All four seasons at the sticky table

We have been experiencing what seems like all four seasons in one month! The weather has gone from a few warm sunny days to a few days with with blizzard like conditions to days with lots of rain or very strong winds.  With all this crazy weather, it has been a good time of year to explore the weather of all four seasons…

All Four Seasons at the Sticky Table by Teach Preschool

To get us thinking about the four seasons, we read “My Favorite Time of Year” by Susan Pearson.  I have had this book a very long time and although this book does a nice job illustrating all four seasons, it is a little on the long side as far as the story goes – so we did a little reading and picture surfing through the book…

Four seasons at the sticky table by Teach Preschool

After reading our book, we extended our study of the four seasons in several of our centers and one of the centers was our four seasons sticky table…

All four seasons at the sticky table by Teach Preschool

To create the sticky table, just add clear contact paper (sticky side up) to the top of a table or large tray. I used clear packing tape to hold the sticky paper in place…

All four seasons at the sticky table by Teach Preschool

For this sticky table, we set out foam squares and foam trees for the children to create all four seasons.  Our colors were divided into cups as follows…

  • Red/Yellow/Orange for fall
  • White for winter
  • Pink/Purple for spring
  • Green for summer

Of course, the center was left open ended so the children could choose how they preferred to use or combine the colors…

All four seasons at the sticky table by Teach Preschool

The foam shapes are easily removed from the sticky table so each child could put their shapes away when done, start over, or change up their designs…

Four Seasons at the Sticky Table by Teach Preschool

Lots of ways to explore the sticky table…

All four seasons at the sticky table by Teach Preschool

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By | March 20th, 2013|Categories: Four Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , |4 Comments

“O” how we love to estimate

My class has gotten quite confident at estimating but don’t confuse confidence with accuracy. Instead, it is exciting to see that my students are confidently making guesses which is a wonderful start in promoting their mathematical thinking skills…

"O" how we love to estimate! By Teach Preschool

For this simple estimating activity the children started by making a circle on a piece of paper with a pencil…

"O" how we love to estimate! By Teach Preschool

After drawing the circle, the children guessed how many cheerios might fit into their circle.  Some of the children drew a very small circle and easily guessed that just one cheerio would fit. Others drew a large circle and had to give their guess a little more thought…

"O" how we love to estimate! By Teach Preschool

The children filled their circles with cheerios to find out how many cheerios would actually fit in their circle…

"O" how we love to estimate! By Teach Preschool

Some of the circles held a lot of cheerios – too many to really count! But the children gave their very best effort and continued to draw circles and use the cheerios to somehow fill their circles up…

"O" how we love to estimate! By Teach Preschool

The children explored the cheerios and circles and interpreted the process in many different ways…

"O" how we love to estimate! By Teach Preschool

And in case you were wondering, we had cheerios for part of our snack just before we used them to estimate…

"O" how we love to estimate! By Teach Preschool

A simple process to invite our students to combine a little math with writing and an excellent opportunity to use language like bigger, smaller, circle, estimate, count, actual, most, least, more, and less…

"O" how we love to estimate! By Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

The Estimation Station by Teach Preschool

Roll & Paint – Math and Art Together by No Time for Flashcards

Estimation Jars and Brain Breaks by  Crunchy and Green

Learning with Cheerios in Preschool by Teach Preschool

By | March 8th, 2013|Categories: Mathematics|Tags: , , , , , , , , |1 Comment

K is for kaleidoscope designs

Each week we spend a few minutes of our morning exploring the sound of a new letter and this week we explored the sound of the letter K. We use different methods to explore the sounds of our letters. Some are creative, some are through play, and others are just through simple conversations we have in circle time. This week we explored the sound of the letter K and then extended our exploration of the letter K by making our own kaleidoscope designs…

K is for Kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

Kaleidoscopes are such an interesting “toy” or tool to explore since they employ the use of mirrors and color and shape. We didn’t get to explore them nearly as much as I hoped but we did get a taste of what a kaleidoscope was and even tried to create our own versions of a kaleidoscopes and kaleidoscope designs. Mrs. Courtney brought a real kaleidoscope in for the children to look through and examine and she introduced the book “I See A Song” by Eric Carle as a way to draw attention to the overlapping of colors, shapes, and design…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

Instead of actually reading the book, Mrs. Courtney took the children on a picture walk in hopes to draw the children’s attention to the color, shapes, and designs that they saw inside each picture.  The children did an amazing job identifying what they thought they could see in each picture…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

Every picture was filled with color and designs overlapping to possibly create something hidden within.  Kids are so capable at their ability to understand abstract art – it’s a good idea to never underestimate how much young children really can understand.  As Mrs. Courtney turned each page, the children immediately began to call out what they could see and they talked more about the  designs they saw hidden within each picture…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

And then Mrs. Courtney invited the children to design their own kaleidoscope of colors using felt pieces in their baggies and a small felt board…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

The children went to work creating their own designs with their random pieces of felt shapes and colors. Each child went down a different path which is always exciting to observe…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

Some of the children created designs that were easy to identify and others were more abstract like the lion shown below. This is a “lion that roars really loud!”…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

And this is a person’s face…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

And this is the ocean – can you see the water, sun, sailboat, and clouds?…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

And some designs had hidden within it lots of different objects. The children would eagerly point out the many objects that were hidden within their designs….

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

The fun thing about working with the felt and felt boards was that the children could easily move the pieces around until they found the right fit for their ideas…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

After creating our felt Kaleidoscope of designs, the children were invited to explore these fine motor kaleidoscopes.  These are simply tubes with wax paper taped around the end.  The children dropped the objects inside the tubes and then went to see what kind of designs the objects make when put together inside their tubes…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

The children were invited to look through the tubes at the light table too.  Mrs. Courtney talked with the children about what might happen if they added too many items versus just a few. With too many items, the tubes would be dark and hard to see though but if they chose two or three items then changed the items out, the light might shine through more easily and the children would get more of a kaleidoscope effect.  As you can see below, the children were anxious to see how Mrs. Courtney’s kaleidoscope turned out once she added a few objects into her tube…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

The children went to work creating their own kaleidoscopes then looking through them…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

For the kaleidoscope objects, we tried to find mostly see-through type items like beads and gems but we also added buttons, beads, and feathers….

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

Many of the children wanted to make a kaleidoscope they could take home so we are going to collect more materials and come up with another way for them to make a kaleidoscope that they can keep next week.

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

In my next post, I will share with you the “kaleidoscope” pictures we made and hopefully soon, I can come back and share our take- home kaleidoscopes with you too…

K is for kaleidoscope by Teach Preschool

If you are wondering about the tubes we used for this process – see this post.

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By | January 26th, 2013|Categories: Children's Books, Flannel Board|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments

Magical moving dots

I have had this book titled, “Mouse Magic” by Ellen Stoll Walsh for a very long time but if you don’t have this book, the idea I am about to share with you is still great fun and you can easily make your own mouse magic…

“Mouse Magic” by Ellen Stoll Walsh is about a magical crow that shows the mouse how shapes can move when they are close together (optical illusions).  It is wonderfully illustrated but just a bit over the head of my students, so we did more of a picture walk than a read-aloud…

As each optical illusion came up in the book, Mrs. Courtney invited the children to take a close look and stare at the shapes to see if the shapes were moving (just like the crow asks the mouse to do)…

But the children were not able to see the shapes moving. They loved the idea of magical moving shapes but Mrs. Courtney and I got a giggle out of the children as they stared at the book but didn’t quite get how the shapes were supposed to be moving on the page…

But we weren’t worried that the shapes didn’t move on the page because we could make our own magical shapes that moved. All that is needed are two clear plastic cups and some sticker dots…

The children put sticker dots on the outside of both of their clear plastic cups any where they desired…

Once they had a set of stickers on the outside of both cups, the children put one cup inside the other and then it was time to make our color dots move…

To make the dots move, the children had to figure out how to hold one cup still while moving the other cup. For some, it is easier to gently hold the outside cup and then turn the lip of the inside cup. For others, it was easier to hold the lip of the inside cup and turn the outside cup.  This is kind of hard to explain so I hope you get the idea. It takes a little practice and some fine motor skill concentration and wrist movements (which is an excellent part of this process) and then presto! The dots are moving across each other!

Super cool and super easy to make some mouse magic!

Want to see it in action?  Then take a look at the video below!  (You may need to come to the blog post to view this video if reading this post by email or a reader!

Available on Amazon

PS. I couldn’t find any new “Mouse Magic” books on Amazon to share a link with you today – but their are used versions.

DIY mouse shape dice game

We spent last week enjoying the mouse books of Ellen Stoll Walsh beginning with the book titled “Mouse Shapes.” and our DIY mouse shape dice game …

“Mouse Shapes” is a simple read-aloud book about three mice who discover if they put different shapes together, they can create houses and other interesting things including the big cat that would like to find them…

The mice even discover that they can make mice out of shapes as a good way to trick the cat that is searching for them…

After reading our mouse shape book, we played a game using a DIY mouse shape dice I made.  I bought several square Styrofoam blocks from the craft section of Walmart and decided to see if I could turn at least one of the blocks into a dice. I free-hand painted a shape on each side of the dice with acrylic paint…

After painting a square, circle, triangle, rectangle and oval on five sides of the dice, I still needed one more shape for the last side of the dice.  I decided to add an octagon but I couldn’t get the lines straight or even so my octagon magically turned into a mouse…

Now that I had my dice, all I needed to do was make up a game.  We started out by each child taking a turn to toss the dice in the middle of the circle and call out the name of the shape that landed on top…

In the back of my mind, even after starting the game, I was still trying to decide what would happen if the mouse landed on top so when the mouse finally did land on top, I decided that I would be the cat and try to catch the mouse “the child that tossed the dice.”…

Oh boy, once that mouse landed up and I shot up to chase a mouse – the children loved this game!  Of course, everyone hoped their turn to roll the dice would land on the mouse so after everyone had a turn – I rolled the dice only this time I kept rolling it until the mouse came up and told the children that they all better hide because I was going to get them all. When that mouse came up, they all screamed and ran away – yes it was just a bit chaotic for about 5 minutes but it was super fun and no injuries to report…

I left the dice out for the rest of the week and the children played the mouse shape game every day on their own.  I watched as they rolled and rolled that dice waiting for the mouse to land on top and the children modified the game a bit where each child took a turn rolling the dice while all the other children who played had to be a cat. Sometimes we had a group of four or five playing together and other times we had partners playing together…

The rolling of the dice, the mouse, the shapes all served as a way to reinforce the concepts introduced throughout the book “Mouse Shapes.”  The children were having to keep an eye on each shape of the dice as they hoped that soon the mouse would land on top and in a round-about way, they were recalling the characters and action of the story as well…

Oh, and although the dice did get banged up a little, but it didn’t fall apart!

As an alternative to running away, the children could simply choose and actions like jumping, shaking, marching, or other when the mouse lands on top.

And one more thing, I don’t recommend Styrofoam dice for toddlers – my grandson decided to take a small bite out of my Styrofoam dice as soon as I let him hold it 🙂

Available on Amazon

Exploring our shapes with blocks on the table top

We took our blocks from the block center for the day and turned them into a simple shape and color matching tabletop game…

Mrs. Courtney prepared the table by using different colors of tape to make all the shapes we had in our block basket on the table…

The children found the table and blocks all ready to go and explored the matching game in their own way.  Some of the children naturally matched up each block to each shape but didn’t concern themselves with matching the colors too…

Other children focused on making sure the color and shapes all matched up…

The nice thing about this activity is that there really is no right or wrong way to explore it…

Some of the children even preferred stacking the blocks as they explored the table top activity…

This is the kind of activity that some children will really take their time to explore and others will stop for a few minutes and then move on. As the children stopped by to visit the table, I would stop by too, on occasion, and ask the children to tell me the name of a shape or the color of their shape. In a sense, this was a way for me to evaluate which shapes the children already knew and which shapes they were still getting familiar with…

Super simple and a fun beginning of the school year way to explore our shapes…

Available on Amazon

By | October 3rd, 2012|Categories: Mathematics|Tags: , , , |18 Comments

Light table explorations

Our light table has been getting lots of action this year from my new students during our time in free play and here are a few of the things the children have been exploring on the light table…

Ice pops on the light table (unfrozen)

Shapes on the light table (colored plexiglass donated to me)

A variety of toys on the light table…

Cutting on the Light Table

Discovery bottles on the light table

Cars on the light table

And after school, my grandson has been doing a little light table exploration too…

Felt shapes on the light table

All the children know how to turn the light table on and off by themselves (even my grandson can do it) and the children are free to explore most things on the light table during our center time…

Somehow things just look different when you put it on a light table…

Available on Amazon

Click here to check out a variety of toys that are fun on the light table: Light Table Toys on Amazon

By | September 23rd, 2012|Categories: Light Table|Tags: , , , , , , , |3 Comments

Shapes on the flannel board graph | Virtual Book Club | Lois Ehlert

The bloggers of the Virtual Book Club are celebrating the works of Lois Ehlert this month and so my class has been busy reading up on a few of the beautifully illustrated books by Lois Ehlert…

The Lois Ehlert book titled, “Color Zoo” takes a creative but simple look at shapes (and colors) and how different shapes can be layered on top of each other to make an animal shape…

After discussing all the shapes and animals in the book with the children, I then invited the children to help me sort a set of felt cut out shapes onto our flannel board graph….

To create the graph, I simply used colored tape on the flannel board to create the lines of the graph.  I cut out plenty of red felt squares, orange felt circles, and yellow felt triangles for the children to add to our large group graph…

Each child came up to the graph, selected one shape out of the baggie and placed the chosen shape on the graph.  We talked about how the graph has three columns and each shape should be placed in its own column so we can compare the number of shapes as we go along…

The children easily caught on to the idea of keeping each shape in the correct column. The children continued to come up to the flannel board and add a new shape from our baggie of felt shapes to the flannel board graph…

Throughout the process of adding shapes to the graph, we considered how many shapes were in each column and which column had the most or least number of shapes. We discovered as we kept adding more shapes to the board, the number of shapes in each column would change too…

This was our very first large group graphing experience this school year and the children did a remarkable job all throughout the process…

Then the children were invited over to the art table to create their own animals from construction paper shapes…

A wonderful morning of exploring our shapes together…

Available on Amazon

Up and coming authors that will be shared in the Virtual Book Club include the following…

  • October 15th-Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • November 19th- Tomie de Paola
  • December 17th- Jan Brett
  • January 21st-David McPhail
  • February 18th-Dr. Seuss
  • March 18th-Julia Donaldson
  • April 15th-David Shannon
  • May 20th-Leo Lionni
  • June 17th-Gail Gibbons
  • July 15th- Jez Alborough
  • August 19th-Donald Crews

VirtualBookClub

To see more ideas from the other participating Virtual Book Club just check out the linky below! Remember, if you are viewing this post by email or in a RSS Reader, you may need to click on the title of this post to view the linky from the blog post…

Participating Bloggers

Toddler Approved, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Rainy Day Mum, Reading Confetti, Inspiration Laboratories, Play Dr. Mom, Mommy and Me Book Club, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Two Big Two Little, Creative Connections for Kids, The Golden Gleam, Juggling with Kids, Taming the Goblin, Crafty Moms Share, Ready Set Read 2 Me, Famiglia and Seoul, The Good Long Road, The Educator’s Spin On It, Imagination Soup, 3 Dinosaurs, Royal Baloo, Being A ConsciousParent, No Twiddle Twaddle, Crayon Freckles, The Pleasantest Thing, Adventures in Reading with Kids, Smile, Play, Learn, Creekside Learning, Our Feminist Playschool, and Teach Preschool!

Lois Ehlert Virtual Book Club Linky

There are a few rules for this blog hop that we ask you to follow, so make sure to read them:
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Lois Ehlert that share children’s book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Add our Virtual Book Club button to your post if you’d like.

 

A sticky square collage

Exploring shapes can be so much fun and lately, we have been focusing on the shape of a square. This activity was a very simple activity for the children to stop by and add a square any time they wanted…

In our window, I taped up a sheet of clear contact paper with the sticky side facing inside the classroom. On the window seal (ledge), I left a stack of construction paper squares…

We had many things going on during our day so for the first half of our day, the children didn’t even notice the squares. They would walk by and reach out to feel the sticky paper then move on…

And then after snack, one of our little girls noticed the squares and stuck it on the sticky paper and then she added another, then another.  A few minutes later another little girl joined in…

And then more children decided to join in the sticky square fun.  But there was a little problem, the paper was much higher than the children so they had to really stretch and even jump up to try and get the squares up at the top of our window…

Before you knew it, we had an entire group soon working together on getting the remaining squares placed on our sticky square collage…

And when the children ran out of squares (I waited for them to finish) then it was time to go outside…

And so our window now shines bright with colorful squares.  Next week, I will invite the children to see if they can find different colors of squares and remove them from the sticky square collage or we might just let it stay for a bit.  Either way, the sticky square collage gives opportunity to work together, to create, to explore the shapes and colors, and to admire our beautiful class collage…

Pin it!

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Bottle Caps on Sticky Paper by Inspiration Surrounds, Creativity Abounds

Counting Straws on the Sticky Board by Teach Preschool

Shape Sorting Game by Learners in Bloom

Bubble Wrap Painting  – Learning Shapes by Learning 4 Kids

By | September 11th, 2012|Categories: Mathematics|Tags: , , , |6 Comments

Painting up perfect squares (Piet Mondrian style)

In my previous post, I shared with you the book, “Perfect Square” by Michael Hall which we read aloud in our circletime. As another followup to our book, we explored the painting process by painting squares in the style (or influence) of Piet Mondrian

The children were invited to explore the painting process by painting inside the squares with any color of paint they liked…

For today, we added the tape to the squares of cardboard for the kids so they could just focus on the painting process. When we explore this process later in the school year, we will invite the children to create their own taped lines and not worry so much whether they make squares or not.  Even we had a hard time making perfect squares but the children didn’t seem to mind…

Each child chose the color or colors they wanted to use in their squares. Some children chose to paint every square the same color…

Other children chose to paint every square a different color…

Other children were very systematic in how they chose to paint in their squares while others just painted the squares without a plan in mind…

Mrs. Courtney and I planned to remove the tape from the squares after they paintings dried but they were so lovely with the tape left on that we decided perhaps to leave the tape on.  This is why we chose to use cardboard, thinking the tape would remove more easily without tearing the paper. But  we are still undecided and the paintings are still sitting in our drying rack waiting to go home…

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Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Inspired by Mondrian: Art for Kids from The Imagination Tree

Painting with Scissors Like Henri Matisse from Little Running Teacher

By | September 10th, 2012|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , , , |11 Comments