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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"A Few of My Favorite Things...."

We are continuing with our All About Me theme while also incorporating our colors and this week, apples. We began our day by reviewing the book we read on Thursday, "The Greatest Me There Could Ever Be," by Vicki J. Kuyper. Then we discussed the different things one can "like." We thought awhile about some of our favorite things and shared them with the class. Isn't if funny how during sharing time they all do like the same things?

We made our favorite things page for the ME BOOK. I had cut out many, many, many, different objects from magazines. At this early stage I feel magazine cutting is still a bit out of their league. Some can cut, but some still don't know how to hold the scissors. I like to have scissor centers more at this time so they can get used to having them around. The children can pick as many pictures as they like and glue them on the paper. Some tried to get away with just one, but I tried to encourage at least three pictures, while others could have been there all day.

I am going to post about all the red things we did separately, but we also talked about the different kinds of apples that we have. Mostly all the different colors. I had drawn a big apple on a piece of paper than put out scraps of yellow, red, and green paper to let the children rip and then glue to the apple. With both classes we were able to get it pretty covered, but there was lots of concentration going on there. I was glad many of the children tried it.

We finished the day by going out to the playground. I just had to share with you what fun we were having with all the fallen "helicopters" from the maple tree. Our playground has a HUGE maple tree in the center of it. Yesterday was really windy and all the "helicopters" were falling to the ground. We were collecting them and throwing them up so they would all spin at once. It was lots of fun and was really neat to look at. I wasn't quick enough to throw and get a picture, but believe me we had a good time.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Handprint Hoot Owl

I found this really cute owl which I thought is great for fall or Halloween.

You will need:

construction paper: fall colors

Trace the child's hand on some colored construction paper four times. These hands are going to be the owl's feathers, so use any color you would like for these. I used orange and brown. Cut the hands outs. (If you would like him to look a bit more "feathery," just cut out more hands.)

Glue the hands to a piece of construction paper. Only put glue on the palm part to of the hand. Overlap them so that the fingers will look like feathers.

Next add a half circle for the head. I think my semi-circle is a little small, you might want to make it bigger. Glue this on covering the palm area of the top layer of hands.

Now it's time to add the finishing touches. I made a "great horned owl," so I added some black horns. Then there was a beak and some feet. Finally, everyone knows that owl's have some great big eyes. I cut two white circles then added some detail.

Glue the eyes on the head then go back and curl up the fingers to make them look like feathers. Now he's ready to spend a spooky night in the old oak tree.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

How Big Am I?

A popular theme at the beginning of the year is Who Am I? We began discussions of this aspect Thursday. I always read this great book we have that is called, "I'm the Greatest Me There Could Ever Be!", by Vicki J. Kuyper. It talks about people's different hair color, eye color, families, likes, etc. I read through the book, then we go back and discuss the aspects about ourselves from each page. For example, I have them tell me their eye color, hair color, what they like. It's also fun to bring two children up at a time to have everyone notice likes and differences.

Our activities at this time of year are centered around the beginning of our ME BOOK, which our school creates every year for every child. Today was to make the page where we notate their height, weight, handprint, and footprint at the beginning of the year. We will do this again at the end of the year. We also mark each child's height on a growth chart and leave it there all year so they can see the difference at the end of the year.

Some other fun activities we did today were: Bean play, for which I will be stepping on beans until the end of the year. It's amazing how far these beans can travel once they hit the floor. Dot Painting; believe it or not this was my first experience with this. I had received some dot paints free from Scholastic last year, but never got them out. It was fun, although that paint can splatter! Magnetic Foam Blocks: the children LOVE these, they create so many varied masterpieces. Finally, I made a color wheel over the summer to use with clothes pins. This wasn't too big of a hit yet, but I noticed that the clothes pins were troublesome for some. Have to keep exercising those fine motor skills.

Name recognition is a big "skill" we like the 3yr. old class to master so today I played a little name finding game. I had written all the children's names on sentence strips and laminated them. I handed each child their name so they could examine it. Then we traced the letters with our finger--or tried. I then had them give them back to me and I spread them out on the floor and asked them to find their name. This was our first activity with names and was I shocked. The AM class was pretty much right on target, the PM class only had 3 that were unsure. I think these guys are just getting too smart for me.

I know it's only been two weeks, but it is so wonderful how these children play together and enjoy themselves. GREAT GROUPS!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Monster" Rules

Since this is the first experience for some of the little ones in a classroom, many are unaware of some important proper "etiquette" habits for the room. Years ago I came across a little story in my McMillan activities pack that has always been very helpful with this concept.

We read together the story, "The Day The Monster Came to School." I'm not sure if I'm reading this with too much feeling or what, but everytime the Monster cries in this story, some of the children's eyes well up. I think it's a cute story that they can relate easily to.

During the story we discuss things that the Monster is doing that might not be good things to do. Then we try to figure out ways that he might have done something that would be better. After we read the story I have the children come up with a list of rules for our class. We always have; don't throw toys, because it's the first real thing the Monster does that they know isn't good. All the other rules I try to put in a positive way. I write the rules on the board.

Then for our craft we make a little monster with the rules on him and I send a note home to Mom and Dad explaining exactly what the craft is and how we came up with it. Also, asking that they reinforce these concepts at home. It is a very easy craft and goes quickly, but it takes a while for some of them to get the hang of that glue stick.

For the craft I just cut out a monster shape similar to the one in the story. I let the children color the monster with markers. We add a googly eye and glue the rules on his "belly."

Today we also did marshmallow sculptures. The AM class was very reserved in this area. I only had a few that even tried the activity. The PM class on the other hand was totally opposite. They enjoyed making many different things--along with filling their bellies.

I also had the Play Doh out with scissors and pizza cutting wheels. This was fun for all. Our final table was a bit messy with Moon Sand. One of my children had gotten this for a gift, but only used two of the four, so I took it to school. I think the bottom of my shoes are 10 different colors with all the Moon Sand I stepped in. This was an area some of them again were a bit hesitant because they weren't sure what it was or what they should do with it. After I sat with them a while and just played and molded, there was a much bigger response.

Our great day ended with a trip to the playground. It is so great when we can get outside. It was bit cloudy and we weren't sure if rain was going to come, but we didn't make it out last week and I said as long as there was no rain we were going!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Foaming Hand Soap

Did you ever buy one of those foaming hand soap dispensers and then not know what to do with it when it was empty? I've done that a few times. We don't buy foaming hand soap here that often because it is more expensive then the regular hand soap, but when we go on vacation, I like to give them a little treat--they love that foaming soap.

Well, the aide at our school introduced me to a way to make the foaming hand soap. Not only is it great because the children like the foamy stuff, but it is cost effective too.

The most important aspect of this is that you need a dispenser with the foaming soap contraption--I hope that's not too technical:). So I bought a foaming hand soap dispenser from the store. We used it all up and it was time to refill.

First take off the lid--I know it's obvious, I'm just trying to be thorough.

Add about 1 inch of regular liquid soap refill. If you have a larger container, you may have to add a bit more. My containers are about 8 ounces. Also, any type of liquid soap should work too.

Now fill the container the rest of the way with water. Shake well and WA LA--a full container of foaming hand soap.

Any palm readers in the house?

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Friendship Day

I must report to you--NO TEARS! They all came upstairs, we did opening, we played, we ate, we sang, we created. No one cried, and only a couple started asking me, "When is my mom coming?," around 11:00. Can you believe it? I don't think anyone in the afternoon classed even asked me when their mom was coming.

I will tell you the two classes are like night and day. No matter how many years I do multiple classes it always amazes me how different they are. The AM class played, I mean they really played. I think every toy in the room was used. But, it wasn't chaos, it wasn't loud, it was really very good. The PM class was a bit different. I'm not sure if they all had Sugar-O's for lunch, but the decibel level was huge, sometimes I couldn't get a word in edgewise. Their playing was different too. They were more reserved with the toys. I actually spilled some blocks out and started to build to see if I could get those creative juices flowing. They kept coming and asking what they should do next, or what do you do there, etc., a bit unsure in that area.

AM Road Building.

AM taking care of Baby.

PM with the blocks I poured out.

It seems so empty.

Where did everybody go?

Overall though, the day was magnificent. To have your first day and be able to go through the whole routine and discuss things--almost unheard of. I have to tell you though, I was exhausted. This working a full 5 hour day is tough:).

I didn't want to do anything too formal with them. I wanted them to sort of explore their surroundings, and take things in. As did I. We did talk about "friends," and created friendship bracelets to share with our friends.

I read them the book, "How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends," by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (I love all the How Do Dinosaurs books). I then had pieces of cut up colored straws and pipe cleaners and everyone made a bracelet. Then at the end of the day, they picked a friend's name out of a bag and "shared" their bracelet with a friend. The PM class did well with this, the AM class was a little concerned about giving their bracelet to someone else.

For the bracelets you need:

colored straw pieces

Let the children choose a pipecleaner. Put a loop in one end of the pipecleaner so that they can start stringing straws and they won't fall off. After they are finished stringing on straws, put the other end through the loop and twist--REALLY EASY.

Inspired by the Pre-K teacher's "magic show," I had a watercolor table. I had drawn pictures on pieces of paper and hoped to get a huge reaction when they painted over the drawing. Out of all the children that did the activity, only one painted enough to even notice their was a drawing there. They had fun anyway.

One final thing I had out today was a new toy. They are called Brain Noodles, I think I got them from Discount School Supply. They are like big soft fuzzy pipecleaners. The children could bend them and connect them to create fun things
So that is our beginning. I have to say it was really, really good.

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