Monday, December 12, 2011

S is for Snowmen!!!

So, if I do a week focused around snowmen and we do the snow dance "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" will we get any snow?  It's sure chilly out but in my opinion, if it's going to be cold...we need snow!  Unfortunately, the forecast doesn't look all that promising for snow.  Actually, I hear it's suppose to get warmer?!?!?!  Oh well.  We'll pretend!

Before I get started I'll share one of the pics of K. retelling Silly Sally with her "retelling map".  None of the pictures turned out all that grand.  Mainly because of the light coloring.  But it'll give you an idea of what we did.  She wanted to take this home right away.  :-) 
As you can see, we simply cut a large piece of paper and then drew the "map".  We made a curvy "path" from town and then she looked in the book and figured out who Sally met first and what details she needed to draw for each animal's "home".  So she drew a mud hole for the pig, a doghouse for the dog, she just placed the loon in the river, and drew a "yellow meadow" for the sheep.  Then she retold it.  She's really has gotten to be quite the storyteller around here!  It has influenced T.-2 years, quite a bit as he now is starting to "tell the story" of a book he looks at.  How fun! 

So...back to this week.  :-)  S is a hard letter to learn, for letter formation anyway.  Sound is picked up relatively quickly but to learn to write it is a little more difficult so I decided to add an "extra" week and do a whole week on "snowmen".  Definitely a personal thing.  I couldn't imagine just doing a 1 day theme on snowmen...there is SO much that can be done!  And I love the snow/snowmen.  :-)  We'll use it again before winter is out, I'm sure! 

"Snow" Dough
One of the first things K. did when we got back from the school was to cook up a batch of "snow" dough.  :-)  Just the basic recipe but with a bit of paint/glitter.  I had forgotten that when I add paint it's much more sticky.  Oh well, the kids enjoyed it anyway and got the extra hand strengthening by kneading in some flour to help with the stickiness!  K. used the dough to practice some sight word reading and spelling before playing with the dough on its own.  The lowercase letter words but uppercase letter sticks was intentional.  :-)  This way we were reinforcing upper/lower case letter recognition/matching along with our other goals.

Parts of a Snowman Brace Map
The meaning behind a brace map is to help the children see parts to whole or whole to parts.  Young children tend to see only the "whole" so this is a good activity for them!  What a great job she did with the "copywork" parts of the snowman words!  Those lowercase letters are getting easier and easier!  And something that put a smile on my face...we were sounding out the word eyes and I wrote "eye" and she's like..."e doesn't make /i/ sound!"  Well, no it doesn't...thanks to the lovely English language.  :-D 

Oil Pastel Snowmen w/ Snow Paint
4 yrs                                            8 yrs
This was an art lesson she did with her Kindergartners without the use of circle tracers.  I definitely love how she taught the U head vs. a circle and then put the hat on top.  And once again, I can't believe I've never really used oil pastels with the children previously.  Though they are a bit more expensive than crayons (but they are holding up well being used by 2-8 year olds) they are so much more bold and easier to work with than crayons!  We practiced creating a snowman on scrap paper first because there is a tendency to draw small and that's so hard to cut out.  The "sparkle" is a mixture of salt and glitter that I had left over from another project.  The "snow paint" is just shaving cream and glue.  I really had to encourage her to "use it thick".  It's been awhile since we've used this "snowpaint" and she had forgotten that when it'll dry puffy so the thicker you put it on...the bettter!  Sidenote:  Please remember that it's definitely a process when creating art.  If you do this activity with a large class of preschoolers, I guarantee that you'll get at least one project that will be completely covered in snow, no snowmen to be seen and that's okay!  :-P 

Family Name Graph
I find that it was much easier to include graphing activities when I was in a large group setting.  It was very easy to have a daily graph where the children answered a simple question by putting their name symbol in the appropriate column...then discuss the results.  One year we had each child create a snowman using the letters in their name and we compared their names lengths.  Well, that's a little more difficult to do with my very small group.  :-)  So this year, I decided to do a family name "graph" where they used the names of the members in their family.  Then we compared size and such.  I encouraged K. to use the conventional rule that first names start with a  capital letter but the rest is written in lowercase letters.  If you have a younger group, either encourage the capital letter writing, since that is what they tend to learn first or don't say a word about it at all and let them write as they wish.  If you have a very very young group, write the letters yourself and use it more as a letter recognition activity. 

Anyway...a few of our activities today.  Hope your day went smoothly and lucky you if you have snow!  :-P

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