Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Are Smitten over "The Mitten"!

   We have fallen in love with the book, The Mitten by Jan Brett!
   One of my challenges this year is that I have six ESL students in my classroom. Each one's ability to speak and understand the language fluently varies. For this reason, I have shifted my literacy focus the past week to include more language activities, where the children can work on their oral language skills.
    The Mitten was a perfect book for practicing different literacy skills, ranging from learning the names of the animals (as some munchkins had no idea what a mole and a badger looked like) to sequencing the animals and retelling the story.    
    In small groups, we focused on oral language skills and retelling the story. I used a free The Mitten resource, by Mrs. Quinn, in small groups.
(I used my own huge white mitten cutout)
They each had a turn piling the animal picture cards on top of one another, which proved to be a somewhat challenging task for some of my ESL kids, as they had trouble remembering the names of some of the animals.
 We worked on fine motor skills as they each cut out a mitten and drew an animal from the story that was in their mitten:
Then we did another story extension in our journals:
(This is from one of my munchkins who has a good grasp of all the letter sounds, and I am encouraging her to work on some inventive spelling! It is absolutely one of my very favorite things to see how children use letters sounds to attempt to spell words.)
The mitten fun extended into our math centers as well, as we worked on couting and matching number to set with these two fun games:
Roll & Count Snowflake Game:
 Count & Match Mitten Game:
(Free Activity from Make, Take & Teach)
And we painted mittens templates and decorated them to add to our classroom door:
(Sorry, it isn't a very good pic!)
Ok, now I think I am over all of this talk about Winter...I am ready for spring!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Snowman Fun!

   Winter is in full effect and we are trying to embrace it! It was a rough and early start to winter, as we were slammed with snow (measured in feet!)- back in November, which is now known as "Snowvember". And it is only the middle of winter, so we have no choice but to try and embrace it, even though I am so over snow already at this point!
   HOWEVER, all of this snow makes planning fun learning activities very easy!
   We have read many books the past week, pertaining to snow and snowmen, and of course, we had to make a snowman craft to spruce up our January bulletin board!
   The munchkins have been getting lots of practice writing their names and I am so proud that so many of them have come a long way! The ones who were not even able to make a scribble, can now write their name legibly! And my munchkins that were not even able to hold and grip a pencil properly can now trace their names.... I love seeing how each child is progressing!
  Anyhow, I extended our name writing to make these cute little snowmen!

 We also talked alot about how to build a snowman! 
   Check out "How To Build A Snowman", as told from 4 year old preschoolers:

With all this snow and snowman talk, I have had many of them ask many times "Are we going to play outside today?"  (I wish we could, BUT I have already planned something I know they will enjoy- I will be bringing some snow into our water table later this week!)
    There is so much to do when it comes to Winter Fun and although I wish we had time to do it all, sadly there just isn't time- especially since Parent Teacher conferences are around the corner.... and you know what that means... the dreaded Progress Monitoring!!
   Well, I know I am going to try and make the best of it the next few weeks...

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy 2015!!

   Yes, I have horribly neglected my blog....The holidays hit and everything became chaotic... and there was just not enough time in the day! The holidays really did take so much out of me this year, especially since we had our family come into town this year.
   Anyhow, the holidays are past us (even though our tree is still up) and I am ready for a fresh start...in every little aspect of my crafty, busy life!

   For my goals this year, I added a few more project-y kind of things, just to keep life interesting!
   1) Read more (again!) I ended 2014 with 37 out of 52 books read! I am taking the 52 Book Challenge again this year and have even joined an online book club, hosted by a fellow teacher!
   2) I started a scrapbook a few years back- I started in August and got as far as November. It was too time consuming. But I miss being able to document things that happen in our lives. So I decided to look into SMASH Books. It is a different concept, but I think it is a more "on the go" type of thing. I hope to make random collages and journal at least twice a month! So far, I have two inside pages done (one journal entry and one collage) and it looks good. It seems less time consuming and well, let's hope it is something I can keep up with!
 Check out  what I have so far:
   3) And of course, I want to make sure that I make time to keep up with my wonderful blog! It has been a part of my life for quite a few years now and it has been a place for me to document and share so much of my munchkin's learning... and that is something that I want to definitely continue!
    So, here's to a busy and fun year!