August 19, 2019

WARNING!  THIS IS MY LONGEST POST OF THE YEAR!  I PROMISE!  PLEASE READ ALL THE WAY THROUGH FOR LOTS OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION!  THANKS!

Wow!  We have started off with a BANG!  In the past 2 weeks, our little guys have already made SO much progress with independence, tolerating the longer day, and welcoming all of the new things we have introduced to them.  This is going to be a great year!  We are very excited to continue nurturing them and watching them blossom even more! 

By now, you hopefully understand the “House” system here at Frey, and I will be sending more information as to which houses your children are in.  Those with siblings here at Frey will be in the same house with their family members.  Many of the competition points and behavior rewards do not apply to Preschool, but it’s a fun way to be a part of this big school family and meet new friends and mentors!  Our new principal, Mr. D., is excited to revive and expand on the House System, so look forward to more information about this!

As far as my blog goes, I will compose a new post every other week to fill you in on everything we are doing in class.  Sometimes I may have a special “Point of Interest” to share with you, and you can always find the “nuts and bolts” of everything we do on the permanent pages published at the top or side of every post.

Wrapping It Up 

We finished up our “Back to School” unit with the books If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff and Pete the Cat, Rocking My School Shoes by Eric Litwin. We have spent the last two weeks getting settled in to our new routines, and learning about our school and all the wonderful things that happen here!  We have ridden in several different versions of makeshift buses, we have learned about classroom rules and routines, and we are practicing how to be good friends! Just like Pete the Cat, we have visited the lunchroom, library, office, nurse, playground, sensory room, and other classrooms in this big, beautiful school, and so far, WE LOVE IT HERE!  Your kiddos all seem to be having lots of fun with their new friends, teachers, bus drivers, therapists, and routines.  I think they’ll be coming back for more! 🙂 

What’s Next?

             

We are beginning our “All About Me” unit with the book All By Myself by Aliki.  This book should be available at the library in the children’s fiction section.  The rhyming, predictable text introduces a little boy as he wakes up in the morning.  It follows him through each step of his day from getting ready for school, to afternoon chores, dinner, bath time, and another night of sleep.  The boy is proud of the many things he can do for himself.  Since our kids are learning to perform many of these same skills, we will continue to emphasize independence in dressing, eating, grooming, going to school, simple chores, etc. through a variety of language-rich, multi-sensory activities. You are your child’s best teacher when it comes to these self-care skills, so as always, let them be as independent as possible during their routines at home!  They can’t learn to “do it” unless you let them “do it!”  Your children are also old enough to have simple chores they are expected to do at home.  When you begin to foster this independence, and expect them to follow through with these tasks, they will develop a sense of pride and autonomy that will lead to more attempts to “do it MYSELF!”

Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beaumont uses a fun rhyming text to deliver a story of a little dinosaur who gets very dirty while playing in the mud and needs a bath when he comes in. When he gets in the tub…Oh no! He forgets that he needs to remove his clothes to get clean enough! The story follows him through his bathtime as he learns to remove each article of clothing while his mother gets him ready for bed.  We will learn about clothing, parts of the body, bathtime and bedtime routines.  We will emphasize personal hygiene and staying healthy in a humorous, “messy” sort of way.  Many of our kiddos have aversions to messy hands and touching various textures, so we regularly do activities with our hands in a variety of different materials to help desensitize them.  We WILL play in mud, and as usual, we will emphasize that we can always get clean afterwards. “Dini” will be a nice segue into our next unit featuring  dinosaurs!  You play the most important roles in helping to reinforce the concepts at home with your children throughout your daily routines!

As part of each new unit, we will continue posting a copy of the concept map, which includes the instructional standards we use to plan our lessons.  This concept map also includes the vocabulary and essential questions that we explore throughout the unit.  It would be very helpful for you to find copies of the books to keep at home.  The children become so familiar with the books, and they love to “read” to Mom and Dad.  Also, if you have the books at home, you can refer back to the pages to point out the answers to the questions.  This helps develop beginning “research” skills.

We will also continue to send a copy of the unit songs on a new CD for each unit. The songs are chosen carefully to help reinforce specific vocabulary and concepts throughout each unit.  Please make a point to play and sing this music with your children in the car or during “down times” at home.  They love it, and the music reinforces so many skills!  You may actually find a few you remember and/or enjoy!

We began our “letter of the week” routine last week with “s.”  The next two weeks will bring us the letters “e” and “d.”  Letters are carefully chosen within the units, and the activities are designed to introduce the children to relevant vocabulary and sounds associated with specific letters.  For this reason, we do not follow alphabetical order to introduce the letters. We will continue to focus on the color yellow and the rectangle through the end of the month.    Remember to check the pages to the right titled “Let’s Practice Our Letters!” and “Lets Practice Our Shapes!” to support the auditory cues we use for forming shapes and letters.

Must Check It Out!

Here is a wonderful article that will give you many more ideas on how to foster more communication at home:

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Coming Events and Dates to Remember

  • Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Fall School Pictures
  • Wednesday, August 28, 2019 – Early Release
  • Monday, September 2, 2019 – Labor Day, schools closed

Needs and Wishes

A very big THANK YOU to all who have sent in items from our supply and wish lists!  We are partners when it comes to the care of your little ones at school, and the items you provide help us ensure their comfort and well-being while they are with us!  One ongoing need we have is white cardstock. This is due to the way we present our stories and essential questions.  Both the stories and essential (comprehension) questions are now presented to our little guys in a completely interactive format, where they can physically manipulate the vocabulary.  They can make, and read, complete sentences all by themselves within this engaging platform we use to supplement each story!

Other ongoing needs will be listed here, when we are running low, if you are in a position to donate items. We were just informed that we will NOT get our $100 instructional allotment or our $65 home living funds this year (which is how we fund our science and cooking activities.)  We will NOT stop providing these experiences for our “littles,” however!  

Again, if you have any questions or concerns, please shoot me an email, call, or text!  We are working together to give your kiddos the best jumpstart to “big” school that we can!

 

 

May 6, 2019

We are in the home stretch, and it is busy, busy, busy around here!  We still have so much fun to pack into the next 2 1/2 weeks!  As the kids would say (I’m not sure where they learned it,) “Let’s do it!”

Wrapping It Up

For some reason, with all of the themes, units, and ideas we present in the course of a year, “Pond Life” ranks very near the top of favorites every time.  The kids just love everything about fish, frogs, ducks, turtles, snakes, and water!  So do I!  This past two weeks we have hopped and waddled, caught “flies,” cast our lines and nets, got “stuck” in the muck, and slithered through the grass.  We also finished our focus on the oval, as we learned about many more animals hatch from eggs!  All along, we have also done a few other things that Spring in our classroom just called for:  we planted a garden (we’ll get to eat some radishes and strawberries thanks to Michelle Hynes!) we made our “grass heads” and got to see the seeds root and sprout, and we are still observing our butterfly life cycle, from tiny caterpillars (something else hatched from eggs) to making cocoons (or chrysalis,) to having one butterfly emerge on Friday!  I’m sure we’ll be able to release 5 butterflies this week!

Coming Next

             

We are actually changing things from our original plans for the next 3 weeks.  I will explain the reason in our Sparkle of Interest below, but we WILL begin an “ocean” themed unit (another favorite!)  Our stories for this theme are  Way Down Deep In the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck and Pout- Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea is about a little boy who is on an adventure looking for treasure in the sea. He encounters many different sea creatures on his journey. He finds that not all of them are friendly, but luckily he is really safe in his own bathtub.  Pout- Pout Fish takes you on a swim with a fish who is always pouting, spreading his “dreary wearies” all over the place.  After his friends attempt many different ways to get him to smile, a new friend gives him a different perspective with one little kiss.  We will focus on ocean and beach fun as we near summer vacation.

We will review all shapes for the rest of the year, while we introduce and practice the color blue.  This week we will introduce and practice the letter “Oo,” and in the next two weeks, we will review letters “Rr,” “Kk,” “Ff,” “Oo,” and “Aa.”

A Sparkle of Interest

Each year, the amazing CCSD Special Needs Preschool department, which consists of a director, a social worker, 5 program specialists, 3 behavior support specialists, 5 community-based special education teachers,  and almost 100 facility-based special education teachers (of which I am one) work together to develop materials to support each book we introduce during our theme related content.  While every year, they are increasing our libraries, it is really up to the teachers and program specialists to add these support materials, as we can each year, to the database.  This should explain why some of the concept maps I intended to publish, never got on the list.  The stories I included in my yearly curriculum list for the last 3 weeks of school were two that I was sure would be added this year, but apparently, I was not the only one without the time to work on these two book units this year!  So, we will read two of the same books as last year, but they are favorites!  

Dates To Remember

  • Wednesday, May 8th, 8:00 am – Dads and Doughnuts
  • Friday, May 10th, 8:00 am – Moms and Muffins
  • Tuesday, May 14th, 12:30-1:00 – SPED Unit Beach Party – Please send a bathing suit and towel this day!
  • Friday, May 17th, 1:00 – Preschool Graduation

April 22, 2019

We’re hoping everyone had a spectacular Sunday, no matter how you spent it!  It was a beautiful day to be with family and/or friends and celebrate so many things this time of year brings!  The weather didn’t keep us from having fun with eggs on Friday, we just had to go to Plan B!  You also probably noticed that we did a really fun egg coloring activity that Ms. Michelle coordinated (Did the colorful hands give it away?), but when she was walking out the door, she realized the eggs never went home!  It’s never too late for eggs, so we left them in the refrigerator and will send them home today!

Coming Next

    

We are beginning our “pond life” unit with a playful, counting book called One Duck Stuck  by Phyllis Root.  This story uses sound play and rhyming to introduce numerous animals volunteering to help the duck get out of the muck!  As each group of animals, increasing in numbers by one, attempts to help her get “unstuck,” they have “no luck.”  Until, at the end, they all work together to get her out of her sticky situation.  Once again, this story has all the right elements for working on our literacy readiness skills.  It uses sequential introduction of characters, rhyming and word play to help us practice our phonemic awareness and sequencing skills, and .  And, of course, it’s a really fun read!

Next, a story by Robert Kalan, Jump, Frog, Jump! , introduces  several new animals  in this scaffolding story (think, “The House That Jack Built”.)  The main character in this book narrowly escapes his demise on each page, by jumping just out of harm’s way!  “This is the turtle that slid into the pond and ate the snake that dropped from a branch and swallowed the fish that swam after the frog — JUMP, FROG, JUMP!” This cumulative story ends when some children finally catch the frog…and let him go again!

We will introduce and practice the letters “Kk” and “Ff,” and we will continue practicing the color purple and the oval shape.  We will extend our discussion of eggs, with each new animal we meet in our stories that hatch from eggs.

Dates to Remember 

  • Monday, May 6, 2019, 8:00 am – Dads ‘n Donuts – Dads, come share some special time with your child to make a gift for Mom!
  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 8:00 am – Moms ‘n Muffins – Moms, come share some special time with your child to make a gift for Dad!
  • Friday, May 17, 2019, 1:00 pm – Pre-Kindergartener Graduation – all family members welcome and refreshments to follow!

Needed Items

  • Baby Wipes
  • Anti-bacterial surface wipes (Lysol, Clorox, Store brand wipes)

 

 

April 8, 2019

Welcome back from, what I hope was, a spectacular Spring Break!  The weather cooperated here for my “staycation,” and I had a restful time catching up with old friends and spending time with my family!  I even got a little gardening in.  We are in the final stretch with only 6 more weeks of school.  It goes faster for me every year, but we still have much learning and fun ahead!  Let’s hop to it!

Coming Next

       

We are “traveling” forward in our transportation unit with two more engaging books about vehicles.  This week, we will read My Truck is Stuck  by Kevin Lewis.  In this delightful story, a dump truck with a large load of bones, and driven by some burly dogs, gets stuck in a pothole and can’t move, even “one inch more.”  The all-dog cast of characters, arriving in a series of different vehicles, tries to pull the truck out of peril, as a group of sneaky gophers secretly steals all the bones during the commotion.  Finally, a large tow truck saves the day, and the dump truck drivers can deliver their load???  The children will have multiple opportunities to continue developing their abilities to listen for and produce rhyming words, sequence specific events in the stories, predict and make inferences about situations in the stories, and increase meaningful vocabulary as it relates to their experiences in and outside of the classroom.

We will conclude this unit theme with the timely story Bunnies On The Go by Rick Walton.  This lively and lyrical story about a rabbit family packing for and taking a vacation, and saying “goodbye” and “hello,” is a nice platform for emphasizing even more modes of transportation with engaging pictures and a rhyming text.  We have lots of opportunities to reinforce the verbs and describing words that are so prevalent in the book.  Once again, we will emphasize rhyming words and word patterns, as well as seasonal vocabulary and family traditions.

We will review letters “Ll,” “Dd,” “Qq,” and “Cc” this week and introduce the letter “Rr” next week.  We have many activities planned to tie the letters learned so far into our literature-based themes, as always.  During the month of April, we will focus on the color purple and the  oval.  Please take every opportunity to reinforce these concepts at home.

A Point of Interest

Thanks to Joseph’s mom, Michele, and Walker’s mom, Kalisha, and to Joseph, Rachel and Walker, we now have a class garden to tend this spring!  We planted a variety of fruit and vegetable seedlings that we will be able to observe as they grow, and hopefully we will get to harvest some strawberries, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cucumbers later (maybe in August when we return to school.)

Dates to Remember

  • Monday, April 8, 2019 – Please return Kindergarten Transition Passports
  • Friday, April 19, 2019 @ 11:30 a.m. – Class Easter egg hunt – We are asking each family to please send in a dozen stuffed, plastic eggs by Monday, April 15th

March 25, 2019

We want to express another huge thank-you to you all for showering us with so many beautiful flowers last week!  We enjoyed them in the classroom, and we are still enjoying them at home!  I put some in the dining room and some in the bedroom so my whole family could enjoy them.  We have never felt so loved and supported as we have from you this year!  THANK YOU!!!

Wrapping It Up

Our trip into “infinity and beyond” was a huge success!  We learned the countdown and “blasted off” more times than I could count, and we floated in space with several missions to complete.  We helped aliens find underpants, and dug for moon rocks to collect.  We learned how astronauts eat and sleep on the space station, and we rode our buggies on the surface of the moon.  We learned about symmetry with our paint blob aliens and made rockets several different ways.  We reviewed some vowels and introduced and practiced the letter “Qq,” the star shape and the color black.

Coming Next

We’re going to keep “going places” for the next few weeks, beginning with Down By the Station by Jennifer Riggs Vetter.  Through the rhyming, song lyrics and familiar tune, this book not only helps us sing about the train, but several other forms of transportation.  We also get to learn the names of the people that operate each vehicle and how they work at their jobs.  Each page also give us the chance to make the fun sounds (i.e., Vroom, vroom!) of each vehicle.  We will continue with the color black and the star shape, and we’ll introduce and practice letter “Cc.”

Dates to Remember

  • April 1-5, 2019 – Spring Break, school closed

March 11, 2019

astronaut_animation_2_5A.gif

Just a short note to let you know that for the rest of the month of March, I will be hosting numerous teacher candidates from Kennesaw State who must have a certain number of field hours with Special Needs Preschoolers.  If you happen to see a stranger walking around with one of us, that’s why.  This is something I offer to do every year, and the kiddos LOVE having new faces to read to them and play with them!  Please, however, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Wrapping it Up

Our “friendship” unit was a nice review of general, age-expected social skills, as we found many ways to show cooperation, gratitude, empathy, kindness, forgiveness, and responsibility for our actions.  These are all VERY big words for 3 to 5-yr-olds, and we didn’t necessarily always employ that terminology, but we had fun practicing all of these concepts in multiple activities with our friends!  Look in your email to see how much fun we had with our “We All Fit Together” activity!

Coming Next

Captain’s Log, Stardate 3-11-2019:

We are blasting into outer space with our next unit, beginning with Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman!  In another “underpants” story, the silly cast of characters leads us to a new and exciting destination, the Earth, to find the one thing that makes them ALL very happy: underpants!  The clever and funny rhyming text will have the children laughing and reading along, as the aliens bring us numerous actions and fun descriptors in their quest for these elusive items that don’t exist in space!

Zoom, Rocket, Zoom! by Margaret Mayo is an engaging non-fiction book about astronauts and the jobs they do in outer space.  The illustrations are colorful and less detailed to make them easier to understand, and the text includes rich alliterations and sound effects as it describes moon buggies, lunar modules, robot spacecraft, satellites, and more.  Each page of this delightful book highlights the various aspects of space work and exploration, from the time we blast off and land on the moon, to living in the space station and studying the surface of Mars!  Our boys are sure to LOVE this book!  If you haven’t seen our rocket play area the Jamie King designed and created for us, come by the room and check it out!

This week we will review vowels “Ii,” “Ee,” “Uu,” and “Aa.”  In the yearly curriculum plan, I indicated that we would introduce and practice letter “Dd,” but we have already done “Dd.”  So, another review is indicated this week, since we do have an early release day on Wednesday.  We will introduce and practice the color black and the    star shape with our space unit and through the month of March.

Dates to Remember

  • Monday, March 11th – STEMtastic campaign begins –  Please consider supporting our Foundation, since many of the things our class gets to do and have is provided directly by this fund!  Click here for more info:   https://freyfdtn.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/stemtastic-campaign/ 
  • Wednesday, March 13th – Early release: Younger students are dismissed at 10:30 and full-day students are dismissed at 12:20
  • Friday, March 15th – Progress reports come home.  If we have recently reviewed your child’s IEP, or if your child has attended our class for less than 8 weeks, you will not receive a report during this period.  You can look forward to one in May!
  • Wednesday, March 20th, 8:30 am until 11:30 am – Kindergarten pre-registration
  • April 1-5, 2019 – Spring Break, school closed

February 25, 2019



Welcome back, Friends!  We are heading into the last third of the school year already – Wow!  It’s gone so fast!  We have lots more fun to pack into the coming Spring!  This will also be the beginning of a transitional, decision-making time for most of you, and I want you to know that I am completely aware of just how difficult this time can be.  Rest assured that I will work with you to determine the best outcome for your child as he/she transitions into the world of “real school,” and I will be nothing but transparent as we partner to make this process a positive milestone focusing on new beginnings!

Wrapping It Up

In the week before break, we enjoyed the silly story, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose.  We focused on activities and discussions about “love” as it relates to our feelings about people and things in our lives.  We learned about many different ways we can express our love, and how we express love differently between things we love and people we love.  The children enjoyed exchanging Valentines with each other, as we emphasized the giving  (not just the getting) part of showing our love.  We introduced and practiced the letter “Vv,” and continued with the color pink and the heart shape.  Thank you to all who sent flowers, sweets and cards for us!  I am positive that we have the most generous group of parents in this school!

Coming Next

         

This next two weeks, we will continue a study of our feelings as they relate specifically to friendship.  Both stories,   Hooray For Hat by Brian Won and Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses  by Kimberly and James Dean, feature a main character with lots of very moody friends.  In the first story, Elephant is upset until he receives a package containing several hats.  He stacks all the hats on his head, and goes out to show his friends.  As he meets each of his grumpy friends, Elephant shares one of his hats to cheer them up.  When they all try to figure out a way to make their friend Giraffe feel better, they come through with the perfect gift – the entire stack of hats!   One of our favorite characters, Pete the Cat, begins the next story feeling…you guessed it – grumpy!  Frog rides by on his motorcycle and gives Pete his cool sunglasses, and Pete begins to see things in a better light!  “The birds are singing, the sky is bright, the sun is shining, I’m feeling alright!” Pete sings as he begins to visit his friends.  Just as with Elephant, Pete shares his gift with each of his friends to help them feel better.  When Pete’s sunglasses break, it is the grumpy, old owl who changes things with his wise words, “Pete, you don’t need magic sunglasses to see things in a new way.  Just remember to look for the good in every day.”  Both of these stories feature a repetitive, rhyming text for lots of practice with our phonemic awareness skills, and they both contain lots of rich, descriptive vocabulary and predictable sequencing.

We will introduce and practice the letter “Ll,” and we will then review letters “Nn,” “Dd,” “Mm,” and “Vv.”  We will continue to practice the color pink and the heart shape through the remainder of this unit.

Dates to Remember

  • February 25th-March 1st – Read Across America Week, Promoting reading in all communities:
     25th-
    Wear Hats
    26th-
    Wear Green
    27th-
    Wear Animal Print
    28th-
    Wear Crazy Socks

    1st- 
    Dress as Book Character/Kindergarten Book Parade
  • March 7 – 6:00-7:30 pm – STEM Family Night – There will be lots of great activities for our little guys!  I hope to see you here!

 

February 11, 2019

I would be remiss if I didn’t stop to thank you all for the gestures of appreciation you have showered us with in the past three weeks!  Thank you all so much for the office supplies, gift cards, personal notes, and sweet treats!  We (teachers, paras, therapists) know how fortunate we are to be partnering with you all to nurture and guide your children in this Frey Elementary School Family.  Your support is paramount to us being able to bring success into what we do for our little guys!

Wrapping It Up

Our community helpers unit was a big success, as we explored so many different possibilities for our futures!  We have climbed ladders, sprayed hoses and balanced on fiery beams to rescue lowercase letters and babies.  We saved the runaway bus as we matched our shapes, studied our own fingerprints under magnification and directed traffic as police officers.  We have flossed and brushed giant teeth as we pretended to be dentists, and we made delectable desserts as chefs.  We took care of boo-boos with LOTS of bandaids, listened to our heartbeats, and took our blood pressures as doctors and nurses.  We also rode our mail trucks as we delivered letters to mailboxes as postal workers.  All this, and we still had to go to “school” and do Ms. Kelly’s job a few times!  We introduced and practiced letters “Nn,” “Dd” and “Mm,” and last week, as February began, we introduced the color pink and the shape of heart.

Coming Next

This week, we will celebrate LOVE within the context of the good feelings we have about our families and friends, with the seasonal story, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Collandro.  Just like all of the other “Old Lady” stories, the quirky main character swallows an ever-increasing list of seasonal objects.  It provides a rhyming text with funny illustrations, but this time the hungry old lady swallows a rose, lace, glitter, jewels, candy and a card!  While reinforcing lots of fun vocabulary, this story provides opportunities for sequencing, prediction and re-enactment, and provides a rich means of supporting seasonal concepts.

We will continue practicing the color pink and the heart shape, and we will introduce and practice the letter “Vv.”

On Thursday, February 14th, we will do a simple Valentine exchange and a special snack.  We will design and make our own Valentine bag or box during the week, while we practice what it means to love something or someone, and how it makes us feel.  Please send in one Valentine for each friend in our class by Wednesday.  The list is as follows:

Lake, Joseph, Logan, Gabriel, Walker, Aaron, Arire, Grant, Maddox, Jayoni

Dates To Remember

  • February 14th, 2019 – Class Valentine exchange
  • February 18th-22nd, 2019 – Winter Break, School closed

Needed Items

  • bottles of white school glue

 

January 22, 2019

One of my favorite Dr. King quotes is the one that ends with, “…but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”  And, forward we will go this week as we spend some time engaged in a few simple activities to celebrate that we can all be different in some ways, and we are all the same in so many more!

Wrapping It Up

We have had a blast with our S-N-O-W unit, so far!  We have gotten “bundled up” in every piece of winter clothing you can think of, and we explored appropriate clothing for every season.  We caught snowflakes on our tongues, had snowball fights, went ice-skating and sledding, and we LOVED getting to jump in giant piles of the white stuff!  We have made snow angels, snowflakes to eat, and we have made snowmen in every size, shape, color, and … consistency.  All this, and without a single flake of snow!  And, I’m sure you’ve heard lots of the songs we sang for this unit (I think this song collection might make it to the top of the charts!)  We also spent a good portion of our story and learning-center times focusing on rhyming words, opposites, sequencing, and size concepts.

Coming Next

      

We get to play with snow for one more week, as we segue into our community helpers unit, with Snowmen At Work by Caralyn Buehner.  This book has very engaging pictures and a rhyming text to describe these adorable stacks of snowballs doing everything from roadwork to serving as President of the USA!  The illustrations depict numerous job-related details, without being too cluttered, and there are four hidden animals to “search and find” on each page!  A bonus visual discrimination task!

Clotheline Clues to Jobs People Do, by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook,  comes next in this unit with another pre-literacy challenge, inference! This interactive, question and answer book requires children to guess what job each community helper does by looking at the different parts of the uniform hanging on the clothesline and the special equipment they use placed about the scene.  Additionally, we will analyze each page to discover the hidden connections the different participants have by helping one another as they go about their day.  Our kiddos will enjoy the rhyming text and simple illustrations, as we explore more jobs.

Our last simple, but entertaining book, Mat Man Hats by Jan Z. Olsen, includes a character we are very familiar with through one of our handwriting programs, which I will detail in the Sparkle of Interest section below.  In much the same interactive method used in our last story, Mat Man Hats shows the main character wearing a different hat representing a specific community helper on every other page.   After the children guess the occupation, the next page uses rhyming text to describe the job under the hat.

This is always a great unit to touch on so many concepts.  With our new Fire Station that Jamie King (Aaron’s mom) made for us, we will be doing a lot of dramatic play!  We have lots of pretend uniforms and hats to represent several community helpers, but if you happen to have any costumes at home that would fall in this category, feel free to send those in!  We will be doing this unit for three weeks, so the more, the merrier!

We will continue the color white and the diamond shape through January, and as February begins we will introduce the color pink and the  heart shape.  Today we  will introduce and practice the letter “Nn,” and “Dd” and “Mm” will be the letters of the week for the next two consecutive weeks.

A Sparkle of Interest

Handwriting Without Tears, by Jan Z. Olsen, OTR, is a tactile, hands-on approach to teaching our kiddos how to write letters and numbers. It is only one resource we use for this skill, and we have picked and chosen the materials and methods from HWT to coordinate with our other writing curricula..  The “Get Set For School” preschool program includes manipulative wooden pieces that represent every stroke we use to write letters and numbers: small curve, large curve, short line, and long lines.  Children practice forming their letters on a worksheet depicting the proper placement of the pieces.  Once they can do that, they use the pieces on the blue mat to form them.  This program uses many other hands-on activities (i.e., personal magnetic board and magnets representing each stroke, personal chalk slates for “Wet, Dry, and Try,’ whereby we write the letter, the child uses a wet sponge to erase the letter, then he uses a dry sponge to trace the letter, finally following the same pattern with chalk themselves, and personal playdo mats to follow by rolling the dough into ropes to form the letters.)  A CD of songs is included to help children learn many skills related to pre-writing.  One of the songs is “Mat Man.”   Our Mat Man activities use the manipulative pieces of the curriculum to help us learn to draw a person, as we build him, piece by piece (while singing the accompanying song.)  After we build Mat Man, we then practice drawing him with crayons.  Once again, they are manipulating their writing strokes, but must draw a meaningful picture.Dates to Remember

  • February 18-22, Winter Break – School closed

Needed Items

Thank you all SO much for the supplies you provided as an appreciation gift.  We use cardstock and Velcro incessantly, and they are not provided by the school.  Your gifts will make many adapted books and symbols!  The other item we use daily and need is:

  • Antibacterial surface wipes

January 7, 2019

Welcome back, Friends!  We are so excited to be back and ready for more fun and learning!  If possible, please send in pictures of your little guys celebrating the holidays with your family and friends.  We will use these as conversation starters in some of our small group and large group discussions.  Children tend to open up and talk about concrete representations of their experiences much easier than trying to rely on their memories of such busy, exciting times.  We will spend the next week engaging in relevant conversations about their holiday fun. Also, thank you so much to our room mom, Michele Hynes, and to all of the parents who came to help with our holiday party!  I think the kids had a great time, and we made some memories, to be sure!  Michele Hynes has shared some photos of that day, and Michelle McKenzie and I will be emailing some other special pictures in the next couple of weeks.

As a side note, I really mixed things up in the last blog as far as our introduction and practice of the letters “Gg” and “Xx.”  I had indicated that we would spend December reviewing several letters, when we really spent our last two weeks engaged in activities to learn the letters “Gg” and “Xx.”  This was due, in part, to a scheduling error I made at the beginning of the school year when I laid out my plans for the year.  So, we are back on track, and will spend these next two weeks in review of the letters I have indicated below!  Let me know if you have questions or concerns about my blunder!

Coming Next

      

The Jacket I Wear In the Snow, by Shirley Neitzel, centers around a little girl who wants to go outside and play in the snow.  We follow her as she must don layers and layers of clothing, until she is outside and, to her relief, can come in and take them all off!  The scaffolding text (much like The House That Jack Built) is presented in a  rebus-like fashion and helps our pre-readers follow along with the story more easily. The rich, sequential and rhyming vocabulary adds some colorful descriptive terms the kids will enjoy using!

Sneezy the Snowman, by Maureen Wright, is the story of a very cold snowman and his many attempts to get warm.  Each attempt causes him to melt, and his helpful friends must rebuild him each time.  As the children happily donate items of Winter clothing to Sneezy, much like our main character in the previous story, he eventually becomes too hot.  His friends solve Sneezy’s problem with a yummy surprise (ice cream,) until he feels just right!

Both stories are wonderful for introducing and practicing the related vocabulary for our Winter weather and clothing concepts, as well as for supporting various sequencing and rhyming activities.   One way to reinforce the stories at home would be to talk about the appropriate clothing for the season.  If possible, send your children with various mittens, scarves, earmuffs, hats, etc., that we can share and talk about.  Just be sure to label everything with their names!

Along with the concepts of focus through our stories, the next month we will emphasize the color white, the shape  diamond, and review the letters “Jj,” “Pp,” “Aa,” “Tt,” “Hh,” “Gg,” and “Xx.”   Continue to point out words that begin with or contain these letters and the sounds they make.  Discuss things that are white or diamond-shaped as you encounter them this winter.  Although we aren’t wishing for a blizzard, some Winter snow would be a nice way for our kids to continue learning and living these concepts, as they develop a greater understanding about the world they live in!

Dates to Remember

  • Friday, January 11th, 2019 – progress reports go home
  • Monday, January 21st, 2019 – Martin Luther King, Jr. day observation – school closed