Tuesday, October 25, 2011

R is for...

R is for rockets!

But before I get into that maybe I'll mention we had so many bouts of laughter today.  Such a joy!  We kind of switched things up and went with the the flow.  I feel there needs to be a pretty good routine in place but I also believe that, especially at the preschool level, we need to just let some things go in order to enjoy the process of things a little more.  It also teaches them to be flexible.  But I only suggest doing this after you have a good routine in place so that you can get right back into the routine because really, without the routine, we wouldn't get half as much done!  And the children's behavior wouldn't be all that becoming.  :-)   But anyway...had two great trainings last week.  One was an online training regarding children's imagination and the other was about laughter being the greatest medicine.  I find that most trainings that are offered, ones that I can afford and are nearby anyway, are usually just reviews and it use to "get to me".  I'm taking time out of my busy schedule to do training only to really not learn anything.  But...on the plus side...they are usually are great reviews.  I think we need that too.  And, though I really didn't learn anything new at the last two trainings, they did make me do some self-evaluation and realized that I'm getting too stuffy in my old age.  :-)  Letting personal stuff get in the way of my teaching and my ability to laugh.  So...excellent trainings!  When we can smile/laugh...it's such a stress reliever, child and adult alike!  We were in the middle of one of our biggest laughs today and we pretty much had tears coming to our eyes and one say, "Ms. Amber...I so love you."   Then the other pipes up..."I DO TOO!"  Aw, made my heart melt.  Almost brought real tears!  LOL  But the point is...we must laugh!  One thought passed on at the training was that laughter is JUST as important as fresh air and good food.  Wow!  There some food for thought!

R is for Rockets!
Our book for the day. 

Art:  Rocket In Universe
We definitely enjoyed the process of this project.  Often we are doing our activities separately.  The main reasons are because then I can provide more individualization and do more activities in a smaller space.  But working together has such benefits and so I try to slip that in as often as possible.  Conversations are great when they are sitting next to each other doing something similar.  Actually, today, I set up the kitchen like I normally do and as we got close to that time I decided...hmmm, let's do this all together today.  And we did most of our work on the floor!  A lot more space there. 
You can see the corner of the computer in the picture.  CMU Child Development Lab have computers available for their preschoolers but...they are used for research vs. any games the children might play.  I use mine for both.  I actually have a "children's" computer for games.  Can't get the Internet to work on that one so end up using the lap top for research.  Screen time is kept to a minimum here though.  I figure they get more than enough at home and even at school.  So today, we used our computer as a research tool.  Google images (be careful what you google and I strongly suggest that you google it first so you know what's going to pop up-even with "kid" things and if you are doing an impromptu search with them, if possible keep the screen toward you and only show it to the children when you have previewed it.   Can you tell I'm talking from experience?!)  Anyway, we searched "planets and kids".  I had already searched "universe" and wasn't pleased with the outcome so switched to something more specific.  One child pointed to Earth right away to say, "Hey, that's where we live...it looks like our globe."  We have a globe on the end table that we refer to quite a bit.  So, yeah!  That was exciting.  We talked about how they all looked like circles/spheres but were different in color and size.  Talked about stars, meteor showers and other simple thoughts about the universe.  Then I gave them oil pastels to create their planets (and Diego, for one child LOL).  They then painted over with watered down black paint.  Added their rocket.  Interesting that they put the rocket in practically the same place.  That happens more often when doing art side by side then when they are doing art on their own.  Then added stars if they wanted.  They were "gummed" stars but it didn't work well.  So we ended up gluing and in my opinion, that didn't work well either since the edges curled up for whatever the reason but they didn't mind so I kept my mouth shut.  :-D  
We are doing a similar project this afternoon with the school-agers.  Will try it on cardboard since the paper seems so thin.  We'll be making our rockets out of cardstock shapes also.  I'll share them when we complete the projects.  It'll be at least a 2 day project, I imagine.

Fine motor and Phonological Awareness Activities
Cute little packet.  The next few activities are from HomeSchool Creations.  Quite a few things in it that we didn't use...so check it out. Might be perfect for your kiddos or might be able to be used as a jumping board.
They put the "starburst" on the correct beginning sound of the vocabulary cards.  And I had laminated the writing cards...Rocket to the moon!...so dry erase marker works great for that.  Great prewriting skill activities!  I'm glad to see more and more of these available.  At one time I created them myself but now its a more commonplace to see/find. I wish that they used hollow lines though instead of dotted lines to trace, but that's a personal opinion!  Beggars can't be choosers and their printables make my busy life easier.  :-)

10, 9, 8, 7 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 BLAST OFF!
The number and rocket cards were from the Astronaut Preschool Pack, mentioned above.  Her suggestion was to punch a hole at the bottom of the number cards and add links.  That's an idea.  :-)  I didn't know where my links were and really wanted to do the rocket below it (Mailbox) for a scissors skill activity.  So I used the cards this way.  First, we put them in order from 10-1.  That's hard for a lot of preschool children.  It also gave me a good idea of where they were at with number recognition.  No, this isn't the font I use but I strongly believe in using multiple fonts for various activities so that the children can recognize them interchangeably.  So after we put them in order, I had the children start cutting out their rocket and adding their astronaut.  One child drew a picture of the other child and said she was mad because "it ran out of gas".  Oooh!  That WOULD be a problem!  LOL  Then he added himself in there later.  Anyway, since they are at different skill levels for scissors, this worked out perfectly.  I put one square of paper under each number (actually wrote our number 10 and 9 on the cards so they could see how we write them) and encouraged them to write each number on their square.  This was to help me see where they were regarding numeral formation, so no help from me-unless they specifically asked for it.  Great little scissors and math activity combined!  If it looks familiar, I believe I did this during our summer program.  I had put their actual picture in the window then.
Math: Rocket to the Moon
Seriation/Ordering by size.  This was also in that Astronaut Preschool Pack.
This was not a scissors activity so I cut them out ahead of time.  See their moons?  We had talked about them having craters so that is why both of them chose to have spots in their circles.  :-)  One chose to do theirs from smallest to biggest and the other from biggest to smallest.  This is a skill that requires practice.   Typical preschool standards expect ordering a set of three-big, medium, small.   With practice they can't get way beyond a set of three.  Just a little FYI there.  :-P  It just requires practice.  To save paper and such you could just laminate one set and use them over and over.  But since I have a small group, I like to do it this way so the parents know what we are doing.  We counted them, talked about the biggest/smallest, first/last, even/odd and so on.

Just for Fun!
Okay, well, this was an adult made rocket.  We do very few of these.  But I just knew that they would be a hit and I was right!  They flew all over creation!  I gave them the choice of colors and they decorated it but that was about it.  But dramatic play was at a high point when they were done with them! 
Instructions were from Enchanted Learning.  Not my favorite site (and no, I will never purchase a membership there) but this one was worthwhile.  :-)   It was raining and I knew we wouldn't get outside and they were flying their rockets through the universe so I opened up the doors to the "rest" of the house and they "flew" around (which they love to do...I don't do that often so it's always "special".)  Anyway...one child has had an issue with a lingering cold and after so much physical activity she was really starting to cough and getting red in the face so I encouraged her to find something calm to do for a little while and this is what happened....
Isn't that sweet?!  She has really taken to "reading to Trent".  I love it, he loves it, she loves it! 

Lovely day!  Hope yours was too!

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