This group time we played dominos and reviewed the concepts, different, same, match, end, and between. There are a lot of domino games out there for purchase that use pictures rather than the traditional dots. You can use them for vocabulary and category development if you get sets that are made around a theme. In the vocabulary section there are directions and a place to download them if you want to make your own.
This week we played the game Simon Says. Basically the game has a leader give directions. If the direction is prefaced by “Simon Says” the students follow the direction. If it doesn’t preface the direction the students do not follow the direction and have a penalty. We had the students in the gym so were able to use some lines that were already present for a basketball court. The directions included moving forward and backward to the next line doing various walks such as walking like a crab, or hopping on one foot. If students were caught following a direction without the preface of “Simon Says” they had to go back to the original line they started at. This is a good game to increase listening skills and curb that impulse to do immediate action without thinking about the direction. We also reviewed the concepts right, left, backward, forward, next, and sideways.
This last week the group reviewed the concepts of backwards, center, and items that belong to a category. We played a variation of the game “Fruit Basket Upset”. In this game the children form a circle, step backwards one step and sit down . One child was placed in the center of the circle. An adult would then gave a direction such as “All children with white on their shirts stand up.” These children were then given the direction to change places. The child in the center then tried to get one of the spots that were vacated. This left one child at the end to come back to the center. You can instruct children to hop when they exchange places to discourage a mad rush to the vacated places. Once the children understood these basic games rules, we handed out cards from the “Never Ever Dinner Plate” activity. The directions were given to include a category that was handed out. For instance only those with fruit could exchange places or only vegetables that grew underground.
Today we again found ourselves in the gym. We set up an obstacle course that consisted of a very long jump rope, cones set up in a circle, hula hoops laid out on the floor in various patterns and cones that were rounded off rather than having the pointed tops. We then lined the students up behind the jump rope that two adults held up between them. The students were instructed to jump over the rope, go around the cones, skip to the hula hoops, jump in and out of them, jump over the half cones or tap them and form back to the line. The 2nd round they were instructed to bend backwards under the rope (think limbo stick) gallop around the circle of cones to the hula hoops, walk through the hula hoops (think football players and tires) and weave through the half cones. The concepts reviewed were between, through, bend backward, over, around, and skip. They had additional practice skipping, and galloping which allows practice crossing the mid-line which is said to be important for writing skills. An obstacle course lends itself to all types of directions using prepositions. Just use your imagination when looking for equipment.
This week we decide to do the bean bag toss activity. We were able to use the gym which gave us more room. The students formed two large circles. We placed containers in the middle of the circle and had students take turns using a spinner to decide which container they should try to toss a bean bag into. Our containers were round, square, and three sizes (small, medium, large). We used the direction ” between” which meant they tossed the bean bag between two containers, and closest and farthest. We spent the first 20 minutes doing this and then played a game of “Simon says”. Up until this time we have introduced this game without having a penalty. We just pointed out students caught not following the direction. This time we lined students up and gave directions such as stepping forward 3 steps. When the students were caught they returned to the starting point. It really pointed out the students who were not listening or had difficulty with impulse control.
We are back from the holiday break and have had one day to get back into the routine again. This session we used the “Don’t Fall Through the Ice” activity that is in the vocabulary section. This activity reviews the concepts one, a couple, few, and several. The students spin a spinner with the vocabulary words printed on it. They pick wet marbles as indicated and put them on top of tissue paper stretched across a plastic coffee container. The marbles eventually get too heavy and fall through the paper to the bottom of the container.
I’ve found that anything with water seems to be a hit. I have learned not to put the coffee containers on the tables too fast. Children can’t seem to resist poking their fingers into taunt tissue paper. I’ve done this activity several times and have found there are a lot of differences in tissue paper. You may be surprised which paper turns out to be the strong or weak paper. I usually just collect whatever tissue paper I can find which ranges from the paper in shoe boxes to paper stuffed in gift bags. We’ve also used Kleenex and brown paper towels in a pinch. It’s worth testing it out to see how long it will actually last. The amount of water used with the marbles and how drippy they are can make a difference on how long the paper lasts. Today one of the adults double papered my opening and it never did break for the 20 minute period, even though we had the top filled with marbles. Have a 2nd round of tissue paper available because you usually have to change the paper at least once.
This is the last week before our winter break. The sugar plums dancing in the children’s heads make it a bit more difficult for them to focus. We worked on the easier concepts of half, whole, top, front, end, and match. Our reading program has large letter cards of the alphabet letters made into animal and common object characters. These are called alfa- friends. I cut a set of these cards in half so that there was a bottom and top section. The children formed a circle and sat down on the carpet. Each child was given a top half of a card which they placed on the floor infront of them. The bottom sections were placed in a container for grabbing. Each child was given the chance to pull a bottom section out and join it with their top. This made for some silly looking characters. The children then decide if it is a match or not and where it should go to make the whole character.
I was at a conference last week if you noticed I didn’t have a post. This week we continued working on the concepts left, right, forward, and back ward. The classroom teacher requested we work on completing a pattern as this was part of the math program lesson this week. We divided the session into a motor movement part and then a table activity. We decided to do some dance movement which lends itself naturally to learning a pattern. We did the Hokey Pokey in line dancing format. The students formed two lines and then faced the partner in the opposite line. We then talked about left and right hands and how they can hit their partners left or right hand by crossing over. It gives them an awareness that it looks different from the perspective of the student opposite of them. We then had them turn and form lines again. We practiced moving the right foot out, the right foot in, the left foot out and the left foot in as directed. This prepared them to do the Hokey Pokey while we sang the song and included turning yourself around and clapping hands at the end. While still having the students in two lines we practiced the movements for the Bunny Hop. Again we talked about placing your right foot out twice and then your left foot out twice. We then practiced hopping forward three minihops and then backwards three minihops. After practicing this we added music. We had limited space so kept limited movement. If you have more space you may be able to move on further. We then moved to the table activity. This consisted of using a container of parquet blocks that had a variety of shapes. The teacher at each table started a pattern with the blocks. Students then selected blocks from the container to continue the pattern. For those who need a reminder of what the bunny hop looks like here is a short video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBcNID1h27g of the bunny hop. Here is the tune and words to the Hokey Pokey http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/hokey.htm
This week, like many schools, we have a short week because of Thanksgiving. It seemed like a good week to have a food theme. We did the “Never Ever Dinner Plate” activity. I originally made this activity to introduce the concept (never). It also works for matching skills, categorization of food and talking about empty and full. The kids always get a kick out of finding the things you never eat. It’s similar to the memory game so also encourages concentration.
We are amazed at the progress the students have made since the beginning of the year. They are now taking turns without difficulties. We can leave a table periodically and the activity will continue on without direct supervision from an adult. They are not worried about who is winning and will actually help students who are falling behind. This is quite amazing since our classes are quite large. It really helps to have them more independent and cooperative.
We were back to having a full week of school and had our 9th concept group. We used the Musical Chairs activity in the vocabulary section. This activity reviews positional words such as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, middle, and last. We also talked about before and after as it relates to position in a line. I’ve found kindergarten students will be enthused about any activity that has movement and music. This activity has both so it becomes a favorite. Getting the middle card becomes the coveted position because that child gets to hold the bear that marks the middle of the line. I had two new adults that hadn’t completed this activity before. They caught on pretty quickly although I forgot to tell them to start with the middle position and build from there. We had different numbers of children at the tables so the middle position could shift if they started with the first place child.