Friday, December 14, 2012

Signs of Winter & Friday Freebies

Okay, let me ask right off the bat: is your class going crazy a sign of winter?!?!

Speaking of more signs of winter, it SNOWED this week!  Yay!  Loved teaching my kiddos how to play Fox and Geese in the snow.  It's a shame it wasn't sticky enough to make a snowman, but we did follow these animal tracks all over the playground and had lots of fun speculating what it might have been.  My favorite guess is that it was a baby camel!  :)


Crazy unusual behavior aside, most of this week was wonderful!  We did so many fun and creative things I can't wait to share with you.  Here's a look at our art projects, math, science, and writing center activities, plus great books we read this week.  Here goes:

Art

Snowy Bear Scene

I LOVE how these turned out.  On the day we learned about animals that hibernate, the kiddos cut out a bear and cave that I had traced onto construction paper.  I was a little hesitant about the bear, but I decided to let them go for it and I'm so glad they did!  I can't believe how much their scissor skills have grown this year.  Anyways, then they glued the bear and cave onto a blue background and dipped Q-tips into white paint for the snow.  So cute!

Pine Cone Bird Feeders

On the day we learned about migration, we made these great pine cone bird feeders to help hungry birds on their way south.  :)  We used vegetable shortening in lieu of peanut butter and bird seed.  After they covered their pine cones in Crisco, the kiddos put their pine cone in a Ziploc bag of bird seed and shook it around.  Ta da!



Symmetrical Snowflakes

Forgot to snag a picture!  Anyways, this art project fit in nicely with learning about symmetry.  We used coffee filters to make snowflakes that were symmetrical!  I'm sure everyone's seen how to make these, but if you're a visual learner like me this blog post really helped.

Literacy

Letter B

We spent some time with letter B this week, doing the usual sky-writing and letter practice formation.  Would have made a bear racing handwriting game but I was so tired this week, I never got around to it!  You can find this worksheet from First School WS by clicking here.

Writer's Workshop

This week during writer's workshop we really worked on the concept of a title.  Somehow during the beginning of the year when we established the concepts of a book, my kiddos missed the notion that a title is just a few short words, not a sentence!  This week we have been focusing on the titles in the books we read.  We have been making predictions about the book will be about based on the title, and I've explicitly pointed out each time that the title gives you a HINT about the book.  We've still got some ground to cover with this concept, but my favorite work from this week is featured below.

I am so proud of this author!  He really struggles with any fine motor activity and at the beginning of the year did not like to write at all.  This week, he worked for nearly twenty minutes on the story below (unbelievable!) because he kept going back to add more details to his illustrations (and yes, he calls them illustrations).  Love it!

The Cow Lost His Home
(originally entitled The Cow Lost His Home and Then He Found It)

Once the cow was going to take a walk on the grass.

And then he was on the grass and he walked so long and he lost his home.

And then he was happy he found his home!

Science & Sensory

Snow Sensory Table

Yay for instant snow powder from Hobby Lobby!  My kiddos loved making snow by pouring water into the powder.  We explored this snow all week in our sensory table in a variety of ways, including for dramatic play with dollhouse people.


Another one of my friends used polyester fiberfill and cotton balls with winter animals in her sensory table.  So fun!

Winter I Spy Alphabet Bottles

Possibly my most favorite science center activity yet!  I made these Winter I Spy Alphabet Bottles using foam letters I found at Rite Aid for $1, Ocean Spray Cranberry Grape Juice plastic bottles, and white tinsel garland.  The four bottles were marked on top with a different color, which corresponded to which capital letters of the alphabet were inside.

Red: A through F

Green: G through M

Blue: N through T

Yellow: U through Z

The kids loved this activity!  They took a color-coded alphabet recording sheet and got to work using their "scientist eyes."  When they found a letter, they stamped it on the recording sheet using these cute snowflake stampers I found at Mardel for $2.  Get my first Friday FREEBIE and grab your own snowflake color-coded recording sheet by clicking here.

I love using this to combine literacy and science!  I was able to assess a lot about their alphabet recognition from this activity.  For example:


Yeah, she's got it down.


This one also has got it pretty much down.  C could very easily be mistaken for G (especially considering the foam letters I had), but I'm not sure where Z came from!  Maybe it was the M looked at from a different angle?

I am thinking I am going to re-do these in Gatorade bottles, because I want to use some different letters that can't fit down the cranberry bottle opening!  Vanessa at Pre-K Pages has a fabulous I Spy Beginning Sound discovery bottle activity, which is where I got this idea from and you can find by clicking here.

Math

Symmetrical Sticker Sort

This was great!  For math journals this week, we did a symmetrical winter-themed sticker sort.  I found the Christmas shapes foam stickers at Target, and grabbed some other flat winter stickers because nearly all the foam ones were symmetrical.  My kiddos used a piece of yarn that we call "Mr. Line of Symmetry," who helps us figure out if shape is the same on both sides or not.  This was such a great independent activity for my kiddos to reinforce symmetry AND get some more fine motor practice in to boot.  You can grab this second Friday FREEBIE and access this free math journal page by clicking here.

Monster Mountain Math Game

We also played a fun game in our math curriculum, in which there is a game board and students roll a cube with different shapes on each face.  They move their pieces the number of sides that the shape has.  It was great practice for 2-D shape recognition before we move onto 3-D shapes next week!  

I really want to make a cute winter themed version of this game for my Winter Math & Literacy Centers Pack (which I have now begun to despair of ever completing).  There's just never enough time to do what I dream of doing!  Speaking of what I dream of doing, I really wanted a big box for my kiddos to use as a bear den in dramatic play, but nobody in the city seemed to have one.  What's that about?  I found like seven refrigerator boxes in October.  Strange...

Manipulatives

Mitten Lacing Cards

This week I added a new item to our manipulatives center: lacing cards!  I made these cute mittens in about ten minutes.  First, I free-hand drew a mitten onto different colors of card stock.  Then I cut them out, laminated them with contact shelf paper, cut out again and hole punched.  Easy peasy and so cute!  I got the cute Christmas and snowflake themed shoe laces for only $1 at Rite Aid.

Here are some of the great books we read this week or had available at the Listening Center:

Have a great weekend everyone!  Don't forget to check out everyone else's amazing Friday Freebies to help you through the holidays!  :)

Freebie Fridays

2 comments:

  1. I love the science activities you did with your kiddos, so cute! I'm your newest follower!
    ✿Sue✿
    Science for Kids Blog

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sue! :) I definitely try my best because science is NOT my forte... I was always an English person! :)

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