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Monthly Archives: January 2014

You can do math with anything!

Math is everywhere, and in the Pre-K room we are constantly counting something, you will hear me asking the children if they have more beads or less beads on their beaded necklace, encouraging the children to count the number of pretend cupcakes that they are making, and asking them to estimate how many toy cars they might need to reach across the room.

Right now we are focusing on numeral and number name recognition, so the other day at circle we played this game.  I asked each child to bring me a certain number of objects, they could choose anything in the classroom, but they had to have enough of the same.  After we lined up the piles of different objects (1 dice, 2 stuffed birds, 3 books, 4 pencils, 5 play tools, etc.) I handed them number cards, and they had to place the number card at the corresponding pile.

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This is a super easy activity that you can do anywhere, but it made those numbers very concrete when the children were able to see exactly what 3 books looked like, and how 3 books is different from 4 pencils.

A few words on assessment

I just Googled the word “assessment” it came up with over 124,000,000 responses.  Clearly, assessments are everywhere, I can’t tell you how many different kinds we use, but I do want to share two that we have come up with that have proven very helpful.  We use these in the classroom, so that we have a clear picture of what the children understand, and we share them with parents, as a tool to show what their children have learned at school.

The first is a basic skills assessment.  This was developed for the preschool classrooms, and while the skills may seem very basic, they are exactly what we work on with preschool children.  The skills covered this particular assessment include;

Writing samples

2D Shape recognition

Upper and Lowercase letter recognition

Phonetic letter sounds

Number recognition

Number sequencing

10 Frames/Subitization

Patterning

Rhyming

Days of the week and Months

This assessment pack (available on Teachers Pay Teachers) also has printable flashcards to help keep each child’s focus as you work with them.  We make one copy per child and use different colored highlighters to track their growth throughout the year. Image

 

The second assessment that we use is standards based.  We took all of Ohio’s Early Learning Development Standards and put them in a spreadsheet that follows the child throughout their development.  The Infant/Toddler version can be used for the first threes years of a child’s life, and the Preschool version can be used from the time a child turns 3 until they turn 6.  This allows teachers to record periods of growth, and parents can see exactly when their child reached certain milestones. These assessments are much longer and more comprehensive than the basic skills assessment, and we typically fill them out only once per year, you can find the Infant/Toddler version and the Preschool version on Teachers Pay Teachers.Image

 

These are only two of the many, many different forms of assessment that we use, but they are great tools for both parents and teachers!

Frozen bubbles!

It has been so cold, but today that was a good thing.  I have been putting this activity on lesson plans for years, but the weather has never been righ for it, today the wind chill was -15 degrees, so I knew we wouldn’t have any problems getting our bubbles to freeze. We bundled up really good and took our dish-soap and water bubble solution outside.  We used pipe cleaner bubble wands and we were able to make some really big bubbles, but after a little practice, we found that the smaller bubbles didn’t pop as easily, so we were actually able to watch them freeze.  This was so cool, and definitely worth getting a little chilly to see!

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When the bubbles got really cold, they would start to shrink, and they tore like tissue paper.  When they popped in the air we could see the bubble float to the ground like a balloon. Take advantage of the cold weather to give this activity a try.  We might even see if we can think of other ways to do it. Could we put a bubble in the fridge? The freezer? what happens when a bubble gets too hot?