In honor of our Farm Theme I have transformed our playhouse into a barn. I have use a very large cardboard box to make a barn. I have no idea what this box was used for – all I know is that it came from a body shop. I believe at one time it might possibly have housed a hood for a car. It’s been painted red with white on the doors. Windows have also been cut into the sides. I use a combination of duck tape and staples on the ends that touch the walls to make it stand up. It’s in one corner of our room and big enough for 4 children to lie down inside! It’s really awesome! The playhouse clothes are overalls and cowboy hats (all acquired at thrift stores or the goodwill) and the baby dolls have been switched out for small scarecrow dolls. I even have two of those horse head things on a stick (totally can’t think of the names of those things right now!) – the kids love to play in the playhouse and pretend to live and/or work on a farm! Parents, teachers, and children alike seemed impressed! And what fun time we have in our big red barn! 🙂
I got this idea from another teacher – and a friend sent me the picture! Excuse the crappy cell phone pic – this is what the other teachers looked like – I don’t have a picture of mine but I pretty much copied it exactly!
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!
This has been my children’s favorite game to play for a few days now. Mostly, they act out circle time. It always starts with them arguing over who will be the teachers. Usually they come to me and ask me to pick – I usually pick the children who haven’t had a turn being the teacher recently. Then they usually argue over who is going to be Ms. Bennet and who is going to be me. I let them sort this one out on their own. Then, they start school!
I got the white board out that we wrote our Morning Message on each day so that they could write their own morning messages. I love to watch how the different children go about doing this! They are sooo cute! Some would just write random strings of letters while others would try to sound out the actual words we used in our morning message.
Next they skip over everything else we usually do during our circle time and go straight to the Bible lesson! They always do a Noah’s Ark lesson (I guess they really loved that story) – and I let them use one of my children’s bibles that I use to teach them their lessons. Then at the end of the lesson they make up a prayer and circle time is over! They’re adorable and I love watching them go through this process! It entertains them all morning and I love to listen to their conversations while they play!
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! 🙂
Oh, what a day! I can honestly say I’m glad it’s over! This morning was quite hectic and we got way behind schedule! I was still optimistic about the children making their own books…but in the end it didn’t work out. Ms. Bennet and I had to clean up three different children after three different accidents! We had a little girl just stand in the middle of the room and wet her pants. She didn’t even ask to go potty. It doesn’t help that our entire room is carpeted. So one of us had to clean her and the other had to clean the floor. We also had two children get sick and vomit today. Once again, one of us cleaned the floor while the other cleaned the children.
I did observe some bright spots amidst the chaos today. We had Lego’s out and all the children playing with them started making Lego cell phones – with antennas. They started “calling” each other and having long conversations about where they were going and what they were going to do. Then all of a sudden one little boy started yelling into his phone, “I can hear your speaker phone all the way over here! You need to turn that thing down!” I almost started laughing! He repeated it two time until she responded to him, “I can’t turn it down or I won’t be able to hear you!” He looked very annoyed by her answer. Then another girl said, “Mine won’t turn off – this button won’t work!” She was “pushing” a button on her phone over and over again. It was too cute – I love seeing them use their imaginations!
Later on the playground I was very proud of my girls when I observed two of them playing with a car. They were sitting each other pushing the car back and forth between them. Then another girl from our class came up and said, “Can I please play too?” The response she got was, “You have to ask Kitten, she had the car first.” So she asked Kitten and got a quick nod, and the three of them started playing. A few minutes after that two more girls from our class came up to the group and one of them said, “Please can we play with you guys?” And they soon joined the group. A little while later 3 more girls from our class came up and sat down to watch the game. Then one of them said, “Kitten, can we please play your game?” After Kitten said yes, all the girls joined the circle and there they sat pushing the car around from girl to girl. I was very proud that they had all used their manners and could take turns and share so nicely! I was also secretly happy that the other teachers on the playground saw this too – it’s not impossible to teach young children manners – it just takes patience and persistence!
I was watching my book area today. I took note of 4 different children “reading” a book outloud and after reading each page they would turn it around and show their audience the pictures. They turned the page and repeated the process. Over and over. Book after book. It was cute.
They must have been reading to some imaginary person because not one child was listening to the readers. Of course, even if someone had been listening I don’t know that they would have been able to hear or understand the reader they had chosen due to the fact that all four were reading out loud at the same time.
But that doesn’t matter. They were having fun. They were taking pleasure in the simple act of reading and that’s all that matters in the end.
Progress reports are done at last! It takes a long time to observe the children, see what they know, and then write it down and make comments to parents – but now it’s all done and tomorrow they can all go home! Yay! Finally! (insert sigh of relief here)
Today we made giraffes. I wouldn’t really call it art – more of a fine motor exercise. I die cut a giraffe for each child out of yellow paper then I gave them light and dark brown paper and a hole punch. They then punched out dots to glue onto their giraffe. They all enjoyed the process – some had a hard time with punching out the dots; others had a hard time picking the dots up off the table – but they all turned out cute!
We also started making lion masks today. Ms. Bennet and I cut the center out of a paper plate. Then we let them put a bunch of glue on the paper plate ring. After that they put on some crinkly shredded yellow and brown paper to make a mane (this paper was used as hay when we had a farm in our playhouse and I saved it to use for this project). Tomorrow I will let them cut out ears for their lion and they can help staple them on. I will enjoy watching them play with their masks and pretend to be lions! I’m sure they’ll look adorable!
They love playing with our green playdough! Our blue and yellow playdough turned into green weeks ago. Usually I put out plastic knives, sicssors, cookie cutters, and rolling pins with the playdough – but lately I’ve just been putting out playdough to see what they do with it. A first, they weren’t so sure. But today I was proud to see them trying to make the letters in their names! A few spelled thier names completely! All my children (except one) know their names – but some had trouble figuring out how to make the letters with playdough. It was nice to see them making the attpemt without me having to prompt them! I love my class! I don’t think they would have tried this earlier in the year – it appears my babies are growing up!