Wednesday, October 19, 2011

B is for...

B is for baby boy...who is sick.  :-(
I'm really surprised K. and I got as much of our planned preschool activities done as we did. Though we did move some to the afternoon.  The other little guy I have in care-7months-has a cold.  Normally naps during the majority of our preschool morning so it works out swell.  But today he had a 15 min. nap and no matter what I did he fussed and cried.  Just not feeling well.  Doesn't work well with a preschool routine!  And we ended up not being as organized as we normally are.  And to give you an the end of the morning I ended up putting my container of glue sticks in the spice cabinet and the cinnamon in my storage cabinet.  :-)  But that's the way it goes. It's that time of year.  Sometimes you just have to be flexible and hope that sickness runs its course very quickly!

B is for bears!
 Well, this was going to be Monday's theme but we ended up doing "finish up" projects and the only bear related activity was starting a paper mache' bear (inspired by  Looks like a koala right now, koala bears are really marsupials and only got the "bear" part of its name because of it's similarities in appearance by the English settlers in the 18th century-Australians very seldom call them koala "bears".  There's your piece of trivia for the day!   Today she did her third layer of paper.  She loves the feel of sliding her fingers down the strip of newspaper to get the excess glue/water mixture off of the strip.  I've never done this with preschool age before...always this is an experience!  It's not been too difficult or messy either...but I bet a whole class of preschoolers doing this might cause a bit more mess! 

After our typical calendar, weather, and Handwriting Without Tears activities, we moved onto discussing bears.  K. had many things to say about bears today!
In case you can't see the words clearly...and excuse my penmanship.  Never has been the greatest, especially when trying to keep up to the children and their dictation and for some reason I can't ever stay in a straight line.  But, the children seeing us write each word is so beneficial.
"Bears eat animals."
"Bears fight with other bears."
"Bears like sea otters.  Them eat them!" (There must be a book or TV program recently that gave information about sea otters and bears because she was telling me "facts" even before we started talking about bears!)
"Bears get up and go down.  They stay there for 2 hours."  (At one point she repeated with the word weeks instead of I asked her to tell me more and figured out that she was talking about "hibernation", which-a side note- bears are "true hibernators" because they can be roused during the hibernation period unlike other hibernators.
" Bears have lots of hair on them."
"Some bears are white.  Black and white and them have lots of muscles. Brown bears sleep in a cave."
"When the snow dries the white bear dies."  (She was pretty adamant about this one when I was trying to get more information about what she meant.  So if anyone can clue me in?  :-)  My understanding about polar bears and "hibernation" is that it is only the pregnant females that hibernate.)
"Some bears come out of their cave when the snow dries.  Them be happy."
"Bears have sharp teeth."
"Pooh bear is a yellow, and his shirt is red, bear."

We did an addition activity that I will definitely do again.   Today's activity wasn't as organized as I would have liked, partly due to the baby, partly due to not thinking it through myself first.  We did 5 facts today and either tomorrow afternoon or Friday we'll do another 5 on the back of the sheet.  And the next time we'll do it in a much more organized fashion.  Allowing her to choose which addition strip she wanted to work with was definitely up there in things she likes.  And, why not give her that freedom.  A child will definitely retain more when they feel like they have a bit of control and are enjoying what they are doing.
 I had laid out the addition strips.  Oh, why am I using addition strips?  Because this child has explored with informally adding and subtracting for quite a while and now she's often telling me things like 3=3=6.  So, giving her the visual is the next step.  Definitely will help with when they are doing addition facts in Kindergarten.  So, I used the strips from  She used counting bears to place in a group above each number.  Then she colored the bear next to the number according to the color of the bears she chose.  Then, together we pointed to the numbers and math symbols saying the addition fact correctly, she added all the bears up together finding the total.  Glued the strip on the paper and wrote the correct answer.  The original activity had number answers available but I wanted numeral formation practice as well as number recognition.  When we do this again... the activity will be more organized and we'll do it on the floor where there is more space.  Bears will be in a smaller bowl, corresponding colored crayons will be in a small cup and placed on one side of the paper.  The large paper will be in front of her and on the other side will be the strips laid out and a glue stick.  I will also encourage her to glue the strip first and place the bears directly on the paper.  A thought that popped into my head in the middle of the activity was that this would be a good activity to use the divided plates...which mine were out in the garage.  You then put one set of bears in a small divided section and the other set in the 2nd divided section.  Then when it's time to find the total, you put both sets in the large divided section.  This gives children the visual and tactile experience of what addition is all about.  I'll do that in the near future and post it so that you have a better idea of what I'm babbling about!  :-)

Cinnamon Bear
For a scissors/sensory activity today, she cut out a bear shape.  We talked about the shapes that were on the bear...ovals and circles and the differences.  Before finishing her cinnamon bear, she used her cut out bear as a template to paint white dots around with a qtip to begin the first step of a polar bear (she finished by coloring the inside with white chalk and adding facial features).    Then as that was drying she went back to her cinnamon bear.  She used brown crayon first and then saw the brown oil pastel sitting there and she asked about it.  So I went ahead and encouraged her to use the oil pastel on top of her crayon and showed her how to smear it with a napkin to make her bear look fuzzy.  She loved it and so we'll soon be doing some oil pastel exploration!  She then used a glue bottle to trace around the perimeter (and yes, she uses that word when she's gluing) of each circle and oval.  Then she took a paste spreader and spread the glue from the ends of the shape to the center.  Made for a really cool design in the belly of the bear!  Sprinkled liberally with cinnamon, shook it off, added eyes and voila!  Sure smelled good in here today!

Oh, and we did do a worksheet today.  What?!  A worksheet?  :-)  Yes, as mentioned before, I'm not a big worksheet fan.  However, I'm striving for K readiness and no matter what the people in early childhood say and no matter how I'd really like to run my program in accordance to the recommendations, we do have to do some activities and routines that are not recommended because in Kindergarten they do a LOT of it.   Better for the children to experience a little of it, mainly in their preK year, so that the transition to the "have-to" sit down busy work is not foreign to them and they transition more easily.  I really struggle with some of the newer recommendations, moreso now that 2 out of 3 of my boys have gone through Kindergarten.  Not that I don't usually agree that it's for the "best" but to implement what they want and to not take into consideration what our local teachers are doing in elementary school...well... enough said.   We all have to make our own opinions about what's best by our own experiences and such.  I tend to tell my families that I'm a pretty good mix of "old and new" school  beliefs/theories.  I definitely am "old school" in some of what I do and I won't apologize for it.  :-)

Hope your week is going smoothly!
Edit:  :-)
Here's the end product of her qtip polar bear.  I love how she either writes letters/words on her own or asks me to write it somewhere else so she can copy it correctly.  Yes!  The next step to becoming a successful writer!

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