Friday, January 28, 2011

Musical Instruments Video

I tried for a long time to get this to upload on the Musical Instruments post, but it didn't work so here it is!  Just a silly video of the kids dancing and playing maracas.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

World Music, Primary Colors

Gathering Activity- cars
Circle Time- Weather, Pledge, number 5, triangle shape.  I tried having the kids count out 5 beans each, but that didn't work so well- most of them seemed to just want to grab a handful.  
Theme Introduction- I read “Like Me and You” to the kids and talked about how there are kids who live all over the world, and although we have different clothes, food, music, and might look different we are all God’s children and all special.  I told the kids that we were going to take a trip around the world and find out more about some of the countries that thes kids from the story were from!  We talked about how we live in The United States of America and we saw where that was on the map. 
We went over rules and practiced how to form a line with the Star Helper in front!  They actually did a really good job!  I think sunbeams might have helped this as well since they all folded their arms and were really quiet whenever we did the lines.
Africa- First the kids took a trip to South Africa!  There they met a Safari-man (T's Daddy) who taught them about what kids are like in Africa- what they wear, what they like to do and eat, and what music they like.  He then taught the kids about how drums are very important in Afrcan music and they all got drums to bang on with him while they listened to some fun South African music.  They also each got a turn hitting the big drum.  Finally our Safari-man took the kid's on a Lion Hunt- which they all LOVED and was so cute to watch.
Here is a cute video of the kids in Africa and part of their Lion Hunt!

Germany- We next took the kids on a trip to Germany!  There we met Frau W (T's Grandma) who told us all about Germany.  She told us some fun words in German, about what kids might wear and bring to school in Germany, and about the forests and castles.  She also showed the kids a lot of fun items that she had- walking stick, German hats, dolls, wood carvings, caslte replicas, etc.  Next she talked about German music and how there was such a big variety of music since the country was so old.  She first played some "old" German music -a nice Bach piece- on the piano.  After that the kids got to see a German horn and hear T's Daddy play it- then they all got turns playing the horn. She also talked about how the horn was used for hunting and had all the kids go on a Fox Hunt.  Finally she had them listen to a fun polka and dance however they felt they should to the music.  Then, to top it all off we did the most famous polka of all... The Chicken Dance!!
Another video of the kids in Germany- notice P dancing to the polka... he must have some German in him! 
Mexico- Next on our World Tour we stopped in Mexico where we met Sinora W (Teacher W) who even had a large Mexican sombraro.  She showed the kids a picture of kids in Mexico and talked about what it is like there.  She talked about their beaches and even showed the kids a few sea shells.  She also talked about the kind of food they eat in Mexico and the kids all got to try some chips and salsa.  Next they learned about Mexican music and talked about how the maracas they made on Tuesday were Mexcian instruments.  Finally they all danced with colorful scarves and ribbons to a fun Mexican song.           
Passports- All the kids got a passport (just a paper with their picture and name on it) that they took around on their World Tour. Whenever they got to a new country they were given another "stamp" for their passport that we glued on.  At the end Teacher W even glued on their fortunes from their fortune cookies- so cute!  These were their binder papers for today.
Free Time- play cars
Primary Color Centers- The kids got to pick one of three centers to go to- they could switch whenever they wanted.  Center 1 had fruit loops and yarn where the kids put red, yellow, and blue fruit loops on the yarn to make necklaces and patterns.  Center 2 was paint mixing. The kids got to pick two of the primary colors to mix together and see what happened! Center 3 was a dress up corner where the kids could dress up in clothes of red, yellow, and blue.  The kids loved the centers and it was so fun to let them have some self-directed learning and I think most of them tried all three centers at one point. 
 E showing off his fruit loop necklace- he was really good at stringing that cereal!
Before all the kids left I got a picture with them all in the different hats from our World Tour.  It was really cute and a lot of fun!
 EW, J, and G
 P, T, and EM
China- Finally on the World Tour we stopped in China.  There they met our Chinese lady (me) who taught the kids about life in China.  She showed the kids a picture of what children look like and wear in China and also what they might wear to school. They talked about how the Chinese way of writing is much different from ours and she had all sorts of fun Chinese writing for them to look at.  They then learned about music in China and all had a chance to ring a Chinese bell that you might find in a temple over there and then listen to some fun music while they played a chopsticks game.  She told them how in China they won't use a spoon or fork, but will use chopsticks to eat with.  They each then got to try to pick up some colored marshmallows and eat them with chopsticks which was pretty funny, but they all ended figuring out a way to get them in their mouths using only chopsticks!
Snack- For snack we talked about the Primary Colors and sang the first part of the Primary Colors song.  We then made red (raspberries), yellow (bananas), blue (blueberries) smoothies and had fortune cookies.  All the kids got to help make the smoothies- either putting in the ingredients or pushing the button on the smoothie maker. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Music- Elements and Instruments

Gathering Activity- we finger painted little pop bottles.  The kids loved using their fingers to paint the bottles and cover the whole thing with all sorts of colors. After painting the kids played with Mega Blocks while everyone finished painting.  (Thanks for T's Dad for stepping in and helping out this week while W was sick and couldn't be my helper).

Circle Time- Weather, Pledge, Day of Week
Letter M/W- We learned about the letter M and how when you turn it over it is the letter W! The kids made the M sound “mmmmmm” and the W sound “wuh”.
Each kid then picked out a picture from the hat and had to figure out if it was an M word or a W word.. then we sang the W or M song accordingly:

M is a letter a letter a letter
M is a letter that sounds like mmmmmmm
Mmmmmm is the sound Mmmmmm is the sound
Mmmmmm is the sound that the letter M makes
_________ starts with Mmmmmm- M!
_________ starts with Mmmmmm- M!
_________ starts with Mmmmmm- M!
(Yell)- ________ starts with M!

For W change the sound to "wuh"

Number 4- The kids practiced counting to 4 then we played “Duck, Duck, Goose” with 1, 2, 3, 4!  The kid tapping heads would count, "1, 2, 3..." then on the "4" the kid's head who was tapped was the goose and had to run around the circle.

Sound Game-  We talked about "What is music?" Anyone can make music- all sounds are music! The kids listened to sounds with their eyes closed and each kid took turns trying to make the sound I made- music is the sounds we make! Some of the sounds they had to identify were; tearing paper, clapping hands, knocking on the door, stomping feet, banging on tub, tapping a pen.

Movement Activity- Since we can make music with anything we made music with our hands and feet.  We sang "Mexican Hat Dance" with motions: Da da da da da da da- clap clap- da da da da da da da- stomp stomp.  We started slow then went faster and faster.  We talked about fast and slow and how music can be made fast or slow. We then played Freeze Dance- the kids danced and moved to fast/slow music (Slow and Fast from The Feel of Music) where they had to move fast in the fast parts and slow in the slow parts then Freeze when I said "Freeze!"  They all really liked Freeze Dance and asked to do it again (although most of them said they were tired afterward... what a great indoor activity to get out some wiggles!)

Click here to see a cute video

Music Notes/Staff- The kids then helped set up the music staff puzzle and I explained that this is how people read what notes to play by putting music notes on the music staff- we also talked about how notes and staff are always BLACK.  If the note is high they play a high note, if the note is low they play a low note.  We listened to a short clip of High music (Dance of the Reed Flutes from the Nutcracker) and Low music (The Elephant from Carnival of the Animals)The kids then put on notes on the staff choosing high or low and we sang the notes- HIGH, LOW, LOW, HIGH or whatever they have marked.      
Instrument Introduction-  We discused how an instrument is anything that makes music- just like our hands and feet we just used.  We look at the examples of instruments that we had and experimented with them to see what sounds we could make.  
Free Time with Instruments- The kids got to play with the instruments freely, but had to switch instruments when I said "switch" so that everyone could have a turn on the instruments that they wanted to try.
Snack Time-   We had black cherry jello notes with black licorice for music staff lines.  My amazingly awesome helper substitute (T's Daddy) read The Maestro Plays by Bill Martin while they ate.
Craft- After snack we finished our, now dry, maracas by putting beans inside them.  The kids had fun shaking them around and seeing what kind of music they could make with their new instruments. 
Loud/Soft-  T's Daddy then talked to the kids about how music can be soft and loud.  He had them play softly with their maracas then loudly.  We then listened to March of the Toys while playing their maracas loudly during the loud parts and softly during the soft parts. 
Recorder Activity- The kids were each given their own recorder to experiment with and try to make sounds with.  They tried blowing hard and soft and were each shown how to put their fingers down.   Some of them had a lot more control of their fingers than others (and those ones leraned the first three notes of "Hot Cross Buns"), but it didn't matter because they all had fun tooting away on their new recorder.  I let them toot recorder and play maracas for some free time before our last activity.  It sounded like what you might expect six 3-4year olds playing recorders to sound like, but it was sure cute and they were all having a blast.
Scribble Music- Our final activity tried to tie all the elements of music that we had learned together.  Each kid had a paper and some crayons on the floor.  They were instructed to close their eyes and listen to music (Hoe Down from Rodeo) and scribble to what they heard.  They scribbled hard when it was loud, fast when it was fast, slow when it was quiet, etc.  While they were playing I would say, "switch" and they had to hurry and pick up a differnt color of crayon (still with eyes closed) and continue scribbling.  They all really liked this and the pictres were varied and really cool.
Free Time- To end I let the kids play with blocks, cars, and Mega Blocks during free time while we had some soft music in the background.  It was amazing how quiet they all were after all the loud music activities:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Thursday Jan 13
We learned about Hibernation. We talked about the letter H and the number 2 , and the color brown.
For our project they made bear caves. For a snack they made a bear cave out of graham crackers and put bear crackers in them. After the snack they played the Hibernation game, one boy in the middle pretending to be a bear hibernating, the other boys sitting around him, someone would poke the "bear" and then we all yelled "Wake up, Bear!" the bear would wake up and try to guess who poked him. Then we talked about what Hibernation was and what animals hibernated. We then read the book 'Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?" We then made stain glass bears with contact paper and tissue paper.

Money Week

This week our lesson was on money and how to earn it. We talked about the differences between coins and dollar bills. Then I put the boys to work around my house doing small jobs so they could earn their own money. They dried dishes,swept, vacuumed and wiped down my cars.They were such eager helpers. For our craft we colored piggy banks that they could keep their money in. Our color this week was green so for our snack we ate green apples,green candy frogs and green gatorade. For our game we played Penny-Penny who has the Penny. The boys got to take home their own chore charts so they can continue to learn how to work.