Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Peek at our Week!

Well, it is definitely raining! It has been absolutely pouring all morning, just about the heaviest rain that I have ever seen, and just when I think it's clearing it sets in again.  Time for me share a few photos of some of the activities we had fun with during group work this week!

Let's start with fine motor morning groups.

Using pieces of pipe cleaner as worms and clothes pegs as bird beaks is a very easy way to work on developing those little hand muscles and fine motor control.  Just cut up the pipe cleaners and provide some sort of container to work as a nest.  Kidlets use their bird beak to grab a worm and transfer it to their nest.  It would be very easy to make this activity much cuter, but my kidlets have always bought into the bird idea so I just leave it as it. :)

We love feeding Mike! You can find out how to make him in this post.

Kidlets squeeze open his mouth and feed him beans - or anything you have. This activity is quite tricky for some little ones during the beginning of the year, but as we work on muscle strength and stamina it becomes much easier.  Strong muscles mean no more "I can't write anymore, my hand is sore!" after only a few words on the page and much better pencil control. :)

Felt chains - the perfect quiet activity. :) Find out how I made them in this post.

We had lots of fun during literacy groups this week, but being with my Guided Reading group makes it very tricky to take photos!

I did manage to get a few snaps of this group playing Tower of Power!

This version is the letter recognition one - just write letters on plastic cups.  Kidlets take turns choosing one from the top of the stack, saying the letter and adding their cup to the tower.  We also play this with sight words later in the term.  The perfect storage solution for this game is an empty Pringles container!

These gorgeous girls aren't in my class this year but they came to visit one afternoon and played a game of 'Up, Up and Away'. This was the letter recognition game we played at the end of Guided Reading this week.

My kidlets love this game because of the superhero theme - and the sound effects they can make along the way! :) It's in my store in both Queensland font and standard font.

This week was our first practice with 'Write the Room'!  I love these activities because they make even the most simple concepts so much more exciting!

All you need are some clipboards.  This week I made up some picture cards and kidlets had to write down the number shown on each.  They loved sneaking around as 'spies' to find the cards.  You can find heaps and heaps of Count the Room/Write the Room packs on TpT.

A little more counting practice with some numeral and number recognition thrown in.  Kidlets loved counting buttons onto their snowman to match his knitted hat.  This part of a freebie in my store. :)

Lucky last... 

This activity is super simple to make.  Just use some masking tape to label pipe cleaners with numbers.  Kidlets lace the correct amount of beads onto each one.  

Turns out I took more photos this week than I thought. I'm trying really hard to make sure they are good ones, but you know how it is in the classroom!  I don't want to stop kidlets as they are working, and Preppies sure are wriggly.  Hopefully you found an idea or two you might be able to use. :)

Friday, 20 February 2015

Five for Friday!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for another Five for Friday! We had a great week that unexpectedly turned out to be a short one - here's a peek at what's been happening.

Here in Queensland we've been having some pretty wild weather.  Yesterday a huge cyclone developed just north of where I live, and overnight it intensified.  School was cancelled today due to the torrential rain, damaging winds and flooded roads.  It was an unexpected treat to have the day off, but unfortunately the cyclone has hit some communities pretty hard.  

I took this photo first thing this morning down at the beach.  Pretty soon after that the rain really set in and it hasn't stopped all day.  Just now the edge of the storm system is reaching us and the wind is pretty scary.  I've enjoyed a day on the couch reading 'Gone Girl', drinking coffee, snoozing and watching TV!

This week my kidlets had fun making paper robots as part of our phonics focus.  I absolutely love this activity because I just provide paper and a few other bits and pieces and let them go for it! Each little robot has it's own personality and they always turn out so well. :)

We start by talking about the types of things we should have on a robot - buttons, lights, computer panels etc. - but that's about the only direction the kidlets have.  Such an easy way to let them be creative!

I finally got to finish something I've had on my 'to do' list for a long time!  I asked the wonderful Mel from Graphics from the Pond if she could make a set that included a fly swat and some bug spray so I could jazz up a game that is by far the favourite of each year's kidlets.  "Let's Go Buggy" is a counting game that works on number recognition as well as early addition and subtraction concepts.  All you need is a pocket die and some plastic bugs from the dollar store.

Kidlets roll the dice to add bugs to their jar - in the pack I've included numerals, number words and picture cards so you can choose the one that best suits what you're working on.  If a fly swat is rolled, 1 bug must be removed from the jar - but if bug spray appears all of the bugs must be emptied and that player starts again. The first to 10 bugs is the winner! :)

If you'd like to play this game with your class it's on sale for a few days! Click on any of the photos to check it out.

Our poem this week was "Galumph Went the Little Green Frog!". After singing it, reading it together and finding our focus sight words on the whole class copy I sent the kidlets to their desks to illustrate their own copy in their Poetry Journals.  I just love watching them read it carefully, and many even took the initiative to find and circle the sight words for themselves. Plus, how cute are their drawings?

Love the rainbows and flowers. :)

If you're an Aussie teacher you might like to check out the new 'Teacher Toolbelts' that were just finished this week.  Super handy for the classroom and pretty cute too!

My favourite is the design called 'Classroom Caterpillar Triple Treat'. Check them out here!

That's it from me today, friends. Sometime over the weekend I'll be back to share some of the fun learning my kidlets got up to during the week. Happy Friday everyone!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

What's Been Happening in Small Groups?

Hi everyone! As promised I thought I'd pop in and share a few of the activities my kidlets worked on in their small groups this week.  Turns out that I was so excited about taking photos of the colourful crafts I shared about in my last post that the photos I have of everything else are pretty dodgy! So sorry in advance for that. :)

Let's get started!

During fine motor morning groups kidlets used spoons and cotton balls to scoop 'marshmallows' onto mugs of hot chocolate.  Perfect numeral recognition and counting practise! This set is a freebie in my store - click on one of the images to grab it. :)

I introduced Pokey Pinning using one of Mel's pinning pages.  My DIY boards were perfect for holding the page and providing a safe surface to pin into.  See how I made them here.  My kidlets loved this activity and worked quietly on it the whole time.  It's great for developing the hand muscles necessary for writing stamina.

We broke out the pool noodle beads for some lacing fun. These are easy to make, just use a serrated knife to cut up some pool noodles and add some string.

The robot number lines that we linked up last week in maths groups became a morning group activity this week.  My TA had the very clever idea of re-printing them on different coloured card - after about the hundredth time of sorting them out after they were mixed up.  So much easier!

More counting fun during maths groups with 'Number Towers'.  I wrote the numbers 1-9 on large pieces of paper.  Kidlets made a tower of cubes to match each number.  A very simple activity that's perfect for numeral recognition and one-to-one counting practise.

Our new game was 'Pirate Treasure 10 Frames'. This one is always a hit! I blogged about this game last year - click on the photo to visit that post and find out how to play!

Turns out I totally dropped the ball taking photos of our Literacy group tasks.  I did get this one though.  Kidlets used bingo dabbers to dot over their names.  We've been working on correct letter formation and using a capital letter only for the first letter so this was an easy way to reinforce that.

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend! I'm off for a walk to the beach to enjoy the later afternoon sunshine.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Very Colourful Five for Friday!

What a wonderful week it's been!  We've had so much fun in Prep with lots of colourful activities.  Time for Five for Friday to share the fun.

Inspired by a pin from Kindergarten Smiles we made monster paintings as part of our phonics work this week.  They are so simple to make - just fold a large piece of paper in half and have the kids blob paint on one side.  When they re-fold it, they can rub their hands gently over the paper to blur the paint together.  Make sure you watch their little faces as they unfold their painting! They'll be absolutely amazed to see their results. :) When they dried, we gave each child some paper circles and asked them to glue them on as monster eyes.  I just LOVE the way they turned out!

How gorgeous is this guy?!? To me he looks just like a monster peeking over the top of the card, complete with pink hair, purple horns and a blue face. :)

We brainstormed some adjectives that could describe our monsters and each kidlet chose one that they wanted to match their painting. These guys are going to look amazing on display in our classroom!

Speaking of monsters, our Alphabet Monster was hungry this week! I cooked up some Alphabet Soup for him, full of veggies and letters.

Wouldn't you know it, he wasn't interested in the veggies at all and only wanted to eat the letters!

Kidlets took turns using the tongs to grab a magnetic letter, identify it and then feed it to the monster. Some of my little learners (ok, lots!) are still working on letter recognition so we are doing lots of alphabet activities.

As well as letter recognition we're also working on confidently spelling our names using a capital letter only at the beginning. During small group time kidlets used bingo dabbers to dot over their names, and we talked about the letter sequence and the correct direction to form each one.

I bubble cut around them and they brighten up our Library corner nicely!

 We worked on the /j/ sound as part of our phonics program so of course needed a craft to match!  This jellyfish craft was super quick and easy.  We cut some paper plates in half and the kidlets painted them with bright watercolours.  When they were dry we glued on some crepe paper tentacles.

Sorry about the awful photo, my camera doesn't like the fluorescent lights!

We added another poem to our Poetry Journal on Thursday.  This week was 'Five Little Ducks'.  We read the poem together on the carpet, and this time I chose a special helper to point to each word as we said it.  Back at their desks we sang/read the song again and pointed to the words on the journal copy.  I think our next poem will go in the pocket chart so we can work on sequencing and editing by adding capitals and punctuation.

I was so proud of my drawing, but the kidlets set out to draw one better than mine!

I love this one, kind of looks like relaxed ducks on a tropical island. :)

That's all from me, friends. I'm off to see 'Wicked' this afternoon and I'm super excited! I'll be back tomorrow with a wrap up of the fun we've been having in small groups. Happy Valentine's Day!