…or as close to perfect as a group of 4 year olds can get! Today we practiced our graduation songs in the church sanctuary up on the stage. My class did great! I was super proud of them – and I know they’ll do even better for our actual performance next Wednesday! We have one more practice on Tuesday. The other teachers complimented us on using our nice singing voices and not screaming. They also said that they we very well behaved and knew their songs well. It was very nice to hear! We have been learning our songs slowly over the course of a month and the children are excited to be so close to performing them for their parents!
Back in the classroom we made dinosaur skeletons for art. I cut out a dinosaur shape and then laid out 3 different pastas for them to glue on as dinosaur bones. All the children really enjoyed this project – and some actually came out looking like skeletons! I had a few pictures out on the art table of dinosaur skeletons for inspiration – the children thought that was really cool – and I actually had 4 or 5 ask me why I didn’t buy real bones at the store instead of noodles! I thought that comment was adorable! 🙂 Maybe next time kids…
We finished punching holes and tying yarn onto our snouts and we are ready for the children to wear them tomorrow as they play! They are excited and we can’t wait to see how they choose to act out being dinosaurs!
Our science area has also been a big hit during this unit. I have two fossil replicas, three dino egg replicas, four footprint replicas, as well as a raptor claw and a t-rex tooth replica for the children to examine. All these items I found on eBay for under $20 (with shipping) – I’ve been buying then for the past few months knowing I eventually wanted to do a dinosaur unit! I felt that sometimes dinosaurs can come across as a bit abstract to pre-k children so I thought it would help to have something they could actually pick up and manipulate. Along side those items I have three books about dinosaurs for the children too look through. The books aren’t for pre-k (probably more reference books for high school or middle school) but they each have TONS of dinosaur era pictures. The children love to look through them and compare the pictures to the items on the science table!
Today we did the Dino Pokey by Mrs. Jones! The children loved it and we spent at least 20 mins singing it over and over again! Sometimes it still surprises me how something this simple can entertain a group of children for so long!
Yesterday and today we worked on making dinosaur snouts. We learned Wednesday that dinosaurs had scales on their skin and so we used starch to glue our “scales” (read: colored tissue paper squares) onto our snouts. We used white paper cups to make our snout. The opening of the cup is large enough to fit over the children’s nose and mouth. We cut out the botton of each cup then on each side we cut a triangle shape out so it essentially looks like an open mouth. The children were super excited when I said I’d punch a hole on each side and use yarn to tie them around each child’s head so that they could wear them to pretend to be dinosaurs! They actually squealed with joy! So we might be pretending to be dinosaurs either tomorrow or Monday! Good times.
I’m also planning on using a die cut of a Stegosaurus I have at work to make counting mats to use with my dinosaur counters. I’ll write a number between 1 and 20 on each dinosaur then let the children pick one and count out that many manipulative’s. Some of my children are still having a hard time recognizing numbers while others have a hard time with the concept that they should only pick up one dinosaur counter for each number when they count. So, this will be a good way to work on that. They can also sort and/or pattern the counters if the choose.
So we continue to have fun while learning with dinosaurs!
Today was a great day! It felt like our classroom was running like a well oiled machine. The children are independent and confident enough to get through most of their centers without needing tons of help. They are able to resolve their disputes without constant tattling…a very nice feeling. Sometimes they need help finding the right words…but that’s natural. They are happy and engaged…you can see it in their faces. I like knowing this…it means I’ve done my job.
They are really enjoying our dinosaur theme. We still have our jungle in the playhouse area…but now it’s a dinosaur habitat! I put these inflatable dinosaurs in the playhouse/jungle area. I bought them on clearance 50% off at the beginning of the school year and I’m glad I finally have an excuse to use them! Despite the so-so reviews of them not working, mine seem to be doing fine! There is one that must have a tiny leak because at the end of the day about 1/3 of the air was out. But I don’t mind adding a little air each day – it’s a small price to pay for the children having sooo much fun with them!
I’ve also added some small dinos to our playdough – and the children have been having a blast using them to make footprints and landscapes with the playdough! Some of the kids even put a couple of them in a ball of playdough and pretended that they were hatching from eggs! Too cute! There are dinosaur rubbing plates to use with the crayons as well – a new experience for most of my class – but they’re starting to understand how to do it correctly! 🙂 Our oatmeal table now houses these skeleton dinosaurs as well as some brushes and scoops so the children can bury and them and then excavate the bones. I love these dinosaurs and the children seem to as well!
Right now, we seem to be working in perfect harmony with each other – an engaged, happy class! Let’s hope it continues! 🙂
The first week of dinosaurs has been somewhat watered down due to Mother’s Day, but we have still been talking about it and the children are still interested – which is good! When I was at the Dollar Tree this past weekend (I love that store) I happened to find some die cuts of dinosaurs – 10 for $1! I thought, “Great deal!” and took home 20 – one for each child in my class. There were 5 different dinosaurs in various colors for them to choose from at art time this week. I put out some small colored beads, tissue paper squares, colored pasta in various shapes, and glue on the table for the children to use to decorate their chosen dino. They turned out sooo cute! I can’t wait to get them up on the wall tomorrow!
I also sent home (last Wednesday) and got back Monday a dinosaur themed family project. I sent home a large Stegosaurus shape with a note paper clipped to it that instructed the family to decorate it any way the choose. They all look very original – and I can see each child’s personality in their Stegosaurus! There were a variety of items used: Cheerios, grass, glitter, buttons, herbs, Legos, fabric, paint, ect. When the children brought them back to class they got to share with everyone who helped them and what they used to make them – they were all very proud of what their family accomplished working together! They are now hanging up on a bulletin board and are the first thing you see when you walk in the door! Everyone loves them!
So far, a great first week of dinosaurs!
I’ve been wanting to do a dinosaur unit with my class but they have been having so much fun learning about insects I haven’t had the heart to move on or the chance to bring up dinosaurs. Everything changed on Friday. After our bug hunt and games on the grass we returned to our room to have a class discussion about the different kinds of bugs we’d seen. During our talk, one child asked how long bugs have been around. I told them that there have been bugs since the time of the dinosaurs. They were wowed by this discovery! They just couldn’t beleive it! Then they all started talking about dinosaurs and if they ate the bugs and if the bugs were big like the dinosaurs. There was some real excitement in the room! That’s when I knew that perhaps on Monday we will start a unit on dinosaurs…I hope this excites them as much as it does me! 🙂