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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cedarville Animal Hospital

We have created a new center at school. The three-year-old class is focusing on animals right now, and the Pre-K class is discussing Community Helpers. I decided an animal hospital might be fun.

To create our hospital I asked for donations from our parents for some pets and supplies. We got lots of stuffed animals from dogs, to spiders. We also got some great veterinarian equipment from our own class mom that is a veterinarian--thanks Ms. C. We also have a nurse that donated some extra gloves and masks--thanks Mrs. S. THANKS SO MUCH TO EVERYONE!!!

I also asked people to send in some gauze, medical tape, and grooming supplies. We got some pet carriers, and even a bathtub.

I cleaned out our dramatic play area of all the dolls and many of the kitchen supplies. I then rearranged the area so we have a grooming area, a reception area, and an exam room area. The children LOVED it. I had one little girl that was so excited when she came in the room. The whole time during opening she would just say--"this is amazing," "I am so excited," etc.

We had an old computer in our attic, and I added a phone, clipboard, writing utensils, and books for our reception area.

During our playtime I think all of the children were at the animal hospital. It was so cute to see. We will probably have the animal hospital up until the end of the year as we only have about 6 classes left. Can you believe that?

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Monday, April 26, 2010


(photo courtesy of microsoft clipart)

We played another cooperation game on Thursday. It is probably a game everyone has played once in their life. It's the Hot-Cold game. It never occurred to me to try this with the children.

This is the game where you hide something and someone has to find it while you give them clues of cold--if they are far from the item; warm--if they are getting closer; and hot--if they are ready to find it.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures--it never even occurred to me to grab my camera. I know, where was my brain? Anyway I presented this with a grown up doing the hunting first. A grown up hunted two times and then I let a little one do it, but I was close by.

The children weren't quite sure when to say hot or cold. They kept wanting to tell the searcher exactly where the item was.

They had a great time, though. They were very sad that it was time to leave. I promised them we would do it again soon.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lone Star

I recently finished a home course about conflict resolution. There was a textbook with this course called, "Keeping the Peace," by Susanne Wichert.
Ms. Wichert states that to help with conflict resolution one has to help teach little ones about cooperation, getting along, and working together. Her book has some wonderful activities to do with the children to help in all these areas. To have the children work as a team--never against each other. Working together to complete a task.

Yesterday I decided to try one of her activities. I hope to incorporate more activities during the school year.

The activity we did was called Lone Star. This activity can be done with up to 10 children at a time, but may be done in smaller groups. Our groups were groups of 5. The objectives of the activity are: cooperative task completion, improving communication skills, and analogy and consensus.
The activity is like giving the children a tangram and the pieces to complete the tangram. They, then, must work together to complete the project.
Ms. Wichert used a traditional quilt pattern made from elongated diamonds. This pattern is called a "lone star.

I first made a star for all the children to see. I them made the children into two different groups. I gave them a piece of paper and enough stars to make the pattern. They were to first lay the pieces out to make the pattern shape. Once the shape had been completed, I gave them glue to glue it to the paper. After they completed their pattern I took their picture together and hope to hang it up with the group's star.

Here is what I found--we need to do a lot more activities like this. I monitored one group, and Mrs. T. monitored the other group. I did not help, just tried to make sure that everyone in the group was allowed to participate. I found with every group there were one or two that wanted to do EVERYTHING. They would even pull the diamonds from others' hands to place them on the paper themselves. This is where I came in to remind them that there were five people in the group and everyone needed to be part of the activity.

I have to say this was an eye opening experience for me. Actually doing the activity helped me to see how I really needed to promote the concept of cooperation much more. Ms. Wichert's book contains many more activities. I promise once I get caught up, I will share more with you.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

They're Growing

I just wanted to pass on a quick update about our plants. The children were most excited about our beans. Yes, they are growing and they are actually the tallest of all the plants. We have a total of 11 bean pots. Two of them were really big, while, some were about one inch tall, and some are just sprouting out. It was neat to be able to show the children the different stages of the growth. They could even see the roots really well.

The zinnias are doing well. They are still just tiny little sprouts. We have a few that haven't popped out yet--I hope they do soon. When the children watered them, they were concerned if their cup didn't have any sprouts.

Finally, the sponges had different types of growth. To my surprise, NONE of the grass seed has grown. I am thinking maybe it's a bad batch of seed(I have had it at home for while). The bird seed was a bit more zealous. None of the seed has come out on the foamy sponges, but there are sprouts on the sea sponge, and cleaning type sponge. There are even sprouts laying in the bottom of the pan.

The whole school is having fun watching these plants grow.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Baby Birds

Here is a craft one of our Pre-K classes made recently. I'm not really sure if they are baby birds, but hanging on the wall that is what they reminded me of.

You will need:

One small paper plate
One large paper plate

The first step is to attach the small paper plate to the large paper plate. The teacher had done this with a stapler. Feel free to let you little one undertake this task if you think they are able.

Then you add the finishing touches. The teacher had used construction paper for their birds' decorations: yellow beak, (which is open, I think that is why it looks like a baby bird), yellow feet, blue feathers, and an eye.

I was thinking you could go all out here. You could use feathers, felt, paint (I was thinking a robin--painting half of the large plate orange/red and the rest brown),

Maybe you could rip some paper and add it all over for lots of feathers. Maybe you have material the children could cut and glue all over.

This is definitely a craft where the sky or yowhat you have around is the limit. Have fun!

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bouncing Off the Walls

What a fun day we had on Thursday--if not totally exhausting! We took our first ever field trip to an establishment called Monkey Joe's. Monkey Joe's is a place full of different kinds of "moon bounces." There is lots of climbing, jumping, and sliding.

I really wasn't expecting to be too involved, but the children wanted me to "help" them. Then after we were up, they wanted to sit on my lap to slide down. It can get tiring all that climbing up and down--I'm not 4 any more:).

The children came to school with an excitement level off the charts! Monkey Joe's opened at 10:00 so we had 45 minutes to do opening, show-n-share, use the potty, etc. For the afternoon we had about a half hour before we left. During that time every 2 minutes the children said, "Is it time to go?", "Why are we still here?", "Are we leaving yet?" It was hard for them to contain themselves.

When we arrived eyes were as big as saucers. They couldn't wait to take off. They loved it. I was so happy to see some I thought might have trouble with some of the equipment, jump right in and succeed with their tasks. Out of all the children there was only one child that had trouble with the new transition. We had about 15 minutes left of the trip before he stepped inside any of the bounces. He slowly progressed to the slides and then he was happy as a lark.

We finished our day with a little picnic outside. A wonderful way to finish our day.

I have to say I was very pleased with our trip. As I said it was the first time we had ever done anything like this and I wasn't sure how smoothly it would go. We had a wonderful time.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Plant Scientists

We had such a good time yesterday. It was actually the first time I had done this with the children--EVER!

We have been doing a lot with spring plants lately. Every year we plant a flower to go home on Mother's Day for Mom. This year I decided to jazz the whole thing up. We became scientists yesterday and experimented with planting seeds.

Each class had three science experiments: We planted flower seeds in dirt (our Mother's Day flowers); we planted bean seeds in cotton; and we planted grass seed on sponges for the AM class and bird seed on sponges in the PM class. We then made a chart--our hypothesis--as to which plants will grow.

All of the children felt the seeds will grow in the dirt(let's hope so). They were mixed on the beans growing in the cotton. The whole AM class thought that the seeds would not grow, the PM class was mixed on this. As for the grass seed and bird seed on the sponges, it again was a mixed vote.

For our sponge planting I had bought 3 different kinds of sponges; a sea sponge, a cleaning type sponge with lots of holes, and a car wash type sponge which was more foamy. Each child selected one of the sponges, soaked them in the water and then sprinkled them with the appropriate seed.

I actually got the sponge idea from one of my Care Courses: Discovery and Exploration With Preschoolers. Along with this course came a science guide; Squishy, Squashy Sponges, full of fun experiments to do with preschoolers and sponges.

For the bean planting I did this as a partner activity, another type of suggestion from my Care Courses: Conflict Resolution. In this course they discuss doing activities that involve the children working in pairs or groups to promote cooperation and "working with others."

To do this activity each pair of children were given a see through plastic cup, a pile of cotton, and two bean seeds. The children had to get the cotton wet, and put the beans in. Pretty easy, but always fun to play with water.

Finally planting the flowers: the children filled a cup with dirt, added some seeds, then gave it some water. We also had fun just playing in the dirt.

Our next step is to sit back and wait to see what will grow and how quickly. It was exciting to visit the Pre-K today and they were very interested in our experiment as well. They wanted to know what we planted and what kind of "dirt" we used. I'll keep you posted.

We also read a very fun book called, "I'm a Seed," by Jean Marzollo. It was fun for the children to guess through the book the type of seed that was growing. We also used our counting skills to count all the flowers and our observation skills to try to remember the animals that were on some of the pages.

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