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Indoor Large Motor Play

We’ve been cooped up inside for way too long! We were able to go on a walk yesterday, although it turned out to be a littler wetter than we had anticipated. With today’s rain we were stuck inside again, with a lot of extra energy to use up.  This happens a lot in the winter, so we’ve gotten pretty good at finding games that we can play inside.  Today’s activities proved that even the simplest things can be just what preschoolers need.  We rolled down the hallway, crab walked around the tables, and hopped around with our legs tied together.  There were lots of giggles, and just enough movement to get rid of some of our wiggles.

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Spontaneous Learning: Tornadoes

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The boys have been talking about tornadoes for the entire month of January, so I had planned on introducing the tornado bottles, quietly, to see what kind of conversation they started.  The boys literally dropped everything that they had been playing with to watch the tornadoes in the bottles.

We had some amazing conversations too.  After each child had gotten a turn to make a tornado, I asked them if they thought that real tornadoes were like the one in the bottle, They all said no, and Aiden told me that real tornadoes are made of clouds, not water.  Xavier noticed that the water in the bottle was spinning, just like the air spins in a real tornado.  After a little discussion, we decided that for a real tornado to form, the air has to make the clouds spin.

I also asked the boys if we should put some glitter in the bottle to see what happened, Gage said that glitter was a good idea, “but not beads, because they would be too heavy”.  We put some blue glitter in the bottle and they boys shook it up to make a tornado, we noticed that the glitter was spinning on the outside, but not going in the middle of the tornado.  Then I reminded the boys that real tornados can pick up really heavy things, so they decided that we should put some beads in the bottle and see what happened. 

Sure enough, the beads got sucked right up in the middle of the tornado.  We watched as the beads flew to the top, dropped to the bottom, and then got picked up by the tornado over and over again.

I was surprised by how long the boys worked with the tornado tube (over an hour) and that they were able to make real connections between what was happening in the bottle, and real tornadoes.

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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!

Sensory rice play

We had a great time at Harrison Rally days on Saturday, thank you for coming out to play with us!

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One of the most popular activities that we had set up was our sensory bin filled with colored rice and seasonal items. We did red rice with valentine’s day materials, and the kids had a blast making “cupcakes” and serving each other valentine’s day “treats”. Check out our Pinboards for some other fun sensory rice ideas (search for Inspirations ELC on Pinterest)

Taste test

We’ve been trying to come up with some creative ideas for packed lunches that fall under our nut free policy. We know lunches have to be quick and easy, as we’ll as something that your kids will actually eat.

everyone lives a super easy peanut butter sandwich, an we may have found a solution to the nut free conundrum. Today we taste tested Wowbutter. It is a 100% nut free toasted soy butter, and while it doesn’t taste exactly like peanut butter, it has a similar flavor and texture.  Everyone who has tried it has been pleasantly surprised. The best thing about Wowbutter is that each jar comes with stickers that you can put on your child’s lunch to show that there sandwich is made with a nut free product.

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give it a try and let us know what you think!

Meet the Teacher Freebie

It’s back to school time, which means it’s time for everyone to get to know the teacher.  Here is the printable that we will be using on our bulletin board, feel free to use it in your classroom! All graphics are from Erin Bradley Designs.

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Mark Your Calendar

We’ve been working really hard to get our new space ready and we can’t wait to share it with you! Please make plans to stop in during our open house!open house invite