish.  I must admit, I really admire her for creating and taking on this task.  In this post, she talks a about how to assemble and organize the book packs and activities.  She even has labels to print out of you want to participate (how cool is that?!).  🙂

I really like this idea!  I’m considering making a few book packs and leaving them for people to find!  I also want to bring this to the attention of my co-workers!  I’m a big advocate of reading to children and expanding their interest in the book into an activity!  I encourage all of you out there to check this out and, if possible, get involved!

sculptures

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We don’t have an actual playdough “center” – we just don’t have the room.  So I try to get it out 2 or 3 times a week because I know how much the children LOVE to play with it!  This week I wanted to add something different to the playdough to inspire more imaginative play.  Usually we have cookie cutters, plastic knives, molds – you know, the standard playdough accessories.  I wish I had planned ahead for this – but it was a last minute idea – and so I scrambled around in my room looking for something, anything I could add to the playdough table!  I imagine if anyone had seen me – the sight would have made them at least chuckle to themselves!  lol

After looking through my room, I decided to add feathers, some plastic ocean beads shaped like starfish, seahorses, shells, and fish (yes, I know we’re in a space unit – but this is all I could find), and some glass aquarium (?) rocks (the kind that are flat on the bottom)  – not sure exactly what they are supposed to be used for in the real world – in our class they’re counters.

The kids went crazy!  This has been by far the most popular area in the room all week!  And I LOVE to see the kinds of creations they are making – so imaginative!  On the first day of this new exploration of playdough I heard two children, a boy and a girl, whispering to each other:

Boy:  “Isn’t this fun?!?!”

Girl:  “I love the feathers!  They are soooooo soft!”  (strokes one against her cheek)

Boy:  “Do you know what we are doing?”  (very excited – jumping)

Girl:  “What?”

Boy:  “We are making real sculptures!”  (biggest smile ever on his face)

star dot pictures

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As I said in my last post, we learned about stars last week.  One concept we learned about was constellations.  We did two different activities to understand constellations.  Our first activity was creating our own number constellations.  Here’s the materials you’ll need for this activity:  black construction paper, white crayon, toothpicks, and number flashcards (optional).  First I cut a piece of black construction paper in half.  Then I laid out some number flashcards (1-10) face down and had the child whose turn it was picked one.  After showing me the card and telling me what number they had (I helped if they didn’t know) I wrote that number on the black paper with the crayon.  Then I gave the child their paper and a toothpick and told them to go to the carpet and poke holes along the white line.  After they finished they held it up to the light and it appeared as if stars were shining down making constellation numbers!

The children loved this activity!  Many children made 4 or 5 constellations!  I was so excited to see how much they enjoyed doing this!  I have never done an activity like this in my class before and I was surprised how patient they were while punching the holes and how many of them wanted to do it again and again!  If we hadn’t run out of paper, I’m sure they would have kept going!  I also loved that some of the children picked up on numbers they didn’t know before (numbers is something we are having a hard time learning this year).

They second activity we did was dot to dot papers.  One made the big dipper and the other made a star.  I didn’t know how well they would do with these papers – we’ve never done dot to dots before – but most of the children picked up on it quite easily! Each child in my class wanted to do each dot to dot page and the majority were able to complete it successfully!  I demonstrated how to do them during who group time.  Then, since one was numbers 1 – 10 and the other was letter A – G, I wrote 1 – 10 on a piece of paper and A – G on another paper, and left it on the table where they would be completing their dot to dots!  They were all very excited when they were finished and saw what they had drawn!  I love seeing them excited about their work!  🙂

twinkle, twinkle

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First week back – I’m glad it’s over – it made me very tired!  But it was a good week – and the children are excited about our unit on Space!  So, I’m happy.

For art last week, we made stars to hang from the ceiling.  I die-cut white stars from construction paper and then I gathered collage materials that were either silver or gold for them to glue on – tissue paper, tinsel, garland, glitter, fabric – anything I could find!  I set the stars, glue bottles, and all the materials out on a table and told them to make stars!  They really enjoyed this project – and I enjoy seeing them hanging up and sparkling as I walk into our room!  Sometimes, a little bit of bling is a good thing!  🙂

To go along with this we learned that the closest star to earth is our sun, stars are made up of gas, they twinkle because the air around earth moves, and a group of stars is called a constellation.  Some of my parents came in very impressed with what their children have learned so far!  I couldn’t help but smile!

blast off!

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I’ve decided to start a Space unit on Monday.  I’ve been on vacation lately, but Ms. Bennet has been working and she told me that last week the few kids we had were showing an interest in wanting to learn more about space after a child brought a space book to share with the class.  I am more than willing to accomodate their interests – and so starting Monday we blast off into a space unit!  🙂

Only problem is, I have never done a space unit with preschoolers before.  I’ve already come up with a few ideas – and searched the web for awhile to try to find more – but I am willing to hear what any of you have done with this theme!  Suggestions are welcome!  I want this to be a fun learning experience – I’ll take suggestions for all learning areas (literacy, science, math, movement, art, etc) – I’m excited to do something new in my class – and I’m hoping the children will be excited too!