Tag Archives: sensory experiences

A Whale of a Tale

Finished Bella

During January the children learned about cold climates and worked with the story “A Whale of a Tale” from Twenty Tellable Tales compiled by Margaret Read MacDonald.  This story originates from the Eskimos.  At the beginning of the month children looked at the globe to see where Eskimos live and then where they live.  Our class talked about weather and animals found in arctic climates.

Teachers told the story using flannelboard figures copied from prints in the book.  Children also learned Chinese vocabulary related to the story.

Flannel Board Figures

A winter painting was created to go along with the story.  Children were given a canvas on which to squirt dots of acrylic paint in cool colors to create a winter background.   

Paint Dots Group

Paint dots Marcus

The paints were then mixed to produce the background for the story figures to be printed onto.

Paint SpotsPainting 2

Misty-Jade and I made stamps from the story figures.  We traced the prints onto foam sheets, drew in the details, and then traced the details with an Exacto knife.

Story Figures 2Story Figures 3

 

 

Stamp pads were made using two layers of fabric interfacing cut into circles to fit inside a plastic picnic plate.  The fabric was soaked with water and then white acrylic paint was poured on top and spread out.

Stamp Pad

Set Up

Children stamped the figures onto their winter paintings.  After the paint dried the children applied a coat of Mod Podge diluted with water to the pictures.  Some irridescent glitter was sprinkled over the Mod Podge for snow.

Stamping

Last week the children retold the story during circle time using their pictures as a guide.   They were all able to include the Chinese vocabulary they had learned.

Finished MaxFinished IzzyFinished Elijah

Here is M’s rendition of the “Whale of a Tale!”

Little Pandas Preschool

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Santa Handprints

8 finished hands

The children made Santa handprint ornaments to give to their parents for Christmas.  While searching the internet for gift ideas I came across two that we combined to make the finished product.  One site offered to make the Santas professionally from clay using a child’s handprint.  Then I found a recipe on Pinterest that uses cornstarch and baking soda to make a clay that looks like porcelain when it’s finished.  The clay was used to make beautiful Christmas ornaments, so I thought it would be perfect for the children’s gifts.

It took about two weeks to complete the project.  There was a lot of trial and error making the clay just right so that it wouldn’t crack while baking.  A few of the ornaments had to be made a couple times.  The teachers made the clay and then helped the children to press their hands into it.

1 kid print vivian

1 kid print ellie1 kid print izzy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teachers cut the handprints out of the clay and then baked them for a couple hours before setting the prints out to dry.

2 unbaked handprint3 unbaked cutting out4 unbaked cut out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s important that each child do as much of their own work as possible, so the toddlers painted their hands red.

5 painting tod seneca 25 painting tod owen 15 painting tod madelena 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preschool class painted Santa’s hat.

6 painting red bella 16 painting red max 1

The beard was painted white, and then a teacher added the facial details.

7 painting white marcus 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children and teachers are very pleased with the finished ornaments.

Little Pandas Preschool

December Activities

sensory tub

December has just begun and we’re all very busy!  The children have completed many activities already and there are so many more to do before Christmas vacation begins.

sensory group 2

 

 

 

 

 

The winter sensory tub (inspired by Teach Preschool) has been a big hit with all the children.  Even the adults can’t keep their hands out of it!  A tub was filled with plastic frosty snow.  Penguins and an iceberg from a game we have were added to the snow along with clear and blue acrylic ice cubes.  Some wood scoops and a couple wire Christmas ornaments were added.  The blue confetti snowflakes add some cool color to the tub.  We’ve had a couple incidents where the children have thrown the snow up to watch it fall, but who wouldn’t be tempted to do that?

pompom elijah 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children continue to learn Chinese with Gao Laoshi and are beginning to learn to count to 20.  A couple felt Christmas trees were attached to the wall and velcroed pom poms  were set out in a dish.  This activity helps children to practice counting as well as learn Chinese color vocabulary.

chinese writing elijah 1

 

 

 

 

 

Gao Laoshi has started introducing some simple Chinese characters to the children.  They’re beginning to write numbers.

counting marcus 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas shaped erasers have been set out at the math center for children to work on one-to-one correspondence.

popsicles max 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colored craft sticks were also set out at the math table.  Velcro dots were attached to the ends on both sides so that the children can build geometric shapes  with them.

stones group 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A basket of clear and different shades of blue stones have been set out at the light table for children to build with.

fingerpaint groupfingerpaint seneca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger painting on foil was a new experience for all the kids.  They enjoyed seeing the shiny foil through the paint.

Little Pandas Preschool

The iPad at Preschool

I purchased an iPad for the preschool class a few weeks ago, and we’re just beginning to explore how we will use it with our kids.  About 10 or 12 years ago we did have a computer in the preschool class, but at that time it was not as successful a tool as I had hoped it would be.  In the past few years we have again used computers in the preschool, but they’re always used with teacher supervision, so the children don’t really get a hands on experience with them.  I think the iPad will prove to be a more versatile tool for preschoolers than a computer is.

The greatest advantage of the iPad is the tactile experience it provides children who do most of their learning through sensory means.  The frustration with using a keyboard or mouse no longer exists permitting children to engage in meaningful learning.

Since we’ve only had the iPad for a few weeks we only have a small number of applications.  I’m am looking for good quality applications for the kids that teach preschool concepts, support our curriculum goals and teach Chinese.   A few of the applications we are using include Montessori CrosswordsTracing ABC, and Lingu Pingu which teaches Mandarin Chinese.  I did another search today and found some others that I’m going to let the kids try next week including some interactive books and a drawing pad.

Children learn to write letters with Tracing ABC.

Tracing ABC allows the teachers to set the pages to either lower or upper case letters. Our children are learning lower case letters which compliments the Zoo Phonics program.

It is also interesting to see how the children are using the iPad in the classroom.  One of my major concerns was that the kids would choose only to use the iPad and not choose to work at other learning centers.  When the iPad was originally introduced all the children wanted to gather around it.  Each morning after music circle time a teacher shows the children all of the centers and any new activities that have been set up.  The children are then given the opportunity to choose which center they want to work at.  This week I noticed that the iPad was not the first choice of most of the kids.  Other learning experiences were still appealing to them.

This is the opening screen of Lingu Pingu.

This is the opening screen of Lingu Pingu. From here children choose which page they want to play at.

Lingu Pingu's kitchen vocabulary page.

Since we only have one iPad in the classroom I was interested in how children would take turns.  A kitchen timer was introduced in the iPad center to help regulate turn taking.  As children want a turn with the iPad their names are written on the blackboard.  At this point each child gets 10 minutes and when the timer rings the next child gets his turn.  This has worked beautifully.  The children are free to engage in other learning centers knowing they will get their turn.  All of the children have been successful at leaving the iPad when their turn is complete.

I spent several months thinking about how the iPad would be used in our classroom including how preschoolers could safely handle it.  My first inclination was to find a way to lock the iPad down at a table specifically for its use.  However doing that would take away part of the experience the iPad can provide due to its mobility.  I found a Big Grips case that is designed for preschoolers.  It has worked really well and enables the children to use the iPad anywhere in our classroom.  The iPad can be placed vertically or horizontally in its stand or used without the stand.  

The Big Grips case and stand.

Overall I’m pleased with our iPad experience so far.  It is only used during morning center time, so children are still engaged in other activities throughout the day.  Teachers have the freedom to use it at anytime with the group as it supports other learning experiences.

During my research over the past few months I came across this link and Youtube video.      Weblogg-ed » Kids and the iPad      I have several ideas I want to try with the kids and I’m sure over time we will think of more creative uses for our iPad.