The month of Nov was insane! I spent the beginning part of the month dealing with children moving, birthday's and getting ready to attend the NAEYC Conference. But even with all of that we had learning to do. That learning for the month had to do with Community Helpers with Experience Early Learning.
Community Helpers theme is important because that is how we are able to teach children how to be helpful with the people in their life. We are not just teaching them about the professions that help the community in which they live. We are teaching them how these professions help us and keep the community functioning. This means moving beyond the careers of police officers and firefighters. We need to dig into people who work in the stores where we buy our goods, the hospitals where we take our sick and the teachers (like us) who teach our children.
So, for the police officer craft, instead of concentrating on catching bad guys, we focused on peaceful policing. In a life far far away I use to be Military Police, I told them stories about how I helped people who were lost, how I directed traffic during accidents and how I walked around during Halloween to help people as they went trick or treating. The purpose of these stories was to ensure they understood that helping others was the important part of the career.
After we spoke about the different ways which I helped people, I wanted them to think about the different ways in which they help those that they loved. To do that we talked about household chores and what we do to help our families. Some of them told me they didn't help at home AT ALL! (adorable). But they talked about helping to bake, sweep and fold laundry. We discussed if helping made them feel good and how they felt when other helped them.
After that, I dismissed them from circle time to go into free time. I asked them to think about ways to help their friends with games and during clean up time. On this day in the history of teaching the small children in my classroom were kind and sweet and only had a few fights. It was great.
I encourage all of you to continue the talk of kindness and being helpful in your classrooms. Children can learn a lot through watching but sometimes short discussions can be great reminders for children.
Remember to be kind and helpful :)
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
This month has been filled with events and fun for the families enrolled in Perfect Start Learning. The holiday season means that we have a harder time getting through the curriculum due to working on the recital and preparing for other events. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a box from Mother Goose Time with their new toddler curriculum.
I think that I was expecting something that would just be a smaller version of the Prek version. I was super surprised about the structure of the curriculum. I am still trying to wrap my head around everything and want to do an in depth look into the curriculum and how it works differently, but I thought I would show an example of the difference from the prekindergarten curriculum.
The first activity I tried had to do with the book Bella and the Umbrella. It was adorable, but also very long for small children. Lucky for me the first activity was about taking a picture walk through the book with the children and working on how to handle and treat a book. This is a simple activity, and I never thought about doing a lesson on book treatment! Usually I would go over the top of the book, bottom, and why we should treat books nicely at the beginning of the year during circle time.
This was different in the way that we were able to sit down together and ask questions, it encouraged them to really look closely at the pictures and using their imagination to decide what the book is about. This is an excellent activity and I have a video of the totally adorable conversation we had about the book and one of the pages.
Encouraging toddlers to read and love books may seem easy but we as educators tend to over complicate it. This lesson from Experience Early Learning, reminded me that often the best idea is to simply sit and talk. Model the correct behavior and listen to them as they speak to you. Til next time.....
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
Science with preschoolers is pretty awesome. You can do smelly gross science experiments and they LOVE it. Well almost all preschoolers love smelly gross science experiments. There are some children with deep sensory issues so if you have children in your class who do not like messy projects that is ok, This project only fulfills the smelly part of the science with preschoolers philosophy.
So first I will tell you how I came up with the idea to do the experiment in the first place. It was random. Actually, it was because the theme for the day with Experience Early Learning with Mother Goose Time was to learn about eggs. So we went over the fact that there are different animals besides chickens who lay eggs, and we were able to watch a video on Youtube about ostrich eggs to show them how big they were.
After showing them how big the ostrich eggs were I decided-oh a whim mind you- that we should do a project to show what was inside the egg that we were talking about.
We ended up doing the naked egg experiment and it was a huge huge hit! The naked Egg experiment involves putting an egg in vinegar and watching the vinegar dissolve the egg shell. This leaves you with the inside of the egg. It is gross, it smells....it's preschool!
We also read the recommended book called First the Egg. You can find it on Amazon. It is adorable and fun to read. It was one of the books that led to questions about other animals that lay eggs and if their eggs look like chicken eggs.
Well that is all for this post I will be posting about the rest of the month that was super super busy this week! Thanks for reading and as always...
Live long and Keep Teaching!
Bringing learning to life is about more than bring learning experiences into the classroom. It's about creating learning experiences out of the classroom also.
For our first week of Down on the Farm we went to a local farm here called Murray's Farms. The Farm was so adorable the kids were able to do basketball throwing, throwing baseballs and we are able to go sledding (well the best you can sled down astro turf. In the middle of the California desert). We were able to go on a hay ride and learn about the different crops of fruit they grow on the farm. Fridays are self guided tour days and it was the best thing I think I could have done for this age group. A guided tour for this age group may not have worked out. The children were so excited about being on the farm that rounding them up was probably going to make the field trip miserable instead of the super fun time that we had.
Below is the picture of the outfit I wore for the field trip. This month we are doing 24 days of Halloween, this is where I wear a costume everyday for my classes. For the field trip I was Ms. Frizzle. I even got a Liz purse!! I got the Magic school Bus shirt here.
During the field trip the children were able to pet some of the farm animals and this means that we will be able to a conversation during circle time about the same and differences in seeing animals in real life and seeing them in the book Old McDonald Has a Farm By Leslie Falconer. I loved this book and will be doing a one minute book review. I will say that this book was great in the way it addressed being welcoming to people who are different. It also opened up the conversation to rescue locations and what types of animals might be in these places.
The book was able to get across a pretty complex thought in an easy to understand message. I will post more about it on the Youtube channel.
Visiting the farm was a great way to connect the lessons from this month to the real world. I have managed to incorporate many videos from Youtube, National Geographic and PBS into my lessons to give the children a real life association for what we are learning about. I hate teaching and having the subjects seem abstract because they have not seen what we are speaking about in real life.
I love the summer time and I always miss it when its gone. All the outdoor learning we do during the summer makes it so much fun. But the coming of cooler weather, allows for different types of learning opportunities outdoors and a chance to dress up. I am excited for all the things to come this month and to share them with all of you.
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
The picture here is showing the difference between a two year old and a three year old. The top is showing a child who is three and is starting to draw people in their pictures. The bottom picture is a 2 year old that while still scribbling told me what the scribbles represented. This is the postcard that came in the curriculum box for Mother Goose Time. This activity involves the children writing a postcard to their family and friends.
An important thing to remember about emergent writing skills is that they will change dramatically as the children grow. This chart from the NAEYC website shows the stages of writing that children move through as they get older. In my program I teach children from the drawing to the Kid writing phase. I have kids that enter the final phases of emergent writing but it it not expected for the children to enter those phases.
One of the most important parts of emergent writing is giving the children freedom to be creative with their writing. The postcard prompt is a good example of this. I told the children what they were doing and then I gave them the materials needed. While they were doing the projects I asked them what their pictures were about, some said they were drawing their families, one child told me their purple scribble was a unicorn. It was awesome watching their creativity bubble to the surface as they decided where their drawings were going.
Another part of emergent writing is that the children should see different types of handwriting. So they should see you writing when you do work for dictating their story. Watching you write down words will help them learn the process of handling the pencils and forming the letters. Also read out loud as you are writing the words.
Even as you do these things sometimes it will seem like they are making strides in their writing and that they are not showing interest, but if you keep writing samples you will be able to see the changes in their writing over the course of the year. It will shock and give you hope. While not all children move at the same pace, there is a reason for the way they are choosing to do what they do and it is ok.
Live Long and Keep Teaching!