Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Costume Day at Preschool!! Too much energy and excitement to get everyones' attention at the same time. The individual shots turned out much better.

Trianna---Leopard .......................................Abby----Butterfly

Trevor---------Pirate................................Ethan----Indiana Jones

Zachary------Spiderman..................................Ben------Dr. McBenny

Sini---a Knight/Ninja................................................Cody---Megatron

Alayna---a Purple Princess..........................Blina--Pirate Girl

(Missing: Lilly)
What a busy, energetic day this way. We did play-do, glitter on letter G, played a listening game with the balloons, read a couple Halloween books, had free time, cleaned up the toys-----and then had our party. We played Halloween Bingo and used M&Ms as the markers. Then we used the candy to decorate the pumpkin cookies. Let's just say--some of those pumpkins didn't have any faces (wink, wink). Our Mom Helpers were fabulous and sent awesome treats. We even had "hands" made from popcorn in a clear glove. The ghost suckers were a hit...but if you didn't see them, just look for the stick :)
It's always nice to have a fun day and lots of reasons to enjoy our friends, our families, and our community. Have a happy and safe Halloween. REMEMBER: we have preschool on MONDAY and WEDNESDAY next week instead of Tues/Thurs. The Wednesday class will be on Tues. Just check your monthly calendar. We start Harvest and Scarecrows...which is a lot of fun. See you MONDAY!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ghosts or Goats?

Our letter of the week is letter G. It works rather well this time of the year with Halloween and ghosts just around the corner. I found a cute game on one of the preschool sites that I like really well that was a game getting the children to differentiate in the sounds that letter G makes. All the pictures were put onto ghosts and they were placed in the Haunted House if they started with letter G.
Each of the kids took turns turning the ghosts over to see what was on their tummies. They had to say the object and then sound it out to see if it has the "ga" or "ja" sound that letter G makes. If it did, it went to the big house. If it didn't, it was put on the side of the house.
Here are some of the ghosts that didn't make the cut for the big house :) The kids did a great job in sound recognition in the letters even though we though letter G is only the 7th letter we have worked on this year.

Today we practiced writing our names on the dry erase boards. I got these little boards in a 2-pack at Target at the beginning of the school year for a buck. As a teacher with a lot of learning supplies, these were like manna in the dollar bins because they are so wonderful. All the kids are able to practice and re practice writing the letters of their names on the lined board. They could choose different colors of dry erase pens and wipe it off and start over if they wanted to.

One of the perks of these little boards is the elimination of paper waste. I picked up a variety of colors in the pens and so they were able to mix and match colors. These little guys are so quick in what they learn, but do have short attention spans. After two erases, I said lets do it again. NO!! Monster trucks and Legos were calling them from afar. But it was such an easy practice session in learning to write their names.

Itsy Bitsy Spider......

Spiders. Yum. Two words you don't normally put in the same sentence. But today we did. Ben and his mom made spiders from Hostess Ding Dongs, complete with eyes and legs. It was a struggle to get a picture of them with their treats before everyone ripped the legs out and started devouring the cute spider.
We had lots of ways we learned about spiders. One of them was to talk about what they already know. Eight legs, eight eyes. Hobos, webs, daddy longlegs. Children are so observant and eager to see, feel, and learn more.

As Zachary put it, all the spiders at his house are dead--because they came and sprayed for them. Isn't it amazing how aware and cognizant these kids are of what's going on around them? Spiders. This is the only time of year that I love them. We started our discussion today about spiders with the famous "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song. It's fun to hear how everyone sing it together because they all know it. Then we made a cute craft to go with the song. They colored their "house" and cut it out. Then we turned a bendy straw into the "spout" by stapling it to the house. Spider rings were added so that they could slide up and down the spout between the staples. So as they sang their song, they were able to do the visual demonstration with their spiders. So cute. Some of the kids enhanced their pictures by adding suns and trees. Very thoughtful, don't you think?
We made cute
spiders from pom poms and chenille stems. They decorated the spider legs with colorful beads. Simple spider webs were made by taking a white crayon and having them draw one on black paper. Spiders make the most amazing and beautiful webs. We used the webs from the Spider and the Fly story as our visual illustration of what they should look like.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I've taught preschool for 7 years and I'm continually learning things that incorporate well into my lesson plans and structure. One of these ideas came three years ago when I was a brand-new den leader in Cub Scouts with my boys. The Boy Scouts of America have a structure that you follow for the weekly meetings. The meeting is only 1-1 1/2 hours long--but it's with all boys--and you've only got so long to engage them and keep them focused. Each meeting starts with a gathering activity, because everyone doesn't show up all at the same time.

I don't remember what I was doing in preschool before this concept was introduced to me--but it is WONDERFUL to have an activity that is already prepared for the kids to be doing as everyone is arriving.

So I always leave things on the table for the kids to do, such as puzzles, sorting games, books, tan grams and pattern cards, and one of my favorites--geo boards. These are so cool. They are either square or circular and are pegs that the kids can create designs from with rubber bands. The possible designs are as endless as their imaginations. They are easy to clean up and maintain and come in so many different colors. I like the colored rubber bands to add dimension as well. It holds their attention just long enough not to become boring and unusable. They are developing thinking skills...planning, plotting, and designing a look all the while of building fine motor skills as well.

Pumpkins and more Pumpkins!!

On Wednesday, the preschoolers made the cutest pumpkins from some of the most unlikely "ingredients"....

We started with a roll of toilet paper. I cut the orange construction paper into 1" strips and then started the kids making theirs by centering the paper and tucking the ends into the center of the toilet paper roll. They went all the way around the toilet paper with the orange paper and then we made the stems by twisting half a piece of green construction paper and pushing it into one side of the roll. They were simple and turned out awesome. Gotta love fool-proof crafts (that's for the teacher's sake ;) I forgot where I got this idea (Family Fun magazine or another cute blog...), but please know that I used it as the highest form of a compliment to the originator. It was fantastic and easy for little hands.

Even the youngest in our group, Cooper, loved this project. I told everyone that they should go home and set their pumpkins on the kitchen table as a Fall decoration. One of the boys, Zachary, said that he wasn't going to put his there because they already had a pumpkin there! Now there's a thinker.... I wonder where it ended up? [Just remember not to throw this craft away--it's the ultimate recycled craft, if you know what I mean...]

For an activity about pumpkins becoming jack-o-lanterns, I cut pumpkins from pieces of orange felt. I cut shapes for the pumpkin faces from black felt and gave each of the kids their own set. They could randomly make faces and come up with their own marvelous creations. It was a hit and we had some great faces to show for it.

Some more cute pumpkin faces...

So many fun activities and learning came in our theme this week. With so much orange and black, it was a definite change of scenery when we decorated the Letter F for our books with green frogs. I just couldn't do orange fish with so much orange in all of our other activities.

It was a week of pumpkins and more pumpkins!! On Tuesday, we started our day with the Five Little Pumpkins swinging on a gate finger play and story. For the craft, we cut out pumpkins and glued them to our fences.

Count the Seeds into a Pumpkin was another great activity.

We played a counting game using miniature pumpkins. Each pumpkin had a spoon with a number written on it.
The kids had to count the pumpkin seeds from the bowl of the number on the spoon. So the kids had to recognize the the seeds on the spoon and then drop them into the pumpkin. They we tried the pumpkin seeds. I thought nobody would like them...but only one or two didn't. Yummy!
After the seeds were in the pumpkins, the kids had a great time shaking them to make some noise.

Look--we are counting!!

Walter's Fruit Ranch--Field Trip

Sunshine Preschool goes to Walter's Fruit Ranch--October 21, 2010.

It started out as a very foggy morning in Spokane for our field trip to the pumpkin patch at Walter's Fruit Ranch in Greenbluff. But it turned into a perfect morning for our adventures through the orchard and pumpkin patch. The sun was very bright and getting the kids to stare into blinding light for photo ops was our only challenge--but so worth it, in the end, don't you think? :)

Pumpkins!! All the kids got to choose their very own sugar pie pumpkin to take home as a token of their adventures at Walter's Fruit Ranch. Picking just the right pumpkin required a lot of searching. Each little one found the one that was just right for them! What fun memories they'll have.
(The tractor ride)

Farmer Danny took us on a tractor ride through the apple trees. He showed us the most popular apples in the world--the Red Delicious (also known as King Red) and the Golden Delicious. We learned how the blossoms were pollinated by bees and flying bugs and how the apples grow. He explained how the trees go dormant in the winter (tap a nap) and how they wake up in the spring. He showed us the best way to pick an apple from the branch and let us get our very own apples. They were delicious.
(Trevor and his mom)
(Trianna and her mom)

(Abby and her brother, Josh)

(Ben and his sister, Leah)


Ever just want to sing--"Oh, what a beautiful morning--oh, what a beautiful day!" This was a great learning experience out of the classroom. All the kids were so well-behaved and attentive. We were able to see and hear about so many different aspects of farming and harvesting. After we tried apple butter and some juicy apples peeled by a special tool, we also toured the Cider House and learned about how they press ("smash and squish" in preschool vernacular) the apples to make the yummy juice. There are so many different ways that we can consume an apple--juice, cider, sauce, butter, sliced, whole, and on, and on, and on. There are tons of different kinds of apples with their own unique crispness and flavors. Apples are a super food. They are not only delicious and sweet, but a great food that helps keep us energetic and healthy!!

(Ben's family)

And much to my delight, the kids already knew the answer to what was "inside" the apple, from our story the other day--a star! And just like Johnny Appleseed explained best--you can count apples, but you can't count the number of apples in an apple! Just one seed as the potential to produce thousands of more apples if planted, fertilized, and nurtured properly. Our kids are like the apples--so much potential and wonder in something so small! What a great reminder and a wonderful day!!