Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hazel Haley

An inspiring lady, Hazel Haley was over 90 years old when she finally retired as a high school English teacher. An interesting listen for educators of all ages. I think she has some important points that we need to remember.

"The children have not changed. Their world has changed."

Some of Our Favorite Projects

My kids were really into practicing cutting during the last few months while I was there, so one of the things we did was decorate our room with beautiful butterflies! All of these butterflies were cut out by my experts at fine-motor skills. Together they made a beautiful, colorful collage of seemingly-living butterflies! 

To make the butterflies, all we did was trace half a butterfly image onto folded paper, then I let them do all the work! For the kids who had a harder time with the folded paper, I stapled the sides together.

During our Earth/Go Green unit, we had a dump truck with alphabet rocks. This was a capitol-lowercase letter matching exercise.

One which they absolutely loved!

We also discussed pollution. We had a water tub with lots of ocean creatures, and pretty blue water. But the kids got to add some "garbage" (which was cleaner than real garbage, I promise) and explored what it was like for the animals when they "played" in the yucky water. We discussed how the animals felt, and how we would feel if our homes and play areas were polluted. 

This is a generic count-and-clip game that I kept in the math center every week, but changed the theme for. The clips would be legs for bugs, or petals/leaves for flowers. For our safari unit, it was elephants with a number and crocodiles. Some elephants were eaten by one crocodile, and some by eleven! This was a favorite activity that we kept in the math center for months.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Further Up and Further In

I know it has been a while since I've posted, but I thought I'd write an update...I recently put in my notice at my current workplace, and I will be switching career paths entirely. It shall be office work for me soon! The reason being I am returning to school to get my degree as a teacher for real! I can't wait. Soon I will have plenty of time to update this blog on all the fun projects we have been working on. Right now, it's all portfolios and catching up on all the things I'm behind on and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!

Will write soon!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Around the World

It seems reasonable that my favorite theme so far this year has been Around the World, since I love to travel more than I love most things...and it's something I enjoy sharing with others (especially my 3-year-olds!). We recently received some large maps to put up in our block area and for a while it was interesting enough to just point to places and learn about them (with the help of our trusty computer). Eventually, it wasn't enough, so we started adding more.

At first, I just started posting pictures of "celebrations" we had from different holidays around the world. We celebrated Chinese New Year, Hinamatsuri Day (Day of the Dolls), and a few others. Since I just got the maps, I missed all the holidays earlier in the year, but now I know to take lots of pictures for next year! We connected these pictures to their respective countries with some yarn. During the first week of our travel unit, I added a "Princesses of the World" floor puzzle to the block area, and we have put it together a few times now. It describes dresses from various cultures, which we also then mapped.

Next, during Travel by Air week, we mapped out different places we have flown to. I gave each of the kids a plane with their name on it, and they were able to stick it on the map wherever they liked after sharing their travel stories with the class. This was a major hit, and I typed bits of their stories up to post with their airplanes later.

The last thing we mapped was my favorite so far, and it was inspired by the book Around the World on Eighty Legs. I requested it after seeing the cover somewhere, and it just so happened to work out well with our map theme. The book has dozens of short poems about various animals from each of the continents (except North America and Europe). We have been reading from this book all week. The kids are even requesting for certain animals to be re-read! After we read a poem, we took turns mapping pictures of the animal in its native continent. The end result looks pretty cool!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Welcome to the Jungle

Related to my last post...

"Time to go home! You can play with the playdough at school tomorrow."  -Monkey's Dad
"I'm not going to school tomorrow. I'm going to the jungle!" -Monkey

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Some Bleach Every Hour Makes the Germs All Cower

"Horses and zebras eat grass." -Monkey
"Tigers eat zebras!" -Bean
"And dragons eat guys!" -Goldie

I keep a notebook in my cabinet that's sole purpose is to hold quotes from my kids. "Kids say the darndest things", after all (and it's so true!). Almost every day I hear something totally hilarious. 

"Miss Meghan! Can you get this under control?" -YY

"What are you talking about Willis?" -Gardener

I even got that last one on video!

In other news, often I find myself struggling to clean up after the messes I find in my class. Germs are the bane of my existence! Everyone has a cold right now (including me), and apparently the flu is going around in the Seattle area. I'm hoping that one will bypass our class, but there are never any guarantees. 

The Murphy's Law of the preschool world states that "any mess that can be made will be made." So of course, if ONE hand is covered in paint, but the other hand is clean, which hand do we use to turn on the faucet and pump the soap?

You guessed it!

Sometimes the mess is overwhelming. The best we can do is convince our kids that cleaning is way more fun than throwing sensory table stuff around or kicking over stacked blocks. Obviously.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tracking Small Humans

So it turns out that the stomach flu is going around. Five teachers, countless students, and a few parents down so far...including me. Strangely enough, cleaning up after the kids and holding their head while food comes up is highly contagious.

On a much happier note, today is almost Friday!

I've started a Facebook and Instagram account for my new pet cheetah, Rita. She's a cool cat who likes to go on all kinds of adventures, and posts photos about her interesting encounters. Who knows, someday she may travel the world and save it from the evil villains who are trying to take over, or possibly aliens. Who knows? The lava monsters in Kona might need a good solid Cheetah fight!

Today was a day of footprints in the sand! We are discussing foresters and tracks that animals leave, in continuation with our forest theme, so of course we did the whole "painting with our animals". Who doesn't do that? I also made a book with the ABCs of different animal tracks (A is for Armadillo tracks, B is for Bobcat...etc) which is in their writing center.

Speaking of writing, I finished creating the writing packets today. They are in their infancy still, so I don't have them ready for viewing yet, but as soon as I am done I shall post them online for all to see!

Moving on.

We started our "human tracks" experiment with some wet sand. We all thought it was pretty plain, so of course we added some liquid watercolors to make it more beautiful! What started out as plain white sand (filler for a sensory table, of course) soon became a blast of colors!

And, because we've been talking about primary colors, and I'm not one to miss a golden (and red and blue) opportunity, I chose three specific colors.

Which we then, of course mixed. Rainbow sand! Can you guess what color it ended up as? Definitely not rainbow...

After making the sand and eating snack, we kicked off those old shoes and stepped in the sand to make our own tracks, seeing how our feet (and later our hands and our dinosaurs) made impressions in the sand. We talked about how a forester can use these tracks to determine what kind of animal made them (see how the shape of the footprint matches your foot?) and also can follow them to the animal and see where it has been. Afterward, we of course documented our experiences by drawing our footprints and tracing our hands and feet.

I got several good questions: what kind of tracks does a dragon make? How about a snake? We discussed what these would look like, and used our beaver as an example for some--he has a low tail which drags in the sand.

To finish, here is a bit of a conversation from yesterday while on the playground.

"I am a tiger!" -Monkey
"I am a dragon! ROOOOAR!" -Bean
"I'm a TUBA!" -Shoes