Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Yum - Ice cream!!!

Look at our super cute ice-cream cones. We love ice-cream for summer.

Thanks to this website for the great idea.

First, colour in your ice-cream cone. We used 'Jovi's'.

Cut out your ice-cream cone.

Glue your ice-cream cone on to your paper.

Paint your hand with a delicious ice-cream colour paint. We used strawberry.

Print your hand on the paper so that your fingers create the ice-cream drips running down the cone. You may need to turn the paper around so it is upside down to make the printing easier. We only used one scoop, but if you have time for your art to dry between scoops, you could create two or three scoop cones.

Yum, delicious!

I love creating art that involves using colouring, cutting, and sensory experiences. Colouring and cutting are important skills we like to practice during our Mountaineers Discovery sessions. Holding a pencil or pen or crayon to colour allows me to observe and help foster correct pencil grip (an important skill we need for writing), and colouring in itself is another activity that encourages children to manipulate a writing tool with accuracy -something that they will be doing when they start writing.
Using paint as a sensory experience allows children to explore the coldness and texture of wet paint, and take a risk making a mess. Some children love getting their hands dirty, others find this difficult.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Blast Off

We made these rockets yesterday during our Mountaineers Discovery session. We had so much fun launching them across the classroom.

You need: straws, pencil, tape, and a strip of paper.

Draw windows for your rocket, and write your name on it so you can find it after you launch it.

Roll the paper around the straw.

  Use lots of sellotape to make your paper into a tube. This is your rocket.

 Fold over one end of your rocket and tape it closed.

 Launch your rocket by holding the straw to your mouth and blowing as hard as you can. Don't forget to count backwards to 0 before you blast off.

This activity was great fine motor skills practice, manipulating the paper and tape was quite tricky for some children. They were also able to use practice blowing - using their lips and facial muscles to do this can help children with muscle weaknesses in this area. And watching the rocket (and watching out for other rockets) helps children with eye-tracking, letting them practice this skill to get ready for using it when reading.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

It's Nearly Christmas

The other night Santa's Elves came to decorate the enormous tree outside our classroom.
It's so big I could only photograph the base!

What a great surprise to come to school and see the tree decorated for Christmas and listen to Christmas carols every morning before school.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Five Big Elephants

We have been reading our 'Five Big Elephants' poem all week, and now that we are experts at reading it we made our own elephants. I used this website for inspiration.

I have really been enjoying doing some art and craft with my lovely children this year. It has been a pleasure to see their cutting, painting, gluing, and other fine motor skills develop over the year.

First - paint some pegs gray (two pegs for each elephant). We painted ours earlier in the week so were dry when we needed them.

Cut out an elephant body and ears. We folded silver paper in half so we could save time by cutting only once around for the body and ear.

Glue a half a pipe cleaner on one body shape for the trunk, and a small piece of pipe cleaner (or wool) on for the tail.

Glue on the other body shape and the ears, one on each side. Don't forget googly eyes.

Use your pegs for the legs of your elephant, it should stand up.

We lined our elephants on the window-sill, so that we can see them when we eat lunch.

As part of our 'Absolutely Amazing Animals' inquiry learning theme this term we also looked at mammals this week (because we decided that elephants were mammals). 

We learned that:
  • Mammals have live babies come out of their tummies.
  • Mammals drink their mothers milk.
  • Mammals breathe air.

 We have also been writing reports about elephants. We were able to share lots of information with each other.

Here are some of our reports:

'Elephants are mammals. Elephants have big ears for flapping to cool down. They are big.'

'An elephant is an animal. They are mammals. Elephants wash their face with their trunk. They can make big sounds because they are big. They have grey bodies with grey skin. Elephants are special.'

'An elephant is a mammal. Elephants are afraid of mice. Elephants can run. Sometimes you see elephants at the zoo. They have big legs and they are ginormous. They have big ears. Elephants have long trunks.'

'Elephants are mammals. They are big. Elephants have trunks. They are cool.'

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

At the Circus

We have been discovering the circus this week for our Mountaineers Discovery session.

We made clown hats decorated with foam shapes for our circus. Peeling and sticking stickers or shapes uses the same fine motor skills that we use when manipulating a pencil for writing.

We cut out and folded up circus animals from this website.

 We made happy or sad clown faces, using a paper plate, tissue paper, and pompoms.

We practiced our acrobat and clown skills. We used our PMP equipment as part of our circus training.

PMP is a programme which aims to develop the child's perceptions and understandings of himself or herself in relation to her/his world, through movement/motor experiences. It aims to develop perceptions of height and space, the pattern and order of the child's natural world, the laws and limitations that govern the human body. Above all it aims to give the child confidence to manipulate him/herself in their world to suit her or his own best interests.
We dressed up as circus clowns and animals using these masks from Sparklebox.

We decorated popcorn cups and made popcorn to eat, just like you can eat at the circus.We had lots of fun watching our friends practice their circus tricks while we ate our popcorn.

We sold circus tickets for our circus. I cut the tickets into strips and the children were able to cut individual tickets off the strips. They had lots of fun paying for their tickets with our play money. 

Here are a couple of circus themed poems that we have in our poetry box:

Monday, 14 November 2011

Magic Mobilo

Our fantastic Home and School Association has been hard at work fund-raising and we have been able to use some of this money to purchase Mobilo for our Mountaineers Discovery sessions.

Mobilo is a great tool to for construction play.We have been hard at work creating some amazing creations with our brand new Mobilo. 

The process of creating something using construction materials can help develop a variety of important skills; the ability to manipulate materials, spatial awareness, imagination, turn taking, improvisation, enthusiasm, resilience, and persistence (the ability to try again when things are hard or go wrong). These are all things that are a key part of a child's learning and development.

We also use other materials for construction play; Duplo, Lego, wooden blocks, plastic construction sticks, wood and tools for building, and cardboard boxes.

I'm looking forward to offering the Mobilo at Choosing Time and as one of my reading and writing activities too.

Friday, 11 November 2011

What Comes First? The Chicken or The Egg?

As part of our Absolutely Amazing Animal Inquiry Unit we have been exploring what makes an animal an animal. We decided that animals - 
  • breathe, 
  • have babies, 
  • eat, 
  • wee and poo (there was much delight over this fact). 
So when I asked if people are animals, after a bit of debate we decided that they were (even though we wear clothes).

This has led to us looking at mammals and oviparous animals. Oviparous animals are animals that hatch from eggs. 

After reading this poem we made a list of animals that come from eggs, luckily the poem gave us lots of clues. 

We found that birds, snakes, lizards, fish, frogs, insects, and spiders all come from eggs. Our art work this week has reflected our fascination with eggs.

We held a chicken egg carefully in our gentle hands, we all sat in a circle and passed round a bag with the egg hidden inside. The look on their faces when they realised there was an egg hiding in the bag and they were to keep it a secret was gorgeous.

We used wool and a large plastic needle to thread these cardboard eggs.

 Look at our clever designs, we were very persistent to thread the whole egg. It was tricky to start with, but one child enjoyed himself so much he made 4 eggs. 

I hung our eggs on fishing wire for everyone to admire.

The Alphabet Box

An Alphabet Box is a way of teaching and reinforcing phonetic awareness using concrete objects. 

My Alphabet Box is a plastic box with small removable trays (I got mine from a local hardware store). Each tray is for one letter of the alphabet (some trays are for two letters due to lack of available trays). I used stickers on the front of each tray to show what letter that particular tray is for. To fill the trays I used small toys that I had at home, plastic animals, scrap-booking embellishments, buttons, and anything else I could find that was small enough to fit inside a tray. 
Each toy begins with the sound of the letter for that particular tray.

So, inside the 'a' tray are small objects that begin with the short 'a' sound, ant, apple. (Not ape, as it has a long vowel sound, the 'a' sounds like its name. I don't want to confuse my 5 year olds, they will learn the main sounds that each letter makes, I will then introduce how some letters make more that one sound.)  It is important to make sure each object begins with the correct sound that you want to teach.

The 'c' tray has a 'c/k' sound as in cat, not a 's' sound as in city.

Inside the 'h' tray are objects that begin with the 'h' sound; horse, hen, hand, heart, helicopter. 

I also included a copy of the lowercase and capital version of each letter that we are learning.
The 'l' tray; Lego, lock, leaf, lid.

We will use the Alphabet Box as part of our phonics program. Touching and manipulating the objects will provide children that respond to kinesthetic learning another opportunity to support their phonological awareness
Plus we all love playing with miniature toys.

"Kinesthetic learners learn best through doing including manipulating items, simulations and role plays, and other methods that physically involve them in the learning process. They enjoy and learn well from experimenting and first hand experience. Further, they learn best when activities are varied during a class period."

The children can try:
  • Using a 'feely bag' to feel and describe the objects.
  • Mixing and sorting different objects by the beginning sound.
  • Sharing the objects with a partner.