Sunday, October 27, 2013

Getting Spooky

October is a food filled month. We are lucky to have such a wonderful province, full of farms and harvests. We spent our days over the last week exploring "Food Groups." Last week we spoke about Grains, Meat & Alternatives and Dairy products. It helped us enjoy organizing, and identifying during our circle and play.

During circle, I love offering the children opportunities to get up and move around the class. Using our food guide, the children did a small scavenger hunt to find food placed around the room to collect. They come back with one item, and wait for all of their peers to find their own item. With these items, we practice turn taking, public speaking, categorizing and grouping. During each child's turn, they would tell their class what they had found "I found a bun" and then place the correct spot of the food chart.

We also did some acting in our last circle this week! We have an owl mask, a witch mask and a pumpkin mask. The children go one by one, to announce what character they are going to act out. Each character has a script.

The witch says "HeeHeeHee"
The pumpkin says "Boo"
The owl says "WhooWhoo"

Another activity we enjoyed this week was exercising our knowledge in prepositions. I ask the children to move the spider, and they follow through with my direction. It is important to remind the children that it is okay to admit when they aren't sure where "behind" is. All of the children were very confident with this activity. By letting the children know I am okay with them not knowing, it reminds the children that to learn we need to speak up. That there is no shaming in needing a reminder, or being taught something new. It is exhilarating to learn something new, and sometime we just need to say "I need help" 

Some children even enjoyed the challenge of  being asked to put the spider on the right or left side of the pumpkin. Other directions were behind, in front, on the side, underneath and inside of the pumpkin.

To prepare for our Halloween festivities next week, we made our own decorations. The children were offered a piece of paper with a white chalk stripe down the middle. They were asked to cut on the white line to divide one piece of paper into two. I really wanted to point out the math concept to the children, to help them experience the concept of division.

After cutting the paper into two strips, they were invited to curve the paper to create a circle, and staple them together.

The children were very excited to use Ms Asha's stapler! It was a lot of focus to count the amount of clicks to ensure the staple was in the paper and we were ready to make a paper chain.

During circle, we spent time talking about "real" and "make believe." Halloween is a great holiday to experience and learn the differences. Creating a chart, the children told me about various items we see and hear about during the Halloween season such as pumpkins, bats and witches.
We also discussed the items that are real, but adults make believe that they do something they can not do, to make them "spooky" such as skeletons having no skin, and mummies coming back to life. 

After our conversation, we played with mummies during our craft.
We had ginger bread cut outs, but used them as our bodies. Then by either cutting or ripping  tissue paper, we decorated the bodies with mummy wrapping. The children enjoy cutting as often as possible, but ripping is very good for our fine motor and finger dexterity. 

Crafting is one of my favorite classroom experiences. I really love offering the children an experience and seeing how the children interpenetrate direction and the materials they have. 

She ripped up the paper, and placed it on one by one

This girl rolled up the paper one by one before gluing it on

There are many mediums to creative expression, but sometimes you can mix different materials to make something new. We used glue and shaving cream to create "puffy paint" to paint our own spooky ghosts. The glue is great in this experience because it will hold the "eyes" and other face pieces.

Our class enjoys messy experiences! We played in some Goop, which is cornstarch, water and food colouring.

Although we spent most of our time getting to know our senses at the end of September, and beginning of October, we enjoyed a blast from the past during a field trip to the Telus world of Science. We explored sight, smell, hearing, touching and even our taste!
Using a magnified glass attached to a computer to see things (like out skin) up close

Using sight to enjoy a feely bag

Ms Asha 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Making Apples and Turkeys

The last couple of weeks has been full of songs, craft and activities about apples and Thanksgiving.We continued talking about our scenes. We celebrated our sense of taste and smell!

It was very busy with pictures, and a visit from our licensing officer!  They both went amazingly well.
We also did some cooking, and spent time outside in the park.

In the water table the children enjoyed "bobbing for apples." There was apples with their names spent on them floating in apple smelling water. Using tongs the children would fish for their own names, or help me find their peer's names. They also used turkey basters to splash in the water, using their fine motor skills to suck in the water, and squirt it out.

We worked together to read a recipe and make apple crisp.
I wrote the recipe on a piece of paper with pictures to help the children read it with us.

Add caption

Cooking is amazing for early literacy, rich in curricular concepts.
We use science to see the difference between the solid apples, to the yummy, mushy apple sauce.

We use math to create the proper portions to add into the mixing bowl. The children were offered an equal amount of an apple to cut up into smaller pieces.

We used apples cut in 1/2 to make art!

The children were offered slices of 3 different apples - red, green and green/yellow. The children would taste each one, and then tell me which of the three were their favorite.
Once they had decided, they signed their own names in the box for the apple they liked the most.

We also experienced the difference in salty (a pretzel), sour (a lemon), sweet (an apple) and bitter (a piece of dark chocolate). The children mostly liked the bitter chocolate - but Ms Asha liked the lemon!

To increase our enjoyment of smell, we had an open ended paint experience with painting with spices. We mixed glue, water, and various spices such as cinnamon and oregano.

Using corn is always my favorite natural paint brush! The husk was fun to use as a paint brush. We also rolled the cob, and made prints.

To prepare for Thanksgiving, we did the must have - Turkey hand print craft!

Once our turkey was ready, we told the helper parent what we were most thankful for.

As an open ended cutting experience, we enjoyed feeding our own turkey.
Using fall coloured paint pallets, we cut along the lines - or however we wanted, and made tiny pieces.


The Edmonton Public Library librarian came back for a visit to read MORE books and teach us NEW songs.

Our first field trip was a total success - and I am so thankful for everyone who could come to Prairie Gardens in Bon Accord, AB.
It is a fun, safe place to go outdoors with lots of experiences for the playschool children and their siblings.

Duck racing

Listening to a pumpkin band
 It was really neat when we did our first "buffet snack." We all met during the field trip to share a snack with the other preschool families. Thank you to everyone who brought something, and labeled it with the recipe to accommodate allergies and dietary requirements.

Celebration Center

Celebrating apples was an exceptional example of the Holy Trinity. I found the idea on youtube, though this book. The children and I sat down in circle center with an apple. I cut it in half to show them all the insides, and told them that the Holy Trinity is much like an apple.  That God is the outside of the apple, always surrounding us and keeping us safe and together. The skin is full of nutrition, as God is full of love. Jesus, God the son, reminds me of the flesh - because Jesus came as the flesh. He came to fill us with stories, and keep us healthy and strong. God the spirit, the Holy Spirit, is like the seeds. Without our faith, we would not be able to grow. We need our spirit.

We also took the story of the Apple, to talk about Adam and Eve. I try to ensure stories from the bible are applicable to the children, as they are still egocentric, and when they can relate to a story or topic, they will keep it in their minds longer. I explained the story of how God makes rules, that keep us safe. When Eve ate the apple from the garden, it really upset God, because he was worried about Eve getting sick. It made him feel scared because Eve did not listen to his words, and made a bad choice. This worried God because he used his words to keep Adam and Eve safe. Sadly, because Eve wasn't using her listening ears, she had to go and think about how it made God feel. Hopefully, in my simplistic story telling ways, it will help the children remember to listen to Gods words, and continue to do things that make him - and themselves, feel safe and happy.

Ms Asha