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.
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.
Our lessons around that wonderful white stuff that we usually have plenty of by now continues. It’s great these kids have imaginations and memories of snow in years past. This is one of my favorite lesson units – there are just so many activities and wonderful books around snowmen.
We’ve been doing a lot of talking about what happens to snow when the sun is out and it warms up. In looking for an activity that included that I came across a cute, simple sequencing sheet from Today in First Grade. When I saw it I knew I could pair it with a couple of other simple activities I had seen from Frugal Family Fun and Family Fun to have a perfect project for this group.
Before we put our books together we did a sequencing activity with the pages. This group totally understands that a snowman melts when it gets warmer outside.
My preschool goal is to have structured lessons 2 days a week and one day for individual work, catch up or school games. Today was our first school games day. I’ve been busy gathering inspiration from many sites on Pinterest and actually making homemade games to use here. Today I brought out a group that would provide a lots of fine motor skills. They really had no cost as I used materials I already had on hand (waiting for me to figure out a way to use them).
Pinta la lluna has a translator button, but the pictures are inspiration enough. Love this wire/balls game, but know my kids well enough that the free form wire wouldn’t last long, so adapt….. I took some sturdy wood blocks, coated floral wire and very small wooden flower pots from my country crafting days. The wire was a perfect fit for the hole in the pots. Any odd beads, buttons, etc would work if hole size fit the wire. I drilled holes the size of the wire in 2 corners of the wood block, shaped the wire and threaded through the pots. Decided to use just the pots because they are different in shape and texture and we use buttons for so many things around here. Pushed wires securely into the holes and done. I didn’t glue as the fit was real tight and also leaves me a chance to change out the beads/pots. These are small – just right for little hands and fit nicely on the shelves around the space for storage with easy use.
For years I have done the hole punched cardboard shapes and yarn for lacing activities, but I wanted something new. There are so many lacing examples, but these two got me thinking about using larger items to string and a thicker lace. My Little Gems used pool noodles and I had odd ends left from other noodle projects. This button sewing board is from Estsy and was again a thicker lace and wood. I have a large number of long rawhide laces, so I went hunting for items to string on them. Found small wooden spools, wooden curtain rings, and those pool noodles, so we were all set. Tie knots on one end of the rawhide laces and it’s time to play.
Last, I challenged C to a shape sorting race. C has all his shapes down and loves to compete – we had fun. Teach Preschool had this idea for taping out shapes on a table top for sorting with shape manipulatives. I don’t have the table top space and love things portable, so I got out a section of old sheet and sewed up a rectangle (almost square) piece this morning. Then I used fabric markers for outlining the 4 primary shapes I’ll be working on this preschool year. I used colored Sharpies for writing in the shape names. My guys are nowhere near reading, but I expose to the written labels for items whenever I can. Then I hit the construction paper scrap box for making the playing pieces from random colors. I cut 12 of each shape, laminated them and we were ready to use. Of course we sorted first, then divide the shapes equally between us and the challenge was on. First to sort all their shapes correctly won. Yes, I won, but C was having enough fun that we played 3 times. He’s looking forward to challenging his school age friends.
With everyone here today it seemed like a good day to get out the beads and wire to make our own homemade bubble wands. The original idea was seem at Kleas and looked like a great activity for my group.
This motor skill activity was really good for the youngest and the help provided by the older kids was great to see. The youngest all made wands with larger circles that were slightly bent for use in a pan.
The older kids all chose to make dipping wands with small heads.
Another new blog for me The Imagination Tree had a post which really caught my attention. It was about an approach to literacy development which I can totally agree with. Now I haven’t heard of the specialists she mentioned and couldn’t inter-library loan a copy of their book, but they are from the UK, so I’ll be investigating further. I want to read more directly from them to learn even more about their whole outlook on literacy.
The post really focused on one aspect – repetitive reading of simple books/stories to young readers. Over my years in early education I have often found myself reading and rereading books to children. They love it. I have also told parents about my thought of the value of doing this, especially when their children are requesting that same book over and over.
The post offers a challenge around this approach – 5 a day Books. You choose 5 books to read over the week, reading each book, each day. We are going to join in this challenge beginning June 28th and see what fun we can have. I will be listing our books, info on them, possibly responses from the children and maybe some general observations from that teacher point of view/observation. I think it will be a fun and enriching way to share our summer books.