Saturday, February 27, 2010

Olympic Week Activities

The last week of February was a blast! We topic was toddler versions of "Olympic" winter sports and games. Our events included:
Hockey on our playground, one of our parents shared a hockey set with the class for the week.
Mountain Climbing, we stacked our classroom pillows under our futon couch mattress to make a mountain. We then covered it with a white cloth. They enjoyed climbing up, running/rolling and jumping on it. It was great for large motor skills development and expending a lot of energy!!!
"Ice" Skating around our classroom, we rolled up the large area rub in our classroom, took off our shoes and "skated" around the classroom. It helped that our floor had just recently been shined :D After watching a real ice skater on our classroom computer, the children joined me on our own "ice" floor.
Box sledding, we attached ropes to a medium sized box and took turns pulling and riding in the box. It was a great workout for the children pushing and pulling the box! :D It was also a great way to teach teamwork to the children, especially when one tried to go one way and another the other way.
Animals on Ice, I froze a large sheet of ice then placed it in our sensory table. I added a few animals into the table and let the children slide the animals across the ice.

As with all topics of interest, I love to incorporate art in our learning experiences. Some of our art projects included:

Team t-shirt, each child painted olympic colors onto their shirts. They then decorated it with glitter.
Ice cube painting, I froze different colored water color in an ice tray. Once frozen, the children used the cubes to paint white construction paper. The colors first looked really dark when wet, but as they dried, the colors were vibrant!
Gold medal art, instead of just giving them pre-made medals, we thought it would be more fun if the children participated in the making of their medals. They painted a precut card stock with yellow paint and gold shimmering water color. Once dried, we added the ribbon.
Olympic Rings coloring, was a fun activity for the children and a great way to develop fine motor skills.

On the last day of the week, we held a medal ceremony for the children. They each received their medal and took an olympic style picture next to our classroom banner. It was a lot of fun and the parents loved the photo documentation we kept of the week's events!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Review: No Mirrors in my Nana's House

What a wonderfully written book! I love the story of a child who lives and learns about the beauty of life and the appreciation of the life she has through the love and compassion of her Nana. Despite growing up in an unprivileged environment, she learns that there is beauty in everything around her, all through the eyes of her Nana. She did not grow up to judge her self based on what others looked like or had. I love the concept of no facial features in the illustrations. I was still able to feel the emotions of each word even though their faces did not show it. This book would be suitable for muslim families who do not approve of illustrations of human or living beings. I give it a 4.5 !!!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Review: Lucky New Year

I bought this book to add to my curriculum during our week of learning about Chinese New Year, traditions and festivities. This book was really neat. It was colorful and easy to read to the children. Its interactive features made learning a fun experience for them. It had flaps, a turing wheel, an orange to smell and shiny fire crackers they could touch. The finale was a beautiful pop-up dragon at the end of the story! I give this book a 4.5!

Fun Activity: Chinese Lion

*Photos coming soon*

With the coming of the Chinese New Year, Year of the Tiger, our class had a little fun learning all about Chinese traditions and festivities for the new year. I bought a really cute book, "Lucky New Year," by Mary Man-Hon. The book had flaps, pop-ups and other sensory activities they could explore. They enjoyed the book as well as some different chinese outfits we borrowed from other classrooms. But the REALLY fun project was making a lion for our lion dance parade. I found a cute video on Youtube of a lion dance. They loved the video and it gave them an idea of what to do with their own lion. For our lion, we:

1. scrunched and rolled a long sheet of yellow paper (2 yards). (teacher assisted)
2. stuffed the paper with plastic bags to make it thick. (teacher assisted)
3. glued colorful feathers onto the body of the lion.
4. attached three handles onto the body (teacher)
5. glued orange strips streamer onto a paper plate (Lion head) and tail of body.
6. glued picture of traditional chinese lion head on paper plate.

After our lion was complete and dry, we went for a parade around our center! It was fun!

*Note, the lion body was a bit heavy for my students (one year olds). They ended up dragging the lion instead of holding it up. So, if you have young students, I suggest you don't add plastic bags to the body. *

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

top Five! Books!

Greetings teachers! Do you love to read, write? I do! I'm a teacher by day and a writer by night, noon, afternoon and fall! :D Last year, I did something I never thought was possible, write a novel length story! Short, children's stories are my passion, but this was a whole lot of fun too! While I'm in the long process of editing and revisions, what better way to improve my own understanding of what a good novel is than by reading good novels. So this year, I will do my best to read one novel a month (or two, I don't want to set myself up for failure!) Now, I love mystery novels, sci-fi novels, and historical fiction novels. However, my top five books I would like to read this year are:

1. Messenger of Truth, A Maisie Dobbs Novel ~ Jacqueline Winspear
2. The Gift ~ Zaipah Ibrahim
3. The Tale of the Hawthorne House ~ Susan Albert
4. Atlantis ~ David Gibbins
5. Nefertiti ~ Michelle Moran

Saturday, February 6, 2010

10 Tips to Inspire Young Readers

I read this really nice article, "10 Tips to Inspire Young Readers" by Suzan Woodard. It has some really good tips, most I use in my classroom of one year olds. I believe, it is never too early to inspire a love of reading in children. Books are wonderful! Grab one today and read it with your child(ren) or student(s)!

Happy reading!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sick Day!

Here in the NorthWest, we have fun days, off days, snow days and holidays. We also have, what we call in childcare, sick days. Sick days are unique in that each teacher takes them as they need them. Today was my sick day. There are lots of colds going around these past couple of weeks throughout the toddler and infant classrooms. I even had a child in my classroom go home with a low grade fever. Up until yesterday, I bravely fended off the spreading germs and viruses. But this morning I woke up with not only a really bad cough, sore throat, stuffy nose and head, but I also a fever! So, I took the day off to rest and get better. I hope to be better tomorrow to continue fending off colds for the remainder of the NorthWest winter!