Today is "Free Friday". I teach preschool Monday through Thursday mornings. Friday is a child care day and the kids that are here love that I have labeled it "Free Friday". Really, I think their favorite part of "Free Friday" is that they get flavored milk for lunch! Anyway, today my oldest student asked if we could do Calendar even though we don't typically do planned educational activities. So, of course, I said, "Absolutely!" We had taken a break from Calendar because we had a new student who just didn't have the attention span and really, the other students didn't "need" it, for various reasons. But I'm glad to get it back up and going again because 1) it means the new student has a longer attention span...yippee! and 2) It helps me make sure I hit the "basics" every morning.
This month's calendar wall looks like this.
Not the greatest picture but it gives you and idea.
The calendar is from Shelley Lovette's site, www.childcareland.com. She has some useful free printables that might be of interest to you. At one time we did "personal" calendars. This month we are doing a general calendar and using "sky writing" to practice our number formations. We talk about the days of the week, the months of the year and the concept of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. My youngest student does not understand patterns yet so we chose the ABAB pattern for number colors and for the pattern cards (below the calendar). Next to the calendar is our counting pocket. We put the corresponding number of sticks to equal what day we are at. We talk about how many more we need and whether it's an odd or even number.
Underneath the pattern cards is a heart sort "graph". I also use it for color reinforcement. I intentionally chose all the same amount of big, medium, and small hearts. Many preschoolers visually determine which group has more or less. It isn't until about 5 years old do they begin to grasp that just because it looks like there are more in one set, they must count it to be accurate. It's a concept that the children learn only be experience, so I "trick" them often and spread objects out to make the line seem longer when we are comparing sets.
Above the calendar is a home-made number line. We've been adding sets and taking away from sets of manipulatives for a long time so now we're introducing what an addition or subtraction fact is. With the number line they can explore these facts. They choose a number to start with and we write that number first. Then they decide if they are going to jump the monkey backwards or forwards (+ or - sign) and then they count how many jumps they take and we write that number down. Add the line at the bottom and they tell me what number is on the heart that the monkey is now on and that's the answer. We often use the craft sticks to reinforce the addition or subtraction fact. They made more that what was displayedbut wanted to "make a book" and take it home to show their parents. :-) It was definately a hit!
To the left of the calendar is our alphabet poster. I love to use songs for reinforcing basic concepts. This poster I created myself to go along with the song. Creating simple visuals to go along with songs allows them to learn so much more quickly. I find that they often go back throughout the day to sing it by themselves. It's neat to observe them playing "teacher" and interact with the displays then as well. I love this because I can see what they have grasped and what they haven't.
Letter Sound Song. Author Unknown.
Tune: ABC Song
When we learn these sounds you see, ready to read then we'll be.
/q/ /q/ queen, /r/ /r/ rail, /s/ /s/ sun and /t/ /t/ tail.
/u/ /u/ umbrella, /v/ /v/ vase. We're almost done see my smiley face.
/w/ /w/ wagon, /x/ /x/ box, /y/ /y/ yard, do you see the fox?
/z/ /z/ Z, /z/ /z/ zoo. That was fun and now we're through.
You can always create a "piggy back song" by making up your own words to a familiar tune to review letters and sounds when there is a few moments here and there.
Tune: Oh, Where Oh, Where
Oh, where oh, where did the letter A go?
Oh, where oh, where could it be?
I thought I saw it on the poster here.
Can you find it for me?
Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb
Can you find the letter S, letter S, letter S.
Can you find the letter S, it begins the word sun.
(I like to use this one because if they haven't found it by the end of the song, I know they don't recognize that letter and so there is a clue waiting to help them be successful.)
The black space underneath the letter chart is where I place a visual for a phonological awareness activity or song. This week we were using a letter they chose from the ABC chart and rhyming their names to make "silly names".