t is for table-with-an-edge

table play

this is one of the best things i’ve done this year.  so often i’ve wished for a really shallow sensory table type tub that can’t be slid off the table, etc.  one day i realized that one of our hula hoops would fit perfectly on top of one of our small tables.

table play

so, hula hoop + duct tape = table with an edge!

table play

we change it out every week and have had great success with it being a standing work space. (and this table full of goodness is a combination of my personal dice collection and a huge bag of thrifted game pieces. score!)

table play

table play

this week we also had ribbon hanging down over the table for snipping practice.

table play

table play

our tiny fingers really get a work out (i think i worked for almost 10 seconds to pick up a teeny googly eye one day).

table play

we had a sinking/floating experiment on here one day (no photo!), so i taped on towels for hand drying.

table play

talk about an opportunity for cooperative play…there are six children around this tiny table!

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b is for box {a.k.a. why do we have any other toys in our classroom?}

some church friends (one of whom is also a preschool dad) put in a new hot water heater for our church/preschool.  the sturdy box was left for us.  we bring all the blankets and pillows from the whole classroom in it.  we reinforce it with colored tape.  we cover the opening with fabric.  we pound on the top and make it sound like thunder.  we hide in there and are really quiet so that a teacher has to look to find us. and one day, a couple of friends got the box to roll!

enjoy the movie:

p is for pumpkin planting experiment

with halloween over, we thought we’d try something a friend posted on line: growing pumpkins directly from the pumpkin.  let me know if you try it, michigan friends!

pumpkin planting

we cut a hole in the top, just like one would to carve a pumpkin, and added dirt:

pumpkin planting

(ooooh, and the DANGER of this experiment.  i had to experiment with which knife worked best, which meant bringing the whole knife tub out!)  we also planted some of the seeds in dirt in a bowl to see what differences there might be.

pumpkin planting

all was well for five days and on the sixth day, no one was at preschool.  on the seventh day, i unlocked the door and by the time i got to the top of our stairs, the smell was HORRIBLE.  so horrible, it was an opportunity that had to be taken.

pumpkin planting

the pumpkin had rotted, split open on the bottom and leaked the horrible smelling juice all over the table.

pumpkin planting

a class list was made:

pumpkin planting

i agree that it smelled like poop, pee and throw up all together.  after letting both classes experience the bad smell, we cleaned it up.  however, we have discovered a crevice in the table that still has the bad smell if you put your nose right near it.  we’ve left it and marked it with an arrow.

pumpkin planting

we took the rotten pumpkin to the garden and posed with our best sad faces.

pumpkin planting

it was amazing to me that not even one of the seeds had started to sprout, but the seeds in the bowl (from the same pumpkin) were already inches tall.  as of this week, the seeds in the bowl are still growing!

pumpkin planting

now the question is:  since it is too cold to transplant the pumpkin seedlings outside, how long will they be able to stay alive in the bowl?  ooooh, the anticipation!  go science.

h is for happy thanksgiving {and hands and homes and homeless shelters}

with our hands-turned-turkeys, the return of turkey rob and conversations of home, we anticipated thanksgiving.

turkey rob’s rainbow feathers were plucked and “planted” every day. when his red “gobble maker” fell off, it was repaired with candy corn duct tape. he had a lot of love this year.  and he was the centerpiece for all our show and tell times:

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this year children could have a teacher paint their hands to make a turkey print or they could paint their own. we used regular watercolors and it worked great.

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families: you can ask your child if it tickled or not…that was the biggest topic of conversation.

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since it was H week and all our thanksgiving themed books depicted families in homes, we had some school conversations about our homes. we reenacted the three little pigs (not my idea, but someone remembered it from LAST YEAR…and it was just what we needed to do that day anyway!). we made a house of leaves to act as our house of sticks:

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following our homes conversations, i asked what they knew about our community’s homeless shelter and what they thought it meant to be homeless.  some of the oldest kids in the classes remember when we had a preschool friend who was living at the shelter and that he brought a suitcase with him every day. some of the kids have volunteered at the shelter with their families and churches. some children equated homelessness with camping.  i thought the collection of thoughts was pretty touching.  perhaps my favorite is the suggestion that homeless people are brave. indeed.

these were genuine conversations. not even the phrases about pooping and peeing were funny…just serious and authentic. we’ve sent this letter to our community’s homeless shelter which works so hard at not only providing shelter for people, but helping people move out of homelessness.

and families, stay tuned:  we will be collecting things for the harvey county homeless shelter as a christmas project.

h is for humpty dumpty

e is for egg

along with a real egg laying hen in our classroom, we also spent time with good old humpty dumpty.  i read from this book every week and love the photos to accompany these olden time rhymes:

we did a few different projects to represent good old humpty.  one involved real egg shells, so guess what we made for snack!

e is for egg

e is for egg

then everyone got one egg shell to crack and glue the pieces within an oval drawn on paper.

e is for egge is for egg

oh, poor old humpty dumpty.

e is for egg

:: :: :: ::

we also made 3D humpty dumpty friends.

e is for egg

we used kleenex and two pieces of egg shaped paper glued together the day before.

e is for egg

one side had the glad face (for when he first sat on the wall) and the other side had the sad face (for after his fall).

e is for egg

(and some humpty dumpty friends had freckles)

:: :: ::

we also made eggs out of crumpled up paper and masking tape.  wow, did we ever use our whole hand muscles!  the sneaky thing about these is that hidden inside is a ball of golden yellow playdough acting as yolk!  hee hee hee.

eggs

:: :: :: ::

and no matter the prop, we could act out our poem:

humpty dumpty sat on a wall:

e is for egg

humpty dumpty had a great fall:

e is for egg

all the kings horses and all the kings men (running hands on legs):

e is for egg

couldn’t put humpty together again (quick-find the sad face side and give him a hug).

e is for egg

:: :: :: ::

and always, always, i offer the father gander version too:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the horses, women, and men
Put Humpty Dumpty together again.

e is for egg

one class changed it even more to suggest a child’s ability being all that was needed:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All of the children and none of the men
Put Humpty Dumpty together again.

:: :: :: ::

but maybe my favorite part was their own “readings” of the poem:

e is for election

knowing it is my job to create a safe environment for children, sometimes the most i do is ask questions.

today’s questions:

what do you know about the american flag?

it means nebraksa
it means obama
it’s for a state
it means restaurants
it’s for basketball and football
it’s big
it can have sticks
the president waves it

what do you know about election day?

you get stickers
my grandma does it a lot
voting is for seeing how many times you’ve been boating
my mom and dad will vote for k-state, not obama or romney
my mom voted at ohio state

what do you know about barack obama?

my dad and i know him
he’s the president
my mommy and daddy are voting for him
he’s on my tv talking

what do you know about mitt romney?

he tells obama what he can do
his name is really “mint”
he talks a lot

what do you think the president does?

he holds the flag in a parade when in a car on a trip and talks all the time.

and then we entered this exchange:

mitt romney always says NO
no! obama always says NO
no! obama says YES
no, mitt romney says YES
mitt romney says NO–my mommy says that all the time!
barack obama says NO

…in the end we reached consensus that in fact each candidate has been heard saying YES and NO.

we also heard about one candidate being on their toilet paper at home, but the assumption was that it was because they liked him so much.  we went with that concept.

and finally: what do you think the president should do?

play and draw and come to our school.

go democracy.

c is for chickens

we had some chicks visit during c week.

really, there are a fantastic classroom pet!

some children have experience with these creatures already, and for some this was their “first time ever in my life seeing one of these not in a book.”

c is for chickenc is for chickenc is for chickenc is for chicken

a little chicken movie:

then during e week, i brought an egg laying hen from my house.

c is for chicken

and wonder of all wonders, she LAID AN EGG DURING THE AFTERNOON CLASS!

c is for chicken

i noticed she was pacing in her cage and singing her “egg song,” so we covered her cage with blankets, added another block so she could make a nest and left her alone for the last part of the day.  during show and tell, i peeked in and there was an egg!  we passed it around and i hope i never forget the look of 13 sets of pudgy hands holding a warm egg.

c is for chicken

then, just to verify that eggs don’t come out of the hen with a chick fully formed in it, we broke it (and cooked it the next day).

c is for chicken

and then when the day was over, the chicken had a little free range classroom style:

c is for chicken

thank you, john’s family for the classroom cage!