Friday, October 18, 2013

Addition Doubles 0-5 Finger Chant

We have been working on addition and subtraction for a long time now, but these are the first FACTS that we've attempted to begin memorization.

The children helped me come up with this little finger play chant for our 0-5 addition doubles. After just a couple of days they had them down.

Zero plus zero equals zero I know.
One plus one equals two it's true!
Two plus two equals four no more.
Three plus three equals six such tricks!
Four plus four equals eight that's GREAT!
Five plus five equals ten let's do it again...

We hold up the number on each hand then bring them together for the equation and then we have a movement that goes with the last part.

...I know. - point to head's true! - say it convincingly and nod your head more. - wave hands across one another in front of you
...such tricks! - spiral motion with first fingers going up and out
...that's GREAT! - say it loud and raise arms into air it again... - make a rolling motion with hands

We are also working on negation, a number minus itself equals zero. They got that concept down very quick.
tags: math, maths, mathematics, numbers, counting, addition, facts, memorization, doubles, finger, finger play, fingerplay, chant, kindergarten, preschool, fun, education, teaching, homeschooling

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Foiling Toddler Bin Dumping

While this is a place of PLAY, with few rules and where the children are encouraged to experiment and be inventive, when that curiosity leads to toys a foot deep and necessary items being damaged, then it needs to be controlled.

Once the children reach the preschool stage, then these measures are not necessary. 

Toddlers though...[sigh!]

Our toy bins are most often used as:

trains, planes and automobiles...


or jumping and climbing platforms.
Which unfortunately ruins them...

While these are all worthy activities, there are items SPECIFICALLY in our environment to facilitate these, and we have loose parts play all over outside. SO...

since we can't just put everything out of reach...


Initially I tried screwing the bins into the wooden dowels, but the dowels split, and the screws popped through if pulled upon with enough force. 

SO...plan B, which seems to be working wonderfully.

I marked the bins of our main unit  in the middle,
about a 1/2 inch higher and lower than the bar they rest upon,

drilled holes with my largest drill bit

And threaded zip ties through them, attaching at the bottom and cutting off with my wire nippers.


For the shelving bins, I found these plastic baskets at the dollar store, thinking that the children wouldn't be able to stand on them, so they would hold up better. They do. However, this does not keep them from bin dumping them and using them as hats. 

So I again used zip ties, through a screwed in eyelet. The children can easily swing the baskets out to get to their toys, but they can't take off with them. 

They still get the toys all out, but now they have to do it one item at a time, not just up-ending it all at once. Additionally, since they can't take off with them, there is little incentive to remove all the toys unless they are actually PLAYING with them.

I left these ties long so that I can adjust them or remove the bins if needed, without wasting zip ties.

For the large dress up bin, 

I did screw it in, using good sized washers and wood screws to ensure that the plastic wouldn't rip out.

The children still climb in there, but it's a tight fit with the shelf above and they don't do it very often.


I have also found that I have to screw in shelves, because they will clear the shelves [dumping] to remove them from off the brackets to be used as bridges and the shelving unit used as a play house. The peg brackets, unfortunately, are also choking hazards, so it's important that the children can't get to them and remove them. 

I find it easiest to place the shelf in and mark the top and bottom, remove the shelf and pre-drill through the middle of the lines,

then screw in from the outside. This ensures that you hit the middle of the shelf and won't have screw ends poking out or possibly splitting the board.

While it would be idyllic if children would simply play with their toys, I like that my students are smart and inquisitive enough that I need to batten everything down or they WILL deconstruct and invent with anything and everything possible. 

It makes them much more interesting to teach.
Tags: toddler, bins, toys, play room, play, playroom, shelving, storage, daycare, child, care, childcare, preschool, homeschooling, parenting, bedroom, 

Ordinal Count Lesson

I try to work on ordinal counting environmentally, "Who's first? Who's second? Which is [Miss L]?" when standing in line for washing hands, lining up for red rover, etc. 

When playing, I'll say hand me the third block from your left or ask what is the color of the second block.

For younger learners, I still try to maintain left-right convention if the child is still working that concept. For older children, we will expand and show that ordinal count can go either way, or up and down, depending on which side is considered the starting point.

For the little ones, I will line up three items and sing, while helping/having them touch each item when appropriate [working left/right convention, so if you are sitting across from them, go your right/left with their hand(s)]:

First, second, third,
First, second, third,
They are in a line
They go first, second, third.
I also line up the little ones in a line and sing it while touching each of them as I sing, replacing their actual names within the song:
[Miss L], [Miss H], [Miss N]
[Miss L], [Miss H], [Miss N]
Are all in a line,
They are first, second, third.
Here, I am saying FIRST, SECOND, THIRD and they are giving me five as I go through the line, then we will change positions and do the same thing. 

For the preschoolers, for the activity today, we lined up 10 food items from the dramatic play area onto our chalkboard table. I asked them to ordinal count the items. I was thinking and not being present yet in the lesson. So of course, they start rote counting. I shake my head and before I can get out an explanation, they started rote counting in Spanish. I started laughing. "Noooo, ORDINAL COUNT is when we do FIRST, SECOND, THIRD."

I could see their confusion clear and they methodically went down the line with no problem.

Then we played, mixing it up. They were allowed to touch, pick up, and move around the objects as we proceeded. We did about 6-8 questions per round.

1st round: Questions such as: 

"[Miss A], can you tell me what item is third?"

2nd round: Questions such as: 
"[Miss H], can you pick an item and tell me what is it's ordinal place?"

3rd round: Questions such as: 
"[Mr. G], can you tell me if the fifth item is a fruit, vegetable, protein or grain?"

Then I added the chalk labels and we did a rapid fire tell me an item and its ordinal position. They all talked over one another, which is always fun, and LOUD.

4th round: Questions such as: 

"[Miss A], which item is to the LEFT of the 7th one?...So what ordinal position is [item]?"
"[Mr. G], which item is second after the banana?...Which ordinal position is it in the WHOLE ROW?"
Tags: math, mathematics, early, ordinal, count, counting, preschool, pre-k, homeschool, toddler, child, care, daycare, teaching, kindergarten

Sweet Chili

I have NEVER found a person who didn't like this meal!

It is a fall & winter favorite of my children, my students, and potluck dinners.

Serve with cornbread.

This was a regular dish at our house growing up, but my mother made it with a can each of butter beans [yuck! to me], pork n beans, and kidney beans. 

I changed it up to my liking, and made some alterations that enable me to throw it together in 15 minutes, 5 minutes with pre-cooked meat for the children. 

It IS better if cooked in the traditional manner and in a crock pot over night to let the flavors meld. I make it this way for fall get-togethers.


30 oz can pork-n-beans
15 oz can black beans
1 pound ground turkey or hamburger, browned
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder 
1/4 cup real bacon bits [optional]

Combine, heat and serve.


30 oz can pork-n-beans
15 oz can black beans
1 pound ground turkey or hamburger, browned
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup onion, minced 
3 strips bacon, diced  

Place in crock pot overnight on low.

Tags: recipe, meal, quick, 15 minute, crock pot, crockpot, chili, sweet, sweet chili, beans, hamburger, nutritious, easy, party, fall, tailgate, football, cookout, child care, daycare, dinner, supper, lunch, cooking, one pot, 1 pot