loving life with the little man and an elephant

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mother Goose Time's Inside the "Rainforest Adventure" Box

Mother Goose Time's "Weather All Around Us" preschool curriculum is coming to an end. We have one more week to enjoy. While we finish up this unit it is fun to look forward to the next. We received our new box yesterday and I was excited to jump right in and see what is in store for us. November's Mother Goose Time unit is called "Rainforest Adventure". While the weather is getting cold here maybe we can dream of being in the warm rainforest during this study. 

All of Mother Goose Time's units are broken into four areas all relating to the main theme. Mother Goose Time provides us with a beautiful web to see how the unit is broken down.
Along with learning about the main theme there are also basic concepts like letters, numbers, colors, and shapes that are focused on each month. 
Every month your child will enjoy many activities that will help them discover new things. A few of my favorites from this month include the I Spy Rainforest, Swinging Experiment, Fastest Path,  and Build a Gecko.
 In the activity I Spy Rainforest students will use the Theme Poster and Looking Glasses (these are included every month!) and discover new plants and animals that can be found in the rainforest. You will be able to help students create their own rope swing in Swinging Experiment to demonstrate how monkeys swing in the rainforest. In Build a Gecko you will talk about what geckos like to eat. Students will then measure items in the room with the bug rods provided by Mother Goose Time. Lastly students will build a gecko out of blocks and measure their geckos with the bug rods. I love how students will learn they can measure with more than just a ruler. These are just a few of the 125 discovery tools you will find this month. 

There are so many great art projects in this month's box it was hard to decided which one I wanted to feature. On one of the last days of the unit you will discuss jobs you can find in the rainforest. One of those featured is basket making. Children will have their own chance to weave paper like baskets in the activity Weaving Art. You are provided with a cardboard base, elastic bands, and paper to complete this project. Other art projects I am really looking forward to include Bugs on a Vine where you use bug stickers provided by Mother Goose Time and create your own rainforest tree branch with bugs and Gecko Headband Design where you create your own headband with a decorated gecko on it.

Each month Mother Goose Time strives to help your child build at least 33 skills. This month I am featuring four activities that will help build various skills. When completing the activity Stick Shapes students will work with pattern blocks to create a design on the Shape Design mat. Students are also provided with a blank mat where they can create their own unique design. In the activity Counting Monkeys you will hide plastic monkeys (think Barrel O' Monkeys) provided by Mother Goose Time around the room. You will then encourage your students to find three hidden monkeys and place them on the number three counting card. Student will continue to make piles of three monkeys to reinforce counting to three. Students will work on their pattern skills with pictures of sloths and geckos in the activity Sloth in Hiding. Lastly the activity Fishing for Letters will challenge students to both identify letters and work with money. Children will draw one of the fish cards out of a pot and identify the letter on the fish. They then will sell their fish for the amount listed on the poster.
A themed CD is included every month with the Mother Goose Time curriculum. There are many times throughout the day that the kids will ask to listen to the new CD. There are also many times that the activities will encourage you to play the CD while students are working on a project. This is such a great addition to every unit.
There is a story book included every month. This month's story, Chimidyue, is a sweet tale about a little girl that finds her way into the rainforest by accident but meets many new friends. Along with a book to add to your library you will also find many activities that relate to the book throughout the month. In the game Chasing Butterflies you will help Chimidyue find her way through the rainforest. Children will be able to use the Storytelling Set in the activity Butterfly Flutter and retell the story they heard earlier in the unit.
Not only does Mother Goose Time provide so much for their students and teachers they also take time to think of the parents. Each month they provide a family newsletter for each student. The newsletter outlines the unit, provides a book list, includes the theme web, and gives ideas of how to extend the study at home. This month the family newsletter gives parents tips on helping their child learn how to learn.
Discover games are included with every Mother Goose Time curriculum. Two games your child will enjoy this month are Chasing Butterflies and Matching Rainforest Animals. Chasing Butterflies is a basic board game where children will help Chimidyue find her way through the rainforest by rolling a die and moving their game piece. In Matching Rainforest Animals children use pictures of rainforest animals to try to find two of the same.
Students will focus on the letters M, J, and D this month. These letters are reinforced with Letter Sets. Each letter will have three brightly colored cards. One features the upper and lower case letter. The other two cards feature a picture of something that begins with that letter. These are cards that I feature in my learning space all month. 
Every month each students has their own My Little Journal. This month they will begin using their journal by writing their name and drawing a picture of themselves in the rainforest. Throughout the month they will look at the month's shape, color, and letters in their journal. 

This month students will focus on the sight words "we", "jump", and "can". Mother Goose Time provides sight word flowers to include in your circle time set up to be visited every day. These sight words are reinforced in the I Can Read book. Every child will have their own book where they will find the sight words and master reading the story.
This month's friendship feather features being grateful. What great timing with Thanksgiving right around the corner! In the activity Grateful students will create a pretend rainforest together. Students will express their gratitude for help of their teachers and friends in making the rainforest. They will then receive their own "I am grateful." bracelet.
Every month Mother Goose Time provides educators with materials like the gathering list and monthly skills chart to help them each day.
They also provide a detailed Teacher Guide and Planning Journal with every preschool curriculum. I find the Planning Journal very helpful when I am preparing for my next lesson. I also use it a lot to take notes about my students or about things I want to remember.
I am very impressed with curriculum for November. Not only do we have a great curriculum about the rainforest but there is also a bonus day we get to enjoy about Thanksgiving. I am all about the holiday activities so look for a post about our Thanksgiving day here soon. I think the kids are going to love exploring the rainforest this month!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Weather All Around Us"- Hibernation

What a fun day we had learning about hibernation! During our circle time I asked Mason "What do you do to get ready for bed?" His response was "Books, pray, brush teeth, and go to nap." (He calls any time he gets in his bed a nap.) I then told him that some animals sleep all winter when there is snow on the ground. He said I sleep when it snows too!

Our first activity of the day was called Get Read to Hibernate. While the kids were finishing breakfast I hid all the animal photos provided by Mother Goose Time around the toy room. I waited until Mason noticed that there were animal pictures all over. He then was quick to find the rest. 

I then asked Mason how he thought these animals got ready to sleep for the winter. As he told me a story about three of the animals I wrote out his stories. (This is what he looked like as he was telling me his stories. Silly kid!) 

I think he did a pretty good job with his stories and I think he liked seeing his words down on paper.

The next activity we worked on was called Build a Bear Den. We talked about that we sleep in a bed and that it is nice and comfy. It was a rainy day outside so we ended up taking some leaves from the mountain of leaf bags we have collected over the last couple weeks. 

 The kids then colored their bag and bear and I helped them cut a hole in their bags. Lastly we glued some leaves to the bag to make it nice and cozy for the bear.

When Mason was putting his bear to sleep he asked if there was a mama bear. We actually had one more bear so he as happy to have a kid bear and a mama bear. He made them hang on the bag, go to sleep, and wake up. 

While the kids were playing with their bear dens I set up our next activity Bat in Hiding. I taped pieces of the Photo Puzzle around the living room.
Mason then collected all the pieces and we put together the puzzle of a bat sleeping. 
I asked Mason if he thought it would be comfortable to sleep upside down. He said he didn't think so. I said I think it would give me a headache. He then asked if I thought the bat gets a headache because he sleeps upside down. 

I asked him if he thought he could stand on his head like a bat. They thought this was pretty fun.

Our last activity for the day was Sleepy Stretch. I put all the animal photos face down on the floor. I asked Mason how he moves when he is tired. He said fast. : ) He is always moving fast! I told him to put his hand on his chest and see if he could feel his chest moving. We then talked about that he was feeling himself breathing. We talked about how when animals hibernate their breathing slows down. 
He then drew animal cards and moved slowly like those animals. 

This activity was a lot of fun for Mason. I love how he was able to learn more about hibernating animals but also a little about himself by feeling his breathing. 

In the middle of our preschool day look what showed up at our door.....

Get ready to find out What's In The Box-Rainforest Adventure!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Weather All Around Us"- Dry/Rain

We started our day once again with Mother Goose Time's Experience God curriculum. I have found that it is easiest to start out at the breakfast table and read the story card to the kids. Our story for today was a little heavy on the drama. The last story card we read was the start of the Esther story. King Xerxes was sad and lonely so he ends up marrying Esther. 

On our story card today Esther is afraid to tell the king she is a Jew. She has to tell the king she is a Jew because Haman is going to kill all the Jews. This is intense stuff for one and three year olds. Experience God had us make a watch to show that Esther knew it wasn't time to tell the king while eating at the feast. She kept waiting until God showed her that it was time. She was brave and let God be in control while she waited.

The kids' watches said "Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
 Psalm 27:14
When we were finished making their watches we prayed "Lord, thank you for helping us be brave enough to do whatever you ask. In Jesus name, Amen."

Mason often asks what time it is so he really enjoyed having his watch on. 

The first activity we did in Mother Goose Time's "Weather All Around Us" was U is for Under. I asked Mason what words he knew that started with U. He wasn't too sure. I showed him the picture on the Letter Set of the underwear and he giggled and said "underpants". When he saw the Letter Set with the picture of the umbrella he said "Umbrella starts with U too!" We decided the word under starts with U also. I told him I was going to hide the Letter Set and he was going to have to find them. I kept telling him they were under something. 

 He quickly found all three cards and wanted to play the game over and over again. I started running out of things to put them under. Then we switched roles and he hid them and the little ones and I had to find them. 

The next activity we did ended up just being with the little ones because Mason wanted to play with our bucket of buttons and containers. (Who knew something as simple as a button can be so fun!) 
So the little ones and I worked on the activity called Umbrella Art. We started by talking about how an umbrella can help keep us dry in the rain. I then gave them each a coffee filter provided by Mother Goose Time. I gave them some washable markers and encouraged them to color on their coffee filters.

I then gave them a small cup of water and a eyedropper. I showed them how to drop the water onto their coffee filter. The water made the colors bleed together and make some pretty cool umbrellas.