Thanks for the wonderful year and all the fun that I have had with your preschooler. See you all Friday!
|Preschool at Camelback Cottage||
I went a little crazy with the pictures... but there is just something so perfect about a bunch of cute kids playing in swim suits! I always love ending the year this way. Everyone has come so far in learning how to follow directions, take turns, and being kind friends. It is the perfect fun opportunity to use all of these skills and then some! We went swimming, played with water beads, practice hopscotch, washed baby clothes and hung them to dry, gave babies baths, went fishing for letters, used sidewalk chalk with paint brushes, and had a fun car wash! I bet your kiddos came home tired.
Thanks for the wonderful year and all the fun that I have had with your preschooler. See you all Friday!
I was waiting and waiting for this theme... and it was worth the wait. We loved learning about cooking in the kitchen and we even baked some edible treats along the way. We reviewed the letters K for Kitchen, B for Bakery, and C for Cookie in this unit and our stories focused on a very tricky cookie the Gingerbread Man. We read many variations of the classic tale The Gingerbread Man and we practiced participating in the story telling as well as describing what our favorite part in the story was and why to our friends. We learned a fun song about the Gingerbread Man too and we loved taking turns being the tricky fox out on the playground (basically tag)!
Our sensory tub for this unit was VERY messy and had to be relocated outside. We were "baking" with bowls full of all- purpose flour, measuring cups, teaspoons, sifters, whisks, and more. The kids loved the powdery texture of the flour and they got very dusty despite the over-sized paint smocks. It was wonderful to hear all the cooking language being used and interesting recipes being created. We even had to designate a specific rock to be our "oven". When the flour started to dwindle and the temperatures dropped I broke out the gingerbread scented play dough and we learned how to make Christmas cookies using rolling pins, cookie sheets, and cookie cutters.
We converted the classroom kitchen into a bakery for a week and practiced baking, selling, and consuming delicious treats. We wrote down bakery orders, practiced writing bakery menus, packed up treats in to go bags, and even set the table for a few birthday parties complete with cookies and cupcakes. After learning how to pretend bake we all worked together to bake an apple cake. The kids loved helping me measure out all the ingredients and turn on the mixer. We talked about the purpose of a recipe and what might happen if you don't follow the directions. Baking is such a great way to incorporate all the things we practice in preschool on a daily basis...counting, measuring, taking turns, reading, and following multistep directions. The cake turned out great.
Finally before the holidays we spent some time working on patterns by looking at different candy canes. We made our own patterns by threading red, white, and green beads onto pipe cleaners and then twisted them into circles or candy cane hooks. This was great practice for our little fingers and it is really neat to see how every kid is at a different place with their pattern creating abilities. Younger kids were watching the older students create harder patterns while the older kids were helping and encouraging younger students to transfer their pattern onto their pipe cleaner correctly. Sometimes the benefits of a multiage classroom are easy to see!
We ended our unit with a fun little Gingerbread Party and decorated gingerbread houses with lots of delicious treats. Thank you to everyone for donating. More learning to come in 2014!
I am very, very, very thankful that I decided to cancel class last minute on November 1st!!! About an hour and a half later my son was born, Reed Elliot Norman. I was once again completely overcome with love as a mommy and Sadie got to officially become a big sister. I am so thankful that everything went smoothly, and that there were so many loving families and preschoolers sending love and good will our way. Three weeks were spent cuddling... thank you for that special time with my new little bundle.
When we came back we spent most of November talking about being thankful and that first Thanksgiving. We wrote out a menu for a pretend Thanksgiving Feast. We sang a fun song about leaves, Leaves Are Falling, and all pretended to jump into a large pile of leaves. We read many silly turkey books and even made a silly turkey out of feathers and cardboard tubes. We tried to fit as much in as we possibly could!
This unit started out with an imaginary visit to a farm. Imaginary because I was way to pregnant to brave a field trip to an actual farm. We made the best of it with stuffed animals and farm animal puppets and used them during our daily music time and with many of the books we read. While we talked about and read stories about all sorts of farm animals, we focused on the letter Ff (farm, farmer, and field), Dd (ducks & donkeys), Pp (pigs & pumpkins), and Aa (apples).
We loved singing along to all of our songs from music time this unit... and hopefully some of them made their way home! We started by singing a classic, Old MacDonald had a Farm. We used puppets for this and took turns picking which puppet we wanted to use and act with. Not always getting your first choice is still a very hard concept for preschoolers, so this was a great opportunity to practice not getting really upset and making a second choice. We practiced appropriate ways to express how we were feeling such as saying "Oh darn... I wanted to use the pig. Maybe I can use the pig next time!" We also learned the song 5 Little Ducks using our duck puppet and our 5 little fingers to help us count. These counting songs are great for early math concepts such as counting backwards and even subtraction. When we learned about pumpkins we sang another counting song, 10 Little Pumpkins, as well as played a fun musical game Go Round and Round the Pumpkin which emphasizes patterns through music and body movement. Even though we loved all of these songs, I think that Way Up High in the Apple Tree was our favorite. After practicing this song a few times with just hand motions, we sang it again using miniature apple trees and buttons for apples. Students acted out "eating" the apples of their tree and counting how many were left... more subtraction!
We had fun creating some fun silly artwork during this unit... ducks and pigs made from paper plates, a silly scarecrow to review shapes, painted pumpkins, and many different farm scenes to watercolor as an art choice. We also reviewed some of the letters we have learned by rolling alphabet die and coloring the animal that had the matching lowercase letter. We played pumpkin counting where students turn over a number card and count the corresponding number of pumpkins up to ten. We are getting really good at counting correctly! Our sensory tub was full of fun fall themed items
such as fall leaves, acorns, bats, spiders, and of course pumpkins and we had a really great time sorting, counting, and using our imaginations. The afternoon class liked to pretend that it was a candy store and would package the different items to be sold for Halloween parties.
We ended the unit by discussing how apples and pumpkins grow. We spent time comparing how pumpkins and apples are similar and different, describing how they feel, grow, their size, their seeds, etc. We even used our imaginations to grow pumpkins in a pumpkin patch with a cute poem...."Plant a seed in the ground, Up grows a pumpkin big and round, down comes the rain soft and slow, Up comes the pumpkin...grow, Grow, GROW!" We practiced using different size words to describe our imaginary pumpkins... but our favorite word was HUMUNGOUS! We ended this unit by dressing up for our class party on the 30th and decorating cookies. Preschoolers are just too cute in costume!
This month we focused on how to stay happy and healthy. We started by brainstorming and creating a list of things that people need to do to stay healthy... and I must say that I was quite impressed by what these little kiddos came up with. Both classes mentioned each point that we would focus on, eating healthy, taking care of our teeth, and exercising. The list contained many additions that were insisted upon, such as taking vitamins, yoga, dancing, eating really really healthy things like kale, and other very cute preschool absolutes.
We started by talking about eating healthy and why it is important. We sorted different food items into things that were healthy and gave our body nutrients and things that were not healthy and only for special treats and occasions. This activity always brings out cute preschool stories... "my dad always sneaks cookies", etc. I LOVE it! We spent time looking through cooking magazines and creating collages of healthy foods to eat. Cutting magazines and creating collages is a great easy way for kids to practice those fine motor skills while always making a beautiful end product they can be proud of. We also talked about the different food groups and watercolored pictures of them just for fun as an art choice. This week we sang "Apples and Bananas" and practiced the letter Hh for Healthy.
We moved on to taking care of our teeth and why it is important. The kiddos were so interested in learning about teeth and were even more excited when I introduced the teeth brushing chart to take home. At the beginning of each class we sang a song about brushing our teeth and then acted out the important steps using our imagination. Our favorite part was pretending to spit in the sink! Our sensory activity was a teeth brushing station where everyone got to practice squeezing a little toothpaste onto their brush and brush the tops and sides of pretend teeth. This was SO much fun and our classroom smelled like toothpaste for weeks. We played a few rounds of roll and count, a great game where you roll the dice... count... and then paint the tooth with the corresponding numeral. This game is wonderful for practicing accurate counting and number recognition. Finally we learned that everyone has 20 baby teeth which you loose as you get older. We recreated a mouth full of teeth using mini marshmallows. This was another great counting activity. Of course we reviewed the letter Tt for teeth.
Finally we learned about the importance of exercise and how it makes your muscles strong. We read a book which talked about muscles in our body and how important they are to us. We played a fun game where we rolled an exercise die and turned over a number card to see how many of those exercises we had to do as a class. This was so much fun and they wanted to keep playing and playing and playing... which I did not being pregnant! Great practice for counting and number recognition though so we went for it. We also spent some time brainstorming different ways to exercise and then did some writing of our own. We drew a picture of our favorite way to exercise and I wrote down what their pictures said. Drawings that tell a story or answer a question are the first steps of writing and the kids were very excited to share their work. Of course we talked about the letter Xx and even made an exercising person out of the letter!
I was not the best at remembering to take pictures this theme... pregnant brain setting in... but hopefully you get the idea.
I love to start off each year learning about colors and shapes because so many students already feel comfortable and confident... which means we can spend more time focusing on classroom routines, making friends, and of course having fun. I hope you can see how much every little kid enjoyed this theme by the looks on their faces.
We started out school by exploring many of the different areas of our classroom and learning how to play and work there with our new friends. This is something that we work on ALL THE TIME in preschool. It is so important to practice how to get materials out and put them away, how to take turns and use words to solve problems, and how to be creative with each other through play. For our colors theme our sensory tub was filled with rainbow rice. This was a favorite with the kids. They love scooping and dumping the rice into different containers and it is SO MESSY! We practiced trying to keep the rice in the tub, and then we practiced sweeping the rice up off of the floor. We were not very successful at either but we will keep trying. We incorporated some fun science experiments in our color unit too such as mixing primary colors to see which new colors could be made. We mixed colors in ice trays and also made some beautiful tie dye inspired art on paper towels. We also experimented with whole milk, food coloring, and dish soap. We discovered that the soap makes the milk particles move around swirling the food coloring to make interesting designs. We could have done this for an entire week.
Many art activities were tackled, but one of my favorites was our 3D rainbow art inspired by Don Freeman's A Rainbow of My Own. We bent strips of colorful paper to make arcs that swooped over and around each other and I couldn't believe how different each child's artwork turned out. We took a closer look at color words, tracing the letters and then creating a collage all over the word. We also went for color hunts and practiced sorting items by color.
To review and learn our shapes we went on shape hunts throughout the classroom finding items and sorting them by shape on the carpet. We always talked about the number of sides and corners and spent a lot of time comparing squares and rectangles. We loved making animal art inspired by Lois Elhert's Color Zoo, creating our own animals by layering different shapes together. The puzzle center was stocked with shape puzzles and games to help us work on shape names with our friends. These are just a few highlights and of course I often forget to take pictures of everything in the moment and then it is too late. Please check out the pictures and captions below for a better look into our preschool world.
What a great time we had Monday at the Hall of Flames Museum! A big thank you to all the parents and caregivers who cleared their busy schedules to make this special day happen. Also a big thank you to the museum's educational curator Fireman Mark for the nice tour, story, and all the important rules about fire safety. We loved playing on the real fire engine, dressing up in hats and gear, sliding down the fireman's pole, and especially looking at the amazing collection of fire engines.
As a teacher it is always so fun to see kids light up when they are in a new learning environment that is kid friendly and full of interesting things that we have already been learning about in class. It is so rewarding to hear the kids using vocabulary words that we have talked about when labeling things they see, asking questions, and squealing with their friends in excitement. I hope everyone was impressed with how well all of these little preschoolers behaved in this new setting... they are seeming so grown up when they are being attentive listeners and asking relevant (and very cute) questions. What a fun and seriously cute age! I hope you enjoy all the pictures!
We have finished our month of Transportation... and we loved every minute of it! We have been very busy with fun stories, messy art, puzzles, and dramatic play centering around things that "GO". It is no surprise that the kids were totally into it! Here are some highlights of what we have been up to.
We started out by sorting all types of transportation vehicles into things that go on water (float), in air (fly), and over land (drive). The only things that stumped us were escalators and elevators so we put them in a special category! We set sail learning about different types of boats and what they are used for. Before making our own sailboats we experimented what types of things float well and sorted things that float and things that sink. We were all shocked to find that many heavy things sink... they all predicted that heavy things float because boats are heavy! Even more shocking was discovering that everything made of wood floats. Finally we made our own little sailboats out of cups, play dough, straws, and paper. Before we could set sail we named our boats... "S.S. Spiderman," "S.S. Star," "S.S. Flowers." They all set sail and it was hard for us not to create huge waves and sink our own ships. Learning self control and the scientific process all rolled into one!
Next up we talked about things that fly. Helicopters, airplanes, jets, hot air balloons, and more. We made our own counting books and practiced drawing a particular number of vehicles... pretty tricky but we did great! We played a really fun game together in class to practice listening to directions and cooperation. I called out the name of something and if it could fly we zoomed around the room.... if it couldn't fly we quietly landed and waited. So many giggles and we even did some interpretive flying and sound effects depending on the vehicle. An airplane showed up on our playground surprisingly and we practiced taking turns being the pilot and flying around the world. Peru, Disneyland, Montana, New York, Michigan, and the beach were some of our stops.
We spent a week exploring emergency vehicles and talking specifically about fire engines and fire safety. Clifford the puppet came by to share some fire safety tips to help us gear up for our field trip to the Hall of Flames Museum. We had a great time exploring the museum with the help of Fireman Mark! A big thank you for everyone for making this field trip happen.
Here are some of the other highlights from centers around the room. Building buildings and smashing them with monster trucks, painting with cars followed by a car wash, building cars and trains out of straws and caps, making vehicles out of pattern blocks, playing in our bulldozer with construction hats and tools, and so many good books! We have come so far since the beginning of the year and we are spending so much time learning cooperatively and so much less time modeling appropriate behaviors. It is always important to not only emphasize how much we are learning about in all subjects... but how much we are learning socially. Things like taking turns, sharing, helping clean up, using nice manners, asking to join in and play, and solving our own problems are becoming second nature. It is so cool to see. Coming up next .... BUGS! BUGS! BUGS!
What have we been up to? We have been so busy in November exploring animals that live in the desert and Africa. Everything animals… animal math, animal books, animal puzzles, animal games, animal blocks, animal art, and the list goes on! No better way to end an exciting theme than a trip to the Phoenix Zoo! Take a closer look at what we learned during the month of November!
Desert life is so exciting because we are surrounded by it every day, so we started our adventure with animals that live there. Coyote starts with Cc…. and so does cactus and Cactus Wren! Cc was the first letter that we learned as we practiced howling at the moon like coyotes and painted prickly cacti to decorate our classroom. We had to fit in the letter Qq for quail while we had the opportunity and went on a quail hunt around the classroom. Some other animals that we read and talked about were Gila Monsters, Vultures, Rattlesnakes, Hawks, Javelinas, Mountain Lions, Bobcats, and Road Runners! We loved pretending to be some of the animals with the song The Animals in the Desert (to the tune The Wheels on the Bus). Here are some of the books we read if you want to revisit them with your child.
The Gingerbread Cowboy, Janet Squires
A Desert Hello, Abby Mogollon
Way Out in the Desert, Jennifer Ward
Desert Life, National Geographic
Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?, Bonnie Lass
African animals were just as interesting and fun. We spent some time learning about the letter Ll for Lions. We were very excited to learn about this letter because two of our students’ names start with Ll as does Miss Lindsey! We made some super cute lions out of paper and paper plates. This activity was so fun because we really got to use our cutting skills and each lion turned out so different. We discussed about how some animals are carnivores and hunt other animals for food. We practiced being lions hunting zebras as was shown in one of the books we read. We also sorted other large cats and found some more that started with Ll… Leopards! This was fun and lead to quite the discussion…. Should Snow Leopards go with Ll or Ss, and how about Mountain Lions because they are still a Lion! We definitely had a chance to practice those language skills with this one as many a preschooler argued their point!
We ended our unit on animals with Zz for Zoo and Zebra. We attempted to paint zebras in class but we got carried away and they all ended up black horses! We did have a great time singing a new zoo song, “Do You Know the Animals?” (to the tune of The Muffin Man) and took turns thinking of different zoo animals to act out. Our favorites were the Flamingo and once again the Road Runner…. Because you have to run very very fast! We also learned a song about some silly monkeys who get eaten by a crocodile and practiced our counting and math skills.
Here are some great zoo books we read….
The Tawny Scrawny Lion, Kathryn Jackson
123 to the Zoo, by Eric Carle
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, by Eric Carle
Goodnight Gorilla, Peggy Rathman
Counting Crocodiles, Judy Sierra
Lions Cubs, National Geographic
There is never enough room to fit everything in that we have accomplished! In every learning center there are also exciting things happening… like building a zoo with Legos and our African sensory tub and our new roll and stamp counting game and…. The list goes on. A big thank you to all the families for making it to the Phoenix Zoo to complete the learning experience! They thought it was pretty special going with all of their preschool friends!
We will be spending some time gearing up for the holidays and beginning our next theme... Weather! There is no denying the excitement as this time of year speedily approaches so we are just going to embrace it!
Well we have been very busy! We have spent a whole month learning about shapes and having fun with seasonal activities. Read on to hear more about all our preschool adventures in October!
Shapes are always fun because they can be incorporated into so many different activities…. And we have
been doing just that. We learned about squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, stars, hearts, ovals, and diamonds. Some of these shapes are still a little tricky for us to remember but it is a process and we have had fun
describing them and finding them in our classroom. We read many books by Tana Hoban and also Color Zoo and Color Farm by Louis Elhert. We have worked very hard on a touch and feel shape book of our very own learning how to trace shapes with glue and then collage different materials. They turned out lovely and will be a great way to practice these shapes throughout the year! We played with shape puzzles, matching shape cookies, pattern block pictures, water
discovery with shape sponges, and made shape paintings by stamping items we found around the classroom. Of course I forgot to take pictures of all the fun…. But you get the idea.
Mr. Monkey (our monkey puppet) stopped by for a week to teach us about the letter Mm! We had so much fun with him and he taught us a special song, No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed! While learning Mm we also learned about monsters (which are make believe you know). We made squish monsters by squishing paint in between our paper and adding googly eyes! These were very cute and we loved using our muscles to squish the paint. We ended our monster fun by having our first pajama party and watching Monsters, Inc.
Pumpkin starts with Pp! We practiced counting to ten by learning the song Ten Little Pumpkins and counted out ten pumpkins using our little pumpkin jewels! We also learned about how a pumpkin grows by learning a fun finger poem….. ask your little one at home and see if they remember! We learned how to play Hot & Cold,
such a fun game at this age. Miss Lindsey hid the pumpkin in our classroom and then we looked for it getting “hot”
when we got close. We could have played this all day so try this one at home!
Pumpkins become Jack-o-lanterns this time of year so that is how we ended October. We investigated the inside of pumpkins for science and sensory this week. We also took some of the seeds and planted them inside one of our pumpkins to see what happens. Maybe they will grow… or maybe it will all turn to mush… either way it will be a fun learning experience! We made shape jack-o-lanterns in art by gluing shapes and glitter onto our painted pumpkins. On Halloween we all dressed up and had extra fun by baking pumpkin muffins and painting pumpkins! What a great month!
Next week we will start our new theme, Animal World! We are going to be focusing on desert animals and animals of Africa this year and will be having our first field trip to the Phoenix Zoo on December 1st. More info to come on this but mark your calendars!