Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall and Pumpkins

 We started with reading the book: The Was an Old Lady who Swallowed Some Leaves.  We discussed what we see in the fall, why the things were in the book, and the colors we see.

I started with this pinterest idea to teach about fall and the color of fall.  I precut the center of the template out, the colored dots, and the squares.  Students wrote their own name as long as it fit in the box.  Students were told to cut around the outside of the trees and the blue box.  They then colored the trunks of the trees brown.  They then put glue on the leaf part and filled it up with the leaf squares.  They then carried their pieces to the teacher and waited in line.  When they reached the teacher, they were told to scoop 1 scoop of each color (a frosting container filled with dots and a plastic spoon) and say what color it was. We then stapled it all together and viola!  Leaf globes!

This taught/reinforced: fine motor skills, cutting/scissors skills, waiting in line (rules, patience, and turn taking) colors, and the concept of fall.

I also created another Pinterest project to display the projects in the hallway.  It is currently holds our "fall leaf globe."

We also worked on hand washing more.  The nurse that visits dropped of a UV black light in which shows the white lotion and powder the students put on their hands.  We told them it was magic germ finding lotion and powder.  We showed them all the "germs" on their hands with the black light.  We then sent them to wash their hands.  When they returned, we used the lights again and saw all the places we missed.

 We finally went back and washed our hands one last time.  I really think they are getting it.

We watched short videos on:

Germs and How germs spread

The parts of the hand to wash

A hand washing song

We started the next week with pumpkins.  In our discovery center I had a bin with a pumpkin in it. I had already cut off the pumpkin and the only rules I have the students were: keep it in the bin,  only 4 at the table at a time, and wash your hands when you are done.  I didn't want to limit what they wanted to do to explore the pumpkin.  Some of their faces were priceless!

In small group we did a pumpkin observation sheet, found from the Teaching Mommies Website.  They looked at, smelled, touched, listened to, and even tasted pumpkin.  The kids did great, though they did NOT enjoy the taste of pumpkin.

We watched a video of the life cycle of a pumpkin in the seasons including a time lapse video of the growth:

We then talked about what they discovered in the discovery center that day and the day before.  We used a scholastic "parts of the pumpkin."

After watching the video, playing with pumpkins, and looking at the chart, I felt they had a good understanding of what a pumpkin was, the parts of it, and it's life cycle.

We then did a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast apples and pumpkins.  The students had some great ideas about their similarities and differences!

We practiced our cutting and the star and circle shape with paper strip pumpkins.  Students were given a piece of construction paper with lines drawn on it. They were told to cut on the lines and then make their papers into a star (all 5 pieces touching in the middle going out in 5 directions).  The teacher then staples the center of the star.  They then help bring all the pieces up to the top making a circle/sphere and their rolly-poly pumpkin!

Finally, We made Jack-o-lanterns.  I had cut a template out that had the bottom of the pumpkin on a fold so it opened up.  The students put the face on with choices of ovals, triangles, and rectangles (since conferences are coming up, I have been doing assessments and discovered students needed help with these shapes).  I had all three shapes in a bag and they had to say: "Can I have ___ for the eyes/nose/mouth."  For the mouth, I have them the choice of 1-5 of that shape for the mouth.  When they completed their jack-o-lantern, they moved on to the inside of the pumpkin.  We talked of the "science word" for pumpkin guts: pulp, and used yarn to illustrate this.  One pinch of pulp and glue it on.  They then picked a card I hand wrote with the numbers one through five written on it.  When they picked a card, they had to name the number, count that many seeds, and glue them on.  They then put it on the drying rack on their own.

This activity taught/reinforced the following: following directions of increasing complexity, shapes, parts of a pumpkin, art, recognizing numbers, counting, and fine motor skills.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fire Safety, Safety Week

Our theme was Fire Safety/Safety.  

On Monday we discussed fire safety as well as other safety.  For an activity, we made shape firetrucks.  I found these on pinterest (original pin).  I made the template in word and then my aide helped me cut out all the shapes.  I did this as a direction following activity as well.  Directions were similar to this: Put the Red rectangle in the shape it fits best on. Put the red square in front of the red rectangle.  Put three black circles under the red shapes.  Put the black triangles above the red rectangle.  Put the really long yellow rectangle with lots of little rectangles on it above the triangles.  Put the yellow rectangle, on top of the red square making a window.  Put the white square in the middle above the red square.  Put the two square yellow lights outside of the white one.

Free Printable Click Here

We watched some videos on fire safety and 911.  I wanted the children to have some exposure before the "real deal" came later in the week.

This video I think was one of the best, but I am having trouble embedding.  Here is the TeacherTube Link:

On Tuesday, we had a visit from our nurse.  She talked about proper hand washing--a very important lesson as the cold and flu season is upon us.  Just to recap so you know how they are taught to wash their hands:  2 squirts school soap, sing abc while rubbing hands together on all sides and between fingers, the "now I know my.." part is washing all the soap bubbles off in the water, and then dry with 2 towels.  I think we are either getting it or really like singing the abc's in the bathroom :)

On Wednesday, our AM class had a fire drill and the fire trucks came.  They were able to see a firefighter dress in front of them to show them that it is not scary and they are there to help.  We reiterated the fact that if there is a fire, give the firefighter a hug, don't run away and hide.  They are there to help. The PM class watched a video on firefighters and I found one of a man dressing as well as showed them the photos from the AM class. I made sure to show a video that showed the sound the breathing mask makes as that seems to be the scariest part for some.  PM had a fire drill at the end of September.

I really wanted the children to hear the breathing and see how firefighters really are good people. This video does a good job with that.

On Thursday Officer Janda came to visit.  He is an Outagamie County Sheriff.  We talked about when we call 911 (even if you call on accident stay on the phone and tell them it was an accident) and only call in a real emergency.  We talked about what a police officer does and what he has on his uniform.  The AM class got to see the car, but Officer Janda did not have it in the afternoon as he was there to pick up his children as well, but he did have his radio, which was at home charging in the AM.  Children really enjoyed hearing the voices on the radio!  We also talked of gun safety: If you see a gun 1) DO NOT TOUCH IT and 2) GO GET AN ADULT. Finally, we also got fun coloring books and Packer cards from Officer Janda. 

Literacy in the Room

Writing their words down to show voice to print as well as having words all around them all the time.

The people tell us how many friend are allowed in the center.  The word and the number underneath help the children to make a connection between all 3 and the fact they all mean the same thing.

A simple phrase I ask MANY times a day (while pointing to it) will help them to start to read these three words; every word counts!

I use text to answer questions they may have. This is displayed right over the sensory table so they can answer what is in there and be reading the words of what is in there while they play with it, making the connection.

Everything in the room is labeled.  Also, to check in students must find their name and place it in.  Later in the year, I will change it to their last name, they must find that to check in when they arrive.  Name recognition is important as well.

Every week we focus on a letter. We read books on the letters  (Scholastic's AlphaTales), find the words that start with that sound in the book, decorrate that letter with something that has that sound or looks like that letter, make a handprint alphabet book page, find it in our room, learn the letter in sign language, and more.  (See my letter of the week page)

Even the carpets are labeled with the objects name.  This one is bilingual!

Signs posted around the room in the play areas allows students to connect things in real life to the words that correspond.

Names on everything for them to work on name recognition.

My writing center has bubble letters for them to practice writing inside, letters on lines with directional arrows, hand writing sheets, and our Alphatales characters with dotted lines to practice writing, their names, and other common words they may want to write.  I laminate EVERYTHING and allow them to use dry erase markers and practice again and again.  There is regular paper and markers also available if they are read to start writing something to their friends and families.

Videos to Teach Pre-literacy Skills

I am really trying to help my class figure out the letter sounds and the initial sounds of words. This is an important pre-reading and pre-writing skill that I try to work on in a variety of fun ways.  I have found some YouTube videos to help with that and thought I would share

The letters and initial sound:

 I also downloaded the YouTube to MP3 Converter (just type in YouTube to Mp3 in google).  Now this plays in the background while they play and learn!

Letter name, formation AND exercise!

This is only a sample.  To get the full version you need to purchase, but I think the video would be totally worth it.  It is available on his site.


My students thought this was absolutely hilarious, but if they are laughing they are enjoying it!

More to come as I find them!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Apple Unit

We started the week with The Biggest Apple Ever.  
We then colored our apples red, cut them out ourselves, and sorted them by size: small, middle, big.

We read: Apple Countdown.
We then made apple cores by cutting out 2 half circles drawn by teacher on a paper plate.  The students then recycled their own extra pieces.  They came back, wrote their name on the back and then made the "bumpy parts of the plate" red with red bingo dotters.  They then picked a leaf with out seeing the number.  Once they chose their leaf, they flipped it over and I stapled it to their core.  They then had to bingo dot that many seeds into their core.  

We read: I am an Apple.  We talked about the life cycle of a tree.  
To reinforce this we did Apple tree Yoga.  
In a tiny seed 
Rain and sun need to go on their backs before they can grow!
Wiggle and grow into a tall tree
5 petals on our blossoms
Petals fall off one by one (count to five 2 times)
When all the petals fall off, you have tiny apples.

and they grow bigger, and bigger....

Huge Apples! 
The apples plop off the tree: plop, plop
The apples break apart and the seeds come out.

We also labeled an apple:

We then cut an apple in half to see the star.  We then stamped with them, counted our stamped apples, and then counted the points on our stars.  

We watched these videos:

Finally: We used our 5 senses and Looked at, Smelled, Listened to, Felt, and tasted some golden delicious apples.  

Listen to (shake)


And then documented our results: