Month: October 2013

Easy Science = Easy Learning

We do a lot of science activities in the Pre-K room. A LOT. But we make these activities easy and fun and always developmentally appropriate. Like the other day, when we all grabbed a journal and some binoculars and went on a leaf color expedition.

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We wrote columns with R (Red), Y (Yellow), O (Orange), and G (Green) and made hash marks for each color we saw.

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So we end up using our science activities to teach literacy and vocabulary too, because you can’t make R, Y, O, and G without learning your letters and when you use words and phrases like field journals, collecting data, making observations, results, and predictions, we’re quickly expanding their list of words.

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And then there’s the math we get to do, when we come inside and add up everyone’s results, and make a simple bar graph that uses addition and comparison concepts.

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Easy Science = Easy Learning and LOTS of FUN

 

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Room on the Broom

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“Sustains attention and persists with an activity over an extended period of time; days or even weeks”. This is one of the checkpoints in our assessments of the children and it’s an advanced one for sure. They usually don’t start demonstrating this ability until about 4, but when they do, it’s in our best interests to provide them the opportunity. To watch them engage themselves in something for long periods of time, over the course of days or in this case, a couple weeks, is absolutely mesmerizing, and makes me so insanely proud.

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So just as with every other preschool in the land right now, we are immersed fully in the spirit of Halloween. After almost 9 years as a teacher, I have decided that trying to suppress the delirious excitement of Halloween’s approach is just plain dumb. They are obsessed, discuss their costume choices at every opportunity, and ask at least 12 times a day how many more wake-ups until the big day. So rather than try to dial it down, we amped it up this year – big time. We let them go crazy with the decorations, are having a day-long party on the 31st, and came up with this super fun Room on the Broom project. If you’re not familiar with the story Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, do yourself a favor and run out to get a copy. It’s an adorable Halloween story of a witch, her pets, and their adventures trying to create the perfect, custom-made broom with plenty of room for all; full of great repetition, rhyme, vocabulary, and fun illustrations.

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Our kids are fascinated with this book and have it practically memorized. We decided to give them the opportunity to create their own “room on the broom” with shoe boxes, a plethora of crafts, dowels and raffia for little brooms, and most importantly, TIME. On the 7th of October, we literally cleared out the classroom, set up a craft station, asked parents for donations of everything from stickers, yarn, and tin foil, to pumpkins and glue, and we’ve been watching them create their own unique creations ever since. We give all 16 kids the chance to work on their shoe boxes all week at different times of the day, either in pairs or solo, and we sometimes have to pull them away after almost an hour of completely absorbed work to eat a meal or go outside. And they get to work on them until Halloween – almost 4 weeks on 1 activity. They have the chance to perfect, revisit, re-do, or just admire their own handiwork, for a month.

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It’s been an amazing experience for the whole class – kids, teachers, and parents. People come in to volunteer and just sit with the kids to help make brooms or glue on google eyes, kids are visibly proud of what they’ve made, and at times, you can hear a pin drop in a room with 16 4 year olds, everyone engaged in their room or thinking about their next turn at the table.

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So regarding this objective? “Sustains attention and persists with an activity over an extended period of time; days or even weeks”. CHECK:)

PolaroidShoe boxes waiting for their owners to work on them again..