Monday, March 26, 2012

emm en emm oh peeee

Learning content with music works like magic - if it's learned the right way.  The "ABC" song is one of the first ways many kiddos become familiar with the alphabet.  We sing it almost daily at preschool and it's one of the most requested songs I receive from the students.  

My one complaint about our traditional ABC song (same tune as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star") is that the middle of the alphabet (L,M,N,O,P) is sung rhythmically faster than all the other letters, usually making for some comical jumbled versions of the song (as sung by a 3 year old, hence the title of this post).  When I sing it with the students I usually slow down at letter L and sing very slowly for those poor letters that get jumbled together.   I also try to find other ways to sing the alphabet throughout the year,  and doing it backwards with your pre-kindergarten age students is quiet a brain workout!

All that to introduce our exploration of L, M, N, O & P (which was done slowly and deliberately - please forgive me for this epic post!).

Letter L 

Activities can be found in my post "lion around".

Letter M

"5 Little Monkeys" Printable found here

I printed and laminated the monkeys and numbers then added magnets to the back.  I put them on our magnetic easel and let the students play.  The kiddos are all familiar with the finger play so using the pictures to say the rhyme was a smooth transition.  We also pulled the monkeys into transition activities and class discussions about the letter "M".

Marble Painted "M"

 Painting with marbles is lots of fun!  

#1 Place the construction paper (ours had the letter "M" traced on it) into a plastic container.  

#2 Choose several colors of paint to squeeze onto the paper

#3 Add some marbles

#4 Put the lid on the container 

#5 Shake, rattle, and roll!
#7 Remove paper from container & let dry.

#8 Cut out your "M" : )

M & M Painting (as seen at Teach Preschool)

Sort, add water, soak then paint!  Note: The picture of the toothpaste, toothbrush, and soap was a different activity for the day that was accidentally pulled into our M&M painting by my assistant.  I'm still cracking up that we painted our "health" page with candy!

Letter N

N is for Name:  I already had the circles with letters from our names written on them from a previous activity.  We took those letters and glued them on a large "N", practicing spelling our names. 

Nuts and Bolts:  
These are a great counter/sorter/fine motor toy that I found from a catalog a few years back.  The nuts and bolts are different sizes, shapes and colors.  At a center area I placed colored paper on trays for the kiddos to sort our nuts and bolts toys onto.

For a group game we sorted all the nuts then counted and compared which color had the most and least.

Letter O

O Art:  I had lots of random left-overs in my "O" file so I decided to put all the pieces out on our art table with scissors and glue.  The kiddos had a great time gluing and cutting while talking about "O". 

We also used some left-over Cheerios to decorate our "O's" one day.


Letter P

Penguin Pajama Party!  
This group of kiddos is totally into dramatic play.  My assistant and I created a space in our classroom to celebrate penguin style.  
At the party:
  • Penguins
  • Pajamas (the kiddos worked really hard to pull them on over their clothes - we strongly encouraged them putting on the pj's by themselves)
  • Party plates, napkins, cups, etc.
  • Pompoms
  • Pears, Pineapple, and all sorts of other "food" from our kitchen : )

Purple Puffy Paint P's

We painted large "P" with purple puffy paint (a mixture of shaving cream, glue, and paint).  Fun!

Hope you enjoyed our alphabet fun - and hope L, M, N, O, & P got sorted out of their usual jumble ; )

Miss Eileen

Saturday, March 10, 2012

more February fun

I realize February is a thing of the past (where does the time go???), but here are some other activities we did while learning about friends, Valentines, and more.

Sensory Fun, Pom-Poms, Tongs, and Muffin Tins:
This is a great activity for all sorts of learning.  At this center I observed:
Dramatic Play:  Lots of pretend baking going on!  The students used the tray under our sensory table for the "oven".
Math: Sorting by color, counting, and one-to-one correspondence
Fine-Motor practice: using the tongs to pick up the pom-poms and place them in the muffin tins
Social Skills: I had three muffin tins (play is limited to 3 students at a time) but one was different (the stars/hearts mold) which led to the students negotiating sharing options.

Math, Mailboxes, Hearts, and Numbers:
(inspired by a post at Teach Preschool): 
On this table I placed mailboxes, small plastic hearts, and magnetic numbers.  The mailboxes and plastic hearts were Target finds (the hearts are table decor, to put in flower arrangements, etc.) 

I would set the center up in the morning with the numbers on the mail boxes and my older students would start by putting the correct amount of hearts in the boxes. 

 By the time my younger students got to this center there was lots of dumping, pouring, sorting, taking lids on and off, etc. 

Later in the week I added construction paper hearts to sort the small plastic hearts onto. 

Magnetic Valentine Bears 
(A Target or $ Store find... I don't remember ):  I've been using my magnetic easel as a one student activity place.  I put it in a place in the room away from the other centers so students can work solo.  It's nice to have a place in the classroom for students to disengage from group play when needed.  It's also a good place to redirect a kiddo who might be having trouble getting along with friends.

Fine Motor, Weaving/Tying:  
Um, ya - I was inspired (again) by Teach Preschool, but this was a center did not work as planned.  Instead of weaving the strings through the dish drainer mat (found at the $ store) my students tied up our table!  This table actually belongs to our Children's Ministry Dpt. at our church - it's a hippo (I think) - and has "eyes"  and "nostrils" on the top with holes through the middle.  It's also slatted so the strings pulled through the spaces in the boards quite nicely.   There was lots of looping and tying fun so I let it happen until it got out of control.  We will definitely have to try weaving again (on a different kind of table - ha!)
Group Game, Heart Alphabet Match:
I'm always on the hunt for ways to play games with preschoolers in a group setting.  This game I came up with on the fly.   
Here's how to play:

*Grab a set of matching cards (I used these alphabet cards I made from dye cut hearts and stickers).
*Students sit, or lay on tummies,  in a circle (I just figured out that laying on tummies is great for keeping bodies from lunging forward into the circle to point or grab).
*The teacher lays  the cards one at a time, face up, in the middle of the circle.  
*The students watch carefully for a match to come up.  If a match is spotted, they say the name of the letter, the first one to say the name gets the match.
*Students collect matches until all the cards are gone!

Note: I helped out students who were not as fast at recognition as others, if someone had a lot of matches we shared our answers and matches with someone who didn't have many.  The goal of games in preschool should not be to win, but to encourage participation and success for the whole group.