Education · PreK class

Night sky- bats, owls and spiders

This week, we learned a bit more about nocturnal animals. We read stories about bats and owls. We used spiders in some of our learning activities… just cause!

Our must do stations this week were:

writing table- name practice. The children had to rainbow write their name, but I put plastic canvas sheets under to add a textural element. As with all coloring activities in my classroom, they needed to use the same number of crayons as their age (ie a 4 year old needs to use 4 crayons, a 5 year old 5 crayons).

math station- number practice. The children were given a paper bag that held their supplies. In the bag, they had 4 spider webs, the number cards 5, 6, 7, and 8, and some spiders. The children had to designate each web to represent one of the numbers and then put the spiders on the web to match the number. This learning activity is number sense, number recognition, and counting all rolled into one fun lesson.

art station- spider webs. We attached yarn to spider rings. The children then dipped the yarn into yellow or orange paint. They then pulled the yarn across the paper to paint the webs. The children were then given corks dipped in black paint to paint spiders. They added googly eyes and drew legs with a black marker.

teacher table- printing. We have begun printing practice. We started the E and F. We will go through all the capital letters and then move onto the lowercase. They have done a great job working on E and F. Next week we will do H and L.

We watched the YouTube read aloud of the book Stellaluna today. The children really enjoy this change from me reading the book, and I find that I can engage them in longer stories when I use this medium.  After, we created a table of bat and bird attributes. The children did a great job telling me not only the attributes articulating the similarities and differences. Our graph this week will be would you rather be a bat or a bird.

Tomorrow we will do our STEM project which will be to create a bat, owl or spider outline using marshmallows and toothpicks. I found a really cool paper airplane style STEM where you have the children draw a bat face and body in the middle of a piece of paper. Then they have to fold the paper to make a bat. Then you can test them out to see which flies the best. I know my class and we aren’t ready for this, but I will keep it in the back of my mind for another time.

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Education · PreK class

Field trip… done!

The field trip went smoothly. The children had a lot of fun and enjoyed going to the farm. The farmer geared the story and activities to the different groups which worked out perfectly.

For my 4s she reviewed a variety of vegetables that they grow on the farm and then showed them the seeds from which the vegetables grew from. The children did a good naming most of the vegetables that she showed. We then heard the story The Carrot Seed.

After the story, we went and saw 100 chicks, 3 piglets, 2 miniature horses and a very large goat in the barn. Outside the barn there were two donkeys and some more goats.

We then walked over to the pumpkin patch. Each child was able to pick a pumpkin to take home. They then were able to feed the sheep some cabbage and see the pigs.

After that was all done, the children were given apple cider in take home pumpkin cups.

All in all it was a success. Only a few kiddos fell and got muddy. There were no tears (well from my class anyway) and we didn’t lose any children (or parents). So for a field trip, I call that a success!

life · PreK class

It’s Monday!

What a busy month this has been. I feel like the weeks are flying by and we will soon be posting about Christmas plans.  Eek, never mind I’m not ready to go there yet.

This weekend we went out kayaking for 3 hours. Let me tell you that if you kayak correctly, you get a really good core workout. I was focusing on keeping my “paddle box” and not paddling with my arms as much. I could really feel it in my lower back and abs. We saw the blue herons, cormorants, blue jays and ducks. This was scheduled to be a fall leaf tour, but the leaves still haven’t changed here. I think this is going to be a very blah fall. The leaves aren’t changing, but they have started to fall off the trees. I hate falls like this. There is something magical about the colors of fall and when they don’t turn it feels like something is missing. This is one of the changes I was glad to have again when we moved to PA. I always missed the color changes when I lived in FL.

Today was one of “those days” at school. You have those days from time to time where you feel like it must be a full moon, but it’s not. I must be talking in a different language, but I’m not. Ummm ok it’s just an off day. Tomorrow we go on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. Today it is raining…. This means tomorrow we should be having a very muddy field trip. I will have 17 children and their families in a muddy pumpkin patch, oh joy! Oh and the temperatures have finally decided to drop into fall temperatures (Saturday we didn’t get out of the 40s!) My class is meeting at 10:30 it is forecast to be 39F at 10am and 42F by 11am. Cold and muddy. I think I’m pulling out my warm boots.

I hope life is treating you well in your little corner of the world.

 

 

Education · PreK class

Space and the night sky

This week we are learning about day and night.

The children completed a spill and spell activity with space words. In a zip lock bag, the children had a picture of a space word that has the word at the top, the word cut up into individual letters and letter cubes. They needed to read the word, at this age that means telling me what is on the picture. Then they needed to spill out the letter cards and put them in order to match the word on the picture card. After that, they had to put the letter cubes in order to spell the word again. (To do this activity with older children, do not put the word on the picture card and then have them write the word on a recording sheet.)

For art this week, they were given a black sheet of paper. I put large sheets of Styrofoam on the table. The children put the black paper on top of the Styrofoam and then used a pencil to poke holes into the paper. We then held the paper over a flashlight and could look at the constellation that they created. (For older children I would have them connect the dots to make an actual picture and then write about the story behind their constellation.)

We created a chart about the different things that you can do and see during the day and the night. It was interesting to see that many of the children said you only see lightning during the night time. Many children assume that once it gets dark out it is night time even if the the darkness is caused by a storm. One child did mention that you needed to turn on lights to see at night time.

We also used a flashlight to see why it changes between day and night.

We also touched on nocturnal animals to go with our poem this week. We will talk about this a bit more next week when we talk about bats.

Day and Night

They’re active at night.

They sleep while we play

They hunt in the dark.

They hide during the day.

Who are they?

Nocturnal Animals.

 

 

book · reviews

The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel

I just completed reading my next book. This book was a SLOWWW read. I’m not sure if it was because of the book or because I was reading it at the beginning of the school year or a combination of both, but I felt like it took me forever to finish the book this time.

The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel by Elizabeth J Church begins during WWII when Meridian Wallace is a 17 year old college student studying ornithology at the University of Chicago. There the innocent Meridian meets 2 men who are as opposite as opposite can be. In the end, she falls for Alden, a physics professor. Alden sweeps Meridian off her feet by opening her eyes to the world of words and knowledge.

Meridian is hesitant to give up her schooling, but wants to be with Alden who is now working for the government in Los Alamos, NM. Life in Los Alamos is very different from the world Meridian knows in Chicago , but she find that even in Los Alamos she can follow and learn more about her precious crows.

It is in her studying of her crows that Meridian’s life takes another turn. Here she meets Clay. Clay offers Meridian the type of relationship she no longer has, or actually never had with her husband.

Meridian spends life wishing she has more. Wishing she was more. But, in the end she is who she is, and that can never change.

Read about life in the US changes from the 1940s to the 1970s. Live life with Meridian and think about what choices you would have made in her shoes. Would you give up your dreams for Alden. Would you leave Alden for Clay? Follow Meridian as she negotiates the changing rolls of women in the country.

I did like this book. I mean I finished the whole thing. There was a lot to think about and a lot of incite into how different life was in that time. How much life changed in a few decades and the views of love, life and respect changed over time. I guess it would be a 3.5 out of 5 star book for me. I won’t tell you “run our right now and get this book” but I would tell you that it is a good read. I think you have to go into it looking for an impression of life in that time and you will enjoy the book more.

 

family · food · reviews

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies

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This weekend my school held their fall festival. This was an opportunity for the children to show off their classrooms, play games and play in the bounce house. We also had the book fair open and were selling items at a bake sale. All the staff members were asked to bake items to sell at the bake sale. So, I got thinking… what am I going to make.

I decided to bake two different cookies. First I baked S’more cookies, and messed up the recipe. It turned out ok, but would have been better if I followed ALL the steps.

The second kind I decided to bake at pumpkin spice oatmeal cookies. I figure, oh everyone is head over heals for pumpkin spice these will sell like hotcakes. Well they didn’t, but I don’t care they still tasted really good (and I am not a huge pumpkin spice person).

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal cookies. (edited from Food Fanatic)

  • 1 cup Butter, Softened
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, line your baking sheets
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the bowl, and mix in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla
  4. Add the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice and oats). into the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  5. Scoop out dough with a large cookie scoop and place on the lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown, its okay if the middles look slightly undercooked, they will finish cooking on the pan as they cool.
  7. Allow to set for 4-5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 2018-10-08 14.08.42

These cookies were REALLY tasty. They were not dry in the least. Colby took home some of the extras from the bake sale and they were sticking together. Colby was hesitant to try it at first and then loved them. I think he took home 4 bags from the bake sale. I guess I will have to bake these again. I bet they would be very tasty if you used apple pie spice in lieu of the pumpkin pie spice. I have more pumpkin pie spice now I want to make snickerdoodles with the pumpkin pie spice… yummy!

Education · PreK class

Night Sky and Camping (preK)

As I stated in my post about October the other day, we are learning about the night sky in my preK class. This week we are discussing the topic of camping. I figured that since we had just set up the tent and it is the main focus of the room this week we’d roll with that topic.

Some of the learning opportunities we have with camping:

We are doing a read the room activity. Each child gets a clipboard, crayon box and pencil. Around the room I posted pictures of camping items with the word listed below the picture.  These same words are listed on their recording sheet. The children need to match the word on the wall to the one on their sheet and then draw a picture to show what the word says. This is an activity we will do a lot this year. The words I used this time were: tent, campfire, lantern, sleeping bag, s’mores, grill. So far the children are doing a great job with this learning activity. (I will be tweaking this a bit and then posting it in my TPT store)

The second activity we are working on is using pattern blocks to re-create camping pictures. I printed out camping pictures and the children then take a box with pattern blocks and create their own replica of the camping item. Pictures include: tent, camper, lantern, marshmallow, star, moon, campfire, sleeping bag and cooler.  Today one little girl spent quite a bit of time there and completed all 9 pictures (they only have to do 2). It is really cool to see how they interpret creating the illustrations with the blocks.

Today we used our imaginations and our 5 senses to go camping. We created a list of items you will see, hear, taste, touch and smell while camping. Other than a few children wanting to make pasta and one who continued to insist she would see a tiger, they did a great job.

Later this week we will complete a STEM project. This time the children will be given an index card, pipe cleaners, tooth picks, marshmallows, and tape. They will be allowed to use scissors and other scrap papers from the scrap bin. Each child will have the same supplies. They will work independently on this STEM project. I will spread the children around the room so that they can use their own creative juices. This one should be fun.

life

technology at the table

On Saturday, we watched the UCF football game on tv and then decided to go out for dinner. Ok we knew we were going out even before we started watching the game, but that is neither here nor there for this post.

We went to a local restaurant called Stack’d. We have been there many times in the past. I found it interesting that as we were getting seated I noticed that every party that came into the restaurant with children were seated in one area. Hmmm ok. I thought this was odd, but I don’t really care. There were a few other families and the children were not being disruptive or anything. I realize that one part of the restaurant is more of a bar area, and not seating the children in that section is fine, I just think it is odd to seat all the families with children together. It almost implies that the children should not be sat with adults groups for some reason.

So, Richard and I were talking about this observation. We also began talking about the addition of technology to meal times. When you walk into Stak’d with children the first thing they ask is if you want tablets for the children. Ummm no. First of all, there are tv’s everywhere. Second of all, why is a restaurant encouraging children to be plugged in instead of talking to their families? What lesson are we teaching the next generation? Do you really need a device to sit at the table?

When my sons were younger, we would often bring in books or paper and crayons. They did not get these items until they decided what they wanted to eat and the orders were taken by the wait staff. The items were then put away once the food arrived.

Lately it feels like 9 out of 10 restaurants have televisions going around the room. I still struggle to get the boys to stop watching tv and eat. They are pretty good at having a conversation, but it is often tied to whatever they are watching on the tv. They certainly do not need to have the tvs AND a tablet… do they?

Are these children ever going to learn to have a conversation at the dinner table? What happens when they have to go to a business dinner/luncheon? Will they just sit there and play on their phone/tablet/whatever device we have at that time?

All I know, is my boys know enough to say no thank you when they are offered the tablets at the restaurant. I know that may not be the answer they want to give, but they know it is the answer they are expected to give.

What is your feeling on this topic?

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Last weekend in Sept.

Every once in a while you just need to have a weekend to do things. This was one of those weekends. Saturday we went kayaking for the second time. All of us did a much better job this time and we were able to go further than the last time. The guide this time said that Colby needs a narrower kayak next time. They ended up having to give him a tow back to the spillway. They gave him a turn to try the other kayak at the end and it was so much easier for him. We are planning to try a longer trip the next time we go. LLBean has a 3 hr fall foliage kayak tour. We talked about doing it this time, but it wouldn’t have been worth it since the trees haven’t even really started to change. Maybe in about 2 weeks we can try?

Today we headed to Sorgel’s for their fall festival. We started by picking apples. We ended up picking a whole peck of apples.

We then went over and picked pumpkins. We told the boys they had to be able to carry their pumpkin down to the car. Blake kept picking ones that were way to big for him to carry on his own. Even the one he ended up picking was a bit too heavy for him.

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After bringing everything to the truck, we went and watched them press cider. We did this last year too, but it was fun to watch again. Plus this year they had samples of cider and we were able to go into the room where they pasteurize and bottle the cider. The guy who was running the press said they now have to press cider all year long to have enough for the stores and for the companies who purchase it to make hard apple cider.

While we were on the tour, the apple cider dude told us that they filmed an episode of Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood in the cider press. Here is the guy we spoke with as well as the press and areas we visited. http://pbskids.org/video/daniel-tigers-neighborhood/2365854390

It was a great weekend and a lot of fall fun. I’m not ready for Monday, so I’ll enjoy a bit more of this last day of Sept! See you in October09_30_bc_03

 

Education · PreK class · through my camera lens

October in K-Prep

Today was the last school day in September! It was our 16th day of school. Some days it feels like it has been a lot longer and other times I feel like I just started.

My aide and I stayed after school to get the classroom set up for our new month. Each month I pick a new theme for the month and base all our learning on that topic. September’s theme was changes. October’s theme is “the night sky’. We will learn about camping, stars/planets, day/night and nocturnal animals. (and pumpkins and Halloween).

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I changed our dramatic play area from housekeeping to a camping scene. It will be fun to see how creative the children get playing there. They will work this week to create a mural of the woods at night to be the background for the area. We have a tent that we set up. Then I created a fire pit using a platter, rocks, paper towel tubes and tissue paper. We sorted through the foods and found hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and other camping foods. We created marshmallows to roast and make into “s’mores”.  There is also a toy grill and cooking gear.

We are going to have bubble water in the sensory table. They will make mazes in the blocks area and you will now find all sorts of pumpkin, space, night and Halloween books around the room.

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We finished switching the bulletin board to “Welcome to Our Patch”. Each child marble painted with red, yellow and orange. We then transformed those pages into pumpkins. They were then given either yellow or black paper and told to create the face of the pumpkin. These turned out too cute.

Our classroom door decoration was changed as well, but it’s not quite finished. This time we traced and cut out the children’s arms/hands. The children then wrote their name on the arm and decorated the hand however they wished. I cut out a bunch of stars and the children got to decorate it with glue so we could glitter the stars. The hands are towards the bottom of the door, and the stars towards the top. It says “Reach for the stars”