This was a great week. I feel like the kids are learning the rules and I don’t hear, “When do we play?” every 5 minutes. Play time is a huge distraction for my kids. I have learned that I have to go over the schedule after every activity. I usually do 3 activities, then snack, then 2 more activities then play time. The kids are less distracted being reassured after every activity that they will eventually get to play. They also know that if they don’t finish their work, they don’t get to play. They get to finish their work while everyone else plays. This is a big motivator to stay focused so they can go play with their friends when it’s time. I plan activities every 10-15 minutes so the kids are constantly moving. It also helps with distractions. Time goes by a lot faster and they are surprised that it is already time for free-play. Most of the activities I plan involve some type of learning through movement. The only time we don’t move is when I’m reading a story to them. We are working on listening and not talking through the story. It is a skill we are still working on. It’s difficult for the students to keep from commenting about each page, especially when they can relate to the story.
This week, we learned about brothers and sisters, moms, and how we can help our friends and family.
Brothers and Sisters
I gave the students another open-ended craft. They continue to surprise me with how creative they can be. I told the students to create owl siblings. I put cotton balls, paint, sticks, and leaves on the tables for them to use. If you didn’t know what they were, you might think they glued random things on a piece of paper. But, if you know that these are pictures of owl siblings, they look quite good! I love watching their faces as they decide how they want their picture to look and where each piece is going to go. They make the craft their own. Plus, I feel like they are learning a lot about themselves and making decisions. They have to decide how they are going to make an owl with the materials given. It would be easy for me to tell them exactly where to put each piece, but letting them make the decisions helps them take ownership in their work and gives them a sense of pride. This is preparing them for the real world and making decisions.
My students love when we do investigation stations. I always do it at the beginning of the day. We do the station together instead of rotating into it during play time. That way, everyone gets a turn and those that just want to play at the kitchen or dress-up during play time, don’t have to fight me to rotate into that station. For one of the stations this week, we pretended that Mother Goose was having a party and needed our help baking cookies. We used play dough, rolling pins, and cookie cutters shaped like letters for this activity. I heard a lot of cooperating as we did this activity. Students would use a cookie cutter, then ask their friend if they could borrow theirs. Everyone shared their letters and tools and we made a lot of cookies. Some of the students had to wait their turn for a cookie cuter, but there were no tears or fits during this activity. I feel like they each understood that they could use any letter they wanted, but they might have to wait their turn if a friend is using it first. I also feel like they knew if they had a cookie cutter that some one wanted, they needed to use it quickly and pass it on.
Helping Each Other
I have a one year old that does preschool with my 3 and 4 year old students. Last week, I noticed that one of the boys seemed to be picking on my 1 year old a little bit. Every time I looked over at him, he was pushing my little one down. He got in big trouble. After we talked and he explained that she was the one bothering him, I told him that he needed to tell me and I would do something about it instead of him pushing her. During one of our investigation stations this week, I observed him as my little one walked around. He was quietly on the floor, pretending to take care of the fake flower garden when she walked over to him and stood right in front of him. He ignored her. So, she went and got the play shopping cart and continued to run it into him several times until he looked at her. I just watched because I wanted to see what he did. He glared at her, took a few deep breaths, and said, “Miss Jaimee! Your baby is bothering me. Can you help me please?” I was so proud of him for remembering that she was just a baby and that he had to come get me if she was bothering him. I observed through the day each time my daughter bothered this boy and what he did about it. Each time, he remembered not to touch her and to come get me. I don’t know why my little one keeps following him around. I’m guessing she has a little baby crush.
We practiced helping each other through out the day and made helping hearts. We talked about ways we could help each other and how we could ask for help when needed.
My students are making social, emotional, and academic milestones. This is going to be a great year!