Monday, January 30, 2012

Nn noodle day- preschool style

I'm was going to say Nn noodle day was fun, but I don't really know. Lou was sick and I had to just send in my materials.  Lou was happy to work with all of them when I got them home.  I'm going to write this as if I was doing it all in the classroom, it's easier that way. 

There were few 'noodle' themed books at our library.  I liked The Story of Noodles by Ying Chang Compestine best, but will keep an eye out for future years. It was long and needed a bit of condensing for a group reading to peeps this young. 

I had paper plates with each of the letters where we've covered to this point, a-n capital and lower case. I set out only a few at a time and changed them frequently. 

Each child had a paper take-out box and set of chopsticks.  The boxes had several cuts of yarn 'noodles.' I called out a few of the children's names and a letter and those kids brought up their noodles to the plate.  

I should have gone to a Chinese restaurant and begged for boxes, instead I cut them all out from a pattern available here.  If you copy the image and increase out the size in a word document, it prints out fine.  After 10 boxes, I realized cutting was too much but then I too far in. 

The idea of using chopsticks and yarn noodles was adapted from Let's Go Fly a Kite.  The chopsticks were in my boxes of 'teacher stuff' I store at my in-laws.  I got them years ago for a Chinese new years activity.  I think another teacher picked them up for me because I can not recall where I got them. 

Here are a few things I set out for the kids to work with during arrival time and at the end of the day.  The kids love the balance scale.  I put nuts, noodles, and the weights for the scale out for them.  They do really enjoy working with this.

I made these cards up with n words.  There are just a handful of them.  We used our letter tiles to spell out the words on scrabble trays.  I pulled out only the needed letters so there aren't so many available.   I have set this out in the room a few times since this and the kids really haven't used it much.  Lou is happy to work with it. This idea is from Our Country Road. 

This one was fun.  You roll the dice and add that many meatballs to the spaghetti plate.  I added chopsticks and a Oriental style cloth to to tie it in with the other activities.  Those brown pom poms could be some Chinese meat I suppose.

This idea was adapted from totally tots.   Luke enjoyed working with this one, and then he dumped all the meatballs on and pretended to eat them.  Just as good. 

This nut sorting activity is from  Counting Coconuts.  I've had the cards since last year and finally got a chance to use them.  If there were any nut allergies in the school, obviously I wouldn't have been able to use this. 

I used random jars; I didn't have enough wooden bowls.

Here was the craft for the day, which Lou had to work on at home.  They glued dyed noodles onto a paper titled 'noodle art.'    

I had this noodle activity ready, but they didn't need it.  The kids were each given small bowls of dry noodles and a recording sheet.  This is from mailbox magazine preschool August/September 2000. 

And these next two items were from my teaching partners Nn day and I liked them so much I wanted to share.  

Phone number bingo:  Each child's phone number was typed out for them.  Numbers were called out and they covered up the numbers.  When the child had a 'bingo,' then they read off their phone number. 

She also had the kids circle number nines in the newspaper.  There are a lot of nines on all the add pages I noticed.  Cars and grocery mostly.

I used a lot of ideas this week that I gathered online, mostly from pinterest.  I can't imagine doing this job without the internet!  I know I didn't use online resources very much my first few years, but I had teacher plan books at least.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

church at home complete with treats

Last weekend, Lou was sick and we decided to have church at home (after I got back from taking him to urgent care... again).  He's fine now- more ear infections.  It's been a hard winter on those ears of his.  Bee prepared a reading and bible story and a song, rather enthusiastically, I might add.  And then it was decided that we needed doughnuts to complete our church experience.  We used this recipe from Pioneer Woman and I will just buy bigger pants.  It's a fair trade.  Bee's reading was good, but we are looking forward to regular church this weekend. I think we are all healthy enough to go!

Friday, January 27, 2012

chevron scarf is done

I finally finished this knitted chevron scarf that I've been working on since October. Knitting takes so much more time than crocheting. 

It's not as long as I had hoped, but I ran out of yarn and had already used all my yarn budget on it.  It's made from MinnowMerino wool, so there's where my money went.  It's soft and I love the colors. The colors are bluette, chartreuse and tangerine (although it's very much a pink).  I had some grays and blues picked out and then saw these more fun colors close to the register and changed my mind altogether. 

Because it's not as long as I had planned, I added a little loop and a big button to help it stay crossed.   The pattern was found here at the purl bee, which I found via pinterest.  I love the finished look but it did require careful counting.  Careful, careful counting.  I pulled out as many rows as I stitched in.  If you get off count anywhere in the row, it will be evident and must be fixed.  But, the finished result is so pretty and reminds me that if I slow down, pay attention to details, and do things carefully and correctly, the results will be better.

The next project is a pair of matching gloves.  I have a fingerless pair pattern picked out.... I'm gong to need to be brave and get working with a pair of double pointed needles though.

Have you been curling your hair with a sock too?  It's pinned like a million times on pinterest and there are dozens of youtube videos about it so you might be. I'm finally figuring it out and can even do it in the morning while I'm getting ready and still get the same amount of curl in 30 minutes that I get from all night.  I can't get into the showering at night thing, so I needed to make this work for my morning routine.  This is the youtube video where I learned this method.  Bee wishes her hair was straight and I want curls.  Go figure.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

4 square tic tac toe

We've learned a new game at our house.  It's 4-square tic tac toe. There's more strategy and planning than with regular tic tac toe and we are really into it. 

Instead of working with a 3x3 grid, you have a 4x4.  You are still using two players; X and O.  Play is like regular tic tac toe except that players can win three ways:  4 corners, 4 in a square (anywhere on the board) or 4 in a row (vertical, horizontal, diagonal). 

You want to play now don't you?   Watch out for my kids though, they are good!   When no one wins and it's a draw Lou and Bee have been calling it 'cat's eye'  which makes my giggle.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mm math day -marshmallows and M&Ms- preschool style

Oh what a fun day we had. M&Ms and marshmallow math day.  How could you go wrong with such yummy treats?

I had a book, but we didn't get time to read it at school.  The kids and I read it at home and it's cute, just doesn't really happen to go with my activities.   This is Marshmallow by Clare Newberry. 

First, we looked at how much space M&Ms, mini marshmallows, and regular marshmallows take up.  I asked lot of questions about these jars and we made predictions.   We counted each and asked more questions and made more predictions.  

The kids were pretty good at guessing the marshmallows, we were all way off on the M&Ms.   We recorded our information and reread our results.   This information was useful in making predictions on our second activity.

Next, we weighed marshmallows and M&Ms.  The kids LOVED  using the balance scale.  I placed a certain number in one side and we made predictions about what it would take to balance it.   I also had a few examples written out and we made predictions and then tested to see which was actually heavier.

Then the kids wanted to just pour all of the items in the sides and see what happened. We did.  I left the balance scale out when we had some extra time and the kids flocked to it.  I will have to find other opportunities to use it. 

I did end up making this balance scale.  It wasn't hard and cost about $6 in materials.  I had the baskets from an old scale.  I think that you  could use pie pans or some other container in place if needed. 

Here's a side view.  The main vertical piece is three pieces of thin wood glued together with a space for the arm. The arm is a touch thinner than one of the stem pieces. 

My favorite activity was this marshmallow measuring activity.   I had several sheets prepared like this one.  We did one as a group.  I showed how to lay the marshmallows on the line and how to count those up and record it on the appropriate line.

  I divided the kids into partners and sent them somewhere in the room to work on their sheet.  They worked so well together today.  I think we're getting there!  Some groups finished early and got to measure the line with M&Ms too. 

After the groups were done, we came back to our circle and shared our results.  I think this was the most valuable part of this activity, to share the results.  This is the first time we've done something like this where the kids discussed their work orally after the activity.  

This was our end of the day activity.  The kids each had a sheet and a handful of marshmallows. We rolled the dice as a group and we worked on covering the numbers. 

Here was the craft today.  It is a mountain M to go with all the other letters we've been doing each week.  

For our snack, our leader brought monkey cupcakes.  Too cute!

I sent a M&M graphing activity home. It wouldn't have been fair to do all of these fun things with treats and not get to eat any.   The sheet attached just gives the parents some ideas about what questions to ask as they work on this activity with their child.  One of my parents emailed me a picture of their child working on the chart.  So, I know at least one family did it.

This is something that we display each day at dismissal time on a clipboard by the door.  I don't think I've ever shared it before.   Lou's classroom does this too.  They have a sign that says 'car talk.'  I though it was such a good idea, so my class does it too now.  It gives the parents some information about what we did in class and helps them guide the conversation in the car or at home.  It often says the book we read, a game we played, a song we worked on, something special the leader brought, etc. 

I ate more M&Ms this day than a person probably should.  Good thing I don't like marshmallows. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It gets better, right?

I know it won't get better for some time.  We're just beginning...  Bee is only 6. I thought this clothes drama would wait until she was older.  This morning there were at least 6 outfits laid on the floor plus a closet full and drawers full of clothes and still.... "I have nothing to wear!"  There were tears.  She was upset too.

While we are in her room, check out the mess of a desk she calls her art studio. Mess.

Here is her fish tank from Christmas which we've really been happy with.  She bought some more fish with the rest of her Christmas money last week.

My favorite are the big mystery snails.  Man, are they cool to watch!  Those snails never fought their mother on what to wear.  I bet they would have worn whatever she laid out.

Monday, January 23, 2012

art things

Bee and I have been trying a few things with her new watercolor supplies.  We both love art and it's so fun to have something else we can work on together.

We worked on some textured watercolor fruit .  Rough shapes are painted on regular drawing paper.  Watercolor paper would have been too thick so we used drawing paper. 

Ignore the marshmallows on the table.  We have a number of projects going on at one time!  Bee is working on a strawberry. 

When the paper is dry, it is laid over a cheese grater and rubbed with a 'naked' crayon laid on it's side. The paper picks up the texture. 

The shapes then get cut out and displayed however.  Here are mine:

Here are Bee's:

The second project we worked on were some water color cats.  We painted blobs in cat like colors on watercolor paper.

When they were dry, we drew with a fine tip black marker sort of an outline for the blobs to turn them into cats.  Nothing is exact, it's all very loose and rough.  Here's mine:

Here are Bee's: 

I so enjoy that Bee is interested in art right now.  It gives us something fun to do together and it's neat to see her spend so much time and effort on something.  Does it look like the cat on the right has a mustache?  I just noticed that.  He looks French.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Penguin math day -preschool style

This is last years plans... here is part 2, this years materials. 

It wasn't the letter P, but it was a math day and I had some penguin math I wanted to do so I went with that. It was really the letter L and the craft was the letter L with leaf stickers. We had so much fun that no one minded that I went with my own theme. Who wants to do leaves in January?

I read this book, 365 Penguins but did some editing as the math got a little hard and some paraphrasing as the moral got uber environmental.  I kept it friendly and fun and left out the part about illegally smuggling penguins because of melting icecaps.  Other than that, it worked.  It was funny and I'll use it again.

I left the poster that I used with these numbered penguins at school so it didn't get in the picture. It was just a poster board with a 5x4 grid and velrco pieces which these pieces stuck.  The penguin cards are from (I think) 1+1+1=1 but I took some liberties with them to get them to count to 20.  I couldn't find the link to these, but found these others, which might have worked even better for me.

It looked like the one I used here with Chrismtas pieces.   I had all the pieces on to start.  Then we made some observations about the numbers, the direction they went, how we started the next line on the left side, how both 10 and 20 as well as 5 and 15 were on end spots, etc.  The kids didn't notice the colored pattern on the penguins, but we did do some work with patterning with the Christmas set.  Then I took them all down and passed them out.  I had the kids reassemble the chart in order without direction (much anyway) from me. They did great,  they love doing hard math work on their own!  Finally, with two or three numbers at a time I replaced the number card with their pictures.  Then, the child whose picture was in place of a number had to tell what number was missing.  Using their pictures allowed me to choose who would have to name what number.  I'm sneaky like that.

Then we worked on a class book.  This was probably everyone's favorite part of the day.  The first five pages talk about specific penguins and their height.  All of my penguin clipart and measurements came from the seaworld penguin website

The rest of the pages read "______is _____ then the ______ penguin."  I had five paper penguins drawn to scale and taped on the wall.  The kids chose one to stand in front of and we completed a page for them. 

Here's my Lou (he comes over after class and helps me clean up- and enjoys a snack).  His page would read, Lou is taller than the king penguin."  or,  Lou is the same size as the emperor penguin."  Then, I glued each child's picture to their page and laminated them.  That laminator might just be the most used piece of equipment at my house!

Here's another friend, just to show some of the other penguins.  (Our leader mom had some things on the counter I should have moved for the pictures.  We don't usually have pop sitting out- but we do have to live with those sponge painted walls!)

We also went carpet iceskating on wax paper. They loved it. I don't have a picture of my class doing it, but here's Bee and Lou wax paper skating at our house last year. 

I played the song "Hang on Little Tomato" by Pink Martini and the kids have been requesting it since.  I enjoy listening to it also, so I oblige.  It's instrumental all except for the last few lines.  I am not sure what the words are really about but I've listened a few times to make sure it was appropriate and I think it's fine.

We also played this fun game with paper fish with numbers and a hungry toy penguin with a little frying pan.  I laid out 2-4 fish with different numbers and had them choose the fish with the largest number.  They placed it in the frying pan and the penguin cooked it up.  There were lots of cooking sound effects and chef talk from the prnguin. This worked out well since I was able to choose larger numbers for some kids or smaller numbers with fewer choices for the kids who needed it.  Just like any classroom, we have kids all over the place academically.  The fish shapes are just googled clipart. 

I had this 'roll a penguin' just in case we needed it.  It's a freebie from Rowdie in First Grade.  We did find a few minutes at the end of the day for it.  I blew up a larger penguin on the copier so that I would have one to do as well.  I also programed our dice with numeral so we had to match it with the dots on the page.

We have a class that really can't handle too much unstructured time without guidance.  A handful of our boys seem to be having the 'testosterone surge' that Dr. James Dobson describes in Bringing up Boys.  There is this little pocket of time in the day when we come back from playing on the playground or from the gym if it's cold and then parents come to pick up.  There's 5 minutes there and then parents come to pick up in about a 10 minute window.  The kids need to be on task, but something that they can leave easily from.  I like playing a game that they can take with them and finish at home if their parents come in the first wave.

The sensory box has been the least favorite this year.  The cotton ball don't seem to be as fun for pouring and stirring.  I will go back to beans and things. 

The craft for the day was not penguin related since I did this on my own, but there are so many great penguin crafts out there.  Pinterest has too many to even choose a favorite!

 Edited to add:  I just came across this book at the library and I'll use it in the future.  It has great photos inside.  It's Penguins 123 by Kevin Schafer.

Again, here's part 2.