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!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

X Marks the spot

X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx
Ahoy Mateys! We're learning about the letter x this week, so it's time for some serious pirating - because X marks the spot.  It is so difficult to find things that start with x and that are relevant to the children... at least, it was, until we included pirate things.  We dressed up, got pirate temporary tattoos, made Xs out of all kinds of piratey things, and scowled, arrrrrr!

X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx
 And every self respecting pirate (an oxymoron?) needs to search for buried treasure, so we dug in the sensory box for gold dubloons, 'jewels', keys and shiny bits and pieces.  Dubloons were definitely the favorite!
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx
 My own boys, mostly grown now, loved this pirate ship toy when they were little.  Now the kiddos enjoy it, and had all kinds of pirate pretends this week.
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx
 I got out an abc fishing game, because pirates have to eat fish.  (We had tuna for lunch this day too.)
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx
 I had all my scurvy dogs walk the plank, right into the ocean with fish, sharks, and even salt water crocodiles.  One of the kiddos added the puppy... poor puppy!
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

 Here are some of the pirate books we read this week.  Our favorite of all is Tough Boris, by Mem Fox.  When my boys were little, my husband would read it to them forwards, and then backwards.  Not to spoil the story, but one page, read backwards, says "died parrot his when but."  The kids think that is the funniest thing ever!  I also really love Roger the Jolly Pirate, by Brett Helquist, because... well, you'll have to read it to find out why.
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

 We did a cute pirate craft, to work on our scissor skills.  Some of the children had trouble cutting out the face, because I traced it on some old file folders, and the paper was too heavy for them to cut.  Next time, I'll use plain old manila paper.   I found the idea on applesandabcs.blogspot.com.
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

If you're looking for even more pirate activities, I have made a variety of fun pirate themed resources available on my TeachersPayTeachers store, including this fun class book:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/X-Marks-the-Spot-1704457
My kiddos really enjoy writing, reading, and re-reading class books.  They have such ownership of the books we make together, and want to see and hear their work over and over again.  This particular class book repeats the sight words "the" and "where".

There are a few other things that start with X, of course.  We talk about x-rays and skeletons a lot this week (vocabulary: skull, spine, ribs, vertebrate, invertebrate).  Yes, I know, those are awfully big words for little kids.  Here's the thing, if you introduce big concepts in a way that relates to something the kiddos care about, sometimes they remember!  When I showed the children a skeleton book this week, and said that the frog was a vertebrate, because it has a back bone and a skeleton, one of the children commented that the octopus does not have those, and is an invertebrate.  (He's five years old.)

I have a collection of old x-rays that I've accumulated over the years, and post them around the room.  The kiddos aren't scared, just fascinated, because that's how I present them.  This year we even got a dog x-ray to check out!

X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

Here are our Xx crafts: x-ray man, and a xylophone inspired by playandlearnwithdana.  Pretty simple, but I did pull a little measurement in by having the children seriate the bars for their xylophones, from longest to shortest.  As usual, the kiddos did a really good job of cutting out their letters!
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

Of course, we made our hand print crafts!  The kiddos chose either an x-ray fish, or a hand x-ray to make.  Notice the number of "bones" they put on the hand x-rays: 3 bones in each finger, 2 in each thumb, plus a longer bone in the palm for each digit. Once again, they may not remember it at all, but if we expose them to ideas, then it's possible they may.
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

We also played xylophones and other musical instruments while we were outside this week.  I like to have the instruments outside, where its okay to be loud and exuberant.
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

We finished our week off with a picnic outside in the wonderful sunshine, and outside story time. 
X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx

X Marks the Spot: Pirate fun and the letter Xx
I DO love spring!

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