Tuesday, September 27, 2011

E is for...

First off, I wanted to say that we officially started our Postcard Exchange, set up through TeachPreschool!  We are SO excited!  We pulled the map and globe down to see where our post cards were going.  We had Indiana, New York, Texas, Montana and one to the UK for this month.  What fun!  We'll start coloring in a map and learn a bit about each state as we receive post cards. 

E is for Engine!
We read The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper this morning.  And one of the following activities today was to talk about needs and wants.   (We also pulled in our post cards and I asked about whether we could take the train to all the places.  Of course, we "could" to all but the UK because then we'd have to cross the Atlantic Ocean.  Oh!  This is going to be such a great learning process!) 
I find that these conversations are very important with this generation of children.  They really have it "easy" in some regards and do NOT understand the difference between a need and a want.  So I always teach the three basic needs are food, shelter, and clothing and the rest are wants.  There are times we get into the details of each....especially with older PreK students and school agers.  We need healthy food but not necessarily mac 'n' cheese or steak dinner.  We need basic clothing but not necessarily Armani, Gucci, Adias (or whatever brand that pops into your head).  We need shelter but that doesn't mean we need a mansion or some fancy place (and as much as we've "grown out" of this house we can still live here...we don't NEED a new house...we want one.)  So important to have those conversations. 

KidsSoup had a compound word Train that was right up my alley.  :-)  I just printed, laminated, and added velcro and ta-da, finished.  No reason to recreate the wheel!  We had a set of 9 compound words/cars.  Good practice.  Reminder, if your child is having difficulty blending sounds together to make a word (you saying /c/ /u/ /p/ and they answer with cup) then go back a step to compound words.  This definitely helps.  Blending sounds together is a necessity in being able to read.

We ordered our wooden number magnet trains from 1-10 and the other train from 10-1. 

We tried something "new" today for art.  I used a train paper plate stencil from http://www.makinglearningfun.com/  and allowed them to paint as they wished.
The child on the left was trying her hardest to use every color...definitely more interested in the "new" tempera cake tray.  The child on the right had a plan.  He also told me that "The sun is just a really big star".  :-)

And my biggest smiles came from our shape train activity from www.kidssoup.com.  I showed them what the train looked like originally and then let them go.  I do not require them to make it exactly like the picture unless it's a following the direction activity and then I go about it differently.  But just letting them go with the shapes all spread out on a tray allows for a bit of creativity.   My big smile came in when one child began singing a song we have on our Cars, Trucks, Trains CD and then wanted his dictation sentence to be "Chug chug, clickety clack, over the mountains and over the fairies."  :-)  He even told me the fairies had wings. ;-P  And the other child said, "Ms. Amber, I wrote "look"."  And sure enough, there it was on her paper.  She then said she wanted to write "Look, I see a train."  Oh wow!  The best part was that SHE wanted to write it, not have me write the rest of the sentence.  BIG SMILES!!!  So, I could use some ideas...I feel the reason why she knows "look" so well is that I created eyeballs in the oo when I first introduced the word.  And if you  look closely, she wrote the word more than once after the initial one for the sentence and they all have dots in the center of the oo's.  Yesterday, she wanted to watch Dr. Seuss ABC and "Living Books" come up at the beginning.  She put her hands around the word Books and said, "look...it's like look."  Yeah!  Anyway...I'd like to have some other pictorial ways of introducing other sight words...which is proving to be difficult.  Any suggestions out there?  Thanks ahead of time!

We used E is for... magnet sheets also from http://www.makinglearningfun.com.  When a child isn't here full time, they do definitely miss out on lessons and there are always reasons why I do what I do...there is always a process that is in place due to my own experience with children and their development.  Anyway...since this little one is not here all the time, it's been hard for him to grasp the "leapfrog" concept of these letters.  But today when he was putting the magnet chips on the letter E (their task was to choose one magnet card to do first then they were welcome to explore with the magnets) he was all excited when he told me "I did it!  I leapfrogged up!" and he showed me with his finger how he did it.  :-)  A step in the right direction!  So proud of him!

Better let this be all for now.  Lots to do in the 30 minutes or so...then it's K.'s "reading time"! 

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