Every now and then I love taking my camera around and catching about 20 minutes of the activity in all the classes. Let me show you what I captured today.
I began in the Red classroom. They were in their small group and large motor portion of the day. These activities are more structured with teacher planned activities. In one group they were patterning tiny little animals. Each child had a tray of animals. You can find more about patterning here. The other small group was “reading” from a set of guided reading books. This activity gives children a chance to handle a book, notice the print, follow along with their finger as they “read” the repetitive sentences. All of these are important parts of the emergent literacy skills. As children finished their activity they could choose books to read. I loved hearing the Noah’s Ark story told with much enthusiasm – although it must have been a different version than I’ve heard before – even with ninja’s joining the story. Our class made number book was intriguing to several of the kids.
The Red class large motor involved finding shapes on the floor. In the picture they are hopping to find an oval (or an ellipse – we use both words). You will notice the hoops of different colors where the shapes are then classified by color. What a fun way to build movement skills while recognizing shapes and colors – all while recognizing that items can be classified by different characteristics.
The Blue class was also in their small group and large motor groups. In their small groups they were learning about ten frames. This is something they will use often in elementary school. It is a good visual for understanding the quantity of 10 and the different quantities it takes to add up to that amount. The other group was was finding similar items and talking about the way they are the same and how they are different. It is always easy for the kids to identify the differences but thinking about how they are the same is always a little trickier. I also caught a picture of a sweet one waiting for her turn. I love the little peek of a smile. And waiting quietly is a skill to learn as well.
During their large motor they were moving and grooving to a song title Bean Bag Boogie. This encourages the kids to identify body parts and then to balance the bean bag while moving. It is good to see the variety of ways children use their bodies to carry the bags.
Our youngest group (Discovery Days) were having snack. WOW! Look at this group. Sitting at a table and eating their own snack. This group is learning routines that are so different from what they do at home. They are also able to take their trash (napkin and cup) to the trash. They feel important when they complete a “job.” After snack the kids head over to play again. I love watching the eye-hand coordination develop as young children investigate these large rubber blocks. Eventually they will also discover balance when they place a larger block on the smaller square blocks.
I found our Green Class (Preschool Lite) ending circle time and transitioning to snack. The first picture shows the group saying their prayer. We do a song/chant “Open Shut Them” to gather attention as well as giving a routine which helps children focus on the prayer. Following that, the teacher shows the children the name card. The picture of their symbol gives them a visual while the written name (covered for this post) allows the child a chance to see their name in print. Once the child sees his name he takes his symbol spot that he is sitting on to the basket and then heads over to wash hands. If there is a child already washing hands, there are colored spots to help the children learn about waiting in a line. There are a lot of steps to this routine. Think about how much learning is happening in the simple act of going to snack.
Our 3/4 enrichment group were gathered at the back of the room while another teacher set up for circle time. They were imagining waking up in the morning. “What do we need to do next?” This is wonderful recall for the children as they pretend together. Once in the circle the children were excited to see which apple “won!” As they arrived to class they put their symbol in a bowl to vote for either red, yellow or green apples as their favorite. This is a wonderful chance then to talk about more, less, same, etc. It is so much more meaningful when it is with something they have had some input. I even heard a little one say, “There’s my symbol. That’s mine!”
As I was heading back to the office I noticed the Blue and Red classes heading to the playground. I couldn’t resist taking a few picture there as well. First, look at that nice line!!! I congratulated them on how nicely they were standing behind each other. It is interesting that a teacher reminded them before they started walking about staying just a little behind the person in front of you – not too close. These are the kinds of things that take practice to learn.
The first thing I noticed once I got outside were a teacher and child talking together. We have quiet places on the playground for just this reason. Sometimes we don’t need to big large movement but a more quiet conversation.
I absolutely LOVE watching kids play on the playground. From the impromptu Ice Cream Shop, to the social dilemma of 4 kids and three spots on the teeter-totter, the joyful singing on the tire swing and the concentration and perserverance of learning to move through the monkey bars.
A few children showed me a “bug” on the cement. On closer inspection it was the shell of a cicada. This was a wonderful learning opportunity as children discovered that there was no live bug inside. Oh, the questions they came up with! “Why is he not moving?” “Where did he go?” “Why is there a hole in it?” And finally that shell dropped to the ground. Here was a perfect chance to talk about cammoflage. We never did find that shell again – it was hidden too well in his surroundings.
As you can see, there is a lot happening here all morning. From structured times, to open play time, it is all learning time!