I have hands!

Making handprints isn’t a new idea for most of us in early childhood education but it is and has always been a wonderful way for young children to develop their sense of self…

I have hands!

I asked the children to show me their hands and they quickly raised their hands into the sky!

I have hands!

We discovered that our hands are important. They help us to eat, play, count, and do all the things we really love to do…

I have hands!

To explore our hands more closely, the children went to work making their own handprints.  The temptation with making painted handprints for many teachers is for the teacher to apply the paint and then press the child’s hands down on the paper. Perhaps this is to avoid a mess or to make sure the handprint looks just right but let me encourage you to “hand” the process over to the children…

I have hands!

As the children explored the process of making handprints, they took their time painting each finger…

I have hands!

Then the children moved on to painting the palm of their hands…

I have hands!

And some (but not all) of the children then went on to paint the backs of their hands and even part of their arms…

I have hands!

And along the way, the children did make handprints on their paper…

I have hands!

It may seem like a lot to clean up afterwards, but the decision of letting the children paint their own hands leads to greater interest in the process and a chance for them to explore the feel of paint in a way that they feel most comfortable with. Even some children (if not most) who prefer not to get their hands messy will give this a try because they have control…

I have hands!

Often times, if we give young children control over their own experiences, they will be more likely to step outside of their comfort zone and explore the experience. So hand over the control and let the children explore the process of making their own hands and they will find the process so much more engaging and you can use the time to ask them how it feels, what colors they like, what part of their hand they are painting and then lend a hand of your own to wash up when the children are all done…

I have hands!

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Exploring the inside of our outside

Yesterday, I shared with you how we made our own x-rays and today I want to share with you a few other ways we explored our bones and x-rays. I was a little concerned when we started exploring x-rays, bones and our bodies that it would be hard to come up with things that the children would really understand and enjoy but instead this study has been a very interesting and fun study for my pre-k class…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

To further introduce bones, x-rays and our bodies to the children, I read them the Dr. Seuss book, “Inside Your Outside.” This book is kind of long but my prekindergarten age students were glued to every single page from beginning to end…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

As we read the book, we stopped to take special note of the skeletons illustrated throughout any page in the book that might show up…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

After reading our book, the children were off to spend a little time creating their own bones.  At one of our tables the children used play dough to design a skeleton for our paper model…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

Using the pictures of skeletons we had out on the table and in our book, the children began adding bones to our little guy on the table…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

As the children formed up different bones, they began adding them to the paper model on the table…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

Throughout the process, we discovered that some of the bones in our bodies are made up of different shapes and sizes and many pieces to help us be able to bend and move. After all, if our bones were just one long piece, we wouldn’t be able to use our legs to run or jump or our hands to pick things up and write…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

All throughout the morning, the children continued to stop by and add more bones to our paper model. Along the way, we discussed the names of some of those bones…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

And in the meantime at another table, the children also worked on creating x-ray drawings with chalk and black paper…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

All throughout the classroom, the children were busy making their own x-rays, bones, and exploring our bodies…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

And documenting their discoveries…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

And then coming back to our paper model to continue adding new bones…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

And once again, my students amazed me with their ability to work together, create, and accomplish great things…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

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DIY Friendship Blocks

I put together a set of friendship blocks (or tubes) for my class to play with and as to also use as a tool for helping my students get more familiar with each other…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

To make our friendship blocks, we printed a photo of each child on paper and cut it out. Then we taped each photo to a tube using clear packing tape and placed all the tubes in the shelf in our block center…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

In my years of teaching, I have noticed that my students tend to begin the year playing beside each other (parallel play) rather than with each other. Because of this, it isn’t unusual for the children to take quite some time to learn each other’s name or to really put a name to face…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

Our friendship blocks are helping the children draw connections between faces and names. The friendship blocks also give each child a sense of community and belonging as they see their personalized block standing up and along side all the other children in the classroom…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

The friendship blocks are available for play all throughout the day but we have also been using them as a large group to create friendship towers…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

Or to invite discussion about ourselves or each other…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

Some of the children like to set their friendship tube next to them throughout the day while they do other activities…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

And as a little bonus, I printed and cut out an extra set of photos for our magnet board.  Yes, we are finding ourselves all over our classroom…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

And with the help of our friendship blocks and our people magnets, my students are getting a solid grasp on who is who in our classroom and are quickly feeling more comfortable with each other and as a community…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

About our Tube Blocks

To learn more about where we collected these tubes for free, be sure and read this post —-> Building and playing with our free tube blocks and where you can find them too.

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By | September 30th, 2013|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , , , , |10 Comments

Star of the week in preschool

This was our second year of implementing the “Star of the Week” in my classroom and all I can say is that I love, love, love the results of this process.  Let me use this post to explain to you how we approached the “Star of the Week” and later, I will share with you all the amazing results I have observed from implementing this process…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

First of all, the “Star of the Week” doesn’t begin until the last half of the school year – usually in January. The reason for holding off is to give my students more time to really know each other so they feel more comfortable and confident speaking in front of each other and have a better grasp on how to ask each other questions. It also gives me a chance to know my students better so I can see what adjustments might need to made along the way. By January, my students and I are well adjusted to each other and into our classroom environment and are ready for something new to be introduced into our routine…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

To get the “Star of the Week” up and running, I send home a note to the parents along with a list of when each child will be the “Star of the Week.”  Each week, we have one new child star and since I have 12 students in my class so for us, the “Star of the Week” program lasts exactly 13 weeks long…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

Each parent helps their child decorate a poster at home with the things they love including the people in their family, pets, favorite foods, vacations, sports, dance, and whatever else they wish to add to the poster. Lots of stickers are added to the posters, drawings, magazine pictures, and photos…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

I do not give the parents much in instructions other than not to add a photo that the parent wants returned or is afraid of being damaged. I prefer the posters to be something the family chooses to do in their own way. I don’t even say that the child has to put the poster together on his or her own or what size the poster has to be. Some families clearly do more helping with the process more than others. In every case, the children are extremely proud of their posters and very excited to share it with the class…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

We save our “Star of the Week” presentation until the very last part of our day. Although I call it “Star of the Week” it really might be better to say “Star of the Day” because everything is really done all in one day but since we only have one star each week we have stuck with “Star of the Week.” The star begins our day as “the helper of the day” – which means he or she is the line leader, weather helper, and whatever else we come up with throughout the day…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

The child’s poster is hidden from the class until it is time for his or her presentation. The last 30 minutes of our day is reserved for the “Star of the Week” to share his or her poster and this works best for any child whose mom or dad would like to come in for the presentation. The last 30 minutes of our day (just before pickup time) makes it a more convenient time for the parents to join us…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

During each child’s presentation, the star really takes the lead. The star begins by telling the the entire class about each picture or photo or drawing or sticker on the poster. We try to encourage the star to stand to the side of the poster while talking and face the other children but not every child remembers this little detail as they go along…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

Where needed, I provide prompts such as, “I see you have a photo of a dolphin on your poster, can you tell us more about that photo?” But most of the time, the children just start talking and never stop until they have covered every thing they see on the poster. In fact, I have learned that if I will stay out of their way, the children take over the entire process quite proficiently…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

After the star has concluded his or her presentation, then the star chooses at least three children, but often times more children are invited, to ask the star a question…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

At first, the question and answer portion of our process is a little rocky but a few stars later, the children get very good at asking questions (usually the same questions) and giving answers. What seems to help the most is if the children are allowed to go up to the poster and point to something to ask the star about…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

Once the presentation and the question and answer section has been concluded, then the parents who join us also often stay and read the “star’s” favorite book to the class which is definitely an added bonus. This year, every parent came to read to us but if a parent (or other guest) isn’t available to read or isn’t comfortable reading, I am more than happy to read the child’s favorite book to the class instead. The child can bring a book from home or choose one from our classroom…

Star of the Week by Teach Preschool

After every child has a day to be “Star of the Week” then we have one final day where all the posters are set out like a gallery of stars to wrap up our program. The final day and the gallery of posters is really a post I should write about all by itself because my observations of this aspect of our program is really wonderful too…

Although I call it "Star of the Week" it really might be better to say "Star of the Day" because everything is really done all in one day but since we only have one star each week we have stuck with "Star of the Week."

Each child is presented with a “Star of the Week” certificate and a “Star of the Week” necklace for their participation and then the posters go home with the children at the end of our day…

Although I call it "Star of the Week" it really might be better to say "Star of the Day" because everything is really done all in one day but since we only have one star each week we have stuck with "Star of the Week."

Now that I have shared the process for “Star of the Week” be sure to come back tomorrow to read about the amazing things my students gain from this process too!

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By | July 5th, 2013|Categories: Circle Time|Tags: , , |7 Comments

Learning about our bodies is fun with felt

I want to welcome my guest today who is Asia from Fun at Home with Kids. Asia, along with the help of her adorable daughter, is here to share with you this amazing life size anatomy made from felt!

 

Fun with Felt Anatomy!
I am so thrilled to be able to guest post for Deborah today; what an honor!  I’m Asia and I write over at Fun at Home with Kids.  I’m a former teacher (M. Ed) who now stays home full time with my two kiddos: X, a one year old, and S, a four year old. S has been very interested in learning about human bodies and anatomy for about a year now.  I was a Biology major in undergrad and kept my Anatomy textbooks, which she loves to peruse.  She’s also recently discovered the allure of the Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body book.  I’m always looking for ways to make concepts S is interested in more accessible to her.  I have seen so many amazing models of human bodies, but I felt like their small size left a bit to be desired.  So I settled on creating a life-sized felt double of her body to teach her a bit more about anatomy.
Fun with Felt Anatomy!
To make the body double, I had S lay on a few yards of felt and I traced her and cut the resulting outline out with some nice sharp scissors.  Using an anatomy book, she chose which parts of her body she wanted me to make.  I eyeballed the size and shape of everything; since she is 4 I wasn’t too concerned with making everything super accurate – the general idea was fine.
As we created the different parts from felt, we’d talk about the role of each in her body.  As we created the digestive tract, for instance, we talked about the path food takes through her body.  When we created bones, I would have her press on various parts of her body to feel a bit of the bone underneath and inhale sharply to see the outline of her rib cage beneath her skin.

 

Fun with Felt Anatomy!
We talked about how her heart was the size of her fist, and how it wasn’t shaped like the hearts you make on Valentine’s Day (she may have not been entirely sold on that last concept, haha).  We talked about how her heart gets food and air to all the parts of her body.

 

Fun with Felt Anatomy!
And finally, we made her the anatomy model by laying the felt body parts on top of her shirt.  Felt is slightly sticky, so everything held together.  We happen to have a Giant Feltboard downstairs that we made as one of our DIY projects, so we can use all these pieces there as well.  It took less than 30 minutes to create the body and all the related parts.  S really seemed to grasp the scale of things and enjoyed her peek at what goes on inside her body.

 

See more ideas from Asia

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy our recent post on using manipulatives to reinforce learning about Raising Butterflies, or you may be interested in following us on Facebook, Google+ (personal page), Google+ (blog page), Pinterest, or in Subscribing by Email.

 

Thank you Asia (and little S) for sharing with us today!

 

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By | July 2nd, 2013|Categories: Flannel Board|Tags: , , , , |21 Comments

All about me: I am special in preschool

Today I visited a twos class and on the table, I noticed there was a big hand mirror…

I “hinted” to the teacher that I happen to know a fun song we could sing with this cool mirror.  The teacher sweetly invited me to share the song with her class.  I sang with the children first, then handed the mirror to the teacher. The teacher continued the song with her young students while I looked on.

Tune: Frere Jacques

I am Special

I am Special

Look at me!

Look at me!

I am very special.

I am very special.

Look at me,

Look at me!

We changed the song up a bit and added different feeling words so the children could make different faces as they looked in the mirror (I am sad – I am happy – I am mad). It was so fun because the children would try to frown or look mad but when they looked into the mirror they could not help but give a big smile:) Too sweet!

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Links to Grow On

See this adorable mirror and feelings game your preschooler will enjoy!

See more All About Me activities on Pinterest!