Monday, November 11, 2013

Sight Words

The sight words we worked on last month:

one, the, I, am, see, come, what, sunny, funny, October

Sight words for this month:

yellow, blue, red, green, purple, orange, meet, his, her, November

Letters for everyone to review:

Bb, Dd, Yy, Ww, Ll, Uu

Welcome to South America

We have had fun with our first week in South America!

We first visited a farm in South America where we met a Bossy Gallito!
This folk tale helped us remember how to treat our friends and taught us a few new Spanish words along the way!  We had fun making our own Bossy Gallito projects.  We first made the rooster body by adding one shape at a time and coloring in with pastels.  We introduced warm colors/cool colors and used these to create contrast.  Then, we put a water color wash over all of the canvas and tried to earn our feathers by doing our worksheet, answering questions and matching words.  I think they turned out pretty neat!  I can't seem to get pictures off of my phone onto the computer yet, so. . .use your imagination!  I did it!  They were really beautiful!


In Africa we had a chance to visit a little boy who looked around for wires to make a moving toy called a galimoto.  At each point in the book that he collected wires I let the kids collect a 'wire' pipe cleaner.  At the end of the book I taught the kids how to make a little man out of their wires.  Their very own galimoto was coming to life!  We moved him and posed him and saved him in our drawer until halloween and our study of Egypt when we made him into a mummy!!  The kids just loved making their galimotos and the special paper bead necklaces we put on them.  Those necklaces did double duty as they served as an counting aid for our math that day!

Friday, October 11, 2013


The last couple of weeks we have had some fun with scribbles.

'Scribbles' makes it sound like it was random, with no purpose and thoughtless.  I assure you, both of our projects we none of those things!

1.  Our first project was a good thinking challenge and a challenge to some for coloring in the lines.  First, we made a big, swirling scribble on our page.  Then, we each picked three colors.  The rules for this project was you color in each shape made by our scribble but you cannot have the same color touching.  It was a little tricky, but some of them turned out so beautiful!

2.  The second scribble project was more of a game to review the concepts of line and shape.  I had the kids tell me types of lines and shapes that we had identified and I wrote them each down on a little paper.  Then, we took turns drawing one of the papers out and everyone had to put that line or shape on their paper.  They could choose the color and the size, but the line or shape had to be the same.  It was fun to see how everyone's paper turned out so differently.
After we had all had a turn to draw a paper out I had them try to turn their paper full of lines and shapes into an African Jungle.  It was fun to hear them say:  "this line is a snake!"  "I am making this into an elephant!"  they were really getting the idea that every object in art starts simply.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In My Africa

Today we headed to Africa.

We found Africa on a map.

Talked about 'r' blends like in Africa.  We found other 'fr' words.  And 'gr' and 'pr' and 'tr' words, too!

We read a book about animals in Africa called Cool Time Song and learned some animal names in Spanish.

We talked about the kids that live in Africa.  They may look different, dress different and eat differently than we do, but they are a lot like us.  They have mothers who love them, friends who play with them and they love to sing and learn.  We read a really cute book called "For You are a Kenyan Child" by Kelly Cunnane (winner of the Ezra Keats new writer award).  It is the story of a boy who forgets what he is supposed to do as he gives us a second person perspective view of a Kenyan village.

We usually do some music on Wednesdays so we reviewed adagio (slow) and allegro (fast) as we listened to some sweet African beats.  The kids loved beating on "drums" and dancing.  We learned piano (soft) and forte (loud).  We listed to marimbas and djembes and lots of cool vocal sounds.

Because today was the second of October we practiced writing 1's and 2's during calendar time.  We are getting to be better writers.  Please remind your child to hold their crayon 'the preschool way' and in their right hand.  I think all of the children are right dominant this year but a couple of them still try to switch back and forth.  It is helpful for children if they pick a dominant hand and do not switch.

A fun thing to do at home

There is an episode of the PBS show Arthur about Africa that I think is very cute.  We will not have enough time to watch it in class (it is about 12 minutes long) but I think it would be a great supplement at home.  I think they might want to watch it a couple times this month.

It is called In My Africa and is the second half of episode 9 from season 14.  You can find it on Netflix, Hulu and YouTube (the Youtube video I found had a problem in the middle, but maybe it was my computer.  Both the Netflix and Hulu versions worked for me).   If you play it on Hulu or Netflix you will have to jump to about 14:35 to start the In My Africa part.

This is a really cute song about all the countries in Africa.  It has lots of real photos from Africa, animals, food, people, culture, etc.  I think it would be fun for the kids to watch.

Miss Meg

The Continents Song

Last week learned the Continent Song.  Some of you wondered about the lyrics so here you go:


Continents!  Continents!  Ohhhhhh Yes!

How many are there?  SEVEN!  SEVEN!
Now can we name them?  Ohhhhh Yes!

North America, South America, Europe across the ocean blue, Africa and Asia and Australia, don't forget Antartica too!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A line is a dot that goes on a walk

We talked a lot about lines this week.    Learning about lines is the second part of our art lesson series. . .but we took it a lot farther than that. . .

Lines that make letters, lines that make art, lines that make shapes (in Spanish!) and lines on the map.  We found all kinds of lines around our school, on our clothes, in books and outside.  We made different lines out of pipe cleaners while listening to stories, we sang a song about a very special line on the globe (Equator!), we practiced following lines on paper by tracing our names and drew lines to match numbers with objects of that number.  We drew lines under vowels in words, drew lines around words we could sound out and stood in lines to get ready to up and downstairs.  We looked at maps and found blue lines that are rivers.  We listened to a song about a river (Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss), danced to it, and drew our own map (a music map!) using only one line.  We tried to follow our music map using a paint brush.  Can you follow your child's map?  (Youtube has several good versions of the song with pictures of Strauss' great 'stache!)
On Friday (Science Friday!  Only without Ira. . .) we talked about magnets and how tiny parts of magnets line up just so.  Lines again!  The kids conducted their own experiment and, by themselves determined that magnets will only stick to metal.  Smarty pants!  We talked about the earth being a magnet and watched as a bar magnet floating in water will turn to point north all on it's own.  Science is magic, people!

Easiest magnet experiment in the world:

You need:

A bar magnet
A piece of styrofoam (just bigger than the magnet) or several pieces if they are thin
a large bowl of water (several times wider than your piece of styrofoam

Float the bar magnet on top of the styrofoam (or stack several small pieces, like from a take-out box that you tore apart) and place it gently in the water.  Wait several seconds for the ripples to settle.  turn the styrofoam so that the S end is pointing north.  Wait and watch.  It is pure science magic, I tell you!

Your kids are doing great.  We have been working in small groups once a week to work on reading/letter levels.  I will start sending home some homework on Fridays this week or next so please have your child bring their folders each day!

Don't forget:  Field trip this Thursday.  Dinosaurs!!!  I will email details.  Thank you!  Keep working at home.  

Letter learners:  Review the letters in your name, and letters Hh, Mm, Aa, Tt

Ready to readers:  keep practicing short vowel words like cat, map, mop, sit, top, cup, etc.  Throw in some harder ones like flag, drum, scrap, et.  It is okay if they can't get the word, just practice sounding out each letter in order.

I have told many of you, but my favorite learn to read website and app is STARFALL.COM  if you can, you should pay the $30/year to upgrade to but the free stuff on is awesome as well.  
The alphabet and the learn to read program is available on an app and is worth the 3 bucks.  

My second place reading app?

Reading Raven