Thursday, February 11, 2016

Up-cycled Valentine Chocolates Boxes

 Every Valentines Day I get several boxes of assorted chocolates from my kids. (What teacher don't like chocolate?!!) With a little disassembling and of course eating all the candy you have great stencils made of sturdy cardboard.  Some of these I have had for at least 5 or 6 years and each year I add a few more. The kids are always wanting me to draw hearts for them, especially this time of the year. This is such a great way for them to do it by themselves.  

Last week we made Valentines to take on our field trip to the post office and mail to our families. We traced half of the stencil heart on the folded edge of a piece of paper and then the kids cut the curved line.  It is much easier for the kids to cut them out this way and keeps the two sides of the hearts equal. With this new skill learned, we now have dozens and dozens of hearts around the room of all shapes and sizes. (:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

 More Valentine Fun...
 We started out this week talking about Valentines Day like thousands of other PreK classrooms I'm sure. This was a great math activity that the kids really enjoyed. I think the key to any PreK activity is finding something they like to do, like painting and make it a learning activity. We are really working on one-to-one correspondence and counting to 20 so that was my main purpose with this activity. 

 Heart Shaped Cookie Cutters, Different Sizes 
 Paint ( I used Red, Purple and Pink)
 Paper Plates for Paint
 Large Construction Paper
 Marker to write names
 Wet Wipes to clean up

I simply wrote "20 hearts" on their paper and let the children write their own names. Though many of them are still working on getting their names just right I think it is important to get them in the habit of writing their own names on their work. At this point I recognize all of their signatures. (:

I used 6 cookie cutters, 2 small, 2 medium and 2 large (another concept we talked about) and gave them the instructions to make and count 20 hearts. I let them choose the combination of colors and cutters they wanted to use and had them count out loud as they made each one. I listened and guided them if and when they got stuck on a number but for the most part this activity went rather smoothly. I have only 2 or 3 kiddos that can count to 20 without help and another 12 or so that count anywhere from 13 to 19. The other 5 can usually get to 10 by themselves when counting rote but if I give them an activity they have to concentrate on while counting it throws in a whole new dimension. So there were a couple I needed to count with the during the whole process.

The great thing about an activity like this, is that it forces them to slow down and count. Unlike moving your finger down a row of teddy bears and counting heads (where kids tend to go a little to fast and skip a few bears along the way) this activity requires several steps for each number. This slows the pace a bit and gives them time to think about each number as they decide where to put the next heart on the paper.