One morning last week my children were slow to come and so at 8:30 I only had 6 kids! So I got blocks and cars out on the carpet for them to play with while we waited for our friends to show up. They were playing in groups of 2’s and 3’s – making ramps, buildings, and roads for the cars. After about 10 or 15 minutes of play one of my brightest announced: “There are no tractors allowed in here!” as she pointed to a block “castle” she had made.
Some of the boys didn’t believe her and attempted to drive their tractors into her structure. She once again made her announcement and moved their tractors out. Then one boy put his back in and in frustration she shouted, “I said NO TRACTORS! I guess I’m gonna have to make a sign so you guys know!”
She asked me for paper and a pencil, which I happily supplied. Then she asked me how to write, “No tractors allowed.” I told her to sound out the words and write the sounds she heard. I knew she was more then capable of doing this – she knows all of her letters and letter sounds and is already beginning to read. So, after a few minutes of work she brought me her sign. I read it, “No traktrs ulwd.”
I smiled. “Beautiful.” I said. She asked for some tape so she could put up her sign. After it was up, she brought everyone over to read it to them. After that, no one tried to put a tractor in her castle, the sign was up and now it was an official rule.
It was a lovely moment.
If you’ve been a reader of my blog from the beginning you might remember this post where I likened my school to a prison and ranted about our lack of natural outdoor space for the children! If you haven’t read it – feel free to do so now. The land across the street that was supposed to be turned into a parking lot, but due to financial reasons, it has been left untouched and covered in weeds ever since they tore that building down – until this week. This week workmen showed up and started leveling the ground, placing little flags all about, and putting in a sprinkler system! Yes, a sprinkler system! Imagine our surprise and excitement – a sprinkler system can only mean one thing….GRASS!!!
So, I had to inquire with Ms. Lezze-Faire about what was going on. I learned that yes, they were indeed still planning on putting in a parking lot. However, they are also going to put grass in an leave some play space for the children!!! I was soooo happy to hear this! 🙂 As much as I wish they would create an awesome and creative natural play space for the children I know they won’t – but I will be happy with the patch of grass they are willing to give us! It’s a pretty big piece if land – so I’m hoping for a good size grassy area with (fingers crossed) some trees!
Rumor has it that by mid-summer we’ll have a good idea of how much space the kids will get. Until then we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed and our eyes open to what they’re doing! I’m just super excited that by next school year we’ll have a new outdoor space to explore! 🙂
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 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!
Today we had our End of the Year Picnic! This is basically our class and one other class (the 3 year old class where my students for next year come from) gathering out on the grass on blankets and eating sack lunches. It’s extremely simple – yet something I look forward to each year! The other teacher and I got together a couple years ago and decided to make this a tradition! We invite the parents to join us – my class had 4 parents come and the other class had about 6 parents come. We thought this was a good turn out seeing as we only gave them a week’s notice! 🙂 After our lunch we let the children run around and play on the grass – a rare, but intensely enjoyed treat!
Before the picnic my class got to enjoy another fun tradition I always do at the end of the year – confetti! I love confetti – and so do the children! What I do is cut up construction paper into small confetti size squares – enough so that each child can have two handfuls. After each child has taken their two handfuls we do a countdown and the children get to throw it up in the air! Then they gather up some more off the floor and continue throwing it up all while laughing, giggling, shrieking, clapping, and jumping from excitement! Every year the children get a kick out of doing this and every year I get tons of joy out of watching them! This will keep their attention for quite some time – it’s really amazing! Of course, this all takes place inside our classroom and at the end of it all the children get to pick up all the little pieces of confetti scattered across the floor – and I’ve never had a child complain about doing this (maybe it’s because I warn them before if they want to have all the fun they have to help clean up the mess).
It was a fun-filled, joyful day. Next Wednesday we will have our graduation and sing our songs to the parents. Then school will be officially “out” for the summer. We don’t get summers off – we are open year round and most of my children should still attend at least part time so I will still see them – but I will miss the ones who leave and I wish them the best.
I’ve always wanted a light table for my classroom – something where the children can experiment with color and view the x-rays I bought my class this year. I’m always open to new ideas when it comes to math and science and I’ve always thought that a light table would be a great learning tool. One main reason I don’t have one is because they aren’t cheap are way too expensive! I know it can’t take that much money to build some of the things these school supply stores try to sell to us! I mean, come on – over $400 for a light table and over $200 for a tabletop light box?! You have got to be kidding me!
So I had the idea to make my own portable light box to use in my class. The only problem: I have no idea how to go about doing this. I don’t even know someone who would have a clue how to do this. So, I’m at a loss! By the way, if anyone has a clue how to do this or knows of someone who’s actually made a portable light box (kinda like this) let me know! It would be ideal if I didn’t have to plug it in (I only have two outlets in my entire room and they are not located in good spots). I don’t have a lot of money am virtually penniless due to the fact that I teach preschool – but if it only costs a little – I will try to make it!
I’ve also seen that some teachers use overhead projectors. I like this idea too. I’ve often wondered if this is in place of a light table (because they are less expensive) or do they use it along with a light table? I will have to look into seeing if I can locate a used or unwanted overhead projector as this can be another option for me. I am certainly open to any suggestions you might have. If I over think it – I start to wonder if I even need a light table because life in my classroom has been going along just fine without one for years – so why spend the time or money? Does it really make that much of a difference? I dunno – I’ve never had one.
I would like to hear from those of you who have one – how do you utilize it in your class and would you recommend it for other classrooms? Thanks, in advance, for all you have to say!
Happy Spring! Today as I was watching my children play in various parts of the room I saw Kitten doing something I hadn’t seen a child doing before – and it was sooo adorable! Kitten was in the block area and she was holding a long 12″ rectangle unit block. Nothing unusual – she put it down, picked it up – basically took it with her everywhere she went. At first I couldn’t figure out why – but then I got it!
At one point she laid it down on the floor and walked about two feet away. She was pretending to pick imaginary items up off the floor. A boy came into the block area and accidentally kicked her block. She shouted the boys name in annoyance and ran over and picked up the block. Then she held it tenderly in her arms (much like one would hold a baby with the baby’s head on her shoulder) and said, “Shhhh, it’s okay now.” as she patted her “baby” on the back. After doing this she started rocking her baby in her arms and singing softly as she walked around the carpet.
She continued playing this way for a good 20 mins. She pretended to feed the baby and build block structures with it as well. This is the first time I have seen one of my children turn a block into a baby – but it was adorable and I was very proud about how imaginative she was being. It made me smile…and it made the stresses and exhaustion of the week melt away for a few mins…it was one of those simple moments in life that remind us of how little we truly need to be happy. For some, all it takes is a block and an imagination.
We got pattern blocks and pattern cards out today like we have so many times before. The children went over to the table and dutifully started putting the colored blocks on their coorresponding place on the card to create pictures. However, I noticed the children were lacking the excitement today they usually have when playing with the pattern blocks. I went over to the table and started playing with them and talking about the various colors and shapes of the blocks as I built my picture. But it just wasn’t working – they were losing interest -and it occurred to me that they were bored!
So suddeny I picked up my patterning card and flipped it over. The children starred at me – a little surprised – then one girl asked what I was doing. She told me there was no picture on the back for me to put my blocks on! I told her I knew that but I didn’t need a pre-made picture – I could make my own! The children at the table watched quietly and closely as I created one picture after another. Then, quietly I got up and walked away from the table to see what they would do. Suddenly I heard the little girl yell: “That’s right – we can make our own pictures! That’s what I’m going to do!” She flipped over her card. The other children at the table cheered and did the same!
The concept had never occurred to them before. Yet I had never told them they always had to use the cards to make pictures. I simply set the cards out as a starting point – to spark their interest and give them ideas. But they were intrigued to do this activity in another way and were quick to try it out!
Their excitement was back! Their interest re-sparked! They kept getting me from where I was in the room to take me back to the table to see their pictures. And there weren’t only pictures. Some children were sorting. Some were counting. And others were patterning – one little girl kept asking me to look at her “beautiful AB patterns” she was making! It was great to see them demonstrating all the concepts we have been trying so hard this year to teach them! They make me proud.