Tuesday, February 14, 2012

100th Day of School, Sensory Table Learning, Voting Sticks, Table Talk, Homemade Bubble Machine!

Queridas maestras,

Happy Vacation everyone!!  Before you head off to your various destinations (or maybe you're doing a staycation like I am), I wanted to send out a few ideas for inspiration in your classroom to think about over break!! 


100th day of school:  Pre-K classrooms, are you counting the first 100 days of school?  If so, you should be coming up to your 100th day in the beginning of February.  If not, then it's not too late to start!  You could count the first 100 days of 2012 as a great way to add more math to your daily curriculum.  There are many ways of doing this, but here's one idea: Try having the children add a straw to a jar each day of school during circle time and then make bundles of 10.  When you have 10 bundles of 10, then you'll be at the 100th day of 2012 (sometime in June.)  Then you can have a 100th Day of 2012 Party!  And with that, the ideas are endless!


Sensory Table Learning:  The sensory table gives children the opportunity to explore, experiment, observe, and manipulate while increasing their fine and gross motor, hand eye coordination, math, science and communication skills.  Since sensory table activities are self directed, sensory play also helps build self esteem in young children.  Please follow this link to find TONS of sensory table ideas! 
Be sure to change the table at least WEEKLY to add variety and to prevent boredom. 


La Caja Misteriosa:  Here's a home/school connector that encourages the children to speak Spanish.  Decorate a shoe box with vibrant paper and question marks and call it "La Caja Misteriosa."  Make a list of the children in the class so you know who will have a turn taking the Caja Misteriosa home.  The child brings the box home and puts an item inside the box and needs to come up with clues/PISTAS to have their peers guess what is inside. At circle time, pass the Caja Misteriosa around the circle and let the children guess what's inside. The pistas need to be in Spanish, and the children need to guess what the item is using Spanish as well.  They can also ask questions in Spanish to gather more information. 


Voting:  Encourage children of all ages to learn about democracy and voting!  Make Voting Sticks with their name and/or picture using popsicle sticks.  Have a SI and NO jar for the children to put their sticks into when you ask them a question.  It could be anything!!  "Tienes un perro?"  "Te gustaria ir al espacio?"  Encourage "frases completas" when they are answering and placing their stick in the corresponding jar.    Extension:  Do you have lots of "cliques" in your classroom?  Use your voting sticks to do "pareja del dia" to integrate and mix up the various groups of children.  Once they have their partner of the day, that's the person they sit next to during lunch, walk down the hallways with, sit next to during circle time etc.  It doesn't mean they can't play with others, it just means that's their Pareja del Dia

Table Talk:  Encourage casual conversations in Spanish at mealtimes with these topics to develop their language skills. Also, social relationships and personal skills are enhanced by pleasant conversations at lunch and snack.   Remember that mealtimes and eating together is a meaningful experience and you can have lots of teachable moments at snack and lunchtime!  It's a very social part of the day!

  • Tell the children about when you a little girl.
  • Share stories about your personal life, pets, hobbies and family.
  • Ask them about their birthdays or family vacations.
  • Talk about how the food tastes.  Is it sweet, salty, hard, soft, etc.?
  • Discuss upcoming events at school such as a field trip, party etc.
  • Ask them about their families, pets, customs and cultures.  Emphasize how we are very much alike, but also different.
  • Relate conversations to a theme, a story or other school activity
  • Ask the children about what they like best or least about school.
  • Engage children in problem-solving a difficulty in the classroom.
  • Talk about wishes, dreams, nightmares and other feelings.
  • Give them a category in Spanish (i.e. frutas, colores, medios de transporte) and have them come up with the vocabulary in Spanish
  • Listen, listen, listen to what they have to say! 
Extension:  Try dimming the lights, playing soft music, adding a floral arrangement as a centerpiece and/or putting battery powered candles on the table to create a relaxing restaurant like atmosphere! 


Quieting Trick: Homemade Bubble Machine:  Try using the Bubble Machine/Maquina de Burbujas
 to gather children for a group activity.  Or for toddlers, just make it to have some fun popping the bubbles!
  • Margarine tub
  • hole punch
  • straw
  • bottle of bubbles (purchase one or make your own) 
Best Homemade Bubble Solution
1 cup water
2 tablespoons light karo syrup or 2 tablespoons glycerin
4 tablespoons dishwashing liquid
Mix together and have fun!
  • punch two holes in the lid of the margarine tub
  • pour about 1/2 cup of the bubble solution in the tub
  • put the top back on.  Insert the straw in one of the holes and blow until bubbles come out the other hole. 
  • Demonstrate how the Bubble Machine works.
  • Tell the children that whenever they see it, they should come sit down on the rug.
  • Challenge the children to sit down before all the bubbles pop.



Jacie Feinberg, Education Director
Pine Village Preschool

214 Lincoln Street Suite 112
Allston, MA 02135
781-710-2348 (cell)

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