Friday, October 31, 2014

Busy Bags - Advanced PreK/Elementary

My pre-k students, ages 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 years old, do not nap, but the younger ones do. The pre-k's formerly went into the preschool room, but they have SOOOooooo lost privilege due to inappropriate conduct. 

So now, they are stuck doing quiet activities within my direct sight. 

I do not want this time to be wasted, and I need them engaged so that boredom doesn't nudge them towards more inappropriate behavior.

These children are gifted and/or advanced for their age, so the classic preschool busy bags just won't cut it. I want busy bags that:
  • Hold a (fairly) unique activity 
  • Work a specific skill set at multiple levels
  • Have more than one mode of play
  • or Be dynamic, each play being different 
  • Are appealing visually and through play
  • Can be contained within about a 1 square foot area
  • Fit easily within a quart sized Ziploc
  • Do not require adult assistance beyond initial instruction
They have access to file folder games that use laminated manipulatives. I wanted the buys bags to be different.

So far, they LOVE them! They would play with them other parts of the day, but are only allowed to during nap time.

Each one works fine motor skills, so I did not list that under SKILLS. Most also work logic/reasoning, but...I'm kinda partial to that one.

Here's the ones we have so far and those pending. Each one is explained, in order, below.
  1. Alligator Chomp
  2. Build and Add
  3. Butterfly Symmetry
  4. Card Facts
  5. Color Links
  6. Fish and Chips
  7. Frozen Flakes 
  8. Geo Board
  9. Pumpkin Faces (seasonal)
  10. Puzzle
  11. Race to Odd & Even 
  12. Ribbon Weaving
  13. Silly Sentences Punctuation
  14. Sounds & Count 
  15. Stick Figures
  16. Write the Facts
  17. Tanagrams
In the works, I'll add to post when completed:
  • Animal Habitats
  • I Know Instruments
  • Food Group Gulp
  • Fraction Fun
  • Musical Notation
  • Types of Terrain
Includes: Craft foam alligator, numbers 2-10 playing cards
Instructions: Children children place 2 cards down and place the alligator greater than or less than to CHOMP the bigger number. Used cards are placed in a discard pile and new ones drawn. Advanced: use 2 cards added or subtracted for each side.
Notes: This may seem rather easy, but they like it, and it teaches a new skill. I have more advanced versions in mind for the future.
Skills: Visual quantity identification, greater than/lesser than, 1-1 correspondence counting, logic/reasoning

Includes: 11 each of 2 colors of unit blocks, laminated activity cards, dry erase marker
Instructions: Follow instructions for building, add, write the sum in the box Advanced: write the number that comes before and the number that comes after on either side of the box.
Notes: This was a free download that I can't find. If I do I'll add the link, but you can definitely see how it's done. This is a little easy for these children, but it's good practice for writing their numbers.
Skills: 1-1 correspondence counting, logic/reasoning, word problems, writing, math vocabulary

Includes: 1 cream felt play mat, pattern cards, felt pattern pieces
Instructions: Choose a card, place it in the middle of the felt mat, use the pattern pieces to mirror the design on the card.
Notes: There is a free download for this activity, but I decided to make my own so I could change out the pieces or increase the complexity to keep it interesting.
Skills: Symmetry, logic/reasoning, visual/spatial, observation, geometry

Includes: 2 sets of cards 1-10, laminated addition/subtraction card, dry erase marker
Instructions: Choose 2 cards, if doing subtraction place the higher number card on the left, place them above the add/subtract card, write the equation Advanced: use 2 cards added together to create each number.
Skills: Number identification, writing, 1-1 correspondance counting, creating and solving equations

Includes: 1 set of color cards, 1 set of color links
Instructions: Choose a card, collect and button that link, choose another card, and add that link to the other one. Advanced: put the cards in alphabetical order prior to putting the links together.
Notes: It may seem rather easy, but keeping the links going in the correct direction is more difficult than you'd think.
Skills: Color words, color identification, logic/reasoning

Includes: 6 each of 3 colors of poker chips, pattern cards
Instructions: Choose a card, create that pattern, extend that pattern until you run out of chips
Notes: These go from the simple AB pattern to AABBCC. These kids are whizzes at this, but it's good reinforcement.
Skills: Patterning, logic/reasoning

Includes: 2 game boards, 1 die, 6 each of two colors of chips
Instructions: 1-2 player, roll the die and cover the number rolled, if the number is already covered, lose that turn. Advanced: use 2 die and you have create a double, add, or subtract.
Notes: Yeah, not that challenging, but they love it, so it keeps them BUSY. For the younger ones we place the die in a small plastic container with a lid to keep it contained. Free download from Activity Mom.
Skills: 1-1 correspondence counting, number vs. quantity, number identification, taking turns


Includes: 1 geo board, 2-3 of each size of rubber band
Instructions: Have fun
Notes: I purposefully placed just a couple of each size/color rubber bands into here. When they have access to a LOT of rubber bands, they just go nuts with them and start tossing them about. Fewer resources make them more precious, and the children have to work harder to create interesting designs. I was going to include cards for them to match, but right now they enjoy just creating their own designs. Cards may come later. There are a ton of them out there.
Skills: geometry, grid manipulation, logic/reasoning, creative expression, architecture

PUMPKIN FACES (seasonal)
Includes: Pumpkin face cards, pumpkin face mat, pumpkin face pieces
Instructions: Pull a card and make a matching face. These range from easy to hard.
Notes: Harder than it may look, as the pieces often need to be flipped and rotated
Skills: Logic/reasoning, geometry, visual/spatial, observation

Includes: 1 puzzle
Instructions: Put it together
Notes: Changed out regularly, harder puzzles have a picture included, but all their harder puzzles are now missing pieces, thus the busy bags...
Skills: logic/reasoning, visual/spatial

Includes: 1 play mat, odd and even number cards
Instructions: Choose a card, place it on the appropriate odd or even side. First side to be completed WINS! Advanced: Put the numbers in numerical order when done.
Notes: They truly treat this as a race with one side winning. I can change the cards out frequently to keep it interesting and advancing. It is self-correcting. To hinge the two sides, I laminate them separately and use heavy duty packing tape on the back side of the seam.
Skills: Odd/even, logic/reasoning, number recognition.

Includes: 1 cream felt play mat, pattern cards, felt pattern pieces
Instructions: Choose a card, place it in the middle of the felt mat, use the pattern pieces to mirror the design on the card. Advanced: Create rainbow order.
Notes: A seemingly simple activity, but it works a lot of higher-thinking skills
Skills: creative expression, logic/reasoning, patterning, sensory stimulation

Includes: 1 cream felt play mat, pattern cards, felt pattern pieces
Instructions: Choose a card, place it in the middle of the felt mat, use the pattern pieces to mirror the design on the card. Advanced: Some sentences are questionable between an exclamation point and period, leaving it open to their reasoning.
Notes: I think they like this better because they helped create the silly sentences.  
Skills: Reading, grammar, punctuation, logic/reasoning

Includes: 1 set of cards, red/green/blue clothespins
Instructions: Choose a card, place a green clothespin on the beginning sound, a red clothespin on the ending sound (if applicable), and a blue clothespin on the number of items in the picture Advanced: when I make these cards, I increase the difficulty by putting very similar sounds on the same card, making them work a little harder for it.
Notes: We have sets of these cards for all our themes. The newer themes include beginning sound, ending sound and number. These are changed out monthly at minimum. It takes a good amount of clothes pins. This amount only does half of the cards, then they have to take them all off to do the other half. I just put a dot on these ones with sharpies, but they aren't hard to paint.
Skills: Phonics/letter, 1-1 correspondence counting, number/quantity, logic/reasoning, observation, visual/spatial

Includes: 2 each of 4 colors of craft sticks, design cards
Instructions: Choose a card, create the design, or create your own design
Notes: The cards range in difficulty from fairly easy to very difficult. Even I find this one challenging if trying to get all the over/unders correct.
Skills: Logic/reasoning, observation, visual/spatial, trial/error, patterns, geometry

Includes: Set of uppercase tanagram cards, tanagram blocks to create all the cards
Instructions: Choose a card, re-create with tanagram blocks, or create your own design Advanced: make your own cards without the shape indicators, or just black/white.
Notes: The tanagram cards are a free download. I printed them out with the multiple page option on my printer so that they were smaller. I wanted these children to create FROM the cards, not ON the cards. Since the blocks have a tendency to drift off, I put the quantities needed on the front of the bag for easy inventory and re-stocking. There are a lot of free tanagram cards out there.
Skills: Geometry, visual/spatial, logic/reasoning, symmetry, counting, creative expression

Includes: 1-12 bead circles, laminated addition/subtraction fact writing card, dry erase marker
Instructions: Choose a bead circle, move some of the beads to each side, write the fact. Advanced: write all the facts in the family.
Notes: The child can do as many or as few facts as they wish with a single circle before moving on to another. The circles are made with pipe cleaners cut in half and hot glued into the wooden bead after putting on the pony beads. I tried to make them colorful. The number is written on with sharpie.
Skills: Fact families, addition/subtraction, observation, logic/reasoning

In there right now, I also have a number writing cheat card, since we haven't been working on writing for very long, and they want to write RIGHT.

I also have a couple of seasonal I Spy books in there.

Busy Bags are not ALL they do during naptime. They also read books, and magazines, 

do educational apps on the iPad,

and color, among other activities.

But most importantly, 
they are QUIET so the little ones can get their rest.

Tags: gifted, advanced, homeschool, homeschooling, daycare, child care, preschool, pre-k, elementary, early, child, children, math, science, language, literacy, 
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Preschool Owl Theme Curriculum

CURRICULUM activity pics are below

This is a one week curriculum that requires no additional components. I have file folder games and printables that we also utilize.
click to open
Owl Song (I’m a Little Teapot)
I'm a great big owl, as you can see
I live high up in a tree.
All the other birds wake me up when they play,
Because I like to sleep in the day!

Time to Eat (Mary Had a Little Lamb)
Owl said, "It's time to eat, time to eat, time to eat!"
Owl said, "It's time to eat!
What do I eat tonight?"

Owl ate a mouse that night, mouse that night, mouse that night!
Owl ate a mouse that night
And said, "It tastes just right!"

Nocturnal Animals
On a moonlit night when the stars come out
There are nocturnal animals all about
1. Whoo, whoo, what do I see 
(make circles with fingers, hold up to eyes)
A wise old owl looking at me
2. Meow, meow, what do I see
A big black cat is looking at me
3. Eee, eee, eee, what do I see
A little bat just looking at me
4. Ribbit, ribbit, what do I see
A big green tree frog looking at me
5. Squeak, squeak, squeak, what do I see
A garden dormouse looking at me

Little Hoot Owl (Six Little Ducks)
Who flies around in the dark of night?
Who glides o’er silent night?
Who eats his dinner by late moonlight?
It’s a little hoot owl with his owl eyesight!
Who-who, who-who, little hoot owl.
Who-who, who-who, little hoot owl.
Who-who, who-who, little hoot owl.
It’s a little hoot owl with his owl eyesight.

LITTLE OWL  (Jingle Bells) Liz Ryerson
Little owl, little owl
High up in the tree.
Little owl, little owl
Blinks his eyes at me.
Hooting loud, hooting soft,
Hooting all night long.
I just love that little owl
And love his hooting song.

5 Little Owls By Lucia Kemp Henry
5 little owls on a dark, dark night.
5 little owls are quite a sight.
5 little owls! Are you keeping score?
1 flies away and that leaves 4.
4 little owls as happy as can be;
1 flew away and that leaves 3.
3 little owls calling, “Who, who, who”;
1 flies away and that leaves 2.
2 little owls having lots of fun;
1 flew away and that leaves 1.
1 little owl and we’re almost done;
He flies away and that leaves none.
 [Can be flannel board]

Five Hoot Owls counting flannel
Five hoot owls sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?
One, two, three, four.
Four hoot owls… etc.

A Mouse for Supper
Five little owls in the old elm tree
Fluffy and puffy as owls could be,
Blinking and winking with big round eyes
At the big round moon that hung in the skies,
As I passed beneath, I could hear one say,
“There’ll be mouse for supper, there will today.”
Then all of them hooted “Tu-whit, Tu-whoo!
Yes, mouse for supper, Hoo, hoo, Hoo hoo!”

 One Little Owl by Elizabeth Scofield
One little owl when the moon was new,
Along came another owl, and that made two.
Two little owls perched high in the tree,
Along came another owl, and that made three.
Three little owls flew to the barn door,
Along came another owl, and that made four.
Four little owls lined up side by side,
Along came another owl, and that made five.
Five little owls hooted "Whoo, whoo, whoo,"
Then they all flapped their wings and away they flew.

Wide Eye Owl
There's a wide eye owl
(make fingers in large circles and cup over eyes)
With a pointed nose
(use fingers to make a triangle & point out for nose)
2 pointed ears (use fingers for ears)
and claws for toes (wiggle fingers like toes)
he lives way up in the tree (point up to tree top)
and when he looks at you (point at kids)
he flaps his wings (use arms for wings, and flap)
and says whooo whooo (continue flapping wings)

The Owl [Finger play or dramatic movement]
An owl sat alone on the branch of a tree,      
(Use arm as tree branch and raise thumb for owl)
And she was as quiet as quiet could be.
'Twas night and her eyes were wide open like this;    
(Circle eyes with fingers and look around)
She looked all around, not a thing did she miss.
Some little birds perched on the branch of the tree,   
(Fingers of other hand fly onto tree branch)
And sat there as quiet as quiet could be.
The solemn old owl said "whoo-whoo-whoo,"
And up jumped the birds and away they flew. 
(Wave hand away and flutter fingers behind back)
[For dramatic movement, children will jump up and fly away]

Nocturnal/Diurnal Game
Children will be split into groups of people and owls. When the lights go on, the people dance and the owls sleep. When the lights go off, the owls fly and the people sleep.

One Night Owl – gross motor movements
(She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain)
There was one night owl in the tree:
Hoo!  Hoo!
There was one night owl in the tree:
Hoo!  Hoo!
Oh, he called up to the sky to an owl flying by,
And the owl came and joined him happily:
Hoo!  Hoo!
[Repeat for additional numbers.]
[Can be flannel board]

Pounce on the Mouse
The “owls” are barefooted. As they fly around, a beanbag is tossed out and the “raptors” must grab it with their “talons” and take it back to their nest.

Alternate, the beanbag mice are already in the “field” and the raptors must swoop in and carry as many as possible back to their nest before they are all gone.

If coordination is an issue, then younger children can use their hands rather than their feet. Works logic/reasoning, coordination/balance, core strength, spatial relations.

Journal- Have children think about and draw about  the night time outside.

Painting- Children will paint toilet paper tubes with brown paint, or a color of their choice for Cut and Paste craft.

Owl Babies – Children will rip a strip of craft paper approximately 1 ½ inch by 9 inch and paste to black construction paper. Using black makers, they will create lines and swirls on the craft paper to represent bark. Using pom poms attached to clothes pins, they will pounce white paint above the “branch” to create a large, medium and small owl shape. In the sky, they will use the same technique to pounce a yellow moon. Using Q-tips, they will dot gold paint into the background for stars. On the owls, they will attach 1” diameter white or yellow circles for the eyes, ¾” black circles for the iris, and a hole punched white dot as an accent. These elements can be pre-made or the children can trace and cut out. An orange triangle is added for the beaks.

Cut and Paste- The tops of the toilet paper tubes are pushed in on opposite sides to overlap slightly, creating raised ears. (2) 1 inch circles of white or yellow for eyes, (2) ½ inch circles of black for eyes, (1) orange or yellow triangle for beak, (10) 1 inch circles of tissue paper for belly feathers, (2) yellow or orange zig zags for feet, (2) 2 inch X 3 inch rectangles of tissue paper for wings.

Sculpture- Turkey Puppets – Children will trace and cut out their hand prints for the wings. The wings are attached just below the top portion of the bag on the back side. 1 ½ inch yellow or white circles are traced and cut for the eye, 1 inch black circles for the iris, and white hole punches for accents. Orange triangles and zig zags are cut out for the beak and feet. A cupcake liner is flattened and add to the center of the bottom of the bag for the tummy. If wanted, Paisley figures can be added to the top as feather tufts for a Great Horned or Long Eared owl.

Cooking- Children will create a sandwich and cut the sides off as triangles, spreading the long ends out to form wings. 1 inch cheese rounds can be added as eyes, beak and feet. To the center of the cheese eyes, an olive circle, jam, ketchup, etc. can be added as an iris
Measuring Owls-North America
Elf Owl 5 inches
Northern Pigmy Owl 7 inches
Northern Saw Whet Owl 8 inches
Western Screech Owl 9 inches
Burrowing Owl 10 inches
Barn Owl 12 inches
Long Eared Owl 14 inches
Great Horned Owl 20 inches
Snowy Owl 26 inches
Great Gray Owl 33 inches

How much light do we need to see? Place children in a dark place, either a room or a dark tent. If possible, have a dimming light that you can adjust, or open the door or entryway a little at a time. Have the children try to be the first to identify items that you brought in as the light gradually increases.

Counting Feathers – The children will grab up a handful of feathers and count them.

Sorting Feathers – The children will work in teams of 2-3 to work out a method of sorting the feathers by color, type, or size, then count each group

SUPPLIES (Unusual)

Youtube – Learn All About Birds

NETFLIX – Wild Kratts, “Raptor Roundup”
Season1 Episode 40

Youtube – Owl Babies Animation

Older children – Movie - Legend of the Guardians PG

Little Night Owl poster – The Very Busy Kindergarten

  • Know what a carnivore eats
  • Know what nocturnal means
  • Describe 3 characteristics of an owl
  • Describe 3 characteristics of a raptor
  • Know 3 other raptors
  • Know at least 3 species of owl
If possible, visit an owl or raptor exhibit at your local zoo, or invite a local wildlife rehabilitation group to bring an owl for a visit.

Owl Poem
Northern Saw-whet Owl 1-60 dtd
Finish the picture owl
Coloring Page - Labeled Owl from Kidssoup
Owl Facts - San Diego Zoo
Owl Alphabet Cards
Owl Pic Pinterest Board
Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection
Owl On-line Jigsaw Puzzle
Owl On-line Jigsaw Puzzle2
Owl On-line Jigsaw Puzzles3
O is for Owl Tracer Printable
Owl Mobile Printable & Coloring Page
PBS Cat in the Hat - Nocturnal Animals
Nocturnal Animals On-line Seek and Find Game









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