Tuesday, April 29, 2014

O is for Ocean

I taught my last preschool co-op lesson today. I was excited to find some great resources for preschool ocean lessons. Two teaching mommies offers loads of fun printouts and preschool alphabet by Lindsy shares a lesson outline with fabulous ideas. As always, my local children's library was a wonderful stop. The librarian spent a good 20 minutes locating books for me and offering up suggestions on what might work. I loved the balance of fun interactive books and books with real ocean pictures and facts. 

While I waited for all the kids to arrive I had those present look through a stack of about 6 library books. The ocean is just so vast, I wanted them to have some free learning time; I also wanted to see what animals they might be drawn to. Reid, no surprise, couldn't leave the shark pages. 

Before asking them to put the books away I did give them each a chance to show the others their favorite picture. Then we gathered on our carpet squares and did calendar/weather time. Next we talked about the letter Oo and thought up a pretty big list of Oo words. They didn't need much encouragement; I was impressed. 

We moved to the table for some ocean math. For my very first lesson (R is for Robot) we did a graphing game and it was kind of above their heads. I was curious to try the graphing game again, with a twist, and see how they did. This time, instead of me keeping track on one graph, I gave each kid their own graph and a sheet of stickers. I think that helped (plus they are all 9 months older). There was a meltdown when one little boy who will remain unnamed couldn't roll a shark, and they each needed reminders about where to put their stickers, but overall it felt like a success. I like games like these because it encourages engagement and patience while others take their turn.

We also glued some oats onto the letter Oo. This was a bit messy, but oats are fairly easy to clean up. I like tactile learning, and I figured gluing oats onto an Oo was much cleaner than an ocean sensory tub (which would be awesome if you were doing this in the comfort of your own home -- and were the kind of mom who can handle the work/mess involved in sensory tubs). They could have also glued O shaped cereal on, but again, I just thought the tactile feel of the oats would be fun. Also, I thought they might like seeing how the unglued Oos would slide off into the trash (not sure I'm explaining that well, but their Oos magically showed up after the oats sat for a while).

While we let the oats dry at the table, we read a couple of ocean books and played Old McDonald had an Ocean. He had sharks that chomped -- big arm chomps. A whale that spouted water -- lift arms high above head. A turtle that swam slowly -- slow swimming (obviously). And a crab that pinched -- little finger pinches. Reid actually loves to make the farm Old McDonald have a fish with a gulp gulp here and a ... you get it. So we tried to add that at the end. But four was about all the kids were going to give me. 

We went back to the table and bent our Oo oat papers so that all the unglued oats would fall into the trash. Then they were off to wash their hands for snack time. Oranges and oat bars (Quaker granola bars) were our Oo snacks for the day. I saw a lot of cool ocean snack ideas, but ultimately decided to go with Oo foods because they were easiest and focused on our letter. While kids finished snack time they browsed through the library books again. 

Then we gathered around for our two crafts. 

The ocean in the bottle was Reid's favorite, and it was a good little science moment (for preschoolers anyway). I added one drop of blue food coloring to each child's water bottle. Then, with their help (and a basic kitchen funnel) we poured about 1/3 cup of vegetable oil into the bottle. With kids aged 3 to 5 there wasn't a whole lot of questions about why the water and the oil didn't mix, but they still all seemed to notice the phenomenon when the other mom pointed it out. Finally, we added some sea animals (beads I found at Hobby Lobby), and I hot glued the lids on. With a little shake the oil on top resembles the color and movement of an ocean wave. After making my own ocean in a bottle at home, I learned two important lessons ... don't add too much food coloring (one drop is plenty) and don't add too much oil. Reid's ocean in a bottle didn't leave his side all day.

His aquarium is proudly hanging on the new bulletin board in the toy room. Last night I prepped all the "glass cover" plates by cutting the centers out and hot gluing saran wrap to the inside (I was surprised the hot glue didn't melt the plastic wrap, but it didn't). I also cut out plate size circles of blue construction paper. The kids could have easily added coral or other pictures of their own, but I also wanted them to create a scene of their own with some ocean stickers (also from Hobby Lobby). Three of the four kids had the shark munching on the clown fish ... but the final kid to put those two animals in a chase added the crab to the shark's tail, "he's going to eat the fish, but look ... the crab got him instead!" I thought that was so cute. The two girls kept naming their sea creatures as they stuck them down. Seriously, I love the tales preschoolers come up with. Pre-motherhood I would have never guessed that stickers could be such a great imaginative tool. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oooooooooooooooo how fun! Loved the pictures. Pa

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