October 1, 2018

That guy is supposed to be jumping up and down, but I still have not mastered the ability to paste animated gifs into this particular blog platform.  Sometimes it works and sometimes……just imagine him jumping on his thread, because he (I) had an amazing week of rejuvenation and fun!  And, I hope you all had some fun family time, too!  Let’s get ready and set…GO…! …JUMP, please…jump…

Wrapping It Up

Right before the break, we focused our instruction on a unit based on Boom! Boom Boom! by Jamie A. Swenson.  We had SO many activities to support this unit, since it encompassed a number of concepts (rain, storms, bedtime, fears, pets,) that we had a hard time deciding the most fun and relevant activities on which to concentrate our time/resources.  One component I wanted to discuss with these guys was the pets in their lives.  Pets are such an integral part of our families (if we have them,) and I didn’t get any feedback.  This is still a relevant topic if you want to share pets type, names, and any pictures you can email of your kiddo(s) with said pet(s)!

Coming Next

               

We head into more seasonal topics, while continuing our weather “watch,” with two books about some very busy spiders.  The first one, a familiar story to all (or is it?), Itsy Bitsy Spider by Nora Hib has many surprises hidden inside!  Itsy Bitsy Spider is trying to climb the waterspout, despite the rain, but what’s Incy Wincy Spider doing? And what about Itchy Nitchy Spider?  Are they climbing anything?  As you guessed, this book brings lots of fun and a whole bunch of rhyming and sound play for us to focus on our phonemic awareness skills!  The book has little die cut holes on each page, showing which of Itsy’s friends might be coming next, for some prediction and maybe some novel, silly words of our own!

Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tim Hopgood introduces just one spider, poor Walter.  Working ever so hard despite the wind this time, Walter’s webs are just too ‘wibbly-wobbly.”  In the blustery Fall weather, he begins spinning very simple shapes, such as a triangle and a square.  As he is determined and persistent, his shapes become increasingly more stable, until after much practice, he succeeds in spinning the most wonderful web!  This story highlights all of the common shapes we are learning for a nice review, and uses much alliteration to again reinforce some phonics and the letter sound “w.”  Additionally, both stories give way nicely to discussion about trying hard even when we want to give up!  These spiders were “optimistic” and “determined,” and these two character traits don’t always come naturally.  See my Point of Interest section below for more about this topic!

We will introduce and practice the letter “Ii” this week and “Ww” next week.  We will transition into the color green (mine and Joseph’s favorite color!) and the   triangle.  We will continue the “Rain” unit for our “Move to Learn” (MTL) exercises this week, and move onto the “Spiders” unit next week. 

Point of Interest

Optimism is a crucial element to experiencing lifelong success.  Research proves that children who develop optimistic outlooks achieve 30%-50% higher test scores than those children who are more pessimistic.  Also, children who have learning disabilities have a much greater chance of becoming depressed later in life, so teaching optimism from a young age is vital for our little guys.  And, it can be taught!  Instead of doing for your children what they can do for themselves, talk them through staying happy while they try.  Praise them for continuing to “hang in there” even when things get difficult, but don’t give in and do it for them. This diminishes their attempts and sends the message that they are incapable and shouldn’t bother to try.  This creates a “learned helplessness” that becomes very difficult to overcome as children get older. Model your determination in difficult situations. Come up with a self-talk chant like, “I think I can, I think I can,” when you run into problem while your child is nearby.  You may be trying to open a jar lid or pull on a boot.  Let your child know that not everything comes easily to you, and point out your determination and ultimate success!  

Dates To Remember

  • October 15-19, 2018 – Conference Week -progress reports go home- early release all week-Please email me if you desire to have a conference, so we can schedule a convenient time.  If I don’t hear from you, I will assume you DO NOT wish to meet for a conference.

Needed Items

You have all been AMAZING while providing items, and volunteering your time to partner with us in keeping your kiddos happy, healthy and engaged in fun and learning!  Thank you!  We aren’t currently in need of anything! 

September 17, 2018

Wrapping It Up

We have had bunches of fun in our safari tent as we learned all about many different zoo and jungle animals!  We jumped like kangaroos, stomped like elephants, slithered like snakes, swang (yes, that is correct the past tense) like monkeys, and roared like lions.  We discussed, and graphed, the differences between animals with fur, feathers and scales, and we designed and built our own cardboard box jungle with animals and plants that stand up on clothespin legs!  We threw beanbag fruit to our hippo target and made a big “bowl” of animal soup with the parachute!

A Point of Interest 

If you were with us last year, I talked a little bit about the movement program that we newly introduced after winter break last year.  “Learn to Move, Move to Learn,” by  Jenny Clark Brack, is a sensory-integrated, theme-based program that has us engaged in group movement activities throughout the day.  The program is based on seven steps to help us assimilate all of our cognitive, language, and social/emotional skills with our sensory and motor activation and integration, and the balance of these activities with the theme we are learning makes for an exciting and motivating way for us to learn the skills that will be necessary for later success.  The seven components include:  warm-up, proprioceptive play, eye-hand play, vestibular play, fine motor activities, balance, and cool-down.  To give you an example of how we implemented this program throughout our “zoo” theme, our warm-up was a cute, hand-holding in a circle, rhyme about monkeys swinging in a tree that we did during our morning circle.  Right before our learning centers, we did our vestibular activity which included having the children hold a ball between their knees while they jumped around the room like kangaroos.  We also worked in our eye-hand activity before centers, and this was a game of “feeding the hippo” by throwing bean bag fruit into a hippo toy’s belly from a distance that challenged the children, depending on their abilities.  During center rotations, we always have theme-related art, writing and manipulative activities which challenge and strengthen the children’s fine motor skills.  Right after lunch, and before our literacy circle, we got in our balance and proprioceptive activities.  For balance, we went back and forth between a “Monkey See, Monkey Do” game where the children had to follow my lead to stand on one foot, walk on tiptoes, touch the ground and lift one leg, etc., and a “Cross the Crocodile River” (walking on a balance beam) to deliver beanie animals to the other side.  For proprioception, we went back and forth between “elephant stomping” around the room, and making an “animal soup” with the small parachute, where the kids had to each hold a handle on the parachute and work together to bounce the beanie animals out of the chute.  Finally, the cool-down happens naturally in our literacy circle as we sing theme-related songs and read our story of the week. 

Hopefully, you understand the huge benefits of “Learn to Move, Move to Learn” in our preschool classroom as a nice augmentation to our existing curriculum!  The kids LOVE the activities, and it keeps us all up and moving!  I will post all of this information on a new page, so you can refer to it often.  On that page, Movement and Sensory Integration in the SNP, I will also provide some definitions that may help you understand how all of our experiences are integrated, and why some of our kiddos have difficulties making these connections.  Let me know if you have any questions!

What’s Next  

We will begin our unit about weather with the story, Boom! Boom! Boom! by Jamie A. Swenson.  This is a story about a little boy in bed when a thunderstorm starts.  The clever, cumulative rhyming text brings all of his pets, and his sister, into his bed as the storm gets worse.  Finally, the bed breaks as the storm subsides, and the boy can sleep by himself again.  We will delve into the science of why it rains, and why we need rain.  We will also discuss pets, and what it takes to help us keep our pets happy and healthy.  Please email me with any pets you may have, their names, how long in your child’s life have you had the pet/s, and send a picture if you can!

The week we get back, our weather/rain unit will continue as we head into some more seasonal topics, which includes the story of the “Itsy, Bitsy Spider!”  Stay tuned for more information after Fall Break.

Dates To Remember

  • September  24-28, 2018 – Fall Break – school closed
  • October 15-19, 2018 – Conference week-progress reports go home- early release all week-Please email me if you desire to have a conference, so we can schedule a convenient time.

September 4, 2018

Wrapping It Up

We have wrapped up our unit “All About Me” unit after two weeks spent exploring the wonderful body parts we have for “moving and doing” in From Head to Toe. Body parts and actions have been the focus of this lively unit where we explored all the things we can do with our bodies and brains, including how to stay healthy!  We did the Hokey Pokey, made our likenesses in collage, moved, shook, hugged, kissed, stomped, clapped, brushed our teeth, washed our faces and hands, ate healthy foods, and many more things to increase our awareness of our abilities and the many ways to keep ourselves healthy and strong.  We explored our differences and similarities through a variety of language-rich, multi-sensory experiences.

What’s Next?

         

Our study of differences and similarities continues in another rhyme-rich book, Wild About Us by Karen Beaumont.  As the animals are introduced on each page, so too are the individual characteristics and qualities that make each animal as special as the last one!  The vocabulary is overflowing with layers of adjectives and actions, and it’s purpose is to paint each animal in a unique way so every animal can feel proud of what makes them different.  This story lends itself to much more depth when we discuss ourselves, and the many things that make us each special.  We talk a lot about the word proud and the good feelings that come with our uniqueness!  

We then move on to an hilarious new story, There’s a Giraffe In My Soup by Russ Burach.  This book has us laughing as soon as the main character, a little boy, rides up to a restaurant and hands over his Big Wheel to the valet.  Each entree the waiter brings the boy is teeming with a silly, new zoo animal that has the boy more disgusted, and the waiter more exasperated, with every “bite!”  The rhyming text is also filled with rich descriptors, but also lends well to some fun prediction.  It’s also a great story for teaching about humor, and the cause/effect relationships that come with each character’s experiences!

This week, we will introduce the color brown and the  square shape.  We will review the letters “b,” “s,” “e,” and “z.”

Dates To Remember

  • September 24-28, 2018 – Fall Break, School Closed

THANK YOU for all of your donations and supplies!  We need NOTHING!  You are such amazing parents and partners in the happiness and well-being of your children while they are here with us!!!