Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Space Explorers

We've been exploring space the last week or so, as a transition to learning more about day and night, and weather next month. This theme has really sparked a lot of dramatic and cooperative play, and it has been great to watch the students work and play together in this way.

Adventure in Space
We have loved using a song/story by Greg and Steve called An Adventure in Space to imagine what it might be like to go on a space adventure. One student informed me that the astronauts are lying down when the rocket launches, so now everyone does that when we go through the story. :) 

Rocket Launching
I put out this cardboard rocket (inspired by the Fun in Pre-K1 blog), and there have been a lot of rocket launches happening since. My morning class started making "adjustments" as one student called them, and the rocket evolved into having a control center with various buttons and loose parts over time. I love watching the kids engage in the evolution of their ideas, and was more than happy to support this process as much as I could. I ended up making some adjustments of my own as well, since the box I used didn't stay upright as well as I had hoped, so we were all working together to bring their play to life. 

Space Art
I set out chalk pastels and black paper as an invitation to draw something in space. This resulted in some wonderful free explorations of lines, circles, blending colors, and even some word writing. 

Sensory Play

Flying Rockets
We used a template from Buggy and Buddy  to try out our own flying rockets.

The kids also used these for dramatic play around the classroom. 

Space Puzzles
These were used both for working together to build the puzzle, and as a backdrop for more dramatic play. :) 

Earth and the Parachute
My classes LOVE the parachute this year, so I'm always looking for ways to change it up. We used my blow-up globe for a few songs, as we thought about how the earth is one of the planets "floating" in space. 

 The energy and interest during this topic has been really fun!
Next our focus will be on the moon and the night sky

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Preschool Olympics

After Valentine's Day, we did a little mini Olympics exploration. I had not been planning to do anything with the Olympics, and put together some activities kind of last minute to see if my students had any interest. It actually fit in really well to talk about people from different cultures and countries coming together in the games, since we had already been thinking a lot about friendship this month.

Obstacle Course Drawings
Our fine motor warm up for the day was setting up our papers with an obstacle course, and then drawing lines around the lids to see what kind of design it would make. 

Olympic Rings
We talked about the Olympic rings, and how they symbolize the different continents around the world that participate in the Olympic games. One table was set up with pipe cleaners as an invitation to explore circles and making rings, and another table had a simple ring art process using the colors of the rings. 

We talked about the different sports in the winter games, watched a few clips, read Tacky and the Winter Games, and explored some of the sports a little bit more in depth through movement or an activity. I wish I could have done more with this- there are a lot of fun ideas out there for winter sport activities!

Luge and Bobsled Racing
We used two rain gutters and little family figures in ice cube sleds to try out some icy races. 

Bunny Slopes Skiing
I fit in one of my favorite winter books, Bunny Slopes, to think about skiing. We tried a sound-blending activity along with this interactive book. 

We ended the day by writing in our journals about which Olympic sport we would want to participate in, and it was fun to hear their different ideas. Then of course we finished off with gold medals that I put together the night before so they'd be ready to go home on the same day. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Arctic Animals

After spending a couple weeks talking about animals in the winter, we finished up our winter study with animals that always live in the cold. Although this focus topic was brief, we still had a lot of fun exploring the north and south poles, and the different animals that make their homes there.

Shape penguins on the felt board

We used icy trays and water beads to explore how penguins slide on the ice, and swim in the water.

Some students added fingerprint penguins to their snowy pictures from earlier in the month.

Black and White
One of the penguin books we read inspired us to also think about the colors black and white, so I set up my keyboard for some exploration of patterns with those colors.

North Pole Animals and Polar Bears
Then we thought about animals at the North Pole, and mostly focused on polar bears.

Arctic Animal Sensory Play- the kids started categorizing the land and water animals. 

A polar bear alphabet game. 

Polar Bear Masks
I saw these from another teacher on my Instagram feed, and I couldn't resist. 
We used them to sing some songs during music time after they dried.

We were inspired by the illustrations from two books to create our last snowy art project.
I love how these turned out, even if many penguins and polar bears ended up in the same picture. :) 

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