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Friday, May 18, 2012

Wild about Watermelon!

This week we did a whole unit about Watermelons. And we found many ways to integrate math, language, literacy and art into this fun week!
 We began by reading this watermelon book...

We made these adorable books all about watermelons, adding a page each day.
We started the books by making our artwork for the covers.
For math, we weighed our class watermelon, and then weighed ourselves. We compared the difference!
Pre-K 2 did some free expression watermelon painting!
Next, we used a string to measure how long our watermelon was. It was pretty big! We took our strings and explored all around our school for items that were as long as our watermelon.
We measured how long it was on a sentence strip and then wrote what we found that was the same length for the next page in our book.
We also read and sang this favorite:
It is so silly and catchy, we have been humming it all week!
We thought up our own rhyming silliness for the next page in our books.
We even had some pretty adorable theme related apparel during the week!
Along with some great watermelon morning messages.
This was another watermelon book that was a hit.
We finished off the week with a special snack. Well, you know what it was!
Some of us really enjoyed it!
Afterwards, we added our last page to our book where the children counted their seeds and drew a picture of their watermelon slice.
That wraps up our wild week of watermelon activities. 

Our parents also hosted Teacher Appreciation this week and it was so wonderful. We were pampered and treated to treats and doted on. We feel so valued and appreciated and are so thankful for the generosity and kindness of our sweet parents and kiddos. We are blessed!

Our next few weeks will be filled with end of the year fun craziness and prepping for graduation. We will keep you updated!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Thoughts

So, as many of you know, (and have heard about incessantly I'm sure) our guinea pig Happy has been extended an invitation to stay at school. He has been more active and curious during his time in Pre-K than ever when he was at home! Lucky for us, Ms. Molly says he is welcome to hang out.
 He made his Pre-K debut during pet week, but he has fallen in love with the peas. And the feeling is mutual. Evidence of this love is pictured below in the form of fan mail, love notes and pictures. They are so sweet. 
Happy in his cage.
Hairy Happy.
Well fed Happy.
Pretty Happy.

Last but not least, me riding Happy!
And why wouldn't he love it? Peas sing songs to him, make him mazes from blocks, feed him constantly and give him tons of attention.

 And, I found this super cute freebie on TPT helped us find just the right rules for Happy's home in our classroom. If you ever consider adding a pet, it's recommended!
 The peas have begged for Happy to make weekend home visits like some guinea pigs at the Elementary schools have apparently done. However, after much thought, Happy won't be making the rounds. This is partly due to his skittish behavior. Happy was adopted from a shelter two years ago by my 11 year old daughter. We aren't sure where he was prior to his adoption, and whether he in a good environment or cared for properly. All we know is that he has not read the guinea pig manual. Guinea pigs are supposed to be docile and love to be handled. Happy isn't aware of this guinea pig criteria as he is very skittish and does NOT like to be picked up. He has mellowed out more than ever during his time in the classroom, so I think this is the place for him. However, he has been known to nip and run, so it wouldn't be wise to put him in new environments. We are going to let him get used to this one for now.

However, if your child would like to do something to help care for Happy, there is something he loves. Food. Unlike other animals, guinea pigs cannot manufacture Vitamin C, so we have to ensure he gets enough of this essential nutrient every day. This comes in the form of fresh fruit and veggies. He gets servings every day of fresh fruit or veggies in addition to his pellet food and hay.

Below is a list of fruits and veggies he likes. All fruits and veggies must be fresh and raw. If your child ever would like to prepare and bring him a small portion (think snack size ziplock) they are welcome to! However, our rules state that feeding must always occur with consent of the teacher, so check first!

Leafy green lettuce (No iceburg)
Green/Red/Yellow Peppers
Green Beans


None of the following, please
Avacado-(they're poisonous to guineas!)
junk food/snacks
potatoes (also poisonous)
For more information on guinea pigs, visit this site.
For some fun guinea pig reading, check out the following books!
 As for this curious guinea pig:
he's happy right where he is.

Under the Sea

Last week we studied the ocean! There are SO many ocean and beach activities, it was difficult to choose what to do. But we found a few things we loved and got started.
Ms. Amy had this fun game that you could shake and search for items. When you found them, you matched them to a list of words. So this was great for beginning sounds, and sounding out words.
We also studied seashells and characteristics of different ocean creatures in science.
Pre-K 1 studied seahorses inspired by some amazing pinterest ideas.
We made some seahorses of our own. And not to get as geeky as all get out, but see those dishes with glue? Ms. Priscillia let us use them. Annnnnd, they are in the shape of fish. Themed glue containers? OhyesIdid.

Pre-K 2 studied sharks and read a few cool shark books.

I keep hearing the Jaws theme song every time I peeked over there.
Da na, da na, da na na na na na.

 They also experimented with sand.
Both classes did a color by number ocean sheet, and I was SUPER impressed by how well they did. Below is a picture of one of my sweet peas explaining the directions to her friend. So precious.  I love it when they ask a friend for help. It reinforces their knowledge as they share it verbally.
Pre-K 1 also read A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.
Then we got busy making our own hermit crabs. This was a full on project that took all week. Inspired by pinterest, we wanted to each make our own hermit crabs similar to the one in the story. However, we took our time discussing and brainstorming how to make each piece of the project, so it took awhile to put together.
Here's part of the thinking and and working at the messy table.
And here's one of the finished products!
I know it's like this post will never end, but I can't help it that we are so busy in Pre-K.
Here are some fish Pre-K 2 made. The object? Tearing paper for the water, strengthening fine motor through bilateral coordination.
 A super duper cute morning message with a dose of literacy and parts of speech. I can't get enough of that emerging handwriting. I LOVE it.
Okay, lastly, we read this book, which is one of my absolute favorites for this unit. If you are a book collector, it is worth having. Beautiful illustrations mixed with gorgeous photos and a lovely story.
To wrap up the week, Pre-K 2 made a mural. This is one of my favorite things these incredible teachers do, and I would love to do more of them in my room. They do collaborative artwork. Each table works on a different part of the mural and then they piece it together and the kids write labels for it. It is such a versatile activity since it includes teamwork, artistic creativity, fine motor, learning about proportions, so many things. 
Here's the end result. I love it.

Finally, the end. Next week we are talking about cooking, but we are also slowing down to catch up on some projects, do some assessments, and prepare for graduation.
Happy Wednesday!