Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hot Wheels

If you know Grave Digger, Hot Wheels and Samson then you know the Monster Jam truck show is Friday and Saturday at the Peoria Civic Center.  It's not cheap or quiet but it is a fun family event. For times and ticket costs-  http://www.peoriaciviccenter.com/event/monster-jam

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Social or Shy? Introvert or Extrovert?

An good read from TIME magazine-

Our Dinosaur Days

Using graphs is a great way for us to use words like 'greater than',  'less than', 'least' and 'most'.  Sometimes it offers opportunities for 'zero' and 'equal'.  When we work on these type of activities, the children are full participants and not just passive observers. 

I asked the children if they could be a dinosaur for one day, what dinosaur would they choose?  The children came up to the chart, chose their dinosaur and we glue to the chart.  After all classmates are finished, we look at the chart.  The children are so responsive to this activity now.  They are using the math vocabulary to respond to questions.  It's awesome.

Look at your child's class chart and have them tell you about it.  

Morning Class

Afternoon Class

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Valentine's Dinner, Theatre and Dance

The Cornerstone Academy Ballet and The Art's Society will be having a Valentine's event on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2012.  The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.  A dance will follow dinner at 8:30 p.m.  Roses will also be be delivered to your Valentine at your table.

The Cornerstone Academy is located in the Cornerstone Building on 321 NE Madison in Peoria (across from the old Spalding/Academy High School).

Tickets are $100 per couple. For additional information or sponsorships, call Karen at 309/620-3164  or email cornerstoneacademyballet@hotmail.com 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let It Snow!

 We like to have a wide variety of activities for small motor skills.  We have lacing cards available for the children everyday.  Our winter  activity is lacing 'snow'. 

This activity is for our MWF classes only because the children are given a large needle and thread.  They lace the Styrofoam peanuts and we hang the 'snow' around the room.  It is looks really pretty!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Impenetrable Cereal Box Fort version 4.0

My Impenetrable Cereal Box 2012
Our cereal box fort stopped some of our TTh students right in their tracks when they came into the room today!  When the children walked in  and saw the fort their reactions were priceless.  I love it!!!  I can't wait for the MWF children to see it tomorrow.

The fort measures 6' x 8' 8" and is our largest fort to date.  We only (I use the word loosely) used 215 cereal boxes.  We have two windows and I also used one of our shelving units for the wall on the left. 

This year the writing center and library are located in the fort. 

Now that you have seen it, do you want to make one for home???   Come on...it's easy.  Here's how-

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Preschool Paleontologists

Dinosaurs are dominating our classroom!  We have lots of dinosaur activities in our room.  Our dramatic play area has had a dinosaur dig for our young paleontologists.  It is a joy to hear the children use words like extinct, fossil and  paleontologist in their play!!!  I love it when they use new vocabulary in their play. 

Our sand tub is a plastic storage box.  Since we are short on floor space, it works well for our classroom.  You can do this at home.  To keep an even better handle on the mess you could place an old sheet or tablecloth underneath. 
Dinosaur Dig
Dinosaur Dig

Our MWF classes have a dinosaur science center.  This is a little harder than it looks.  Children really have to look at the skeleton to determine which way the bones should be positioned. The children cut, put the pieces together, have a teacher check and then glue.

You can do more to encourage and support your child's interest in dinosaurs.   Sue is probably the most famous dinosaur in the world.  Sue is a Tyrannosaurus Rex displayed at The Field Museum in Chicago.  The Field Museum has a program called Dozin' with the Dinosaurs. It is s slumber party at  The Field Museum with Sue.  That sounds like a fun filled family field trip!

National Geographic Kids has lots of great age appropriate information on dinosaurs,too.

We dig dinosaurs!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Family Fun for the Weekend

Family Fest 2012 is this Saturday, January 21st at the Peoria Civic Center from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.  Lakeview Museum will have exhibits (including a dinosaur exhibit!!! What good timing!)   Family Fest 2012 will also have a rock wall, face painting, door prizes AND  the  Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.  I am serious--the Weinermobile PLUS  all children will get a wiener whistle (this makes me think of the 'Santa Clause')  I was lucky enough one summer enough to see the Weinermobile on the interstate.  So fun.

There is a lot more.  For more info and cost- Family Fest 2012   Somebody bring me a whistle!  Just kidding...sort of.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Construction Zone

We have boxes everywhere!
Glue one box and...

put a second box on top of the first.

Boxes weighted w/blocks
Our classroom has become a construction zone for our cereal box fort.  We have our building supplies ready to roll and we have started on the framework. 

Yesterday I started gluing the boxes back to back.  The bottom two rows are double box wide for better stability.  I placed blocks on top of the boxes so they don't shift while drying.

Thanks for saving all the cereal boxes!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why MCP is Great...

Why is MCP a great preschool?  Our school parents is the answer. 
The MCP Board is one group of parents that makes us great.  Our board takes care of payroll, tuition deposits, fundraising and much more.  Board members (or their spouses)  have helped set up our school website and help with our school blog.  School board members (or their spouses) have cut trees, installed locks and fixed outdoor equipment blown apart by gusty winds.  Without their volunteerism MCP would not exist.  Thank you MCP Board!
MCP is great because of YOU---our school parents are the best.  No question.  You chose MCP for your child's first school experience and that means a lot  to us.  You make MCP great by bringing in cereal boxes, cardboard tubes, milk caps and all the goofy recyclables we use for fun projects.  You bring donations from our giving tree.  You support our local food pantry and SnackPac program.  You support MCP by recommending us to others.
That is why MCP is great!
Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.  
Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cabin Fever Crafts

The Christmas season is over and Valentine's Day is less than a month away.  The snowplows, snow shovels and snowsuits were out this past week. It is really winter. Looking for something to do with your children or students??? Here are few ideas---
Valentine Vase


Last year, my nephew and I made a special Valentine vase for his mommy.  We covered a Starbucks Frappacino bottle with red tissue and add fun foam hearts. It turned out super cute but I would not use fun foam again.  Too chunky on rounded edges.  I think small stickers would work better.  Directions---  http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2011/03/very-vibrant-vases.html

A special gift bag was required for such a special gift so I painted his hands red and we made a hand print heart on white gift bag.  We added fun foam hearts and then marble painted the other side w/reds and pinks.
For marble painting instructions---

Heart Hand Bag

Marble Painting

 We always have the children create a special Valentine for Mommy and Daddy.  This is what we made in 2011 (can't tell you what we are creating for 2012!)  The key to preschool crafting is cheap and easy and this Valentine craft was both. 

You have a piece of my heart-front

You have a piece of my heart-back
 We cut plain white poster board into heart shapes. You could use red poster board, too. You might  be able to use fun foam, too. Not sure if that would work but you could give it a try.

 The children put glue all over the heart shape and placed puzzle pieces all over the heart (puzzle purchased at thrift store) .  After the Valentine dried, we added a label I created on the back and  the children signed their name. It's a pretty easy homemade Valentine.

Need more ideas to keep your children busy this winter?  Here you go-
Practice writing letters and numbers in a cookie sheet covered with pudding.  It might be a good idea to cover your child, too.

Easy ice sculptures for your deck and yard :-)

These soapy snowmen are super cute!!!

Make a batch of cinnamon dough and cut into heart shapes.  String on ribbon and add red beads for an early Valentine craft.

Playdough ideas---

The egg experiment is easy and has a definite WOW factor---

Who Are You? Whooo! Whooo!

Is it Sarah, Percy or Bill?
Owl are fascinating birds.  Our focus this week was owls.  The children were introduced to new vocabulary words-talon and molt (ask your child).  I love it when we learn new vocabulary words!  They already knew owls are nocturnal and are carnivores from our lesson on nocturnal animals in October (recalling previous learned information, cool!)

For our craft, the children cut out the oval AND snipped. 

Of course,  we wrote a report about owls.  Several reports will be sent home next week (moose, polar animals and owls).  My printer crashed over the holiday and my new printer arrived yesterday. 

The reports and stories we write at school are important for several reasons.  When we write, I ask the children 'Are we writing what we learned or making up a story?'  For owls, we wrote about what we learned. We want the facts. Recalling details and information from the previous lesson....an important skill in school.

Dicatating allows the children use new vocabulary words.  The children are verbalizing what they have seen and heard and putting the information into their own words. 

The stories show the children what they have learned is important.  Repeated words  are in bold and underscored  (like owls).  Your child will  be able to visually discriminate this word from other words in the story.  Remember we are working on emergent reading skills.  We introduce and practice a lot of skills.
Read and reread the stories with your child.

Check out  the post from 2011 and an YouTube video-

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Mitten and The Hat

This week our TTh class had fun with Jan Brett's winter tales--The Mitten and The Hat.  The weather was a bit warm on Tuesday but we sure made up for it today! 

On Tuesday, we read The Mitten and created a mitten craft.  Today we read The Hat and made a hat craft.  We also acted out the story which was loads of fun.  For more details check out the posts from 2010 and 2011--http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2011/01/mitten.html  and http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2010/01/mitten.html

I checked out YouTube and found this video for The Mitten http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdCJ122MyDA&feature=related  and this one for The Hat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfwnx3r-LoE   There are lots more but I thought these were the best. 

Enjoy the videos but don't forget to check out the books at your local library!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Piece of My Mind

            We have some new puzzles.  We have puzzles available all the time for the children.  Puzzles provide A LOT of learning for your child.   I love puzzles for young children because the children really have to think.  Puzzles are visually and intellectually very stimulating. 

We start off the year with basic puzzles.  We now have 24 piece floor puzzles in the nursery for all classes and the MWF classes have 48 pieces puzzles.  Want to know why puzzles are so great?  Check out this post from 2010  http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2010/12/puzzles.html

Puzzles are a wonderful alternative to the television, video games and the computer.  Usually after all my Christmas decorations are put away I set up a puzzle.  I did this even when my boys were little.  It was just another fun way to pass the winter evenings (and winter is arriving this evening!)  I  received two new puzzles for Christmas.  My family has a lot of confidence in my abilities because they are 1000 piece puzzles (I am kind of a 500 piece fan).  So early this week, I started. I hope I don't lose my mind!  They are dumped out, all turned over and sorted.  It's a little overwhelming but I'll let you know when I'm done (I am hoping by spring).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Snowmen and Dinosaurs

Here are some of the activities on the shelves-

The snowman is a counting game. He is made out of a milk jug and fun foam.  Pretty easy and pretty cute. A child rolls the die and counts out the milk caps.  We love games because they teach letters, numbers, taking our turn, waiting for our turn and being patient.

Melt! is an alphabet game-http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2010/10/boo-bang-gobble-melt.html

A Dinosaur Dig is in our dramatic play area-

The Jurassic Park bulletin board---now we need dinosaurs!  Children can trace, color and cut with stencils in our art center.

Friday, January 6, 2012

How Do Polar Animals Keep Warm?

This week, our MWF classes learned about polar animals. On Wednesday, we identified lots of polar animals and where they live (North Pole or South Pole)   On Friday, our focus was polar bears. 

My husband and I took a trip to Seattle this summer.  One day we visited the  Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma where we saw an awesome polar bear exhibit (my brain automatically thought of an activity for school).  So the children guessed how big polar bears are and then I showed them this picture of my husband.  We also learned where polar bears live and discovered their paws are huge.  I had four paws of various sizes. The children were to guess which paw was the correct size.  A polar bear paw measures about twelve inches.  That is one big paw.

Finally, we learned how polar animals stay so warm.  For more information on this fun experiment click-http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2010/01/polar-animals.html

Polar Bears are BIG!

Polar animals are so varied and interesting.  Learn more about polar animals. Click on Kid Zone and search for your favorite polar animal http://www.kidzone.ws/   I did a quick search on this site. It looks like it will lead you to a lot of other sites for your animal---facts, puzzles, coloring pages, etc. I like National Geographic Kids  for facts and fun.  Don't forget your local library, too!

Penguins and Puffins

This past summer, my husband and I visited the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.  The zoo has puffins and they were so cute.  It was inspiration (I know...even on vacation I am thinking about preschool!)  Our TTh class has had a unit on penguins for a few years and this year we also learned about puffins.

On Tuesday, we learned about penguins and each child created a penguin.  They did a really good job listening to teacher directions.  The penguin has many pieces and the children have to be really attentive to get it right. This craft is also an opportunity for us to discuss ovals.  For more information on why we do crafts click http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2010/01/march-of-penguins.html

We sang 'I'm A Little Penguin'  
(tune-I'm A Little Teapot, of course)

I'm a little penguin black and white.
I swim all day and waddle all night.
I follow my friends wherever they go
Over the rocks and into the snow!

On Thursday, we learned about puffins and then discussed how puffins and penguins are the same and different.  This activity helps the children recall details they have learned and compare and contrast the two birds. Want to learn more?  Go to the National Geographic Kids site and search penguins and puffins.  http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/  or Project Puffin http://www.projectpuffin.org/   Explore your local library and bookstore for books about penguins and puffins!