Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fish Theme

I really did plan to add to our Handwriting Blog but today's work went so smoothly that I wanted to share that.  Information is important but pictures of actual activities are much more fun! 

Yesterday, due to circumstances, I had only one preschool child.  So needless to say there was a lot of 1:1, which is nice for a change and was able to do some review with that child.  Here is one activity she started yesterday and finished today.
Steps one and two.
1) cut strips of tissue paper in squares.
2) place squares on wax paper and cover completely with liquid starch.  I added blue food coloring to the starch.
End product!  Looks nice on a window.
This idea was from http://littlefingersbigdreams.blogspot.com/2010/05/under-sea-collage.htmlI have done things like this with watered down glue, but liquid starch is much easier for the children to spread.

Shell Sorting and Counting
I planned it so there were 4 shells in each of the 5 groups.  I did this intentionally as I'm working with number formation with my older students.  It's also a great way to reinforce the term "equal".  As you can see below, I used our tactile numbers to reinforce number recognition/formation.  I also provided chips to place on each of the starfish, adding a little more "hands-on" to a work sheet.
I prefer to have block numbers vs. dotted/dashed numbers for tracing but I really don't have time to make my own sheets.  The students that have been with me for awhile do not have difficulty with tracing dashed lines so I go ahead and use them.  I sang the numeral formation song with her as she traced the numbers and then we flipped it over so she had a big white space to practicing writing the number four.  This helps me see just where they are at for that particular number.  The website for these sheets is http://www.kidzone.ws/math/kindergarten.htm.  We'll do the set of 10, one a day for the next little while.  Each time we do a sheet, we'll have a separate hands-on activity related to that number.

Does that tray look familiar?  Of course it does.  The shells are just piled up in the measuring containers though, this time around.  I hid the shells in the sand and suggested they sort them.  Obviously, this little guy had other plans.  No problem though!  Sensory is pretty much their science exploration and we'll get the shell sorting another time.  :-)

Okay, this has nothing to do with the fish theme.  But it's something we did yesterday and has enough benefits to warrant me mentioning it.  :-)
Yesterday, K and I made Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.  I had to change some of our plans to fit it in, time wise, so we considered this sensory.  :-P  It's also great fine motor.  She cracked that egg like a pro!  Mashing the bananas took a little more effort.  And then the hardest was putting the paper liners in the muffin tin.  It harder than it looks for little hands!  But great fine motor and we reinforced that 12=dozen.  Also, remember that stirring helps with strengthening the hands/wrist.
Mmmm!  They were good!

Color Word Spelling
(mentioned in a previous blog)
Yes, I was right...it was a hit.  :-)  Especially with the oldest student and my own kids.  Trent (20 months) loves to take the letters down and put them back up and he tells me "E" whenever he sees a letter now.  Note:  check that posture, see how his back is straight.  I put a few just above eye level when sitting down so that the children have to reach up a bit.  Couldn't do it for eye level at standing because then the shorter/younger children wouldn't have been able to interact.

I can NOT believe I have not done this activity before.  Have seen this idea on many a Montessori blog but never could find the bath mat clings already in a shape.  So said, I amdoing a fish so here we have it.  Excellent activity for fine motor control-crossing the midline.  Great for Trent...who if he was at a center, would not be doing an activity like this because of the choking hazard concern.  And I understand that completely, but as I've mentioned before, children NEED to participate in activities that have small items so they can work their hands...and better to be done between 18-24 months when it's really developing.  So supervise I did and he LOVED it.  (Actually, he was suppose to be sleeping and I went into this bedroom and he's standing at the side of his crib saying his version of "marble-ball, marble-ball" :-))The other kiddos loved it too.  It really kept their attention and was a challenge.  Since I've been blogging about handwriting I was really watching the kids today.  Trent is doing exceptional with hand dominance and crossing the midline.  Actually, you'll notice the big spot on the tray in the upper left hand corner?  That's where I had the bowl of marbles.  :-)  Somebody moved the bowl to the right side after trying a few times to use his left hand to scoop from the left side and then switching to the right hand and reaching (which didn't work well either).  So he solved that problem.  Next time I'll use a bigger tray if I can so that the bowl can be put easily on either side (to catch the marbles).   I noticed that the older two did well also.  The younger one did okay when I reminded him to use the one hand and reaching vs. left hand for left side and right hand for right side (this is the child who is still working on hand dominance also).  This child also ended up using his pincher fingers more often than not.  So I know what area to work with him!

Venn Diagram
When it's been awhile since we've done something I like to do a little group lesson.  Then I leave the items out.  This is what I saw after lunch.
Oh, that does make the teacher in me smile!

Scissors skill for today.  Cutting on a thin but short line.  We'll later use these pictures for patterning and such.  I added a fine motor component by putting a slit in the top of a margarine lid and having them place their pictures inside.  This was three fold, I don't have a laser printer so the pictures will smear if we aren't careful so it "protects" the pictures, it helps them feel a sense of order (and appreciate it), and of course the fine motor component of putting a small item through a small slit.
My older student was beyond this activity so I gave him his own activity. A picture to word match that you can find at http://www.kizclub.com/Topics/animals/seaanimals.pdf.
This was definitely him thinking "okay, give Ms. Amber a smile." picture.  Beautiful smile though!  You'll notice that most of the pictures taken are of them working...so tongues sticking out in concentration and etc.  LOL  He would have preferred to do the other activity because he doesn't particularly care for a "challenge" but I know him well and he was proud of his work when he was done. 

This was Trent's "art" today.  He really did NOT like the foam stickers sticking to his fingers and he needed help squeezing and moving the bottle.  But that's fine for a not yet 2 year old.  He definitely enjoyed adding the extra dots of glue and spooning the salt over his picture (and dumping the salt onto his tray!)  He had quite the blue fingers when he was done!
Here are the other children's.
I did put this under "art".  It's not (well, yes it is in a way) messy art but it was wide open for how they wanted to do it.  I'm not all into sticky foamies.  Sometimes these type of foamies are really hard to peel off the backs but they did well today, for the most part.  We set it up with foamies on the left, paper in the center, bowl for backings on the right to help with that left to right concept and sense of order.  When they got as many foamies as they wanted, they set it aside and mixed blue food coloring into a bowl of salt.  Stir, stir, stir!  Then they added "waves".  The top two are older children and I asked them if they wanted me to show them how to make a wave.  "Yes!"  So we did one wave hand over hand.  Then they made their own wave(s).  The child who owns the bottom piece of artwork did not want me to help him. Re: pictures on the top- child on the left is "more into" math and fine motor is lacking a bit, for various reasons.  The child on the right is more into that nitty gritty fine motor stuff and appreciates order and you can see the difference in their waves (especially when they do it with markers.  It's hard to squeeze and move that glue bottle!) and their placement of the foam shapes.   The picture on the top left, that child was telling me he was going to make a pattern and told me what it was going to be (a correct pattern, by the way) then he got busy and there wasn't room to make the pattern he wanted so he changed his mind.  :-P  Oh, I love to listen to them talk, sometimes to themselves and sometimes to me.  After awhile you begin to know when to actually say something and when to let them do their thing without interruption. 

Two more sites for you:
We did an Ocean themed "What's the Difference?" page today.  I'm big on children noticing detail and this page fit into our theme.  (Also helped with drawing circles).  You should be able to find it at the above site.
We also did an I See Fish booklet, color review, counting sets and scissors.  I'm not sure if that was a free booklet or not.  This is the one site that I actually pay a membership for.  This site often has color and black & white options.  The b&w options are often smaller and that makes it nice for your preschoolers!
Oh, we've had fun the last couple days and there are still a couple more days so you can see why it was better for me to post today ;-) instead of waiting to the end of the week.  Fun stuff!

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