Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Snowman and Gingerbread People Fun - Florida Style

With Christmas so close, we decided last week to focus on activities related to Christmas so everyone would be engaged and excited.  As you can see, the younger children really enjoy decorating the kids Christmas Tree, taking decorations off, and redecorating again.  I love that they will work side by side to decorate it.  Such sweet Super Friends.  
The VPK age and three year olds enjoyed playing the Build a Gingerbread Man game.  They had to wait a turn for this game, roll the dice, and then find the number of dots to know which item to add to their gingerbread man.  Waiting for a turn is a very hard task for three and four year olds.

Below are some of the learning games we put together this weekend.  You can see that they use fine motor skills to open and close the mittens glued onto clothes pins, and to attach the links on the cards for the gingerbread math activity.  Also you can see that they are using math skills to read the number, subitize (or count if necessary) the gingerbreads on the ten frame, count the gumdrops, and lastly count the cute gingerbread sticks grouped into fives.  We also have word "lights" with some of our recent sight words, and the children chose a word then choose the letters to hang up that make the word.  Each game has a visual description of how to play it so the children remember steps.  

 The Candy Cane ten frame game we just read the number, subitized or counted the candy canes, and added the appropriate number of tiny erasers to make 10.  We didn't worry about adding the number on the line to make the full equation.  We will add that part tomorrow.

Since we were talking about snowmen today, we added a few Florida (no snow) natural snowmen to talk about how many circles we needed for a snowman, and attributes of our face (eyes, nose, mouth) and body parts such as arms.  We also included a little discussion about feelings.  The white snowman is simply cork sprayed white.  We made a snowman for each child's name so they can practice putting their letters in order and the younger children get familiar with the letters in their name.  They can also practice spelling friends names if they choose to.  They are stored in envelopes with the names on the front to assist with the order of letters.

This little snowman ornament we made at our Parent's Night Out / Kid's Christmas Party.  It was easy, fun, and they had fun with it.  However, it is glass, not plastic like I thought. 😲
Everyone has still been enjoying working in the usual centers as well.  You can see the block center "under construction" as the two and three year olds are working on building.  

Sometimes in VPK we have one round of centers such as the first two on the easel on this page, then they can choose anything from the literacy or math centers.  This Sort n' Shape was her choice of free centers.

We had been seeing many bad choices.  Then we brought the "Super Friend chain" or "Helping Hand" chain back into play.  So many nice choices are encouraged by this chain!  Every time it touches the floor, we take a piece of paper out of our idea jar with something written on it.  Last week we had a trip to a fantastic Lakeland park which the children thoroughly enjoyed!  I wonder what we will get next time we have reached the floor.

We read at least 3 books every day.  Since we were going to donate last Friday at a local collection tent, we read about Howard B Wigglebottom and the

Look at these cuties!  They carried the presents in to the Holiday Tent.  They wanted to fill others full of Hope.  Then we went for a quick tour to see how they sort the items and get them ready for some one to "shop" when they come pick up their food.  In the van, almost all the way to the tent, they were singing Jingle Bells very loudly!

This is from the Parent Night Out/Kids night in.  These are melted snowmen - just hot glue with stuff stuck in for body parts.  The gingerbread cookies they had fun decorating, then ate them of course. :)

This is the youngest child that came to Parent Night Out this past week.  She was doing her job exploring and learning about shapes and dumping them on the floor. 😲 But she helps pick up now as well.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Social Skills refresh - focusing on improvement

We all need to be reminded every once in a while to make the best choice.

Remember the Super Friend / Helping Hand chain that we restarted last week?  Look at it now!
It is almost half way to the floor again - which means we will draw a paper out of the jar to see what we will get from some things that they have chosen.  Some ideas are:  outside day, park day, watch a movie, pizza for lunch.  These are some of the ideas they have suggested they would like when it reaches the floor again.  😀 Small price to pay for good choices!  We are seeing many more good choices and Super Friends over all.  Are there still things we need to tweak?  Sure!  But I love to see more engagement, more participation, and being kinder to friends and teachers, and completing tasks with less behavior distractions.  It makes our day go much smoother.  On my end, I have to remember to use my visuals, remind of the schedule so they can see they will get to the part they want eventually, and many first-then statements, and sometimes first-then visuals.  I realized I had forgotten to use them ever day.  I needed a refresher as well! What happens is things will go so smoothly after using the visuals for a while that you don't need them anymore.  Then they forget about them as well, and then they are needed.  Just hit the "refresh" button and start over.

We had more gingerbread fun today, and Jingle Bell fun as well.  Papa Joe had them all super excited and participating very well reading the Jingle Bell book.  Then he had to calm them down a little so they could work in some centers before going outside.  😆

For centers we used some of the centers we have been using - Gingerbread girls and houses alphabet match, Gingerbread boy alphabet match, and feeling face gingerbreads but with different manipulatives for counting.  We also included the sand textured upper and lower case alphabet, and  Unlock It! Number Match (Lakeshore) for a different number fun.  Love these locks.  They enjoy counting the starts to match the numbered key with the lock, and they can read the number word on the opposite side of the lock.

The children had a few minutes before going outside so they grabbed some gloves and a few letters and played toss with each other saying the letter, and the sound for the letter before tossing it in their friend's direction.

While the VPK children were doing centers, and the one three year old joined in a little bit, the one and twos enjoyed some play/learning time in the playroom.  After reading a few books, we worked on matching and identifying colors and shapes as we cleaned up from baby exploration.  The baby typically sleeps while VPK centers are happening.  Then we had a few minutes to play with our cakes, and we were off to outside! Younger children books today were:
I love that now the younger children are joining in when we read "Run, Run, as fast as you can.  You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man.
The VPK Group had a great Jingle Bell band going on outside, most children were playing instruments, but one child was using the instrument as a microphone.  Look for this band about 15 years from now. 🥁📯🎤  They also rode trikes and gave rides with the trailer, and pulled children in the 3 car wagon.  Some of the younger children very gently rode the alligator teeter totter with our new little friend as she was learning how the teeter totter works.  There was tons of dirt/mulch moving going on with the big trucks.  They played tag, chase, kick the balls (I would say soccer but they just aren't there yet 😏), and tossed the balls. 
Some of the children built with little nature blocks, and some children worked in the sandbox sifting and scooping.  After outside time we went in for some yummy lunch.  Most of the children really loved the lunch.

Menu for today was:
Breakfast:  Waffles, Blueberries, Milk
Lunch:       Cheese Pizza, Green Beans, Plums, Milk
Snack:       Mango, Wheat Crackers

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Continuing Gingerbread fun

Continuing with our Gingerbread man, boy, girl work today. After morning circle and puzzle fun, we began our story time for the day. 

We had a silly fun book "Don't Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late" since I am hearing from some of the parents that their child is giving them a hard time going to sleep.  This one is a good way to laugh about it, but still learn that children need to go to sleep at night.  We also talked about "Fill A Bucket" which is about appreciating that others have feelings also and we need to take them into consideration as we go throughout the day.  "Llama Llama Holiday Drama" is about how a child feels being overwhelmed with the holidays, and learning to stop and seek comfort from a parent.  Lastly, was our Gingerbread book of the day, "The Gingerbread Man".   This is the traditional retelling of the story, with the traditional wording.

The traditional wording was needed for our next activity:  Gingerbread Man Action Game.  We briefly talked about "action" (verb) words, then after putting the Run, Run on sticky notes in the blanks provided, I asked them for more action words that we could act out.  These are a few of the words that they came up with.  We just wrote each one on two pieces of paper to go in the blanks of _____, ______ as fast as you can.  You can't catch me. I'm the gingerbread man.  When we posted the words on, Gingy would act it out, and the children joined in.  Outside we played Run, Run as fast as you can.

We finished up the Christmas countdown chains

This was waiting for the children as they arrived this morning.  A quick, fun, gingerbread man dot to dot art in red or green.  These were completed in red or green. 😊

We did many of the same activities we did yesterday and included cookie shape matching.  The activities appeared easier for them today as we practice and practice things like matching upper case and lower case letters, identifying numbers and developing number sense.  They were able to match the upper case and lower case letters much faster and without questioning what a letter is.  The counting buttons on gingerbread men also was completed faster with putting the correct number of buttons on.  Also, on our tracing letter or number to make a gingerbread man practice, they are understanding the basic "how to" make a gingerbread man better.

The three year olds joined us for some of the activities, and would migrate back to the playroom or other activities out of the cabinet as they desired.  In the play room they were "making cookies" on a cookie pan, having tea, caring for baby dolls, building with blocks, playing in the Little People Doll House, and working with puppets in the puppet theatre.

Everyone went out before lunch to enjoy a bit of fresh air and run, climb, and work in outside centers - digging in mulch with trucks, blocks big & small, music, dramatic play (Teepee), mud kitchen, reading/chillin, sandbox work, flying the airplane together, and riding trikes.  Everyone is very tired and resting well.

Today's menu: Breakfast:  Banana, Cinnamon Toast, Milk
                         Lunch:  Chicken patties, Spinach Salad, Green Beans, Wheat Crackers, Milk
                         Snack:  String Cheese, Orange Wedges

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