Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Handmade" Christmas Trees

Last week I drug out an old dusty box I had forgotten about over the years. To my joy I found Christmas decorations my kids had made when they were small. One of those lost decorations was a Christmas tree made from one of my daughter's tiny hands. I immediately hung it on the wall. After staring at it a few days it dawned on me that my students are about the same age as Katie when she made this precious object. I took it down from the wall and looked at how it was made. Six hand prints stacked in a pyramid shape with a rectangle trunk, circle ornaments, and an Ellison cut star on top. It took two days for all 20 kids to make one. I hope all of my kids parents enjoy this wonderful keepsake. I hope they look back  13 years from now as I did and remember their tiny child whose small hands made this tree.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hiding Gobbles for Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving one of the many books we read was Run, Turkey, Run. By Diane Mayr. The book is about a turkey who is trying to hide from Farmer so he does not become Thanksgiving dinner. One of the many activities we did for this book was to disguise our classroom turkey Gobbles using costumes from Build-a-Bear Workshop. The kids loved it. They created SpiderGobbles, Fireman Gobbles, Cheerleader Gobbles, Darth Vader Gobbles, and such. The turkey was purchased from Build-a-Bear Workshop with stuff points from their Stuff Club Program. The costumes were purchased around Halloween when the store had plenty in stock. The manager (a former student's parent) of our local store knows we use their animals in our curriculum and sends e-mails when items on our wish list are on sale/clearance. She also lets us know when a new animal we may want becomes available.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Haunting We Will Go

Since we live in a very small, very rural community the Pre-K department decided to celebrate Halloween we would experience Trick-or-Treating. Most of our kids had been trick-or-treating before but only to relatives or  they have gone to the Fall Festivals held by local churches. Very few had actually went door to door trick-or-treating. We asked our new principal about trick-or-treating the teachers in our building. He was game and we had around 95% of the teachers sign up to participate. Our parents brought in small trinkets or toys for the teachers to pass out instead of candy. We spent an hour and a half going from classroom to classroom saying trick-or-treat and thank you. The children loved it. It was a great experience for all ages.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Leaves Are Falling Down

We are having a blast learning about Autumn or "Fall" as we call it here in Tennessee. Our favorite activity has been the song "The Leaves Are Falling Down." It is sung to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell and goes like this:
 The leaves are falling down.
 The leaves are falling down.
All over  (a child's name)
and all over town.
We use index cards with the children's name written on them to keep up with whose turn it is. At the line all over ____ we drop silk leaves on the child's head. The children love it. The activity keeps a long waiting list.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Smelly Socks

On Monday during story time we read Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch. The kids absolutely loved it. It is about a young lady who gets new socks and will not take them off, not even to wash them. To extend the story further we decided we would wash Tina's sock for her since she makes her classmates wash them. I added two dolls and two pairs of clean socks to the water table along with a little soap. The kids spent the whole morning taking turns washing those "smelly" socks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shape Snapshots

On Friday, I read Tana Hoban's wonderful book, Shapes, Shapes, Shapes. It is a wordless book filled with beautiful photographs of shapes in the environment. We looked at each page and identified what shapes we saw in each picture and checked them off with the list of shapes she included in the front of the book. After our reading we decided to make our our version of the book. First, we made a list on the activboard of what shapes we thought we might find. Next we lined up with our cameras and explored outside the grounds of our school. The kids then found a shape and correctly identified it. Next the kids used one of our two cameras. They, yes you read right my four year old students, snapped pictures of their shape. After all 20 had taken a picture of a shape we compiled our photographs and made our own Shapes, Shapes, Shapes book. The kids enjoyed it so much I am planning on spending a few extra days next week and letting the kids make a 4-5 picture photo book to take home and photo books on each individual shape.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Teaching With iPad and iPods

Today during Center Time we had our first small group lesson using the iPad and iPod touches. We have been learning about apples all week so naturally I chose to introduce the letter Aa during this theme. This morning we review an Uppercase A. Using the app Letter Tracer I reviewed the letter A and demonstrated how to make the lines that form the letter. We practiced together using the tracer mode. After correctly demonstrating the letter A three times without help in tracer mode, I would demonstrate to each student how to write an A in the free hand mode. The child then switched to free hand mode and practiced several times writing an A without the tracer. Before leaving the table each child was given a piece of paper and asked to write an A. After using the app 13 out of 16 children could correctly write an A on their paper.