COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

January 10, 2014
by countryfun
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Have You Ever Wondered About Snowmen at Night?

In exposing children to books so that their world expands it is important as part of that to help them understand the parts of a book.  Title pages, author, illustrator, beginning, middle and ending are all easy to develop an understanding of. In many of the picture books used for infants through preschool there are no “dust jackets”, especially with an introduction (found on the inside lap – I always thought of as the fly) or opening question to get you excited about what you will find once you start reading. So when I find one you can be sure I use it.

Our library copy of Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner had a great one and it was nice to be able to start this reading and extension project off from there.

“Have you ever wondered about the secret life of a snowman? Maybe one morning his grin is a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have drooped, and you’ve thought…. what do snowmen do at night?”

How much more fun to peak the interest in a story, than to just start right in reading? Some interesting answers to this opening.

As a follow up activity we took black paper – a little different for a snowman picture – and some unusual painting tools to make a snowy night time background for our snowman.

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November 18, 2013
by countryfun
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Finishing Up with Pumpkins

We have finally finished up our lessons with pumpkins. Over the years I have found that pumpkins are great for learning about a plants life cycle and pant parts. There are so many uses for pumpkin and lessons can go in many directions. It all depends on interest and taking hold of opportunities.

This year there has been a lot of prior discussions on recycling, composting, and rotting. Now I know what a wonderful mess a Jack-O-Lantern turns into, but most children do not see theirs once Halloween is done. Our garden pumpkins were not great this year, but definitely good enough to do a bit of exploring with.

To top our lessons off I found this new book while on my lesson search. It was a perfect fit with it’s wonderful real photos and scientific information. For me this book was a non-fiction find, even though it’s story is told in 15 voices. These voices added to our discussions and knowledge gained.

Here’s the cover of this new book. Can you see why I knew it would catch the children’s attention from the start?

rotten

Here’s a quick look at our pumpkin observations over the last few weeks.

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March 1, 2013
by countryfun
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A Dr. Seuss Day

It’s that time of year when it seems almost everyone who works with kids is covering the same material – all in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Some are doing a week of books and activities. This year we are just spending the last day of class time before his birthday (3/2) reading, playing with and crafting around  a couple of our favorite Dr. Seuss books:

The Cat in the Hat needs to be heard by every child at least once.

Every teacher of young children needs to enjoy a good tongue workout with Fox in Socks.

and in trying to find one that is more uncommon I have settled on What was I Scared of?

Our Cat in the Hat project is adapted from one seen at Just 4 Teachers: Sharing Across Borders. I found a free template online, drew in the 5 sections of the hat then enlarged it to a size that worked for my group to paint using their fingertips. This worked on patterns (hat), basic following directions, and color, but still left room for individualizing.

All you need is 2 colors of paint, the copied cat in the hat and 1 finger tip.

Before reading Fox in Socks we matched and counted sock pairs. (Problem solving, fine motor, language, team work/support, visual discrimination all from playing at matching socks.) Then had a race to see who could get the unmatched socks on quicker – me or the kids.   They won each time. Wonder if it was because they were putting a much too large sock on?

What was I Scared of? was read as part of story time. We did some predicting as read.

January 27, 2013
by countryfun
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A Little Catching Up

Last week was not a good one for getting posts on our activities up, but believe me we stayed good and busy inside while the cold raged outside. This post will try to catch up on some of the activities we enjoyed this past week.

It’s been all about snowmen, snowflakes and mittens this month. This week we finally got around to using our class snow storm project as a background for our “construct a snowman challenge”.

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Too cold to make snowmen outside and wanting some “larger” movement means using some of our large sheets of paper and spreading out around the playroom and kitchen for enough floor space. Drawing on large paper is a totally different experience and uses one’s motor skills and muscle groups in a different way.

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Thought you might enjoy seeing how “school” happens when the school-age are leading the play.

Taking advantage of our earlier darkness and using the light box. Can you tell we have been doing a bit of work with “patterns” recently?

Yes, we get silly (what fun would it be with kids all day if you didn’t get silly?) and it often involves stories we are reading together. Tacky Penguin  is a perfect story to get silly with especially on a cold Friday (at the end of a cold week). The kids were having so much fun singing Tacky’s song I thought I’d try to get it on tape. (It was way better without the camera running, but you’ll get the idea.)

 

With mixed ages it’s also about finding time to be sure the developmental needs of everyone are being met. Placing beads on sticks is great fine motor practice for young ones. What I hadn’t expected was it becoming a birthday cake. Love seeing imagination in action.

We also managed to get in lots of practice with finding similarities and differences or matching between our homemade snowflake and mitten games and some iPad apps. (Postings on these in the speciality blogs in the next few days.)

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November 5, 2012
by countryfun
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Our Fall Book is Completed!

Happy kids going home tonight with the projects they have worked hard on this past month all together in a book of their own.

   

For how the books were constructed click here and you’ll be taken to the Country Fun Preschool Blog with descriptions of each page and links to sites that inspired parts of this project.

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May 28, 2012
by countryfun
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Monsters!

We’ve been reading monster stories this week. Tried out a new app - Little Monsters - a matching card game, which grabbed both interest and focus.

We needed a fun project to do as follow up. I also wanted a project that would continue working on our gluing skills. We are still having trouble with the idea of pushing the glued parts together to stick them and which side to place glue on.

I have a Pinterest board all about Monster Books & Activities  and one of the ideas there was from a {day} with lil mama stuart about recycling tissue boxes into monsters. Tissue boxes are easy to find here, so I gathered the number needed, glue sticks, scissors and paper scrap box.

We had some frustration that was worked through and the finished monsters were a total success!     

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