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Friday, April 29, 2011

Animal Felt Board Story

We began our study of animals this week. I had gone and cut out animal shapes from felt with the ellison machine and then thought, ok now what I am going to do with them? First I tried to come up with rhymes, but I couldn't think of anything clever enough, so I decided to write a story about my animals.

Dolly and Poochy
Once upon a time, there was a horse named Dolly. She was looking for her friend Poochy the dog. She trotted through the pasture and saw Cow. She asked Cow “Have you seen Poochy?” She only said “Moo.” Next, Dolly ran into Cat. She asked Cat “Have you seen Poochy?” She only said “Meow.” Dolly continued on to find Duck near the pond. She asked Duck “Have you seen Poochy?” Duck said “Quack.” Then Dolly galloped to the barn and found Hen inside. She asked Hen “Have you seen Poochy?” She only said “Cluck cluck.” Dolly then saw Caterpillar chomping on a leaf and asked “Have you seen Poochy?” But Caterpillar did not respond. Dolly was about to give up and went back into her stall to sleep. A couple of days later, she saw Caterpillar who had made a Chrysalis beginning to emerge. But instead of a caterpillar, he had become a beautiful butterfly. The butterfly flew high up into the sky. Dolly was so amazed that she began to follow him. Eventually they came to an old shed. Dolly looked inside and there in the corner was Poochy. She was surrounded by 4 cute puppies! Dolly ran up and whinnied “Congratulations” to her friend.
The End

The bold words are cues of what to put on the board when. So, here are photos of my felt board and how I organized the animals as I told the story. As you can see, I just made a little blob for my puppies LOL.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Compost Update!

Lovely, huh?

Well this is our compost pile today, 18 days after we started it. As you can see, it is growing a lot of mold and there is a lot of liquid in the bottom. I think maybe we are supposed to be draining it.

Well in any case, it is definately decomposing. Not too sure about the worms either, I can't really see them and a little afraid I drowned them... Hmm, guess we will keep watching it and see what happens. Only 3 more weeks of school after this.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Plant Unit

My class has been doing a plant theme since the end of March. The first thing we did was find out what the children knew...

We began to teach them about the parts of a plant using felt board pieces and labels. They love putting the flower together by themselves! Make sure you also talk about how plants need air and that even though they don't have a mouth, they still have to breath like we do, only we breath we oxygen and they breath carbon dioxide.

Of course then, we had to plant our own seeds to watch them grow and we began to measure and record the height of them as they grew. The red line was the first day we measured and the blue line is for the second day.

We read the book The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. It talks about how the ladybugs eat the aphids which eat leaves. So I made an interactive chart of a tree with leaves containing different numbers of aphids on each one that they have to match with the number on the branch of the tree.

We also took a nature walk on which we found several different types of flowers, plants and seeds. This is a milkweed pod that is obviously dried up from the winter, but it was a good example to show the kids how the seeds are connected to the feathery part which makes them fly further away from the plant. This opens up a discussion about why plants want their seeds to fall away from them so that their roots will have plenty of room to grow and plenty of water. Also, you can talk about other methods plants use to spread their seeds such as animals eating the fruit or having them stick to their fur, helicopter seeds from trees, and the way the wind blows seeds from a dandelion.

We are now currently wrapping up our plant unit and working on making a book for documentation of what the children have learned. I will post pictures of it when finished.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Bulletin Board

Here is a bulletin board we did based on Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We are actually doing a unit on plants, but veered in the direction of caterpillars when the subject came up, what insects eat leaves? Another good book that is associated with this topic is The Grouchy Ladybug (if you can't tell, I LOVE Eric Carle!) In the grouchy ladybug, of course there are aphids who eat the leaves and the ladybugs come along and eat the aphids. Great way to discuss the food chain! And there are so many directions you can go with that book, I will save it for another time and another blog. Anyways, back to The Very Hungry Caterpiller. Here is the bulletin board(and in case you are wondering, YES, there are 32 children in my class, 17 in AM session and 15 in PM session):

We cut out the parts, but if your children are old enough, they can cut them out on their own. Then we had them draw some of the fruits the caterpillar ate in the book.

In the center, we decorated photos of the children making their caterpillars and reading the book. Then we printed out a copy of the cover of the book, added a colorful butterfly border and voila! You have a great spring bulletin board!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Healthy Foods

This group comes to some centers that are part of the agency I work for, CDCFC. You will see one of the centers, G. Tyree, in the video. I was lucky enough to get to participate in their program a couple of Summers ago when I worked at Generations. They do so many things that really get the kids' attention and help them to not only learn about healthy foods, but to remember it and tell their parents about it.

For example, they do themes about different countries. First, they show the children where it is located on the map. They play music from that country and incorporate other things that are part of that culture or language. They may teach the kids to say hi in Japanese, they may take an airplane ride to Spain, they may dance to music from Brazil. Also they teach about vitamins and what foods have different vitamins in it and what each vitamin does for your body. The kids really do enjoy and remember what the program teaches them and I believe helps them to begin healthy eating habits at a young age. The rise of diabetes and obesity in children is plenty of reason to take seriously what we are feeding to our children.

You can incorporate many of these activities in your classroom (or home). For example, choose a country or let the children choose one and look up everything you can about it online and make a dish from that culture.

Even adding one healthy cooking activity or movement activity to your lesson plan will allow children to get into a habit of staying healthy from a young age. And keep in mind, children will try a lot more foods than you might think. You never know if you don't try. I saw kids who tried tofu and guacamole for the first time and loved it! Actually I tried a few things I had never tasted before and still eat it to this day :)

Here is a link to the curriculum for Food Matters:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Update on Compost Pile


SECOND: THE WORMS(With Holes in Lid)



To Be Continued....

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Came across this book a week or so ago when the Worthington Library came out to read with the kids in my class. It is called Chalk by Bill Thomson and is a wordless picture book. This book is great for sparking childrens' imagination. The story goes like this. It's a rainy day and the children go to the park and begin drawing on the pavement with sidewalk chalk. They draw a sun and the sun comes out, they draw butterflies and butterflies appear. Then they draw a dinosaur. I'll let you get the book yourself to find out what happens next and how they solve the problem. This book has such great pictures in it from all different points of view. (See website below for a video about how the author created the pictures.) There are so many directions that discussion of this book can go in. Give children a box of sidewalk chalk and see what their imaginations can come up with!
Here is a blog article all about the book and how this principal did a whole event around it:

Kid Lit Frenzy

Friday, April 8, 2011

Belated Introduction

Hello. This blog is meant to share ideas about activities for preschool aged children. Anyone is welcome to read it and encouraged to leave comments. Mostly, it is just thoughts that I come up with each day working with my kiddos. I teach Head Start children ages 3-5, but most of my ideas can be easily adapted for younger or older children. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. I hope you find something here that will be useful to you!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


The last couple of weeks, my preschoolers have been doing a plant theme and today we read a big book about growing a vegetable garden. As I was asking the children what they knew about growing vegetables, the subject of composting was brought up. So, I decided to look up what we need to make a compost pile and actually have the kids start one of their own using scraps from lunch. I have learned a lot from looking at different websites. The only concern I have is that we have less than 2 months left of school and I am not sure how much decomposition the children will be able to observe in that amount of time. I was thinking of adding earthworms to it, but from what I can find, it sounds like the materials have to begin to decompose before you can add the worms. Thinking this is a great idea, but probably going to be an ongoing process for a while even if I have to work on it over the summer and have it ready for the children for next school year. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Also, I will provide a couple of the useful links I have found.

Teaching Time to Preschoolers

Today, I came across a good strategy for teaching preschoolers about time since as you probably know if you have worked with this age group before, they often get time concepts confused. For example, they might say "Yesterday I went to the zoo," when in reality it was last weekend. I came across this webcam It is a live webcam of an eagle with her eaglets. I showed it to the kiddos in my class and told them that it was happening right now. I am not sure if they understand it totally, but we will continue to have it on in the classroom for them to observe. I am trying to get them to understand the difference between this and what they watch on TV is (usually) prerecorded. Also, this is a great way to incorporate science. The children really like it and if you explain that it is live and anything can happen, no one knows what will happen, it will make it more exciting for them. Also, if possible, you could allow the children to set up their own webcam on the class pet or something else that might be interesting to watch over time. There are many websites you can visit that have live cams on all different types of animals. The San Diego Zoo's website is a great resource as they have cams for various animals including tiger, lion, flamingo and many more!