Friday, January 18, 2013

Clever Little Snowmen.....

For this post, I am referring you to an activity we did last year with the children. Have a look here. What is it about? in a nutshell, I precut white circles and write letters on them. I also precut hats for snowmen. The children must find the letters of their name and place them on a blue sheet in the correct order. This is quite a cute pre-reading activity. But be well prepared in advance and be patient. The cutting part takes a while and the children really take their time when gluing the circles down! So plan your activity well if you don't want to be overwhelmed. I chose a quieter session with bigger kids and had everything organised in different containers (circles in one, eyes in another, hats in a 3rd one, scarves in a 4th ...). You will also need a lot of room as you need to spread all the circles with the letters on a table to allow the children to recognise their letters. 

This year, I added a  little twist to the exercise and asked the children to count the number of letters in everybody's names. Names which had the same amount of letters were placed on top of one another. . One child placed the sand paper number cards under the names and then the children placed them in order from bigger to smaller. They were able to see straightaway whose name was the longest or the shortest. The children kept undoing their work and redoing it and this was great fun to watch them working as a team! 

Another Montessori counting game ...

This week, I introduced the children to a new game to practise number recognition and help them to associate quantities to numerals. I gave the children a plate with a card representing a number from 0 to 6. I asked them to read the number on their card and to go and retrieve the corresponding amount of items. Waaaaa.. They loved the game! There were a few mistakes made the 1st time we played it but they finally got the hang of it. None of them liked to get the number 0 but I think it does help the smaller kids to fully grasp the concept of "nothing" associated with 0. Though the children worked well with the loose number  cards, I thought it would be much more practical to have the numbers actually taped onto the plate. So I cut little squares of paper, wrote a numeral on each of them and taped it down. It is easier to tidy up! I just forgot to take a picture but you get the idea. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Monsters in shape!

The children have been playing Bingo with a new game I got from Orchard Toys. The kids get a card each. There are 9 monsters on each side. These little cute monsters are made out of different shapes and different colours. I pick a card with a coloured shape. For example, I pick a blue triangle. I show it to the kids . If they have a blue triangle monster, they must cover it with a token. This is a great exercise to learn or revisit the basic shapes. Children need to concentrate and to think quick as their little brains assess 2 attributes at the same time (colour and shape). A real popular activity on our shelves this week. Great investment!! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Counting ladybirds...

Today, I have introduced the children to a new counting game. You need 2 children or more to play. I was delighted to see how excited and interested the children were. They kept saying they love that game and they queued up to have a go. 

The game is simple. Each card is turned face down on the table, showing dots in the pattern of a dice. The kids throw the dice and count the dots on it and then match them to a card. They then turn the card up. On the other side of each card, there is a leaf with 1, 2 or 3 ladybirds on it. Some leaf do not have any bug at all. At the end of the game, when each card has been used, the kids add up all their ladybirds and see who has the most! Simple. Great counting exercise! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year, everyone!

God, I didn't plan to stay away from my blog as long as I have.. I got caught up with the Christmas preparations. Next thing I know and we are just back from our 2 weeks break and I have not written one single line! Shame on me!
So first of all, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year 2013. I hope you all enjoyed Christmas. I know we did. This was probably the most relaxing and wonderful Christmas I have ever had. And I am a bit sad it is already all behind us!
As I haven't posted anything at all for a long time, I thought I would bring you up to date with what happened in our classroom before our break, by showing you a few photographs.

We made some snow flakes out of lollipop sticks to decorate the Xmas trees.

The children have been progressing steadily with the phonetic sounds.

More art with a twist of maths.. The children had to figure out strips of green paper and arrange them on a page from longer to shorter in order to create a Xmas tree. Tricky for some but so much fun!

We also made a candy cane. The children used their fingertips to draw the cane. I then punched a hole on both side of it and wrapped a ribbon around it. And voila!



I always have the children creating a little something for them to offer their parents on Xmas day. Of course, they usually can’t wait that long but they absolutely love the idea of making a surprise for Mam and Dad. So this year, they painted a MDF frame and decorated it with sprinkle and their fingerprints (again). I added a few wooden ornaments I found in my local craft shop.Then, I took a picture of each child by our Xmas tree in the classroom, printed them and laminated them. The children finally inserted their photo in their own frame. I hope all parents like it. I know the children were very proud of the end result!!!

And of course, we made our traditional magic reindeer food. Each year, Santa sends us some magic dust by post. The magic dust helps the reindeer to fly throughout the night without getting tired as they work with Santa delivering the presents on Xmas Eve. Rachel and I love this activity and the children take it very seriously. I was however shocked this year, when one mother brought me the smallest jar she could find, complaining that the one I provided last year was too big and that it was too complicated to get rid of the food!!! She never got to explain to me what happened exactly (and maybe there is a valid reason) ; but I must say that her lack of enthusiasm did hurt my feelings! I spend so much time in organising and completing these activities. I do put my heart and soul into them and sometimes, it is thrown back at me, ungratefully… What a pity!! Never mind. Most children and parents DO love the magic these little jars bring to their homes and I guess this is what matter!

So this is more of less the highlights of our past 4 weeks. I hope you have enjoyed it. More is now on its way as I am writing new posts. So keep in touch. See you soon. Aude x