It’s been a while since I posted something about preschool, but since I got asked the question, I guess it’s a good time to answer it First of all, let me share why giving children fine motor skills activities is important. Well, here’s something to think about: Imagine writing your name with your non-dominant hand, it’s hard, right? Why is it difficult? Simple: the skill is underdeveloped. Coordination is difficult as well.
Developing fine motor skills, in tandem with hand-eye coordination, is essential in basic academic tasks and in many of our life skills as well. Writing,for example, begins with well developed fine motor skills. Sadly, nowadays children are forced to develop penmanship skills even before they are ready.
Working on fine motor abilities, such as hand/finger dexterity, flexibility in the wrist, and small and controlled movements will help them achieve academic competencies with more ease and less discomfort. Plus it tends to be more developmentally appropriate.
Activities that can help include:
1. Paper Tearing – give them sheets of colored paper (or even scratch paper or old magazines) and work on tearing them into small pieces. At first, you will observe that they will grasp with all fingers coming into a fist. Over time, they will learn to use the fingers with more flexibility and control.
2. Play dough – allow them to work through the dough and watch how they manipulate it to shapes. Eventually they will learn to roll, mold, shape and piece together, other than pound and throw only
3. Barrel Beads – this is best type of bead to begin with because they’re large enough to hold and with large holes to shoot string through. Not recommended for very young children though, more for the older groups. Over time, they can graduate to decorative beads. Maybe some of them might even discover paper beads or jewelry beads. Who knows, maybe someday one of them will end up being a jewelry designer for and you can order their pieces online, such as from JoyJewelers.com or even Instagram of Facebook!
4. Finger paints – the use of finger paints give them more of a hands-on (literally) experience rather than just paintbrushes. Nonetheless, paintbrushes are also awesome.
5. Lacing/Sewing cards – these are great tools to teach wrist flexibility and concentration.
There are many other activities that can help, but I guess this is good for now Please do drop me a line for suggestions or other questions!Read More
Earlier this month we were discussing plants in our class. In order to supplement the discussion, I decided to have the kids do an experiment. I had them bring several different kinds of seeds and then we went on to do our scientific inquiry.
Here’s what we did:
We started out with an inquiry (a.k.a. creating a hypothesis) in which the children were asked what they think will happen to the seeds if put in a pot with soil and given water and sunshine. To do this I had them chart it on a Manila paper. In this part I had them draw the pots and seeds (although our pots didn’t look like real pots, they were just like dark circles in the middle of the paper with little dots for seeds haha).
Then we did some observations on the seed, the soil and all other materials we used. I asked them to take note of the similarities and differences of the seeds, such as size, color and shape. Some of them even smelled the seeds (which almost gave me a heart attack because they’re so tiny, right???) and one even attempted to taste it. Thank God I saw it on time haha.
After this, we listed the procedures of the experiment (such as put soil in the pot, drop the seeds, etc.) and then actually carried out the procedure.
Of course after carrying out the experiment, we got ready to record our observations and what happens in the experiment
So…after two weeks, the kids found out that:
Teacher shouldn’t plan activities right before we go on a break. Haha. Yes…I had forgotten that the whole week of Feb. 14-18 was not a regular school week because of Paranaque Day, our school field trip, and parent-teacher conferences. Haha.
Seriously though, they did get a chance to see the plants growRead More
The kids had so much fun in the vast open spaces of the farm. Bad teacher wasn’t paying attention to the tour guide so I cannot, for the life of me, remember how many hectares the farm is haha, but it took us about 45 minutes to tour the different areas in the venue. From the animal farm to the plants and vegetables, a butterfly sanctuary and a bee center, the different stops we took allowed the kids to see nature at its best.Read More
A couple of months ago, during our discussion about health and safety, we lucky enough to get our local fire department send over some firemen to share with the kids some fire safety measures and procedures. The kids loved the fact that they got to ride in the fire truck, “shoot” the fire hose, and some even got to put on the fireman’s uniform, complete with those giant boots or overshoes. Sadly, though, it was a rainy day when the firemen came to visit so they didn’t get to fully enjoy their ride on the truck.
It was quite easy enough to get our local barangay to send the firemen over to the school. We just made some simple requests and it was quickly granted. Part of the Fire Safety Program included teaching the kids about “stop, drop and roll” as well interactive exercises about what to do during an emergency.
I strongly recommend that all preschools devote a day to this. After all, we do all sorts of fire drills and the like in elementary and high school, right? Preschoolers need to know this just as much!Read More
A few weeks ago, we were discussing transportation in our classes. The kids had a blast pretending to be traffic enforcers and learning all about stop lights. We made them little cardboard signs that we used to signal the drivers and they had so much fun doing that!
Other things we did (or can do for that matter) in discussing this topic includes:
- For the older kids, we made a stop light as an indicator of their “warnings” in class. Beside each color (red, yellow, green) is a little pocket where I put in their names if they are misbehaving in class.
- Cut and pasting art activity where the kids get to make their own stoplights
- In the juniors they did a “read” and color activity
- Car wash day!
- Invite resource speakers like a police officer or a roadside assistance club worker who can show them how to set up an early hazard device and talk about how to be safe on the road
Any other ideas?Read More
It’s hard to believe how quickly the term has gone…it seems like only yesterday when I wrote my thank you post for the first trimester but here I am again, sitting and reflecting about what I am thankful for this term.
Admittedly, given the fact that this isn’t a very good day for me, and that this term has been, um…extremely challenging to say the least. After such a heart-warming and fulfilling term, this one came as a sudden surprise, but more in the personal level rather than professional, mainly because of the fact that my schedule was not so great this term mainly because it meant I wouldn’t get to see my friends in the department too often. Plus of course the fact that there were some people and things missing as well in the department (ktnxbai :-)). On the professional side, however, this term started quite well I still am trying to find the silver lining to the term.
So here goes….
Thank you that the LCD projectors now have virtual remotes (even though I still don’t like where it’s set up because it is sooo hard to manipulate. plus let’s not forget the lighting in some of my classrooms is not all that great so it’s either I’m plunged in darkness or stuck in brightness because all the lights are connected to one switch only).
Thank you that it wasn’t too rainy and stormy throughout the term so I didn’t have to worry too much about the weather.
Thank you that my “Miss Ria’s Exams bring Natural Disasters” curse broke!!! Haha. Yes….my exams have happened at the same time as earthquakes, sudden rainstorms and freak floods.
Thank you to my thesis mentees for, well, finding a way to make research interesting. Then again, when we talk about shopping, how can you go wrong, right?
Thank you for that little corner in the Andrew Library which made my Wednesdays bearable because otherwise, it would have been very, very lonely to make the trek back to the department in between classes.
Thank you to the random people who kept me sane and grounded throughout the term by sharing their bits of advice, positivity and love whether in person, online or through text.
Thank you to my Persef2 classes, the Bio majors and the errr….what was that again? Management? Marketing??? (haha) for making classes fun all the time.
Thank you to my Persef1 classes for….um….well….challenging me beyond belief. Yes, I ranted a lot about you guys, wrote several blog posts because of you, but I would like to hold on to the notion that no matter what, things happen for a reason.
but most of all THANK YOU to my Clinpsy students who made teaching a joy for me this term, even though I think I did talk a weeeeee bit too much about myself this term hahaha. Remember: what we talked about stays inside those four walls, okay?? haha. Oh, but of course you MUST take what you learned about Clinical Psych outside of our classroom. But seriously, THANK YOU for a wonderful term. I learned so much through you, with you and because of you
Miss RiaRead More
While discussing the theme transportation, I overheard my students talking about where they would like to go if they could ride an airplane. Since they were so caught up in their conversation, I decided to have them make an activity out of it. I asked our other teacher to prepare some paper airplanes (errr….I seem to suck at paper folding haha) then I had the kids design their planes and we did a show and tell activity.
It was fun to hear their opinions and ideas about what it would be like to ride in a plane, and I was able to have some of the kids who have been on planes talk about their experiences. They described how it feels to have their tummies feel all funny during turbulence, how the clouds look when it’s right outside their windows, and one even so perfectly imitated the sound of one of the toilet flushing in those cramped bathrooms in airplanes.
Before they ended their turns, I asked them where they would like to go if they were on an airplane. As expected, the typical answer I got was “Hong Kong Disneyland” but here were some cute responses:
- I will go to the province to visit my lola
- I want to go to Japan because it’s snow (errr…that’s how she said it!)
- We will ride the airplane and live in Canada in May (their family is relocating there soon)
- I wanna ride the airplane and go to Africa because I wanna go on a safari and see the elephants and the zebras and the dinosaurs. Then Basti can come with me.
- I will go to Daddy in Qatar (awwwww nice, right????)
but my biggest laugh came from this:
- I wanna ride the airplane so I can go to SM with Mommy and Daddy. (ay kalayo man ng SM!!!!)
In as much as I love seeing the little girls in my class all dolled up and prettified, sometimes it freaks me out when I see:
- heeled sandals for a three year old
- dresses that resemble lingerie (complete with the straps and lace and strings….)
- nail polish on those little fingers and toes
- lipstick for everyday (actually, I don’t even like it for the programs, if I had my way)
sigh. Think Toddlers and Tiaras…or similar beauty pageants.
I do think they’re cute and all, but sometimes, I wish parents realize that they kinda make their kids grow up too quickly. I remember when I was a child, we’d wear braids and have sandals that strapped in a more functional way! I’ve had so many almost-accidents in class because my kids wear all these sandals that are made to look like mommy’s! Errr….may women I know struggle with such kinds of shoes, what more children, right?Read More
One thing I love about working with kids is the fact that no matter how stressed I am and how caught up in so many other things I get, I am able to find something to laugh about (or perhaps think about at times) when I’m with them. Today, we were talking about Christmas and I couldn’t help but laugh at this exchange:
Basti: Teacher, I want a Power Ranger (something…I can’t remember what his word was!!!) for Christmas. What about you, what do you want for Christmas.
Teacher: Hmmm….I don’t really know yet.
Basti: C’mon, Teacher, you can do it. What do you want. I will give you for Christmas.
Teacher: errrr….hmmmm…a big hug?
Basti: uh….a hug? That’s it? (looked perplexed)
Teacher: yes, that would be great.
Bastu: but Teacher, how will Santa bring that to you???
Teeeheeeheee Really random, but it made me smileRead More
Contrary to what would be assumed, given that I am a teacher who teaches preschoolers after all, learning to read did not come easy for me. For those who have been reading my blog for quite some time now, you probably are familiar with the fact that I was diagnosed with a mild form of dyslexia as a child. Yes, early on, I couldn’t read. Lucky for me, I had a teacher who noticed the red flags very, very early on and thus I was able to receive interventions very early on.
Back then, I couldn’t learn my letters very well, much less put them together to form words. As I understand (this is based on stories told to me by my mom and people around me, because I don’t really remember first hand anymore what it was like in the beginning), I would write my letters in mirror image and I couldn’t identify them properly. As I grew up, I loved reading but in hindsight, I realize I never was really good at it. I tended to skip words and make them up as I’d go along. It helped, however, that I had a good grasp of the English language and I enjoyed playing word games that allowed me to make up the right words as I went along.
Speaking of word games, this was really how I learned to read. In many ways, I would have to say I was really lucky that my mom is not a very traditional mom, so she really went out of her way to find ways to make learning more interesting and fun for someone like me. One way she taught me the alphabet was through the use of shells and corals in the beaches we often would frequent when I was a child. It helped a lot, I would like to say, because looking for these letters allowed me to work on my perceptual reasoning skills and helped me be able to see how letters really look like. To this day, whenever I am in a beach, I go and collect these shells to spell out stuff, just like these:
So today, I was inspired to start a new project. I want to take my alphabet project outside of just the beach and be able to find letters all around me and take photos of them. Here are a few examples:
Let’s see what I can find! Do feel free to take photos and send them to me via my Facebook Page so I can add them up
To keep tabs on the project, please check out my Alphabet Project Flickr SetRead More
It’s been a while since I’ve seen my children play bahay-bahayan (play house) in class. In fact, I don’t recall them doing so last school year at all, when I was handling the Juniors Class. This year, however, I started seeing them play pretend during rest time. I’d hear conversations between them about how mommy will read brother a bedtime story and that daddy needs to finish his documents in the computer, etc. etc. It’s been interesting to see their play dynamics.
Last week, however, I was surprised when one of the kids suddenly blurted out “but you can’t be the daddy, you’re too small” to one of the smaller boys in class. True, he is smaller than many other kids but I wasn’t expecting that. The little girl who said that went on to say, “so if you want to be daddy, you have to drink medicine so you get taller na”. Um…err…medicine? I blame this on the commercials on television that keep promoting whatever vitamins with hgh and whatever growth factor supplements. After my initial amazement at the whole discussion, I talked to the kids about how physical looks (size, weight, etc.) should never be an indicator of what one can or cannot do.
In the end, the little boy was daddy for the dayRead More
This week in class we will be discussing money. I’ve never really enjoyed this particular topic, mainly because it’s so, um…complicated? In any case, I still try to make it as interesting as possible for the kids. I find it easier to just talk about the different values of the paper bills, but we also discuss coins. One funny incident that I will always remember when it comes to our discussion on money was when I was trying to introduce the Php 500.00, which bears the face of Ninoy Aquino on it. One of the kids mentioned that Ninoy Aquino was the father of a local television celebrity, Kris Aquino (who, at that time, was hosting the television show Deal or No Deal).
Since that was already brought up, the next time we reviewed about the different bills I asked the kids to name the people on the paper money. When it came to the Php 500.00 bill, I gave the clue “He is the father of Kris Aquino”.
And guess what the kids answered: Teacher, teacher…si Banker! Ay sus!!!Read More
Lately my kids have discovered beads. We’ve had wooden beads as one of the manipulative materials in the math area ever since the start of the school year, but for the most part, they have ignored it. One day, however, I brought out a set of barrel beads, the kind you get in those wholesale jewelry, trinket or accessory store and they discovered a liking for stringing beads. I love how it spontaneously has evolved into a learning experience, because even though I did not purposely use these materials to spark an interest in understanding patterns, that’s what it did! Now when they string their beads, they discuss and compare the patterns they make out of it. I swear, it’s the cutest thing!Read More
A few days ago my kids and I got into a discussion about drinking from a bottle. One of my four-year olds said he still drinks from a bottle at night, and I said that maybe he could try drinking in a glass instead. He said it was just for bedtime because he still drinks milk before sleeping. Over the course of our discussion, we began talking about why bottle feeding at their age should not be done anymore, but I was not too forceful with the issue, especially since as a psychologist, I know that this is really a stage of oral development and making too much of an issue of it can cause problems in the future. Anyway, at the end he goes, Okay, Teacher, I’ll drink my milk before I brush my teeth instead. Yay!
Since we were talking about milk already, I decided to spin off the lesson to talk about other sources of milk products, especially since one of the other kids said she doesn’t like milk. We talked about how ice cream, for example, could be a good source of milk for them. We talked about why it was important for them and how it is a rich source of calcium which is important for building strong bones in their bodies. I told them that they should make it a point to have some milk (and other calcium rich food) daily because this will ensure their health in the future. I told them that even I had to take in some of these things so I can continue to be strong and healthy and so I could still carry them around and horse around like we do in class, but that sometimes, grown-ups take their “milk” in the form of calcium supplements, which in turn led to a whole new discussion on vitamins and other medications they find in their homes and how they should not take them unless their parents give it to them.
I enjoyed our Circle Time a lot that day and even though it threw off my entire lesson plan for the day, seeing the discussion that ensued made it all so worthwhileRead More
Often times in a preschool teachers life she will find that no matter how well in advance she has planned her lessons, things happen that change the course of this discussion. In my personal experience, this has happened countless times, both for the good and the bad. Sometimes these changes are due to faulty equipment or at times due to a more pressing interest in another topic or stimuli, whatever it is, the teachers job is to adjust to these changes and not get caught up with the “plan”.
When I was starting out, I occasionally struggled with that. It took some time for me to really embrace the idea that no matter what I do or say, if the children are intent on something else, I better just go with it. And what I realized from this is by going with the children’s flow, I would find they learned better and they remembered these lessons even years later.
One example of these sudden changes was when I ran into Mother Nature as I taught my kids about animals and bugs. As part of our Math lesson, I had them go through an investigative bug hunt. The task was for them to look for the plastic bugs and pictures of animals I had hidden around the playground and to count the number of legs these bugs had, then we were to chart this and compare which had more or less . Armed with a magnifying glass and a record sheet, we set out in search for these little critters.Read More
I was able to dig up one of my old teacher made materials just in time for our class discussion on clothing. I made this probably five or six years ago and I was amazed that it still existed!
When I first made this, what I had in mind was integrating academic concepts to a “fun” game. As such, I created a paper doll, a farmer to be exact. The goal was to dress up the farmer with articles of clothing that matched based on the letter seen on his hat. I guess you can see what I mean in the photo
Cute, don’t you think? hmmm….maybe I should patent this right about now hahaha!Read More