Saturday, February 20, 2010

House Letter "B"

It was kind of hard for me to choose what letter to pick for this theme. I try to choose letters based on our vocabulary words, so it helps when there are a lot of vocabulary words that start with the same sound! For our house theme, we looked at the letter B.

Vocabulary-- bed, bathtub, brush/brushing, broom
Letter recognition
Sound-Symbol relationship ("B" says /b/)

First, we gathered our materials. We cut out our letter B and the pictures from or are just clip art I found. And, of course, glue.

Next, we looked at the pictures to give the students a chance to identify and label the vocabulary items. We also emphasized the /b/ sound in each word and talked about how the "B" makes a /b/ sound.

Then, the kids requested each picture (I want a bed, etc) and glued them on!

The letter "B" was also a good choice for some of our students who aren't making many sounds yet, or who have trouble with multiple sounds. It was helpful just to give them the practice of saying "buh buh buh."


Shapes House!

For starters, we are focusing on the actual house and it's parts. Then we will go inside to look around the rooms. A fun way to look at the different parts of the outside of the house, and to sneak in some practice with shapes, is to make a

Shapes House!

Requesting (I want a ___)
Vocabulary-- house, door, windows, roof
Basic shapes-- square, rectangle, triangle
Size concepts-- big, little

First, we gathered the materials--some shapes, paper to put it on and some glue.

We reviewed the house the "correct" way with the kids, pointing out that the house goes on top, the door goes on the bottom and in the middle and the windows go a certain way. However, when they get the piece in their hot little hand, they will put it wherever they want and how ever they want--this is good! It gives us an idea of how they are visually processing what they see and their ability to put things together. And, besides, would you moms and dads *really* want the art work on your refrigerator to be the teacher's? ;)

Before we really got started with all the action, we also reviewed the shapes to see if the children could identify or label them. We also talked about big vs. little with the squares.

Then, the fun began! The students always need to request items before they can have them ("I want paper," "I want a square," "I want glue," etc.). So, for each step of the way, there is always talking. The students get their gluey shape and stick 'em on! Oh, and as an added bonus, when they put on their windows, they get to practice counting to 4!

And, when they are done, their house gets put up onto the bulletin board with all of thier neighbors !

Welcome to Our House!

We have started our new theme,

Rooms of the House. 
We will be focusing on this theme for the next 3 weeks or so. Our classroom is all set up and ready to go!
We've got our vocabulary bulletin board set up.

There really are a lot of words to focus on! I tried to set it up by room to make it easier--in fact, we will focus on each room on different days. The vocabulary pictures are the same that were sent home with students to practice and reinforce at home. They are also the same pictures I use during my vocabulary activities (like matching games, etc.) during small group rotations.

Other posters are hung up around the room showing different houses or rooms.

Our library has books about the House set aside for the kids to read.

We've even got our House table cloth out in the kitchen area.

We've got lots of fun activities planned for this theme, including playing with dollhouse furniture, a house shapes puzzle, art activities and lots more!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Sweet Hearts

We are pretty aware of and take precautions with our students with allergies. So, when it came time to have our Valentine's Day party cooking activity, I was pretty cautious about what I choose. Finally, I came up with a tortilla sweet heart!

Vocabulary- Hearts
Size concepts- small, smaller, smallest; big, bigger, biggest
Fine motor skills-- pushing, pulling, squeezing

First, I gathered our materials--
some tortillas (that we warmed up before each group's turn), sugar-free, squeezable jelly, sunflower butter (to avoid those peanut butter allergies!), Nutella (a.k.a. heaven), heart-shaped cookie cutters and napkins/knives/plates, etc.

Each child first requested thier tortilla ("I want tortilla") and we talked about it being shaped like a circle.
Next, they requested a cookie cutter--we had reviewed the sizes as our tortillas were being heated.
We helped the kids take turns pushing onto their tortillas to cut out thier heart shape.

 Next, they requested what they wanted on thier tortilla ("I want chocolate," "I want [fake] peanut butter," "I want strawberry") and they helped squeeze or spread it on.
Last-we ate! I personally thought our Sweet Hearts were pretty yummy!

We ended with our little class parties where the kids brought Valentine cards and treats for their friends. It was a lot of fun!! This was a great way to end our Valentine's Day theme. Our next theme will focus on Rooms of the House.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine Mice

During our circle time, we are reading the book "Valentine's Mice" by Bethany Roberts.

It's a cute book about mice delivering valentine's cards to the other animals in the forest, when all of the sudden, one gets lost. There are some rhyming words and some fun words--throw! skip! slide! hop! We kept the kids' attention by acting some of the words out.

We followed up on reading the book by making our own Valentine Mice!
This activity was inspired by the Folded Heart Mouse Craft from DLTK.

Vocabulary-  hearts, cards
Basic concepts- half, whole, middle; big, little

First, we gathered our materials- a large heart, a smaller heart, a piece for the ear, a googly eye, a pompom nose, yarn for the tail and some glue.
When the students requested their hearts ("I want a heart"), they were given a whole heart. When they folded it, it was a half of a heart. Whole/Half concepts FTW!
The other fun concepts we got to talk about were big and little, as both were needed for our mice.

Next, we put some glue onto the little heart to make the head and glued it next to the big heart, making the body.

Next, we added an ear, an eye and a nose, with the students requesting each piece as we went along ("I want an ear," "I want an eye," "I want a nose"), giving them practice with using their words.

  Last, we put some glue in the middle of the big heart and added our mouse's tail.

The students could also make a pink mouse if they wanted to :)

  And, once they dry, we can deliver our own Valentines and Flip! Slip! and Glide!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's Day Marble Painting!

Painting with marbles or golf balls is always a fun and different way to get kids to participate in art activities! Usually, I put the marbles or golf balls in an old cardboard box top, but, for Valentine's Day, we used heart shaped boxes from candy! (Please don't ask who ate all the chocolate... ;) )

We gathered our materials--some marbles, cups with red paint, spoons to take out the marbles, heart shaped boxes from Valentine's Day candy and cut out paper hearts.  

Two things of note-- 1) to make the right-sized paper hearts, we traced the paper insert they use inside the candy box to protect the (precious) chocolate, just making it slightly smaller;

2) I needed to go out to a teacher supply store because I literally did lose my marbles...
Then we got started

Vocabulary- hearts, red
Requesting- "I want a heart," "I want paint"
Articulation- /s/ blends in SPoon

First, the students requested their heart and box by using their words. The paper hearts fit perfectly!

Next, the students used the SPoon to take out the marble and put it into their heart box.
We really focused on having the kids use their /s/ sound, so they said "spoon," not "poon!"

Then, the fun began! They moved the box around so the paint-covered marble moved around, making really cool designs!
(We did have to give a couple of reminders to use "quiet hands" so they didn't paint the table or floor...).
Some of the things I heard were "middle" and "around," which are great concepts!

When they were done, we took them out of the boxes to dry.
 I think they came out pretty cute!
Happy Painting!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Valentine's Day Cutting Practice!

Using scissors is a skill that preschoolers need to get a grasp on (pun intended!).
Some of my students are able to just grab some scissors and cut objects out on the line. Hooray for them!
Others may grasp correctly, but only snip the paper. Others grab the scissors with 2 hands and try to cut like hedge clippers.
Valentine's Day was a great time to practice our scissors skills!

Scissors/cutting practice

We gathered our Valentine's Day cards (Spiderman was a big hit!) and our scissors.

The students had to request each one ("I want a card," "I want scissors") before they could have them.

Then, we got to cutting!
First, we made sure they had the correct grasp.
Next, if they were only snipping, we encouraged them to cut across the card. It got pretty messy!
We also had some Valentine's Day heart coloring pages to cut if they really went to town on thier cards!

An added bonus to cutting--we got to practice the sentence "he is cutting!" (many of my students leave off the word "is"). Lots of great modeling and practicing!

Happy cutting!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentine's Day Candy Counting!

Even though my classroom is primarily for intensive speech and language therapy, we do do many pre-academic activities. This includes counting by rote and counting objects. Our counting activities are related to our vocabulary theme to make it more functional and more fun! It also reinforces our vocabulary items. For our Valentine's Day theme, we counted candy hearts!

Vocabulary- Hearts, Candy
Counting objects to 5, number recognition

First, we gathered our materials:


 We used regular old (delicious) conversation candy hearts, a counting sheet I hand drew and some glue. The counting sheet has a couple of things of interest--First, we use the concept of Touch Math, where the numbers have dots on them that correspond with the amount the number represents ("2" has two dots on it) for the students to count. This gives a multi-sensory twist to learning. Second, I drew dots under each number to give the students extra cueing as to how many hearts to glue on and another chance to count.

We went through the counting sheet number by number and the students were encouraged to label the number and count the dots. Then they asked for candy to put on ("I want 2 hearts") and we helped them glue them on.

We continued to 5 and then they were done!

And, of course, they were allowed to eat some--as a fellow candy lover, I couldn't withhold!! ;)
I'm sure eating the candy was the students' favorite part, but I was happy they got lots of practice with counting objects and recognizing numbers!

Happy Counting!

Valentine's Day Vocabulary!

I like to do a sort of pre-test/post-test with my students at the beginning and end of a theme to see how they have (or have not) learned the vocabulary words. I try to do it in a fun way whenever I can to keep the kids motivated. For Valentine's Day, we took the pictures out of a mailbox.

Turn Taking
Basic concept- out

First, to get a quick baseline of the vocabulary words that they know, I do quickly go through the pictures with each child and collect data on the words they know. The, the playing begins!

The students need to take turns--turn taking is a basic conversational concept; I say something, you say something. A verbal tennis match! As they choose a picture, we talk about how they are taking the card out of the mailbox.
Then, they get a chance to label what they got! If they get it right away, we *high five,* reinforce the word by repeating it, and move on. If they get stuck, I give some cueing. For the basic words, I may just say "it's a /h/" and then pause for them to say "heart" after I told them the first sound. For harder words, or for kids who have a really hard time, I may give a choice--"Is it a dog or a cupid?" That's right--cupid! *high five!*"

We repeat the activity over and over again to reinforce those words.

I tend to see the kids who are simply late-talkers learn the vocabulary words more quickly than those who have fundamental difficulties with speech and language--just an observation ;)

Happy turn taking!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valentine's Day Letter H

Each theme, we look at the vocabulary words and take one or more that have similar beginning sounds and focus on that letter for one of our bulletin boards. We do this to both teach vocabulary, but also to introduce the concept of the sound-symbol relationship (that is to teach that the speech sound can be represented by a written letter).
For Valentine's Day, we focused on H and used it in a small group activity.

Vocabulary- hearts
Letter Recognition - H
Requesting ("I want a heart")
Fine Motor skills

Before starting, we talked about the "H" sound. We gave a visual cue of putting our hand in front of our mouth and made the /h/ sound.
Then, we looked at the letter "H" and matched it to the sound we had been making. "H" says /hhh/!
And, do you know what starts with the /h/ sound? Hearts!

The students then requested their letter "H" and then their stamps and stickers with hearts. They used their little muscles to put their hearts on their "H."

I think they came out pretty cute!


Happy Hearts and Hugs!

Ready for Valentine's Day!

This week and next, we are focusing on our Valentine's Day theme.

I've got my bulletin board all set up with our vocabulary target words.

Our words are: Heart, Red, Candy, Flowers and Cupid.
Smaller versions of these same pictures were sent home with the families so they can reinforce them at home. This theme, I also sent home an article called "Helping Your Child Listen to Learn" from a Parent Articles book along with some pictures of hearts and ideas on how to use the hearts to have the students follow commands.

Our library was set up with some books about Valentine's Day and love.

The book all the way on the right, Valentine's Day, is the book we have been reading during our circle time. It comes along with a cassette tape (what's that? it's kinda like a CD...LOL), which *really* keeps the kids' attention!! Books on tapes/CDs are really great for helping kids learn to read. We also used the book during our small group rotations and I had the kids talk about each page as we read through. I also copied some pages to use in a sequencing activity.

In our kitchen area, we have a tablecloth on the table--it's just a cheap couple of yards of fabric from JoAnne's!

I like to change the tablecloth for each theme to continuously bombard the students with the vocabulary words we are working with.

We've got lots of fun activities planned for Valentine's Day! Plus, we have two 3-day weekends coming up. Hooray!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter Snow!

We were winter magicians during our winter theme!
During our small group rotations, we used the Blizzard in a Bucket from Be Amazing Toys for this really fun activity.

Articulation- /s/ blends (sssnow, ssscoop)

We gathered the items we needed-- 2 oz. of water, a scoop of the snow, a clear cup and the bucket and mat.

We talked about snow, including who had seen it, how it felt, etc. Then, the magic began! 
As we made the snow, we were sure to emphasize the steps using the concepts first, next and last.

First, we poured one scoop of the powder into the cup.

Next, we poured in the water

Then, we watched the snow form!

So cool!!

 Last, we poured it into the bucket so we could touch it and play!
The students enjoyed getting their hands into the "snow" and trying to make snowmen or make letters and shapes in the snow. As they played, we reviewed the sequence we used to make the snow.

Happy snow making!