Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Preschool Math

Are you a "math person"? As it turns out, being a "math person" goes all the way back to preschool...

I wanted to share this fantastic article that I found today by Heidi Butkus.  Heidi is a Kindergarten teacher in California, and she is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com.  I have seen Heidi speak at a conference, and she is very enlightening. 

This is the beginning of her article:
Preschool math instruction is incredibly important, and how well a child learns the basic concepts during this foundational time can make the defining difference in whether or not a child sees himself as “a math person” or “not a math person.”  Research is now showing us preschool math achievement is an even greater predictor of school success than early pre-reading skills!  The article states, “We found that only three of the school-entry measures predicted subsequent academic success: early reading, early math and attention skills, with early math skills being most consistently predictive,” Duncan says.”

So, having a strong foundation in math is even more important than having a strong foundation in reading in the early years of life. 

This article details 6 math skills that preschoolers should have a solid grasp on before Kindergarten. In case you don't want to read the whole article, here they are:

1. Counting real objects one by one accurately
2. Counting Aloud (by rote, not counting real objects)
3. Recognizing the dot patterns on dice as numbers
4. Recognizing the numbers 1 - 10 out of order and the basic shapes
5. Sorting
6. Patterning
Click below to get more details on what these skills are. 

I am proud to say that we practice each of the skills in this article in many and various ways all throughout the school year!


Saturday, January 4, 2014


 It's so much fun to be a preschooler during the month of December! We really packed in a lot of learning and fun before Christmas break. 
Here, the 3 year olds are painting angels with their names on the them. These are hanging above the stairs that lead to our classroom.  

We did several of these this month:
It's a small group activity where students roll a die, and whatever letter they get is the letter they stamp on their paper.  Simple, yet very effective for practicing letter identification. 

The 4s did an author study on Jan Brett early in the month.  Her books are easily recognizable by their unique illustrations. We compared a couple of her books by looking at the stories and the pictures. 
 We also worked on story retelling activities like this one.
Here, the kids made a "gingerbread house" and attached the characters in order of their appearance in the book to a ribbon inside the house. 
 It's a little blurry, but you can see the little pictures on the ribbon falling out of the house. The kids were able to use this to help them retell the story in sequence.  
Story retelling is a very important skill for young children who  because it helps them with story comprehension, making inferences, and understanding story structure. 

This is the other book by Jan Brett that we read. 
I didn't get to take many pictures of the activities we did with this book, but here is the class trying to fit into our "mitten" just like the animals in the story.  
They decided that this story would not actually be able to take place because a bear would not be able to fit into a mitten that was knitted for a child. (All the animals on the cover of the book want to get warm, so one by one, they squish into the little white mitten that a boy accidentally dropped on the ground.)

The 4s spent all month working on their Christmas alphabet books. 
(Sorry the picture is turned the wrong way.)
 Each day this month, they glued letters onto the correct pages. 

 Hopefully you were able to read this at home sometime over break. 

 One of our "Cooking with Books" books was this one:
We used an air popper to make a "popcorn volcano", as the kids called it. 

 The 3s had fun finger painting these giant Christmas light bulbs. We sprinkled glitter over the paint to make them extra sparkly!
Here, they are searching for Christmas items with tongs in the sensory bin. 
 Sorting snowflakes by color and gluing them into the boxes...
Here, the kids use a toothpick to poke holes along the black line of the picture on the paper. This is a fun fine motor activity that helps them get ready to hold a pencil. 
 They love that when they are done poking the holes, they can hold the paper up to the light and see the image like a constellation. 

We are continuing to learn a poem each month, and this is the poem for December:
The little snowflakes under the words help with tracking when the students read the poem to the class. 

The 4s are loving these Chit-Chat messages! It is a very interactive process, and they definitely enjoy that. 

And some pictures from the Polar Express party...

Here are the 4s waiting to board!
 Mr. Seaholm was our trusty conductor.

We will not be slowing down in January at all! 
Here are some things to look forward to:

*Advent/Christmas program make up
*Happy Birthday Jesus party
*Learning about Epiphany (the coming of the Wise Men)
*Learning about winter, snow, and freezing
*Karma Wilson author study
*Lutheran Schools Week
*St. Matthew Lutheran School and Preschool Open House January 30