Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bee Project: Day 1

This past weekend I noticed two dead bees on my deck. I was thinking about all the recent news and information around the honey bee population and I thought it would be a great intentional invitation for my friends at school. And so, the Bee Project was born.

Today, the first day, I started off with a nature table set up with the bee specimens I had collected and brought to school. I printed out a few photos of the bees when I found them, photos of other bees, and wasps for comparing and contrasting, and a also two different bee diagrams. I shared my story of finding them with my students. They were hanging off every word I said.

When I asked them: "What do you think happened to these bees?" they were bursting with ideas:

There’s these plants that bite bees. Maybe a pinching bug pinched them and they died. I think someone hitted them with a stick.

Oh dear. Those bees must be died. Must be the legal baller- I don’t know- he does everything bad- He’s mean to everything

Someone stepped on them? Maybe we can make them come alive- but if we do, we have to stay still. 

Next, I asked: "What will we need to figure this out?"

 A hammer to smash those bees down. Maybe we can look inside their bodies. We should look to see if there are any broken parts. We will look at this picture. (*referring to one of the diagrams)

Then I asked them to tell me what they already knew about bees:

Bees carry honey in their legs and they carry them in legs because they carry it to the hive and they fly. Someone can smash them with hammers when they are trying to work on something. My friend Quincy got a big sting on his foot- He put it in the water.

Someone killed them. Bees like flowers. They drink honey from their hives. They don’t sleep in hives- they sleep in flowers. 

They eat honey. They drink honey out of buttercups. They can sting people. Jack got stinged- he had to have a lot of candy. It stinged his shoulder at inflatable world. 

Water makes stings better. One time I had bees at my house. So we didn’t have a hammer but my dad had a saw to cut it. The bees are still there.

At circle time we I read a short story called Speedy Bee. Here's an audio clip with some amazing thoughts going on:

I suggested that we go for a walk around the neighborhood to visit some flowers and see if we could observe living bees. One of my students suggested we take our journals so we could draw a picture! Proud teacher moment :) 

The first bee we found.

                                                                      A hungry slug.

                                                                  "It's raining petals!"

                                    "This is so beautiful and the bee thinks it's beautiful too!"

Can you find the bee in this photo?  

                                                      Dusting their hands with pollen.
Time to record some observations.

                                    On the walk back to school Allen spied another dead bee.

      When we got back to our classroom we sorted and inspected all the beautiful flowers we had collected. (Of course, we only picked up flowers off the ground, and not in our neighbors gardens.) 

                             I can't wait to see what direction this project takes tomorrow. Stay tuned. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Little Artists

We recently held Aspen Leaf Preschool's first annual art show and it was a huge success. Not only did we raise money for supplies through the silent auction but more than that, our students felt amazingly proud of their work. They learned so much throughout the process of planning, creating and finalizing details for the show. They are artists!

Summer Time: A Book

Spin Art: Red and Blue

Rainbow, Red Explosion, Diamond is my Favorite Shape, Dots

String Art: Heart

String Art: Rectangle

 Functional Art: A Scooter

 Rain (created during a rain storm)

 California Love

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our Bodies..."have so many parts and things!"

The Boo Boo Book by Joy Masoff and Jack Dickason is a favorite in our classroom. It's the kind of book that kids love. There are lots of flaps to lift up (under the cast there is an x-ray of a broken bone!) and things to feel (a scratchy scab!) It has been in one of our book baskets for quite awhile and always gets a lot of love but recently it seemed to be extra popular. Due to its popularity, I decided I should probably read it at circle time and do an activity around it. This one book (that my mom bought at a yard sale, thanks mom!) blossomed into a few weeks of studying our bodies. We learned so much and had a great time doing it! We shared a few boo boo stories too...


One of our circle time facts was: "The human body has 206 bones." We talked about this for awhile and tried to feel some of our bones. We especially liked feeling our friends spines. Then, we made skeletons out of cotton swabs after reading a halloween story about a skeleton and a mummy. We liked how our white crayons showed up on the black paper. In the story, the friendly skeleton's name is Sammy. Every skeleton we looked at after reading the book was most certainly named Sammy! 

Using tape was great for our fine motor muscles and also a lot of fun. Putting this skeleton together took team work! 

At another circle time we learned the names of a few bones. We focused on the femur, our largest bone and the stapes, our smallest bone. After circle time, friends visited the carpet to try putting "Sammy's" bones together. "He has a femur!"

X is for X-ray. After learning about x-rays we painted our palms and made x-rays of our own.

A great spatial awareness activity! We laid down on large packing paper and traced our bodies. We added clothes just like we were wearing that day. We really liked standing next to our traced bodies once they were hung up on the wall. "I'm big!"

Most definitely our favorite body activity of the unit! We learned about the insides of our body (esophagus, heart, lungs and stomach) and then made paper bag suits so we could see how they work.  The interactive design of this activity proved to be such a great learning tool. We dropped uncooked pasta down the esophagus and could see it landing in the stomach! When we blew into the straws the lungs expanded! Amazing! When I reviewed these parts later in the week, we remembered them all! Interactive learning sticks! 

"David has a body like me." 

Sunday, March 10, 2013


This week we had a perfect emergent curriculum moment. On Monday during the circle time weather report one of the kids reported that it wasn’t cloudy when in fact, the entire sky was covered in clouds. We went out on the porch to get a closer look. We discovered that the sky was covered in clouds, like a blanket. That night I phased out my lesson plans on superheroes and researched clouds.

 We started with a cloud science experiment. There was so much excitement as their clouds grew heavy with rain! 

 We had an awesome time learning about the clouds for the rest of the week. We did so many fun things. On Tuesday we read the book The Little Cloud by Eric Carle. It is a new favorite! In the story we followed Little Cloud as he changed into different shapes. After we read the book (twice) we painted our own little clouds, who had turned into some great shapes like: donuts, numbers, letters, dogs, and even a tornado.

We used cotton balls to make a cloud book of our own after we learned about the three basic types of clouds (Cumulus, Cirrus, and Stratus.) Everyone read his or her cloud book before naptime. It’s great hearing them use the cloud vocabulary words as they read and talk.

At the end of the week we painted clouds again, using cotton balls one day and puffy cloud paint the next (shaving cream mixed with glue.) We made dream clouds that we will hang from our ceiling. We also read Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld. We wore Cloudette necklaces all morning as a story treasure.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Little Surprises

One of my favorite things about being a teacher is finding little surprises left behind by my little friends.  

Outside one day, I found their shoes all lined up on the edge of the sandbox while they played inside it. 
So sweet. 

Another day while putting a marker away, I noticed "Baby Dolphin" in the marker box. I casually said "Baby Dolphin, what are you doing in the marker box?" One of my friends answered me from across the room: "She wanted a colorful bed Miss Erin" Of course she did :)

I had been watching this block tower being built for several minutes and at first there were no Halloween erasers involved. When I noticed him adding them, I  commented what a good idea that was. His response: "It's a haunted house now!" 
And it was.

While cleaning up after school I noticed these cars sitting on matching color bean bags. It's the little things...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Outside fun!

We spend a lot of time outside exploring and learning new things. We are lucky the beautiful weather in San Diego lets us use our outdoor classroom just as much as our indoor classroom (not the case in Maine, where I taught before :)

We took a walk to the playground at Balboa Park. We could tell pretty quickly the children were familiar with this playground. They didn't waste any time climbing, sliding and swinging. 

After some tree work in our playground area we were left with great stumps for hopping and climbing on. 

Or using for hammering practice.

The water table is always popular! I like this careful pouring!


Scissors are a fundamental part of preschool art. The children were so excited to begin using them! But, before being set loose with scissors, we talked about how to hold them when we are walking, how we only use them when we are sitting and we can only cut certain things, like paper and play dough. Before we did any actual cutting we practiced putting our fingers in the correct holes and how to open and shut them when holding paper in our other hand. So tricky! Practice makes progress! 

On the first day we cut green paper and used glue sticks to make a collage. 

 I was doing some research on cutting skills and came across this idea for a cutting sensory box. Perfect! I brought paper shreds in from home and added paper scraps with their names on them to the box. The boys loved finding their names hidden in the shreds and being able to cut the shreds into even tiny pieces. 

This activity kept them very busy and engaged for a long time. 
"Look! I'm making confetti Miss Erin"

Careful cutting!