Friday, November 25, 2011

Fingerplay Friday- Christmas

After Thanksgiving, we dive right into Christmas because December goes by so fast. 

Here is the chimney (hand in a fist with thumb inside fingers)
Here is the top (put other hand flat on top of fist)
Open the lid ( remove top hand)
And out Santa will pop. (Stick thumb up)

Peppermint Stick
Oh, I took a lick of my peppermint stick
and it was really yummy.
Oh, it use to be on my Christmas tree
but now it's in my tummy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fingerplay Friday- Turkeys

Mr. Turkey

Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey
Big and Fat, Big and Fat
I am going to eat you, I am going to eat you.
Just like that, Just like that.

Mr. Turkey

I have a turkey big and fat,
He spreads his wings and walks like that
His daily corn he would not miss
And when he talks it sounds like this
gobble, gobble, gobble

5 Fat Turkeys

5 fat turkeys sitting on a fence.
The first one said, " Oh, my , I'm immense!"
The second one said, " I can gobble at you,"
The third one said, "I can gobble too."
The forth one said, "I can spread my tail."
The fifth one said, "Don't catch it on a nail."
The farmer came by and had to say,
"Turkeys look best on Thanksgiving Day."

Not a Turkey by Karl Fuchs

Mom is in the kitchen
and when I take a look
I'm glad I'm not a turkey
that she's about to cook

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thanksgiving and Fall

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks.  This is what I like to teach my kids.  Of course turkeys make such great crafts.   The book by that name I got from scholastic for $1 says it all.


I made a simple big book about scarecrows from a worksheet I was given to let the children color.  In my opinion children shouldn't be given worksheets, but they do make great books with a little creativity.  You could make it with any worksheet. The words I typed on the computer were:  The boots are black.  The hat is yellow.  The shirt is red.  The pants are blue.  Here is a scarecrow.  I just made multiple copies of the worksheet, colored it according to my words, and laminated. 

This book here looks cute.  Sonshine Tot school also gives you her lessons to go with the book.

Here is a flannel board set to go along with I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie.

Turkey feather
My favorite activity for Thanksgiving is one that isn't done in the classroom.  I cut out a large feather shape out of poster board or any thicker paper and send it home with this note.
                                   Dear Parents,
                                         This is a turkey feather that will be part of our class turkey.
                                   Please decorate it at home as a family.  You may use any material
                                   you chose.  Some suggestions are string, cereal, stickers, markers,
                                   pictures, etc.  Have fun and be creative.  Bring it back as soon as
                                  you have finished, so we can give our turkey wings.

When the children bring back their feather, I hang it up around a peanut shapes turkey body.  It is a great way to include parents in the daily activities of school. It shows kids how we are all different but work together to make something great.  And it makes the neatest bulletin board.  I only wish I had taken pictures of last years turkey.  Since I have such small classes, I keep the feathers and put them up year after year.  The kids love to see what their siblings made when they were in Preschool.

Here is a cute take home idea where children take home a turkey and have to disguise it.  It would go well with the book The Plump and Perkey Turkey.

Truckful of Thanks-  We use to plan transportation in November, so I combined it with Thanksgiving by giving each child a pre-made dump truck which they drew and dictated what they were thankful for.  Then we cut out a rectangle the size of the truck bed and attached it with a brad, so when you opened it, you could see what was inside the truck.

Turkey place mats
I also tried to include some Fall activities in during the month, a list of ideas is below.  So, we rolled acorns on a large piece of yellow paper.  This paper is then used to make a "place mat" by scalloping the top to curve like feathers of a Turkey.  Then you can add the child's foot print or cut foot print from paper to make the turkeys body.  Color eyes, beak, and a waddle.

Turkey handprints
This is a clasic art project.  I still have mine from when I was little.  Here is a different version.  It gets children using those site words.  I've also used them to make cards and let kids glue real feathers on them.

Other activities
Here is Teach Preschool's collection of Thanksgiving ideas.  She is an amazing collector.

Here is a cute game printable to go with the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I will post some Turkey poems and finger plays on Friday

Here is a whole packet of cute free printable stuff for Thanksgiving.

It is just now showing signs of Fall down here, so here are some Fall activities for this month.

The easiest activity I have done is to make tissue paper leaves by giving the children a piece of contact paper and some colorful tissue paper squares to put on it.  Great fine motor activity.  When they were done filling the contact paper up, I would cut a maple leaf shape from the Ellison machine.  Then, I would punch a hole in it and tie a string on it to hang.

Here are some really cute leaf activities including a real leaf graph and observation sheet.

I would love to try this crayon melting activity from Teach Preschool.

This is such a cool use for modge podge to keep real leaves looking new.  And, since colorful leaves are hard to find down here, when I visit Ohio we will be doing this project.

Here are some Fall word cards to hang in your writing center.

Here is Teach Preschool's collection of scarecrow activities.

Fingerplay Friday- Transportation

This is my favorite transportation finger play.  I use some sign language to go along with the poem.  We made something in art to go along with each line of the poem, so it would be easy to make a class book to go along.


Ships(boats) sail on the water ( cup your hands together, bounce them forward like going over waves)
Planes fly through the air. ( Put pinky finger and thumb out, fold others under, pretend to land plane on other hand)
Cars and trains roll on the land (roll hands around each other)
And take us everywhere. (Put both hands out with palms up)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Literacy Centers- Writing

     Writing, for young children is a playful but purposeful activity.  Doing countless tracing worksheets will not teach a child to write and will probably discourage them from wanting to write.  Here is a site that explains this concept well.  Teaching writing should also be playful and purposeful.  If you are interested in learning more about the stages of writing look at this previous post.  Along with fun group lessons that help children learn to write letters, words, sentences, and stories, I use a writing center as a way to encourage writing, practice writing, and making writing purposeful.  I frequently visit this center to prompt new letter or word uses.  I try to encourage story writing, also.  This will help with reading skills.  If they can write their own story, they can read it back to you.

     In the writing center, children always have access to writing materials including paper, markers (are better for writing), crayons (come in more colors), stamps and ink, scissors, a stapler, and glue sticks.  I sometimes will add stickers or other writing materials.  I add one material each week to the center after we have talked about how to use them, like markers, glue sticks, and caps.  There are labels on everything.  I have used a shelf with baskets to hold materials or those little see through drawers.  It really doesn't matter how you store the materials as long as you have them available.  Last year I up graded my Writing center table to one of the bigger tables that would hold at least 4 people because it was so popular.  Even then, I still had kids pulling materials onto the nearby table and the kitchen area. 
     On the wall, I hang ABC posters for references.  I also hang up a ring of word cards that relate to the theme or month.  I bought a set of posters that had the month with a bunch of related words to cut out.  You can find some neat colored printable words here and here and here.

other additions
This is one of the tools I add to my writing center.  As we talk about each letter, I add this to the center. See my hands on alphabet post to find out what this is.

DIY stamps- stamps are great tools to add to your writing center.  They encourage counting and story telling.  You could use letter stamps also but I save those for my word work center.
Chalk boards are a fun addition to the center.  Directions for Making your own chalk boards

Here is a cute idea for how to make a pizza box into a wipe off board and chalkboard easel.  Did you know they make chalkboard contact paper? 

Here are some other cute ideas.

Neat idea with picture frames. And wipe of crayons are great.  I recently found them on clearance at Walmart for $1.50 a box.  No sticky markers, no staining, and nice colors

For older kids, you could add a writing prompt bag.  Use little toys, like the ones you get in happy meals, to give students something to write about. 

     No matter what you put into your writing center or how it looks, please remember,  this center is to encourage writing skills, not handwriting skills or grammar.  I would never put a worksheet to practice handwriting or have children practice sight words in this center.  Doing this will discourage those who don't have the greatest fine motor skills or those with a lack of interest in words from visiting the center.  If a child shows any interest in making something to take home, you can encourage them to visit the writing center.  A letter to Grandma, a card for Dad's birthday, an I miss you note to Mom, or even a picture to a sibling are all great opportunities to encourage writing.  As you show interest in their stories and pictures, they will keep asking to return to the center for more.  Phonics skills, handwriting skills, and language skills will increase as the child explores the materials.  Scaffolding writing skills is important in this center.  You can write what the child dictates, let the child write some letters they already know, or help the child spell on their own.  It is a way to encourage those children who have come to you with the higher level skills to increase their learning and self esteem.

                                   Here is an example of what can come from encouraging writing.

    This is a first grader who wrote a story and illustrated it to make a book for others to read.  Make sure to read the last page that explains why she wrote the book.
This girl will be graduating from high school this year.  I hope she will be attending college, maybe as a writer.