Thursday, December 23, 2010

5 Senses- Gingerbread Man theme this week

What fun we are having but whew, so many ideas and so much to do before Christmas.  My class has one birthday each month for all of the friends that have a birthday in a particular month.  Today was THAT day.  We have 9 December birthday friends.  I have my birthday friend parents pick something to help with a simple party and we take pictures, play a game, sing the birthday song and have cup cakes all in about 30 minutes.  It is a whirlwind of fun.  The children have seemed to really enjoy it.  I started doing this several years ago when I realized how many cup cakes per month we could actually have to endure.  Saves my sanity and makes it alot more fun. 

Now on to the Gingerbread man senses week.  It is always one of my favorites, and if there were more weeks between the Thanksgiving and Christmas break it could definitely last longer.  We read many different versions of the story of the gingerbread man.  I love doing senses at Christmas because our senses are stimulated by all sorts of sounds, sights, smells, tastes and things to touch. 
There are a gazillion wonderful websites with gingerbread activities on them, and most of the things I do come from one of those, though occasionally I have a brainstorm.  I actually had one this week by accident. 
I had done a whole bowl of different punches for patterning, which I had read about doing last year.  I made way to many and thought it might be fun to cut out a paper tree and get out some glue sticks and have the children decorate the tree.  It was a hit.  They were not required to participate it was just out there and they would come by glue a few on and move on.  We added sticky bows as well because I had a bag I had purchased to use in the paint center this week.  Yes we dipped our bows in red and green paint and painted with them.  Very pretty!!!!! 
A few years ago I bought some clearance gingerbread men place mats at Target.  I planned to just use them in the class a s a giant Gingerbread man, but then I had the idea to sew velcro on the back and let the children use buttons, and trim and stuff to decorate them.  They have been fun ever since.  I think you could make your own either using felt or fabric with velcro on it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The wise men gave--------

A quick idea or 2 before Christmas..... December and November were so busy I am hoping to post some ideas and add pictures between Christmas and New Years.  
My class is big on drawing pictures for class made books.  It try to come up with many ideas because those books are the favorite to read during rest time.  Not enough to go around yet, but as the year continues more will be added.  The favorite right now is How many apples on top.  I got the idea from a teaching website.  I take a picture of the child's face and glue it to a paper.  On the top of the paper I type _________ has ______ apples on top.  They roll the dice to see how many apples they will draw on top of their head.  At the bottom I write   ___ apples are on the ground.   They again roll the dice to draw on the bottom of the page.  Lesson on math and spatial awareness. 
At Christmas I use to do this little Wise man page with 3 blank squares.  The children would paste gold paper on one, squirt perfume on another and a little spice on another.  We then would take 3 squares of wrapping paper and tape them over the gifts at the top to make a flap.  We added little mini stick on bows and I would write for them the gifts of the wise men  gold, frankincense and myrrh.  This year I had a little brain storm to make a class book but ended up letting the children take their page home.  At the top I had typed out  The Wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.   There was a big square in the middle of the page and at the bottom I wrote  If I could give baby Jesus a gift I would give him_________.
I was amazed to find that only one child wanted to give him toys.  One wanted to give him milk, several wanted to give him a flower, and I don't remember everything they said but it was cute.  The children drew a picture in the box of what we would give and then we taped a big square of wrapping over for the flap and put a bow on our present.  I could not figure out how to make it last as a book, but when I do we will keep them in class next year. 

One quick little idea.  Home made play dough, if your little ones are getting fresh play dough make it homemade.  IT lasts longer, and works better.  You can even make surprise play dough by poking a hole in the middle and putting a few squirts of food color in the middle.  When the children squeeze their play dough it will make a color as they mix the coloring in.  Don't put too many squirt 3 little ones is enough to give color and not make a huge mess.  My favorite recipe is:
My Favorite Play dough Recipe
(this is a double batch)
2 Cup flour
1 Cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tarter
2 T. oil
2 Cup water
food color or unsweet koolaide (for smelly play dough)
Put dry ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir in water and oil and coloring, while cooking over med heat. Cook until mixture comes away from the pan and begins to ball up. Store in air tight container. Keeps for a very long time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

5 things about my job, I missed a week or two

I still love my job, and one of the things I love is when the children are reciting the pledge of allegiance, a Bible verse, or anything, they have their own words they use.  They don't exactly hear the words that are actually used.  As I think about it to share, I only remember when my nephew was small he thought that Jesus froze rather than rose.  Children put a whole new spin on almost everything.  2. I love my classroom.   It is a comfortable size.   3. I love my teacher friends because they share and care with each other 4. I love the fun Christmas stuff we are doing right now 5. I love that the children are glad to see me each morning and do not want to leave early because they might miss something.  How thankful I am to work in the enviornment I do, There is no place like it in the world.

the First Thanksgiving/ a little history for for PreK

Well a fun week last week, we turned a table upside down to become pilgrims and sail to the new land.  I never got around to taking pictures but it was fun.  I have collected some good info to use with preschool children on the pilgrims coming to America.  We talked about what they would need to take for such a long journey and has some awesome resources to help with that.  We talked about how the boys and girls had to leave all their toys behind and they played with things on the ship.  We had food, dishes, suit case, clothes and other things that you might need to pack if you were sailing across the ocean to a new land.   Another great resource is from  in their printable books they have a book called Pilgrim, Pilgrim.  It is a great very simple resource for the Pilgrims story.  In block center we used lincoln logs to represent the homes the pilgrims might have built after their arrival. 
We added a tee pee to our home living and the Mayflower left about mid week and we talked about how they had help from Native Americans and how they helped them learn about some new crops to grow.  They worked together and celebrated the First Thanksgiving in the new country.  We made Indian head bands with feathers out of sentence strips.  I wanted the activity to be a math center activity so I cut triangles, circles and rectangles out of many colors of paper.  I told the children we needed to make a pattern out of the shapes.  I did not want to worry about the colors because I wanted their head bands to be very colorful.  It was very interesting how some children not only patterned the shapes but also the colors.  Some patterned the way they placed their triangles and rectangles as well.  It turned out to be a great patterning math activity.  Random thoughts to teach often turn out the best.
Our school is a Christian school and for us this whole month has been learning about praying and thanking God for all he gives.  We read a book that was called  I  am Thankful Each Day. It was a great book to use to help the children think of the small and grand things in life all around us to be thankful for.