Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


Leave a comment

A Series of Learning Videos

In February I shot a few short videos of two students working together on the magnetic board. I wanted to share them with you and note a few things:

The students are doing their own alphabet activity, even though I had something different laid out on the magnetic board that corresponded with the sorting circles from the previous blog post.  This is one of the aspects I love about the Reggio Emilia Approach…letting children find their way and explore the classroom as they wish.  I didn’t stop the activity or try to re-direct them.  They were on-task, learning, and being 100% appropriate.

Secondly, they are working together, as a team.  This is called “scaffolding” in early childhood lingo.  One student is expanding the knowledge of another student in a stair step model.  They are learning from each other.  One is teaching, one is learning.  The model reverses itself through the videos…

The two students start to talk about some other things in this video, but then get back on track with looking for letters.  They are helping each other in such a great way!

 

Next, B continues with the work on his own and gets really far through the alphabet.

 

Lastly, another student comes along.  She quietly observes, and doesn’t interrupt his play.  But, she is taking in the lesson in her own way!  Learning from a different angle.

This is just a short series of videos that I captured, but I thought it demonstrated how active learning takes place in our classroom each and every day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Letters, Letters Everywhere

IMG_3405.JPG

We have tried to incorporate letters into many of the learning activities this late winter.  We have done a number of letter activities that the kids have loved!

These pictures are from some beautiful letter names the children made with sequence pieces, and glue.  They had to work very diligently to get the many pieces of sequences on their name. Each name turned into a work of art, and the kids were very proud of them!

 

IMG_3318.JPGIMG_3316.JPG

IMG_3254.JPG

 

IMG_3253.JPG

Here is a video of some children working on their names:

Light Play:

IMG_3004.JPG

On the light panel I used small pink glasses to write upper and lower case letters on two sets of glasses.  The children had to find the lowercase match from around the edge of the light panel to match to the uppercase letter in the center of the light panel.

Below are some pictures of D and J matching up the letters on the light panel.

IMG_3006.JPGIMG_3009.JPG

Some of our glasses cracked so we added in new colors and alphabet letters:

IMG_3219.JPG

 

Large Group Lessons:

IMG_3028.JPG

In our large group circle time, we have done a series of lessons from the Handwriting without Tear Program.  I also added some sorting letters activities at the end of our circle time.  I pulled out the large sorting circles, and we studied the letters together as a whole group.  The first sort we did was: Letters with Straight Lines & Letters with Curved Lines.  These lessons allow children to take a closer look at each letter, what components make up the letter and how it is formed.  After I sorted a few of the letters first, I had each child come to the front of the room to be the ‘teacher.’  They sorted a letter or two for their friends, and the children watching got to check their answer!

Below B is examining his letter before sorting:

IMG_3016.JPG

 

IMG_3020.JPG

A short clip from our sorting lesson:

IMG_3021.JPGIMG_3023.JPGIMG_3019.JPGIMG_3026.JPG

 

After we finished the activity I cleaned up the letters, but left the sorting circles out for choice time.  Below is a picture of J and she sorted the entire alphabet by herself!  I love when they extend our group learning into their class time choices!

Here is a video of J sorting her letters:

J posing with her circles:

IMG_3032.JPG

Lastly we used our mini chalkboards to practice our letter writing!  The Handwriting without Tears chalkboards use mini pieces of chalk to encourage the correct pencil grip, and give students just the perfect amount of space to practice their uppercase or lowercase letters:

IMG_3195.JPGIMG_3194.JPGIMG_3197.JPGIMG_3198.JPG

Everyone holding up their different letters:

IMG_3196.JPG

In our play time area I set up a very large parking lot with the matchbox cars and the garage.  Each car had a letter written on the top of it with tape, and then they had to park the cars in the corresponding parking lot!

IMG_3105.JPGIMG_3113.JPG

Sensory Play:

I set up a large kinetic sand tray with our ABC stamps for the children to explore.  They could dig in the sand and press the stamps into the kinetic sand to see the impressions of the letters.

IMG_3189.JPGIMG_3190.JPG

Dinosaurs and Letters:

A few of my students just love dinosaurs!  I thought I would incorporate both of these ideas into a sensory table.  I added sand, plastic dinosaurs, and then some salt dough letter cakes I made with my students a few years ago.  The letters are pressed into the cakes, and are fun to uncover in the sand!

IMG_3107.JPG

 

More of our past February activities will be shared soon!  I will slowly be catching up with our posts over spring break since my computer is back:)

 

 


Leave a comment

Celebrating Dr. Suess

IMG_3379.jpg

We had such a fun week celebrating Dr. Suess and all of his wonderful works the first week of March!  We started our celebration by creating our own “Cat in the Hat” inspired hats.  Then I painted each child with a kitty face!  They sure did look like some cute kitties.

Dr. Suess Inspired Art

IMG_3439.jpg

Another activity the children did was Dr. Suess inspired paper art project.  The invitation had strips of paper, glue sticks, and some Dr. Suess books opened for inspiration.  I modeled how to put a little bit of glue on each end of the construction paper, and then hold them down to create an arch.  They got right to work, and the paper art turned out very colorful!

IMG_3430.JPG

 

IMG_3434.JPG

IMG_3435.JPG

IMG_3442.jpg

“Yertle The Turtle” Book Study

The second book we read over a few days was “Yertle the Turtle.”  This book is about a very mean king that wants his throne to be higher and higher, even if it hurts the other turtles in the pond.  It is a creative book about rights for everyone, even the turtles at the bottom of the pile.  The children loved the story and we read it a number of times!

51lQv1he+qL._AC_US218_.jpg

IMG_3499.JPG

We also made an Anchor Chart after reading the book.  An anchor chart is a way to categorize different parts of the story and discuss the beginning, middle, end or problem/solution.

After the book we created ‘turtles’ using rocks and acrylic paints.

IMG_3537.JPGIMG_3538.JPGIMG_3517.JPGIMG_3506.JPGIMG_3510.JPGIMG_3511.JPGIMG_3513.JPGIMG_3502.JPG

IMG_3539.JPG

Cooking up Alphabet Soup

Lastly we cooked some delicious ABC soup!  We used Dr. Suess’s ABC book as our inspiration.  We added carrots, celery, onion, alphabet pasta and chicken broth to the pot.  Most of the kids gobbled it up!

51lbNnW+9pL._AC_US218_.jpg

IMG_3369.JPGIMG_3368.JPGIMG_3370.JPGIMG_3374.JPG

 

I’m so glad to have my computer back!  More blog posts coming soon!

 


Leave a comment

Signs of Fall

We have interwoven signs of fall throughout our past few weeks in the classroom.  The weather has been a bit warmer than a normal fall, but we are beginning to see all of the beautiful changes all around us!

Below are some pictures from our first batch of Gak in the classroom!  A few of the students helped me make the first batch of the year, and it was a huge hit!  Gak is a mixture of water, glue, liquid watercolors, and borax.  It is stretchy, slimy, part liquid and part solid.  It is a great sensory tool in the classroom, and a fun medium other than play dough.

Sensory Play:

IMG_8213.jpg

Below is W breaking apart the Gak and putting it into cupcake liners.

IMG_8219.jpg

M was showing other students if you held up the Gak it would stretch longer and longer.

IMG_8217.jpgIMG_8222.jpg

I added some leaf gems to push, squish, and hide inside of the Gak.

IMG_8209.jpg

Process Art:

We used real apples to make a rolled art project.  I added a few dabs of paint to a large box, and the children rolled the apple around and around to “paint” the apple.  They thought it was really silly to paint an apple with an “apple paintbrush”!

IMG_8476.jpgIMG_8477.jpgIMG_8474.jpg

Preschool Math:

IMG_8657.JPG

Of course after all of our apple cooking, we had to taste test three different types of apples.  We tried Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith.  After everyone had a chance to taste and vote for their favorite apple, and then we analyzed our results.  Which apple was our favorite?  Which apples had the most votes?  Which apple had the least votes?

Preschool Science:

Signs of Fall

IMG_8735.jpg

We have been going on quite a few walks in this beautiful weather!  On one of our walks we decided to travel down to the creek and check out the “rapids.”

IMG_8723.JPG

IMG_8721.JPG

On the way to the creek we discovered a ‘wooly bear’ caterpillar.  He curled up into a ball once we walked past. The boys were trying to decide why he was curled up?

IMG_8716.JPG

There was a big investigation of the caterpillar and a lot of discussion of where he was going!

IMG_8718.JPG

 

IMG_8714.JPG

We collected two large baskets of acorns, and used them to fill up our sensory tub.  To add another dimension to the tub, I put the top with different sized holes that my Dad made for me last year.  It is so fun to watch the children dig in through the holes, and fill the buckets up with lots of acorns.

IMG_8734.JPGIMG_8811.jpg

IMG_8803.JPG

IMG_8809.JPG

The sensory tub inside the classroom was filled with birdseed, tree blocks, and forest animals.  This tub has been a busy place the past week!

IMG_8834.jpg

Preschool Literacy:

IMG_8654.JPG

We have been doing a number of finger plays and fall songs!  Many are very simple, but the children love to do them again and again.  I will do my best to post a video of our songs this week!

Pumpkin ABC Hunt

After morning meeting this past week we have done an ABC pumpkin hunt!  The children each got an ABC hunting sheet and a clipboard.  Then we pulled the ABCs out of the jack o’ lantern and tried to find the Capital or Lowercase Matching letter on their paper.  Once they found the match they covered it up with the Dot Art marker.

IMG_8748.JPG

 

IMG_8711.JPGIMG_8710.JPGIMG_8709.JPG

We have also begun to do small lessons from the Handwriting Without Tears Program.  The children have learned a few of the songs, and I have slowly started to introduce the materials in a small group and whole class setting.  Children were able to use the wooden pieces to create their “special letter” for the whole group.  Then as a small group I worked with children on their entire first name and their last name (for those that are ready).  We built their names using wooden pieces, and then we drew the letters on the Handwriting Without Tears chalkboard.

IMG_8801.JPGIMG_8800.JPG

 

IMG_8799.JPG

Light Exploration:

I put gems, apples, and sticks on the light panel.  Two little buddies worked for a long while creating apple trees and apple houses on the light panel.

IMG_8565.JPGIMG_8567.JPGIMG_8561.JPGIMG_8563.JPG

Process Art:

Children have also been busy creating all around the classroom during choice time. They have been busy painting…

IMG_8651.JPG

IMG_8650.JPG

This group loves working with paper, scissors, stickers, washi tape, and oil pastels.  I have been leaving one table open for creating with the art supplies, because it is usually busy each and every day!

Thank you to one of our moms who donated all of the fun paper for coloring!  The children have really enjoyed it!

IMG_8652.JPGIMG_8708.JPG

Lastly, children were given a variety of materials to decorate pinecones.  They used the glue to add pom poms, yarn, and sequence to make beautiful pine cone creations.

IMG_8649.jpg