Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Thing Leads To Another

We have been working on our Polar Pal unit and learning all about the people and animals living in those regions. One of our planned activities included placing a small ball or bean bag on our feet and walking like a daddy penguin while keeping our "egg" safe.

I couldn't remember which (bean bag or ball) that we used last year, so I had both ready just in case. Well, as the best laid plans go, this group couldn't get EITHER to stay on their feet as they waddled! I quickly saw that the fun was waning and the frustration was setting in. This was NOT how I wanted this to go---YIKES!!!

My assistant and I scrambled and pulled out some balloons and quickly got them blown up. The children became instantly excited and the balloons started flying! We talked about how the friends had to be so very careful, if the balloon popped, that meant the egg broke and it would not hatch a baby penguin.

We began to practice walking around our classroom with our balloon "eggs" and had a little race to see which team could go from point A to point B the fastest without dropping the egg.

After the race, the children started parading around the room. The balloons are such a novelty in our classroom, we rarely use them. I worry about the choking hazard a broken and forgotten balloon poses to the younger members of our school.

We decided an impromptu "Penguin Parade" was called for around our school.

When we got back to our classroom, I decided we might as well take advantage of having these balloons, so I pulled out the parachute.

We then paired up and tried to blow the balloon back and forth between partners.

Our final activity before putting the balloons away was to try to keep the balloons aloft without using our hands. We have some future soccer stars in our class, so I knew this would be fun!

This was certainly NOT the lesson I had planned, but what started out as a hiccup in our plan ended in a lot of fun and some wonderful gross motor experiences. Sometimes, you've just got to go with the flow!

Great Groundhog Day Links

Just in time for Goundhog Day, here are a few great links with fun and educational activities.

Little Giraffe's Groundhog Day

Universal Preschool"s Groundhog's Day Fun has some good activities and links!

ChildFun  Groundhog Day Crafts and Activities

DLTK's Happy Groundhog Day   A couple of cute crafts and some history.

Mrs. Jackson's Class Website Blog  Lots of cute craft ideas here!

Teaching Heart Mom: Groundhog Day Fun!!   Really cute links from all over the blogosphere!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Polar Pal Literacy Activities

Our Polar Pal unit is a lot of fun and affords us a vehicle to introduce many social studies, science and math activities. We also work in many fun literacy activities.

Writing In Snow
We practiced writing letters and our names in "snow" (shaving cream) on the tables. My tables were in need of a good cleaning so this activity was beneficial in more ways than one!

Morning Message
Several of our Morning Messages have been written to coincide with our theme. This is a good way for the children to see the writing process in action and practice important literacy skills.

Flannelboard Fun
We use our flannelboard quite a bit. It is such a great literacy tool and allows the children to retell favorite stories and fingerplays on their own.

One of our favorites is the hibernation story of "The Bear and the Mountain"

I also tell the origin, or "just-so" story of "How Mr. Fox Got His Red Coat".

Hibernation Rhyming Game
We play a rhyming game where the children pretend to be bears hibernating. As they lay "sleeping", I say two words. If they rhyme, the bears "wake up". If the words don't rhyme, the bears stay asleep.

Bears on an Iceburg
Ms. Debbie over at Once Upon A Day In Preschool wrote this great post about Bears On Boats incorporating math and language skills in a fun small group activity.

Since we were learning that polar bears often travel on iceburgs, I tweaked the idea a little bit to fit fit our theme. We rolled the dice and placed that number of bears on an iceburg (wooden block), then told a story to the group about where the bear was going. This was a fantastic way to incorporate math and language development in one short small group activity!

Writing a Fairy Tale
We've read many fairy tales since our school year began and have compared many versions of stories like "Cinderella", "The Gingerbread Man", "The Three Bears" and "The Three Little Pigs". We've also been learning about story components such as setting, characters, problem, feelings and solution. We've used a "story stick" to discuss several stories and their elements.

As we began our fairy tale, it was easy for the children to stay on track, since they understood the important elements that should be included. We started the story on the whiteboard and after it was complete, I transcribed it onto chart paper. Our story:

Pre-K Polar Bear Fairy Tale
 Once upon a time there was a baby polar bear. He ran away from his mommy. He went out to catch some fish. He missed his family and wanted to go back home.  He finally met a Snow Princess. She said, "I can help you find your home. Follow me!" The polar bear followed the Snow Princess all the way home. He was so happy to see his mom and dad. He told the Snow Princess "thank you".   
The End

Polar Pal Books
These are the books we've read this week.

Alaska's Three Bears (Last Wilderness Adventure)Sitka RoseThe Alaska Mother Goose: North Country Nursery Rhymes (Last Wilderness Adventure)Kiana's Iditarod (Last Wilderness Adventure)SwimmerAlaska ABC Book (Last Wilderness Adventure)Moose Racks, Bear Tracks, and Other Alaska KidSnacksFrog GirlStorm BoyThe Salmon Princess: An Alaska Cinderella Story [SALMON PRINCESS -OS]The Three Snow BearsSnow BearOokpik the Artic OwlPolar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?. by Bill Martin, JR.How One Little Polar Bear Captivated The World (Knut)Polar Bear Night (New York Times Best Illustrated Books (Awards))The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit TaleLittle Polar Bear and the Husky PupLittle Polar BearAnimal Babies in Polar LandsThe Big Fish: An Alaskan FairytaleSong of SednaRaven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific NorthwestWatersNORTHERN LULLABY.The Girl Who Swam with the Fish: An Athabascan LegendDance on a SealskinA Pair of Polar Bears: Twin Cubs Find a Home at the San Diego ZooIf You Give a Moose a Muffin Big Book (If You Give...)Frozen NosesPenguin PetePenguin Pete's New FriendsPenguin Pete and Pat

Thanks for stopping by!

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