Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We're Goin To The Zoo!

How About You?

For the past couple of weeks, we have introduced the theme of zoo animals. Animals are lots of fun--the kids can practice imitating different sounds by making animal noises (I *love* snakes because it helps to teach the "SSSSS" sound to kids who have trouble!) and they can move like animals (stomping like elephants or hopping like kangaroos are fun ways to transition the students from centers and activities).

Some of the vocabulary items are also great for articulation skills! (Articulation is basically how we form our speech sounds). Many of our students leave off whole syllables in words, so "elephant" becomes "ephant," "kangaroo" becomes "kagoo." The zoo theme is an awesome time to model these multisyllabic words and to have the kids practice!! Do this by emphasizing the missing syllable-- "e-LE-phant" "kan-GA-roo" or clapping out the different syllables. 

The room is all set up for the theme.

Our bulletin board is set up with vocabulary pictures

we are learning: monkey, elephant, giraffe, tiger, snake, bear, zebra, panda, lion, kangaroo, crocodile (or alligator), camel.

Our library is chock full of zoo books

Our kitchen table has a zoo animal table cloth.

We've also got some posters up around the room and lots and lots and lots of toy animals and puzzles for the students to play with.

During circle time in the first week of our zoo theme, we read one of the zoo books, "My Baby," in honor of Mother's Day :)
We also sang the song "Going to the Zoo" by Raffi, which is a fun song that talks about a couple of zoo animals, plus Mama took us to the zoo--another nod to Mother's Day!

The zoo theme brought lots of fun activities, including fun books and games, making zebras, lions and giraffes, and lots more!!



Monday, May 17, 2010

Farm Wrap Up!

It's been a busy couple of weeks and we did a lot of different farm activities. Here are a couple we did before moving on to our zoo animal theme!

Cotton Sheep:

We ripped up cotton balls (to work on our fine motor skills!), dipped them in glue and glued them to our sheep. They turned out nice and fluffy!

Match Up Hide and Seek
This is a cool book from Discovery Toys that we looked at during our small group rotations. It was great to work on our farm vocabulary, as well as to teach the concept of half/whole. The students took turns as we read the book figuring which animal was on each page and then finding each half and making it whole. One page flips out and is magnetic, adding to the magic of the book!

Our class also played some fun bingo games, we colored some farm pictures and played some fun animal sounds games.
Our next theme is zoo---"We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo! How about you, you, you?"



Spots on the Cows!

Our cows looked a little plain, so we needed to put some spots on them. We also practiced some fine motor skills by using our little muscles in our fingers to rip some paper.

Vocabulary- cow
Colors- black
Fine Motor- ripping
Hand-Eye Coordination

First, we gathered our materials-
photocopies of cows, black paper cut into squares, glue

The students requested their cow (I want a cow) and we talked about how we needed some black spots to put on them.
Next, the students requested their black paper for the cows' black spots (I want black paper). We showed the students how to use just their finger tips to rip up the black paper into smaller pieces. Some students needed more help than others, as they tried to rip using all of their fingers.

Then, we squeezed a little bit of glue onto each black spot and the students used their fingers to put them onto their cow. This was also a chance to practice hand-eye coordination, as there were already places to put the spots; they could aim the spots for those blank spots!



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Farm Counting Book

One of my goals this year is to work on pre-math skills, including counting, number recognition and simple math. During our Farm theme, we worked on some of these skills by making counting books.

Vocabulary-farm animals
Counting to 5-Use of Touch Math
Fine Motor Skills

We gathered our materials-
 copies of the farm book (I copied a picture of a barn I found on Kinderplans and then added some text and drew in the Touch Math numbers and circles for the stickers) and stickers bought at a teacher's supply store.

The students requested their books (I want a book) and we went through reviewing the numbers and counting the dots on the numbers and the circles. They requested their animal sticker (I want a pig; I want a sheep etc) and we counted as we put them on their fingers. The students then used the little muscles in their fingers to take their stickers, plus their hand-eye coordination to stick them right onto the circles.
We repeated this for all 5 pages. And, don't forget, fingers are very helpful in counting to 5!!

Please let me know what you think--I love to read your comments!



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pigs in the Mud!

One of our first projects during our farm theme were our perfectly pink pigs. They helped us reinforce the vocabulary word, as well as teach the basic concepts of clean and dirty. And they are very cute, too...just look at his face--he knows he was a naughty dirty pig!

Vocabulary-pig, mud
Basic Concepts- clean, dirty

We started by gathering our materials- clean, pink pigs pre-cut out (I can't remember where I found the original picture, but I blew it up to be pretty big!), brown paint, paintbrushes, green paper and glue.

The next step was to talk about the pigs as the students requested them (I want a pig) and glued them onto their green paper. We used descriptive words, like pink and, of course, clean!
We talked about what pigs like to do best (besides eating...)--rolling in the mud!

Next, they requested the brown paint (I want paint) and got to painting. As they painted, it was a great time to sneak in some body part vocabulary by having the kids paint the mud onto the pig's feet, tail, head, nose, etc. They could paint the mud on any way they wanted.
Now, our pigs weren't clean any more---they were nice and dirty!!

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Big Red Barn

I love Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown!

It's such a simple book jam packed with farm vocabulary. It's especially nice to listen to on tape--very soothing and keeps the kids' attention.
We listened to this book during our circle time. Then, during small groups, we made our own big red barn!

Fine Motor

First, we gathered our materials--blank barns, pre-cut out animals, glue and crayons. We reviewed the vocabulary items with the children.

Next, the students requested their animals ("I want a pig") and glued it onto their barn any way they wanted.
When all the animals were home in their barn, the children were able to color.
Our beautiful big red barns!

Please leave a comment--I always love to know what you think!


Down On The Farm!

Our theme for the last couple of weeks has been the Farm! We did lots of fun activities and our room was set up to help expose the kids to the vocabulary as much as possible.

First, we set up our vocab bulletin board with our words:

barn, farmer, tractor, dog, pig, horse, duck, sheep, cow, chicken, goat, rooster.
We reviewed the words every day.

Our library was stocked with farm books
including "Colors On The Farm."

Our kitchen area had a farm tablecloth
We also had posters around the room
At circle time, we sang songs like "Grandpa's Farm" by Raffi and our own "Cow, Cow, What Do You See."
The kids also had lots of chances to play with farm toys!
The Farm is always such a fun theme for the students! Lots of fun vocabulary, plus animal sounds to make!