Monday, September 30, 2013

How Many Apples up on Top?

I absolutely LOVE teaching about apples and all things fall. It is by far my favorite time of the year! 

First we read the book Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss.

Then my TA set out these play-dough mats on our math table with some apple scented play-dough. (Unfortunately I don't have files to share, my very talented TA free handed them. You could try tracing the pictures from the book if you're artistically challenged like me!)

We encouraged the kids to make small apples with the play-dough to put on top of the characters just like in the book. This is a great fine motor activity!

This activity can be individualized to challenge students across a broad spectrum of development. 
  • 1-1: For students working on one to one correspondence, let students add as many apples on top as they'd like, then count them together. Pointing to each one as you count. 
  • Meaningful Counting*: If the student has a good handle on one to one correspondence, have them add a specific number of apples. (Roll a dice or draw a card to choose how many apples they should put on top.) Remind students to count as they add apples and stop when they get to the desired number. 
  • Beginning Addition*: If the student has mastered meaningful counting, this activity can be used to teach addition skills. Have the student add a certain number of apples (such as 3), then have them add more (such as 2 more), then ask how many apples there are all together. 

*If you're focusing on these math skills I recommend using pom poms for apples as the play-dough has to much lag time for counting. 

I used these mats for math small groups after they had already been available for free play for a few days. This way the kids had time to explore and use the mats as they wanted to. Which made them more open to following directions during math time. 

Our classroom smelled sooooo good! You can find an apple scented play-dough recipe here at The Picky Apple. It's really easy to make. Instead of putting all the different spices in, I just put in apple pie spice. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Friend Bingo

It's the beginning of the year and my kids are all referring to each other as he and she. He hit me. She took my block. He won't play with me. It's up to me to distinguish just which he or she they're referring to with very little clues. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to get a point in the general direction of the child in question. Although usually this means they turn their head while pointing and all their words start flowing away from me and I can't understand anything that they're saying. This activity won't help you with that, but it will help your students learn each others names. 

Every year I create a bingo game using each child's picture. I print my pictures out at walgreens with 4 pictures on each 4x6. You can read my tech tip here for creating tiny pictures. Instead of making them tiny, size them down to 1/4 of a 4 x 6. (so each rectangle is 2x3). Then use them to create bingo cards. If you have a colored printer, you can just create the whole bingo card on your computer.

The kids love getting to play bingo with their pictures! Once we've played for a little while some of my older kids pick up on everyone's names. Then they take over being the caller for me! :)

How do you help your students become familiar with their friends names?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Easy and Cheap Smelly Paint

We made smelly paint as part of our 5 senses unit. It's really easy and cheap! All you need is kool-aid, water, and a bowl (and the obvious like paper and a paintbrush). 

All you do is add some water to kool-aid and walah you have smelly paint! Our room smelled sooooo good while the kids were painting. There's no exact science when mixing the kool-aid mix and water. The less water you add the more vibrant your colors will be. A little paint goes a long way. We used three different colors and only needed half a package of each for 10 kids. 

When the paint is wet, the colors are very vibrant and the smell is strong. It does fade a little as it dries. It also loses most of its smell after it dries. Make sure to wear paint shirts, as I'm pretty sure kool-aid will stain clothes. 

You can read more about my 5 senses unit from a previous post here.

On a different note, I'm looking for some new blogs to follow. I've switched over to Bloglovin since google took down google reader. And in doing so, have weeded out some blogs and added new ones. So if you have a blog, please leave a comment with the link so I can check it out! 

Look in the side bar to follow my blog or grab my button! :)