Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Easter Activities

Our focus this week in Reception class has been Easter.  This has been a busy craft filled week, although we have still managed to squeeze some sneaky math work in with it.

Children have enjoyed all the activities that have been laid out  this week, although the two most popular tables, where children have kept returning to this week have been the Easter Sensory table and the Writing table.

Easter egg, sensory basket

I have been a little surprised at how much enthusiasm this table has raised.  Children have loved using the tongs to transfer items from the basket to the egg cartons and filling the plastic Easter eggs. The most popular  item in the basket has been the fluffy pompom style balls.  Many of the other items have been ignored.  
This activity has been great for developing motor skills, cross lateral body movement, sorting by colour, shape and item, as well as developing counting skills.  
Some questions that have been generated this week include; How many blue balls did you choose?  How many are there all together?  Why did you choose to fill the basket this way?  Can you describe what the balls feel like?  I will definitely keep this activity up my sleeve for a future year. 

Writing Table:  Another popular table this week. Prior to introducing this table I showed this cute little video about decorating eggs video eggs, with zigzags and spots 
 This table included a wide variety of activities, including pre motor skills, ( follow the Easter bunny trail and trace over the egg numbers, finish the egg patterns).  I also laid out paper eggs for children to draw and decorate and write messages on.  I extended this activity by printing out some small images of decorated eggs and easter bunny baskets.  Children cut out the images and used them to decorate larger paper eggs.

Some of the other activities this week have included, making Easter Bonnets and Easter Cards, egg marbling and making egg sun catchers.

Beyond our Easter Crafts, we found a great Science activity (thanks to Growing a Jeweled Rose blog page - follow this link to find it - gives a good outline of what to do.

This egg less shell experiment was a big hit with the children, who were fascinated to see that the eggs bounced afterwards, whilst the egg in the water cracked straight away.  We looked to see high we could drop the eggs before they finally splattered.  Interestingly some children were initially unsure of the touching the eggs when they came out of the vinegar.  By the end they were all having a good prod and a poke.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sensory Play

In a nut shell sensory play involves any activity that uses any of the 5 senses; sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing.

The science behind it:

Simply put, it fires neurons, stimulates connections in the brain which in turn allows children to make sense of their world.  It helps develop problem solving skills, communication skills and motor skills to name just a few of the benefits.

For more detailed information check out the following links:
cultivating-skills-through-sensory-play/. PBS website

Fun Sensory Activities:
I am currently trying to incorporate sensory play into my classroom as much as possible and whilst I admit it is often frustratingly messy, the children love it.
Below are some sensory activities I have been trying.

Coloured Rice:  this was so much simpler to make than I would have guessed and took only a few minutes to mix each colour, then you just leave it to dry - easy.

I put out a few colours of rice in strips which were soon mixed into a rainbow mix, each day I added the next colour rice in a strip to be combined with the rainbow mix.  My class are loving it and it is easier to sweep up than fine grain sand for sure.

What else I will do with it:
Capacity - how many cups of rice will you need to fill this bigger container
Magnetism - hide some magnetic items in the rice and let the children fish them out with wishing lines or wand magnets.

You will need:
uncooked rice
Food colouring
Rubbing alcohol/ethonol
Zip lock bag

How I made it:
Place a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to the zip lock bag, add the food colouring (anything from a few drops to half a bottle - depending on how bright you want the rice), add the rice to the bag, close shut and mix the rice and liquid together.
When you are happy with your mix spread the rice onto some old paper and leave to dry.

Arctic Adventure

We have had a lot of snow this year, so I created an arctic play experience for the children.  The children enjoyed exploring this activity from just looking at it to filling the water bowl with the snow and make believe with the animals.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Traditional Tales

I am in the throws of planning for my upcoming topic on Traditional tales for my reception class. There are so many great traditional tales and fairy tales out there, that I am having a difficult job deciding which stories to cover and in what order to cover them.  Whilst the internet is a fantastic resource, I find that I can spend literally hours jumping from one great website or resource to another without really achieving much. In fact I have spent the past few weeks happily pinning fairy tale links to my pinterest board.  Now whilst pinterest is fantastic it can be frustrating when you can not pin, due to no image being available.  With this in mind I am now jumping onto my blog so that I can link to some non pinnable websites.

Jack and the Beanstalk

My class really enjoyed joining in on the refrain 'Fee Fi Fo Fum,' and enjoyed acting out the story with this themed basket that I put together.

Teaching Resources:

When introducing a new topic/book to the class it is invaluable to have access to as many different resources as possible, just as children are individual the more different activities at hand means that you can interest even the least interested child in your topic.

The following links, take you to downloadable teaching resources to help with the teaching of this unit.  The teaching english link is particularly good.

teaching english org

I thought that I would introduce my new topic with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.

So that the children can follow up on this story, I have found some video retells and story read alouds for the children to follow on the computer for our listening centres.

jack-and-the-beanstalk story by 
cbeebies jack and the beanstalk
Jack and the beanstalk video retold through song

I like the cbeebies and the singing version best.

Online Game links:

design the giants castle drag the pieces into place to create your own individual castle.

The Gingerbread Man

I asked the children to help draw around one another and then they turned themselves into giant gingerbread men, by colouring and decorating themselves.  This task kept the children busy for most of the afternoon and I was really pleased to see how they focussed.

Stories to share:

Teacher led story

Reading links:

make 'an' words words that rhyme with 'man'

Online games for children to play:

Decorate a Gingerbread Man online game

I found a great free printable on line, which allows you to write in the middle of the gingerbread tummy.  This will be great to play a game of word or sound match or even rhyming words.  You could place the gingerbread around the classroom.  Give the children a matching word and they have to pin it next to the gingerbread man with the matching word.   gingerbread template

Little Red Hen

I set up a sensory play whereby children could plant seeds in little red hen's garden - which was really sand.  Children really loved burying the seeds and finding them again.


Stories to share:

Little Red Hen, click the button to hear the words

Reading links:

make 'en' words - website to make words that rhyme with hen,

peg the hen, reading activity online

Goldilocks and the Three Bears:

Stories to share

British Council goldilocks-and-the-three-bears video story

Monday, 26 November 2012

Woodlands Junior School Website

Woodlands Junior School is a Primary School in England with a wonderful user friendly website.  Since first using a Smartboard back in 2007, I have frequently called upon this website, for both my own reference and as a great starting spot for many of my topics.  British teachers are well aware of this top notch site, but for those outside of the U.K. this may be new.

The website is divided into subject areas and covers the entire primary range from pre-reading upto Year six (Grade 5). 

I have used this website to teach topics on Non Fiction text - the pages are set up just like a book, with an index down the left side of the page.

I have also used the website as a starting point for online activities from pre reading skills to math on line games. website

Check it out, I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

CVC free worksheets

I happened upon these great free downloads today from the BBC schools website and wanted to share these links with you.

There are a range of print and do worksheets covering the five vowels and a few other letters of the alphabet.  The sheets also vary from unscrambling words, re-arranging sentences to finding the last sound in a cvc word.  These are great worksheets for both early years teachers (Kindergarden) and home schools.  I like the initial and end sound sheets as they can be used on a cookie tray or magnetic board with magnetic letters to fill in the missing sounds.

For all the cvc links from BBC

This is the 'g' worksheet - get it here g worksheet from BBC

get the 'u' worksheet here.



Tuesday, 6 November 2012

colours and number conservation

A great activity to reinforce colour, number conservation and hand eye co-ordination in one.
 Children were asked to pick a colour leaf and then to roll the dice.  They then had to thread the correct number of reels, buttons etc onto the thread using only the colour on their leaf.

Simple yet effective.

The Scarecrow who didn't scare

As part of our topic on Autumn I have been using the story sack, 'The Scarecrow who didn't Scare'.  This is a great resource and comes with a large stuffed scarecrow, birds, rabbits and mice as well as scarecrow matching cards.  My class are loving this book.

The book lends itself to many cross curricular areas, including pre writing skills.  We divided our whiteboards into 6 sections and as the story was read aloud, children were asked to draw the scarecrows hat, the farmers fields, the corn, seeds, trees etc.  I modeled each picture first and the children copied.  This gave the children the opportunity to practice drawing, straight, curved and wobbly lines.

I also got a great number link to this activity.  Children were asked to pick a number from a bag and then plant the correct number of seeds in the field (i used blue sorting trays for the field).  Children thoroughly enjoyed picking and counting the seeds.  I will definitely use this activity again.