Monday, February 27, 2012

Reptiles - a focus on snakes

We had been studying reptiles complete with a visit from the gecko and one week we focused on snakes.  For this we read a book about snakes and showed the children a snake skin.  This was another opportunity to handle something fragile. 
We extended this into the practical life area where we had a snake cutting work.  Here the children can color the snake and then cut around in a circle.
In art we decided to glue a snake mosiac which was quite popular with the children.  Here they used different dried beans and put them in a strip of glue shaped like a snake.

Snow scooping

To take advantage of the very little snow we have received this year, we put out a fun practical life work in which the child practices using a scooper.  We filled a container up with real snow and the child practices scooping it out into a small bowl.

This is a fun work anyone can do as long as you have a smaller ice cream scoop and snow!

Egg Slicing

In the practical life area, we try to always have out a food work where the children are able to practice getting themselves something to eat when they are hungry.  This increases their independence, confidence and fine motor skills. 
Here the child has taken the tray to the table and brought over a hard boiled egg to the work as well.
They carefully peel the egg and put the shell in a small bowl on the tray.
The child then places the peeled egg in the slicer and cuts the egg.
The child then puts the slices on a plate, may choose to lightly salt and eat the egg slices.
The children have loved to do this work!  If you do not have a slicer (which are pretty inexpensive) you can use a dull knife to cut the egg.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Geology- The Layers of the Earth

The four layers of the Earth.  Although most of our lessons are given individually (such as practical life, math and language) at times the children gather in a small group for a special presentation.  We had purchased a model of the Earth that splits in half and also had printed out our nomenclature cards for the children to match showing the different layers of the Earth. 
We discussed each layer: the inner core, the outer core, the mantle and the crust.
I then showed them a playdough Earth I had made the night before and proceeded to cut through to see the various layers. (Of course, this gave us a chance to discuss knife safety!)
We passed around the two halves and pointed out the different layers. 
After the presentation, many children chose to make their own Layers of the Earth booklet.
One child also pin-punched each layer and glued on to make a little diagram.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reading- matching words to pictures

This child has progressed through the moveable alphabet with c-v-c objects and pictures.(Please see previous posts!)  She is now moving to reading the words and matching them to pictures. She has completed these cards individually and wanted to do all five cards at the same time. She has a very strong phonetic base and is able to sound out the words. After she completes a work like this, she writes them all down to take home.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Japanese Crafts

Last week while studying Japan, the children made some crafts related to Japan.All of the children had the opportunity to make a cherry blossom tree collage.  We used a piece of blue paper, glued on some twigs for the trees and then crumpled up the pink tissue paper and glued on the tree.

The afternoon children were able to experience more Japanese crafts.
We were able to make Koi Nobori kites. This was a great craft to make as the children could be quite independent. They only needed a little direction with the placement of the paper.
Here the child is gluing the scales to the paper. She puts down a large strip of glue and simply places the scales on the strip.
After several rows of scales are on the kite, glue on a long black strip of construction and two eyes.
Flip over the paper, glue strips of crepe paper for the tail. The children cut these idependently and glued them on the other side.
Finished kites!
Here is a link to the website:

We also made Kokeshi dolls. We had prepared in advance by hot gluing a ping pong ball on top of an empty yogurt drink container.
First the children picked out the color they wanted to use. They painted it onto the doll. We forgot to leave the head white and so they all had the same color all over their body.
You can then paint on the clothes or use a marker to draw them on. Some children drew on hair with black marker.
Here is a link to this craft:

Playdough - With Recipe

Playdough is so much fun and so good for developing fine motor skills and socialization. In our classroom it is a one or two person work and we have added tools over the year. Currently, we are using a plastic egg dish, a hard boiled egg slicer, a plastic knife, a dull pair of scissors, cookie cutters and a plastic and wooden small rolling pin.

Here is a great recipe for home made playdough:
3 c white all purpose flour
1/2 c salt
1 T powdered alum
Mix these dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Mix  in another bowl in order shown (important for some reason!)
3 T vegetable oil
Food coloring
2 c boiling or really hot water
Optional: A few drops of essential oil - I have used lemongrass, peppermint and lavender.
Pour wet ingredients into dry. Stir to mix. Let cool for a few minutes. Knead and play. Store in a plastic container or zip lock bag for more use.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Soap Grating

This week we added soap grating to our practical life shelves.  This is a multiple step activity which allows the child to sequence the steps and coordinate their movements. 
We grated soft soap into a dish with our tiny spice grater. We used the handle of a small spoon to help get the grated soap out of the grater.
Then we brushed the soap gratings into a small wax paper bag.
We folded it up and sealed it with a sticker label. The children took their grated soap home. It can be used for handwashing or in a bath.

Reading - Sight words

Now that this child can read 3 letter c-v-c words independently, we have introduced some basic sight words so she can read phrases and sentences. Here she is making her own sight word book to practice at home. Her parents will help her practice. Sight words simply have to memorized as most are not phonetic. In order to progress to reading phrases and sentences with three letter c-v-c words, she will have to read a few words that are not phonetic such as I and for. 
Combining her phonetic knowledge and her sight words she will confidently move into reading phrases, sentences and books that really address phonetic learning such as the Bob series.  From here we move onto learning more phonetic based sounds that contain two or more letters such as sk and tw.  She will have the phonetic skills and add these before moving onto phonograms.

The many flags of Asia

There are many countries in Asia and we have many flag cards to match. This child decided she wanted to match all of the cards. She put three rugs on the floor and first put down all of the cards with the names of the countries on them. She then matched all of the cards without names next to them. She was very proud of her work.
She has now decided to draw every single flag of Asia we have and create her own book! She will often take breaks as this is a labor intensive work but she is really enjoying the many flags.
Here she goes!
We have decided to laminate the pages to make a sturdier book.
Here is the book. She was so happy to take this home and share it with her family! (Just wait until Africa!)

Asia studies - Japan

We have had a lot of fun during our week studying Japan! Thank you to our two moms who came in and shared their culture! We had several items from Japan for the children to look at and experience.
We colored a map of Japan!
We colored different images from Japan.
We made sticky rice balls. This was made in a rice cooker which one Mom donated to the school! (THANK YOU- we will be using this a lot as we have discovered the children love sticky rice!) The children helped form them into a pyramid shape. We used our geometric solid shape as a model.
Wrap the rice ball in a piece of nori and eat. This way the rice does not stick to your fingers. Some of the children tried it and others preferred rice without the nori, sticky fingers and all!
One of our mothers wrote the children's names in Hiragana. This is Japanese writing. Some of the sounds such as v and th are not present in Japanese. The writing is phonetic, not a direct translation. Here are a few names.
We also had origami making. This was so fun! The children loved to see how a piece of paper can become a dog, cat or even a ball!
After our craft activities, we shared our special snack, looked at pictures of Japan and the teachers tried on Kimono!
A BIG thank you to our mothers who came and spent the morning with us!!! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine Activities - Practical Life

The magic of hearts! For Valentine's Day we have adapted some of our practical life work to incorporate this sweet holiday. There are many fine motor benefits from completing these works and the children are attracted to the colors and to the hearts!
Cutting out hearts. As soon as this was on the shelf, the children are surrounding the area and waiting their turn to cut out a heart. Scissor skills are used and learned during this task . This is easy to do at home, put folded pink and red paper in a basket with half a heart traced on them. Also put a pair of child sized scissors on a tray.
We always have cutting strips on the shelf but here we made them with red construction paper and hearts. Again, scissor skills are strengthened while cutting out tiny hearts. The children put these cuttings in an envelope and take them home.
As heart cutting has been so popular for the last few days, we have added another optional step. Cut the heart, glue the back and place on a white doily.
Transferring with red jewels. Here the child practices their transferring skills using brilliant red jewels. They are attracted to the color. We always have several transferring activities on the shelf but here we have added a red color.
Another transfer activity but into a heart shaped ice cube tray. Here a child is using chop sticks to transfer the pom pom balls into the tray. These trays are pretty easy to find right now.
Gluing hearts onto paper. This is in our free art area along with the cutting hearts work. The child glues hearts to construction paper.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

India crafts

During our week studying India, we had been coloring Rangoli designs in the morning and decided to try to use colored sand to make the real thing. It was not difficult to do, we printed off designs, painted glue on the different areas and then gently sprinkled on sand. Some decided to make a design and others just wanted the colored sand all over their design. They had a lot of fun exploring the colors.
The morning children had an opportunity to make their own rangoli as well.
We also made diyas which are used to hold a candle in India. Usually these are heart shaped as the wick hangs over the edge and oil is used. For children using a tealight is safer. We used our special clay and made a ball. We then flattened the clay a bit and pressed in a tea light.
After a few days when the paint was dry, we painted with sparkly gold paint and will put in a tea light.