Tuesday, November 8, 2011

O is for...

O is for Ocean!

Ocean Preschool Pack
This individual has really put quite a bit of work into these little packets and they are free.  We so appreciate individuals like Jolanthe who are so willing to share their work.  If you are one of these people...THANK YOU!  We used a few of the activities that were in this pack today.  I'll place and asterisk (*) next to the activities that were from this particular pack.

Line Tracing*
I was bummin' that this picture is blurry.  She was proud of her work (and should be!) and held it up to me to see.  Unfortunately, digital cameras tend to be a little slower in some regards and I couldn't really "recapture" this picture again.  These lines go beyond the basic that many sites offer.  Takes a bit more "pencil" control.  She did these lines where the younger child was only expected (though he could have chose differently) to do the basic lines due to the amount of effort it would have taken him.  Lines like this are perfect for beginner writers.  Helps to teach left to right, eye-hand coordination and helps them become comfortable with the various types of lines that we will be using as we explore with handwriting.  I laminated this set but to save money you can put the pages inside of sheet protectors and use dry erase markers.  You can use washable markers but they smear much easier, to the frustration of the children and the adults (who have to do the laundry).

O is for Ocean Letter Formation* 
 I encourage children to do "rainbow writing" vs. coloring of sheets like this.  Why?  Number one, coloring isn't something I push.  Actually, many of our activities go home uncolored because I give the option of coloring or not coloring.  Some programs do a lot of coloring sheets saying that it is "necessary for their fine motor development".  Yes, that is what they told me and I'm sure you could figure out what my response was.  Perhaps it does help to a certain extent but I've worked with too many children who find coloring frustrating/boring/tiring and there are so many other ways to strengthen and develop muscles in their hands that we do very little coloring.  With an activity like this, if they colored it, they are missing out on some lovely letter formation reinforcement.  I often place a green dot and add an arrow so they know where to start and which direction to go in.  Then I ask them to use colored writing tools to create a rainbow inside of the letter.  They must use at least three colors but they can use more if they wish. 

Tunnel Letter Formation
An activity that led into our letter O formation activity was our tunnel. 
Like this picture :-)
 Actually, I pulled out the tunnel for the letter C last week and though we played with the tunnel, we never used it for letter formation, for whatever reason, just ran out of time I guess.  C is for crawl, ya know! :-)  So, with Handwriting Without Tears, the materials all have a smiley face where the children start many of the letters.  However, with the magic C motion, it starts on the opposite corner.  We showed that on the HWT tools last week.  So to reinforce that idea, I created a simple paper plate smiley face for our C and O tunnel formation.  Tunnel moves a bit but it was in the right spot when we started.  :-D  We created a letter C and crawled through it and on O we started in the same spot but I "closed it up" for them to get a sense that they go right back to the beginning.  They enjoyed this, especially with me closing it up!

Water Transfer With Sponge
 I was talking about the various ways to strengthen hands besides coloring.  Here's one.  I'm sure I've mentioned this in a blog before.  I wasn't planning this activity but came across a whale sponge (you can create any shape out of a sponge) when I was looking for a different sponge this morning so quickly added it to our things to do.  :-)  They put the sponge in the bowl and squeezed the water into the measuring cup.  I added blue coloring to allow for a bit of self-correction.  If they spilled the water, they'd see it more clearly. And as you can see below, we got a little pouring practice in as well.  If you have never done an activity like this before...try it!  The children always love this type of thing and it has many benefits one being...it's very easy to set up and clean up! 

Eye Dropper Ocean
 Another water transfer activity that uses eye droppers.  To reinforce our focus letter I just cut out the center of a coffee filter.  They used blue, green, and purple watercolors to drip the colors on their O to make their ocean. When dry (I microwaved for 15 seconds and it was dry enough to glue)  it was glued onto a paper plate and they added ocean themed creature stickers.  I also provided a container so they could explore with various colors on a regular coffee filter as well.  They always do enjoy this!

Art:  Stenciling
 Check your dollar stores for these type of stencils.

Sensory:  Gel
 Just a little free exploration. I used the blue gel since we were doing ocean.  Added a couple tools and ship counters but my main goal was them to explore it with their fingers.  One "wondering" they had was if "this is what a jellyfish felt like?"  :-D

Oean Life Graphing*
 I ended up cutting apart the dice and putting the pictures in our large dice since I can never seem to make the cardstock dice work for me.  Next time I'll plan ahead and use larger pictures and add the picture labels on it as well.  The children took turns rolling the dice and we created a graph and went until one animal reached ten and then discussed it.

How Many Fish in the Ocean?*
 I decided to print this on cardstock and let them make their own and take it home to work with instead of laminating a set here.  Nice even lines perfect for scissor practice. They are narrow and a light gray so you may wish to reinforce them with marker or crayon if your child needs that.

Phonological Awareness:  Rhyming*
Just simply laminated this time since time was short.  Typically I'd cut the pictures apart and make an activity like this into a velcro board.  Always good to get some rhyming practice in there.  Don't just assume they "know it" after they get a few answers right.  On more than one occaision I've known children who could match familiar rhyming pairs (cat/hat, tree/bee, truck/duck) but give them pairs of words that are not typically used in rhyming activities (whale/pail, ocean/lotion) and they were unable to match them, thus they really hadn't mastered rhyming yet.  :-)  So slip rhyming in frequently and use unfamilar rhyming pairs also! 

Word Chunks/Letter Recognition*
The vocabulary cards are from the preschool pack. How we used them today was to find the o's in the words ("highlighted" them), if there were any and if not to reinforce that "none" is the number zero.  Then sort the cards onto the word chunk mat.  Can't see it all that clearly but the top of the columns are hand clapping clipart.

Hope you all had a lovely day.

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