Friday, January 11, 2013

Welcome Back

Thankfully, we had a warm winter break and are back just in time for the weather to be cold again. Nothing makes me happier than warming up with my play school friends and exploring new activities.

This month we will be talking about “animals”
This will include animals that live or transport in the water, on land and in the sky.

Using an elephant in circle, we talked about ‘prepositions’ and moved the elephant around the clear cup. The children have done this before at Halloween, but enjoyed moving the spider so much and taking turns I wanted to try again.

We moved the elephant:

Behind the cup
Beside the cup
On the left side of the cup
On the right side of the cup
Under the cup
On top of the cup
Inside of the cup

The nice thing about “the cup” was that it was transparent really enhancing the children being able to see what “behind” and “inside.” I noticed the children were struggling with prepositions when requesting to move their bodies around in line up. The exercise will also continue to be carried out as we begin Handwriting without Tears ®.

The children are excited to begin exploring letter writing. I know many parents have begun letter recognition, name printing and learning the alphabet at home. I will be writing a blog about my approach to HWT ®, and how we can use it together as partners.

Another activity we enjoyed during circle was matching animals to their beginning letter.

I placed out pictures of animals for the children to go look for in the classroom. They were instructed to find their own animal and bring it back to the carpet.
One by one, we took turns identifying what animal we found! This is a great exercise to execute an important skill – focus and self control.
The children will quickly, one by one have their own turn to come up with Ms Asha, identify what kind of animal is on the picture and use problem solving to match the animals to the correct beginning letter. Some children are able to identify the letter on their own without their peer or Ms Asha’s assistant, where some break down what the beginning sounds are, such as “eeeh” or “hhaa” to compare it to the four letters placed in front of them.

Children also use this sort of game to offer a movement break during circle (I try to do this game between a book and show and share). We have an opportunity for some presentation skills by telling our peers what we have, and of course do it all while making real connections to letters, vs flash cards.

I also was very excited to see the children enjoying a special “sand” center. We poured some gorgeous blue decorative sand into some beautiful shallow dishes. I provoked the children into using the sand to being letter writing by placing cue cards, on the table with their pre printing skills.
To really concrete children’s abilities to letter write, they need to start with pre printing shapes. These shapes are the backbone of every letter. Once a child can successfully deliver the shapes, they will find less difficulty writing out a letter.

Pre printing shapes are:

Cross’ (vertical and horizontal)
Zig zags
Strait lines

I find the most difficult are the Squares (getting those sharp angles) and Crosses (the understanding of needing to LIFT the tool to create a new line).

Some children did not fall for my provocation, and used the sand to write their names, letters they already knew and some even drew pictures.

The children were very excited to come back on Monday and Tuesday to play with the train table, Rescue Heros, Dora’s family play house, block center, dramatic play house and new fun books about some of the animals we will be playing with. 
With the limitation of space, we do not have our own water table. Of course this will NOT hold us back from enjoying playing with water! I put out a tub on the floor of the room on top of towels, and offered some pouring materials. We luckily are given the opportunity to pour water every class at snack. I wanted to expand on that time, and allow the children free time to pour water from our watering jugs and with our cups back and fourth while also including some various other fun toys.


Ms Asha

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