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!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Quilts, Quarters and a Queenly Q

Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

Some letters lend themselves to so many activities that it is hard to schedule all the fun things I want to do.  Q on the other hand, has always been a challenging letter to find appropriate activities for.  Thank goodness for Pinterest, with so many people sharing their great ideas, I found plenty of fun ways to reinforce this letter!

We made a class quilt, with each child drawing or coloring in 3 squares.  They enjoyed the open ended drawing activity, and we had a nice cooperative piece to show off afterwards.  This idea came from www.teachpreschool.org.
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

 I read the students Patricia Polacco's beautiful book, The Keeping Quilt, and they decorated their lowercase q craft with quilt squares.  You can see that some children worked on making patterns with their squares, and others had to focus their mental energy on using small dots of glue. 
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

Another fun book we enjoyed this week was Eating Fractions, by Bruce McMillan.  We cut and ate a fraction snack one afternoon, breaking our graham crackers into 4 quarters, and cutting our bananas into quarters.  I don't expect the children to have mastered the concept of quarters in these brief lessons, but I've introduced the vocabulary, and by connecting it to an eating activity, it's more likely to stay with them.  We'll start noticing quarters and other fractions in the world around us more now that the concept has been introduced.  We also practiced quarters as coins, reviewing some favorite   money songs  from youtube.
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

I had the children explore an unknown item this week as a science activity, observing and making predictions about what they were manipulating.  I provided each child with the intact stem and core from a bell pepper, and watched and listened to them as they picked the seeds off, and tried to discover what it was. 
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters
 I heard a lot of guesses about what it might be: cauliflower, orange, mushroom, corn, broccoli, onion.  They all knew it was from a plant.
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters
 One child thought it felt slimy, and as our jack-o-lantern pumpkins are getting slimy as they compost, guessed this might be a pumpkin.
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters
 Here are some other things the children said while they worked:
"It has seeds.  Because of these things in the middle."
"There's a bunch of them everywhere, I think they're already dead."
"What are the pieces?"
"It smells like cauliflower."
"It's a pepper coz it smells like it."

I asked "What are we going to do with these seeds?" and was told, "Make a like a bean collection," and "Put salt on it, so it would be yum."  It was very interesting watching the kiddos try to identify the pepper cores!
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

On another day we made our hand prints for the letter Q.  The kiddos regularly pull down their hand print alphabet books to look at them, and review the letters and sounds while they check out their own artwork.  It's a great motivator, and I think a nice keepsake for their pre-k years too.
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

No preschool Q unit would be complete without some royal play, especially in preparation for a visit from HRH the Queen!  We played with knights and castles, dressed up in royal garb, and played in my castle tent.
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

Q is for queen, quilts and quarters
 We looked at Paul Klee's Castle and Sun painting, and observed the geometric shapes he used to create his castle.  We built our own castles too.  You can see them all at artsonia.com.
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

We read some fiction books about queens, Tea for Ruby by Sarah Ferguson, and The Missing Tarts by BG Hennessy, before making our uppercase Q project.  Don't these look royal?!
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters
The children told me they wanted to have tea with the queen, like Ruby did in the story, and fortunately for them I have a direct line to HRH, and invited her to come over the next day.  She accepted our invitation, so we had to get ready!

We prepared "tarts", using a recipe from this Scholastic book.  The children crushed graham crackers and added some butter to create a crust, mixed vanilla pudding to top the crust, and added cherries on top.  YUM!  They tasted wonderful, but some of the paper baking cups didn't hold together well.  Next year I'll use sturdier containers.

Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

Q is for queen, quilts and quarters

 Before The Queen arrived, we learned how to curtsey and to bow, and practiced polite greetings.  We also reviewed meal time etiquette, so we would remember to wait for everyone to be seated before eating, use napkins and forks appropriately, and to talk quietly at the table. 
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters
 HRH The Queen was very impressed with our good manners, and enjoyed the tarts and pink lemonade with us.  Before she left, we took a photo of all of us, dressed in our fancy clothes, posing by the castle.
Q is for queen, quilts and quarters
We had a lot of fun learning about Q this week, but the very best part was the royal visit!  We're so glad Her Majesty was able to join us!

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