Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Name Puzzles and Name Tracing

Many of our students are finding delight in the following pre-reading and writing activities recently introduced to the classroom.  They are really nothing novel - just new to our classroom.  The first lesson is a simple name puzzle made from a set of nameplates - one set includes a child's first name and the second set includes a bag with the child's name cut into separate letters.

The top name plate acts a control while the child pieces together the letters of their name.

If interested, the child can then obtain a pre-cut piece of tracing paper and clip it their name plate to practice tracing.

Each child keeps their tracing paper and places their nameplate back on the shelf.
The puzzle pieces are housed in zip-loc bags (which also allows the students to practice opening and closing!), while  the name plates and tracing papers are filed in the divider. 

The clips are right next to the name plates and paper on this beautiful dish.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Glorious Autumn Leaves

The idea for this art activity was found at Deep Space Sparkle, a wonderful blog by an extremely talented art teacher.  In our classroom, we had the children work on this in several stages and the results were stunning.
Step one:  paint the veined (bumpy) side of the leaf with white paint.

Step two:  Press the leaf onto black paper  - we used a plastic work mat to cover the leaf which made it easier (and cleaner) to rub and transfer onto the paper.

Step three:  Repeat until desired effect is created.  Let dry.

Step four:  Add colors around the prints - we used sponges….
The paint here is still wet, and the colors quite vibrant.  Once the paint dried, the colors became muted….

…and even more beautiful!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Settling in...

There comes a time in the early part of the school year when one feels a distinct "settling in" of the classroom - I think we have made it to that point!  The children are comfortable with our classroom rhythms can anticipate general routines.  And it is wonderful!  Some photos from this week:

Folding practice:  "Oooh, look!  It's a triangle!"

Sorting blocks by color.

Story writing using the Story Paper lesson.

Making an autumn themed art project.

Numbers 1-9 with the Short Bead Hanger.

Color Mixing

Drawing with dry erase markers at the easel.  Afterwards,  the child washes the easel.

Writing practice with Sandpaper Letters.

Learning to use a glue bottle and making a collage.

Matching Numeral Cards to corresponding Number Rods.

Parts of a Tree puzzle - we are practicing holding each piece by the knob to help strengthen the pincer grasp.

Reading practice with Short Vowel Booklets.

Transferring water with a baster.

Metal Polishing - the children absolutely love this!

Using two Cylinder Blocks at a time.

Setting up the tablet from the Second Color Tablet Box to pair colors.

Writing practice on the chalkboard.

Sensitizing the fingers to get ready for Touch Board work.

Working with the Monomial Cube.

A three-period lesson with vocabulary shape cards.

Exploring magnetism with the magnet board.

Using a labeled control chart with the Parts of a Tree puzzle.

Matching number with the Math Step Board.

Pouring practice.
A collection of leaf rubbings in our Nature Journals from our outdoor explorations.

Visual discrimination of size with the Knobless Cylinders….

…and the Cylinder Blocks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Autumn Leaves are Falling Down

Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down,
Autumn leaves are falling down,
Red, yellow, orange, and brown!

The children were introduced to new art activity to go along with this short song.  They have enjoyed this particular variation in their choices of art activities.  I showed the lesson to the children at circle time and then set it up at a table as a stationary art lesson:

Pencil for name writing; white paper; tray with orange, brown, red, and yellow paint; each color has a 'leaf' stamp which is simply the cardboard tube from a toilet paper roll! 

We love to reuse things! :-)

The result is quite seasonal and the children are loving the process.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Moving Forward

Yes, we are moving right along!  Here is a collection of photos from around the classroom this week - some days I couldn't quite get to the camera, but we did our best!

Practicing fine motor skills and coordination by placing colored stones on the circles.

Preparing apple slices to share with friends.

Exploring how combining triangles make new shapes with the Constructive Triangles.

Quantity, counting, number symbol recognition, odd/even numbers with Cards and Counters.

Polishing Leather

Tracing shapes as a pre-writing and sensorial lesson - Geometric Demonstration Tray.

Opening/Closing practice with small boxes - we added small apple 'treasures.'

Transferring with a spoon.

Metal Polishing - This activity is perfect for so many reasons - building concentration, coordination, promoting order, and the sense the the classroom is truly the children's to care for.  Please read more about this and other aspects of our prepared environment HERE.

Tactile discrimination and writing preparation with the Touch Boards.  This lesson also indirectly prepares the child for reading by helping to train eye movement for left to right visual tracking.

Comparing sizes with the Knobless Cylinders.

Listening for Sound or No Sound.

Pink Tower exploration.

Reading sentences practice.

You can't see it in the picture, but the child working here was demonstrating such concentration and determination to line these Brown Stair prisms up exactly in place.

Examining acorns under a magnifying glass.

Making a collage with pin pushing materials.

Building '-en' words with the Moveable Alphabet.

Numbers 1-9 with the Short Bead Stair Hanger.

Using clothespins - fine motor practice.

Careful writing practice with the Metal Insets.

I just love the determination here to make sure all the water has been squeezed out of the sponge1

Building vocabulary with color and shape cards.

We have already celebrated several birthdays - Adults and children alike marvel at the beauty of our Birthday Celebration Mat.

Tens layout with golden beads and Tens Boards.  It is always motivating to observe the connections children make with the materials and learning concepts.