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! 🙂
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!
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! 🙂
We’ve transitioned into a Community Helpers unit for the month of October. After we had learned more about each other it made sense to start talking about our families, the jobs our parents had, and other jobs within the community. Some of the art projects we’ve done are toothbrush painting (the kids got a kick out of using toothbrushes this way), car painting and easel painting for the first time. When the paintings were dry I mounted them and hung them in our “Art Gallery” – just like real artistes! Next week we are going to make doctor bags and do dental floss painting. We are also going to dress up as fire fighters and get our picture taken – then glue those pictures to firetrucks we’ve colored. Also, one of my parents is a fire fighter and he wants to bring his truck by the school (we are just waiting approval from Ms. Lezze-Faire).
I’ve also put various community helper clothes and props in the playhouse so the children can experience acting out different roles in the community. We’re also going to go outside and play Red Light, Green Light soon – it’s always fun to see who has the impulse control to stop running when the red light pops up! After they get good at the game I add a yellow light (means walk) to the mix. Should be fun! 🙂
I had my class out on the playground this morning and half the class was playing a game together. I moved closer so I could watch and hear what they were saying. As I walked up to the group I observed one of my girls lift her hand to her ear to make a phone (like the sign language “Y”) and say, “Hello, 9-1-1 here – what do you want?” As you can imagine, I immediately wondered what kind of game they were playing!
After observing for awhile, I kinda worked out their game. One child was a police officer. One child was the police officer’s dog. The other children were cats. The police officer and her dog would run after the cats, capture them, and put them in “jail”. The cats who were still free would break the cats who were in jail out and the game would resume. Every so often the roles would change so each child got a turn being the police officer, dog, or a cat.
I thought this was a slightly bizarre game – but they seemed to really be enjoying it and played it for almost an hour! I must say, they have good imaginations to come up with this on their own. I also loved how they decided to take turns playing the different roles – with little fighting about who’s turn it was! It was a proud moment. I’ll miss these guys!
No, I’m not on one – yet. That’s our theme this week. I hate that we get assigned a different theme each week during the summer. I feel that it takes much more than one week to fully explore a theme and all the directions the children want to take that theme. But that’s just me – guess I’m weird. We’re making due. I just think that it’s a shame we had to move onto a different theme in the middle of our dinosaur unit! The children were excited and really into learning about dinosaurs and then suddenly – sorry kids, we have to do vacation now! Oh well, enough of my annoyance.
We’ve only been averaging about 10 kids a day. A big change from the 20 we’ve had all year! A nice break though. Today we played a memory game (vacation themed of course). We titled it, “I’m going on vacation…”. Basically child 1 says, “I’m going on vacation and I’m taking…” here they insert an item of their choice. Then child 2 says the same but before stateing their item they first repeat child 1’s item and then thiers. Each child has to repeat what everyone before them has said before adding their own item. The children really enjoyed this game and we played it 4 times! I was surprised how good a lot of their memories are!
We also plan on giving the children index cards for them to create homemade postcards. They will be able to draw a picture on one side and on the other Ms. Bennet and I will replicate (as best as we can) what a post card looks like. Even putting a small box for the stamp and lines for the address! We’ve also asked all of our families to bring in vacation pictures, postcards, and souvenirs to have their child share with the class! This is something all the children have been very excited about!
So, while we were sad to have to move on from our Dinosaurs, we are trying to get excited and have fun focusing on vacations! So far, so good!
I have no idea what took me so long to learn about this idea! Apparently I have been living in a cave somewhere – but now I have been shown the light! Recently I have learned about the different ways file folder games can be used in the classroom! This is something I would really like to bring into my classroom over the summer and into next school year. They don’t take up much room but can be used for so many different curriculum areas.
There’s only one small hitch – the teacher who was presenting this workshop said the only way you can really get a wide range of different file folder games and activities is to buy CD Roms from various websites and she said they can cost upwards of $50! I don’t really have the money to spend at this point in time. So, my question for you teachers out there is: Do you know of any websites where I can get file folder game and activity printables for free? If not, do you know the best website to perhaps purchase a CD Rom from that services the preschool/kindergarten grade level? Or perhaps you have ideas for homemade games? Any info would be greatly appreciated!