Our first short week of PreK is officially in the books so I can share what we accomplished this week. We started with creating our meal time name mats. I cut white card stock in half lengthwise and wrote each student’s name on them with white crayon. I also wrote it lightly in pencil on the back so we would know which one to give to each student. Students painted with watercolors to reveal the secret message, which were their names.
Once dry I laminated them and the students who have the job of getting tables ready for snack and lunch get to put out the names on the tables at meals so everyone knows where to sit. You would be amazed how quickly everyone learns everyone’s name when there is the incentive of actually choosing where everyone sits for meals.
We put our watercolors in test tubes with small brushes. The sample above is from Amazon, which is an affiliate link. We may have gotten ours from Oriental Trading. I always use some sticky tack at the base to stabilize them and reduce the chance of the whole thing being knocked over while painting. I also highly recommend the brand of liquid watercolors above. We had another brand and the containers were much easier to end up with the watercolor all over your hands while dispensing it. The other brand also did not seem as deep, no matter how much you added to water.
For the first week and quite a few more students than last year, I purposely chose many activities that children could successfully interact with on their own. I put out the ocean animals and the sorting bowls, along with the hand tongs that I found at Walmart in the kitchen section. I also put out bags with name puzzles. This year I found a different border for every student so when a letter inevitably ends up out of a bag and on the carpet I can more quickly figure out whose it is.
The first set above is the one we have in our classroom. The second set has more colors but I have not seen it in person. These are both affiliate links.
Since my classroom theme is ocean based I decided to go with a sandy sensory bin. The sand ended up being a bit dusty, so we ended up removing the sifters and spraying water periodically to keep the dust down. This sand will end up being disposed of after this week since it was so dusty. We chose some colored shells that were leftover from something, another couple sets of hand tongs and fish theme ice cube trays from Walmart, and some ocean themed bath toys from Dollar Tree.
At the beginning of the year I like to have a pretend play theme that is not too complicated or with too many pieces to pick up at the end of centers time. Since the next week is an About Me theme, doctor seemed to be a good choice.
I put the light table in pretend play to be the x-ray machine and examining table for the baby doll. I found the x-rays at Tried and True. I printed them on overhead projector sheets and laminated for durability. I have some of the animal ones for when we switch over to a Vet theme later.
My science center needs to be a in more central location this year due to having more students and needing more spots for eating snack and lunch together. I was planning that the science center would have two spots with the other two chairs for the waiting area for the doctor’s office. This worked until more than two wanted to use the science center so I may end up having the science center have four spaces whenever it seems like it should be popular.
I have shells to be sorted and looked at with a magnifying lens as well as several sensory bottles and a view finder with ocean animals like the Amazon affiliate link above.
At the arts and crafts table we worked on our name mats as well as one other craft project this week. I also made play dough, which I put in slide lock bags with names on them. This gives students another reason to want to recognize their own names and helps with reducing germ sharing. In addition, I rotated dot marker activities (found at Gift of Curiosity and 1+1+1=1 , cutting strips, and qtip painting on this table throughout the week.
I got a brand new Froggy to dress for the weather since mine had lost a foot at the end of the year after five years of use. I managed to break our laminator while prepping to laminate him and was fortunate to have someone to come to my rescue and let me laminate him and his two large jackets. The rest of the pieces fit in my small laminator.
I also completed my ocean bulletin board with my student crafts. They put together scuba divers. My daughter and I took photos of the students that I made into circles to glue on the face of each diver. The children got to decide whether they wanted their diver to swim upward or downward. I then helped them figure out how to place the head so it would be facing correctly. This does mean that some of them look like they are wearing their oxygen masks on their stomachs.