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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Magic of Christmas

For the next few weeks we did lots of holiday activities. We talked about elves, and read this adorable story.
 Since we've been doing "Mat Man" from Handwriting Without Tears, we used the song to make an Elf Man to help us before we did our elf journals.
As you can see, they did a great job drawing their elves!
We talked about the Polar Express all week since we were going to have a Polar Express PJ party at the end of the week and Ms. Amy got us this fun snow for our sensory bin!
We also had chain making at the writing table. The peas could write a sight word or a Christmas word on a strip and add it to the chain. We used the chain to decorate! This is always a really popular center, they all love to do it.
It's great handwriting practice!

I love watching their sweet concentration faces and I LOVE littles handwriting.
See? So sweet. They did great!
At Naeyc we met the Handwriting Without Tears reps who were super nice. Ms. Molly got with them and arranged for Amy and I to attend a Handwriting Without Tears workshop. With our workshop we got a bag full of goodies, including these awesome flip crayons. We heard more about creating a good foundation for correct grip, how to strengthen little hand muscles and teaching left from right. Here's some of  the peas using the flip crayons. The small size forces them to use a correct grip and they love them! Oh, and how about the bottom right picture? I absolutely love watching them support and scaffold one another's learning by teaching and helping one another.
We made fruit loop candy candes with pipe cleaners, a fantastic fine motor activity that kept them busy for a while! Highly recommended for Christmas fun activity.
We also read this favorite, which melts my heart, I love it and it's such a great opportunity to really talk about what matters most during Christmas.
We made an anchor chart to discuss the Grinch's character traits. We also discussed what we could do to make the Grinch smile.
Afterwards, we made Grinch floats! They are just fun for our Grinch discussion, they are green and delicious!
For our parent's gifts this year, we made snow globe ornaments. I had the peas pose any way they wanted and then I cut them out and put them in a laminating film. Each pea made snow around them and sprinkled glitter on. When they dried we closed, them laminated, and cut them into circles. Aren't they precious?
For our annual ECDC caroling we sang this song:
And we turned Pre-K into reindeer! They were so cute, I couldn't stop taking their pictures. Ahhh, they're adorable!

Cutest Rudolphs ever.
That's just a FEW of the fun things we did the last few weeks. So, to end this post, here's a special message:
 and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014


This was such a busy month that it took forever to get to this post, but it is soooo worth it! We had a whirlwind of learning, fun, science, engineering and Gingerbread fun. We started December with a Gingerbread theme. Pre-K 1 had a gingerbread man that came to visit, but he would run away all the time! Every time he ran away he would leave us a note with a rhyming clue.
After a few times, the peas decided that he wouldn't run away if he had some friends, so Ms. Molly brought some friends from her office in to keep him company. It worked! He stayed put!
 We did a ton of fun gingerbread activities. First, we added gingerbread men to the home center so we could bake up some gingerbread men of our own!
We also added gingerbread men to the sand table with materials for building a gingerbread house and for retelling the story.
One of our peas sweet moms gifted us this adorable craft from Oriental Trading. They were a huge hit! They each had their own personality.
 The best part was the sneaky fine motor that occurred due to each tiny piece needing to be peeled off and nobody needed any help. ;) They want to do everything by themselves.
 As these pictures show, it took some great concentration. When I pulled these to post they made me laugh. They are very working very hard on those little stickers!
 I made a gingerbread house for all the gingerbread people to live in and then everyone decided what their gingerbread person was running from.
 Some of them were pretty funny and very creative.
We decided to really think about why the gingerbread man always ran away.
All that discussing why the gingerbread man runs away led to a discussion about how to catch a gingerbread man. The peas had a million ideas. So, I decided to issue a challenge! We love to incorporate S.T.E.M. concepts early and give our peas a chance to solve problems and be thinkers! We explained that since they had a problem (run away gingerbread men) and an idea to catch them, they could design a trap and then we could try it to see if it worked! 
We sent out the general idea to our parents and the peas got busy designing. Some made traps at home, others began building in class during our free time. We encouraged them to use any materials around the room and we had brainstorming meetings to discuss our ideas. We looked up different kinds of traps on our ipads to help generate ideas and research our plans. Here's two boys experimenting with designs and strategies.
As the week progressed we had so many great traps. Here are a few that they made: 
Next, we did a little science. During our discussions someone asked why the Gingerbread man couldn't just swim across the river? We thought about it.
We decided we needed to try for ourselves. We took one gingerbread man and dropped him into a vase of water. We came up with different hypotheses about what would happen. Then, we waited and watched.
Sadly, he didn't make it through the water test, but we did figure out why he didn't just grab some goggles and do the free stroke across the river.
On Wednesday, we journaled about the Gingerbread man. We've been studying shapes, so we did a poem that included both gingerbread men and shapes and then the peas drew the shapes. Almost everyone wanted their picture taken, so here's some journal samples:
our poem and some of the wonderful work:

After all this talk about gingerbread men, we decided it was time to eat some gingerbread men!! We made these gingerbread houses with gingerbread men to go with them:
Afterwards, we graphed which part we ate first: head, leg or arm! Most people ate the gingerbread man's head first! Poor guy! :) After that delicious treat, we thought of descriptive words about gingerbread men.
We did another adorable gingerbread man craft.
And to wrap up the week.....you won't believe this, but we found a REAL LIFE gingerbread man in one of our traps. And then in another, and another. Our traps really worked!! 
That's a wrap for Gingerbread. It was tasty and magical and really, really fun! Next up: Elves, the Grinch and Reindeer. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

{Nursery Rhymes} & {Fairy Tales}

I have been waiting for ever to have Nursery Rhyme week! It was SO much fun! Nursery Rhymes are so catchy and silly and they have a lot to offer in the literacy department! Nursery rhymes help teach rhyming, obviously, but they also have rhythm, alliteration, which helps them recognize beginning sounds and as children memorize and repeat them they are learning the phonemes of those familiar words! We sang, clapped, stomped, recited and acted out nursery rhymes all week long and it was a ton of fun. Below I've listed just a few of the activities we did besides making all of those literacy connections! ;)
The Isty Bitsy Spider
We had some Itsy Bitsy Spider water play. It was a hit.

We also have been studying shapes, so we made shape houses and taped down a straw as the spout with a spider ring attached so we could move the spider up and down the spout while we sang the song.

Everyone chose shapes to make their houses and then they personalized their houses with details!

Baa Baa Black Sheep
Next we made sheep from the Baa Baa Black Sheep rhyme. We used coffee filters and the peas had to squeeze the black liquid onto the coffee filters to make their sheep black. It was great fine motor work!

Little Bo Peep
Ms. Angela hid Little Bo Peep's sheep all over the classroom and then we had a sheep hunt! We have been working on subitizing numbers and using tally marks, so we had dots on some sheep and tallies on others. We found all of them and returned them to the tray with the number that matched the sheep.
We also made Little Bo Peep little books at art so we could read them independently.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
We borrowed this boat and sang this song over and over!
To practice phonemic awareness, we changed the first letter of the rhyme to make silly nonsense words.

There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe
For morning message the peas added themselves to the shoe.

I love all these little people in our shoe house!
London Bridges Falling Down
For London Bridges we did an engineering project in blocks. We have been practicing making a plan when building and then seeing if we can construct our plan. We researched the London Bridges on the ipads and looked at other bridges for inspiration.

Do You Know the Muffin Man?
This may have been our favorite all week. On Wednesdays we usually do a cooking project, so what's better than warm muffins with butter? Not much! We made muffins and then graphed if we liked them or not. They were a hit.
We turned home center into a bakery to make muffins and used playdough for our cooking creations.
Humpty Dumpty
We turned Mr. Potato head into Humpty Dumpty and worked on building a wall for him. It was difficult for Humpty aka Mr. Potato head to balance on the walls so we had to strategize how to build a wall to support him.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary
For Mary, Mary Quite Contrary we planted tulips! We discussed bulbs and how they are different than seeds. We passed them around and talked about how we would plant them deep in the ground and they will sleep all winter. When spring comes, they will sprout and grow into beautiful flowers! Notice our decomposing "Jack" on the side of the garden. He is getting pretty disgusting. They love it.

The next week we discussed castles and all the things that go with them as we dove into fairy tale week. We have a castle in our room so we played with that and tried to identify all the figures as knights, kings, queens and princesses.
We painted cardboard boxes to make a castle in our room!

There were no shortage of princesses to inhabit the castle all week.

In blocks, we added knights, princesses, frog princes and dragons to the blocks to create our own fairy tale stories.

Next we made watercolor castles in art. We have been working a lot on shapes, so we brainstormed how we could use shapes to make our castles. Then they painted them.
 I'd live there. :)
We re-enacted the 3 Little Bears...
and tried to build the 3 Pigs houses at the sensory table.
 I love these pictures. This group was working cooperatively to build a house and exploring the use of sand to knock it down.
 The would scoop it up in the funnel and watch it cover the house. Playing is learning in Pre-K.
We also read The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. If you've never read this story, check it out at the library, it's fantastic. After reading it we all decided if we believed the wolf or not. Most of us thought he was lying!
One of our favorite fairy tales was Jack and the Beanstalk. We did a lot of activities about this fairy tale that they loved. The day after we read the book, the Giant left us a note on morning message! ;) We measured things around our room that were bigger and smaller than his footprint.
Then, a beanstalk sprouted in our room!
 "What?! A beanstalk?" It had our kids climbing up it!
 The Giant also left us a copy of his handprint and beans to play games with! We counted how many beans fit into our hands and into the Giant's hand.

Busted taking a picture! Haha!

We also played a dice and tally beanstalk game. It took a lot of concentration!
 We also added a Jack and the Beanstalk poem to our journals and then illustrated the story. I mean, how adorable are these journals?
 And how about these guys straightening eachothers ties before picture day? Love.
 That wraps up Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving break!