Saturday, August 15, 2015

stamping with farm animals

This activity is more about the process than the product (as it should be). The kiddos in my classroom really enjoyed this activity, spending a lot of time pressing the animal into the stamp pad, examining the color on the feet and then pressing or stampeding across the paper. Cause and effect in action.
 Here is the invitation to investigate. Set out paper and have extra sheets available for the next kiddo or for your kiddo to create another stamping. We limited the ink pads to Fall colors and had many discussions on the colors, their names, what objects in nature match, how they were warm colors, etc.
The kiddos knew exactly what they wanted to do. The other stamps were cleared out in favor of the farm animals. We spent time talking about the different animals, naming them, and making their sounds. Many of the children in the classroom have farm animals at home. Chickens mostly, but one other had a goat and a pig. A lot of conversation surrounded the rooster and chickens.
She thought the stand the goose's feet were on was hysterical. We talked about why the goose figure had a stand while the cow did not. She learned new words such as balance, stand, and leverage.
Have you ever watched a kiddo make art? There is a lot of dialog, even when there is no one else there. I love the sound effects. Here she began with honking but ended with a silly song she made up.
When the rooster came in to play, it was a down and out barn dance! I think this young lady spent all of her discovery time at the table here. Trying out each animal, examining the differences in the prints, mixing ink colors, and learning, learning, learning.
Here the cow makes an appearance as he decorates this young person's paper. I was both surprised and not surprised by all that was happening and learned at the stamping table. Don't let the farm animals have all the fun! Try using cars, dinosaurs, reptiles, or insects! Have fun!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

cars and trucks and things that go: classroom set up

books! books! books!
sorting fun plus however they choose to use...
fine motor peg work
construction vehicle magnets
train patterning or matching
nuts and bolts for fine motor and investigation
adding tickets to the art table
investigating movement and building
our science table: how does it move?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

busy busy busy

These days, the kiddos get busy as soon as they're in the classroom! I've been so busy talking to them about their work, helping them work through ideas, and setting out supplies they ask for that I never get to photograph the centers I set up. Here are a few from the past few weeks:
painting rocks with water
meadow play on the building table
small rocks and golf tees at the play dough table
butterfly matching game
symmetry play with our magnetic butterflies
tray of bells
snails and baby snails!
scissors work and parsley
fine motor meadow
sound blocks on the block shelf
frames on the block shelf
play aphids on the block shelf
wood butterflies and cedar rings on the block shelf

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

ladybug invasion

The ladybugs in the classroom danced, twirled, built, painted, and played today. It has been an immense delight to see. Sigh. Our school year is almost over and I have months and months of classroom fun to write about. This is going to be a busy summer!

Friday, April 24, 2015

circle time shelf part 2

The top of our shelf. The boombox bit the dust a month or so ago but we keep it there as a space saver for the new soon-to-be box. Crossing fingers we get one before the year ends.  We feature the book of the week on the book-stand at the right.  The children know that whichever book is there we will most definitely be reading that week.
We use Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose book in the classroom but I brought this one in as well as it is the one I grew up with (alongside this one). This little succulent garden is a smidge tired. I blame Home Depot and their wee collections that are GLUED in place. There are small rocks on top of the soil and the rocks are glued together making it ridiculously hard to separate and re-pot.
I'm working on teaching the kiddos about feelings and empathy. These wee kimochis are popular with the kiddos though they see every face as being either happy, sad, or angry. Even so they love them and we use them a lot.
My impromptu texture basket using what we had on hand. I want to make little texture pillows for next year. We'll see. Inside you will find things that are bumpy, coarse, fuzzy, smooth, soft and ridged. I also have a mystery bag that I use. The children pull out an object and we decide as a group who has a soft object, hard object, etc. We talk about using descriptive words and the children gain new vocabulary. It's pretty cool.
The whole pretty shelf. Next year we will be scootching it a bit to the left or maybe a lot and using some other shelf that is a little lower so as not to block our circle-time board.
Here's the view of our circle-time area from where the kiddos sit. You can see the mystery bag on top of the sharing chair which was intended to be the teacher's chair but we tend to plop ourselves down on the floor with the kiddos. The children place their sharing items on top and they know that anything on the chair is for eyes only until after sharing. Inside the ottoman you will find our bean bags which I had to hide because the kiddos like to throw them everywhere. When they get crazy with throwing I ask if they need to play the bean bag game then the top comes off, the bean bags are parceled out and they try throwing the bags into the chair. Sometimes they tell me they want to play it and we set it all up with tape on the floor and everything. I need to make new rainbow bean bags for next year as the bags we have are not able to be equally divided and the threes are very particular about that.

Group art created by both classes is put on this board along with our Nursery Rhyme of the week. The shelf to the right there is a puzzle shelf (I found this at the Goodwill outlet for $2!) On top of the shelf is this sweet little game that the children love. Leaning against the shelf is our song notebook, a cookie sheet for magnet play and drawing on, and a felt board for felt stories.
The children memorize a Nursery Rhyme each week and take turns reciting it in front of their friends. We learned this rhyme in sign language thanks to a lovely parent. I put the paint chips there to review our colors in rainbow order and sign language. We also practice putting them into a color wheel shape, and separating them into warm and cool colors (though the children really love making train tracks with them). Behind the purple you will see a few Spot It! cards. I gave my game away but had a sample pack that we use during math and/or discovery time.

That's it for our circle time area, I hope you had fun touring it with me!

Monday, April 20, 2015

8 things on our circle time shelf

1. texture basket: we're beginning our unit on "the senses". this week is touch.
2. pantone color cards: the kiddos love these and we practice our sign language colors.
3. rainbow paint chips: 1 for each color of the rainbow. the kiddos take turns arranging in rainbow order. sometimes i place them out silently using only sign language.
4. rain stick discovery bottle: for our five senses...sound/hearing, also weather talk.
5. music and stories: our boombox is currently broken but the kiddos often loaded their own choices.
6. rice shakers: use during music time and discovery time.
7. feelings flash cards: we review emotions and empathy, plus the kiddos love looking at them. on top of the shelf is a basket of kimochis that the kiddos can match to.
8. cloud pillows: for squishing, hiding, and/or arranging in rainbow order. also for reviewing weather concepts.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

make a butterfly matching game

For this super easy matching game you will need to plan ahead to source out your wood discs. I've purchased discs from Amazon, Michael's, and etsy in the past. Stickers were found at a local craft store but you can find them here (I should probably sign up for an affiliate dealio). 
Decide on how many pairs you want to make (I did 12 as I only had 24 discs) and get to sticking. Make sure you have 2 of each image.
That's it! I have found that stickers stick best to wood base as is. They stick a little less when the disc has been painted. You can also go over the disc with a coat of mod podge but so far these have stuck and the children know they are not to get wet.