Well, I’ve been sick for a few days now…to be honest, I’ve been waiting for it to hit – and it finally did on Friday! For some reason I always manage to get sick within the first month of school – and it was no different this year! I think this is the worst cold I’ve had in months! I don’t remember feeling so bad in a long time! But today there was some semblance of normalcy back in my life and I didn’t feel like death warmed over all day – so that was good.
This morning we did some goldfish cracker sorting to go along with our ocean theme. We sorted them by color, and then colored in a graph to record how many of each color we had. Then we talked about what color they had the most of and what color they had the least of. I got through about half the class today and they all did really well! Afterward I let them eat their crackers – and this was of course their favorite part!
Well, this is it for my little update – maybe a longer post will come when I feel a little better (and less tired)! For those of you who are back at school – good luck with your new classes – and have fun! 🙂
If you read my post from yesterday, you know how frustrated I was with my classes behavior. This morning at circle time I had a talk with them about how they are big boys and girls and it’s their job to follow the rules and listen at school. Then, instead of us (the teachers) going over the rules – I had them take turns telling me the rules. I don’t know if it was the talk or the fact that we had 5 less kids today – but finally – after days of frustration – we had an almost great day! YAY! I am so happy! 🙂
Today we did a math/science activity that the children were really excited about. We talked about how big things are and how we measure using a ruler or measuring tape. Then we talked about how we could use other items to measure with – like hands, feet, blocks, or in our case, unifix cubes! I have a bunch of plastic ocean animals and I took out a few and asked the children to guess how many cubes long we thought the animal was. After I took a few guesses, Ms. Bennet showed the children how to snap the cubes together until we had a line of cubes as long as the animal. Then we counted the cubes and compared our guesses with the actual amount.
Then I laid out our container of unifix cubes, 4 plastic ocean animals, a couple pencils, and an ocean animal measuring paper I made to record their data. I showed the children how to use the paper to record their data and told them that only two children at a time could work because it was a small table. I also put out a sentence strip with numbers written on it to help them out with writing their numbers. I made sure I sat very near the table to help any children that didn’t feel like they were ready to tackle this on their own (there were quite a few – but I expected that)!
In the end the children really enjoyed working on this activity and I told them that they did the kind of work a real scientist would do! They were excited to take home their papers and show their parents how they wrote numbers (most for the very first time)! And I was excited to see them so excited about learning! We will keep this activity out until everyone who wants to has had a turn!
On Friday we taught the children that the water in the ocean is different from the water we drink (or the water in lakes and rivers). I told the children that the ocean was made up of salt water. Then I made some salt water and together we looked at it, smelled it, and then tasted it! Each child got a small cup with about a tablespoon of saltwater (I only gave them this much because I accidentally made it REALLY salty!). After I gave them their cup I asked them to smell the saltwater and tell me what they thought. Some thought it smelled “dirty” others said they “just smelled the cup”, and others said it smelled “like salt”. Then I asked them if it looked different from the water we get from the drinking fountain – and we decided it didn’t. Then I let them drink their water – and it was about a 50-50 split on who liked the saltwater and who didn’t!
I then gave them a small cup with freshwater in it and we repeated the same process. When I asked the children what they fresh water smelled like some said “clean” while others said “nothing”. We agreed it looked like saltwater and most of us said it tasted better then the saltwater! It was a good discussion and I’m glad we got the opportunity to talk about how the animals in the ocean have to live in a special kind of water.
I just got done making two batches of homemade playdough for my classroom! I made one green batch and one blue – I figured when they played with them and the colors mixed, it would turn a nice blue-green color – like the color of the ocean! This will be the first time some of my kids have played with playdough (sad – I know!) so I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with it! I put a couple tablespoons of vanilla extract in both batches to give it a nice smell – so I’ll need to talk about how we don’t eat playdough even though it smells good! lol Wish me luck!
Ms. Bennet and I are also working on turning our playhouse into a beach area. We have a couple beach balls, a couple small inflatable inner tubes, two child size beach chairs, a few beach towels, a small play barbecue, various sandles and flip flops, sunglasses, sun hats, child size Hawaiian shirts, and we are going to cover up our kitchen (a simple plastic one) with brown butcher paper and call it a sand dune! It’s not quite done – but almost there – we are aiming to have it completed by Monday! I think the children will really enjoy playing there! I know I’m excited!
I like to start the school year off by doing an ocean theme. I mean, we start so early that it’s still summer – and what better time to go to the ocean than during the summer? Not to mention that the children always love doing this theme! On Monday we had a class discussion about what we know about the ocean. We talked about what we saw when we went to the beach and what animals we knew lived in the ocean. They gave me some good answers – everything from seaweed and waves to fish and people – I was proud! I told them if any of them had ever been to the beach they could bring in pictures of themselves at the ocean and even shells and rocks they might have collected. So today one of my children did just this – and everyone was very excited!
Today and tomorrow we are learning about starfish. We are also making them. I cut out a starfish shape for each child. Then I mixed plain sand with various colors of glitter – I found a muffin tin works well to keep the colors separated. I like to keep one muffin tin space open to put the glitter sand (I like that term!) with all the colors that get shaken off with each starfish. Next, each child got to put glue on their starfish and sprinkle on the color(s) of glitter sand they want! They loved this project and the starfish turned out great! We also hung our jellyfish from the ceiling so our room is looking more and more like an ocean each day! The children were awestruck when they walked in to discover them hanging!
So far, it’s been a good start to the week. Tomorrow we finish up our starfish. I will also be getting a water table together complete with blue water, ocean animals, and seashells! I know the children will absolutely love this! And it will be a good sensory activity for them – a first time for some! I look forward to seeing all their reactions to the things we have planned! 🙂
Our first week together ended well. We made our jellyfish out of while construction paper and silver glitter. Monday I will attach the curling ribbon tentacles and hang them from the ceiling. It will be too cute! I’ve found that this group of children has a problem using their inside voices! Don’t get me wrong, I know pre-k children can be loud – but these children literally yell when they talk! It’s just too much for me! So I’m trying to figure out a way to work on this. Talking to them and modeling what kind of voice we should use just isn’t working! Suggestions would be appreciated!
I’m not very optimistic about all my parents either. For example, one little girls mom went up to another teacher and asked her if she was her daughters new teacher. The teacher said no, pointed us out, and we introduced ourselves. The problem you ask? The teacher she asked had been her daughters teacher all last year! Obviously, she is not a very involved mother. *Sigh* Why don’t more parents care?!
On another note, I found two big books at the local thrift store! They are not in total perfect condition (some wear to the covers) – but for $2.50 – I couldn’t pass it up! I’ve gotten my entire collection of big books at thrift stores or garage sales and have never paid more than $3.50 for a book! You can’t beat that especially since I’ve seen them sell new for upwards of $20! I just love bargains! 🙂
Today was a significantly better day! We had a total of 16 kids – our high so far this week! They seem to be getting our rules and routines down – I hope tomorrow goes even better! It was a relief that today didn’t go like yesterday did – we are taking steps in the right direction! I kinda like that all the kids didn’t show up on the first day of school – that way as more and more children start coming there are already some who know the rules and routines.
All of the children have now completed their first day drawings and they are being proudly displayed on our walls! It’s interesting too see all the different drawing abilities the children have! Some can draw people, houses, and flowers while all others can do is randomly scribble on the paper! But I still love to see their drawings up on the wall and they do too – it helps make the room more personal for the children.
It’s interesting to see all the different approaches the teachers took to getting their rooms ready. Most of the other teachers put up bulletin boards with posters and other art work on them. Others decorated their room to fit a specific theme. I like to just clean off and prep my bulletin boards with new paper and boarders (if needed) and then leave them blank. Ready for this children’s creations. My room looks really bare that way – but within and week or two their art is up all over!
The first month of school I do an ocean theme. Yesterday and today the children painted seahorses. They used florescent pink, yellow, green, and blue paint and used crumpled newspaper as their paintbrush. I had them make the newspaper “jump up and down like a rabbit” and the texture this creates with the paint really looks neat! We’ve also read “Mister Seahorse” by Eric Carle – and our seahorses look very similar to his! The children were excited about this! I really like doing this theme and so far the children seem to be enjoying it as well! Tomorrow we will start making jellyfish!