Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers III

I really had another post started for today...but it can wait. I've been doing a lot of informational blogs so we'll do another day of "what we did today" pictures.  Those are the fun ones!

Ever had a day...not that it didn't have it's normal behaviors/issues...but it left you smiling.  That was this morning for me.  To see children engaged in dramatic play.  To hear words like, "May I use that when you are done?" Or even "You're being bossy." but said in a very matter of fact tone of voice. To listen to the singing, humming, unprompted conversation all through their work.  To hear "I like this kind of work."  Playing and exploring is their "work" at this stage of life and so we want to encourage it.  What an awesome morning we had!

Here's some of the "work" we did today.  :-P 
Rhyming Rainbows
One of our literacy activities were rhyming rainbows.  I found some rainbow clip art on the Internet.  I had already glued on one picture inside a cloud and then we went through the pictures to find their rhyming matches.  They did so well!  If you find a child not being able to make rhyming word/picture pairs...I suggest you do something similar to this activity.  Then you can give them two that is obviously not the rhyming match and one that is.  It helps them "hear" the rhyming ending sounds.  I heard a snipit from LeapFrog about a rhyming song so I'm going to go searching for it.  It seemed very catching.  I'll let you know if I find it.  :-)
A note about making activities:  I had the children help me decide which picture would go on the other cloud.  Now I'll laminate them.  Do you think they are more apt to use them on their own now?  You bet!  Involve them and they are much more interested (and they respect the materials more).

 Logical Thinking Matches
One of our mathematics activity was a "filler".  I wanted to get some logical thinking in with my younger ones.  This activity was from the Mailbox publication Find the Match: Math.  These make nice little fillers, especially for 3 year olds...or 4 year olds with minimal exposure.  Personally, I prefer actual objects but I understand that we just don't have the time necessary to collect the least I don't often. So these type of activities are available for purchase as well as pretty easy to make, if you so desire.

Muddy Boots
These turned out cute!
 Mailbox idea again.  Can you tell I like Mailbox?  Very reasonable...and the activities are "worth it".  Usually "tried and true" from other teachers.  I just want to reiterate that this is not an art activity.  On a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being "well, okay" and 5 being "awesome!"... I'd put this activity as a 1.  :-P  Just because it uses paint, it doesn't mean that it's true art.  There were a few decisions to be made...choices they could have so that put it at 1.  This was put under fine motor/scissors today.  Children cut out their boots, glued on the pieces using paste spreader and liquid glue, added legs in the color they wished and blobbed the "mud" on and smeared it the way the wanted.  But really, it's not open-ended at all. Now if I gave them all the materials and just let them go (hmmm...wonder how that would have turned out?  :-) Not "cute" by any adult standard.) then it would have been further up the scale.  The children also gave me a dictation sentence or two about muddy boots.  I got "Muddy boots.  It's okay they get dirty." (4 yrs) and "I like to step in mud and drive a car and get muddy tracks on it." (3 yrs). 

Our art today would be at a 4, in my opinion.  They pretty much had the freedom to do what they wished with it...but that stencil makes only certain flowers so it "limits" them.  Perhaps I'm harsh on myself...but so be it.  :-)  The stenciling is "new" lately.  And to see their expressions, I wished I had incorporate some of these kind of stenciling sooner.  I've used the large one object stencils but these whole sheet stencils add a different dimension.  I purchased a set of three at our dollar store.  They are a flimsy we'll see how they hold up.  Here's an expression that's priceless!
One of the things that made it such a good morning was both children automatically started cleaning up their area.  The little guy sang his own little song, "Cleaning, cleaning, for the next person." (Even though he was the last person since we only had three here today.) I love that they are showing such a sense of order and respect for friends and materials. 
I purchase a box of store brand wipes that we call "art" wipes.  These are used for clean up (if it's something they can do on their own) or if they have just a wee bit on their hands so we don't have to constantly go through the livingroom to the bathroom.
Trent's version.  :-) 
He really concentrated after he got over the paint on his pinkie.  LOL  He does not like ANYTHING on him.  But my goal is to teach him it's "okay to get messy". (MOST TIMES!)

I really would love a decent drying rack.  Have had my eye on one from Discount School Supply but...really, I have no space for one.  So, my kitchen wall turns into a "drying rack" for most artwork that doesn't have a lot of drippiness to it.  Keeps it out of reach until dry and keeps my counters clear of artwork.  I could buy stock in masking tape.  One of my most used "materials". :-)  I am always securing down their work. It makes life easier on everyone if their work (especially painting) is secured to the tray or table.  Just a little FYI. 
So, I was talking about Trent.  Maybe today is a turning point.  Typically he enjoyed painting until something got on his hand...which was about the first or second stroke.  Lately, when I asked if he wished to paint he'd adamantly shake his head no and say something to that effect. But today he did so much more on his paper.  But even more important than that, after he was cleaned up he went out into the livingroom with the other kids, I stuck it up on the wall.  When he came back in for should have heard him blibber blabber, pointing to his artwork and smiling and laughing.  Wow! Didn't have a clue what he said but sure got the point! :-P 

April showers bring May flowers.
I took the flowers off of a lei to put in the water.  They will float...and sink as they found out!  They will also stick to the side of the container.  We had a pattern going at one point.  Awesome!  When they do a skill on their own then you know they've got it. 
He told me..."downpour...sprinkles" while he dumped the water out onto the flowers and then sprayed with the spray bottle.  We had been talking about downpours so most likely that was his connection.   Water play is always a favorite.  Lately I have been changing out our sensory material every day or every other day.  It's working out nicely.  At one point we did one sensory material for the week with different tools.  The kids are really enjoying this frequent change.  But that doesn't mean we don't want the "tried and true".  Water exploration has so many benefits and should be repeated often...even if it's only in the bathtub after a bath.  The spray bottle was the hit today and we know, from previous blog, the benefit of using a spray bottle.

Have a lovely day!

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