Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cat Tales

Cat Tales....Field trip--April 16, 2010

Our spring field trip this year was to the local feline zoo--Cat Tales, located right here in Spokane. Ok. So the cats were a little sleepy and non-performing, but would they really be open to the public if they were hissing and clawing the fences to catch the on-lookers? I do admit--that would be kind of cool. We got quite an eyeful of the lion sleeping upside down, so many kudos to the parents that were able to explain that away without missing a I've said before--this age range has quite an eye for detail ;)

Our tour guide instructed the children that they weren't to run during their visit because the cats might think they were food. It was a nice crowd-controlling talk until we saw the signs--they were serious. But like I said before, the cats were a little sleepy, so when we did get a runner, it didn't seem to phase them. They must be used to 30" fur-less creatures smelling of dairy and wheat.

We were told at the beginning to have the kids not sit on the statues throughout the park. But I'm still scratching my head why they have so many along the way that are all small enough for a toddler to mount without help...Obviously not planned by a mother with children that like to climb. So we sneaked a few "rides" in on the cute roosters and plastic lions while we waited for Mr Tiger to bear his claws and teeth.

Definitely not Chuck E Cheese--but it was cute to hear their reactions and give them a chance to follow directions. It also gave the kids a great reference point when we got to our lesson on Lions and Tigers.

There she blows.......

Talk about a rapt audience. They sat down and waited patiently for the show. What the preschool teacher learned from making a bigger volcano.....bigger is not always better. The vinegar didn't penetrate 2 cups worth of baking soda rapidly, so it was the volcano that kept plucking along with a burp and spill here and there. But it held there attention and was the cause of many a squeal.

What a sweet little memory though, right? So--when you do this at home because it was so much fun at preschool...add dishsoap and food coloring to the baking soda and vinegar combination. It should froth and foam like orange lava. But hey--when you're 4 or 5, everything is impressive--just sayin'.

Volcano blowing time.......

Everyone helped in the Volcano construction...

Preschoolers Vs The Volcano....

Ok. So the title was a spoof of the early 90's movie Joe Vs the Volcano with Tom Hanks. I've done volcanoes with past preschool classes and I've always had the preschoolers make their own and then we take them out and disintergrate them. It can get pretty messy and then there's the trash to deal I had this novel idea of having the kids share in making one big volcano this year. It was a great idea until one of my girlie's from last year expressed her displeausure in not having her very own...(Disclaimor for next year: I like the one volcano method and we shouldn't have any problems or false memories in next year's group since there was only one this year ;) But anywhoo--the team effort to deck out the mountain worked like a charm. Parsley became our trees, a few rocks, twigs, weeds, and a few plastic dinosaurs and wala....a Volcano.

We found our Eggs.....April 15, 2010

It was an amazing bright and sunny day. We couldn't have asked for a better day to search for the treasured eggs. We needed the dinosaurs inside the egg to go onto our next project--creating a fossil of our own. We pressed the dinosaur into a round of sand dough and let it dry to create a replica of a real dinosaur. Such fun things to do....

Going on a Egg Hunt....Dinosaur Eggs, that is-- April 15, 2010

We became Paleontologists for the day. Our assignment was to find the baby dinosaur eggs. We had our official name tags and tools (something like a paint brush). Miss Jolinda said there had been a few found in the empty lot across the street. Oh the excitement...I quickly explained that dinosaur eggs look a little like giraffe eggs (hahaha--teachers can get away with that kind of stuff because the students are so trusting and don't know any better ;)

So off we went looking for the fabulous dinosaur eggs. (Thanks to Miss Mary, Samuel's mom, who hid them for us). Everyone found their eggs and their unique dinosaur inside. The weather was perfect and ultra sunny. The funniest thing happened though. We had learned about fossils and how they were imprints in the rocks. There is this huge cement waste pile of sidewalk/driveway, etc. One of the pieces laying on top had a boot footprint in it. The kids were so observant and got really excited because they were convinced that they had found a fossil--yeah, really. One of a work boot of some unknown construction worker. The attention for detail in these little ones is AMAZ-ing.

Cut and Paste...

We do all sorts of remedial activities during class. For some of the kids, scissors were a new tool that somehow, wasn't forbidden, at preschool. During this exercise, we matched the fruit up in pairs. Coloring, cutting and pasting was a three-step process that taught sequential learning and completion. They all did so well and worked independently (for the most part). Occasionally, my perfectionists required my help to cut things out for them, but they are rapidly progressing to the point where they want to do it themselves. Pride has been introduced...yeah. Some of that pride is instinctive and comes with the unique personality--and sometimes it is cultivated by peer influence. I really enjoy hearing the older children (all of a few months....) encouraging others with phrases like: "You can do it...look at what I did" or "Do you need help?" (to which the answer is usually No...) The kids are really enjoying all variety in activities and are learning patience with each other. That makes it so much easier to me, and enjoyable too.

We're Hoppin' at Preschool--March 25, 2010

With Easter being right after Spring break this year, we had to do all of our preschool easter activities the last week of March. It seemed a little premature immediately following St. Patrick's Day, but the kids flowed with the schedule. We are getting to the last 4 alphabet letters and I think the kids sense that we are on the home stretch already. We talked abou the newness of Spring and how Easter was a special time, a time of rebirth and new life. Baby chicks, bunnies, lambs...what cuter babies to make a spring craft project around. We made darling easter baskets from milk jugs. The anticipation was pretty high this day because we got to go on an easter egg hunt for our snacks. I had prepared an egg for each child to find and then Zach and Rachel's mom put the snack for the day in easter eggs and so everyone had to find 4 specific eggs (different sizes). It was so much fun to see them searching for specific sizes and actually leaving eggs for others to find. Children this age are usually pretty greedy with the goodies, but everyone found their eggs (thank goodness).

The Cutest Easter Bunnies.....

Sydney LOVED her bunny! Samuel couldn't wait to take it home.

Jessica wanted her bunny to match her dress (go figure)....

Macy said that real bunnies were white...but she did choose a blue nose :)

Zachary's bunny was bold and tough--big nose and tail. Such a boy!

Mason loves yellow and insisted that was going to be his bunny as well.
Abby loves green, as you may notice. Very cute.
Orange is bright and happy for Rachel.
Blue is the color of choice in most projects for Zachary.
We talked about bunnies in class, can you tell? The kids were pretty impressed that you could make a bunny from a washcloth. I had an assortment of colors and they were pretty definite on what color they wanted before we started. They had to choose pom poms for their noses and tails too. It's amazing how much effort can go into the little details of things. Sometimes they are so decided, then they see how cute somebody's else project turns out--and then they fill choices. But nevertheless--every"bunny" is unique and beautiful!

St Patrick's Day.....A little Blarney at the end of the Rainbow

Saint Patrick's Day...The Irish holiday that American's celebrate so much better than the Irish! (Sidenote: when I was a missionary in Ireland, I was amazed that it was the silly Americans that came over and dyed the River Liffey GREEN and partied down the streets--and the Irish just sat back and watched it as spectators for a day...laughing to themselves the whole time).

Anywhoo---at preschool we were learning about the colors of the rainbow and catching wee leprechauns that hide their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. We made cute rainbows following patterns in Fruit Loops. No one got bored with this project and kept justifying eating the broken cereal. The kids had a great time and we found treats the leprechaun left for us when we came back to school on March 18th!

Zach and Rachel's mom brought the cutest snack...a giant sugar cookie topped with fruit in the colors of the rainbow. We all LOVED it.

Happy Birthday, Dr Seuss!!

March 2nd was Dr. Seuss's birthday. What better reason to have a party at preschool. We read Green Eggs and Ham...and guess what we at for snacks? Green Eggs and Ham. There are so many fun ideas that come from the books that Dr. Seuss wrote, so we dedicated two days to celebrating his birthday and reading his books. We donned our big red bow ties and made tie hats. I had envisioned fat, red stripes to mimic the hat worn by the cat, but alas.....well--you can see that everyone had their own vision of stripes and hats. We practiced rhyming words and made the cutest envelope of the Cat in the Hat to hold the word sets. We are going to be SO ready for big-kid school!!