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!

Monday, November 18, 2013

L is lovely

It's fall, so of course we have to look at leaves!  We sorted them by color, and by size...
 We played in them outside both very actively...
 ...and calmly too.  The kiddos love to lay covered and almost hidden in the leaves.

We did lots of indoor activities for the letter Ll too, of course.  We started the week by pulling items that start with Ll from a Lion King bag.
Next we took turns laying on the floor next to lovely long lines of lace, to see which was longer.  Comparing is one of our kindergarten math skills, and what could be more fun to measure against than ourselves?
We continued comparing length on our field trip to the zoo.  We found life sized penguin illustrations at the zoo, and were surprised at how large they can be!
Of course, we also saw the lions! 
We made a class book, based on Mary Had a Little Lamb, substituting our own names.  Our lamb was very little! 
 I've made this same book several times over the years, illustrated either by the children or with their photos, so I pulled out our old versions to look at.  The children were very excited to see what their older siblings looked like when they were in preschool with me, and thrilled to see old friends who have since graduated to new schools.

As usual, we made a hand print for the letter we're focused on.  This week the children chose between lions and ladybugs.  If you'd like to make a hand and foot print alphabet book with your children, there are many awesome places to look for ideas.  I have pinned the ones I most like on my handprint-alphabet pinterest board.  I've found the most inspiration at redtedart.com

Our big art project this week was a guided drawing of a lion, which we outlined with crayon and painted.   Guided drawing really requires following directions carefully, and of course that is a skill worth learning!  I love seeing what an awesome job these young children can do when art is broken down into simple steps. 
 The artist who made this is only 3.5 years old!

Here's another of this week's activities, and something I'd really like to share.  We played a new board game, Going On A Bear Hunt, to follow up the story by the same name.  The kiddos used a spinner to see how many spaces to move, then had to count and move the correct number of spaces. 
I knew there would be some challenges for the kiddos.  Taking turns isn't always easy.  Waiting for, and perhaps asking for the previous player to pass the spinner isn't fun.  I anticipated those things, and sat with each group, helping them play for just those reasons.

I didn't expect that several students would pick up their playing piece and want to hold it in their hand each time it was their move.  In 3 year old logic, if it is mine, I'm going to hold it so no-one else can touch it.  Each time, I had to help them put it back, then count each jump to the next space as they moved.  The spinner was also a challenge.  Even five year old kiddos had trouble holding it with one hand, with their fingers out of the way, then spinning with the other hand. 

Coincidentally, one of the older siblings mentioned one day that they had game day at school the next day, and didn't know what to take, because it had to be a board game.  She wasn't sure if she had any.    That interaction has made me wonder, do families play board games together any more?  If not, why? 

Board games provide a tremendous number of learning opportunities for children, as well as special family time.  When they play games, children talk with the other players, and develop language skills.  Many games for preschoolers teach age appropriate skills: colors, numbers or letters for example.  Turn taking is practiced in a natural way when children play games.  Little hands strengthen and develop fine motor skills, and of course children practice 1-1 correspondence as they count and move their game pieces.

I'm going to make sure we include more board games in our play here at school.  I hope you'll make time to sit and play a board game with your child too!

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