Tuesday, September 2, 2014


  • Number - review counting 1-10, give "high 10s"
    • This is mostly so I can assess where everyone is.  Everyone can count to 10!  Some can count higher and wanted to be sure I knew it too.

  • Letter - We made our Lesson Books today.  They picked a colored piece of paper for the front and wrote their names on the cover.  A few needed assistance, but everyone was eagerly busy.  I think their favorite part of this was picking up their crayons and books and placing them in our little basket when they were finished.  Wow!  What a awesome group of little learners!

  • Circle Time - We learned our song, "I Am Here & You Are Here."  There are signs and actions to go with this.  The returning children all sang and signed enthusiastically.  Our new friends watched and started to join in.  Everyone shared their names and favorite colors.  It is safe to say that while last semester was the time for all the pink, we now favor yellow.  I explained that the material in the room belongs to another class, but I will bring toys for playtime and items for them to explore at Circle Time.  We also reviewed our Rhythm.

  • Story - One Lighthouse One Moon by Anita Lobel and A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester

  • Music and Movement - Today we toured the building.  Now we know where the bathrooms are, know where our mommies are, and know the way out.  All very important information.  Once out, we ran.  Played ring around the rosy.  Discovered cicada shells.  Also important, we have buddies when we go outside to be sure we don't loose anyone, and we have quiet, walking feet so we do not disturb the other classes.

  • Craft - decorate names.  I have their names on large pieces of construction paper for them to adorn with foamies, sequins, feathers, stars.

a younger sibling is ready for class too!

  • Play Time - We ran out of time today!  Everyone was quite intent with the craft however, so I don't think Play Time was missed.

We had an amazing first class!  I cannot wait to Lean and Play with everyone this semester!

Enjoy your child this week!  Share with them the story of their name.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Time and Nets

Preparation: Cut 1" wide, 6" long strips of construction paper.  Cut hour and minute hands from construction paper.  Gather brads and paper plates for clock making.  Pre-poke holes!

Number - 12: We showed 12 with rods.  This was fairly easy after last week's explanation.  We also wrote the number 12.  Many are drawing or tracing the cuisenaire rods in their books too.  I'm going to try working with twelve for two weeks.  This first week we looked at clocks.  Next week we'll focus on the months of the year.  I have a large wooden clock whose hands can be set and two medium, plastic clocks whose hands are on gears, so the hour hand pulls the minute hand along at the correct pace.  I learned that my puzzle clock is quite valuable when the kids go to make their own clocks.  Holding the numbers and placing them in the clock seems to make their clock creating easier.  Only, my soon to be 1 year old has misplaced most of the pieces, so we made do without.  We made clocks on paper plates.  The children can write numbers wherever they want really.  I mostly want to expose them to the idea of clocks and telling time.  They each chose a brad, attached their hands (courtesy of the ready made holes) and decorated their clocks.

Letter - N: nose, needle, nail, nut, necklace
sign - no  This is a fun sign!  At least we make it fun and playful with our little "no" fingers snapping about. =)
Some children are starting to make lowercase letters in the magic rice.  It's pretty amazing to watch them make connections and take a step forward when they are ready.  Everyone wrote an N in their books with a picture of something that starts with the N sound. 

Circle Time - Time and Nets:  I think because the clock making was pretty intense for almost everyone, no one really wanted to listen to our first story, Telling Time With Puppies and Kittens.  Also, a few children had lengthy tales to share about puppies and kittens and bunnies.  So, I skipped most of our clock exploration and jumped into nets with Anansi Goes Fishing by Eric Kimmel.  I love all of Kimmel's Anansi retellings.  The kids do too!  We read two last semester.  The children listen attentively to outsmart the trickster themselves and try to predict where the story will lead us.

Music and Movement - parachute play:  The parachute is a favorite!  I show them different ways to hold the parachute, (thumbs on top, thumbs underneath.)  We walk left and right.  This takes quite a bit of coordination and cooperation.  We almost had it and will work more on this later in the semester.  Of course, we also shake the parachute, slowly at first, then fast for the count of three.  I conclude with everyone who wants to coming underneath the parachute.  This actually scared Anna to have so many of us disappear at once, so we'll have to hide in moderation.

Craft - weave nets:  I tried to give everyone two separate colors, not a lot of direction and space to create.

Play Time: I had small props for them to act out Anansi Goes Fishing.  Unfortunately, our day was so full there was little time left to play.

Enjoy your TIME together this week. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Preparation: Write "I see the moon" pages. Gather moon snacks. Prepare magic rice.

Number - 11: Eleven takes some time. Eleven is one ten and one one. This is why we write two 1's next to each other. I show them eleven little one blocks next to a 10 rod. They see how ten little blocks can fit on top of the rod. We trade them in and are left with the orange rod and a little white cube - 11! At least, this is what I present to them. I know quite a few grasped it too. One child even wrote a representation of it in her book. "I I I I I I I I I I I = 11"

Letter - M: moon, mitten, magnifying glass, monkey, milk, magnet, mountains
sign - moon
I brought back "magic rice" today. I have some mommy helpers and two trays, so I feel a bit more comfortable having a pound of rice being poured and passed around. Oh my! the difference it made! Everyone made an M in the rice. (It's magic because you can erase it away.) There were some extra humps and one W, but they were easily fixed, like magic! When it was time to write an M in their lesson books, they all did so with such confidence. Maybe the rice is magic in more than one way.

Circle Time - Moon: We looked at the globe, identified the name of our planet and named what we can see in the sky during the day and night. We talked about how the moon does not always look the same and the different shapes we see - full circle, half circle and crescent. One little one shared that when he saw a crescent moon, he could also see the rest of the moon that was not lit up. I read The Moon Seems to Change. I'll be honest. This book was slightly boring. It does have a fun experiment in it with an orange and a flashlight. Everyone enjoyed being the earth and spinning around with the "orange" moon, but the text did not hold their attention. However, Happy Birthday, Moon brought laughter, interaction and rapt attention, as always. After reading the stories we did the experiment to see how much light we could see on the moon as we spun around.

Snack - The children usually bring their own small snack, a juice box/water bottle, piece of fruit or granola bar. I always have organic apples for those who forget. Today I served the "phases of the moon" Rice cakes were the full moon. Half moons were orange slices. Bananas were our crescent moons.

Music and Movement - numbered movement: There was an ice, cold wind blowing, so we stayed inside. Numbered movements are actually easier inside. They are contained.
1 jump, 2 steps, 3 slides, 4 leaps, 5 tiptoes, 6 twirls, 7 crawls, 8 gallops, 9 skips, 10 runs, 11 breaths. From what I could see, with 9 little bodies bounding around and around, everyone can gallop and skip! They're all growing up!

Craft - "I see the moon" page: This is sweet and simple. They draw a picture of themselves looking at the moon. I write what phase the moon is in. This year the entire class drew full moons.

Play Time - element blocks: For mountain I brought our little cave/earth blocks. I have the set of large blocks and the giant rainbow arches. This was the first time I've brought them to class. Fun! First they made houses. One child brought a collection of little animals that were there perfect size to live within the blocks. Towards the end I started to create different sculptures with some of the boys. I wish I'd remembered my camera.

Enjoy some moon gazing this week!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Preparation: Make lesson books. This involves cutting 120 sheets of paper, their construction paper covers, punching holes and tying them with yarn.

Letter - Review: This was our first day of a new semester! Most of the faces were familiar, but we do have some new friends. Welcome! We looked at letter cards A-M, called out the letter and it's sound and signed the letter with our fingers.

Number - Review 1-10: Fun times lay ahead as we leap into double digit numbers! Today we made a sticker sheet representing 1-10. I need to see how well everyone can count and represent the value of numbers. One little one wanted to make scenes with the stickers. I gently re-directed and moved the scene down to the 10 box from the space for 6. The stickers are tiny, and one of my favorite things to use for fine motor skills. Kids like them too!

sticker sheet

Circle Time - Room and Building tour: Circle Time on the first day is really about getting to know one another. We sang our song. This kids picked the actions. I won't be able to do this very often. With 8-12 choices the song gets long. They were dogs chasing their tails five times and spun twice. It looks like another semester of spinning! I read: Silly Animal ABCs, Ten Little Bunnies and The Family Book. We talked about the supplies in our room. There are some things we cannot use. There are other items we can use, but only one at a time. I usually have them so engaged it is not a concern, but I still want them to be familiar with their surroundings. Then it was time to venture out of our room. We find a buddy. We have quiet, walking feet. We stick together. First stop - the bathroom. This is important. They can leave the class whenever they want, but I need to know where they are going, and they do too. Next stop - the big hall where all the mommies are. This is important too, knowing where your mother is. Next we found - the kitchen. Now we know where we're going when we cook in class. Last - how to get outside. Again, important.

Music and Movement: We were outside and played Red Light, Green Light. Everyone got a turn, but just one, since we were COLD. (I'm so grateful I had a helper to usher the freezing ones indoors while I finished the game.) Red Light, Green Light was fun! Listening and communication skills were practiced. Someone started using Yellow Light too. We play without rules really. No, "You moved a fraction of an inch and have to go back to start." I let the kids call the shots as much as possible. They are happy with eventual stopping and knowing that everyone will have a turn. It's how they like to play - without too many rules.

Craft - Lesson Book and Family Portraits: The lesson books stay with me until the end of the semester. They will write letters and numbers inside and draw pictures. Today they wrote their name on the front and decorated it. They drew pictures of their families. In The Family Book there is a page that says, "Some families look like their pets." This became a theme, to include pets in the family portrait. Some children drew only their pet. One drawing with a sister's arm in a cast prompted another child to draw a sister's accident on a trampoline, that also resulted in a broken arm. Although they may not be as accurate as some may hope, I loved them all. Everyone expressed themselves beautifully.


Play Time - Animals: I brought my basket of Anamalz and some silks to make play scenes. I have all but the donkey, plus a few they don't make anymore, so there was plenty of play!

play scene

Could not resist Anna playing with the "big kids."

Enjoy your family this week!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Preparation: Gather a wide variety of leaves at least a few days before the lesson. Scrounge through the change in the house (or raid your daughter's piggy bank) to make money bags. Each bag has 10 pennies, two nickles and one dime.
Number - Money: Last week we counted to 10. What comes next? No. Not 11. Money!
If you want to see pure excitement on a young child's face, tell them you will learn about money.

See the sorting? 1 dime, 2 nickles, 10 pennies
and matching rows

proud. Just counted that he had 13 coins, and we discussed the value of his pile.

I used to give nine pennies when we did the number nine. This year I had the idea of waiting until we covered 10, then talking about coin values and names. It worked! We named a dime first. It is the smallest coin. It is silver. It's value is 10, just like our 10 rod. We decided that we could not buy a 10 cent piece of candy with our 10 rod. We needed real money. Next we named a penny. It is also small. It is copper. It is worth 1 cent. How many little one blocks could we line up next to the 10 rod? 10! How many pennies have the same value as a dime? 10! Would you rather carry 10 pennies or 1 dime in your pocket? The answer went both ways. Now, how many five rods can we stack next to the 10? 2. Lastly, we named the nickle with the value of 5 cents. There are two fives in 10, so two nickles have the same value as a dime.
We had this simple, fun discussion before everyone got their money bags. Once I handed out the bags, the exploration was handed over to them - counting, sorting, piles, where they'd keep their money, even how to clean the pennies in Diet Coke!

Letter - L: lion, lamp, lemon, lamb, leaf, ladybug, lollipop, log
sign - love and leaf
getting ready for letter time

Circle Time - Leaves: Everyone chose an action in our gathering song today. There was jumping, clapping, stomping, spinning, crawling, spinning, more crawling, then spinning with crawling. Watching their gleeful movements makes me just laugh with joy.
We read Leaves by Ruth Thomson and Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane by Victoria Sherrow. I really like Leaves. It made exploration easy. "Leaves come in all shapes and sizes. Some are wide and flat. Others are narrow and pointed." I pulled wide leaves and narrow leaves from my collection. It said the undersides are sometimes hairy. It said to "Feel the bumpy tubes, called veins." We did this with the mint plant I brought, along with "Feel a dead leaf and a leaf growing on a plant." It said go for a leaf walk. We did. It described leaf rubbings and one type of leaf collage. We did both of those. We collected evergreen leaves and felt them, just like the book said. It asked if you'd eaten leaves. We did. It asked you to smell leaves. We did. This book full of information made a full lesson for me.
The leaves I brought for them to smell were onion, (some children ate these too) mint, rosemary and basil. (All the leaves were picked fresh from my garden. ) We charted what our favorite smells were. Onion got three votes. Mint got two. No one like rosemary. Three said basil was their favorite.
We ate leaves with our snack. Whoever wanted some was welcome to a leaf of organic lettuce. There was red and green romaine, lollo rosa, oak leaf and tango to choose from. Everyone who took one ate it, after watching me eat some. Organic, gluten free, pareve lollipops were also served with snack. No example was necessary this time.

Music and Movement: We went outside. We did not stay long. It was chilly out there. I was grateful the sunshine had dried some leaves for us to crunch through and collect for our projects. We also found some evergreen leaves and observed them.
We have lollipops and leaves!

Craft: leaf rubbings and collages
I had to help some of the children apply enough pressure to get a clear rubbing. We used my block crayons. They all worked diligently on these. Someone asked what a collage was. (I love their inquisitiveness!) I explained that it was a gathering of different things to create something new. Create they did! They experimented with different glue and different leaves in the collages. I haven't tried all of their methods, so I hope they turn out/dry well.

Play Time: Lincoln Logs. I brought my big bucket of logs. One of the children brought her house to share with everyone. They also built with a play set that is in the classroom.

Enjoy some leaves and maybe a lollipop this week!