Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring has Sprung!

Everyone is getting a touch of spring fever in Pre-K! The weather keeps toying with us...70 one day and 35 the next, but we keep on working no matter the temperature.

Students have been hard at work creating the past couple of weeks...from towers, to artwork, they've been busy!

This past week we discussed the signs of spring and activities that we like to do in the spring and can't do in the winter. We have also been doing a lot of letter recognition activities. One of the favorites involves rolling dice with letters on them to find the specific letters in their names. They particularly like when the get "roll again"!

This flower-themed counting/number recognition activity was also a favorite this week.

Next week we will be continuing our spring theme with a focus on plants and the plant life cycle. We will be doing some planting and some observational drawings of our plants.

Mark your calendars for the next Pre-K Family Night!!!

When: Tues. April 11th from 5:30-6:30
Where: Washington School
What: Buggin' Out-A Family Art Night

We will once again be joined by students from the RIHS Art Club for an art-focused family night. Please join us for some bug-themed art projects and a snack.  We will have door prizes available!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Week in Review

This week we began a study on buildings. We have been discussing how buildings are constructed, who constructs them, what they are made of, and their different uses. We are also learning about famous landmarks and buildings around the world. (Don't be surprised if your child has questions about Pharaohs being entombed in the pyramids, lol!)

We've also been doing some construction of our own. The marble maze has been popular this week, as well as Legos!
Next week we will continue our study of buildings and students will be participating in S.T.E.M. Challenges. These will include tower building, bridge planning, and other similar activities.

Just a reminder...if you would like to order a yearbook, please return your order form to school along with payment.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Week in Review-Short Version

With theValentine's Day holiday and Thursday and Friday off for conferences, this week was definitely a short one for Pre-K! The classes enjoyed sharing their Valentines with each other and the treats that were sent. Thank you for helping out in that way!  They were definitely on sugar overload when they left school Tuesday!

Next week we will be beginning a Creative Curriculum study on buildings. A note will go home on Tuesday describing the study. This is usually a favorite for our involves a lot of science and engineering-type activities, block building challenges, and design work. It always amazes me how much of the vocabulary they pick up from this study.

For those of you who were unable to attend parent/teacher conferences this week a report will be sent home with your child on Tuesday. It will include both fall and winter benchmarks so you can compare growth in the areas we assess.  If you have any questions about the report, feel free to email or call me!

Please take note of upcoming activities which are listed on the right hand side of the blog. You can also find important dates on the Pre-K portion of the school website and on the schools Facebook page.

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's That Time of Year

I must apologize for the length of time between posts! Flu season has hit the school district, and I fell victim to it myself. We have also had a lot of students who, unfortunately, have had to miss several days of school (or a week).  Pre-K has been continuing on despite this...the blog just didn't make the top of the to-do list.

Over the past couple of weeks we have read the books of Laura Numeroff-the "If You Give a....series, explored the life of polar animals, and enjoyed a variety of Norman Bridwell's Clifford stories.  The students have also prepared bags for their Valentine's cards, practiced their letter and number recognition, and built amazing block structures.

The morning class enjoying their pancakes after reading "If You Give a Pig a Pancake."

Ms.Joyce hard at work making pancakes!

Block structures are a favorite thing in our room!

Next week is a short week due to parent/teacher conferences-there will be NO PRE-K classes on Thursday or Friday. We will read several Valentine's Day books next week and dose Valentine's Day-themed activities.

Please see the Upcoming Events on the right side the blog page for important dates coming up!!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Week in Review

Once again, the weather in Illinois has proven to be indecisive. We had hoped to get outside more this week when the temperatures started to rise, but the swamp that is our playground and the rain kept us indoors.  Despite being cooped up, we made the most of our short week!

This week we continued our study of winter (even if the weather didn't feel winter-like) by exploring what animals do when it gets cold. We discussed hibernation, migration, and adaptation and made a list of what animals live in our area. We then decided which of the three behaviors the animals in our area exhibited when winter weather starts.

The students worked in pairs to determine which animal they had, what characteristics/behaviors it exhibited in winter, and then which behavior applied to the animal. The classes also had the chance to participate in an experiment/exploration with animal adaptation.

We discussed in class that one way in which animals adapt to stay in cold climates for winter is to eat more and develop a thicker layer of fat under their skin. The students then had a chance to place their hands in icy water to see what it would feel like without a layer of insulation. They then slipped their had into a "mitten" that was made from layering shortening between ziploc bags to simulate the insulating layer of fat animals develop. Their hands went back into the ice water so they could feel the difference insulation made.  It was a fun experiment and the students were very surprised at what difference there was between the two!

feeling the icy, cold water
trying again with our "insulation"

A last minute activity on Friday let to a new art experience. When students were done practicing their name writing in shaving cream and playing with it, we used the shaving cream to make marbled paper. We spread the shaving cream into a rectangle, added drops of liquid watercolor, swirled them around with a pencil tip, then lay the paper on top and pressed down gently. Once we pulled it off and rinsed, the students were able to see the results.

playing in shaving cream after name writing practice

pressing down the paper for marbling

the finished product

Next week we will be exploring the books of Laura Numeroff. She is most famous for her "If You Give a..." series.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Winter Is On It's Way

This week in Pre-K we focused on winter and what animals do during wintertime. The weather was kind enough to cooperate this week, in a way. In true Illinois fashion, we went from 50 degrees to 20 degrees! The students enjoyed making lists of what they know about winter/signs of winter. We also discussed the differences between migration and hibernation.  We will continue our study of winter and winter animals next week. Just so you are aware...the students are hoping for snow next week to go along with our study.

Please be on the lookout for information regarding February Parent/Teacher Conferences and name writing/recognition to be coming home in agenda books next week!

This week:
Theme: Winter/Winter Animals
Letter: Gg
Nursery Rhyme: Old Mother Hubbard
Skills: Letter recognition, number recognition, number set recognition, graphing, sorting

Next week:
Theme: Winter/Winter Animals

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

We're Back!

I need to apologize about the time since the last blog post, it was entirely unintentional! I wrote and published a post from my phone the week of the 13th that included pictures from our Pre-K Family Night, but apparently it did not actually post. Since it seems to have disappeared, we will assume it is floating around out there in the internet cosmos! Get ready to settle in for a long post this time! =)

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas Vacation! Ours started off a little bumpy, but we soon settled in and enjoyed the time we got to spend with our family and friends. The students seemed happy to be back at school! Almost all of them came running into the classroom Monday, ready to jump back into our activities.

This week in class we are focusing on author/illustrator, Jan Brett. She is one of my favorite children's authors! The students were already familiar with her from her version of The Gingerbread Baby that we read before Christmas. 

One of the favorite activities that we do with this study is a retelling of the story, The Mitten. 

After they've had the story read to them a couple of times, the students are given masks that represent the animals in the story. We then use a white afghan for our mitten and act out the story as it is read. We usually do this a couple of time so each child is able to play the part of one of the animals.  It gets a bit wild and there is a lot of static-y hair involved from being "inside" the "mitten", but the students LOVE it!

One students gets to be the narrator (with teacher assistance).

The bear sneezed and the mitten flew into the air!

The afternoon class making room for one more animal under the mitten.

The mitten is almost full, but there are still a few more animals to go...the rabbit is asking to climb inside!

This is one of my favorite activities to do with my classes because it gets all of the children involved, even those that are usually a bit shy. The whole class helps with the characters' lines and the acting out of the also doesn't hurt that they all love to pretend to sneeze a bear-sized sneeze! Make sure to ask your child about The Mitten!

This week I also had time to work with each child on either recognizing/naming the letters in their name and/or writing their names. Next week I will be sending home a simple activity for each child that involves one of these skills. It will include a set of laminated cards that are a name puzzle (3's) or tracing/spelling/writing practice for 4's and 5's. This is a skill, along with uppercase and lowercase alphabet recognition that we will be hitting heavily this second semester. Thanks in advance for all of your help! I have seen improvement in many of my students since our first conference in October!

This Week:
Theme: Jan Brett Stories
Letter of the Week: Dd
Nursery Rhyme of the Week: Georgie Peorgie
Skills: Retelling a story, name recognition (3's), name writing, letter recognition, number recognition