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!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Beautiful Butterflies

During circle time, we talked a lot about butterflies. We looked at our bulletin board to review the vocabulary. We also used the fun and simple song "Look at the Butterflies" from Deborah Stewart's blog Little Fingers That Play. I printed up the pages from the visuals on the website and I did my best to sing the song. It's a great song to talk about the vocabulary (butterfly) and to sneak in some counting to 5!

Then, in small group rotations, we painted some beautiful butterflies!

Concepts- half/whole; same

First, we gathered our materials--
A variety of paints (we eventually put into cups), paintbrushes, butterfly patterns that were pre-cut and folded in half

Now, when I made the sample butterfly, I added the paint by squeezing straight from the bottle. 
There were a few problems with that, so we brainstormed a bit and decided it would work just as well to have the students use paint brushes!

We started with the students requesting their butterfly (I want a butterfly). We talked about how they were folded in half and opened them up to show they whole butterfly. We talked about how they were only going to paint on one half. We even covered up the other half to give them help.
Then, they got to painting. They requested the paint (I want red; I want blue, etc). They could paint any way they wanted, but we did try to encourage that they copy some forms, like circles and lines and eyes.
 Then, they folded the butterfly in half again and spread the paint around.

We found that they had to do this quickly because the paint dried pretty quickly and stuck the butterfly together!
We opened up the butterfly again to show the whole butterfly. We talked about how cool and magical it was that both halves looked the same!

Our butterflies came out very beautifully and we had them fly onto our windows to be displayed!

I love getting feedback, so please leave a comment!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ladybug Counting Book

One of my professional goals this year is to have more math activities, like counting, number recognition and simple adding and subtraction. Since this is a speech and language class, I try to get creative with mixing our speech and language goals with pre-academic activities. It's gotten easier in time, though --it's a matter of taking our vocabulary themes and using them in different activities!

So, for our Springtime/Bugs theme, why not count the spots on ladybugs?

Pre-math- counting to 5; TouchMath
Fine Motor

First, we gathered our materials--

Enough counting books for the students and some red stickers (labels I got from Office Depot).
The book needed a little prep work. The original ladybug was taken from abcteach. We photocopied it 5 times and used White-Out to get rid of as many ladybug spots as we needed so that there was 1 on the first ladybug, 2 on the second and so on. I added the text and numbers.

We also used the concept of TouchMath. TouchMath is a multisensory approach to teaching math.That's why there are little dots on each number.

Each student requested their book (I want a book) and we reviewed each page, counting the dots and looking at the numbers. Then, they got to sticking!!
They requested the red dots and had many chances to practice counting--as we put the stickers on their fingers and as they put the stickers on their ladybugs, all the way from 1 to 5.
Fingers are a great way to teach counting to 5!!

I would also suggest using the Little Ladybug song from Little Fingers That Play! It's another way to talk about the vocabulary "ladybug" while counting.

Please leave a comment--I love to hear what you have to say!!


In the Tall Tall Grass

I really love the book "In the Tall Tall Grass" by Denise Flemming! -- It's a great way to talk about different kinds of bugs and other backyard creatures (although I don't think I'd like to have a snake in my backyard...), there are fun onomatopoeic* words, (my favorite being ritch ratch!) and there are lots of opportunities for the children to hear, identify and use rhyming words (the bees hum strum and drum).

 The other great thing is the main creature that we follow along each page is a caterpillar, so not only do they get lots of chances to learn the vocabulary, they also get a chance to practice using multisyllabic words! A lot of our students have trouble saying all syllables in words. Caterpillar, having four syllables, can be hard to say--some kids may say "capillar" or even just "capar." Talking about the ca-ter-pill-ar many times, clapping each syllable and emphasizing each syllable will help the student say the whole word.

We used "In the Tall Tall Grass" during both circle time and small group rotations this week to help teach the students bug vocabulary!

Vocabulary- bugs, caterpillar, bee, bird
Literacy skills
Requesting (for example- I want a bee)
Phonological awareness (rhyming)
Fine motor

For starters, we read the book during circle time, following the caterpillar through the tall grass and looking at all the critters he encounters until the moon comes out. We labeled the vocabulary items and matched them to the pictures on our vocabulary bulletin board. This was also a great time to ask the complicated question "which animals are not on the board?" (like snakes, moles, bats, etc)

Then, during small groups, the students got to make their own tall tall grass scene!
We gathered our materials-
 brown paper for our dirt, left over Easter grass, die cut flowers, a variety of bug stickers and stamps, glue

The students requested their grass (I want grass) and glued it on, and some flowers too. Then they requested their bugs (I want a bee, I want a spider, etc). We snuck in a counting activity by having the students hold out their fingers as we put the stickers on their fingers--1, 2, 3, 4, 5! (I love how fingers make for the perfect counting prop!!) Then they put them onto their scene, using those little muscles in their fingers.

We had a lot of fun making our own little world for bugs!

*Big kudos for you if you give me the definition of an onomatopoeia!! :)

Please leave a comment to let me know what you think! I love hearing what you have to say!!


Planting seeds

Springtime is a time of growing! So, why not plant some seeds?
We decided to plant beans because they seemed to grow so easily and quickly!


We started with gathering our materials-

cups, soil, beans to plant, water, sequencing pictures. the pencil was used to put a hole at the bottom of the cups to let the water escape.

We reviewed our sequencing pictures to show the students how the plants would grow, and to practice our sequencing skills (first, next, then, last). First we put the seed in the dirt, next we add water, then we put it in the sun, last it starts to grow!
The kids got to add their soil to their cups, then push their finger in to make a hole for the seed. We also poured in some water. Then we waited!!
They started growing kind of quickly when we checked in
We were in for a nice surprise when we came back from Spring Break!
Parents--watch out this week because they will be sent home pretty soon!

I love reading your comments, so please let me know what you think!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Raining on our Rainbows

This is a fun (and pretty) activity I borrowed from Deborah's blog. It was too cool to pass up! I figured it was a perfect activity to do during our spring theme while talking about rainbows and rain!

Fine motor--coloring with correct grasp; squeezing
Vocabulary-rainbow, rain

We gathered our materials-

paper towels, markers, spray bottle with water, tape

First, the students requested their towels (I want a paper towel) and their markers
They colored their paper towels any way they wanted, but were encouraged to draw spring time items, like rainbows, bugs, etc.

When they were done, we went outside to enjoy the beautiful springtime weather and taped the towels onto the wall
They took turns requesting the squirt bottle (I want water/I want rain) and let it rain on their paper towel.
Then they put away their pretend umbrellas and came inside!
I really love how pretty they came out!!

I love your comments, so please leave one and let me know what you think!!