We’ve been keeping busy the last couple of weeks preparing for Valentines Day and starting a new unit about the Seasons/Weather! We learned about clouds, how they are made, what comes from them, and how many different types there are. Ms. Bennet got a few books about clouds from the library and we have enjoyed taking them outside on the playground and trying to figure out what kind of clouds are in the sky! We also love trying to find pictures in the clouds!
I used a globe that I borrowed from another teacher for our space unit to show the children why we have seasons. I’ve showed them a few times and many of them think it’s very interesting! They’ve also enjoyed helping read the the book, “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” and we made our own spilt milk pictures using blue construction paper and white paint! We also made raindrops by gluing a variety of blue items onto a raindrop shape (although we did learn in one of our books that raindrops are not, in fact, teardrop shaped).
So far, we’re off to a good start – if it weren’t for spending so much time on Valentine’s day activities – we could have done even more! 🙂
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!
I totally forgot to tell you about our class Christmas Party! I know, Christmas is already over…but one more post on the topic won’t hurt! My main goal at class parties is to keep it very simple! I like to have a special snack, read a story, play a game, and, if time allows, perhaps do a simple art project!
Our snack for the Christmas party was orange slices, juice boxes, and Ritz Crackers with a strawberry cream cheese spread (this was optional – they could choose to leave their crackers plain, spread on plain cream cheese, spread on plain jam, or do the mixture). The children really enjoyed preparing and eating this snack! We only get to eat in the classroom on party days – so this was special for them! And to top it off, they got to eat on the carpet (and we never get to eat anywhere but tables!) – this excited them even more!
After snack we had our gift exchange. We ask that each child bring a wrapped book to exchange with a friend. Of course, I always bring extras for those children who I know will not bring one. I first explain that when they choose a book – they may not take the one they brought (their name is on the book so I can check to make sure they took a different one). Then I call them up one by one to pick a book. After everyone gets a book, we opened them together as a class. After they’re opened, we go around the carpet and everyone told what book they got and thanked whoever gave it to them. A good time! I only had 2 children cry this year about not being able to take the book they brought home – not too bad – and they both calmed down fairly quickly and were happy with what they got!
Afterward I read, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and a letter from Santa that he wrote and mailed to me! The kids are always super excited about this part and I have to tape the letter to the door so they can show their parents! 🙂
Lastly, we played a game which I think is called Jesus in a Manger. It’s pretty much like the Farmer in the Dell but with different words. Here’s how it goes:
Jesus in a Manger
Jesus in a Manger
Jesus in a Manger
The following verses are: Jesus picks Mary; Mary picks Joseph; Joseph picks a Sheppard; the Sheppard picks a Wise Man; the Wise Man picks the Star; and finally, the Star shines Alone – all repeated the same way as the first verse! The kids loved this game and we played it over and over again because everyone wanted a turn to be every part! I also find it’s a good way to review the Christmas story with them – because the first time we go over the game (before we actually play) and we talk about all the characters and what role they played in Jesus’ birth! Overall, it was a fun-filled day! 🙂
Over the past couple days we’ve been learning about the meaning of the candy cane. We’ve read The Legend of the Candy Cane a few times (the children keep requesting it) and I’ve done a little flannel story I made talking about the meaning behind the candy cane – a very basic telling of the story. Then we marble painted red paint on white paper and then sprinkled red glitter on it and I’m cutting candy canes out of those.
After we’d gone over the meaning of the candy cane, I gave each child one to take home so they could tell the story to their families – which some have done based on what the parents have told me! It’s always a joy to see the children so excited about learning something that they go home and share it with the ones they love! It’s awesome! 🙂
I’ve never done class books in my classroom before – but recently I’ve been finding ideas and reading about them on various teacher websites/blogs and so I’ve decided to give it a go! Thus, today we started our first class book! Our class book idea is taken directly from Mrs. Levin over at Pre-K Pages (her blog is in my blog list at the left of the page)! Thanks a bunch for the Here Are Our Hands class book idea (go to link for pics) – she has lots of other ideas too! It goes great with our All About Me unit – and I think the children will enjoy looking at it in our class library and comparing their hands with their friends hands! We used multicultural skin tone paints to blend colors that matched each students skin tone and had each child (who was able to) write their name! So far it’s turning out very nicely and I think the end product will be super cute!
I’m curious to know how many of you out there make class books? And how do you use them once they are complete? Any ideas would also be welcome! I hope you are all enjoying your new school year! 🙂
I worked in another classroom this afternoon and when we came in from playing outside the children were strongly requesting that their teacher read some stories to them. I thought to myself, “I’m glad to see that they are so excited about books!” She told them to sit quietly while she got a few books to read. The next thing I knew she was putting a CD in the CD player!. It was a book on CD. In fact, all three books she “read” were all on CD! When she put the books away, I noticed almost all of their books are on CD! I remember thinking, “How sad!”
Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against having audio books in the classroom. They’re great for a listening center (which none of the classes where I work have). But, as I listened to the books, I realized how many opportunities were missed to actually discuss the books or what was happening in them! This is such a passive form of “reading” a book – the lazy way out! And by the multitude of these kinds of books – I realized that these children probably rarely hear an adult actually read to them!
I don’t mind audio books as an occasional treat or in a listening center – after the book had already been read aloud by the teacher and discussed. But to be the main form of “reading”?! I don’t like this very much. It doesn’t encourage the child’s involvement or any critical thinking. I dunno, maybe it’s just me. I love to read aloud to my class! I love to model how excited I get about reading and I like to see how their expressions change as I change my voice and do hand motions! And I like hearing about why they think events happen or why a character feels a certain way! I feel that these children are missing out on the best part of the reading experience when all they do is sit back and passively listen to a story! Oh well, not much I can do – if I get any of them next year – they’ll be able to see how a real story is told! 🙂
So far this week we’ve been trying to finish up our Mother’s Day gifts. We had the children paint small wooden hearts and larger wooden rectangles. Each was painted in a different color and I hot glued the hearts to the center of the rectangle. At the top we stamped “Happy Mother’s Day” and I wrote the child’s name in the heart. They really did turn out very cute! I attached a magnet to the back and we’ve been working on wrapping them in tissue paper this week – only 4 more to go!
We’ve also been reading books about moms in class. We read “Just Me and My Mom” (we are fond of the Little Critter series in my class) and this morning we read “Love You Forever” – one of my personal favorites! The children really enjoyed this book – I was glad! We talked about all they ways our moms show us they love us. Then we talked about all the ways we can show mom how we love her – it was a good discussion!
After our discussion we practiced our graduation songs – and after only 3 days of practice – they almost have the first song down! I was sooo proud of them! They’re quick learners! It helps that they really love both songs! 🙂 Overall, a great day…
I almost forgot: HAPPY TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK!!! I hope all of you teachers out there have a great one! Mine was made better this afternoon when a mother gave both of us flowers….how sweet! 🙂
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!