Sunday, April 29, 2012

Earth Week and WOYC

This was a crazy week in my classroom. It was the last 2 days of our official school year, then our extended year program started. There was not a lot of time to really spend a long time on Earth Day (Sunday, April 22 was Earth Day) this year. We did manage to squeeze a few little activities in. 

We painted the earth in art center. 

We took time to care for our garden. It's starting to show signs of growth!

We covered large pine cones in lard and sprinkled birdseed all over to make bird feeders. 

After we made them and let them set for a bit, we took them outside to hang on our trees.

In the midst of everything else going on this week, it was also NAEYC's "Week of The Young Child". This year's theme is: "Early years are learning years". While I wasn't able to plan specific activities to go with this special week this year, I think the activities we did do will help shape my little friends into life long learners and lovers of our earth!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Finding Treasure

Today, as I took the kids outside for recess, I found this on the playground. I'm not sure exactly what is was or who made it, but it is quite lovely. I can guess that it either had to put together by members of the 3 year old class or the 2 year old class. (I'm guessing probably the 3's, since they were on the playground right before us.)  The posts I usually share are about things I see and the processes of our activities. This time, I can't tell you anything about this, but I thought it was somehow touching. A few of the preschoolers passed it by as they went about their business of play, but no one seemed to bother it. The moment I saw it, I thought that the kids would certainly see this as prime pickings for their own play, but when we went back inside for lunch, it had remained untouched. Maybe they recognized something special in this little arrangement, too. 

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Earth and I: Earth Day Books, Activities and a Blog Hop!

I am thrilled to participate in a Earth Day blog hop, by the Preschool Blogger Network. We are sharing an activity and a favorite book for Earth Day.

Earth Day is April 22nd and the perfect time to talk about protecting our environment. My favorite Earth Day Book is "The Earth and I" by Frank Asch. I love the watercolor illustrations and the simple text helps children understand the importance of caring for our Earth. 

One of the favorite activities in my classroom around Earth Day is to make these coffee filter earths. Throughout the year, we try a variety of techniques, from watercolor painting, to coloring with markers and either spraying with a water bottle or using an eyedropper to help blend the colors.

Our recycled earth collage was a wonderful way to use up scraps and magazine remnants from our scrap box. I drew an outline of the world and a couple of continents and the kids glued shades of blue and green to the background.  

We have a fabulous group of bloggers participating, all sharing their favorite Earth Day books and activities. Be sure to bookmark or pin them all!  If you have a post about a favorite Earth Day book or activity, you are invited to link up your post here! 

Teach Preschool : Child Central Station : Living Montessori Now : Aunt Annie's Childcare : The SEEDS Network : Flights of Whimsy : Pre-K Pages : Kreative Resources : I'm a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here! : Share & Remember : Music Sparks : little illuminations : Greening Sam and Avery : Putti Prapancha : Early Play : 52 Days to Explore : Little Running Teacher : Look at My Happy Rainbow : Rainbows within Reach

Saturday, April 7, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012

"Eggs"-perimentation in Pre-K

We've been learning about oviparous animals as part of our Spring activities. We talked a lot about animals that hatch and played some fun games where we pretended to be animals hatching from eggs. We also read some wonderful books about eggs, including "Chickens Aren't The Only Ones" by Ruth Heller

I got a few toy eggs (a chick, a duckling and a turtle) that hatch in water and we put a new egg in each day. I wanted them to wonder, guess and talk about them as they observed, so I hadn't told the children what animals were in the eggs. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't hatch as planned. The eggs were supposed to hatch within a day or two, but when we left for Spring Break, only the chicken egg had hatched so far. I'm sure the School-agers using our room during the break will take them out and save them for us when we return next week. 

The teacher (Ms. H) that uses my room for the School-agers saw a neat experiment on Pinterest and decided to try it with her kids. She read that if you place a raw, shelled egg in vinegar, the vinegar will eat away the shell and leave an egg that is almost translucent, contained within the membrane. The white foam at the top of the cup is actually the disintegrated exterior shell. 

I planned on just observing her eggs, but my mom mentioned that they had some brown eggs, and a chicken that had been laying double-yolked eggs, so I brought a few in to compare them.

We watched as the vinegar bubbled around the shells. You could really see the shell in the water with the brown eggs.

A day or two later, we were able to see some of the inside of the egg. The outer layer still had to be scraped a bit to make it easier to see inside. 

When the egg broke, the membrane could be pulled off. We observed that it was soft and pliable, but when we let the membrane dry out a bit, it hardened and became brittle.  It was a very interesting exploration. 

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Bulletin Boards

We've got some really great bulletin boards this spring in our school, so I thought I would share them in case anyone needs a little inspiration.

This board for Earth Day is in its beginning stages. I'm sure this will be a work on progress as Earth Day (April 22nd) approaches.

A few sunflower window decorations made from paper plates...

I love this simple illustration of the cycle from seed to plant.

This is one of my favorite bulletin boards of all times, illustrating various life cycles.

This was our Spring board last year. It was so cute, and the parents loved it! After we took it down, we added the bunny ears pictures to our yearbook pages, so the parents could treasure their little "bunnies" forever!

 I'm so thankful to have wonderful co-workers who allow me to come in and gather inspiration from their classrooms. I love sharing the ideas I see in their classrooms with you here on little illuminations!

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