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