Saturday, January 31, 2015

Holiday Collages

We love to provide open ended holiday art projects for the children.  For Valentine's Day, there is a box filled with red, white and pink items.  The children glue on some holiday hearts we had donated to our program.
Student Work
 Student Work
Student Work
A few years ago I was lucky enough to be at craft store when St. Patrick's crafts were discounted 90%!  I bought all the fun foam shamrocks.  Anything green goes in this box but you could also add white and orange.  This is an easy activity to adapt to any holiday!
Student Work
Student Work
Student Work

Friday, January 30, 2015

My Impenetrable Cereal Box Fort version 7.0

2015 Cereal Box Fort

It's just so much fun!  This year the fort is a little smaller than last year.  It measures 5' x 12' with two doors.  I forgot to include windows this year but have some fun ideas already rolling around in my head for next year!  We have two centers inside the fort---the library and the writing center.  I made some 'furniture' with cereal boxes for the library.  There are two little 'chairs' for students to sit.
Cereal Box Chairs Inside the Library

 How many boxes does it take to build a 5' x 12' cereal box fort?  257
The MCP Cereal Box Fort Timeline---

Our MWF classes also compare and contrast the cereal boxes. How are the cereal boxes the same?
They are all made of cardboard, are rectangles, are flat, have a picture of cereal, have nutritional information, had cereal inside, have words and are empty.

How are the boxes different?  Some have milk on the box, have different cereals, have spoons, different sizes and colors, different pictures, have marshmallows, have spicy flavors, have fruit on the box and have different animals or characters.

See if you and your child can think of other ways the cereals boxes are the same or different!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

National Puzzle Day

Today is National Puzzle Day (No kidding. It's a thing.)  Puzzles are wonderful for preschoolers in so many ways!  Problem solving, small motor skills and much more are involved when young children are working on puzzles.  For more information---

This puzzle is a challenge because there is no right way to put it together!  More info---

More challenging puzzles in our classroom---

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

If the Dinosaurs Came Back

Our  bulletin board is filled with many colorful dinosaurs.  During center time, our MWF students have enjoyed drawing and tracing the dinosaurs.  After the dinosaur is complete, students made a tally mark by the appropriate dinosaur and then pressed the easy button.  We have dinosaur stencils in the art center so students were able to trace, color and cut a dinosaur.  We also had dinosaur drawing cards and many students drew dinosaurs. 

Drawing Dinosaurs---


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

One Fish, Two Fish

We love it when the children play with their food at snack time.  Last week, we had colored Goldfish for snack and the children automatically started sorting, counting and creating patterns!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wassily Kandinsky

In December, we introduced Wassily Kandinsky's work to our MWF classes.  We started with his early traditional works and moved into his abstract pieces.  Our vocabulary word for this unit was abstract.

Our first project was with Kandinsky's Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles which is probably one of his most familiar pieces.

Students cut out all three circles.  This gives us an opportunity as the children work to ask about their color choices and use words like biggest, smallest, middle or center.

Kandinsky's work bordered our bulletin board so the children were able to see a wide variety of his work.  Our next lesson continued with each child receiving a small piece of tagboard, a black marker, glue and pieces of construction paper.

Artists hard at work...

Ready for the gallery!

Next, we placed the materials in the art center for individual students to use.
Student Work
Student Work
Student Work

Our final Kandinsky experience for our students was at the easel.
  To see more of Kandinsky's work---

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Student Work
We have finished our unit on penguins with the MWF and TTh classes.  Both classes learned many facts about penguins.  We learned penguins are birds and have feathers.  Penguins do not fly but are great swimmers.  What do penguins eat?  Where do penguins live? Ask your child!  Our MWF classes learned there are many species (great vocabulary word).  They learned the names of many penguins and know the name of the smallest and largest penguin. The children dictated a report about penguins which will be sent home next week.  We encourage you to put these sheets in a three ring binder for your child to 'read' at home. 

Our MWF classes have a penguin drawing card in the art center.

Our MWF classes not only learned the name and sizes of penguins but worked in small groups to place the penguins from smallest to largest.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

March of the Penguins 2015

Our MCP students will be learning about penguins this week. Our TTh students made these cute little penguins yesterday.  What good listeners!  Why are crafts important for preschoolers?

Ask your MWF student how polar animals keep warm.

Penguin cam---
Ask your child what they have learned about penguins.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

If You Build It...

Fort construction is almost completed.  How many boxes?  We will post pictures and measurements when construction is finished.  Have the family guess and see who is closest!  Want to see previous forts?

We are looking forward to children and parents seeing our fort.  We will have an open house soon so family members can stop by for a peek. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

How to Make a Difference in the World

I love this quote but there is truth to it.  Each of us makes a difference in the world every day.  You don't have to Jane Goodall, Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah, Ellen or President Obama to create an impact on this world.  Everyday within your family, your community or your classroom, you are invited to change the world. Small acts provide a huge return.  It is also an important lesson for us to teach our children. 

You can make a difference in the world. Go for it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, A. A. Milne!

"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
A. A. Milne
 January 18, 1882

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pretty Penguins

One of my kids' favorite stories in Winter was Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester.  (Check the Metamora Public Library for this book and others in the series.)  Tacky is an odd penguin to say the least wearing Hawaiian shirts and making splashy cannonballs, and it's no surprise he doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the "pretty" penguins who happen to wear bow ties and act very prim and proper.  However, Tacky saves the day when some trappers show up and his fellow penguins find him to be "a very nice bird to have around."

A fun counting activity to follow-up the reading of this book is found on my favorite website, Making Learning Fun.  Print the penguin math mat and the playing cards onto cardstock and laminate.
Making Learning Fun penguin math mat

Penguin bow-tie cards
After purchasing mini bow-tie pasta, color them red, blue, yellow, and green by placing a few pasta pieces into 4 different plastic snack bags.  With a bit of different liquid food color and rubbing alcohol added into each bag, seal them and shake the bags until all pasta is coated.  On paper towels, dump out the colored pasta to dry overnight. 
Colored bow-tie pasta
Gather the math mat, bow-tie cards, and pasta.  Have your child turn over one of the bow-tie cards.  Count the bow-ties on the card and place that color and number of bow-ties (pasta) on the "Pretty Penguins". Keep counting and playing until all penguins have a bow-tie.  
You can easily turn this into a game by printing two or more penguin math mats, one for each player.  Take turns counting and adding bow-ties to your mat.  The first player to complete their mat is the winner.  Enjoy the penguin fun!  --MJ