Remembering our A to Z's
Last month was about reviewing the alphabet. In an earlier posting I spoke about my class already knew their alphabet and their letter sounds. So I found a way to expand the lesson to make review month more fun. We did it by learning sign language. But there were other ways that I expanded the Mother Goose Time theme of the month. Mainly I used the resources for children I found on Youtube. Children need to be able to see what they are learning about. For example, if they have never seen snow, doing projects on snow is going to land a little flat. That does not mean you have to give up on teaching children about snow. You just have to get creative and use DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practices ) to introduce concepts that they may have a hard time with.
We learned about 26 different animals this month through youtube videos. Short videos that give the children an insight into the animal and can be conversation starters. The channels that I used:
Sci Show Kids
Some of the videos are a bit long, so we would only watch apart of them and have a summary talk afterwards.
Another way that I expanded on lessons with the kids, was to use our loose parts in the classroom to help them develop an understanding of exactly what the animals live like.
An example of this would be using blocks to build a dam like beavers.
Pretending the Safari truck was taking baby bears to the zoo to be helped and needing to count the bears. The bear counters came with the theme box for the month.
We had a steam center set up in the classroom with nature items that were also used to learn about the different animals and habitats. Over all expanding lessons should really be about listening to the children in your classroom and following where their interests lie. We held races outside because we heard about how fast large cats run in the wild. We used the barn house in our block area to make our own zoo and pretended to camouflage to run away from predators.
Over all there are ways to make reviewing previously mastered areas fun and if you have any ideas or resources for expanding learning for your preschoolers please share them in the comments and remember.....
Live Long and Keep Teaching
Putting on a Play
When we think of the arts, we tend to think of drawing, painting and such. Many times we forget about plays,drama and acting. Which is why it was so much fun for the children to make puppets from the A to Z theme for Mother Goose Time.
I set the activity up for the children to look at different types and colors of birds. Then I had them watch a play with puppets from Mister Roger's neighborhood. After that we sat down and were able to design our own puppets with the birds and feathers that came in the curriculum. After designing our birds I gave the children time to come up with a story about their birds to present to the class. It was adorable and it was an excellent activity that helped the children use their imaginations and to prepare for speaking in front of others. I have found that if you give them small opportunities to speak in front of their friends it lessens the amount of fear they may have with speaking in front of others.
Because it was their first time coming up with their own play a lot of them were mostly about telling us about their birds, but I still would call the activity a win. I think the next time I attempt this type of activity I will come up with a play for them along with having them come up with their own. While we were able to view others do the play it would be beneficial to have them see one performed by their classmates.
If you know any children's plays that can be adapted for the classroom please let me know where to find some!
One of the ways I have encouraged public speaking is to set up an area in the classroom that is made just for them to be able to sing and dance for their classmates. I have a stage that I got from the Etsy shop Classy Stages and a Rocking chair. I use both of these for show n tell. Show n tell is an excellent activity to encourage children to speak in front of the group and share with others. The longer you do it the more comfortable they become. It is quite something to watch them become more and more comfortable. It also helps them with learning to engage with their friends in the classroom.
I hope that you enjoy the video of one of my students performing their birds play and remember.......
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
Taking Art Outside
So, let me be very clear, this project scared me. As I went over the project for the day from the Mother Goose Time Lesson plan book I had a deep sense of "OMG MY FLOOOORS!!!". I had to figure out how to adjust the project so that I could save my floors.
I became the superhero of my own dreams and took all my chairs outside the classroom taped the paper to the bottom of the chairs and out the door we went! It was great! They laid on their backs and were concentrating so hard on their masterpieces. They felt like real painters. The part I did not think about was that children like to overload their paint brushes with paint and it began to fall on them! Some of them did go home with paint in their hair. I'm sure their parents really loved that!
The important part of them learning about murals is showing them that art is not limited to paper or canvas. They were able to see that you can do art outside and that buildings can be art. Hopefully this encourages them to seek out different ways to do art and to see the art in the world around them.
This was messy...and the destruction of tons of baby wipes happened along with the use of a hose to clean off the chairs, because they didn't just paint the paper, they gifted my chairs with paint also. It was hard work, but I am very glad that we did it.
I will do it again next year. It's what Superheroes do.
Check out my Youtube channel and remember......
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
Learning About the Mona Lisa
One of the best parts of this week, has been watching the faces of my preschoolers as they learned about the Mona Lisa. I wasn't sure if it would go over their head. But it turns out that they enjoyed the entire lesson on Portraits. The activity from Mother Goose Time was the portrait flip book. Which they LOVED!
They spent the entire time after coloring flipping and making up stories about the different people they created as they flipped through the book. One of my students wasn't feeling the activity at first, and only colored the front. Until they were able to see what the book did after it was completed. Then he sat down and colored the book so that he too could make up a story about his flip book.
After working on the flip book we talked about difference between self portraits and portraits and I felt this was a good time to have the conversation about what we have that is the same, such as eyes, nose, teeth and hair. Then we spoke about what is different about all of these things. This is an important conversation to have because children see early the differences between all of us, avoiding speaking about it does nothing. But being able to celebrate the fact that all our classmates are different and awesome means that they know that being themselves and being different is truly OK.
Which is why the Mona Lisa portrait that came with the curriculum was so important. This was a painting of a woman that isn't smiling but she isn't frowning, she just sitting and being herself. They should see that being themselves is OK and I think a portrait project is the perfect way to illustrate this project.
The best part of the project was them telling their parents that they made the Mona Lisa and telling them all about it. If you are looking for a way to show children about the Louvre and to show them the Mona Lisa here is a link to the video I used with my classroom. They really enjoyed it, especially since I told them about all the things I saw when I went.
I hope you find a way to introduce Mona Lisa to your classroom and.....
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
Equity and the family childcare home
When we speak of equity, we tend to automatically think about how to make public schools in all neighborhoods have equal access to resources and the same goals for all children. But family childcare has a role to play in trying to level the playing field for all children.
Family childcare still has a way to go when it comes to others seeing us as the professionals that we are, but we do not need to wait for them to see us as professionals for us to ACT like it. We are in the best positions possible to create a change and help children excel in school. We have small classrooms and we can get to know our students in a way that most teachers wish they could but can’t because they are saddled with so much extra responsibility. The pit falls of the career is that we do not have the same access to the resources of a public or private school.
So how do we create equity for the children in care when we often are left in the dark about the resources that can help our students before they enter the public or private school system?
We. Get. Loud.
With many parents having to have two working parents in the home and often having to choose between quality and affordability for their children it is an honor that we can provide the high quality for them. That means having a list of resources ready to go for children who may need it. Allowing speech and physical therapist into our homes during work hours to work with one of our children. Providing special accommodations for children who may need it.
These things can make a huge difference in the life of a child who may have otherwise started out behind in their Kindergarten classrooms. More than anything we want the children we care for to excel. To do that we have to acknowledge that not all children get equal and fair treatment. Children of color are often treated worst, expelled more and expected to act older than their ages. Children with disabilities often must fight for their access to resources and help.
Family Child Care Providers can help parents by holding parent engagement nights that teaches parents their rights as they navigate the public-school system. Giving them updates lists of local and national resources and encouraging them to join associations like NAFCC or NAEYC so that they can have a voice and learn what they can about the school system and its laws.
Equity in education isn’t just for the K-12 school system. We are teachers too, and as the second teachers (parents are the first) young children encounter we owe it to them to start fighting for equity from the very beginning.
Fight for Equity and Always
Live Long and Keep Teaching!