Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


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It’s Getting Spoooooky in Here

Halloween is right around the corner and we have been enjoying lots of silly and fun Halloween themed books and activities.  I have tried to weave in a number of activities using acorns, leaves, and pumpkins while also having fun with all of the Halloween excitement!

Preschool Science:

Pumpkin and Acorn Investigations

Before heading to our field trip last week we discussed pumpkins, their life cycle, and studied in detail our own ‘classroom pumpkin.’

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After reading many books about pumpkins we discussed the life cycle of the pumpkin, and the children put in order life cycle cards as a group.

We Modge Podged pumpkins with pieces of tissue paper.  They chose a pumpkin, put glue on the pumpkin, and then carefully glued a small piece of tissue paper on top of the glued area.  It was a delicate art task, and they did a beautiful job!  Each of the pumpkins turned out very unique!
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We are still in the process of completed a class Pumpkin Investigation!  More details on that coming soon!

Preschool Literacy:

Last week we read this silly story, “Where’s My Mummy?”  The children thought it was so funny that the Mummy was scared of a teeny, tiny mouse after seeing all of the other Halloween creatures creeping around at night.

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After this story we made these toilet paper mummies:
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The children have also loved this Halloween Parody of “Goodnight Moon”

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Another Halloween favorite is “Room on the Broom”

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“Big Pumpkin” is another holiday favorite!  Each of the Halloween characters tries to pull the pumpkin, but can’t do it.  Of course the tiny bat has a great idea to work together, and they pull the pumpkin off of the vine!

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You can usually find one or two students at any point in the morning reading some of the many books found around the classroom:

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I pulled out the architecture blocks on our platform.  For a special Halloween addition, I added small Halloween creepy, crawlers.  Children worked together to build detailed “haunted houses.”

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Sensory Play:

We have had a lot of opportunities to get our hands dirty with Halloween sensory play!  They came into the classroom last week to find our sensory tub filled to the brim with black beans, and lots of fun Halloween items to explore!

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Today the children got to make Oobleck with me for the first time!  This sensory recipe is always tricky for me to perfect!  It is a simple combination of cornstarch and water.  But, the combination has to be just right to get the solid/liquid/sticky/drippy substance just right.  If you want to make this at home, here is a link to Fun at Home with Kids.  She has a great recipe for it!

We made one tray of purple and one tray of black oobleck.  We were able to get the combo just right, and it was super, slimy fun!

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Preschool Math:

We have been working on our counting, one to one correspondence, and using objects in our to count with every day!

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We used the acorns we collected to practice our counting outside on the blacktop!  Some children worked by themselves, and other children worked as a team!IMG_9066.JPGIMG_9068.JPG

 

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I’m proud of their progress!

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We have also counted pumpkin gems on the light panels.  We used the dry erase markers, and they have worked on writing their numbers next to each circle.

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Field Trip:

Last Thursday our class all went together to a local farm for a field trip!  To prepare for our field trip, I pulled out my giant barn, barn animals, and a tray of oatmeal for the pumpkin patch.

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There was a lot of pretend play around the barn, and this led to discussions about what we were going to see and do at the pumpkin patch!

We had a fabulous trip the pumpkin patch, despite the heat!  We learned about pumpkins…

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Slide down the slides into a giant corn pit…

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Played in the corn pit…

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Went on a hay ride to visit the cows…

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And we even attempted a super long corn maze…

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All in all it was successful first field trip!  What a busy month, with more fun things right around the corner!

 

 

 

 

 


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The Mitten & Animal Adventures

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Before I jump right into The Mitten and all of our new animal adventures, I wanted to share some of our last few Valentine’s activities we did throughout February.  Unfortunately this past month was really interrupted with National Holidays, teacher workdays, and lots and lots of snow!  We would just get started with something and then get interrupted for a snow break.  But, we managed to squeeze in some Valentine’s Day fun on two different days.

The blog has been quite quiet the past few weeks while I have busily working on assessments and portfolios.  I was able to write a portfolio for each child in the class, and meet individually with all of my parents.  It was so nice to sit down with everyone and discuss all of the growth and progress each child has made this year.

 

The pictures above and below are of D, C, and H playing in our huge sensory tub of pink salt.  I died many large boxes of salt pink, and then added scoops, glass containers, long pink spoons, heart gems, and a giant restaurant style salt shaker.  The kids quickly figured out how to unscrew the lid and fill it up with salt.  Then the boys would hold out their scoops and wait to have them quickly filled by the giant salt shaker.

This activity builds fine motor skills, cooperation, verbal skills, problem solving, and scientific processes of pouring and filling.  They were busy with this tub for quite some time.

Sensory Play:

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Process Art:

J brought in the most beautiful sunflowers for Mrs. Brittany and I for Valentine’s Day.  As much as we were enjoying them, we decided to put them in the art studio as an invitation to create.  I put the flowers in a large vase next to the easel with yellow, brown, and green paints.

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Fine Motor:

For some fun fine motor work I covered a table with long strips of crepe paper.  The children each got to stand at the end of the paper and cut all the way down to the tape.  This provided a fun way to cut using scissors in a new and different way.

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We turned it  into a cutting race to see who could make their way to the tape first!

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Classroom News:

Our new sweet friend A started coming to school in the past few weeks.  She had a great time making new friends, and getting adjusted to life at Crozet PlaySchool.  A quickly discovered the Valentine’s themed learning trays.  She made some bracelets for mommy and daddy.

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A and A spent a long time moving our winter erasers from the container to the muffin tray using the tongs.IMG_2930 2.JPG

She also explored the jump ropes with her buddy A outside.

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And they got out our new set of sidewalk chalk for spring.  It was so great to see both girls bond right away!  It was great to see her warm up to our school on the first day:)

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Preschool Literacy:

We kicked off our study of animals by reading one of my favorite winter stories, “The Mitten” by Jan Brett.

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After reading the book a number of times in the morning, we acted out the story using large puppets from the Jan Brett website.  If your child is still interested in the book and would like to learn more, Brett has a fabulous website with lots of resources.

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I brought a large sheet down into the classroom and we clipped it onto the chairs to make a large mitten fort.  Then each child got to act like their animal as they crawled, dug, or hopped their way into the mitten.  Lastly our mouse got in the mitten and caused the bear to sneeze!  This was a wonderful way to incorporate early literacy skills such as story parts, characters, and problem solving.

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To give the students another way to “act out” the story I opened a snow sensory tub.  We made a batch of “blizzard in a box,” and then I added the figurines from Safari Ltd that matched the story.  They had a great time hiding the animals in the snow and making snowy forest scenes just like the book.

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Little hands in the tub…

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Also to go along with our kick off to studying animals Mrs. Brittany came up with this simple and very popular sensory tub!!  She added our large safari animals, soap, water, scrub brushes, and sponges.  The children got busy washing, scrubbing, and bubbling up the animals!

I love to see all of their little hands reaching into the tub to get wet and soapy!

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D scrubbing the lion very carefully.

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Preschool Math:

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We also played some great animal inspired games last week!  The game pictured above is called “Hiss.”  A bunch of students were playing with us, but of course they walked away when I took the picture.  Each child draws a card and they add it to a snake on the table by matching up the colors.  Once the snake gets a head and a tail it is complete and the player says “Hissss” to keep their snake!  It was a great game for color recognition, problem solving, turn taking, and practicing patience.

Celebrations:

Although we had to postpone our Valentine’s Day celebrations, we still squeezed in some time to have fun.  We got to bounce in the bounce house one morning!  These were the best pictures I could get!

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Each child got to roll out their very own pretzel, and shape it into a heart.  Here is B and D rolling out their pretzels.  They went straight into the oven and into our bellies before I could get a picture.

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Once our pretzels were finished cooking we enjoyed them and M’s special heart shaped cookies for her birthday!  We even got to decorate the cookies with pink and white icing! Yummy!

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Happy Birthday M!

Yoga News:

Mrs. Kay also brought some new mats and a new format for our yoga time recently.  Instead of reading us a book and working on poses throughout the story, she told us a story out loud.  We had to listen to the story and then we posed as different story parts.  The picture below shows everyone trying to reach behind their legs to be a spider.  It was hard!

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And our favorite part of yoga, savasana.  Ahhhh relax and breathe.

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We had a few extra minutes at the end of yoga, so Mrs. Kay joined our mats together into a long line and we made a “Dragon’s Rainbow.”  Everyone got into downward dog, and then the first person crawled under the tunnel and went into downward dog at the end.  This repeated again and again!  It was really fun and hard work to stay up in down dog for so long!

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Now that we are mostly caught up, I can’t wait to share more of our animal study with you soon!

 


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End of the Year Projects from 2015

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We had a few different projects going on our last few weeks of school! We were finishing up discussing the Solar System, and working on a large scale group project. The picture above shows the final outcome of a few weeks of work by the children! They worked in groups to paint the sun, the Earth, and the moon using different types of paint and paint brushes. The results were outstanding! They even made a solar flare coming off of the sun (on accident). I kept it on there when I cut it apart for the final project. Once our paintings were finished we taped them onto a large piece of black butcher paper. They used white oil pastels to show the moon and the Earth’s orbits. Some of the other students used the oil pastels to label the different planets and stars. They were so proud of the final product and seeing it in such a large scale is always exciting!

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Each child also worked on an individual project of the Earth. We got a chance to do paper mache for the first time, and boy was it MESSY! They really loved dipping the strips of newspaper into the flour and water mixture. I learned a few things from this project:
it is great to have an outdoor workspace that can get really messy
we needed a lot more coats of newpaper to withstand all of the paint
I will most likely do a glue and water mixture next time (instead of flour)

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The flour seemed to not get as hard as I wanted it to for the final product, and it really broke down when the children painted their Earth. They also love to use a lot of paint! All in all it is about the process and not the product, and I think they really, really liked the process for sure!

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We also worked on our numbers and number formation the last few weeks of school too! It was really fun to use the Handwriting With Out Tears program with this topic. They have a lot of great songs and music that the children really enjoyed! Below is a picture of the number three created with the wooden Handwriting pieces, and also drawn in the salt tray. Each child got opportunities to make the number using wood, trace the wooden number, and then write the number again and again in the salt.

1434938110_thumb.jpegI tried to incoorporate a variety of ways to represent numbers. We learned about dice or dot representation for each number, using our fingers, tally marks (with paper/pencil and popsicle sticks), counting by ones, twos, and fives, and simple addition. A few of the students that were really excited about this topic helped me to create a child made number line for the classroom. Each paper has the number, word written out, dot representation, tally marks, and a picture of the fingers that I took on the overhead.

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I still have a few more things to share about this past school year and of course our graduation photos. We truly were busy up until the very last day of school!

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

 

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On my last blog post I shared our little sprout houses that the children created last month.  Over a period of a few weeks we took our seeds out the sprout house to observe them and write about them in our learning journals.  We even worked on labeling portions of the pictures with some of the key science words we have learned such as:  SEED, SPROUT, and ROOT.  They did a great job looking closely at their sprouts and drawing their pictures.

 

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Once we finished with our drawings, I gave each child a copy of the plant life cycle to color and put in the correct order.

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They did all of the coloring and cutting themselves.  I am so proud of their progress with coloring and cutting and how much their fine motor skills have improved this year.

 

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The children got to work and draw their observations while enjoying the fresh breeze in our new outdoor area! 

 

Then we painted and filled up flower pots with soil, and added our bean sprouts to the pots to take home!

 

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This week we cut apart an order for potting a plant.  We discussed the words first through sixth.  Then we put the cards in the correct order from start to finish in our learning journals.

 

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We also read the book, “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle.  After reading the story we worked on a painting project using a variety of paint brushes.  After the paintings dried we cut the paper into petal shapes and added the flower parts to the art work.  The results were stunning!

 

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We also created plastic plate flowers as a garden decoration.  They painted plastic plates with acrylic paint, and I sprayed the plate with an acrylic shell to protect for the weather and elements.  Then we attached them to a garden stake, and gave them to our Moms on Mother’s Day!  I have mine proudly displayed in our garden.

 

 

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We also used our chocolate play dough to create these beautiful nests with our safari limited birds and mini eggs.

 

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It has been so fun exploring flowers, plants, and seeds this spring!  Only a few more weeks of school, and soon summer will be upon us!


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Spring is Here!

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We had such a fabulous week of school celebrating all things spring and Easter related right before spring break!

 

The kids really enjoyed dyeing the eggs on Friday before our very first Easter Egg Hunt!  Each child got to choose between dip dyeing their eggs or rolling them in shaving cream and food coloring for a new dyeing technique!  Once the shaving cream had to sit on the eggs for a few hours before wiping it off.  The results were a cool marbled look.

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M wanted to dip dye all of her eggs!

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The kids had just a great time hunting around the school and outside of our play ground area for lots of Easter Eggs!  The parents each donated a dozen stuffed eggs for each child, so we had plenty of eggs to find!

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Sweet D running around and excited about his loot!

 

Process Art:

 

We made lots of beautiful Eggstra special Easter art this week too! 

 

I found this idea for Easter Egg sun catchers from The Artful Parent blog.  She is very creative, and her ideas are so inspiring for incorporating art into your home or classroom. 

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My parents donated some beautiful spring flowers that we took apart to place on the contact paper.  We also used tissue paper, and then I helped them use washi tape to outline the edges of the eggs. 

 

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Another window invitation was laid out this past week.  I gave them long piece of contact paper, tissue paper, and a cellophane paper cut into flower shapes and stems.  It was fun to see them get right to work creating spring pictures with the contact paper.

 

 

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We got a brand new art material and I was so excited to try it out this week!  The picture shows L and L using our new tempera paint cakes!  To use the paint cakes they dipped the paint brushes in water and then swirl them on the color of choice.  The result is a much more vibrant paint than watercolor, and they made the most beautiful eggs!

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Of course we added washi tape to the top of our eggs!

The results were stunning!

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We received the most stunning floral arrangements from one of our students this past week as well!  I put out paints in all of the beautiful spring colors and the children got right to work.  Their paintings are really evolving as they grow and learn!

 

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I am blown away by their growth and development as we approach the end of this school year!

 

Happy Spring and Easter to my wonderful students!  I can’t wait to see them again in a few days!


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Quadrilla Marble Run

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Lucky for us Santa brought this amazing new Quadrilla marble run!  The marble run is made by Hape, and their wooden toys are top notch.  The possibilities are endless for set up and use of this marble run.  Most of these pictures are taken on the same morning, but we have set it up multiple ways the first week of school.  The only downfall is that it can fall down fairly easily.  I tried to pick the marble runs with the sturdiest set-up, but it has toppled over a few times.  We just get right to work building a different one when it falls!  It also has taught them to be careful when they are playing with it if they want it to stay in one piece!

 

If you are reading this through the email browser, the video will not show up.  You will have to visit http://www.crozetplayschool.com to view the full videos!

 

playing with the marble run

 

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more videos from our marble run!

 

 

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The children are slowly starting to learn how all of the parts of the marble run work.  They have even built back parts of it if they knocked it over by Friday.  I can’t wait until they are building their own marble runs in the future!


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Beginning our Letter Exploration

 

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In the beginning of November I started a letter exploration with the whole class.  I have used a variety of medias and learning styles to introduce the letters and their sounds to the class.  In the picture above I made a parking lot out of blue painters tape on the carpet.  Then I put a piece of tape with the upper and lower case letter in each parking spot, and a matching car with the letters taped to the top.  Many of the kids went nuts over this.  You could expand this idea in many ways, by making the parking spots have only upper case letters, and the cars have lower case letters, or numbers, etc.  It gets the children playing, moving, and learning all at the same time!

 

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I also introduced the letters in a more traditional way.  Because many of the students in my group are familiar with most of the letters, I decided to read one book each day that had a focus letter.  The first morning we read “Alligator Baby” by Robert Munsch.  Then I made an alphabet box that has one letter in each drawer.  Each drawer holds a number of little charms or items I have collected.  In the picture above you can see all of the charms that start with the letter A:

alligator

airplane

apple

acorn

ant

 

After building the letter A with our wood pieces, we pulled out each charm and said the sound for A while labeling the charms.  The final part of our project was to make a letter A craft.  We made the A into an alligator!  So far we have discussed the letters A-N in the past two months. 

 

I have enjoyed the combination of approaches when talking about each letter.  With combing the phonics part of the letter study, it allows children that already may know how to write or form the letter a more advanced way to learn. 

 

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I made this glittery gel writing bag too.  While the children are at choice time I have been calling them over to make the letters out of wood pieces, trace the letters in the bag, and draw the letters in the learning journals. 

 

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One of our learning trays has been this alphabet monster (a baby wipe box in disguise!)  They can put the letters in the box in alphabetical order, or simply pick up a letter, name the letter and then feed it to the monster.

 

 

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We also ate a delicious letter snack!  Sarah (one of my preschool moms) told me about these pretzels you can make yourself.  We made the dough, and then each child rolled and formed the dough into the first letter of their name.  It was fun and yummy!

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Golden brown out of the oven!

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Gluing down fruit loops or stringing fruit loops is always excited to this group!  I wrote out their names using the different colors of the fruit loops.  Then they had to find the correct color and glue it onto their letters in their name. 

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The finished products looked great!

 

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We also made a hop scotch that was all of the letters of the alphabet!

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This week we also had pattern blocks and felt pieces on the tables to explore.  Lots of neat creations were made.

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These next photos are just some of the things we did while we were studying letters, or moments captured around the classroom.

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The trains were a lot of fun the past two months.  They made endless different train tracks.

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This was group art project outside.  The paints were made of clear hair gel, liquid watercolors and confetti.

 

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The mud kitchen continues to be a hit!

 

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The purple rice bin was filled with gems, hearts, test tubes, and ice cube trays.

 

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Another art project was an simple invitation of metallic pens, popsicle sticks, and washi tape.  They had so much fun coloring the sticks and covering them with different styles of tape.

 

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