Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Pinterest Pick 3 ~ November Edition

I've been scouring Pinterest lately planning for Kai's preschool Thanksgiving feast, even though it's three weeks away!  Here are my top three picks:

This adorable paper bag turkey filled with popcorn would be a great centrepiece for the table.  I will probably need to make two since there are 17 preschoolers.  Maybe I'll even ask our new Junior School principal to do the honours of "carving" the turkey!

How cute are these paper pilgrim hats and bonnets? A must-do!

I remember Keefe doing this thankful turkey handprint two years ago.  Can't believe it's time to do it again!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Preschool Halloween Fun

Americans are usually dismayed when they discover that Halloween is not celebrated in Switzerland.  In our neighbourhood, none of the houses are decorated and I did not have kids knocking at my door on Halloween.  Fortunately enough, the international school that my kids go to have a high number of American expats so my kids celebrated Halloween in school (although the 1st graders celebrated autumn instead of Halloween).

Kai’s class talked about Halloween all week, from reading Halloween picture books, playing Halloween games to singing Halloween songs (Kai's favourites were “Did You Ever See a Pumpkin” and “Five Little Pumpkins”).  Crafts abound this week where the children made a paper plate ghost, a hanging bat, a pumpkin craft with yarn and pumpkin seeds, making jack-o-lanterns out of oranges and ghosts out of lollipops.  The children made spiders and jack-o-lanterns in German class.  

One of the preschool classes made lift-the-flap pumpkins, which I thought was very creative!
On Monday, I brought in a pumpkin to Kai’s class where the children measured the circumference and height of the pumpkin, and guessed how many seeds were in the pumpkin.  Kai guessed 100 seeds.  The pumpkin had 437 seeds!  Afterwards, the teacher assistant carved the pumpkin into a happy and angry jack-o-lantern.

Today, I went to Kai’s class to bake Halloween hotdog mummies with the children.  Each child made a mommy/daddy mummy and a baby mummy.  The children had fun wrapping their hotdogs with dough and ate them for snack after they baked in the oven.  Kai’s teachers decorated the classroom with everything Halloween-y.  Isn’t it boo-tiful?

I organized a trick-or-treat for the children in the afternoon.  Kai was so excited that he was the first one to run onto the soccer field when the trick-or-treat started.  I dressed up as a witch, and handed out Halloween juice boxes (which I covered with ghosts and Frankensteins – lots of work!) and mini gummy bear packs wrapped in Halloween labels.  Kai dressed up as his favourite superhero (Spiderman) while his best buddy dressed up as Superman.  I expected to see lots of princesses but most of the girls dressed up as witches! 

In the evening, I brought the children for trunk-or-treat in one of the school campuses. There were about 50 cars and the kids had collected a stash of candies in less than an hour! Whew, what a busy Halloween week!

Linking up with:

Monday, 19 October 2015

A Peek into Preschool 2 ~ Families Unit

Kai started full-day schooling at the international school in August.  Although he missed his fun teachers, friends and days at Gymboree, he has slowly adjusted to his new school and has been good buddies with two boys in his class, an Estonian and a Dutch.  He didn’t have tears on his first day of school and came home with a handprint poem after reading The Kissing Hand.

Families Theme

For the past six weeks, his class has been inquiring into families – what a family is, where the children’s families come from & how the families are the same and different.  Here are some of Kai’s works:

(Top left) Kai's first day of school self-portrait; (top right) Kai's self-portrait drawn in the interactive whiteboard; (bottom left) Painting self-portrait with watercolours; (bottom right) End of unit self-portrait ~ what an improvement from his first day self-portrait!
(Leftmost) Graphing the number of members in the family using paint, googly eyes & confetti; (middle) Family in a house; family members made using popsicle sticks, cloth & yarn; (right) Kai's drawing of his family; (bottom) 3D family puppets using recycled materials
Kai had his "special child day" in early September so that his friends can get to know him better.  He had his Families unit portfolio sharing session at the end of September where he reflected and shared his work with me:

Kai has started the Jolly Phonics program in school where the teacher takes them through one letter sound a week with crafts, stories, games and handwriting.  So far, they have covered /s/, /a/ and /t/.


The five preschool classes had a “Teddy Bear Day” in September where each child brought his/her favourite teddy bear to school.  Unfortunately, Kai’s teacher fell sick that day.  Some classes made teddy bear prints with a real teddy bear, made split pin bears, did patterning with gummy bears and had a teddy bear's picnic!

I celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with Kai’s class in September.  We read Mooncakes by Loretta Seto, made a craft, ate mooncakes, played the mooncake dice game and even danced around the moon!


Now that Kai goes to "big kid" school, I don't do "mommy school" with him anymore.  But every now and then, we'll do some crafts together at home to go along with the theme in school.  These were the crafts we did in August and September:

We read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and made a name craft.
5 senses craft ~ the idea came from here
Popsicle stick family craft ~ the idea came from here but I modified it by dressing up the family members with washi tape. Kai drew the faces, hands and feet & labeled each family member.
We read The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree and did a craft to go along with it.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Learning at Home with {Caps for Sale}

~Kai is 49 months old~

This week, we read Caps for Sale which Kai loves.  He read the book over and over again.  His favourite part was: Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!  I collected all the caps we had at home and realised we had a checked cap.  He happily wore it and I took a picture of him in our backyard.  He practiced balancing all the caps on his head and tried walking with them, just like the peddler in the book.

Kai worked on the beginning sounds /m/ and /p/.  He would say each word and sound out the first letter. We also practiced rhyming words and surprisingly, he did very well!  I thought he would confuse the beginning sound and ending sound, but he didn't!

I made some preposition cards and we headed outside with Boots the Monkey to practice prepositions.

We are working on recognising numbers 11-15.  Kai knows the number 11 well because we ride the tram 11 to the "big school" every day.  We did this number flippy book together and watched Harry Kindergarten's Numbers in the Teens video.  I made a number mat for him to practice number recognition.  I call out a number and he places a counter on the corresponding number.

We started and progressed with Lesson 1 of this book and I was happy that he could recognise almost all the words!  From the picture, you can see him reading the phrase and matching the phrase to the correct picture.  I cut out all the words from Lesson 1, call out a word and Kai would glue the word onto the blue paper.

Kai coloured 17 caps using the same colours from the book and stacked them up on top of the peddler's head, just like in the book!

Linking up with:

Friday, 24 April 2015

Learning at Home with {Tops and Bottoms}

Spring is finally here!  We finished our Letter of the Week back in February and with life getting in the way, I didn't do much with Kai at home for more than two months!

Kai is now 4 years old.  He recognises all uppercase/lowercase letters and the associated sounds, numbers 1-10, shapes, colours, rote counts to 30 and able to make ABAB patterns.  Before he enters "big school" in August this year, I was thinking of exposing him to beginning letter sounds, rhyming words and recognising numbers 11-20.

With inspiration from 1+1+1=1, I decided to do a literature based unit study with Kai this week, using the book Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens.

Vocabulary ~ Learning the names of vegetables and whether they grow above or under the ground 
Beginning sounds, letter writing (noticed how he drew a carrot on a plate!)
Rolling the dice, making his vegetable garden emergent reader book (he was very proud that he wrote the word "carrot" on his own - of course I had to spell it out for him!)
Patterning (making ABAB patterns - tops/bottoms/tops/bottoms using vegetable clipart), sorting and matching vegetables to plant in the garden, veggie number puzzles 1-10 
Growing a carrot top ~ Kai was super amazed that his carrot top has grown within 5 days!  He kept saying, "It's growing!" and got a gray marker on Day 5 to draw a line on the popsicle stick to show the growth of his carrot top.
Kai has been learning how to recognise the Chinese numbers 1-10 for weeks!  He can recognise all the characters now except for the number 9.
I wanted to make a craft with Kai that can help him recall the story.  So I came up with a craft showing Bear sleeping in his house and the crops that Hare grew in Bear's field -- carrots (made slits on the paper to put the carrot in to show that it was growing under the ground), lettuce (made of crumpled crepe paper) and corn.
Just for Fun
And just for fun, Kai helped me make vegetable salad for his dad's dinner.  He enjoyed breaking the lettuce leaves into pieces, pouring the veggies into the bowl, plucking off cherry tomatoes from the vines, and finally pouring sesame dressing onto the salad.
Linking up with:

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

St Patty's Day 2015

St Patrick's Day holds a special place in my heart because it also happens to be my birthday!  Belle & Kai were unwell so I had all three kids at home. 

We read The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever! and followed it up with a writing craft and drawing.  Keefe ended up colouring my leprechaun.  I think Belle's leprechaun drawing turned out so much better than mine!

Keefe & Belle did various math and literacy activities but all the action shots are Keefe's since Belle was not well enough for photos.
Printables from A Differentiated Kindergarten, The Printable Princess, Ingles 360 and Our Little Monkeys 
Kai did the activities over two days.  The poor fella has to wear an eye patch an hour a day because his right eye was diagnosed to be "lazy".  We have not been doing a lot of printables work lately since we've completed our letter of the week activities.  He is turning 4 in a few weeks' time - time to think of something new to keep him busy learning!
Printables from Our Little Monkeys and Over the Big Moon