Today we did an easy project that depicts life cycle of the butterfly. Here’s what you need: Paper, glue, white rice, macaroni pasta, shell pasta (medium size), and bow tie pasta. What I did was cut the paper (I used green) into a large circle and divided the circle into quarters with a back permanent marker. I had a simple illustration showing how the butterfly starts as an egg, becomes a caterpillar, goes into a cocoon, and then comes out a butterfly (something we’ve already gone over and read many times).
From this the children glued one piece of white rice into the upper left quadrant, one macaroni pasta into the upper right quadrant, a shell pasta into the lower right quadrant, and lastly a bow tie pasta in the lower left quadrant. In each space the children also labeled the items with the words: egg, caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly. I had the words written out and they just copied them. I know I could have used the word “pupa” instead of “caterpillar” and “chrysalis” instead of “cocoon” but I choose not to as the majority of the books we’ve read don’t use those words and I didn’t want to confuse the children!
They really enjoyed this project and many got a kick out of “reading” the words to me as they went over the process! After we were done I realized that perhaps the children could have colored a scene around each item to put them in a more natural setting. Or we could have glued the “egg” onto a leaf, the “caterpillar” on a small stick or leaf, the “cocoon” on a small twig, and the “butterfly” onto a fake flower. Oh well, the children enjoyed it anyway! They couldn’t wait to take them home so they could “read” them to their parents!
Well, I’m back – and before you can say it – I know I’ve been gone too long – almost a month! I don’t really have any good excuse. I’ve been sick (twice) and Ms. Bennet has been sick – and out almost a week. And all the kids have been getting sick. So I’ve been a bit stressed and really, really tired and haven’t felt like logging on and posting about anything! But I’m back – and I have to say I’ve missed my blog!
First, an update on Jumpy. Well, there really is no update – he hasn’t been back to school since that first week and the office hasn’t heard or been able to contact the family. I’m hoping they found a school that could better meet his needs and that they are happy. And, as horrible as this is going to sound, I feel a bit relieved. I was worried about how I was going to handle his situation (and his possible special needs) while still giving the rest of my class the attention they need. Don’t get me wrong, I would have given it my best attempt – I don’t back away from challenges – I’m just glad I didn’t have this one extra thing on my plate right now.
On another note, Progress Reports went out this last week! I’m always dreading progress report time (I do them 3 times a year: December, April, and again in May) because I fear that the children won’t show any progress! I was happy with how all the children performed! I have about 5 (out of 20 kids) who I feel will not be ready for Kindergarten. I recommended they do another year of Pre-K. I’ll see how their parents respond to this suggestion next week. I can’t force a child to learn. Those few children lack focus and give up really easily. I’ve been asking their parents to help them at home (don’t know if they are or not) but little to no progress has been made.
So, now that I’m finally feeling human again (and not sick and exhausted) I’ll try to post somewhat regularly! Spring break is here (we don’t close for spring break – we just don’t do academics) and the sun is supposed to be out all next week! We are doing a unit on bugs/insects and the weather will help us so that we can explore outside to see what we can find. Thanks you for being patient while I’ve been gone! Like I said before: It’s good to be back! 🙂
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!
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!
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!
Today was a good day. We started making bees for “art” – I use quotations because it’s not really free art where they can do what ever they choose – it’s more of a craft. I see it as cutting practice and shape review. I’ll explain. I die cut yellow ovals for the body, the children cut out circles for the head and wings, and they were each given a black triangle as a stinger. Today they cut out the head and wings and painted black stripes on the bodies. So far, so good. They look cute. We’ll assemble them tomorrow and then hang them from the ceiling.
I couldn’t find a book in my own collection about bees. So, I went to work this morning hoping to find something I could use. After asking 3 different teachers, my persistence paid off – the kindergarten teacher had a science book with two pages in it about bees. So I paraphrased it for my kids and we learned that bees live in groups, or colonies, they collect pollen and nectar to make honey, they live in beehives, and the honeycomb is made of wax – just like candles.
We had a short review before lunch and they remembered most of what I had told them. I’ll review again tomorrow to see how much they really listened! We also did a quick review of the ladybug and they remembered quite a bit – I was pleasantly surprised! 🙂 We also talked about the stages of caterpillar to butterfly – which was review for them – and they were able to recall most of what we had talked about! YAY! They seem to really be enjoying learning about insects and bugs – which is just great!
If I didn’t have a phobia of all creepy crawly creatures – I would bring some live bugs into the classroom for them to observe – but I know now that will never happen! So we just try to observe as many bugs as we can when we’re outside and it seems to be working. I’m glad they’re so excited about this unit!
We’ve been working on ladybugs in class the past couple days. Almost everyone has finished – just a few more to do tomorrow. I traced a circle on red paper and had each child cut one out. Then they used black paint and a quark from a wine bottle to stamp black spots. Then I let them cut strips of black paper to use as legs. Lots of good cutting practice! The children had lots of fun too – and that’s what counts! I’m a little concerned that they came out looking more like red spiders with black dots. I dunno – maybe I’m over thinking this.
We also read “The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle and went over and hung up a Weekly Reader poster I have on ladybugs. The children are really enjoying learning about them! This afternoon on the playground the children actually found a real ladybug crawling on the play equipment! They were so excited! And I was excited that they didn’t kill it and after watching it we were able to set it free!
It was a good day full of fun and learning…and those are the best!
Today we started our unit on bugs and insects. I usually follow up my animal theme with this one because it’s an easy transition. I can go from talking about animals and environments to talking about what else lives in that environment. I like to stick to the bugs they are familiar with and seem to be drawn to – butterflies, ladybugs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, bees, dragonflies, etc. It’s hard to fit it all in sometimes, but I let the children kinda lead me where they want to go. It’s cool.
I love to do the life cycle of the butterfly. So, today we painted large pieces of butcher paper – tomorrow all the children who didn’t have a turn will finish up. When they are dry I’ll cut butterflies out of them and put them up in a cupboard until I need them. I might use the scraps for another bug related project, we’ll see. Monday and Tuesday we’ll make caterpillars and hang them around the room. I need a cute caterpillar art project that I can hang on the wall – I’m open to suggestions! 🙂 I’m usually more prepared than this!
After the caterpillars are hung up for a week, I’ll start taking caterpillars down and replacing them with cocoons. The butterfly cocoons are basically knee high stockings with the butterflies rolled up inside. Over the course of about a week caterpillars come down and cocoons go up all around the room. After the cocoons are up for about 4 days, the first butterflies start to appear. Over the course of the next week, cocoons start to come down and the butterflies come out! Our room really gets a nice burst of color once the butterflies make their appearance!
It’s a fun project and the children always get a kick out of it! Spring has finally sprung! Happy April Fools everyone!