Sunday, February 20, 2011

T is for Turtle

We've had a busy week with Valentine's day activities for two of our three days. We glued "trees" to Letter T for our alphabet books. There are so many things that start with letter T that would make for great lesson material, but I came across something I haven't done before and got a little excited about how it would turn out. Turtles.

I was at Costco earlier in the week and saw these new children's books that are in the shape of animals and creatures. They were really cool and had cute stories on the inside. I decided that a day of learning about Turtles in preschool might be a lot of fun--for me and the kids. The story was about how lucky the turtle is to always have a home to go to. Kids can relate to some of those basic necessities at such a young age.

We are nearing the end of the alphabet and are working on letter T. Perfect! We've been learning about the scheduled topic, transportation, over the last few days with Mail carriers and buses. Turtles. Yep, that would be something that follows with the letter of the week and make for some cute crafts and games.
I found some of these great activities at and These websites are becoming some of my best resources for ideas in a pinch. I was surprised at how much these little ones knew about turtles already. [Thank you, Discovery Channel ;) I saw the saw the same program that Alayna was describing about the turtles crawling on the beach and burying their eggs in the sand.] Turtles are simple creatures. We learned how they are reptiles, that they lay eggs like birds, and use their shells as a means of protection.
We made a little turtle necklace, using milk caps as the hard body. The beads were a fun way to add color and keep little hands busy as we talked about some of the traits of a turtle.
We ran out of time on Thursday to finish our cute turtles made from paper bowls. Mr Lincoln will have to share a few minutes with us on Tuesday, so that the kids can decorate the "shells" with hard split peas and add the soft body inner body.
Turtles are interesting creatures and the kids enjoyed spending some time learning about them.

Valentine's Day

We were hopping today. We decorated our mailbox containers for our Valentine's Day cards. [As I scrolled through the camera card, I realized that we must have been busy, because I didn't have many pictures :S]
It was a day of hearts. Hearts to decorate with, color, and frost. Each of the kiddos got 4 miniature heart cookies to frost and decorate with sprinkles.

It was a low-key Valentine's party by festive standards, but we had a lot of fun getting our "mail" in the right boxes and taking all of our treats home. I hope everyone felt the love when you got your sweet pictures in the mail, the other day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chocolate Fun

One, Two, Three....Four boys on Valentine's Day. What to do, what to do. I did what any sane preschool teacher would do. I melted a pound of chocolate and let them go at it with pretzels, marshmallows, strawberries, and fondue centers.

Rule #1: No double dipping. That includes food, fingers, and finite objects. As I was showing them how to use the skewer to dip the goodies with--you'd have thought they had all done this many times. Excitement for a project tends to create "know-it-alls"--no exceptions here.

I was actually surprised how well the strawberries looked after they were twisted, twirled, and turned in the chocolate. Each boy talked about how much their moms were going to love these treats. I had a little feeling that some of the moms wouldn't see the red side of the strawberry though.

It was a task well done. The results were delicious and looked appetizing as well. They quickly found out that anything to the mouth meant it couldn't go on the pan to dry. But I ask you: How do you break a marshmallow?
Rule #2: Broken pretzels must be dipped in chocolate and eaten.
Rule #3: One strawberry for the tummy and three to take home. (It was a bargain for the work and the pretzels).

The concentration was palpable today. I'm sure that this could be categorized into "eye-hand coordination", gross motor activity, counting, know, the typical preschool curriculum stuff. But today was just about fun and feeling the LoVe!! It was a fantastic way to celebrate our Valentine's Day together.

Love Letters from Preschool

On Thursday, February 10th, we talked about how transportation is very important to everything we do and take for granted. Mail carriers are critical to communication and helping deliver our trusted letters.

We started making our mailboxes for the upcoming Valentine's Day party and we wrote/drew a picture of something we loved.

I had the parents address the envelopes when they dropped their little ones off for preschool that morning and then, when the pictures were done, the kids put them into the envelopes. We talked about how important the stamp is in making the letter go where it needs to.

So I hope you enjoyed the cute letters from your little ones!

The Wheels on the Bus......

I juggled a couple of days around and started the Transportation unit with the Wednesday class talking about vehicles with Buses! I saw the cutest idea where they used a yellow folder as the bus that incorporated the song The Wheels on the Bus. I just happened to have several of those fabulous folders ready to use and decided the boys would have a great time. And they did!

The boys had a lot of fun making their people for the ride on the bus. I just cut out skin-toned circles and had them color faces on them. I hot-glued the circle to a Popsicle stick and slit lines in the folder beneath the windows so that they could to the "people on the bus go up and down" by using the stick to create the motions. We added wipers and wheels that turned (courtesy of brads). We were humming the song the whole time. One of the boys told me that we needed the bus driver to complete the project and the part of the song that goes: "move on back, move on back." He obviously has a great need to "detail" in his bus line.
Inside the yellow folder, I assembled the booklet that I found at one of my favorite preschool links and copied one for each boy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our Amazing Bodies

Today we learned how each of our bodies has an engine that makes it go--and that's the Heart! It's an amazing muscle and I had each of the kids make a fist to see the approximate size of their own hearts. They could feel it moving and working when they put their hands on their chests.
With the heart being the engine, it has to have ways of getting the power around our bodies. We looked at our arms to see the shadows of veins. Veins are amazing things. Everyone has 2 sets-- a coming and a going set.

Just like the picture in the book, the kids drew the veins around their body pattern, showing how the vessels return to the heart to be filtered and get more oxygen. Blue is the used blood and the red is the clean blood that is ready to go.

Everyone had their own interpretation of how the veins are laid out, even after I showed them pictures of the network. But--it's still very much just a "concept" at this age.

One of the things that our hearts do is make it possible for all the other organs in our bodies to work. So we discussed our amazing bodies with a booklet I found at The book was awesome! It took a little while to assemble, but it was cut to show the different categories of organs and how they are all supported by the skeleton.

I told everyone to color in their skin and hair with a cute face on the front. I got exactly what I asked for :)

As we talked about the colors and purposes of some of the organs, I was often corrected. "Pink" organs were readily accepted by the girls, but some of the boys were whole-heartily convinced that their organs were red or blue--no matter what!

Sorting Hearts

Today we had a fun sorting activity using little heart erasers. Each of the kids was given a handful of hearts and they had to count them into their trays.

In case you noticed, girls have pink trays and boys have blue trays--as requested ;)

I called out numbers and they placed them in their trays. The tray only had 10 slots, so I didn't call any numbers past 10, but they were pretty quick about getting the correct number of hearts into the tray.

This was a great activity until we had a "heart attack"!! A couple of rapid counters started targeting diligent workers with hearts.
All I can say--it was great while it lasted :) But it was a great leeway into our story today.
After the number calling was over and everyone had a chance to make some patterns with their hearts, we read a cute story called The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond (same author who wrote the If you Give a Mouse a Cookie....books).

It helped introduce the idea of making special notes and Valentine's for those people we care about and associate with. The little girl was so thoughtful and used all of her special hearts. So watch for some special love notes from your little one in the next few days.

More Fun with Tangrams

I know that I've commented before about how much I love Tan grams. In honor of Chinese New Year, I had these out on the table for the kids to play with before we got started for the day. We haven't had them out in a while, so the kids took a renewed interest to them and really focused on their individual pictures.

There is such a variety of patterns for the shapes to fit onto, that there is something of interest for everyone. Flowers, robots, trains, and teddy bears magically appear.

I divvy out the shapes into little bowls and the kids share them as they work on their own tan grams. Everyone is at different skill levels, but this is one of those activities that everyone does awesome with!