January 6, 2016
We have our hands on books all day long here.
We also like retelling using our flannel board.
Then we have our interactive ebooks both borrowed and owned.
A favorite ebook that always loaded on the iPad is Elmer’s Special Day by Oceanhouse Media. (I have found Oceanhouse Media is a great first source for interactive book apps.).
With 2 children here today that love to paint it was no surprise child directed learning lead to a painting activity. This one came about after enjoying the interactive Elmer’s Special Day book app multiple times. Elmer’s Special Day allows for a variety of extension activities about color, being unique, and friendship just to start.
You can use one of the available patterns online (find some on my Elmer’s Pinterest board), but I just drew out the simple Elmer elephant shape to fit the larger paper we were using. With small paint pots of multiple colors and cotton swabs gathered, the children provided the fine motor and creative imagination needed for this activity.
They asked for the elephants to be cut out to take home. Which I did as cutting skills are still about learning to work the scissors right now.
October 16, 2015
“You became a reader because you saw and heard someone you admired enjoying the experience, someone led you to the world of books even before you could read, let you taste the magic of stories, took you to the library, and allowed you to stay up later at night to read in bed.” (Jim Trelease -The New Read-Aloud Handbook)
Everyone knows how important it is to read to our children. Whether at home or at school, most of us try very hard to include reading as part of our daily routine with our children. When you step back it’s surprising how often it’s the reading that gets set aside when time gets tight, behaviors get in the way, or our interest just isn’t there. We think it’s ok to skip reading this once where we do it all the time.
“When stories are part of children’s lives from birth, the children benefit in three important ways. Overlapping considerably these benefits are that stories enrich children’s lives, strengthen relationships, and support their emerging literacy.” (Birckmayer, Kennedy and Stonehouse, 2007)
At times I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. What’s important is that when I see this happening I refocus my efforts on reading to and with the children in my care each day they are with me. This is beyond all the free access they have to books to explore themselves.
To help with this I access information from the Raising Readers Program – www.raisingreaders.org. This is a free family health and literacy program for children ages birth to 5.
“Research shows that babies who are read to in the first nine months of their lives are better prepared for school than babies who had little interaction with books.” (Association of Library Services for Children)
January 14, 2015
I’m always on the look out for sites that will support the development of learning materials I can use with the children in my program. I do not purchase a curriculum, but prefer to construct my own around the interests and needed skill set of the children currently in care. My two go to sites are: 1) Pinterest – great resource for free and low cost materials and ideas, and 2) TeachersPayTeachers where I continue to find free and low cost materials I can use as is.
Google Drive is my on-line depository for most of my curriculum materials – copy, store and print as need. Not only easy to use, but quicker and less physical storage space needed. Also great for sharing with parents and other early childhood educators.
Every now and then I have to do a wider on-line search to find the resources I need to complete an ideas for a lesson. Yesterday, I wanted an active body part game, but didn’t want to hand draw body parts and have no available flash cards. I found a site that let me pull pictures and print out a sheet/picture. I then copied the sheet, cut up the images and made 3″x3″ flipcards. I labeled each image (of course with help). Having the preschooler help with the labeling allowed her to see the connection between letters, words, writing, and language. Laminate the cards and we were ready to play.
The first way we played was to chose an image on the sheet and then flip a card. You had to try to connect the 2 body parts picked. On the ones that we could not directly connect the children started to find other ways like touching a friend or placing hands on the 2 parts. Lots of up and down moving, wiggling and laughing.
The next game try was to just flip 2 cards and try to connect the body parts. School-age involved now so even more movement. Lots of laughs when the younger remembered and solved one set by placing hands on the 2 body parts and standing there staring at the older ones twisting themselves around without success, until they saw her:)
The new site I just chanced upon in a search for images of body parts to make a game is: LessonPix. I’m exploring with a free trial, before I spend $36 for annual membership. The site was developed by a special ed teacher and her husband with IT background.
- Create custom materials such as Bingo, picture cards, coloring sheets, etc.
- Clip art library with 1000’s of pictures
- Use your own clip art or photos for custom materials
- Download our clip art for your personal use in Word Documents, PowerPoint, etc.
- Ideas on how to use LessonPix at home, in the classroom
- Request pictures not available in picture library.
April 26, 2013
Again this year I’ve been keeping an eye on the eagle webcam on the Maine coast. There’s been a good deal happening, so it’s time to share with the kids.
The 2 eggs have hatched and the baby eagles are now visible. The kids saw clearly for the first time today.
Broadcasting live with Ustream
February 15, 2013
I believe in the value of yoga and meditation in promoting good health. We do both as part of our program (admittedly not as much as I’d like – still working on that). Click on the link below for the free material for a wonderful child friendly guided meditation from Imaginations that we will be doing here.
(sample of the language)
January 30, 2013
I love making snowflakes. Have always loved making snowflakes, but it’s not always the easiest project to do with young children with beginning scissor skills. It isn’t always easy with older children that see lacy, involved snowflakes in their mind, but cutting the design is not feasible. Then you have all that paper – scraps, waste? – newspapers or magazine just don’t work the same as white paper. But making snowflakes is part of the experiences we want for our children right? For me the answer is yes.
Here’s where technology has come in handy this year. I found a sight that allows one to design snowflakes for free with the click of a mouse ~ SnowDays – It’s Always Snowing. Now there are other sites online, but this one worked the best for us. Even my 2 yr old enjoyed. I handled the mouse click and she moved my hand where she wanted. She not only had fun controlling my hand, but the excitement as she saw what was developing. I just kept seeing a smile and hearing “Pretty!”
We all made multiple snowflakes, watched many fall, checked out where others that were made were from and even went on a snowflake search.
Don’t worry we gets lots of scissor time here. Making snowflakes is not about scissor time, but that finished lacy snowflake.
January 8, 2013
As part of our science and math learning during this snowy month of January we compared 2 versions of the folktale – The Mitten (original inspiration: Golden Gang Kindergarten). We then made a Venn Diagram of these 2 books: The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt and the one we already knew by Jan Brett ~ The children discussed their observations about what was the same and different between these 2 stories. I wrote their observations onto our large white board, placing into the correct sections, as guided by the kids.
During rest-time, I used Wylio.com to find creative commons photos of the characters in each version to make a visual version of our Venn Diagram for The Mitten.
You may notice a part of the Venn Diagram is missing – I left that out for the children to draw in themselves as part of understanding how a Venn Diagram works.