On Monday, I brought an ice cube tray to work. I put small winter animals in the tray and added water. Yesterday, I took the animal ice cubes and added them to our water table.
To introduce the activity, we played “What Sinks/What Floats”. I also asked who thought the ice cubes would melt before we went home at the end of the day, and who thought they would melt when we returned to the school the next day. I made a quick graph on one of our white boards. In our room, each child has a magnet with their name on it so making a graph is simple and quick and is also interactive for the children.
I then left the ice cubes in the water table for the children to play with throughout the day. They loved seeing the tiny animals inside.
Before we got dressed to go home, we all gathered around the water table to see if the ice cubes had melted. They had. We did a quick review of the graph before going to the coatroom to get ready. I will leave the animals in the water table for tomorrow.
I came a cross a great idea using found materials. You can collect and gather a variety of recycled objects from around your home or ask your students to bring in materials, but I just focused on collecting lids. I have collected various sizes, colours, and shapes. From the dollar store I purchased a large, shallow tray to gather all the objects and some circular cork boards for children to arrange their materials on. Choose a space in your room to house the materials or display them on a table–tray in the middle and cork boards around to create an inviting space. Allow children to create designs based on colour, shapes or other attributes and see where the discussion may go….
Picture to follow shortly….
On the site there is a great list of read alouds http://1000moments.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/List-of-books-in-200-format-FINAL.pdf suggested by teachers. There is a picture of the book and a comment about what it can be used for. There is a whole range of books that can help you begin your planning for the new year. Also, if you have a book you can submit the information to be added to the list! http://earlylearningcentral.ca/?page_id=424 . You can also access this information under the tab across the top called “Resources”.
Today I saw a great idea for fall and I want to share it with a few of my own ideas.
Tie in literacy and create a chart with the word fall or autumn, ask them to use their schema to think about what they know. Record their thinking. Give the children baggies and allow them to collect materials in the school ground, or go on a walk to find things that have to do with the outdoors. Bring the materials into the classroom and have them sort them out. Use the items for counting. Give each child a paper plate to glue some of their items. Review the chart again to see if they learned anything new. Tap into their 5 senses too.
Create a bulletin board display to show their creations and their literacy thinking!
Halloween is a great time to use objects from children’s lives to capture their interests in learning. Educators can pull in several aspects of this holiday for play-based activities, without making it a “theme” within your classroom. In our Full Day Kindergarten room, we have been focusing on the “big ideas” in the FDK curriculum and fitting in aspects of Halloween we find appropriate.
One of the curriculum goals in math is measuring. Pumpkins are a great item to capture the children’s attention at this time of year. We brought in pumpkins of various sizes so we could measure how tall they are, how “around” they are and how much they weigh. We did this activity in small groups so we could adjust to each groups’ learning level.
For all of the groups, we used unifix cubes to measure how tall the pumpkins were. For the students at a high learning level, we first used different lengths of yarn to wrap around the pumpkin and then used an actual ruler (a flexible sewing one that could wrap around it) to find out the length of the yarn in centimetres to introduce them to the concept of centimetres. For the groups who have never done an activity like this and were only being introduced to measuring, we only used the varying lengths of yarn. For weight, we used balance scales to see which pumpkins weighed more/same/less and then we used an actual scale for the children who are at a higher learning level to introduce them to the concept of grams. We used a scale that most children have in their homes, not a scientific scale that older grades may use. We had chart paper with us, so that we could record each group’s findings and post them in our classroom. The picture is one example of the findings. We also drew pictures of the pumpkins and used these pictures to record our findings.
For the rest of the week, we left the pumpkins, yarn, unifix cubes and balance scales in our math centre for the children to continue to explore when they wanted. We also made sure we had small enough pumpkins for them to be able to handle themselves. Tomorrow, we will add a squash for them to be able to compare to a small pumpkin.
To continue to build on our kindergarten students’ interests in pond life, I made a game that is fun, uses number recognition skills, and early addition skills. The game is meant for 2 players at a time, and should be set up in an area where there is room for the 2 players to move around safely, without other children close by.
I printed off 12 lily pads on green paper. I drew a fly on each lily pads and numbered them 1 to 12. I also added the corresponding number of dots, as well as the number word. This allowed for 3 developmental levels of learning for the children. Some children may not recognize the number, and may need the dots. Some may be able to read the word. It is also a good reinforcement for each child for all 3 levels. I laminated all 12 cards. You will also need 2 dice, preferably the ones with dots, not just numbers.
For the game, each child has a fly swatter. The first child rolls the dice. The first child who can add the dots together correctly swats the fly on the lily pad with the corresponding number. This is why they need appropriate space.
For the first few rolls, I would have to assist the children in the game. But, after that, they could play the game independently and I could make observations about their number recognition and early addition skills.
Yesterday, I read “Seaweed Soup” which is about a turtle making soup, and having to make sets with dishes for his friends, to our kindergarten students.
This morning, a parent came to school with their child and a turtle they found on their driveway that morning. The parent came in and showed the turtle to everyone before taking it back home. For the rest of the morning, all our students could talk about was turtles. One boy asked if we could read the story about the “turtle soup” again. So, I read it again.
This time though, after I finished reading the story, I handed out equal amounts of paper bowls, plastic spoons, napkins and paper cups. We always have these things in our cupboard, in case a child forgets something for their lunch. And the bowls come in handy for art! Once each child had an item, I told them to find other children with the items needed to create the same set that the turtle in our story just gave to each of his friends for eating the soup.
With little assistance, the children sorted themselves out and made the sets. It was a great and fun hands-on math activity!
With the end of the school year coming up quickly, I know several educators are assessing what their students have learned.
I created a game that I could play with the children in small groups. I made sure I had a pen and a spreadsheet that had the students’ names on it with squares big enough that I could write notes about each child. I wanted to take anedoctal notes about what the children knew when playing with numbers (matching, correspondence, recognition, etc).
For the game, I got out our magnetic numbers from 0 to 10. I had created a grid on cardstock. It had squares with the number of objects in it for 0 to 10. I put the grid on a magnetic board.
I had 2 children come over to a table at a time. We played “Match”. Each child got to pick a magnetic letter and find where on the cardstock to match that number to the number of objects. We played twice to ensure each child got a turn with each number. As they matched the number to the square on the grid, I took notes of which numbers, if not all, each child could match, count to and visually recognize.
Almost every child could match and recognize these numbers to objects. Tomorrow, I will do the same activity, but with the numbers 11 to 20.