In light of recent events, PNA has gone completely virtual. There were many unknowns going into this transition; however, we accepted the challenge of giving our students a quality education at a distance because that's what our kids deserve.
On our distance learning journey we have been continuing our morning meeting and closing meeting routines. FlipGrid has been a vital tool in our communication efforts. The students' short response videos are a fun way for them to use language and speaking skills.
We will soon be implementing a Zoom live chat time where the class can see and talk to each other in real time.
Distance learning has also given us an opportunity to introduce technology to our students. We rarely use technology in our classroom; however, it is something the students are going to need to be familiar with. There are several online learning tools that we are discovering may be beneficial for our students even after the distance learning period is over.
Moving forward, we will be adapting and modifying our distance learning as we learn more about what works in the homes of our students. Our goal is to continue to provide our students with rich learning experiences while also keeping them safe and happy. Thank you so much for helping us make this possible!
This week we studied dinosaurs! We learned that dinosaur teeth have a lot to do with the kind of food they eat. Herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores are the different types of eaters. We also learned that Paleontologists are scientists who study fossils. We used sensory, art, and other activities to explore dinos.
Dino digging! We used toothpicks to uncover the dinosaurs hidden in the eggs. The focus during this activity was amazing; the students used their fine motor skills to gently break open the eggs.
Making fossils! Using a mixture of flour, salt, and water, we created a dough perfect for fossils. Using dinosaur feet and mini dinosaurs, we imprinted on the dough.
Taking a look at our fossils with a scientific tool!
Look! A dinosaur enclosure in our sensory bin!
Dino Stomp! We used paint and our dinosaurs to create dino footprints.
What are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills are small movements using our hands and wrists. These skills are essential for writing, cutting, gripping, and more.
Why are fine motor skills important?
1. It helps children perform crucial tasks like reaching, grasping, and moving objects.
2.Through fine motor skill development, children learn to use tools like crayons, chalk, pencils, and scissors.
3. Hand-eye coordination improves as fine motor skills improve.
4. Fine motor skills help kids learn and develop handwriting and drawing skills.
5. Children become more independent and understand how their bodies work.
6. As children grow in their fine-motor skills, their self-esteem grows too.
How do children practice fine motor skills?
2. Finger painting
3. Coloring with small crayons
4. Using scissors
5. Opening and closing containers
Our favorite book this week was "Hug Machine". A story about a little boy who hugs everyone and everything! He wants to make sure everyone feels special, even the porcupine that never gets hugs! Love is shown in lots of ways, and everyone is deserving of it. It was Mister Rogers who said, "Whether we're a preschooler or a young teen, a graduating college senior or a retired person, we human beings all want to know that we're acceptable, that our being alive somehow makes a difference in the lives of others" and to accomplish this, we need to spread love.
The Creative Curriculum recommends sporadic "Wow" experiences, in which students are exposed to people and places related to the topic of study. These experiences help students relate what they are learning in school to the real world.
These past two weeks we have been studying health and the body. We understand that eating the right foods and exercising are important, but we are not finished with this concept until words are connected to actions.
We visited The Dome for a time of play and movement. We used the parts of our body we learned about in the classroom in a practical way.
Parents play a huge role in creating "Wow" experiences. Each adult that visits our classroom sparks excitement in joy in our students. For example, if we begin a discussion about dinosaurs, we may invite a paleontologist to talk about fossils. If you are an expert in a specific field of study, we are always open to planning an activity or listening to your story!
This week we focused on our health and exercising! We learned about the different parts of our body that make us strong. We also talked about how exercise and rest effect our heart rates.
Our dramatic play area was full of doctors and patients this week! They practiced taking temperatures, reading the eye chart, and using the stethoscopes.
We learned that when we exercise, our heart rate increases. We used paper towel rolls to hear each other's heart beats after jumping up and down.
Our line dots were used in a sensory wall this week. The students had to hop onto each dot, stop and clap three times, touch the door, and turn around.
Our class in the cobra pose! Yoga is one of the ways we can move our bodies in the classroom. We also tried belly breathing, a great strategy for calming the body.
We created weights with water bottles and beans. We felt how light they were when empty and how heavy they got when filled.
Two of our favorite books about the body!
One of the most important take-aways from this week was that Martin Luther King Jr. did kind things for others. We talked about what he did and how it changed the way we interact with each other today. We also talked about some of the characteristics of Martin Luther King Jr. and what it really means to be a "hero".
We painted peace signs to show our support of Dr. King's message.
Students followed directions to create a portrait of MLK Jr.
One of our favorite books from this study! We are so glad we can all go to the same school no matter what we look like.
Ms. Daina showed us how to be brave by participating in the Brown Bag Talent Show (one of characteristics of MLK Jr.).
Thank you for your participation in our Preschool Toy Drive. As we talked about why we were giving away our toys, it was apparent that the students were very excited that someone else would have the opportunity to play with them. It was a great lesson in giving and being kind to others.
Children are born eager to learn. They are curious by nature, and are excited by new things. Because of this, we wanted to incorporate something in the classroom that the students would want to investigate. We signed up for Amazon's monthly STEM mystery box to keep our class wondering.
The most recent box we received had a drill set. The students can sort and count the colorful bolts, map out all kids of designs, and develop critical preschool math skills.
Dynamo Dominoes is designed to engage kids in their early STEM development, it encourages children’s spatial thinking abilities, and color recognition.
We love to learn through play, and the Amazon STEM boxes help us do just that. We cannot wait to receive our next surprise!
This week we learned about ice and snow. When children learn about things that are happening in the world around them, it is easier for them to understand vocabulary words and activities surrounding the study.
Just like snowflakes, we are all different yet equally beautiful! We each created a snowflake out of glue and glitter. We learned that snowflakes are shaped like hexagons.
In our sensory bin, we conducted an ice rescue! The students used tongs and water to break the sea animals out of the ice. This activity taught the students about one of the ways we can melt ice. It also had a fine motor skill component.
For our science experiment this week we watched as sugar and salt melted ice cubes! We recorded data and drew pictures to represent what happened to the ice.
Paint the ice! A fun activity involving the mixing of coloring and the concept of melting. As the ice melted over time, the water mixed their colors (yellow and blue) together creating green.
As a class we made snow dough! To create this dough we had to follow a recipe step by step. Once it was made, the students were asked to create snow scenes; some friends made snowmen and others made snow covered hills perfect for sledding.
Count the snowflakes! To incorporate a math element this week we covered our papers in felt snowflakes and counted them afterwards. Peeling the backing off of the stickers gave the students fine motor practice as well.
It's the holiday season, and what better way to celebrate than holiday play!
We used stickers, markers, and paper to create a winter wonderland for our gingerbread friends. Using scissors and glue can be a challenge in preschool, that's way we practice as much as we can!
We used marshmallows and toothpicks to create shelter for our toy animals. This STEM activity promotes creative thinking and shows the students there are many ways to complete the same task.
One of our favorite books this week was, "The Gingerbread Man". We created a life-size gingerbread man to decorate and bring to life! We talked about team work and communication, because nine friends working on the same project can be difficult.
We used shaving cream to practice writing letters in the "snow"! This is a fun way to practice handwriting.
We had a fun filled spirit week! Happy Holidays, see you next year!
I am the 2019-2020 Beginners Lead Teacher! I graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. I enjoy hiking, traveling, arts & crafts, and playing the ukulele.