f is for fire

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this week was full of safety rules, fire facts, and dramatic play.  i used to have a tape of fire safety songs by jim post called “learn not to burn.”  ironically, this tape was lost in the fire of our preschool in 2002.  so i sung the ones i could remember (usually just the chorus!).

the state of kansas sent us a curriculum that we used bits and pieces from.  most popular were the drawings of children crawling low under smoke and a firefighter wearing a mask (and then putting our hands over our mouths and breathing…and yes, there were a few darth vader comments from those with older siblings). : )

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we drew self portraits and glued black strips above our drawings to symbolize smoke.  i always enjoy seeing self portraits and how dramatically they can change in a school year.  this was a great project to emphasize the spatial terms “above,” “below,” “next to,” etc.

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there was plenty of fire fighter play.

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we all got in on the action and used our playground picnic table as a fire truck.  the sirens would blow, we’d run and put out the fire, then race back to the fire truck because another call came in. i considered this my work out for the day. : )

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we practiced writing our letter F and it was handy how we used the same shapes to make a ladder!  this was also a great opportunity to practice holding our crayons the “school way” and press hard to make fire.  so often preschoolers will write so lightly it is hard to see their work.  not in fire drawing!

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we played a game using little fire fighter figures (oh the puzzle those were:  “hey!  how are these army guys without any guns?  maybe these army guys don’t fight!).

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with a handmade dice, we worked on numeral recognition.  there were little dots to count in case the numeral was too tricky.  like that sneaky 6 that looks like a 9.  we work on number recognition and writing every day in our calendar time and it was fun to see some preschoolers look over at the calendar after they rolled the dice.

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i work hard to create an environment where “winning” is not the goal.  i also want children to be comforatble seeing others do more, do different, do stronger than them.  so it was fun for me to truly “win” at this game one round…i had WAY MORE fire fighters than anyone else. : )

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a special snack came assembly required.  as you can see, it was quite exciting!

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and we are looking forward to a cozy classroom this winter with our new fireplace (made from leftover fall leaf shapes!).

e is for painted eggs

found at the thrift shop we used these life-sized clay eggs for painting.

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we talked about the tradition at easter of decorating eggs and we looked at this picture on my computer of colored bird eggs:

then they had the freedom to paint as they liked.

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e is for egg shells

thanks to many families (and panera) we had enough egg shells to crush and glue on cardboard eggs.

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the crushing seemed really therapeutic.

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the freedom to use as much glue as needed was fun (in one morning we used 4 bottles).  this is reminiscent of the nut piles we made last year.

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this activity was clearly an emphasis on the process (though the end product is pretty cool) and we were able to extend our conversation of our 5 senses as we worked.

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we could see the egg shells, feel them, hear them crunch, smell them (thankfully they were washed well) but we did not taste them (we tasted an egg earlier in the day). : )

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l is for letter

i dabble in the handwriting without tears curriculum.  mostly i am fascinated by the desire to make letter writing easily successful for children.  one thing we do that is handwriting-withou- tears-ish is give craft sticks or wide gross grain ribbon strips to form the letters. here we have a 5 stick capital E:

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r is for rainbow paint

i am so thankful for these paints…found by a preschool mom at the thrift shop.

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moisten (or drench) in water for bright colors. they are more like chalk than watercolor. lots of projects to come with these.

l is for line

one of the school concepts i introduce the children to is “standing in line.”  like most of the skills and concepts , i don’t expect mastery.  a spontaneous game of store during work time was a great opportunity to practice.

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i made a path of colored duct tape that was only wide enough for one child.

p.s.  for sale in this store was anything in the classroom, including kleenex. : )

e is for egg experiment

when the words “science experiment” or “let’s go to the kitchen” are spoken…there is obvious excitement.

here was one of our science experiments (done in the kitchen!) for e week:

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it really is an amazing experiment.  one litle guy said, “okay. i. am. doing. this. at. home. with. my. dad.”  consider yourself warned, russ.

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and after our egg floated, we looked at our drawings from the days before of circles and ovals (to remember the shape of eggs).  then took our journals and drew the egg either sinking or floating

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or drew many eggs in the jar because “that would have been even cooler.”

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those preschoolers who are not drawing circle or oval shapes yet were very successful making scribble shapes for the water.

we had a wooden brown egg in the middle of each table as a still-life prop and gentle music playing in the background.

really very nice.

maybe i should say egg-stra nice. : )

p.s.  this egg was still safe to eat!

t is for tree

techincally this should be a is for apple tree, but we make these trees for many reasons during a school year.

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one class made the trunk, one class made the leafy top, and then we added apple print apples.

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this was the first painting project of the school year.  i intentionally gave brushes, but gave no instruction on whether to use hands or not.  most of the children used their hands and some of the children were vocal about being grateful they didn’t have to!

after painting, the children carry their brushes to the bathroom sink to “help” rinse them out.  as is true with many things, it may be easier (and neater) to have a teacher wash them all at once but their ownership in completing the process is clear.