Showing posts with label sandtable. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sandtable. Show all posts

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What's inside your holiday sensory table and a freebie.

I love this time of year for using holiday items in new and interesting ways to make learning fun for kinders.  My learning centers are the easiest way to really tap into those multiple intelligences (you remember those don't you?)  and let exploration really run wild.  I know everyone has their own definition for what 'learning centers' are, but for me, they are something completely different than Daily 5 Stations or Math Stations.  Learning Centers in my classroom are truly those 'exploration-like centers from long ago but with some differentiated, academic-twists built in to the mix.

I have 9 centers going at a time (remember 26 kiddos-I don't want more than three at a center) and they usually get to visit them about three times a week.  Centers range from the traditional kinder type activities such as housekeeping (yes I still do housekeeping but always have books, writing and math components built in), construction and art to computers, writing, word work and math.  The later centers are differentiated for readiness and there are lots of choices of activities within the center. 

This is one activity you'll find in my word work center this month.  Students can pull a ornament card, string the miniature ornaments to spell the word and then write it on the dry erase board.  It is differentiated because some students will only work on beginning letter sounds, while others will be working on cvcc/ccvc words. I actually have a mat and self-correcting cards for this activity and the mat works if you don't have bulbs.  Just click on the pictures to get the link.

In my math center, one of the activities you'll find those same little miniature ornaments with numbers on them.  I store them in a stocking and students take turns pulling an ornament from the stocking.  They compare the number with the other students and the students with the bigger (or smaller - we use a spinner to determine who) gets to keep the other students' ornaments. The student with the most (or least) number of ornaments is the winner.  I can easily differentiate this center by controlling the number range that each group of students work with depending on their readiness. 

And, of course, my favorite center is always the sensory or sand table.  I like to find interesting things to put in it for my kinders.  Last month is was corn and although I usually put different types of evergreens in it this time of year, there are a few allergies in my class so for the moment I have some shredded green and red paper in it.  I'm not crazy about it so I think I'm gonna actually pull it out.  The one thing that WILL be in the sensory table no matter what else I decide to put in it is this gingerbread CVC letter sorting activity.

 I got these great little graphics from Lidia over at Lidia's Doodles.  They are perfect for giving my kinders the practice they need with medial sound recognition and sorting.  I made little houses with medial letters on them and attached them to a little box with a string which will hang from the side of my table.  Students will take turns finding a gingerbread man and sorting them into the correct box.  It's self-correcting because the answers are on the bottom.  So after they finish their recording sheet, they can check their work.  Of course, you can have a copy.  Just click on the picture and it will take you to the product.

So I'm always curious, what's in your sensory table this month?  If you're looking for more gingerbread activities, check out what I have in my TpT store by thumbing through the widget at the top right of my blog page.  In case you missed it, I did add a last minute number recognition, counting on and addition gingerbread I-spy.

Finally, did you guys see the new Holiday E-Book Full of Freebies!!! You have to download this.  I have three freebies of my own in it. It is amazing.  Make sure you take a look.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Playing Palaeontologists . . . And A FREEBIE!

My kinders are totally 'diggin' studying about dinosaurs.  One of the highlights of our learning centers is my 'other' sand table (I told you sometimes I have to break out two because there's so much I want to do). 
I know many of you have a difficult time justifying your dramatic play and sensory/sand table to your administrators, but I feel blessed NOT to have that problem. 
This particular center appeals to my naturalist who love to deal with dirt, dust, sand or any other natural products as well as to my kinesthetic learners who love to move and touch and this particular activity is a favorite of logical intelligences who like to figure things out. 

I made a bunch of these 'dino stones' for my kinders.  The stone is just a concoction of sand water and plaster of paris that dries rock hard.

It's my kinder palaeontologist's job to discover what is buried in the rock using craft sticks, paint brushes and safety goggles of course.

It's fascinating watching them go to town on one of these little rocks.  They work and work and work . . . digging and brushing until they get a glimpse of any sign of 'something.'  The rocks are JUST hard enough to keep them engaged and occupied for sometimes up to 20-30 minutes but not so hard that they become frustrated and quit. 

If and when they are able to release the dinosaur from it's stony sleep, they get to keep their prize. 

So you want to make your own 'dino stones?'  It's easy and I have some step by steps to show you how. 

First here is everything that you're going to need:

A box of plaster of paris (you can get it at Home Depot for like $6.00 I think)
Some little toy dinosaurs
Rubber Gloves
Little mast (optional)
9 oz paper cups

Make sure you check out the label of the plaster paris for warnings about fumes/dust and all that important stuff.  I have never had a problem with plaster of paris but I always wear gloves.

Before you get started, get your paper cups and dinos out and make sure that they fit.  Some Dixie-type cups are too small for the dinos.  That's why I choose the 9oz ones.

You can use any kind of container to measure, but just remember, you will need 2 parts sand to one part plaster of paris and one part water.

First mix the plaster of paris and water together in your mixing container.
Careful not to make alot of dust by just dumping it in.  Kind of take it slow and easy.

Next mix in the sand.

Once it is mixed up, go ahead and fill your cup so it covers up your dino.
You can see his little head popping up (help me . . . help me!)

Once they are all covered up, leave them alone for 1/2 day or so to start drying out.
Once they start to set up . . .
you can peel the cup off from it. . .
And then let them dry for a couple of days until they are good and hard.
Make a couple dozen of these, one for each child, and let your little paleontologists have a ball.

Oh yeah . . . and a freebie.  Because so many of my teaching pals love a good old fashion I-spy and have requested I expand my I-spy horizons to include math concepts, I now have an addition and subtraction version of I-spy for your ocean theme.  Click on the picture below to get tier one on this freebie which addresses common core standards for math.

If your interested in other items like this, please check out my TpT store (you can click on the link below).  There's actually a sale going on right now through May 8th.  TpT is giving you 8% off with their TAD12 code and everything in my store is an additional 20% off. 

Thanks for stopping by...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What's in your sand table? . . . diggin' for nonsense bones and a freebie.

There is nothing better than a sand table . . . unless it's two sand tables.  Right now in my class I'm using my normal sand table and a make shift sand table that's actually a short sided plastic storage container that you would slide under a bed but it's the perfect size if you don't have a sandtable readily available in your classroom. 

Because my students are going crazy over all our dinosaur activities this week, I decided to break out this 'extra' sandtable and make a little nonsense word game for them to play while pretending to be paleontologist.

First I purchased milk bone dog biscuits. The cheaper the better. Then I painted them white.  After they dried, I went ahead and printed real and nonsense words on them. The I put them in the storage unit with this very bright blue sand.  I like it because it makes the bones stick out.   I was even able to differentiate this activity to meet various readiness levels of my kinders.  Some of the bones are printed with black letters, those are the 3-lettered nonsense and real words, and some are printed with pink letters, those are the 4-lettered nonsense and real words.  Students are instructed which color to look for when 'digging.' 

I allow them to use paint brushes, small tongs and tweezers to extract the bones very carefully.  If it's a bone they can read they print their 'findings' on their recording sheet, either as a real or nonsense word.  The first person to fill all both sides of their recording sheet is the expert paleontologist. 

I know there are so many of you that don't have sand tables and I didn't want you to miss out on the fun, so I concocted you a little differentiated freebie for you to meet common core standards that is actually two activities in one.

I hope you 'dig' it (get it?). And if you do and your interested in other dinosaur activities that are differentiated and address common core standards, please check out my TpT store or click on the pictures below.

Make sure that you keep checking the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot Link int he right hand corner to stay posted on all the great freebies coming your way Sunday!!!! I'm SOOOO excited for this event.
Until then, keep diggin'

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Butterflies are in Bloom!! So of course, I have a differentiated BUTTERFLY FREEBIE for you.

I know it's spring break in Michigan when my family makes their annual visit to the Fredrerik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.  It's a favorite annual trip, and I LOVE that my boys still get excited about going each year to see the butterflies. 

Of course they have to get prepared by checking out the brochure so they know which ones are their favorites and for which one's they'll be searching.

The blue Morpho is a favorite, of course.

It's also the hardest to capture.  I got a quick shot of one at rest and that blue flash is one flying by.

There are so many varieties  . . . and all so beautiful.

The gardens do a fabulous job of introducing the entire life cycle from egg to caterpillar  . . .

I see a caterpillar!
 to chrysalis

So many varieties of chrysalis hatching . . .
  to finally butterfly

If you are VERY VERY still, sometimes they land on you.  My boys hope and pray for this every year but, alas, it hasn't happened yet.  But they still try.  And after the butterflies, of course, we spend another couple of hours in the children's garden.  There is a sound garden, water activity, shrub maze, a huge sand area, a butterfly educational center and the ultimate tree house/fort ever. 

My three little bears loved it (they claimed this area of the park as their bear cave). 

And all this butterfly

and frog (yes we saw little tree frogs too) talk

has got me thinking about making a new activities and, of course, a freebie for all of you.

So check it out.  This one is a little bit different but I think you'll like it.  Instead of students just searching for the written word in an I-Spy and recording what they read, this I-Spy has a hidden picture in it.  The students find the hidden picture, say the word, sound it out and record what they see.

This is my first time doing this activity so I'm looking alot of feedback on how it works for you.  I have a cheap little Samsung 322 HP laser printer and the pictures came out fine for view through a magnifying glass so I can't imagine that anyone will have any problems with it but if you do let me know. Just click  HERE or on the picture to get it.

You can use this activity a variety of ways in order to meet your students' learning profiles.

There is an extended unit including CCVC/CVCC words and CVCe words available at my TpT store for you to check out as well.  And in case you didn't know

I have some other creepy crawly activities available there as well.


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