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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Q is for . . .

. . .Quadrilaterals
For math time we looked at our pattern blocks. We looked at each shape and counted how many sides it had. We sorted the blocks into blocks with 4 sides and other blocks.

After we sorted the blocks, we used our pattern blocks to make pictures on printable templates. (they came from www.kellyskindergarten.com)
. . . Quilts
We talked about what a quilt is . . . a big blanket made up of shapes that fit together. We looked at a couple of different quilts and discussed what shapes made up that quilt. We also talked about how people make friendship quilts. They make them and give them to their friends to remind them that they love them. We made our own friendship quilt.
We traced and colored our hands on our quilt block. Then we sewed our quilt blocks individually. I punched the holes for the sewing part and we used yarn with tape at the end. I taught the kids that when we sew, we go up and down and we talked about going around the edge without skipping holes.
I was very impressed that most of them got it after 1 or two tries and we didn't have to resew very many times.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Math Activities

As part of our day, we have center time where the kids can choose between a variety of activities to participate in. I use this free time to work with the kids one on one and to practice specific skills.

Here are a few of the math centers we have done the last couple of weeks:

I put laminated numbers 1 - 5 on hangers, one number on each hanger. I put a box with about 15 clothes pins next to it. The kids put the correct number of clothes pins on each hanger, then hung the numbers in order on a rope.

Using the laminated numbers from the previous activity, the kids matched star pictures to the numbers in a pocket chart.

O is for . . .

I found the pictures to make these opposite folders here. We put the letter O painting on the front.

Orange Cherri-O Painting!

Oval, Oak Leaf Turkeys!


As part of letter O day, we made oval, oak leaf turkeys. I got the idea from First School and adapted it a little bit to fit what I had. I used a cricut to cut all the shapes except the beak and wattle.

What You Need:
Oak Leaf cut outs
Google Eyes
Star cut outs
Large oval cut out
Small oval cut out
Beak cut out
Wattle cut out

What You Do:

S is for . . .

Silly Scissors!


. . . and Simon Says, and seeds, and story sequencing, and spiral cutting!

Jack in the Beanstalk

I think this has been one of my favorite days of school all year. To conclude our study on plants, we read about the ultimate plant: Jack's beanstalk.

We read Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg. If you haven't read this version of the story, you are missing out. It is a long story and I was worried about the children losing interest, but they stayed with me the whole time because the pictures and the rhythm of the story are hypnotic. It is the best!

I had laminated pictures of the story out of order. The kids told me what happened in each picture and I wrote a caption using their words at the bottom with an overhead marker. Then, we sequenced the pictures on a "story line." Next, we made our own easy beanstalks.

What you need:
Green construction paper for leaves and beanstalk
Cotton balls

What you do:
1. 2.

3. Add cotton balls for the clouds

4. Add leaves all along the spiral
5. Hang it up!

S is for Seeds

Continuing our study on plants . . .

We read the book From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons. We reviewed the parts of a plant. We talked about what a plant needs to grow. Then, we planted seeds.

G is for Garden Graph

As part of our month study on plants, we talked about gardens.
We read the book Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens.

Then we taste tested different vegetables that grow in gardens. The kids decided if they liked the vegetable and then we graphed the results. We tasted carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and peas in a pod. It was good to help the kids take a step out of their comfort zone, to try new foods. I was surprised that cauliflower seemed to be the most popular vegetable. Interestingly enough almost all the kids said that they liked each vegetable they tasted. I have a sneaking suspicion that they wouldn't be as amiable if these vegetables were served at dinner.

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures, maybe next time!

G is for ground and grows

Wow! I have a whole month of activities to catch up on. Maybe it has something to do with having a new baby or something like that, I don't know. Anyway, thanks for being patient! I hope you enjoy the things we did this month as much as I have!

We talked about plants this month and did a lot of fun plant activities.

The first day we read the book A Tiny Seed by Eric Carle and talked about how plants grow in the ground. Then we made these parts of a plant pictures. The activity is pretty self explanatory.
As an extension, you could have the students label the parts of a plant.

Tip of the Month: The Write Stuff

There are many steps along the road of learning to write letters. Children must have many opportunities to use their hands to do various things before they can successfully print letters. Many of the things we do during center time and activity time help your child develop their fine motor skills to help them take those steps towards writing. Here are some ideas of what we do that you can also do at home to help your child develop the skills needed to write:
  1. Modeling with clay
  2. Using small and large Legos
  3. Picking up beads
  4. Playing with knobbed puzzles
  5. Using paper, paper clips, staples, pencils, markers, and crayons
  6. Stencils
  7. Sidewalk chalk
  8. Finger painting or painting with large brushes
Encourage your child to write notes to their friends or messages to other important people in their life. As they are playing dress-up or pretend, encourage them to write props to add to their play: menus, shopping lists, paper money, tickets for a show, signs for shops, etc.

As children experiment, developmental stages of writing become evident. Children move from random scribbles to controlled scribbles, to random alphabet letters, to consonants that represent words. Only with lots of opportunities to practice can children move through these stages.

If your child does not have a proper pencil grip, cannot purposefully manipulate a crayon, or simply shows no interest in learning to write, they probably aren't ready to do so. Take care not to push. Children enjoy learning a new skill only when they are ready for it. Getting ready is just as important as mastering the skill.

Christmas is a great time to stock up on writing material for your child. They make great stocking stuffers and gifts!

- Excerpts taken from Brad Wilcocks