Friday, December 21, 2012

Snow Mountain

Our first official day on the "snow mountain." It is so worth the plowing bill!


"Simmmbbaaaa! Helppp Meee!"


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Hanukkah

Our Hanukkah Sensory Bin

Although none of the children in my preschool program this year are Jewish, someday they may be in a classroom with a child who is. When the teacher is pulling out the Christmas activities and a Jewish child in the class speaks up and says they celebrate Hanukkah, I want that to spark a memory for my preschoolers. I want my preschoolers to be the ones who raise their hand and say “I know about Hanukkah! We learned about that in preschool.”  I want them to be the ones to create a feeling of acceptance for their peers. I want them to stand up with that child and help their traditions be recognized.
It is very important for children to learn that there are other cultures and traditions in the world other than those that they celebrate at home. Hanukkah is a great way to expand this knowledge because it usually coincides closely with Christmas.  During the “holiday” season children can become very wrapped up in themselves. This is a great opportunity to open their eyes to the many different ways people celebrate.

The main character in The Only One Club, written by Jane Naliboff, realizes that she is the “Only One” in her class who celebrates Hanukkah. She is so proud that she starts a club, but many children who experience this may feel sad. 

A close friend of mine,  remembers her teacher as a child, centering the classroom around Christmas and making her feel very left out of the celebrations.  In many public schools, the teachers avoid holidays all together, some bring many cultures into the classroom, and some still focus solely on Christmas.

Hebrew Letters Shin, Nun, Hay, and Gimel can be found on dreidels;
which teaches the children that not all letters look like A B C

Potato Latkes are a traditional food served during Hanukkah.
Shredded potato that is fried in oil
and served with applesauce

Focusing on the number 8 and counting 1-8.

Sammy Spider lives in the home of the Shapiro family. Although Sammy is not Jewish,
he learns all about the holiday by watching from up above on the ceiling. There are
also more Sammy Spider books for the other Jewish celebrations.

From the book "The Story of Hanukkah"

Playing Dreidel is a great way to practice using those fine motor skills.
Children feel a huge sense of accomplishment when their practice pays off.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December: Ice and Mud

The playground has been an interesting combination of mud and ice this week. Two things that you can't keep children away from, even if I tried. 

Somebody was very proud of their discovery. 

She thought I couldn't see her eating the ice. She kept peaking around the corner at me.
Frozen mud, even better!

Trying to break ice.

This will work better!

I have no idea what this was all about. It went on for about ten  minutes. Very serious conversations going on.

In case you are wondering if this ice "plate" ever left his sight, it did not.

Just when you think its a bucket full of muddy freezing cold water....

...turns out to be hot cocoa!

Meanwhile inside this week...

Liquid Watercolor:

Beads and Patterns


I just realized that this was still sitting in the "drafts." Oops. Sorry for the overflow of posts today! I thought I had posted them all and realized they have just been sitting there!  This was when we added a library to our town!

Checking out books


Our Maps

The children were able to create their own individual maps of our town. We used a lot of positioning words when transferring the locations on our big map to the little maps. (Across from, next to, behind, above etc...)  It was amazing to see how many of them remembered exactly what every building on the map was intended for.  Some of them added now features to their own maps as well.

The maps I provided them with, which is a duplicate of our big map.

Looking at the big map and using our memory to figure out where everything went.

Here are a couple of the finished products:

Making our Map into a "Real" Town

Our Completed Group Time Map

While they watched and guided me, I taped paper trips to the floor to recreate the roads from our map.
Then we added the railroad tracks through the town.

Taking a break from all this hard work.

We had a lot of fun brainstorming what we could use from the classroom to create each
destination on the map. My favorite is the slide and monkey bars from the dollhouse for the playground.

I wrote out the labels and read them to them as they stuck them around town. I had intentions of having them rewrite the labels the next day to replace mine, but the town didn't last that long. :)