Activities Blog

  Activities Blog  

Floor Space:
I like to make use of the floorspace with masking tape to reinforce concepts. This week we were discussing straight, curvy, and zigzag lines. The children walked the lines like they were a tight rope. Then I had the children find and stand on a letter on our carpet that had only curvy lines in it. I did the same for straight lines. We then tried to find the letters that have both curvy and straight lines in them.




Mosaics:
The children practiced using scissors this week by cutting strips of paper into smaller pieces and creating mosaics. We talked about how a mosaic is made up of smaller pieces and can be turned into a picture or a design.



My Five Senses:


We have been talking about our five senses in preschool the last couple of weeks. I saw on pinterest someone had made a texture board using a cutting board so I headed to the dollar store this afternoon to see what I could find. I found some matching trays that I thought would work nicely. I loved the matching sorting tray (others may refer to it as a veggie tray). I glued on materials with different textures and labeled them. What a great way to combine science, literacy and oral language as we explore different ways to describe textures!






Tomorrow we will begin the day by reading Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, a story about some mice who mix paint. We will then mix our own paint as we do some fingerpainting.


The children will make their own texture board by choosing at least 4 different textures. They will then label their textures by using inventive spellings, asking a teacher how to spell their descriptions, or by dictating them to a teacher.



I thought this would be a good time to bring back our textured leaves since we will be taking paper outside during our outdoor time to search for textures on our playground.

 



In the same way on Friday we took paper outdoors to search for patterns on our playground. It didn't take the children long to discover 16 patterns!




I brought out our shape stencils since they make an interesting texture also.



The children did a great job making colorful shakers last week. If we have time tomorrow we will take them outside and let the children take turns leading the other children in beat patterns.



All of this talk about our senses ties in nicely with our Bible Story as we talk about what Jesus' friends heard and saw when God the Holy Spirit came to them.

It looks like tomorrow is shaping up to be another active, messy, noisy and fun day at preschool! 


Gingerbread:

For our last day of school before Christmas Break we read the book, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, by Laura Murray.



After reading the story the children noticed something wasn't quite right with our gingerbread alphabet board. Letter N Gingerbread Man was missing!




Could it be we had a gingerbread man loose in OUR school?

When we went to sing in the sanctuary, to our surprise, the missing Letter N Gingerbread Man was on the Christmas tree.



But when we went back into the preschool room he had somehow beaten us there and he was up to mischief.
He had gotten into our Jesus birthday party cupcakes!




The children agreed that the letter N must stand for Naughty because when we came in from our morning Outdoor Time the Letter N Gingerbread Man was on top of our Christmas tree in our room and our star was missing!

               


But later our Naughty Letter N Gingerbread Man must have had a change of heart because when we came back in from our afternoon Outdoor Time we found our tables set up with gingerbread men to be decorated and party hats. The Letter N Gingerbread Man was in his rightful place on the gingerbread alphabet board and our star was back on the tree. We discussed whether we should forgive the Gingerbread Man for all his misdeeds of the day. The children were all in agreement that because Jesus forgives us for all the wrong things we do each day we should forgive others too, including our Gingerbread Man on the loose.

 
Merry Christmas to all of our preschool families!






Class Books:

Our families did a super job on our alphabet book. This is our most creative alphabet book ever!




The children are also illustrating a class number book using oil pastels.



Snowmen:

We read the story Snowballs last week. Snowballs is a fun book about making unusual snowmen with found objects. The children had fun using their fine motor and creativity skills to design their own interesting snowmen using found items in the classroom. Some of the children made faces for their snowmen, others turned into a collage.



Sensory Table:

The children will be greeted in a morning to a stable in their sensory table as we spend this week discussing the meaning of Christmas.





Journals:

I want to share our process on journal writing. I had seen lesson plans called "write the room" where children go around the classroom and write the words they see on signs and labels. I wanted this to be an ongoing monthly activity, not just a one shot deal, so instead I tape labels at the end of our pews in the santuary. The labels generally are associated with things we are talking about that month but not always. 




But first what this activity is not. It is not sight words for the children to memorize. (In fact, some of the words are quite long.) The children are not expected to write the words perfectly. In the beginning of the year some of the children will just put a few scribbles in their books. They are not required to write a certain number of words. They are free to move around as they pick which words they would like to "collect".  I start the activity by explaining what a journal is, and that we are going to use our journals to "collect words". Then I'll say, "I'm wondering how many words everyone will collect today." 

Some of the children, especially at the beginning of the year will attempt to write one word and announce that they are "done". I tell them that's fine but that their friends are still collecting words and we are going to give them a few more minutes. I do not force them to try to write more. The main goal of this activity is to give them a love for writing. Children have a natural desire to learn to read and write. I give just as much encouragement to the child who can barely form a letter as to those who are forming letters perfectly. It's always fun to see the expressions of excitement on the children's faces when they realize they have written a word for the first time. And many of the children who at the beginning of the year would barely attempt to write one word are often the same children towards the end of the year who are saying when I announce it is time to end the activity, "Wait. I didn't collect that word over there."

The first year I started this I thought this was going to be a good writing excercise. Over the years I have realized it is teaching so much more. Depending on the level of the child, it is teaching them letter identification and formation, the concept of left to right, that letters together form words, that they are capable or writing words, beginning sounds, vocabulary development,  and for some of the more advanced children, word recognition. It has become one of my favorite activities to do with the children.


          



Elmer the Elephant:


This past week we read Elmer while exploring letter E. Elmer is the story of a patchwork elephant who tries to make himself look like everybody else. He learns that everyone is happiest when he is just being himself.



We then decorated gray elephants with patches of fabric to make them look just like Elmer. We will be saving these for our alphabet books.



We also read the book Elmer's Special Day. This book is about the elephants getting together to celebrate a special day just for Elmer by painting themselves lots of colors. The other animals in the jungle get upset that the elephants are making too much noise with their preparations. The elephants solve the problem by inviting all of the animals to join in the fun and the special parade.




The children colored 8 elephants and arranged them in order by number so they could have a parade also. We then made invitations to the other animals. Each drew an animal they wanted to give their invitation to and then labeled, or we labeled for them, the name or begining letter of their animal. We also paraded around the room pretending to be elephants.
 



Swat the Letter Bugs:


We played Swat the Letter Bugs during one our morning group times. The children first chose a picture of an object. They then had to decide if their object began like ants, butterfly, can or dig and then swat the appropriate bug. 


 

Reflective Light:

We continued our study on light by talking about reflective light. I read The Ugly Duckling. After reading the story I discussed with the children how the ugly duckling could see it's reflection in the water. I then gave each child a mirror and a rubber duck so that their ducks could see their reflections also. We then went around the room to see where else their ducks might see their reflections. Some of the places they discovered included the window, the marble window sill and the base of our flag stand. 

We also learned how light reflects off of a mirror. I demonstrated to the children by shining a flashlight into a small mirror and letting them see that the beam of light bounced off the mirror and onto the board behind me. I then gave each of the children a flashlight and small mirror so they could try for themselves. Some of the children had a little trouble with the concept at first and held the flashlight against the mirror trying to get the light to shine through the mirror. I helped them separate the flashlight and mirror so that the light would shine back on their shirts.



 
     
 
      Our water table was filled with sparkly jewels, glitter and water.

 



 


Our Reflective Collages




 



Throughout the year we use the story of creation for many of our activities. We have begun the year by studying light. I made a light table out of a clear storage box. I lined the box with aluminum foil and placed two push lights (that were purchased from Walmart) inside. I also placed some push lights around the box for the children to explore. Finally I added a couple kaleidoscopes, clear stones and colored magnetic blocks to the table. The children loved pushing the lights and exploring the materials. They discovered it was more fun to take the lights under the table to explore.


                                                                               
 
God separated the light and darkness into day and night on the first day of creation. One of the books I love to share with the children when we are discussing night and day is Goodnight Gorilla. Goodnight Gorilla is a simple story about zoo animals who follow their zookeeper home. It lends itself well to be acted out. The children had a great time pretending to be characters in the story. I used hula hoops for the cages and a flashlight and keys for the zookeeper to hold. The gorilla swipes the keys from the zookeeper and unlocks all of the cages of the animals. And then all the children follow the child pretending to be the zookeeper around the room and back to the zookeeper's home. We took turns acting out the story while the rest of the class watched.

                                                                    




Another book we read was Good Morning, Good Night. This is a book of opposites. The children discussed the differences between night and day and then were given paper and crayons to draw a daytime and nighttime scene.


                                                                                                       




The children did a great job with their pictures.