Musical Instruments, Board Games and Sequencing

Our focus question for the week was how can we make music with our voices?  Here are our answers:

Collin – “you can hum”

Coleman – “you can move your neck up and down”

Anna Scott – “you can use a microphone”

Emily – “you can sing”

Tobi Lee – “you can whistle”

Madeleine – “you can use your vocal chords”

Over the last couple of weeks the children have been able to use several different musical instruments during music class.  We also had some special visitors come to class and play the guitar, and Townes broke out his mandolin to play along.  A special thank you to Ben, Lee and Mark for taking time out of their day and sharing their talents with our class. 

We played Boggle Junior this week.  Why are we playing board games in preschool?  While playing Boggle the children were working on social/emotional skills by taking turns and sharing; fine motor skills by grasping and manipulating small objects and twisting; and cognitive skills by letter recognition, letter matching, spelling, word recognition, concentration and memory.

We worked on sequencing by talking about the life cycle of the violet in science.  The children had to color the four parts of the life cycle, cut them out, and glue them in order onto their paper.  Sequencing means understanding how a series of objects, events, and time occur in a specific and logical order.  Sequencing activities help children know what comes next and to make predictions about things they cannot yet observe.

The children were able to work on their hopping skills by playing hopscotch in PE.  Hopping is difficult for young children to master; it requires strength and balance to hold one leg in the air while hopping on the other.   

Tracy Jones
Music, Show and Tell, and Vertical Surface Painting

We are studying music!  Why investigate music making?  From very early ages, children begin demonstrating their enjoyment of music by smiling, clapping, bouncing, and dancing.  Songs that they frequently hear sung or played by caregivers become easily remembered and “performed.”  Children soon learn that they can strike objects and make sounds that will cause others to listen, allowing them to become “musicians” in their own right.                                     

In the preschool years, children are often very interested in performing musically, understanding how music is made, and learning new ways to generate sounds.  Taking inspiration from family music traditions and familiar songs, preschoolers are eager to perform and experiment with musical instruments, conventional or homemade, and sing songs both familiar and new.  Music is an important part of the life of the preschooler and  preschool classroom community and is an invaluable part of children’s academic, social, and emotional development.

This study offers many opportunities for children to investigate music making firsthand while they explore social studies and science concepts; experiment with and create instruments; interview musicians; and identify their feelings and preferences associated with different music experiences.  The study also helps children use and develop skills in literacy, math, technology, and the arts as they investigate.

Our focus question for the week was what instruments can we play by hitting, tapping, or shaking them?  Here are our answers:

Emily – “drums”

Collin – “tambourine”

Madeleine – “morracas”

Anna Scott – “xylophone”

Coleman – “shaker”

The children got to practice hitting the xylophone in music.  They also learned that the xylophone is part of the percussion family.

We read the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  Chrysanthemum is a young girl with a very unique name.  She loves her name dearly until she starts school and her classmates make her feel as though her name is dreadful.  We learned the following new vocabulary words:  Chrysanthemum, roll call, scarcely, wilted, dreadful, fascinating, jealous, discontented, trifle, indescribable and humorous.

We had show and tell on Wednesday.  Children had to bring an item that started with the letter M.  Show and tell is so important because it teaches children to use appropriate conversations and communication skills.  Conversations involve back-and-forth exchanges.  Conversations are important to children’s cognitive and social-emotional learning.  Children also must learn the social rules of communicating.  This involves being polite, speaking so the listener understands, and turn-taking.   

We had our valentine party and celebrated our grandparents last week.  The children decorated their own sack, and took turns passing out valentine cards to their friends.  They were able to enjoy a special snack before going home.  Friday, was all about our grandparents.  We had an all school chapel and then each class gave a performance.  PreK sang three songs in Spanish, and did a fantastic job.  I enjoyed getting to see and visiting with all the grandparents.

We worked on our one-to-one correspondence skills in math.  The children had to count objects on a puzzle piece, and then find the correct number card that connected the two pieces.  Most of them could look at the small group of objects and identify the quantity without counting; this is called subitizing.  From this children explore concepts of more and less, how many, and parts and wholes.

We practiced on our vertical surface working.  This has been one of my favorite activities to date. Not only does it foster creativity, fun, and memorable experiences, it is so good for their little bodies. Vertical surface working, allows for more movement and better posture. Working on a vertical surface strengthens the abdomen, back, shoulders, and arms of the students. It also gives them a sense of freedom and confidence to find positions (stand, kneel, sit, etc.) that are comfortable and make “working” more enjoyable. This way of working naturally advocates the correct wrist, head/neck, and grasp positions. It has many benefits for preschool children, and it is fun at any stage. I encourage you all to try to implement this method at home. The fridge is an excellent (and easy) way to do so; add some paper, tape, and crayons - easy vertical workstation at home! 




Tracy Jones
End of Exercise Study and Tooth Fairy

Our focus question for the week was what jobs are related to exercise?  Here are our answers:

“Working at a gym” – Madeleine

“A yoga instructor” – Abbi

“Being a football player” – Collin

“A coach” – Townes

Our exercise study is coming to an end, but we have had special visitors come and do some exercising with us.  Mrs. Summer, Colin’s mom, came and did a seven minute workout with the children.  She told them that she does not get to go to the gym every day, but has an app on her phone that allows her to be able to exercise from anywhere.  We also had Kara, a yoga instructor from FWDFIT, and Anna Scott’s mom, Monica, come and talk to the boys and girls about the benefits of yoga, and showed them the cat, cow, downward dog, tree and puppy pose.  Thank you Kara, for taking the time to come share your expertise with us!

We read Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson and Max by Rachel Isadora.  Here are the new vocabulary words we learned:  autumn, heap, wheeze, badger, wren, coax, smidgen, quivers, fret, and frolic.  Learning new vocabulary is important because literacy development is influenced by explanatory talk such as discussion of cause-and-effect relationships and connections between ideas, events, and actions.  Children’s later literacy development also is influenced by their ability to define words and their knowledge of grammar.   

We learned all about the letter K and number 18. We added kiss, KayKay, kangaroo, knife and kid to our word wall.  The children traced Kk, and did the K page in their Handwriting Without Tears books.  I added plastic knives to the playdough center so the children could practice their cutting skills.

We worked on our rhyming skills this week.  Each child was given a card of an object, i.e., shoe, gate, boat, sled, bear, hat, sock, bee, and thumb.  The children had to find three objects in a box that rhymed with their picture.  This activity helps with phonological awareness.  Phonological awareness is the ability to discern the sounds and patterns of spoken language.  Phonological awareness is an important skill in learning to read.  Children typically begin to demonstrate this awareness by about age three, and their skills improve gradually over many years, and it is a strong predictor of later reading, writing, and spelling ability.

We had a special visit from Twinkles, the tooth fairy.  She talked to the children about the importance of dental health.  She said that they should be brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes.  She also said that they should brush in a circular motion and brush up and down on their tongue.  She talked to them about what sugar can do to your teeth if they are not brushed properly.  Each child received a goody bag to take home.  A special thank you to Dr. Glass and Dr. Bunch for providing this service. 



Tracy Jones
Guacamole, Graphing and Geoboards

Our focus question for the week was what do our bodies need in order to move and exercise?  Here are our answers:

“Water” – Emily

“Vegetables” – Abbi

“Salad” – Madeleine

“Fruit” – Emily

We read Rah, Rah, Radishes A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre and Guacamole by Jorge Argueta.  I absolutely love bringing a book to life for the children.  We made our own guacamole after reading the book.  The children loved this activity and this helps with their comprehension and response to books and other texts.  Comprehension, the process of finding meaning, is the goal of reading instruction.  Comprehension of oral language and simple texts is essential to future reading success; children learn to process what they hear and read.  Children who engage in frequent activities with books have larger, more literate vocabularies.  These children learn to read better than children who have few book experiences. 


We learned all about the letter B and number 16.  We added dry beans, scoops, measuring cups and shovels to our sensory bin.  The children were able to fill, dump, transfer, sort and count the beans!  The children water colored a boot, traced Bb, and did the B page in their Handwriting Without Tears books.  They also colored and cut out bats to hang from the ceiling in our science center. 


In our science center we added a skeleton (Mr. Bones) so we could study and examine the bones.  We learned that the human body has 206 bones, and learned the names of a few in the human skeleton.


The children colored, counted and graphed hearts in math, and got to use geoboards also.    Being able to graph is so important because it teaches them how to use number concepts and operations.  Children’s understanding of counting, number symbols, and number operations are fundamental to their success with more complex mathematics.  To count well, children must learn the verbal number sequence, one-to-one correspondence, i.e., that one number name is matched to a single object in a set being counted, and cardinality, i.e., that the last number named when counting objects tells how many.   Playing with a geoboard is helping with spatial relationships and shapes.  Understanding spatial relationships and shapes helps children build the foundation for understanding geometry. 

Tracy Jones
Exercise, Math and PE

We started our exercise study on Monday.  Why investigate exercise?  Our bodies are made to move.  Young children are in nearly constant motion when they are awake.  They wiggle, stretch, bend, jump, hop, bounce, and climb.  Moving makes children feel capable and confident, releases tension, and builds strong bodies and minds.

This study begins with children’s natural desire to move.  A study of exercise not only offers opportunities for children to explore a topic that interests them, but also enables them to gather information, become more aware of the world around them, and solve problems.  Children will explore many types of exercise, observe people while they are exercising, and learn about the mechanics of movement and how to use special equipment to stay safe when exercising.  They will also learn about nutrition and jobs related to exercise, and the connection between exercise and healthy bones and muscles.  They will gather data, meet interesting people, explore a variety of challenging exercise movements, and prepare energizing snacks.  A study of exercise offers a meaningful way for children to use literacy, mathematics, the arts, and technology to investigate and represent their understanding of important concepts related to physical development, science, and social studies.

Our focus question for the week was what do we know about exercise?  Abbi said “you can jog for exercise.”  Townes said “people exercise to get stronger.” Piper stated “you can use a treadmill to get exercise.”  Our home living center has been turned into a gym.  We added a trampoline, weight bench, hula hoops, and yoga mats. 

We learned about the number fourteen, and all about the letter D.  We read about Dinah the Dinosaur and the sound she makes.  We water colored Dottie the Dinosaur, traced and wrote our own Dd and practiced drawing diamonds!

We read The Happiest Tree a Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami.  We learned the following vocabulary words:  improved, clumsy, performance, rehearsal, topple, sets, India, astonishment, cloak and snagged.  We also read We All Went on Safari A Counting Journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs.  We learned some fun facts about Tanzania, and counted to ten in Swahili.

We are learning about symmetry in math.  The children were given sheets with half of a butterfly and tadpole.  They were told to make the pictures match, to copy the lines to make the picture symmetric.  I explained that symmetry means for both sides to look exactly the same.  With this activity the children were introduced to a topic (symmetry) that will be discussed in their math classes from now until college; and depending on which career they choose, even longer.  Symmetry is found everywhere in nature and is also one of the most prevalent themes in art, architecture, and design.  It seems to be such a small aspect of the study of Geometry, however it is an integral component connecting Mathematics to the real world.  Children have a natural interest in finding balance, what better way to feed that curiosity than by teaching a basic understanding of symmetry?


Students were able to explore dance and movement concepts using scarves in PE.  One of the first ways that children express themselves is through movement.  Each new movement gives children more information about the capabilities of their bodies.  Preschool children demonstrate knowledge of dance and movement in many ways when they use scarves as they respond to music.  Movement, taught with pretend imagery, is beneficial to children’s learning and enjoyment of dance.  Coach Nicole also introduced jumping rope, and this helps with their balancing skills.  Balancing involves movements to help stabilize the body’s position when the person is not a rest.  Jumping rope requires balance.  Balancing is difficult for young children because of their uneven body proportions.  As children become less top heavy, their ability to balance improves. 





Tracy Jones