I am making a concerted effort to make sure I have some engaging science activities in my classroom this year. Having a dedicated science table and a coworker who will ask what I am doing for science this week is helping keep me accountable.
Earlier in the year I had a magnetic/not magnetic center in my classroom, so my students knew a little about magnets already. I wanted to revisit magnets during transportation week since I already had the fishing game ready that used magnets as well as having magnetic trains to play with on the small train table.
My younger daughter helped me with this center by making masking tape paths for the students to try to make their train cars travel along using the magnet wands (Amazon referral link so you can see which ones we have). I showed the students how to make the magnet wand push the train cars without touching them and then asked them to try it out. One student was fascinated with this center and brought the materials over to the door at dismissal to show one of the parents how it worked. He had also figured out how to make the two magnet wands fight to keep away from each other.
We discovered that the best way to make this center work was to have the magnet wand sliding along the table. Otherwise the train car sometimes rotated to the side and stuck to the magnet.
What kinds of activities do you use in your science center?
If you are looking for some extra activities for your transportation unit, please check out my new bundle:
We are now officially back to school after our Christmas break. I spent some time over the weekend getting my room set up for our theme of Transportation. The other PreK teacher and I worked together to come up with two sensory bins so we can trade them for the second week of the theme. Above you can see the fishing for transportation items bin. The pictures of land, air, and water transportation items are laminated and have a few staples in each of them. The staples make the magnetic fishing poles be able to catch them. In the past I had tried having magnets, either buttons or magnetic tape, on the back, but then the magnets tended to fall off. The students catch the item and then place it on the correct mat for where they would find it.
The students enjoyed using this center today and the teaching assistant enjoyed not having bunches of sensory bin items all over the floor to sweep, especially since we had peppermint rice in December which ended up everywhere. In the picture there are wheel shaped pasta (Amazon referral link to get a closer look at the type of pasta) added in for some fun.
What theme are you starting 2016 with in your classroom?
Just before Thanksgiving my coworker and I attempted to plan the entire month of December together. I will admit that I did a good job of getting this coming week planned, but only have a general idea of the rest of the month. I am grateful that my coworker wanted to plan this way, though, because it will really make the rest of the month much easier.
Christmas Q-tip Painting
I decided that I wanted some fun fine motor practice for my students this month. We have done a few q-tip painting activities in the past, mostly focusing on making the shapes of the letter of the week. The set I created involves dot painting along the outlines of Christmas related drawings. I will probably use the black line with the clip art this time around in my classroom.
To use these printables I provide q-tips or other cotton swabs and a small paint palette with a few colors of paint as well as a paper towel to set used swabs on. There are a few students who really like to mix colors, so I do need to remind them that these are shared paints for the center and that mixing is not a choice. I will try to make sure I do have an activity in which those students who like to mix paint will be able to mix during an art project, if possible, during the week. Otherwise, I will try to let my happy mixers be the last to use the paint at the end of the last centers time so that they can mix to their heart’s content.
Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site wide sale Monday and Tuesday, so make your wishlists now and be sure to check out one of those days. I have a few items I want to purchase myself and need to decide how much I can budget. Some are just to use in my classroom and some are to make items to use in my classroom as well as add to my store.
Thanks to an awesome customer I have twelve new questions for the holidays for my Question of the Day Bundle. Between these questions and the ones already in the bundle I am sure I have plenty for the entire month of December. I may end up making a few more, though, since we are focusing on the five senses during December and I may want to have a few questions that relate the senses to Christmas.
I am also planning to switch my pretend play from a Construction Site to a Post Office, so I have a bunch of work to do before Thanksgiving so that I don’t feel overwhelmed when I get back. I need to pack up the golf tee nails, the sand paper, the wood, tool sets, and construction vests. Since I am planning to move my writing center into the Post Office I need to pick up a bunch of Christmas cards from the dollar store to stock that part of the center.
After a break from Laura’s Lily Pad to get my school year started, complete a college course on Play and Learning, and deal with some family issues, I now am dusting off my blog and sharing my classroom photos of my new Ocean Friends PreK classroom.
I started out the year with an ice cream shop in my dramatic play area. The freshly painted wooden kitchen pieces were donated by a family from my church and were painted by another member of the church. My director made most of the decorations when she did this dramatic play area in her classroom in year’s past.