Saturday, July 26, 2014

Around the World 2: Egypt, Australia, Germany

Ancient Egypt, actually :)

  • Mummy Wrap! The kiddos worked in partner pairings to "mummify" friends with toilet paper.  It was a fun way to observe and challenge cooperation and persistence skills.
  • Egyptian collar necklaces- Many ways to make these with supplies you already have.  We used brown construction paper, dyed pasta noodles, and yarn.  Our neighbor classroom used paper plates, copper paint and plastic jewels. Everyone loved them.

  • Math/Science- We made 3D paper pyramids. Great (fun!) shape study and spatial reasoning
  • Writing - spelling names and words with hieroglyphic symbols. A big favorite!
  • Sensory - Teamwork to mold sand into great pyramids of Giza
  • Art - stencils of hieroglyph symbols were inexpensive and easy to find. Cool, simple way to make Egyptian inspired drawings.

And we could not forget to play musical chairs to "Walk Like an Egyptian" :)
Down Under, learning about animals native to Australia, aboriginal inventions, and modern sights!
  • Art- use pencil erasers and paint to create Aboriginal dot artwork
  • Math- "Kangaroo Math"- solve the kangaroo's addition equation with manipulatives, then give him the boomerang with the correct answer.
  • Construction - Use various materials to build the Sydney Opera House
  • Science- Make "didgeridoos" from various materials shaped into a tube, and see what different kinds of sounds we could make.
  • Over in Australia! We read this as an introduction during our "airplane ride," then got off the plane to make a class mural and turn our room into Australia together. We used a big piece of butcher paper spread out on the floor and each child drew an animal in the right place (tree, water, field, underground) in Australia.
  • Boomerangs! An awesome invention for them to enjoy. We had "real" boomerangs (child safe boomerang toys purchased at a low price online) and learned about the invention.  Then cut out and designed our own.
Other books we liked
Adventures of Riley, Outback Odyssey by Amanda Lumry
A Wombat's World by Caroline Arnold
Adventures of a Little Wombat by Charles Fuge
Thirteen Buildings Children Should Know by Annette Roeder
Germany -
Castles and Grimm Brothers fairy tales!

The kiddos loved making their own castle towers to decorate the room.  They split into teams, were given supplies to share, a few suggestions, and then freedom to create their own, cooperative design!
Other Activities

  • Royal Family Portrait - Fold paper and make a castle that opens to reveal the royal family! I drew and copied the template for them to figure out where/how to fold up to make the castle open.  They colored the castle and of course drew their own families inside.

  • Castle Team Build Competition- We divided into several small group teams, and they cooperatively built a castle with given materials at each station in 5 minutes.  They rotated to new materials until each station was completed. A "winner" was chosen each round to get stickers.  We used different types of blocks (large and small,) magnets, dominos, and floam as building stations.  Fun!!
  • Math/science/construction- Build a castle with a certain number of each different shape geometric block.
  • Dramatic Play- Select a popular Grimm fairy tale to reenact roles (popular choices being, of course, "Rapunzel" and "The Frog Prince," but we also had some really like "The Elves and the Shoemaker.")
  • Literature - sequence picture cards from fairy tales we have read.  create and/or tell fairy tale stories with felt board fairy tale sets, picture cards, puppets.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Around the World" Theme Begins

Theme: Around the World
Need I explain why an "Around the World" unit is awesome?  We are going -in our imaginations- to nine countries around the world, enjoying them each and learning a ton.  The children have learned about cultures and nature around the world, as well as developing their self concept by comparison and acceptance of differences. 

 Airplane Rides in the Classroom

 We begin every new adventure with a pretend airplane ride in the corner of our classroom, set up to look like an airport.  It didn't take much, just a large world map, signs with pictures marking different sections of an airport, and some airport worker badges added to dress up.  There is also a section to display a flag and pictures of the country we were currently focusing on.

 To begin our travels to each destination, we set up chairs in rows, act out a dramatic takeoff and landing, and enjoy books about our destination during our "flight time." 

 Before boarding the airplane, each child writes their name on a ticket, to be presented to me and a "flight attendant"- a great reward job for a special kiddo- as we boarded.  This was an easy way to practice and observe full name writing and handwriting skills, and also get their imaginations ready!

Travel Introduction Craft

 We also had fun with clothespin airplanes in the beginning.  Easy, inexpensive, fun!

Here we go....

Rainforest, here we come!

  The BEST book to have is The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry. It teaches about animals native to Brazil, conservation of the rainforest, and respect for all living creatures.  The story can bring tears to your eyes when you see the kids understand the message.


Their favorite animal from the book was a sloth.  We read additional books about sloths, and then a really fun "game." They chose to be either a two toed or three toed sloth, and we used manipulatives to measure out 6inch construction paper claws (that's what sloths have!) and wore them.  They loved it and understood why a sloth wouldn't be able to crawl well- and, of course, what 6 inches is.

We also studied this unit at the time of the World Cup in Brazil, and put some emphasis on the love of the sport in South America.  We played a soccer match against another class, and made a soccer ball craft to reinforce the shape of a pentagon.

+ Brazil Theme Show and Tell was a hit! We had lots of jungle animal stuffed animals to share :)
  • Science- observe Venus fly traps to learn about carnivorous plants in the Rainforest. A great book is Hungry Plants by Mary Batten
  • Sensory- Taste different foods that come from the rainforest (chocolate, mango, banana, etc)
  • Dramatic Play- Rubber snakes swimming through the Amazon river and crawling through the jungle
  • Literature- Tell rainforest stories with themed felt board pieces
  • Construction/math/science: build snakes with geometric blocks to have patterned tails
We loved our study of food and art.
Art Activities
  • Crawl under a table with a butcher paper covering underneath to paint upside down, gaining perspective on Michelangelo creating the ceiling
  • Create a copy of Michelangelo's cherubs from the Sistine Chapel.  Their drawings were so sweet, I highly regret not taking pictures before sending them home.
  • Describe a famous painting in your own words. Very cute answers as their little minds saw different things happening in scenes familiar to us, but new to them. 

Food Centers
  • Writing: Writing sight words in pizza sauce on a trey
  • Art table: Pasta noodle collages
  • Manipulatives: Pizza Math- Roll dice and add felt pizza toppings until "pizza" is full
  • Dramatic Play: Work an Italian ice cream store and buy/sell ice cream with friends. We used floam in cups for ice cream.
  • Sensory: yarn spaghetti and rubber ball meatballs.
And Italian Themed Show and Tell was easy as spaghetti!

So much busy fun ahead! More soon :)