Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Making Math Vocabulary Meaningful

An ordinal number tells the position of something in a sequence. Knowing ordinal numbers and understanding how to use them is an important school readiness skill. This is easily accomplished as part of your everyday activities. Use the terms first, second, third, fourth, etc. as you speak with children. 

After children have heard you use the ordinal number terms and orally echoed them, help give this numeracy vocabulary meaning, by asking 3 children to come to the front of the room. Line up children in the first, second, and third place in line. Ask questions such as “Who is second?” or “Who is first?” Let children point to the child who holds the correct place in line. This way you are encouraging all children to participate in responding.

Then have children take a red, blue, and yellow crayon from their crayon boxes. Give specific directions such as “Put the red crayon first in the line.” Continue with all the ordinal numbers, from first to eighth as children grasp understanding. 

Extend the math talk in meaningful ways throughout your day. For example, when children line up for recess or lunch, ask questions such as, “Who is seventh in line?” 

We also like to integrate math talk with books. Favorites such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle help children make meaningful connections with sequencing and math vocabulary. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is perfect for learning the days of the week, but it is also helpful as you can encourage children to use ordinal numbers when discussing the caterpillar's meals throughout the week.
Have each child draw a picture of what the caterpillar ate. Assign a day to each child. Then make a line and have children say, "First the caterpillar ate an apple, second he ate two pears, etc." This reinforces the idea of sequence and allows for math vocabulary practice in a developmentally-appropriate way.

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.F.02 & 2.F.04,
Head Start - X.A. 1 & 2.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

More Alphabetic Poetry

As Poetry Month draws to a close, we wanted to offer you a few more letter "ditties." We like to teach the alphabet in order of letters that are easy to recognize and have a consistent sound. This is why we don't start with a. This letter has many sounds ranging from short to schwa. Begin instead with letters like m, s, and t. Children can count on these letters to sound the same. As they recite the poems, have them write the letters in the air. You will also note that these little poems all have an environmental theme that you can connect to Earth Day. 

Who Am I? A Turtle! 

M is for me or my, you see,
This is my home, where I like to be.

I sit, I swim, I splash, it’s fun,
S is my special place in the sun.

My name starts with T – what am I?
A turtle on a log, warm and dry.

Continue on with other consistent letters.  

 Clean Animal Homes!

R is for river, fish and birds like it lots.
For animals, too, it’s a watering spot.

A raccoon finds its food near the water at night.
A raptor spies its meal from a high-flying flight.

There’s food in a river for fish who swim fast.
They eat little bits of plants they swim past.

So F is for fish and the food that they eat.
A clean river gives animals their tasty, good treat.

But something might show up in rivers, it’s sad.
L is for litter, a thing that is bad.

Throw trash in a bin, keep away that litter,
Help rivers stay clean for every animal critter. 

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC -2.E.05, 2.E.06, & 2.G.06.
Head Start - VII. B & E., XI. B. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Poetry Month: Celebrate with Letter Poems!

It's always fun when Poetry Month rolls around as simple rhyming stanzas help children get the sound of language in their ears. It's fun to combine this component of phonemic awareness, alphabet letter writing, and even science into one small poem. Below we have written a poem that highlights those pesky lowercase letters "with tails." We know they are difficult for children to form, as they often do not want to "go below the lines." Hopefully this little ditty will help them remember how to form these letters. 

P is for perch, parrot, and polar bear.

These animals all have a tail to wear.

A peacock’s tail is big and bright.
A penguin’s tail can be tucked out of sight.

Some letters have tails, that fact is true.
Help me name them, why don’t you?

The lowercase p goes below the line.
g, j, q, and y have the same design.

You can see that the rhyming words help with phonemic awareness AND children are reminded of letters with tails. Then...launch into a discussion of animal tails, your science lesson!

For more on poetry for emerging readers, be sure you are signed up for our free activities -  box in right corner!

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC -2.E.05, 2.E.06, & 2.G.06.
Head Start - VII. B & E., XI. B. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Organizational Tips for the Preschool Classroom

Organization! You know it's the key to a valuable experience for your preschoolers and for you. What are some tips that might help you? We've listed a few below and will keep adding to this list.

Messy bookshelves are common in many classrooms. Avoid upside down books, a disheveled shelf, and children who can't make a book choice by keeping all books in bins. I like to get various colors, for example blue for science, red for animal stories, yellow for information, etc. Then, I put small stickers on the cover of each book to designate which bin is the book's home. This helps with organization and teaches children to put materials back in a specific place, but in a child-friendly way.

I like when children can carry a bin of books to the carpet and look through all of them. By having books arranged by topic, children begin to learn about different categories of literature. This is an age-appropriate introduction to genre.

In talking with a preschool teacher, she noted that despite years of experience she made an error when buying a new carpet. She pointed out that it did not have easily discernible spaces for children to sit. This is an important consideration when buying or "adopting" a classroom carpet. When each child has their space, fewer irritations will occur.

Here is one of my favorite tips. Have you ever looked around and wondered who is in the bathroom and how long he or she has been gone? Use a teddy bear duo to help.
Have children take a bear and put it on their seat at the table. This way you can see at a glance who is using the restroom and make a mental note of how long the child has been away. This has worked wonders in my classrooms over the years!

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.A.07 & 2.A.08
Head Start - II. A. & B.