Education · family · life · PreK class

Happy Halloween!

Image result for happy halloween images

Today has already been very busy for me. Today in my class we wore our pajamas. My class already went trunk or treating on Friday. This meant that  my class was not wearing their costumes to school today. I wanted to do something different and fun. So, pajama day!

Since we were in our pajamas and finishing up our unit on the night sky, I decided to schedule a special snack for today… pancakes! The children had fun making pancake from scratch. I made a double batch of pancakes and they were gone when we were done. There was only 1 out of 17 children who did not eat the pancakes.

I also brought in a variety of sugar based candy (opposed to chocolate based… yes I know ALL candy is all sugar) to dissolve. We used gummy bears, sour patch kids, skittles and sweet tarts. We put them into water and vinegar to see how they reacted to the liquids. On Friday, we are going to do a similar experiment with candy pumpkins and candy corn. That time we will use water, vinegar, salt water and sugar water. I’ve done this in the past and it is really cool to see the candy pumpkins react… the wax coating will separate!

The boys came home from school and then carved their pumpkins. They were so excited that this year they got to wear their costumes to school. It sounds like there were a lot of fun activities for the kids and it went smoothly!

I’ll post pictures of the boys in their costumes and with their pumpkins tomorrow.

Hope you have a great Halloween… stay safe. We will try to stay dry!

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Education · PreK class

Night sky and pumpkins (preK)

This week we are learning about pumpkins in class. We are tying this into learning about Halloween which happens at night, ok it’s a stretch, but worth it!

We are reading stories about the life cycle of a pumpkin. Many of the children pointed out that both apples and pumpkins grow from a flower. They also mentioned that both have a stem and blossom end. I was please to see them make these real world connections independently.

We did a read the work activity with Halloween words. The children travel around the room with a recording sheet and find pictures on the wall. The pictures have the word written on them, the recording sheet has the same word in boxes. The children have to match the words and then illustrate to show the word.

For math we did a roll and cover. To do this activity the children had a sheet with pumpkins on it. The pumpkins had the numbers 1-6. They rolled a die and used a cube to cover the number on the sheet. This works on number recognition as well as number sense. Teaching children to recognize dot configurations for number is beneficial for moving forward in math as well.

We also created two class books this week. One was I am Jack O’___________. The children had to choose an attribute and color their pumpkin based on this attribute. We had everything from Jack O’Scary to Jack O’Pink and Jack O’Excited.  The second book is based on the song/book Mary Wore Her Red Dress. We created a book ________ wore his/her Halloween costume all night long. The children had to write their name and then draw an illustration of themselves in their Halloween costumes.

I love creating class books that I can then send home for the parents to see. This is a great way to show progress and learning.

On Friday, we are having our Trunk or Treat and Halloween party. The children are excited for this fun day.

Education · food · PreK class

Banana muffins (no egg recipe)

Each day one child in my class brings in snack for all of the students. About a week and a half ago one of the children brought in bananas. We had two leftover. The bananas then sat on the counter. So I decided we needed to bake banana something.

I have  little guy in my class who is allergic to eggs. He can not touch eggs in any form. I didn’t want to bake something that would be harmful to him so in my searching I found a recipe for no egg banana muffins. Ok well they were originally banana chocolate chip muffins, but I left out the chocolate.

We made these today in class. Most of the children who tried one enjoyed it. These tasted a lot like banana bread. It did seem like a lot of butter when they were cooking, but it might be because I mixed this all with spoons (well a group of 4 year olds did anyway). So the butter may not have been mixed in enough. I would try it again with the same measurements, but whip the butter with my  mixer instead of a spoon.

Banana Muffins (no egg)

  • 1/2 c. room temp butter
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 c. flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cream together butter and sugar
  3. mix in bananas and vanilla
  4. add dry ingredients
  5. stir until just blended
  6. bake in lined or sprayed muffin cups for 20 min
  7. makes 12-15 muffins2018-10-22 10.43.18

 

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.

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!

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.

 

 

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.

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).

2018-09-28 14.56.11

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.

2018-09-28 14.56.04

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”

Education · PreK class

No apple painting in my class

Yesterday, I wrote about teaching and the fact that we were learning about apples. Notice you did not see anything about apple painting in my lessons. When I was in grad school, I began looking at some of the projects that teachers typically do in class with foods. I decided that I needed to rethink this way of thinking. I cut way back on the items like this I did in class.

My first job in Orlando, I taught in a very low income area. All the children were on free or reduced lunch. Many struggled to put food on the table, or had to choose between buying food or paying the bills. I looked at the fact that I was feeding my students breakfast, lunch, and one (sometimes two) snacks.

This got me thinking… how can I waste food when they struggle to have enough food to eat. How could I used beans as a math tool or an art project, when beans were the protein staple in their home?

So I will use food from time to time in science experiments, but I never use food for art, in the sensory table or for a manipulative in any way.

Food is food. Food is precious to so many children and their families, I can not show children that in school food is a toy, an art medium or other things that then get thrown away.

This is why you will never see my students apple paint.

Education · PreK class

Changes: Fall and Apples

Can you believe that this is the last Monday in September? And, the first Monday in fall? This week in school we are finishing up our unit on changes. We are looking at the changing seasons and learning about apples.

We created a chart with things that occur during the four seasons. Then, as one of their “must do” centers the children are illustrating their own chart of the seasons. I was impressed with the details they were able to tell me about the four seasons. Summer was the one they had the hardest time listing different things other than it is hot.

We will read other stories about the season of fall and talk more about the changes we can observe based on the seasonal changes.

Today we started a STEM project. Did you ever wonder what is the best way to prevent apples from browning? We cut up an apple into 8 slices. We left two as the control slices. Then, we dipped 2 slices in water, 2 in vinegar and 2 in Sprite. We left them to sit about 5 min and then put them onto a plate. We will observe the changes over the week.

On Tuesday, we will taste test apples to see which apple color we like best (red, yellow or green). We will also begin our graph on how we like to eat apples (whole apple, apple juice, apple pie, applesauce or apple slices)

On Wednesday, it is Johnny Appleseed day. We will learn about Johnny Appleseed and make applesauce. I think I’ll bring in my instapot to speed up the process a bit since I only have the children from 9:15-12:15, I usually do this in my crock pot.

On Thursday, I will tell the story about the star inside the apple.  We will also learn about the parts of the apple and how it grows.

We are also working on writing out names, recognizing numerals, one-to-one correspondence to 5 and ordering numerals.

I can’t believe that we are moving onto our next month and our next theme on Monday. Life moves fast