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!!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flower Rubbings

I really hope everyone has enjoyed their Spring Break vacation!! I certainly have!
Here is another activity we did during our Spring Theme.
I had originally wanted to have the students make flower prints, like we had done at the Nature Materials Workshop. However, when I tried it on my own, it didn't come out quite right.
I had some fresh flowers that still needed to be used, so we decided to do rubbings. It worked ok and some students were able to use the fresh flowers, but they were a bit bulky.
Finally, our talented classroom assistant, Lucy, designed some tag board flowers that we eventually used for our rubbings!

Fine motor
Basic concepts- half/whole, middle

We gathered our materials, including our fresh flowers and some fabulous fake ones, too!
We used our tag board flowers, crayons, paper.

The students practiced requesting (I want a flower, I want a crayon)
They folded the papers in half (giving us a great opportunity to talk about half and whole).
The flower went in the middle of the paper and colored. It was neat to watch as each petal came through!
 Also in the middle was a Springtime message and a chance for the students to practice reading and/or writing their names
Happy Spring!!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Egg E

For our letter this theme, we chose E for those excellent eggs!

Sound-symbol relationships-- E says "eh"
Requesting (I want an egg)
Fine Motor

First, we gathered our materials--

--letter Es that have been cut out, a extravaganza of eggs including stickers and cut out eggs and some glue, too. The E on the orange background is sandpaper and we let the kids explore it a bit to get a tactile way of learning the letter E.

We also talked a lot about the sound that the letter E makes---"Eh" like egg, elbow, elephant, etc.
Then, the students did lots of requesting. They requested their E (I want an E) and their eggs (I want an egg) until their letter E was no longer empty.
Here are our eccentric Es


Monday, April 5, 2010

Marble Painting Easter Eggs

I love painting with lots of different and unexpected things! Paint brushes are so passe ;)
We have painted with marbles before in our class and I thought it made a pretty pattern and would be a great idea to do during Spring/Easter to decorate Easter eggs!

Requesting (I want a marble; I want yellow, etc)

First came the reminder that we only *roll* the marble in the box...we do not shake the box! (we are not marble painting the floor!!).
We gathered our materials
--cut out paper eggs, tempera paint, cups to hold the paint, spoons to scoop the marbles, a box (we drink *lots* of water at my house...we simply used box from the packaging of water bottles case)

Next, the students requested their egg (I want an egg) and put it into the box

Then, they chose their color (I want red, etc), scooped the marble out of the cup with the spoon and put it into the box

Then, the fun began! The kids rolled the marbles, making beautiful designs! The switched paint to add more colors.
 After they were done, we even snuck in a little practice with grammar! We talked about what they did so we could try to elicit the word "painted."
And I really do think they painted beautifully!


There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Chick

Growing up, one of my favorite books was "I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly." There are so many fun, new versions of this old tale, with the lady swallowing a bat, a pie, a bell, a shell...and for Spring and Easter...she swallows a chick.

Vocabulary- spring, chick, egg, basket
Sequencing (first, next, last)
Literacy skills
Answering questions

At circle time, we read the book. Actually, it was kindly read for us on a CD :) I love books on tape/CDs because it gives me a chance to feel like I can observe the kids, it gives the kids a chance to read along and, for some reason, the students seem to pay better attention!

During our small group time, we made our own old ladies!
I borrowed this fantastic idea and great pictures from another blog...and I hate when this happens, but I've forgotten which one :( Once I look through my documents, etc, I will be sure to give credit where credit is due!!
We gathered our materials--
copies of the old lady, copies of the items she ate and some glue and crayons.
We went through the book page by page to be sure to put the items on in the correct sequence, reinforcing those important concepts (first, next, then, last).
The students requested each item and had their old ladies eat them. Then, they also glued on their bunnies and baskets. They requested crayons to color, too, if we didn't run out of time!

Such a fun activity to bring the book to life!!
Another concept to focus on, especially with older kids, is "why" questions, like "why did she swallow the candy?" answer--"to sweeten the egg!" Of course, we don't know why she swallowed the chick, but at least she didn't get sick!!