So, the last you heard from me I was having trouble controlling some of the children in my class. Things have gotten somewhat better – but there are still about 4 (sometimes 5) children I’m working with – out of 14 I guess that’s not too bad! October is the month I choose to learn about Community Helpers. One of my father’s is a paramedic and he came in his uniform and with his stethoscope to talk to the children about his job. They were super excited to be able to listen to their lungs and heartbeats! He also read two stories to them and gave them all a “super special band-aide from the ambulance”! They LOVED that part!
Then the police came! One of my fathers is a policeman and he wanted to come talk to the children about safety. He also wore his uniform and brought his police car along! The children LOVED that! He even let them get in the front and backseat of the car! I totally wish I had taken my camera to school that day – those would have been super cute pictures! He also gave them a badge sticker to wear – and I have never seen my children so excited to get a sticker before!
Okay, I’m putting out a question to all of you: Do you have any quick, no prep activities to do that can be done in as little as 5 to 10 mins and involve letters or numbers?
I schedule my circle/morning message time for right before snack. I usually give us about 20 mins to do what we need to do. Some days we take all 20 mins – others we don’t. I would like some easy activities to do with my class on those days where we finish early and have 5 to 10 mins to spare before leaving the room for snack. It would be great if these activities could involve letters or numbers – or some other educational purpose.
I welcome any and all ideas – I can always tweak them to make them my own! Please leave a comment and let me know what you do in your class when you only have a few minutes and need to keep the kids busy ! Thanks! 🙂
Well, it happened again this year…the leprechauns broke into our classroom and left us a mess, along with some goodies, for St. Patrick’s Day! The children were super excited and spent a good 10 mins running around the room laughing and screaming with delight! Too cute! All the green toys were out and had been played with and enjoyed. All of our green crayons and markers had been used on the green paper we’d had in our room. And the blue and yellow paint we’d used for our art project had been used and nice green paintings were left on a table. Not to mention our blocks (which are kept in a green box) were spilled out all over the rug! Our foam shamrocks that we use for sorting were sprinkled all over the floor! And two tiny, green leprechaun hats were left in our room along with some green cookies and a shamrock pin with each child’s initial in gold glitter!
After cleaning up the mess they’d left for us we decided to go hunt down those pesky leprechauns to return the hats and ask them why they left such a mess in out room! And, as you might already know, you can’t go on a Leprechaun Hunt without first making a pair of Leprechaun Finders! To make our Finders we stapled two toilet paper tubes together, attached some green cellophane to one end and a piece of green yarn to the other so it could hang around our neck, and then decorated them with green markers and shamrock stickers!
After completing our Leprechaun Finders we went on a walk around our school to see if we could find some Leprechauns! Try as we might, we didn’t see any! Imagine our disappointment! We looked in, under, and around things and came up empty! They children concluded that leprechauns are REALLY good hiders! 🙂
It was a fun day full of excitement! The children told everyone they saw about how they leprechauns broke into our room while were were sleeping at night and played with everything and left a mess! And they showed off their pins like they were treasure! They were super excited that the leprechauns knew their names and put the right letter on their pin! It was a great day – one we won’t soon forget!
I try to keep things as organized and simple as possible on party days. I know from past experiences how quickly things can get out of hand – and I would prefer that not to happen! We started out our party by playing a simple game called “I Love…” Basically we go around in a circle and each person get to say who or what they love. The sentence always starts off “I love _______ because…” We went around our circle 2 times because the children kept wanting to say who they loved and why! I loved hearing what they had to say!
Then Ms. Bennet read, “Valentine Mice” to the class! We’ve been reading at least one valentine book to the class everyday this week. After reading this book they requested to hear “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse” once again so Ms. Bennet obliged their request!
While we were playing the game and reading the stories I had 2 parent helpers prepping snack (during the stories I went over to help). For our party snack we had heart shaped cucumbers, heart shaped Jello Jigglers, a heart shaped piece of bread with strawberry jam on it, a valentines cookie, and a juice box. The parents helped me cut the bread and cucumbers into heart shapes, open juice boxes, plate the food, and pass out napkins and plates once it was all done! The 3 of us managed to do this very quickly! 🙂
After snack the parent volunteers, Ms. Bennet, and myself helped the children pass out their valentine cards. Then we took the children outside to play and run off their energy! Trust me when I say – they really needed this! lol At this point in the day one of my volunteers had to leave while the other stayed inside to hide various sized hearts all around the room! Our next game was going to be a Heart Scavenger Hunt where each child has to find 3 hearts! This is pretty much the same as an Easter Egg Hunt! When the children came inside we played this game – and as usual they loved playing it and asked to keep their hearts!
The last thing we did was let them look at all the cards and goodies they had in their valentine boxes! I think this is always their favorite part (even though they don’t admit it)! They were not allowed to eat anything but they could look at it – and when they were done we put everything away and got ready for lunch! It was a great party and I heard a lot of children say that this was the best party ever! 🙂
As I was looking for valentine activities on my favorite blogs and websites I came across this post from Kristin at Preschool Daze. I saw it and immediately thought, “I have got to do that in my class!” And so we did – and the children loved it! I’ve done this before (with red and yellow) but I’ve never painted as a group on large piece of paper before (and while we don’t have a large rectangle table where a lot of children can be at once, I used a circle table and had 4-5 children paint at once).In the past each child gets their own piece of large paper to paint – but I loved this community painting!
After reading that post I went on and found this post (from last year) and more recently this post! You can only imagine my excitement! So after cutting our pink paper into hearts and savaging around the school for anything and everything we could use to make our own valentines, i dedicated a table in our room to this purpose! Unfortunately this area was only open for 1 week (it took me awhile to gather up items and such) but the children immediately fell in love with creating valentines! Next year this will be an activity for the first two weeks in February! I adored seeing the children so excited and creating such wonderful valentines for everyone they love! 🙂 Who could ask for more?
We did quite a few math activities for valentine’s day! We sorted by color, graphed, estimated, and practiced our 1:1 correspondence! As you can imagine, this has kept us busy over the past couple of weeks! I like to do these activites with just 2 or 3 children at a time, and with 20 kids in my class – it takes awhile! 🙂
To do all of these activities, I used conversation hearts. First I made sorting mats for the kids to use. I cut out small hearts (in the colors of the candy hearts) and glued them to read paper. Then I laminated them (so I can use them year after year). They turned out great and other teachers have borrowed them since! To do the sorting I gave each child a sorting mat and about 20 candy hearts. I asked them to sort the hearts by colors (pink on pink, orange on orange, and so on). Everyone was able to do this without any problems! YAY! I was very excited!
Next, we used this graph (scroll down to page 7) to graph the heart candy we had just sorted. I had already colored the words at the bottom to show what color went in each column. Then I had the children place the candy hearts in their correct column and count how many of each color they had. Then as they took the candy pieces off, they colored the boxes the same color of the candy (we used blue for white because a white crayon wouldn’t show up). I realized afterward they could have just glued the hearts to the graph – and it would have had the same effect! Also, after we had just about finished with this activity, Karen over at PreKinders came out with her own version of this project.
For the estimation we used this paper and I had the children make a guess then I helped them write their guess on the line. Afterward they glue on candy hearts and together we counted them and I once again helped them write the number on the line. Many children enjoyed this “game” and wanted to “play” again! Since they liked the estimation so much I let them guess out many hearts they could hold in one handful, then we counted those to see how close they were! We wrote their guesses and the actual amount on a laminated poster board and hung it one the wall for everyone to see! They really enjoyed this – after all, what kids doesn’t like to grab handfuls of candy? 🙂
The last activity we did was play a Valentine’s Grid Game where the children roll a dice, count how many dots are on the dice, then place that many markers on their game board. The game is played until all the spots are full! This is not our first grid game and the children always love to play them!
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)
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! 🙂
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! 🙂