Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Thanksgiving was full of fun and educational activities for the preschoolers:

Counting and coloring pilgrims and Native Americans
 Fishing for turkeys (and naming the letters on the turkeys)
 Matching uppercase and lowercase letters with Wikki Sticks

 The three year olds found their names on turkeys in the sensory bin.

 They made turkeys by coloring on coffee filters and spraying them with water to make the colors bleed.

 They also did some crayon rubbings over leaves and turkeys. This introduces them to the idea of texture.  
When they painted over the rubbings with watercolors, the paper was transformed into beautiful artwork! You can see these hanging on our classroom walls. 
 Working on their weekly journals...
Right before Thanksgiving, we made butter in class.  We read some books about some of the chores the pilgrim children had to do after they arrived at their new home. 
This is a poem that I turned into a book with pictures:

Click here to download.
I wanted the kids to get a glimpse of just how hard the pilgrim children had to work every day.  We shook and shook and shook  the bottle of heavy cream until it turned into the dense, yellow butter. 

We ate it on crackers and everybody loved it! Even Mr. Seaholm stopped by to give it a try. (Those are his legs in the background!)
The 3s had some fun matching shapes to the shapes on the bodies of the turkeys.
And they made turkeys with feathers that told items they are thankful for. These kids sure do love their families!

The 4s made pilgrim faces out of those zoo plates that are shaped like animals. They painted the backs and then added hair and faces. 

Sometimes Ladel (St. Matthew's Comfort Dog) comes to visit us. On this day, we lured her upstairs with promises of bananas. 
We learned a lot about pilgrims, and a little about Native Americans.  This picture sort helped the children figure out which items were used by which group of people. 
Before we knew it, it was time for the annual Thanksgiving Feast! The kids donned their pilgrim hats and headed to Krueger Hall, where we played games, made a craft, and ate some snacks.   

Thanks to Marlene and Wendy for helping out!


Sunday, November 17, 2013


November is a great month in a preschool classroom. Now that all the routines are in place, the kids are very comfortable with each other and the adults, and everyone has a better idea of how to behave at school, we can start some more thought-provoking activities. 
One of the new routines for the four year olds is this Chit Chat message.  We focus on a new letter every day. There are 3 pictures at the top. I write each word underneath the picture without the first letter.  The kids get to figure out the letter, and then volunteers come and write it. 
 Another new thing is learning about poetry.  We used this poem to talk about rhyming words, one-to-one correspondence (point to the dot under each word as you say it), and visualization. I have the kids close their eyes while I read the poem to them, and when it's done, they raise their hands to tell me what they saw during the reading. (I don't show them those pictures that you see at the bottom of the pocket chart until after they have formed their own images.) It is amazing what they come up with! The first time we did this, the children said they saw leaves, houses, snow, windows, lights, grass, and darkness in their minds. This just shows children's ability to draw connections, because most of those words were not even in the poem! 
 When we learned about families, each child made pictures of the people (and sometimes animals) in their own family. 

 The 3s made these:
Two Mondays ago, we read "Mr. Wolf's Pancakes" in the afternoon, and we made pancakes!
By the way, this book has a surprise ending. I definitely recommend it!

We've been doing oodles of fine motor activities in both classes!

(You can't really see them, but this paper has leaves under it. The kids rubbed over them with crayon, and then painted it with water colors.)
 Last week, we learned about Baby Moses.
 Both classes heard the story about how God protected Moses, and He will always watch over us. 
Last Monday, we read the book "Cook-A-Doodle-Doo!" in the afternoon, and we made strawberry shortcake. 
It turns out kids are really good at cutting strawberries! 
 I gave them each a plastic knife and a pile of strawberries, and away they went. 

 This was the view out of o classroom window on Monday. Hopefully we won't see any more of that for a while!

More fine motor/table time activities:

We have also been doing a lot of writing in the four year old class. We do most of our writing on white boards because it increases success and lessens frustration. Kids have trouble visually processing those dotted lines that we try to make them write on.  (Though we do practice on those occasionally.) They do better when they have a large open space. Many kids also tend to be perfectionists, and they don't want to try unless they can do it perfectly. Whiteboards allow them to easily erase and try again and again. 
Sometimes we write only letters...

 Sometimes everyone gets to choose one word that they would like everyone to write. This is more meaningful to them than if I were to just tell them what to write all the time. 

 Sometimes we practice writing the names of the kids in the class. Each child gets to help everyone else write/spell his/her own name. 

Next, it's on to Thanksgiving activities!