Saturday, November 21, 2009

J is for Jam and Jelly

Jam and jelly have provided lots of fun for us this week! We started by showing the children the different jams and jellies. We talked about most jams and jellies are made from fruit. As we looked at each jar, we asked "Does it grow on a tree or bush?" Next, we tasted each jam/jelly on crackers and guessed what flavor it was. We tasted strawberry, red raspberry, blackberry, cherry, peach and apricot. Very yummy!

On a chart, we wrote-I liked all of the jam and jelly. I liked some of the jam and jelly. I didn't like any of the jam and jelly. We also charted if they liked or did not like jelly rolls. Each child makes a 'tally mark' by their choice. We look to see if we can visually see which is the most. We count each choice. I write the number on the chart and the children write the number 'in the air'. We discuss more than, greater than, less than, zero and the concept of equal.

The jelly rolls! A huge hit and easy to make. I will warn you that the jelly creates a mess on cookies sheets. We lined the cookie sheets with foil and still a little sticky. Smiles and sticky fingers make it worth it.

You will need:
cookie sheets
aluminum foil
Sharpie marker
plastic knife or spoon
crescent roll dough
container of white frosting

Each child was able to choose their flavor and create their own jelly roll. If you have several children making jelly rolls, cut six inch squares of foil and write their name on the foil square. This would be fun the morning of a sleep over. Seriously! You can do it.

Preheat oven to 400*. Give each child a square of foil and a crescent roll. If you want, you can spray the foil with cooking spray (this helped a little). Place a small spoonful of jam on the roll and have the child spread the jam on the dough. Roll it starting at the pointed end (to help keep the jam encased). Place the foil on the cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes. Rolls will be golden brown. Microwave frosting about 20 seconds to thin and drizzle on rolls.

Next time you are at the grocery store with your child, point out all the flavors of jam and jelly. Your child may have a new favorite!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I SPY Bottles

Our three year olds are having fun with an I SPY unit. The I SPY books are the work of photographer, Walter Wick with the fun rhyming text written by Jean Marzollo. These beautiful and fun filled books have been on shelves since 1992 and a classic children's favorite! My boys loved the I SPY books and the Where's Waldo? books. Remember Waldo?

We had the children look at the books today with a partner and locate items on the page. I SPY books will be in our classroom library and we will play "I SPY" in our room.

Each child made an I SPY bottle to take home. This would be a fun project for a family reunion, birthday party or sleep over. They are also fun for car trips. It's cheap and easy-a great combination for kids and parents. Here is what you'll need-

**Clean and dry plastic bottles with lids-one per child. We used flavored water bottles which have smooth sides (for easy viewing) but any soda or water bottle will work. The children had 16 oz. bottles but we have 2 liter bottles on our classroom shelves.

**Gather lots and lots and lots of little items-we had buttons, balloons, dice, seashells, crayons, toothpicks, Q-tips, feathers and much more. Anything you could fit in the mouth of the bottle that a child would recognize will work. Place in a shallow box or a 9 x 13 pan or cookie sheet would work, too.

**Rice-a small 32 oz. bag fills about two small bottles. Place the rice in a container (like a shoe box). You will also need a small cup and funnel for filling.

**Super glue

**3 x 5 cards, a pen and a Sharpie

1. Place the child's name or initials on the bottom of the bottle.

2. Have the child place six items inside the bottle. Write the items on the 3 x 5 card. We wrote the item and the color (pink feather, yellow crayon, etc.) In the two liter bottles, you can put more items.

3. Place the bottle inside the shoebox and have the child fill the bottle about 3/4 or more with rice with the cup and funnel. Do not fill to the top. The rice needs some wiggle room.

4. MOST IMPORTANT-SUPER GLUE THE LID ON TO THE BOTTLE!!!(an adult job) Place super glue around the lid and screw onto the bottle tightly. It so funny when children first are using our school I SPY bottles they always try to take the lids off. Good thing this is not my first rodeo!

5. Let the glue dry a few minutes and enjoy!

Want to do more???
We just wrote the items on the 3 x 5 cards. If you would like your child to be able to 'read' the card themselves, you can draw a picture clue next the word.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Colored Rice and Pasta

Several parents have asked where I get colored rice. I make it! I also color pasta for lacing. Some of the children have probably brought home beautiful 'jewelry'. The TTH class may lace in whatever style they want. The MWF classes have to create a pattern if they want 'jewelry'. Skills worked on are small motor skills and patterns-all while having fun! You probably are wondering how to color rice and pasta. It's stinky but easy.

Colored Rice or Pasta

For each cup of dry rice-
1 cup dry white rice (get the cheap stuff) or pasta such as rigatoni or penne
1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol
4-6 drops food coloring (the more food coloring the more vibrant the color)

Place the rubbing alcohol and food coloring in a bowl and add rice. Mix until the color is fairly uniform. Dry on newspapers.
I really don't measure and just estimate the rubbing alcohol and food coloring.

The colored rice is placed in a plastic tub. Since we do not have an official water/sand table we use a short plastic tub like you would put under your bed. It is amazing how the children love to just fill and dump the rice. Funnels, plastic spoons and plastic peanut butter jars are just a few of the items we use for filling and dumping. Easy! Cheap! For the brave, this is really fun for those blah winter days and rice is pretty easy to vacuum up. Our rule is keep it over the tub which works most of the time. The children also help with clean up with a small broom and dust pan and Dustbuster. We store the rice in clean gallon milk jugs.

For easy lacing, dip yarn in slightly diluted white glue up about an inch. Let drip dry on a dry rack (outside or place old towel underneath) or wax paper would probably work, too. The dried glue forms a 'needle' for easy lacing.

Have fun!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tin Can Ice Cream/Liquids & Solids

We have been learning about liquids and solids. One concept we worked on is liquids do not have a shape. We also talked about liquids and solids can change with temperature. Water will turn into ice and ice will turn back into water. The grand finale of this unit is making ice cream. This is really easy and would be a great activity for a family gathering if there are lots of little ones. Here is how we did it-

Tin Can Ice Cream
1-3 pound clean coffee can
1-1 pound clean coffee can
Duct tape
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Rock salt
Crushed ice or small cubes
Two or more hungry kids

Pour the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla into the one pound coffee can. Tape the lid on securely. Place inside the three pound coffee can. Layer ice and salt around the sides of the small can. Duct tape the three pound lid on securely. We did two strips (an X) on the top and then wrapped tape around the outside of the can. Roll briskly on the ground for at least ten minutes. Cement works best. Open the lid and drain the ice water. Now at this point depending on how into this you are, you can (a) scrape the 'ice cream' into a plastic container and freeze the rest of the way which is what we do because of time or (b) open the lid of the small can. Scrape the sides. Retape the small can. Place back into the the larger can and repack with salt and ice and roll again. Makes about three cups.

We did three cans and each fed about five children.

During story time, the children dictated how we made the ice cream. Why do we do this? Sequencing-which is a skill used in reading and writing. We want the children to remember the events in the order they occurred. First, they were to just think about what we did. Then they dicatated how we made the ice cream. They do skip steps but we ask them, 'What did we do before we rolled it?' They kept telling me we rolled the cans in the street! Too funny-of course we did this in the parking lot just in case your preschooler told you we were in the street today!

I also wonder what the drivers on Washington Road thought were doing?