Wednesday, January 30, 2013

P is for Planet

It has been a fun and productive learning week. On Sunday night, I was actually ready a very different kind of week. Our Monday started off with having to get all three kids off to a sitter so we could attend a meeting for our foster daughter. My thought was that a morning long meeting would probably mean no school on Monday or at least it would have to wait until the afternoon. I find if Monday school is off to the a rough start it finds a way of leaking into the next day too! However, our neighbor (who I have to add, watched the kids on her day off) e-mailed me the night before and asked me what our letter of the week was going to be. I replied that we would be working on P and focusing on planets. When I went to pick the kids up, I found out that they had spent part of the morning on P related activities  They played with plastic planets in a bean sensory bin, read books about planets, played princess memory, came up with a list of animals that start with P, and made letter Ps out of pasta! We have the best neighbors. The thoughtful act of taking the time to help me out with school time while I was busy really set a positive tone to the week. We ended up accomplishing everything I had planned and had some fun doing it!  

Take a look at our P is for Planet week! 

Books: I Am Planet Earth By: Jean Marzollo
First Big Book of Space By: Catherine D. Hughes
Every Planet has a Place By: Becky Baines

Exploring our letter P box. This simple activity that starts off our letter of the week, continues to be a favorite . I think they love the element of surprise. 

We focused on Planet Earth the first day to help  build the concept that Earth is actually part of something much bigger. For our art project, Ava and Dominic made coffee filter Earths. They used washable blue and green marker to color the filter. 
Next, they used a spray bottle to spray the filter. This causes the marker to bleed and gives it a tie-dye effect. This project was a great because even Dominic could do this one independently (except of course when I had to pry the water away from him because he loved spraying it so much!)
They glued their Earth (after allowing them to dry) onto black paper and added stars. Ava even wrote Planet Earth all by herself! She enjoys being told what letters she need to write to form words. It is neat to watch this interest arise! 

We worked together to make a puzzle of the solar system. 

Ava explored how Earth experiences day and night. Every time she "rotated" away from the flashlight it was night. When she rotated toward the light it was day. 
Ava worked on writing her numbers using a space shuttle count down worksheet found  at Kindergarten Nana

I created a pattern activity where Ava needed to place the missing pattern pieces in the pattern. She is used to  adding on to patterns. Omitting parts of the pattern in the middle created an additional challenge. 

Practicing writing the letter P

One of our math activities required Ava to count stars and label the number with the corresponding planet. This activity was a challenge because it went up to 15. She has made a lot of progress with her counting in the last month!
Our culminating activity for the week was a diagram of the solar system. While planning, I tossed around a lot of ideas on how I wanted to build the solar system. I thought it would be fun to create a 3D model with her. But I decided since this won't be the last time we study space, I would wait until she was a little older. I found pictures of all the planets on Kindergarten Nana. This activity was perfect for her because she could do a lot of it independently. 
Ava did all the coloring and really got into using  The First Big Book of Space  as a resource for  choosing how to color  each of them. I was impressed when she added multi-colors to the planets to match the book!

Together, we figured out the order of the planets. This activity was also a great way to work on ordinal numbers. Ava added glitter dots around the planets to represent stars. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A look at N and O!

Over the last couple of weeks we have been working on learning about the letters N and O. Our weekly schedule has been switched around the last couple of weeks for various meetings and commitments. Now, I am trying to play catch up with the blog! Scroll down to see some of the activities we have done with N and O. 

Letter N Week!

We brought back out our hammer and nail activity. It was a hit with Dominic. He spent a lot of time nailing pictures of objects that started with N to the foam board. 

Together we created a map of a neighborhood (because N is for neighborhood!) When it was finished I laminated it and taped it to the living room floor in our play area. Now the kids can bring out the Little People and their cars to play with it. Prior to this activity we took a walk in the neighborhood to find out what is in a neighborhood. 

Ava practiced tracing capital and lowercase N. We also worked on the numbers 13 and 14 this week. 

Ava practiced writing her whole name. 

Dominic had fun playing with the gems. he enjoyed scooping them and putting them in the muffin tins.

Ava played with the gems too, but she had a specific task to complete. Each muffin tin liner was labeled with the number 1-12. She needed to identify the number and add the correct number of gems to the muffin cup. 

 I gave Ava a large letter N. She used number stamps to decorate the inside of the N, (because N is for numbers!) cut the N out, and glued it on a different colored piece of paper. 

Working on numbers 13 and 14 in our Disney book. 

Matching upper and lower case letters using letter magnets. 
Letter O Week!

Here Ava is practicing writing her numbers 1-10

Our new Melissa and Doug number puzzles are lots of fun. Ava was given 7 mini puzzles to complete as one of her math activities. The puzzles go up to number 20. 
We talked about ovals as part of our letter O week. Really we just touched on ovals but did lots of activities using shapes. For our art project, Ava cut out lots of different shapes and created shape pictures.

Dominic experimented with the scissors some, but was much more interested in the glue. I gave him foam cutouts to glue on his paper while Ava worked on cutting out shapes and creating designs of hers. 

Keeping with the shape theme, Ava worked on creating pictures using pattern blocks. 
O is for oblick! This is super easy to make. Take 2 cups cornstarch and mix with 1 cup water. When the mixture is in a container it forms a solid. But, when picked up it turns back to a liquid. The kids had a lot of fun with this.  It is really messy, so I recommend doing this in an area that is easy to clean. If it wasn't winter we would have played with it outside.

O is for owl.  After reading a few different books about owls, we did a simple owl craft that I printed out from the blog Get 'Er Done Momma!  It was a great  activity to practice cutting skills. 

Pattern block shapes pictures are fun!
We are gearing up for letter P week here. I plan to do a whole week on the planets. Ava is convinced we should be learning about princesses since princesses starts with P too! I think she will find that the planets are pretty cool too, but I am sure we can weave in a few princess stories into our week too! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Marvelous M

We started the new year off with a full week of m is for money, magnets, and maps! As nice as it was to be out of our normal routine for the last few weeks, it was certainly nice to be back into our old one! This week we had 4 days of preschool. The first day we used as a review of the letters and numbers we have worked on, school time expectations, and really just how to use our school materials and everything we have been away from for a while. It was time well spent and set us up for the coming days! On days 2,3, and 4 we focused on money, magnets, and maps. 

Day One- REVIEW!
Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom By Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

New month, new year, new calendar pattern! 

Ava and Dominic LOVE it when our letter monster comes out. Today he visited , but was hungry for numbers. In his monster voice he asked the kids to feed him specific numbers. Ava helped Dominic find the number when it was his turn. It was a fun review of numeral recognition. 

For an art project today we pulled out one of our several activity bags I created with a friend almost a year ago. They made collages out of pictures from magazines and stickers. A fun simple project on our first day back, but also a great little review (specifically for Dominic) on how we use the glue and art supplies. 

Ava has writing her name down well. However, she chooses to use all capital letters  even when reminded only the first letter should be caps. So, with the new year we are also making a new expectation. her name needs to be written in capital and lower case. I am also introducing  the spelling of her middle and last name. She practiced tracing her name. 

The counting wheel activity has made several appearances during our school time. Working with numbers is an area that provides Ava with a great challenge. We have been heavy on the letters over the last few months. She picks up on letters and sounds very quickly. Over the next few months, I will try to put more emphasis on working with numbers and helping Ava to see why math so important! 

We started a letter train to have a better visual of all the letters we have learned and where we are headed. She filled in the train through L. She will add a letter each time a new letter is introduced. The train was printed from First

Day 2- M is for Money 
Today we brought back out our letter box and found it filled with lots of objects that started with m. We took time to discuss money- why we have it, what we use it for, what it looks like, feels like, what it is worth, etc... 

Book: Money, Money, Honey Bunny By Marilyn Sadler

We practiced counting pennies in the piggy bank. 

Ava was given  piggy banks with a number on each one. She needed to add the correct number of coins to each bank (The coin type didn't matter. We did take a close look at each type of coin and talk about what it was called, how much it was worth, and what president was found on each.) 

For our letter M project I taught Ava how to do coin rubbings on a cutout of the letter. She attempted a few and decided to draw her own coins on the M instead (hence the circles all over the M). I then gave her printouts of pennies to glue on the M as well. The rubbings were a good thought, but too challenging because the coins were slipping out from under the paper and crayon. 

Another math activity we did was coin sorting. I taped one coin under each cup so she could better compare the coins before sorting them. The penny and the dime were easy for her to separate out, but the nickle and quarter took extra concentration. 

Letter M writing practice.
Day 3- M is for Magnets (and money continued!)
Though the focus was on magnets, I brought back out the money activities from day 2. Another goal I have for our school time is to be more repetitive with activities throughout the week. The repetition is not only great for the kids, but a little less planning for me! 

We had fun with trying to figure out what objects attract magnets. I  had a container  of several objects. Ava, Dominic, and their friend took turns selecting an object, predicting if the magnet would attract it, and checking their predictions.

Once they determined if it would or wouldn't attract magnets, they put the object in either the yes side of our sorting tray (for items that attracted the magnet) or the no side of our tray (for items that didn't). 

Ava discovering that the magnet could pick up a paper clip! 

So the art activity for our magnet theme was a bit of a flop, but had a great outcome just the same. The plan was to move a metal washer through paint in the pizza box by placing a magnetic stick under the box. The idea worked great until the paint was in the box. The magnet wasn't strong enough to move the washer through the paint. But, we simply used a Magneto ball from our Magneto set, called it a marble (to keep with the letter m) and rolled the ball through the paint. The end results were really cool. I can't wait to hang them in the kids' room! 

Dominic had fun playing with the coins in his bear bank. He  wanted to know all the names of the faces on the coin. Ava joined in when she was finished with her school work. 

Day 4- M is for Maps 
Book: I Know About Maps By: Chris Jaeggi 

Our monster friend visited for a game of number eating! 

Today we looked at and discussed different types of maps such as the world map, the city bus map, an atlas, and even a treasure map!  

The art activity (taken from No Time for Flash Cards) provided  some practice with scissors. Ava cut the capital M out of an old map. 

Dominic was pretty excited about the fact he was allowed to practice with the scissors. He worked at snipping around the edges for a long time! 

Ava glued her M on construction paper and decorated it to be a treasure map. 

I let Ava pick her own math activity today. She chose an animal counting activity. 

We worked on writing numbers 8 and 9 in the Disney workbook. 

The highlight of the morning was the treasure hunt. I created a map of our kitchen and living room. We  studied the map by figuring out what the different pictures on the map symbolized and where they are located in the actual kitchen or living room. I hid 6 mega blocks around the two rooms. Each block was labeled with the clue number and a letter. The kids had to look at the map to determine where each clue was hidden. 

Clue number 2 was in the refrigerator. 

When all the clues were found, we stacked the clues in order from 1-6 to reveal where the treasure was hidden. As can be seen, the treasure could be found in or on the couch!

Excited to find the treasure- a special snack, new pencil, and a notebook for everyone!