Saturday, September 11, 2010

Poetry and Play Important in a Kinders Day!!

Three years ago I moved from first grade to Pre-K/K. I did Kindergarten in the morning and Pre-K in the afternoon. I knew when I moved "down" that I wanted to have a developmentally appropriate enviroment. In college I spent the majority of my time in our lab school in Pre-K and K, so I re-visited many of the ideas I'd learned there. Again, I'll put a plug in for my favorite college text book by Mary Mayesky "Creative Activities For Young Children". I poured over this book the summer before I started teaching Pre-K/K. So many great ideas for a developmentally appropriate classroom. She discusses classroom set up, importance of play, ideas for crafts, cooking, and TONS of poems and songs. My book is the 4th edition. It was a great help in beginning my program.

I love to hear the kiddos as they have some "free" play in housekeeping or dress-up. They are able to use their imagination and build their social skills with each other. At times these centers are something special like a resturant, store, or bakery, but other times it's just a place where they can explore. Last year we did a unit on Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales. Our dress up center had a stage and the props were things to act out the Nursery Rhymes and Fairty Tales we'd studied. It was so cute watching them use their imaginations and play!

Below is a quote from Dr. Jean's website about poems and I would say songs too.

"Children forget many things, but when you put a rhyme in their hearts it will be there forever!

Here are eight great reasons for integrating poetry in 2008:

Poetry develops oral language.
Poetry develops auditory memory.
Poetry helps children make print connections
Poetry develops phonological awareness (rhyme, rhythm, alliteration).
Poetry enhances fluency.
Poetry develops vocabulary.
Poetry sparks children’s interest in reading.
Poetry helps children fall in love with language.
According to the National Institute for Literacy, “Poetry is especially suited to fluency practice because poems for children are often short and they contain rhythm, rhyme, and meaning, making practice easy, fun, and rewarding.”

Okay, I've been on a soap box today! :) Next time I'll tell you about my LOVE for phonics!! ;) I've added some "play pictures" for you to enjoy!

Oh, by the way, another fun and rewarding learning experience is cooking. We put this in our curriculum at least once a month. A creative way to incorporate science and math!! On Monday, we begin our study of apples. We are going to make Crock Pot Apple Sauce. We'll be using an apple peeler/corer which is always fun for the kids to use.

Learning is fun! Let's keep it that way!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Faux Cow Rug and Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom Tree

I had this picture in my last post. When I found out that I was going to have a "Learning Corral", I really wanted a faux cow rug, but didn't want to spend the $ on one. I mentioned it to my Mom, who is also a teacher, and she said we can make one! She'd seen on a design show how they'd made a faux rug out of some vinyl flooring. Mom is very crafty! ;) So, we were on the hunt for some cheep flooring. The piece we got we found at Lowes. We tried to get it for free with the "poor teacher story", and we did end up getting it discounted, but not free. :) Anyway, Mom used a box knife to cut it out. Then we painted the back white, the front was wood patterned, and put the black spots on it. I LOVE it!! It's so fun in my reading center.
In my other reading center, in "Center Ranch", I have a Chicka-chicka Boom, Boom tree. My friend Stacie helped me make that. I have a green bistro umbrella as the base. Stacie put a large paper tube over the pole, a carpet tube works best but we didn't have one. Next she tied several paper bags with twine up the pole. She cut out leaves to put on the bottom of the umbrella. I love it too! Great friends and family have been such a great help in making fun things in my classroom!

There are days when I'd like to curl up with a good book in either of my reading centers! Hope you have a nice place to read too!

Happy Day!