Saturday, February 26, 2011

P Week and Our Country

Because of our Monday holiday for President's Day we really had a lot to squeeze in this past week. We still had a lot of fun talking all week about the letter "P" and "Our Country". To be perfectly honest, "P" is one of my favorite letter. So fun! We spent the entire week making "puckering faces" and making the fun "P" sound (being careful mind you not to spit!). We started Tuesday by talking about good 'ole George Washington since it was the 22nd of February and that IS his birthday. There is nothing that gets a group of children to pay attention like bringing an axe to school. Okay, don't panic, it wasn't a real ax, it was made of paper and we pretended to chop down a tree! I really think the lesson of telling the truth sunk in. The children talked about it all day. Lots and lots of fun! We spent our day making the American Flag While Mrs. Nancy's class made good 'ole George Washington
I've never seen George look so good!

Wednesday was a fun day talking about the letter "P". I wanted an attention grabber for "P" so we made a "Pink Penguin with Purple Polka Dots Sitting on a Pink Piece of Paper" (try saying that 10 times really fast). Everyone walked around all day saying our fun "P" phrase, it got wild, but it also was fun!

Please note the adorable eyes on our projects. I splurged years ago and bought 2 different size punches from a local craft store. I love to watch the children attached the eyes to their projects. A good way to work on those fine motor skills and we save money not buying little goggle eyes too.
Thursday was all about Abraham Lincoln! What a guy! We loved talking about his big tall hat.

I guess you noticed that our log cabins weren't made out of the traditional craft sticks. I wanted to use them but we ran out. We made a little adjustment and use some left over strips of brown paper. I like the way it looks, don't you?

Friday was the day we had all wait on! Our grand finale to "P" Week, our annual "Pajama Party"!! What a great day. We all wore our pajamas to school, although several of the boys weren't too sure about it. We also ate pizza for lunch with pretzels and fruit punch. For desert we all enjoyed popsicles and then headed to the big music room for a pajama party complete with a movie AND popcorn! What a great day!

Now I face my annual problem . . . how to make "Q" and farm week fun after all of that?

Monday, February 21, 2011

"O" Week and Healthy Habits

I was worried my class would have a let down after our big Valentine's party on Monday. After all we were just talking about "Healthy" (yawn) and the letter "O", so I decided to step things up a bit and have a little "extra" fun. I think I pulled it off!.

We started Tuesday off by introducing the letter "O". We walked around all day with hands in the air making a giant "O" AND we made the "O" sound all day (did I mention we did this ALL DAY!) Our craft for the day was a giant orange oval octopus! I cut out the large orange oval head and then the students cut out the legs.
Every student just beamed with pride as they glued on their legs! This was one of those days when you wish you had an audio recording of them to play back to their parents.
On Wednesday we touched on our discussion of "Health". Not a very exciting topic so I decided to make it a little more fun. We talked about our mouths and germs. After a very lengthy discussion, everyone FINALLY agreed that it was time to stop putting things in our mouths (we will see?). We made our own mouths -

I borrowed the idea from and made a few changes. Everyone loved them!
On Thursday we decided to talk about our letter "O" again. The octopus was really fun and I knew he would be hard to beat. I am so sorry that I don't remember where I saw this, but it is so cute and everyone talked about it the entire day. First I let everyone rub chalk all over a black piece of construction paper. Then I let each student pour black paint onto their paper. Then they let it drip all the way down. We added our palm print for the moon and then glued a little owl cut out onto our tree. This project gave each child an amazing sense of "WOW, look what I did!" You just can't beat it!
By the time Friday rolled around we were ready to talk about healthy eating habits. Each child was asked to bring in a their favorite fruit. We washed it, cut in into small pieces and made the most delicious "Friendship Fruit Salad". It was a wonderful snack that promoted health and friendship! Since we were talking about things that were good for you to eat we made our wonderful healthy boy/girl. We had lots and lots of fun talking about the fruits and vegetables while we glued them to our papers.

I will admit that we had more fun then I expected this week. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the letter "O". I guess if it is fun, they will learn!
Next week will be one of my most favorite weeks - the letter "P" and "Our Country". I have so many wonderful surprises planned for my class, I hope you will stop back by.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine Eve

Tomorrow is the big day in most Preschools! Yes, Valentine's Day is a big deal in our little class. We have worked so hard and had so much fun. But alas, February 15th will be here too soon and all our wonderful hearts will soon be put away. Soon springtime themes of flowers and sunshines will take the place of pink, purple and red hearts. Since everyone has anticipated our big Valentine's Party, I didn't want them to be disappointed so I have declared tomorrow, February 14th as (drumrooooollllllllll) Valentine Party DAY! Yes, you read correctly, the entire day will be a party complete with games (fun and educational of course), special crafts (designed especially with out fine motor skills in mind) and fun food. Heck, we might as well do it now and to be honest who doesn't want an entire day devoted to PARTYING! Here is one of our fun games -

Educational, simple and most importantly very much fun! I have a huge box of hearts with all the number written on them. I love seeing the children's faces when they realize they are adding.
We also have a several match the heart games and our number heart game that we will be playing in large groups. The heart matching game is simple. One heart cut in 2 pieces, put them together to make one. EASY, but instant success! The object of the heart number game is to put the hearts in order, smallest to largest OR largest to smallest.
Another great activity that I've made for our classroom is so simple and cheap. I take the classified section of our newspaper and open it out flat. Then I write a letter or word with a large permanent marker. The students use markers or crayons (we really prefer markers) and trace the word. THEY LOVE IT! At the end of the day - throw the paper away (although some have wanted to take the newspaper home)!
Here are a few of the great activities that we did last week. I really wanted to share them with you because besides being very low cost they became big morale boosters in our class. Instant satisfaction is always a good thing. First is our our little heart shaped handprint for our parents.

This art is so important because the children actually did the placing of their hands themselves. Some of our "hearts" were a bit lopsided, but who cares?? Surely not the parents! The border was especially fun because I tore a scrap piece of poster board and laid it in the middle of their paper. I gave them 2 plates with some old make-up brushes. Their only instructions were to put the paint around the edges. The boys were skeptical of the make-up brushes at first but when they discovered they could bang them up and down to make a neat effect, the game was on! Great, great fun!
We also headed to the kitchen on Friday for a super fun and tasty shape game. We started with some old copies of a worksheet (YUCK, worksheets!)

Okay, it was a worksheet (YAWN!) but I cut out the heart portion and we used our snack to match with the shapesThe triangles are actually graham crackers carefully cut by the teachers, the squares are pieces of Chex Cereal and the circles of course are Fruit Loops! YUMMY and a lot more fun then just coloring shapes (YAWN!)
Oh my, I almost forgot! This was also "N" Week! We ended our week by making a WONDERFUL "Name Poster". A lot of work but oh the results were worth it. First we wrote the child's name with masking tape on a 1/2 sheet of poster board.
Then everyone painted over their names. As soon as they were finished we ripped off the tape to reveal our masterpieces!Again, instant gratification! One Mom even said she was going to frame it! Not much more needs to said.

By the way, I hope you like the new design to my blog. You can tell someone woke up way to early this morning. Well I need to go, I still have a few more hearts to cut out before tomorrow so I better get busy. Thanks so much for check in on us. I hope you come back again!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine Fun!

It is official! I can make just about anything with hearts! Our class has been very busy this week making our Valentine boxes. We started with good 'ole cereal boxes and covered them with construction paper. Then I made what I call my "open my big mouth" mistake. I told then class they could put anything they wanted on the front of their boxes. OH BOY, REALLY MRS. KAREN???
Yes, the minute it came out of my mouth I knew I was in trouble. The first group picked easy things, a mouse, a butterfly, even a pig.
Then there was the snake
The puppy
All easy to figure out. THEN, it started, "Mrs. Karen I want a cow!" Oh my! Well, here is our cow, isn't she cute? Emily is so proud of her.
Finally, I heard the one that literally made me get a little nervous. "Mrs. Karen I want a crab!". A crab?? I had no idea, but here is what we came up with.
Isaiah's Dad even dropped by today to see if he was really going to put a crab on his Valentine box!
But to me the cutest was Reid's. Reid is a huge University of Alabama fan. And in the south we take our football very serious. So serious in fact that we even call Reid, "Roll Tide Reid". I knew Reid would like an elephant so we came up with Roll Tide Reid's Alabama elephant.
This is also "N" week so we made a bird in a nest. Cute huh??

Don't tell anyone but I really am going to miss talking about Valentine's Day and all the fun we have had with hearts!
We have snow and ice forecasted for tomorrow (and southern's have no idea how to drive in that type of weather) so I'm not sure we will make it to school. But on Friday we will be spending the day talking more about Valentine's Day and the letter "N". We'll also be heading to the kitchen for our weekly science experiments so I hope you come back and visit us.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What does a Moose have to do with Valentine's Day?

I love Valntine's Day! I'm not really sure why, it's not like my husband and I celebrate in a grand way or anything. I think it has to do with all the fun and exciting things we do at school. This year I decided that since I love it SO much, we should start talking about it even earlier, you know like we do Christmas and Thanksgiving! So, starting February 1st, we begin our unit on Valentine's Day!!! YEAH!

I decided that there isn't much I can't make with hearts. You name the animal and I'll use hearts to make it. This week we are talking about the letter "M" and of course we read the book "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" by Laura Joffee Numeroff. I love all her books! And if you read the book, you have to make the moose. So meet our moose! He ended up being just a little bit too bit for our paper, but everyone loved how his little nose hung off the page!!! A lot of fun!

We also headed to the kitchen this week and made a big mess! We made salt dough and formed it into hearts. On Monday we will paint them for our parents. I'll post the finished product when they are done. But for now, here are some of our hearts . . .
Aren't they wonderful?!?!?!
We also headed to the kitchen for some marvelous milk experiments! I found that if you use milk instead of water to mix with food coloring, you get a better show of color. First we are blue . . . .

then we add the yellow to make . . .

Our finally experiment for the week was what I call "Mooving Milk". Here are the instructions -
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon liquid dish washing detergent
1 small container that has been thoroughly washed and dried
different colors of liquid food coloring*
1. Pour about 1/4 cup of whole milk into the container. This should be about ½ inch deep.
2. Place a drop of each of 4 different food colors on the milk in the container, in opposite corners from one another.
3. Drop 1 drop of detergent into the center of the food coloring. What happens?
4. Think about what you saw. Can you explain why the milk did what it did? Here is what happened and why - the milk you are working with is more complicated it looks. It is made up mostly of water and then equal parts of protein, fats, and sugar. The fat has been broken up and spread throughout the milk (by the process called HOMOGENIZATION) into tiny pieces of fat called globules. When the milk was first placed into the carton, it was still and did not move. Even when the food coloring was added to the milk, things were still quiet. This is because the fat globules were steady and undisturbed. When the soap hits the milk, things begin to move.
Everyone knows you can't talk about the letter "M" without a little M&M math! This is one of favorites! Candy and counting, super yummy fun!
FUN, FUN, FUN! Learning should be and IS fun in our class!
Thanks for checking in with us. Be sure to come back next week and see how in the world we incorporate the letter "N" into our Valentine's Day theme!

Calming the Masses

First let me say, I did survive this week, although there were a couple of days that I wasn't sure I would (insert a HUGE grin here). Wednesday ended up being the worst day when a guardian decided to "show up" before school and demand a conference about a child. REALLY??? Twenty minutes before school and she just shows up!?! I now officially know the meaning of "irritating". Anyway, I did survive and I am thankful!

Okay, back to the fun! Since I did have a couple of days of disorder I added a few new activities. One was my new "Shape Book" made out of 1/4 sheets of poster board. It was a big hit!

We are lucky enough to have a large white erasable board in our classrooms. It is mounted too high for the children to use but the markers are so fun. Inside my "big" book I drew different shapes. I had the pages laminated

and now we have the perfect book to practice our shapes. The shapes started out simple with squares and rectangles then advance to hearts, ovals and circles. The children absolutely LOVE this. I did explain that there would be only one student working at a time with the book (again to calm the madness!).

Another fun activity we begin was during our circle time. It took a seriously "unpleasant" turn at the beginning of the week so I changed it. We have a tradition in our class of letting EVERYONE have a turn. Since I have an extremely small class, nine at the moment, (no aid and we are ONLY 3) no one feels left out. It seems at the beginning of the week no one wanted to listen but everyone wanted to talk. So, we started have a "stretch break" after everyone had their turn. Hmmmm . . . confused, well let me see if I can explain a little better. After everyone had a turn at saying their "M" word we ALL stood up and acted like monkeys (of course, "M" week!). Then we quickly settled down and moved to our second activity, the number 13. After we listened and discussed the number 13 we all stood up and acted like a moose! FUN, FUN, FUN! Now, we aren't sitting we are moving! So far, so good. Let's see what happens next week . . . .

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What is up with all the chaos?

Maybe I looked at the calendar wrong, maybe this is "T" week and my class is suppose to be "T"rying me. I'm not sure but something is "T"erribly wrong in my classroom. The discipline is GONE in my classroom today and I must (repeat MUST) get it back. Sure, we have thunderstorms rolling in and every pre-k teacher knows that their class will be a little wilder and louder when the weather changes. I'm use to that, I can handle that. But I can't handle today. I must restore order. I must be alpha-dog once again. I must be in charge. Oh heck, I must be the teacher! To be honest I am just having a difficult time understanding WHY I could not get control today. Okay, I did have control some of the time, but for the most part I felt as though nothing was coming out of my mouth or when I did NO ONE was listening. Of course I walked in the door and poured my troubles out to my sweet "retired" husband. He listened patiently, gave me a hug and then said, "well, what 'cha gonna do about it?" (gosh, I love that southern man!) Hmmmmm. . . . . let's see . . . . . . throw in the towel?? Heck no, that's not me! Hmmmm . . . . . get mean and show everyone I MEAN BUSINESS?? Nope, not me either! Well . . . . what??? Finally, it came to me . . . if you can't beat them - then out do them! YEP, that will work! If I start showing fear then I'm in trouble. So tomorrow I will pull out ALL the stops. FUN, FUN, FUN, BUSY, BUSY, BUSY - no time for misbehaving! Got to run. Time to put the finally touches on a WILD and WACKY WEDNESDAY! Stay tuned!