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, September 28, 2014

From the mouths of babes...


I'm not awfully proud, and I don't mind admitting that a lot of our toys, especially our outside toys, come from garage sales and hand-me-downs.  Still, I had to wonder this week, when the children decided to gather all the outside toys - yes, right down to every block, bucket, shovel and sandbox toy - and to pile them on the playground.  "It's all trash," they told me.
 "And this is our trash truck."  How clever they are!  They took turns standing on the step and holding the yellow handles, just like the guys on our trash truck do.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Letter E (part two)


About ten years ago I attended a training by Janet Chambers, a teacher-author who shared wonderful ideas about teaching literacy.  One of her ideas that really stuck with me was that of a "big event" to introduce each letter of the alphabet.  Ever since, we've had an alphabet worth of big events here at school each year. (See her book, Ready, Set, READ here.)

For the letter E, I've put together a small Easter basket of plastic eggs, each with something that begins with the letter e: envelope, Elmo, toy eggs, elephants - and some that are empty.  The kiddos LOVE it!

 I also took two groups of children to the zoo, to see the elephants (and of course, other animals.)






 I have to admit, I was surprised that the children had an idea in mind for the letter E, and were quite insistent that we do their activity: an Easter egg hunt.  I certainly didn't mind, I had that in mind myself, but I think it says something about the relevance of the activity, that the children who reviewed E with egg hunts last April remember it, and wanted to revisit it.  Not for candy, our eggs were empty every time except for our Good Friday egg hunt.  They loved the hiding and the seeking.  Needless to say, I dug out 6 dozen eggs, some baskets, buckets from the sandbox, and we had at it! 
 The kiddos hid the eggs (usually in a big clump, in "their" spot, so they could find them again quickly.)
 We lined up, and....
 Go!
 We hid and found the eggs over and over!
.



Next week, letter F!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Letter E activities (part one)

Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)

I'd start by saying it's been another busy week here at school, but really, when is it not?  There are always so many fun things we want to do,  and the backyard always beckons us too, so it is always busy.  Children are very busy people, constantly doing and learning!  

As we do each week, we made our hand print alphabet crafts: eagles and elephants this week.
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 Getting paint on our hands is a fun sensory experience, and adding the details to the dried prints works out our fine motor skills, and results in a project that our moms and dads will treasure.  Sounds like a winner to me!
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)

Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 We played Elefun, a game that's been around for a very long time, and is still cool!  The children love being able to turn it on and off, to catch or pick up the butterflies, and to put them back in so they can play it over again.  They practiced taking turns and working together, and look at their faces - pure joy!  Several times they broke into spontaneous jumping and clapping and giggling, which is a lovely thing to watch!
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)

Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)

Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 We identified and matched shapes and colors with a scrambled eggs game too.
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 On this particular day we had read Humpty Dumpty, and the kiddos got to work together to make a giant Humpty Dumpty puzzle. 
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 It wouldn't be Humpty Dumpty day without an egg on a wall!  This idea came from Mrs. Kelly's Kindergarten, and the children LOVE it!
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.  We knew he was going to have a great fall!  I put down different surfaces for him to fall on, and the children predicted whether Humpty would break on each one.  Felt?  He cracked!
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 Pee-ew, he smells like a hard boiled egg!  (Some children thought that smelled good, but it was much more fun to pretend it was stinky!)
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 Humpty also took turns falling on cotton balls, and paper towels.  Do you wonder if he broke?  You'll have to hard boil and egg and try it yourself!  I will tell you that falling all the way to the floor was not a good plan for Humpty!  The children wanted us to drop him again and again, they really liked seeing - and hearing - him hit the ground!
Humpty Dumpty's bad day (and other ideas for learning the letter E)
 So what on earth can we do to follow that up?  :-)  We're making scrambled eggs for lunch, of course!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dotty for the letter D

Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 One of our weekly routines is making a page for our abc photo albums.  The children decorate a page with stamps and stickers of things that start with the letter of the week, and then I print a photo of them doing one of our letter activities to face it.  They love to read their albums, to see what they made, and to look at photos of themselves and their friends having fun.  I love that they revisit their learning!
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.


 One of the boys noticed this amazing leaf bug crawling near the garage this week, so we moved it to a tree where we could see it, and be sure no-one would accidentally step on it.  The kiddos were amazed - they kept saying the bug was "made out of a leaf."  Of course, we talked a little about camouflage!
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

Here's a couple of the handprint creations we made this week - these go in a second abc book for the children.  By the end of the school year they have an alphabet of hand and foot print art, and once again, they love to visit and revisit them.  If you'd like to see more of these, check out our class page on Artsonia!
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

Since we've been learning the letter D, and doing dinosaur activities, I used my die cut machine to make a dozen dinos for each child, and then had them sort them however they wanted.  They had lots of great ideas: sorting by color, by shape (or type of dino), and even by carnivores/herbivores!
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

 During outside time, one of the kiddos decided the pile of bones were from a dinosaur - not surprising!  I think we have a future paleontologist on our hands!
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 This one is looking for worms, insects, and roly pollies - a future entomologist.
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

D is also for dog, and my dog, Patriot, is definitely part of our school family.  He doesn't realize that he is a D. O. G. - he thinks he's one of the kiddos.  When we line up, he lines up with us (but I have to admit he still cuts in line terribly), he has his own special spot to sit with us during story time, his own spot for nap time (on the couch, spoiled dog!), doesn't understand why he doesn't get a place of his own at lunch time (but patrols the floor hopefully), and loves to play with the children.

When the weather isn't too hot, he loves to play chase with the kids.  They usually start it, by running up to him and jumping into a play bow position like I've shown them, and then they're all off, racing around the yard yelling and having a fine old time.  Patriot is a lot quicker than the kids, so he'll slow down and look at them over his shoulder, wait until they almost catch up, and then bolt off again. It's a game they play over and over, kids and dog all getting worn out, and then collapsing happily to rest afterwards.
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 One of the mommies saw this game for the first time this week, and asked, "What does Patriot do on the weekend?"  He pouts.  He lays around the house looking miserable, missing his friends, and catching up on his sleep.  He'll be ready for friends to come play on Monday!
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

This kiddo has an "ipad" - "See the button there, that's to turn it on."
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

I haven't mentioned why I titled this post "Dotty for the letter D" yet.  Well, here it is.  We read The Dot earlier this week, and painted our own dots - I wrote about that in the previous post.  I finally got all 24 dot paintings up on the wall - they are so colorful in our lunch room!
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 We also decorated ducks one day this week, using torn paper to cover our ducks with feathers.  When I put them up on the wall, the kiddos informed me that there were 5 adults and 6 babies, so there were more babies than mommas.  We talk about math concepts like this often, so it's just a normal part of their day, to notice and comment on number, more/less - on almost anything they notice.
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

 Finally, here's the craft project we did on Friday, when we talked about dragons.  I read the children some of my favorite poems from The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, by Jack Prelutsky.
I found this cute dragon craft on terrific2s.blogspot.ca and love that it uses bubble wrap printing to make the scales!  The children enjoyed painting, cutting out their dragons, and gluing on the details, and now our dragons are hanging over the table in our playroom, guarding us!

Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
Crafts, activities and ideas for teaching the letter Dd to preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
Thank you for stopping by to check out what we've been up to at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten!  Please come back soon!

From the mouths of babes...

Some of the boys were talking at snack time.
B said, "My cousin Colton is taller than me, he's 6!" 
T answered, "Luke is 6 too, and he's tall."
B was impressed, "They're both 6, they're equal!"
T misheard him and was indignant,  "Evil?  Evil?  Luke's not evil!"

Friday, September 19, 2014

From the mouths of babes...

H.A. was playing outside, and grinned at Ms. Julie.  "This is the best life ever!" she said.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

From the mouths of babes...

B.F. was putting all the dinosaurs into a "volcano" this morning, "So they can have a hot drink and a hot bath."