This morning I came across a post by a fellow blogger, Cookie, where she was sharing a discovery she had made online: in her words, worksheet heaven. I quickly checked it out and by golly, it is indeed a treasure trove full of resources for mommies, and teachers alike. It’s nice that these resources exist because teaching, both from a teacher and a parents standpoint, can get overwhelming at times. There are so many things more that have to be done so sometimes, setting aside time to make worksheets and reviewers have to be put on hold. This support system can truly make that part of the job much, much easier.
those in early childhood educationRead 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 other day after our discussion about birds, I finally did one of my all time favorite story stretchers…
Green Eggs and Spam!!! Yey!!! For today I decided to have them color the eggs green first and place them on a nest just for kicks
It was a joy to see the kids try to figure out how to hold the eggs and navigate through the shape without cracking or squeezing too hard. Some of them were even brave enough to venture designs in their eggshells
Before the actual cooking activity, we went through the book, Green Eggs and Ham then we went on to experimenting on how to make our own version of the dish
Since most of my kids are readers already, I also let them take turns reading through the book. To further up the academic difficulty of the task, we also listed down the ingredients and procedure we did, then we went on to charting how many kids liked or did not like our little experiment.
As a finishing touch, we also answered some word problems about itRead More
In class today, one of my little boys, Joshua, kept asking about “what do we do next, teacher?”. Every time I would answer him, he would follow this up with “but what time, Teacher?”. When I would give him a time, he would glance up at one of the wall clocks in our area (there are three of those large kitchen wall clocks visible from my table) and ask how I know that that was the time already.
Because of his interest in time, I decided to drop what I had plan and do an impromptu telling time lesson instead. One important thing I learned in my many years of teaching is that flexibility is key in making learning meaningful and memorable to children. Given the interest in time, we discussed how clocks tell us what time it is and how to read this correctly. We even made paper plate clocks so they could practice at home
For my class, I find that since they are able to follow skip counting by 5′s already, they can manage reading the minute hand in increments of fives, but for the younger kids, you can stop with “o’clock” and “thirty” depending where the long hand is pointingRead 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
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!!!!)
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
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
For our discussion on clothing (as part of how we take care of our body) and colors, I decided to let the kids experiment on tie dying this week I started out the week with a discussion on primary and secondary colors, particularly how primary colors can mix together to make a new color. Since then my kids have been calling red, blue and yellow “magic colors” because they can become something else when mixed.
We also discussed the different types of clothing we wear and for what purpose (i.e. raincoats, aprons, gloves, socks, costumes and so on and so forth )
For a culminating activity, we made rainbow shirts!
The kids had a blast! So did teacher I was a bit worried at first about how this would have turned out, mainly because my past experiences with these activities were not very good. Luckily, my partner, Teacher Joy, had experience in this and did great in mixing the dye. I usually put too much water and I used to use vinegar instead of salt in the mixture. Plus I used to “cook” the shirts. Apparently, that was wrong! Haha!
This time, what we did was to prepare the different colors of dye then tie up the shirt and dye it section by section. Plus I squeezed out the excess dye before moving to the next color. Success! For the shirts that kinda had extra white spaces on it, we decided to use the stampers to add some flair
Again, the kids exclaimed “this was the bestest day ever, Teacher!”
We did the shirts yesterday and today, before heading home, we tried it on!Read More
Cooking and food-related activities are sure hits when teaching kids. It can be a little tiring for teacher though, especially since you have to keep in mind the kids safety, as well as the fact that some kids have food allergies.
One activity I enjoy doing is a food sorting game. This can tackle a wide range of topics, depending on the level of difficulty. For example, the food sorting game can focus on shapes by having kids check out what’s in their lunch boxes and grouping them together like this:
For older kids, you can have them classify it by taste (i.e. sweet, salty, bitter, sour), type (go, grow, and glow) but the most fun I have experienced was when I asked them to identify where food comes from.
What I did was had the kids bring in some of their favorite food (some brought in the real thing, while others brought photos only). On my table, I put a plastic pig, cow, chicken, and plant/tree. We then had a taste test-slash-learning activity. After sampling some of the food, we placed them in the appropriate column. The simple ones were the obvious ones: fried chicken, eggs, milk. Fruits and vegetables were easily associated with plants as well. Burgers, hotdogs, and barbeque was a little more difficult for them, but they were able to understand it quickly. What they had a hard time grasping was that rice, bread, nuts and even chocolate came from plants. I showed them pictures of wheat fields and explained that when the plant grew, it was harvested and milled so rice could be produced. I also showed them pictures of trees like the cashew tree and other flowering plants where nuts and cacao seeds would come from.
cashew tree in Coron, Palawan
cacao tree in Bali (Photo: “cacao fruits” by Dennis Tang, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved). Cacao trees grow in different parts of the world, the largest of which is in northwestern South America. Africa and South East Asia, including the Philippines, also produce a large number of cacao plants. The irvingia gabonesis, an African tree, is an example of where chocolates come from.
The activity was not just an eye-opener for the kids, but it was also a laugh fest for us all. Some of my favorite comments during the activity:
Teacher: Where do hotdogs come from? Kids: Doggies teacher!
Teacher: Where does bacon come from? Kids: The freezer!
My all time favorite:
Teacher: Where does a burger come from? Kids: (in unison) Jollibee!!!!
I am a self-confessed over-the-counter junkie. I am the type of person who would pop a pill at the first sign of a cold or to treat even small aches and pains. However, now that I am getting older, I can’t help but think about what this does to my body. While the relief is almost instantaneous, it can have long term consequences that may affect my future. This is why it scares me that so many over-the-counter medications are being abused nowadays. From oral antibiotics to analgesics, even weight loss pills and supposed natural/herbal supplements, these pills are being passed around like it’s candy. It doesn’t help that many of the celebrities around have made taking these pills cool and interesting.
I think one way we teachers can help address this problem is by including topics like prescription drug use and abuse in our health classes. Although I may not be able to do this for my preschoolers, I sure can address this in my college classroom. A good venue, for example, is in my abnormal psychology classes where I talk about eating disorders and addictions. I don’t have a set lesson plan in mind yet, but I think it would be a good addition to the lesson. Any suggestions?Read More
Today was a super fun day with the Seniors of Playschool! Thanks to a friend of mine who suggested making one of those cut-out standees, I was able to make learning about the body a more enjoyable and meaningful experience for my preschoolers.
Because my students are Seniors, and especially since most of them were from my class last school year as Juniors, we have progressed from naming the visible parts of our body to the internal parts.We also talked about what it does for the body. For example, we talked about what happens to food when it goes to the tummy and how our body gets rid of excess waste. As a follow up, we will be reading Taro Gami’s book “Everybody Poops”.
So today I tried my best to make a replica of a human body. Pardon me if the dimensions and locations are not 100% accurate, but I used one of the school books to guide me
After creating the model, we took photos with our standee