Monday, December 28, 2009

Word Recognition

You and your child may enjoy labeling things in your home. You have probably noticed almost everything in our room is labeled. You can apply this same technique in your home.

Use post-its or 3 x 5 cards. Choose a room and have your child help label items in the room. As you write the word, ask your child to try to identify the beginning sound. Some children will be able to identify the beginning sound and others will need help. Identify the letters as you write them. Place the card or post-it on the item with poster putty or removable paint tape.

After several weeks, remove the cards and see if your child can match the word to the item. You might be surprised how well they do! Remember these are emergent reading skills your child is developing so make up some games to make it fun. Go crazy and label the kitchen, the bathroom, the garage, the basement and the car!

Lacing Cards

I do not buy lacing cards for our classroom. I have discovered that the children are more likely to lace if they can keep the lacing card instead of ripping out their hard work. Many opportunities are provided for children to lace which help develop those small motor skills. This month, we will also be lacing Styrofoam peanuts to hang from the ceiling in our room to look like snow which I have had my fill for the season. Time for spring!

For lacing cards, use yarn. To prevent the yarn from fraying and for easier lacing, dip the yarn in diluted glue (about an inch) and let dry for a 'needle'. Hole punch old Christmas cards (or any cute greeting card). Cut lacing cards out of cereal,Teddy Graham or fruit snack boxes (anything with fun pictures).

Lace cereal. Lace Cheerios or any type of O cereal (encourage patterns)and hang out for the birds. A yummy treat for feathered friends! It looks to be a long, cold and snowy winter. Stay warm and have fun with your little ones!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

C is for Cookie!

What is the Christmas holiday without cookies? The first day we had several different cookies. We had Oreos, wafer cookies, ginger snaps and Nutter Butters. We looked at each cookies shape, color and tasted each cookie. We wrote comments on chart paper. We made a Cookie Monster craft to practice scissor use and snipping around the blue circle. When we create a craft, we discuss colors, shapes and use positional words (above, below, inside, outside, etc.) The children were allowed to choose two different cookies for snack. We played 'Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar' which the children enjoyed immensely.

On Thursday, we played a memory game with cookies. We place some out and then the children closed their eyes (in theory) and guessed which was missing. We also graphed our favorite cookie. Choices were chocolate chip, sugar and peanut butter. We counted the choices and discussed which numbers were bigger or smaller.

We made cinnamon gingerbread ornaments. This is a cheap and easy craft for Christmas ornaments. I have had these on some garland for my home and they have lasted for over five years. The children will be out of school for two weeks. It might be a sanity saver some afternoon!

Cinnamon Dough

1 cup ground cinnamon (get the cheap stuff at the dollar stores)
3/4 cup applesauce (not the chunky and again get the cheap stuff)

Mix the cinnamon and the applesauce until a fairly stiff dough is formed. If necessary, add cinnamon or applesauce to get a good consistency. It will still stick to your hands when you knead it but it should not be too dry or the ornaments will be too dry and just crack. It should not be too wet or you won't be able to roll it out. This is the official recipe but I usually just pour a jar of applesauce in a bowl and keep adding cinnamon until it is stiff. I have also put in nutmeg, all spice and ground cloves for that Christmas smell.

Now you have the dough. Give your child some wax paper and place the dough between two sheets of wax paper and roll out to about 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Use a straw to poke a hole for an ornament.

Keep the ornament on the wax paper and place on a cookie sheet to dry. Turn the ornament over occasionally as it dries. It will take about three or four days to dry completely. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Candy Canes

Who knew you could have so much fun with candy! We have had loads of fun counting, sorting and making patterns with candy canes and peppermints. We put the candy out for the children to look at, talked about the candy (comparing and contrasting) and recorded their response. How are they the same? How are they different? We talked about color, size, taste, smell, and shape. You will notice the word candy cane on the dictation sheet that was sent home was underlined and there is a picture clue next to the word for easy reading.

We ended our unit with Peppermint Pudding for our snack. We recorded our tally marks of who liked and didn't like Peppermint Pudding. Most of the children loved it! For a tasty treat at home, here's what you do-

You will need-

Per serving
1 snack pack pudding (we used vanilla but you probably could use chocolate, too)
2-3 peppermints or a candy cane
Reddi Whip or Cool Whip topping

Unwrap the candy and place in a freezer ziploc bag. Place the bag inside another bag. Have your child take a block and smash the candy several times. Smashing the candy will cause holes in the bag so you need two bags. Make sure the pieces are fairly small and remove any large pieces (any large pieces of hard candy can be a choking hazard). Place some whipped topping on the pudding and sprinkle the peppermint on top of the whipped topping and enjoy.

Don't want to smash the candy with a block? Use a Magic Bullet, blender or food processor to crush the candy.

After Christmas, use those leftover candy canes to stir hot chocolate or crush and put over ice cream. I am sure there are a lot more ways to use candy canes!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pizza, Pizza!

Our three year olds had a fun week with pizza. We talked about the 'parts' of a pizza to introduce vocabulary. We talked about dough, crust, sauce, toppings, cheese and mozzarella. We discussed what sauce is made of (tomatoes), what toppings you can put on a pizza and the color of mozzarella (white). We graphed our favorite pizza. The favorite? Cheese.

Today we made 'Bubblegum Pizza'. Bubblegum pizza? Well, I think the name comes from the way the pizza looks on the pan and when the cheese pulls. Who knows? This recipe is a favorite with my youngest son still because it is so easy to make. Almost all the children LOVED it! With adult supervision, your child can make bubblegum pizza at home.

You will need:

mixing bowl
cookie sheet or pizza pan
cooking spray
1 can refrigerated biscuits
pizza sauce
shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400* and spray cookie sheet. Tear the biscuits into small pieces and put in bowl. Cover the biscuits with pizza sauce and mix. Biscuits should be covered with sauce but not runny. Pour the biscuits on a greased cookie sheet. Top with mozzarella. Bake 12-14 minutes.

We used four cans of biscuits and fed fifteen children. Most had seconds and some had thirds. At home, we have put on topppings and then the cheese. Yummy!