Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Down on the Farm

Hello again!

It is May! I feel like this weekend brought some brightness in a lot of ways... News of being able to tiptoe our way (slightly) out of complete quarantine, sunshine and warm weather, hopes of the coming months looking a little different than the past two. I have been breathing in the fresh air and praying that May brings some new joy, new adventures, and new excitement (and less fear, less loneliness for everyone, and less sickness).

Anyway, since next week would have been our final week (which I find crazy), I decided to go ahead and end with this blog post. I hope that some of them have been helpful and given you some fun things to try at home. I also hope that you can enjoy your summer months with your sweetie. Another school year will be here in a blink of an eye, so just enjoy these days to come. Soak them up!

I will try to stay in touch with all of you over the summer. I look forward to hopefully seeing some smiles from some of you soon when we do binder pick-ups! (More details to come next week.) I have so enjoyed putting together everyone's portfolio and thinking of all the fun memories and moments we shared throughout the year. Please continue to stay in touch, let me know how you're doing, and reach out if you have any questions. I hope that as this year comes to a close (in a rather unexpected way), you each know what a true joy it has been to get to know your families and your child this year. 

Our last week the past few years we have spent doing some fun farm activities. Here are some fun ideas for this week!

1. Number ID/Counting: I have this cow outline laminated at school and usually use it with small black buttons as the "spots". You can have your child roll two dice, count the number each lands on, and then place that many spots on the cow. You could then roll one of the dice to take a certain number off (a great intro to subtraction if your child is ready). You could also work on writing the number they roll to work on number formation!

2. Writing/Sorting/Cutting: This isn't a great picture, but I have enjoyed doing this sorting activity. For Anna, I will either use some old magazines or print out some pictures of different products to have her sort. While sorting may seem simple, it is a great activity to continue weekly if you can. The mental processing that takes place when sorting develops critical thinking skills and prepares their minds for many of the demanding reading comprehension strategies they will be asked to do in elementary school. If your child is ready, have them draw the chart and write each animal word. Also, having them cut out the pictures themselves is great scissor work! I am going to email you another sorting page as well. 

Art/Fine Motor: Mrs. Laura shared with her class this sweet picture of Ruby making this sheep, so Anna and I did it yesterday as well. Simple craft with cotton balls. It was also a good chance to talk about what wool is used for, what shearing means, and more! I usually make a cow craft out of a paper plate as well...I like to do one similar to this but have the students tear the paper instead of cutting it. Who doesn't love tearing up paper? The act of tearing is actually an important fine motor activity, believe it or not! I may do it with Anna tomorrow and watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWmbg16ywD8 

Farm theme activities - paper plate cow #elephant #paper #plate #craft #ladybug #paper #plate #craft #paper #plate #crafts #for #kids #valentine
4. Poetry/Rhyming: In the past, I have drawn a red barn on chart paper and done this poem... It is great for segmenting phonemes in words as well as working on rhyming. You don't even need to write or print the poem... You can just say it and then have small cards or pieces of paper for the animals (starts with "ch" and rhymes with "stick", starts with "p" and rhymes with "wig".) 

Could also use initial alphabet letters for recognition practice and use this idea to make a flannel board set.

5. Reading: I am emailing you a PDF with some fun "Who Am I?" poems that involve guessing farm animals... My class loved them last year! If you print them, you could also use them to search for known sight words. Of course, "Old McDonald Had a Farm" is a must for this week as well! 

6. Exploration/Gross Motor: Try to get out and visit someone's farm!! Ask a friend if you could drop by and see any animals, even if they just have a few. :) A great outdoor, socially distanced activity for May! :) Mrs. Laura also shared these fun cards for getting up and moving like farm animals! You can always use the idea to make your own if you don't want to print! https://modernpreschool.com/gross-motor-farm-game/ 

Last but not least, enjoy looking at these sweet faces! Everyone have a fabulous summer, and like I said, please, please stay in touch!

Look at those beautiful hats!

What a cool birdhouse!

I am amazed at the size of this guy's
awesome pet!

Anna made her horse!

An expert hiker!


Such awesome smiles!

We hosted a cousin noodle horse Derby!

What a collection!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Off to the Races!

Hello friends!

I can truly say that I miss everyone more by the day. Every week, when I sit down to write this and think about the things that we would have done together, I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel a wave of sadness come over me. I treasure all of the days I was able to spend with these sweet kiddos and truly wish we could have had more time together. 

I do hope all of you are continuing to do well at home. For me, it has been interesting how some days I feel like we're doing great, thriving even. Then the next day, I feel like a disaster! However, each day I have been trying to literally mentally count my blessings. One of the blessings of each week is definitely getting sweet pictures from you all, so keep those coming! :) 

Anyway, it is crazy that we would actually be nearing the end of our year. We usually have some Derby/horse fun the week before Derby, so Anna and I will be doing fun horse activities! Here are some ideas that we would have done this week together. I have also included a challenge I thought might be fun for this week if your family is up for it!!

1. The Challenge: We always do a horse race as a class the week of Derby! I thought maybe it would be fun if any of you want to help your kiddo make a pool noodle horse (or a "stick horse" out of any materials). We just always use pool noodles because they are easy and cheap... There are tons of ideas on Pinterest. Maybe you could hold your own "race" at your house and share a picture of your horse! Then I could post all of the pictures (and maybe even let everyone vote for the favorite horse to have a WINNER)!!
Pool Noodle Horse Race | Activities for Seniors
2. Numbers: I am sending a file by email of this fun horse fence number ordering activity. I did this with Anna (1-10 version) this morning to build a fence for her horse out of Popsicle sticks, and she enjoyed it! If you want to extend beyond matching, you can always have them write the numbers themselves as well! If you don't want to print the template, you could also practice outlining by making their own (which is excellent fine motor practice and much harder than you might expect)!

3. Letter Work: This is just something fun that I had Anna do a couple of weeks ago... We took plastic letter squares, put them in ice cube trays with ice, and then took salt water and droppers to let her rescue the letters. I also am emailing you a letter U 4-square from Mrs. Laura. She does these with her class lots, and they are great for practicing any letter! This week, we would have practiced letter Uu!

4. Poetry/Sight Word Work: This is a poem I have used in the past. Obviously, you can fill in the "said" on each line. I like it because it is a great one to have your child help you read (as you track with your finger). Choral reading always brings a great sense of accomplishment for your child and helps them to begin to read with expression!
5. Writing: If you do make any sort of horse (or even just color in a horse), these questions would be great to have your child answer. You can always write out the word with a highlighter to let them trace or write it on another paper for them to copy if they are ready for that. I stole this from Mrs. Laura also and thought it was fun! It even throws in some color words!

If I had a horse its name would be _______________________

The color of my horse would be _________________________

My horse would live ____________________________________

My horse would love to eat ______________________________

6. Artwork: We always have fun making a clothespin horse... It usually turns out something like this (or at least this is the goal)! Anna and I are going to try one tomorrow! I also usually send home a piece of paper with a shirt outline on it (which can just be hand drawn) to let everyone design their own jockey silk. This is always fun! We look up pictures of jockey silk patterns and designs and talk about the job of a jockey in horse racing. This might be fun to try! If your kiddo draws one, make sure to send me a pic!
This Clothespin Horse Craft is super easy to create and also helps your Bright Tot practice fine motor skills! Design your own jockeys silks
7. Sensory:  Our sensory bin in our classroom is usually full of dry oats this week! I am going to get a tub of oats for Anna, use small baskets (or something of the like) as fences, and let her play with her plastic horses in it! 
Our Horse Learning Set is full of hands-on learning including counting, matching, sensory play, baking, gross-motor play + a sensory pre-reading book to name a few! | Bitty Beginnings

And now for a peek at what some of your friends did last week! 

My Anna loved digging for worms and playing with these bugs Mrs. Laura
let her borrow for a few days!

Apparently someone has a pet snake!! :)

Beauty and sunshine!

Playing, working, and hiking!!

Working on a butterfly!!

Look at those scooter skills! And artwork!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Buzzing Into Insect Week!

Wow, another week in the books!

I hope all of you survived the week of cold weather. It was tough here not being able to take the kids outside as much. We had been basically living outside the week before. I know my patience was tested some, and many prayers were prayed! I am learning now more than ever the importance and the power of continual prayer... We are invited to be in constant communication with the Creator of all things, the Prince of Peace, the All-Knowing, the Provider and Sustainer... I don't know about you, but I sometimes forget this. While I may not feel thankful for these trying times, I am thankful that we can all call upon our God and that He will sustain us. 

As far as this week at preschool, it would have been INSECT week, which is always buzzing with lots of fun! :) I hope you can enjoy a few of these ideas and come up with some of your own! My biggest project is simply getting Anna to even touch a bug! Haha. Hopefully I'm not the only one... We are making progress though! There really is so much to be learned and so many fascinating things about insects! If any of you have neat books that you want to share titles of, that would be awesome! I usually try to have tons of books available in the classroom (from the library) just to look at pictures, but online books will have to do this year!

Here are some things you might try... I am also going to see if I can get my mother-in-law to send us a short video later this week of her taking care of her beehives and give us some fun bee facts. We shall see what I come up with!

1. Poetry: This butterfly poem is one I always do! It is to the tune of "Up on the Housetop"... You could color the pictures and look for letters you know! We often do a life cycle of a butterfly craft to go with it! Here a simple one that can go on a paper plate!

Butterfly Life Cycle - Lessons - Tes Teach

2. Art Fun: I cut apart an egg carton last week into four pieces. I thought it would be perfect for making some insects with Anna this week to talk about the body segments of an insect (head, thorax, abdomen). Here are some examples if you want to give it a try! Anna tried a fire ant this morning. :) We plan to just watch a YouTube video about each insect she makes!

Make Egg Carton Bugs | Ant crafts, Insect crafts, Egg carton art Yarn-Wrapped Egg Carton Bee Craft for Kids - Buggy and Buddy

Egg Carton Cricket Craft

3. Math/Measuring: Last year, I printed these insect silhouettes and laid out different objects for the students to measure them with. You can use anything! These are also great for using comparative words (longest, shortest, wider, narrower) and putting in order from smallest to largest or largest to smallest. The other image is a dotting page that Mrs. Laura shared! You can use this to practice one-to-one counting together. 

Writing/Letter Sounds: The bug cards are fun to cut apart and scatter around inside or outside for a scavenger hunt! Depending on your child's readiness level, you could give them a clipboard and let them walk around to collect them and write down the first letter. You could also use the scavenger hunt to look for real bugs around the yard!

Here are some photos of some sweet friends last week!