Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Letter Ii

What could be better for the letter Ii than ice cream?!  We had a delicious science project on Monday.  I bought 3 flavors of ice cream, and each child predicted whether they would like each flavor.  Believe it or not, several kiddos didn't think they would like the cherry cordial, or peanut butter fudge flavors! 

 Before our taste test, I had each child predict which flavor would be their favorite, and we graphed our predictions.  The next part was our favorite: tasting!  We tried one flavor at a time, and gave them a thumbs down, or more likely, a thumbs up!

 Here are the results of our taste test.  Some kiddos did indeed prefer the flavor they had predicted, but several children were surprised to discover a new favorite.  Scientists make predictions and test them, just like we did, and it is okay even if your prediction isn't the same as the outcome.  That's part of how we learn new things!

 We continued with the ice cream theme on Tuesday with a cool finger painting activity.  The kiddos helped me to put shaving cream, paint and glue in a pan, and to mix it.  We painted ice cream with the resulting goo, which stays puffy when it dries.  This was a fun, sensory experience, not only for our sense of touch, but also for the wonderful smell of the shaving cream!  I found the idea here.

The inspiration for our sensory box this week came from www.lifeisaparty.ca  Once again, the sensory play was a huge hit with the kiddos, and they pretended and role played and talked and talked about ice cream all week.  Do you see the blue plate with sparkly pompons on it?  The children didn't know it, but they were practicing sorting and classifying as they played, as well as working those fine finger muscles.  Incorporating plastic fruit, cookies and cakes, plus empty bottles from sprinkles really took this play much further than just the bowls, tubs, and pompons have in the past! 

Here is an activity that is part of each week here at school: making a page for our abc photo albums.  Each child puts stickers and stamps that begin with the letter of the week on a page topped with a die cut of the letter.  You can see I incorporated a sorting activity too, with insects and instruments mixed in with the Ii items.  On the facing page in their abc photo album I'll mount a photo of them doing one of our fun letter of the week activities.  The kiddos love their photo albums, and read them often... reinforcing the letter sounds as they admire their work and their photos.  When they eventually leave me, each child has a fun abc book to take home, full of photos of themselves. 

Our Itsy Bitsy Spider activity came from Mailbox magazine.  The kiddos colored a house, then taped on a straw with a plastic spider on it, to make the water spout.  They moved their spiders up and down the water spout as we sang the song, and of course we read The Itsy Bitsy Spider, by Iza Trapani.

Musical instruments were available to play outside, and the kiddos came and went from that area...

... but by far their favorite outside game this week was "monster".  Mostly the teachers are the monsters, and chase the kids while making growling noises.  The kids never tire of this game!

Here's another part of our routine that I haven't blogged about yet: our singing and dancing time.  Each day, once breakfast is over, we clean up the toys and gather on the carpet.  I have created an educational  playlist on Youtube.com for each week of the year, and we all dance and sing together.

I like to start each session with a fast paced, high activity song or two.  We especially love Storybots, Harry Kindergarten, and The Learning Station, as well as Sesame Street Podcasts!  Each playlist includes an alphabet song and counting song, and most include a Spanish language piece: El Perro and El Gato are awesome, and Sesame Street has many great videos available too.  I try to incorporate nursery rhymes most weeks, and then a few more things that I think every child should know.  By the time we've finished 25-30 minutes of singing and dancing, we're ready to sit down for a few minutes to do our daily preschool time.

One of our songs this week was The Inchworm Song.  We sang about the inchworm measuring the marigolds... and then looked for inchworms on our marigolds outside while we sang the song some more.  We didn't find any inchworms, but we still enjoyed the marigolds!

I'm thrilled with how a new (to me) art project worked out this week.  I found this project at http://www.flickr.com/photos/artsyt/3592528765/in/pool-78198665@N00.  We looked at photos of real irises - I couldn't find real ones - and at Van Gogh's Irises, then chose pinks and purples to make our symmetrical iris paintings with.  A touch of yellow for the inside of the flower finished them off.
 Aren't they beautiful!  The children were very proud of their irises, and I'll be adding them to our Artsonia gallery.

Our field trip this week was to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.  We hadn't been to the new Curious George exhibit yet, and the kiddos were eager to see it.  It was terrific!  We played at the fruit stand, mini golf, a construction area, blew huge fans at pinwheels, and much more!  One group of kiddos even got to see a rattlesnake, skunk, bobcat and armadillo!

Of course, we always enjoy the Children's Museum area, with trains, a hospital pretend area, and a grocery store.

Today there was a new attraction that I think I liked as much as the kiddos: huge foam blocks in lots of shapes and sizes.  Check out the creation 3 kiddos worked on together for at least 30 minutes.  We LOVE our museum!

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