Monday, June 18, 2012

Ocean theme

10 days away from our summer holidays.... Where has the time gone?  I surely can't believe it! Anyway, last week and this week, we’ve been working on our Ocean unit. Things are looking good. The kids are loving talking about sea animals. Talking about the ocean and beach is really getting them amped for summer. Me too!!!

I added a few activities to our practical life shelves to complement our unit:

I got the glass fish shaped dish at the field day the other day and I knew straight away what I was going to use it for. A great transferring activity to refine motor skills.

And I also found this scallop dish!!! The kids were instantly attracted to the exercise and kept admiring the dish! I could have used real scallop shells but this was so much more effective!!

In Maths, I also introduced new exercises to the children (3-4 years olds):

A pattern game using cards I made up using my clip Art board.

A counting game from Pre-K

And we have also been using flashcards from Montessori for everyone:

                                            Types of Fish Nomenclature Cards                                                

And of course, we did a bit of art & craft. The children used sponges to create an ocean on white paper. Then, we traced their hands. They cut their hands out (with some help) and coloured them. We then glued them on their ocean background and I love the end result: a smily octopus!!

Bugs are superheroes!

We all know it: bugs intrigue children. Who didn’t have a baby food jar with air holes punched into the lid and a few crawlers collected from the backyard inside? Some of my preschoolers brought some last March and the children were delighted to be able to observe them.

And here, you can see how excited the children were when they discovered several ladybirds on the decking after winter!!

More than half of all living things in the world are insects – and they can be fascinating creatures. So these past few weeks, as we are talking about summer and what changes we see outside, we discussed about interesting facts about bugs. I presented the children with lots of photos I had downloaded from the internet and we talked about them during circle time:

  • Insects come from eggs. Baby insects are usually called larvae.

  • An insect has six legs and a jointed body: the head, thorax (middle body), and abdomen. A good example of this is the ant. 

  • Most winged insects have four wings (two pairs).

  • Their antennae detect odors, sound waves,  and are used for touch.

  • Some insects are useful as they produce foods we eat, pollinate plants, eat other insects which are harmful, and are a source of food for many animals.

  • Then I introduced the kids to 3 part cards as seen below.

    These cards are a fantastic tool and addition to any classroom. They are very interesting as they are a visual representation of what we were learning.

    Finally, I added a bit more fun to our studies by talking about extraordinary bugs doing extraordinary things. Did the hildren know that some spiders in South America could build webs longer than the preschool? Or that some of them can actually walk on water? Or did they know that a cockroach could live a full week without a head. I explained that ants were extremely strong and could carry up to 20 times their own weight etc... Slowly, I came to my point: insect are super cool and have super powers.. like some of our super heroes.

    Spider Man
    Fly Man
    Ant Man

    The children were so interested to compare bugs with superheroes. I asked them at the end which super power they would like to have if they could and which bug they would like to be? One little girl in particular, said she would love to be a butterfly and her superpower would be to throw rainbow colours from her wings to kill the baddies!!! What a great imagination!! Boys felt closer to spider man but some of them wanted extra power (like the ones the  Power Rangers have!!).

    Then it was time for arts and crafts.. I had gathered lots of pebbles at the beach. The children icked one each and painted it all in red. Twice.

    So you can imagine how much patience was required for this project!! It took 2 days for the 2 coats of aint to be applied and to dry properly. I painted the head in black and traced the wings.

    The children chose to paint blue and green dots on the back of their butterfly to make it more interested!! Once it was dried, I varnish them. We added the goggly eyes and voila!! They were all so proud!

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Superwoman will be back soon!!

    Ok, I have  absent for  while. Between camogie matches, basketball matches, drama shows, kickboxing lessons, piano lessons and athletics, I haven't had a minute! And these activities aren't mine!!! I literally have to split myself between my 4 kids!! In the meantime, I also have to keep the house clean and organised, cook dinner, do the laundry (though my eldest daughter is a great help), as well as do night classes for a Child Protection Course and finish my assessment on my Equality and Diversity course. And of course, I am currently working on the children's end-of-the-year portfolios!!

    Anyway, I AM going to catch with everything we have done. I will be writing a few posts over the week-end. So come back and have a look! Thanks for your patience...

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    Arts & Crafts and going on adventures...

    God! Time is flying and I can't find the time to post anymore. So I am just taking a few minutes to show you what the children have been crafting in the classroom since last week.

    First, we tried a different type of painting. We had used our hands in the past, sponges and leaves. I decided to show the children how to paint with empty toilet paper rolls!! I thought this would be interesting to see what the children would make out of it. Most of them were actually very oderly in the way they printed the circles onto the sheet. Most of them didn't want to overlap them. The effect was lovely and they took great pride!

    To conclude our study on seeds and plants, we did collage, using cut green and orange peas, mixed beans and chick peas. I drew the template of the owl and photocopied it. And this is what it looked like.

    And here is something that has nothing to do with arts and crafts: setting up a fire camp!! (Well, a pretend one!). The children have demonstrated great survival skills in our garden lately.. And I guess we owe it all to the children's new hero: Bear Grylls. Bear Grylls Born Survivor is a program on the Discovery channel that  stars Edward Grylls (alias Bear Grylls), travelling all over the globe, from Nambia to Zambia, and from the Arctic Circle to China, in the most inhospitable environments possible. The children love the show as they learn how to make tents, beds out of nothing, how to hunt, protect themselves from mosquito bites etc.. Bear Grylls is able to light fires by rubbing wood sticks against one another and the idea really appealed to the kids, who have since then pretended to be going on adventures in our preschool garden!!!!