Today, we did the science! We worked on two projects. One from Mother Goose Time. And another because the children were asking about eggs and I decided that we should look inside an egg.
Project 1 we will complete this week. Mother Goose Time had a science project for sinking and floating. So today we went on a nature walk to collect items that we could use in the experiment. While they collected items they predicted what they thought they would do when dropped in the water. They loved the nature walk and the conversation about which items would end up floating and sinking continued the entire 15 min walk.
Project 2 is called the naked egg experiment. We drop an egg in Vinegar and we watch the shell dissolve. Afterwards we will do experiments on the insides until it breaks! I will update with that information later on this week. But the as I passed around the vinegar to smell, the kids began to yell and talk about how pickles are made. Sometimes it is a struggle to explain to preschoolers how things are done when it comes to science topics. The Magic School bus is a very good way to introduce the basics of science to small children. You can talk about what they have seen and then even pretend you are on the bus going on a trip with Ms. Frizzle.
Science is the perfect topic for preschool children because it allows them to learn math concepts, reading, and patience all in one topic. The children are able to be hands on and often there are so many ways that an experiment could lead depending on the questions that they ask.
Leave suggestions if you have any for other preschool science projects preschoolers can do!
Today I am going to go off the chain and just be myself. I want everyone to understand what it is like to be a preschool teacher. So here is something that will help you understand. Yes, it is like trying to get kittens to take a cute picture.
You are constantly moving back and forth and calling out names. While helping one child with an art project, two others have decided to jump off the chairs. But they aren't JUST jumping off the chairs they are going to attempt to jump over each other while jumping off the chairs. So then they are mad at you because you stopped them in the planning stages of the trick.
Honestly, my work is fun because I remember what it was like to be their age. I remember spraying myself with perfume and then dropping it all over my room and smelling it for WEEKS! My mother was livid. Thankfully, I was sick so she couldn’t get mad at me properly because I picked a time when I was running a fever to jump on my bed while spraying 80’s children’s perfume all over myself. Remember that smell? I do...clearly. I get a phantom migraine just thinking about it.
So, everyone understands what it is like managing a classroom (scroll back to the cats). Now we talk about the paperwork.
So I am Military FCC. This means TONS of paperwork. Tedious paperwork with seemingly no real reason behind it. Obviously we have NOTHING else to do besides all of this paperwork. I have to give them a list of all the children in my program every month, I have to send them my weekly menus, I have to do a daily inspection checklist (which means I am up well before my first kid comes in), I have to post a weekly lesson plan, perform and document fire drills, take part in monthly inspections, write the date on spray bottles and a plethora of other time consuming tasks. Then there is the children’s files, contracts, marketing, accounting, etc. I could go on but you are probably wanting to nap after all that right? WELL NO!!
Lesson plans. Yes, after all of that you need to make sure you are planning something fun for the children. Not having fun things to do can cause problems within the program. Mostly, children who are bored do weird things. So that is why I chose to use Mother Goose Time. I do this curriculum because by the time I am done with all of the above I am exhausted. My brain is fried and it is hard to come up with fun things for the children to do when you can barely think about what to make your family for dinner. The idea behind Mother Goose Time is to be able to make the learning experience fun and hands on. It is also about making it easy for the teacher to put the day together. For me, that means I am able to read through the week on Sunday and buy any extra supplies I may need. Usually I do not need anything extra so that works out for me.
Sunday is the day I run all errands and set up for the coming week. I grocery shop and place Amazon orders for any teaching aides I may need. I am in love with Amazon. It’s where I make 90% of my purchases. Thankfully, Mother Goose Time eases some of the stress by including a list of supplies for each lesson and any books they feel with help reinforce the topic.
I still love what I do though. There is nothing better than sitting down and talking to the children about what they have learned, hearing about their adventures(both real and imagined), and pretending to each weird play food combos that they proudly hand to you. It’s rewarding and beautiful. I can't imagine doing any other job. So while I am sitting up tonight writing this blog and preparing for the next week, understand that I am tired, but I am enjoying my work. Well, not the paperwork. But my husband will retire one day and I will make him my minion :).
So I read something totally crazy the other day…..apparently, there are Preschool Teachers in the world who have 45 min circle time. How in the world does one have the ability to make a room of little people sit for 45 minutes? Also what are they doing during all of that time??!
My schedule says that my Circle time is 30 min long but really it rarely lasts 15 min. 30 min is for the days there are extra questions or if I read a story before we go into centers. Mother Goose Time has a set Circle Time script in the lesson plans. It is set up like this:
Now this doesn’t take that long. But it is a lot of sitting for the little people. Which is why I start circle time by looking like an idiot. *Proof shown below* We dance to a song before circle time. My favorite is the Chicken Song by the Laurie Berkner band. We use egg shakers and dance by following the fast and slow movements of the song. The Days of the week song is a Finger play song and the Months of the year is a movement.
My reasons for this came about after my first few months as a preschool teacher. Circle time is a valuable tool but the children were bored. I was bored. I was very bored. I was thinking about scrapping it altogether. Then one morning we couldn’t go outside because of the weather and I decided that we should get some energy out prior. And that is when my Music and Movement circle time was born!!!
I WASN’T BORED ANYMORE!! It also helps to structure circle time for the children a little better and they were retaining the information given out better. Which brings me to the reason it is a good idea to have music and movement during circle time. Aside from the epic reason of being bored, they love it and they are better engaged in the learning process because we are having fun. The songs give them something to help remember the new information. You want learning to be fun for the children. It is not supposed to be about sitting in circle staying still and not talking the entire time. You want the children to have fun learning and to encourage them to explore learning on their own.
Circle time is the way that you can start that.
Until next time!
Today I discussed how I used Nest building to focus on several different areas of learning for children within the heading of Dramatic play with the curriculum Mother Goose Time.
One Room School House: Multiple Age Groups
When working with multiple age groups the challenge becomes making sure that you do not make the job harder for yourself but at the same time addresses all the individual levels of your students. Today we will use Day 14 May Flay Activity. The Activity is called Would you rather?
The discussion part of this is actually pretty easy to modify for children with whom you may have a hard time due to their attention spans. Another way to ask for their opinion is “Which do you like better?” If they seem like they are not understanding the question then you ask them to pick the picture they like the best. If you have older children you can add on to the question by asking them to give you a reason for why they picked what they did. You maybe able to ask the younger children but I have found that this can go off onto a tangent that could lead down a dark rabbit hole. This rabbit hole of toddler stories means you are going to be told about everything BUT the reason why they picked something.
“I picked a frog because sharks live in the oceans and last summer I went to legoland and we saw a bird and Daddy got mad cause I threw up ice cream and it came out of my nose”
But imagine it longer and them getting mad because their friend is trying to talk too.
The reason I picked this activity to illustrate including all ages in the classroom is because it is the easiest one. For this activity it is better to have the whole class participating due to them learning how to graph and learning new math terms. Because of that it is important that it runs smoothly. When you have so many different levels of development in one room it is hard to figure out how to address all of them.
With the 2-5 age ranges the most important part is:
Keeping the acitivity short for those with short attention spans. Once the acitivities reach a certain time cap the children may begin to disrupt their friends and then it won’t be fun anymore.
Making sure the children understand what they are doing. Break down the activity and show them how you play the game. It is very important that you give an example of how to answer the question and to present it in different ways in case someone does not understand it.
Lastly, be prepared to change up any part of the activity on the fly. If you notice they are just not into it, sometimes it may just be time to move on. Mother Goose Time gives out the Would You Rather? Activity every month, but we do not do it every month because sometimes the energy level is too high for us to sit still.
At no time should you skip an activity because it may seem too much. All things presented can be modified to work with a large group just my adding a couple of words or removing parts of it. For this activity I removed the part where we build a habitat. It extended the activity too much and felt it might lead to some confusion. I did add it to outside play.
I will talk about this some more soon with another example!
Remember, Learning Is Messy!
Today I decided to write about the struggle of teaching multiple age groups. Mostly this can become a problem because of the rules that we work under in different states. A lot of the things we use to do when we were little have been removed because we have kind of shifted into the over protection of children. For example, I am not allowed to use shaving cream in the classroom. One of the projects that was given by Mother Goose Time had to deal with using shaving cream in the paint. I had to modify the project for us to be able to use it. It can become hard to figure out good replacements for certain supplies. For this one, I just decided that purchasing Puffy Paint from Amazon would be the easy way out. Normally Glue, Shaving cream and the paint color is enough.
In my classroom, I have 2-5-year-old children. Most of what we are taught in school is about modifying activities according to age groups. While age is an ok way to figure out how to modify activities and projects, it could lead to frustration for you and the child. Not all children fall neatly into the categories that our education programs would like us to believe. For an example for what I mean I will pick and activity from Week three of Mother Goose Time and show how I modified it for the classroom.
Week 3 was learning about Pond Insects. Day 13 was about the Water Strider. We played a game called Strider Slider. Every activity comes with a Discuss portion of the activity. They have a question there that you can ask the children during the discussion. What is important to realize is that the children may not answer you back or you may have a group not interested in the question. Which is what I have! Instead of the Discussion: “What do you think a water strider might find to eat on top of a pond?” I started the activity off by setting out the pieces of the game and going over the animals in the picture. We pretended the blue part was the water and we asked:
“What do YOU see floating in the Pond?” We labeled the bugs and the animals, went over which ones were the predators and which ones were the food. It made the entire introduction easier and the children were engaged in the activity. The next part is the Explore portion. This involves the children gathering nature items and dropping them in the water to see which ones sink or float. I decided due to the short attention spans of the children to move this activity over and use it in the modification of the discussion portion of the Measure the Ripple activity.
The children worked together to set up the game at the table. Because at this age many children are very upset when they do not win, we discuss how to end board game play. Which is by shaking hands with our friends and saying “Good Job! Thanks for playing with me.” I take turns with them during the first play and the second time they play alone. For this game modification didn’t require anything extra from me and the children remained engaged until the second time they played through the game.
This meant that all of the children were able to play together no matter where they were developmentally, which means the younger children are learning from the older peers and the younger children are learning to help others in the class who are having a hard time. The skills identified in the Mother Goose Time teacher’s Guide are not the only skills being taught here (life science, social skills) Math, reading, and memory. These are all skills that are being engaged during this play time. Children benefit from the one room school House type of learning environment.
Until Next time! Learning is Messy!!-Ms. Tessie
Today, I decided to do something different. I am trying out a video blog. I wanted to talk about ways in which to expand the themes that Mother Goose Time introduces every day. Here are some pictures of what I have used to expand the learning of the children. Here are the links for the Rootvue and the ladybug garden from Amazon!Please Check out the video and leave comments!
Remember learning is messy! -Ms. Tessie
I have decided to combine Assessments 3 and 4 to make this easier for everyone. Mostly me though because this month has been busy and I missed posting and I need to get ready to pick out what I am doing for the next month.