Zoo Phonics is a new component of our curriculum this year and most of the posts have been about that or September's dinosaur theme. The children are continuing to study Chinese as well. We decided to begin the year with zoo animals to compliment the Zoo Phonics curriculum. Yueying has done several activities with the children to teach them animal vocabulary. She has also worked on dinosaur vocabulary. Next month the children will focus on learning about their classroom and school.
The children have discovered that dinosaur feet are huge! They learned that a Tyrannosaurus foot is about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. Next the children traced their own feet and cut them out to compare them with the Tyrannosaurus foot. They also tried to see how many steps a Tyrannosaurus could take walking across our gym and then counted their own steps. The discussion also led to how tall the dinosaur might be. Some guessed it could be as tall as our gym.
The children have been learning about dinosaur fossils and made casts of dinosaur imprints at preschool. Before beginning the project the children watched a video at YouTube - How to make a Dinosaur Fossil. The children mixed sand, dirt, and water together and then pressed a dinosaur into the mud. The imprint was filled with plaster of paris to create the cast.
This week the preschoolers have been learning all about the letter a. They began the week reviewing the letters and their sounds and body movements. They traced puffy paint letter a's with their fingers, drew a's in applesauce and completed pre-writing worksheets. They learned that Allie is one of the hardest workers since she can be found in so many words. The children took their homework folders home including a worksheet to be completed with their parents featuring Allie Alligator wearing a hardhat and holding a shovel. The children looked at words on the bulletin board and all took turns finding Allie and the letter a. All of the children were able to recognize the merged letter a with Allie.
This week the preschoolers learned that dinosaurs hatch from eggs. The children have been singing counting songs and finding dinosaurs in eggs. Today they talked about what dinosaurs eat and found that most were plant eaters. Following this discovery they played the Triceratops Leaf Eating game. Children drew a numbered card from the deck and then had to feed the corresponding number of leaves to the triceratops. They practiced Chinese vocabulary while playing the game.
This month the preschoolers are studying dinosaurs and prehistoric habitats. Later in the fall they will learn about deserts and plains environments. In the winter we will study the arctic and then forests. Oceans, rivers, lakes, and ponds will be covered in the spring. Children will also learn about the people and cultures who live in each environment.
Yesterday the children learned about paleontologists and digging for dinosaur bones. To make the concept more concrete dinosaur puzzle pieces were hidden in the sand table. Children had to dig for the puzzle pieces and then take them to the table to figure out how they fit together. This was also a wonderful group activity where the children learned to work together as a team.
The preschoolers learned about Allie Alligator today. They saw her shaped as the letter "a" and then read Allie's page in the first reading book. While reading Allie's page the children looked at all the items in the picture and pointed out which ones begin with "a". They're also working on some pre-writing skills.
Yesterday the children finished creating Allie the Zoo Phonics alligator. The children painted the alligators on the first day and then added texture with torn construction paper of various greens. Today they added teeth. The alligators will be hung in the toddler and preschool rooms. Other Zoo Phonics animals will join Allie throughout the year.
Each letter in the Zoo Phonics system is associated with a zoo animal. The children then learn a body movement or signal related to that animal. At the same time the children learn the letter's sound. For example, the children snap their hands together to act out Allie snapping her mouth closed. The use of oral, visual, and kinesthetic means helps the children to learn the letters in a fun way and makes the letters more memorable.
Yesterday the preschoolers joined the toddlers to begin the school year with a Zoo Phonics lesson. Amber introduced Allie Alligator to the children and taught them the Zoo Phonics song including the body motions for each animal. The preschoolers had already been working on the song so were able to help everyone learn it. The kids painted two large 5.5 feet alligators today; one for each classroom. The alligators are difficult to see in the pictures since they're lying on top of white butcher paper. Tomorrow the children will finish the alligators by glueing teeth in their mouths and adding bumps to the bodies. The alligators will be displayed on the walls where other animals will join them throughout the school year.