Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Water, Water, Everywhere: All about the Ocean

Welcome to our Ocean unit!  We have been so excited learning about all the creatures in the sea, coral reefs, the water and so much more...

Where to begin:
We started our unit off talking about the different colors of the ocean and coral reefs.  We learned all about the coral, the sea anemones, the shells, the sea plants and the fish and creatures that live in and around the coral reef.
We brought in real coral and shells, watched two minute videos about the fish living in the anemones, pretended to go fishing with magnetic fish and fishing poles, put sea creatures and shells in the water at the sensory table, figured out ocean puzzles at our manipulative table, wrote "ocean" words at our writing center, made homes for the sea life at our light table and so much more.

Here we are painting our first layer of the ocean and then adding coral and sea kelp and grasses:




Manipulative table:  Everyday we put activities and games out on a table to increase fine motor skills, to promote critical thinking such as patterning, counting, "what goes next," games to take turns, letter recognition, and more:

Letter recognition using milk lids and ocean words:


Building plans, stem, and geo blocks promoting critical thinking:


Scooping ping-pong balls with numbers into cups with matching numbers and marble scooping that promotes hand eye coordination and fine motor skills:




Puzzles with fishing poles: again, hand, eye coordination:


Using small creatures to sort by color, size and weight:


Spin the spinner Ocean Game!

Sea Turtles and Jellyfish:
We made two large sea turtles as a group and made individual sea turtles, as well as, jellyfish at the art tables and used liquid water colors at the light table for make colorful sea turtles:





Sea shells:  Exploring, listening, weighing and sorting


Match the number of pearls to the number on the shell!

Writing our names:  practice, practice, practice.  We are tracing our names at the light table.




Pretend play with the ocean animals:  This promotes group play which helps with socialization:


We turned our sensory table into a water table!
Reading: A big part of our day.  Not only do we have "storytime," we also do individual book time and we always make time for one on one, or maybe one on five reading time throughout our day:

Gym time:  In the gym, we work on our gross motor play.  We run, play group games, play catch or tag, dance to music, drive the cars, work on our balance and more:

Octopus:  Each child made a purple octopus.  We talked about them having eight legs and learned how they lived in the ocean and how they have the suctions on their legs.  Some kiddos wanted more than eight legs on theirs and that is OK!


Matching number on the octopus tentacles:

Rainbow Fish:
We have all read the story of the Rainbow Fish and his story about learning to share.  We had great fun making our own Rainbow Fish with all of his beautiful, sparkly scales.  

Lobsters:  We watched a short 3 minute video about how lobsters live in the ocean, how they are catch for eating and how big they grow.  Did you know that a lobster that is a year old, is only as big as one of your fingers?  They take a very long time to grow!  
A House for Hermit Crab:  Another great story by Eric Carle.  We read the story then learned how real hermit crabs actually transfer sea anemones when they change shells.  It's actually quite fascinating.

Germs:  We had the pleasure of having a mommy, who happens to be an infectious disease doctor, come into our class and read us a story germs and do a little experiment with our kiddos.
Each child had a special clear goo put on the palm of their hands and then we looked at it under a special light.  We then went and washed it off and re-looked to see if we washed all the "germs" away.  

Bible Stories:
Our focus these last several weeks has been learning about all of Jesus' miracles and the parables.
We turned Water into Wine using kool-aid, we talked about Jesus making enough fish and bread to feed 5,000, we learned about Jesus healing a woman who was sick for 12 years and then going on to raise a child from the dead.  We discussed how even the wind and the rain obey Jesus as he calmed the storm and last week we read how Jesus walked on water.  This week we are discussing The Good Samaritan.  We talked all about how we can be a good neighbor or friend and what being a good friend means.  

Each week our preschoolers head to the church for chapel.  It is a short 15 minutes and the kids always look forward to it.  Every other week, it is either on a Monday or a Tuesday.  Last week's message was all about God being the vine and we are the branches.  The children got to line up on a long vine and they each got to bring home a leaf, just in case you were wondering what that was in their backpacks.
We sing opening songs, hear a message and then have a closing.

Holding up our vine with our leaves!

Journaling and writing center time:
Each day we work in our journals. Our writing center is open at all times too.  Here are just a few of our masterpieces:


Just for fun pics:

This was an impromptu hang out in the book area, complete with stuffed animals and blankets.  Every other minute a new child wanted to join so they kept having to squeeze in.

Don't we look fabulous?  Actually this is very common.  During our free choice time, our dress ups are very popular this year.  Whether it is a hat, vest or dress, they wear them throughout the room and wherever they are playing.

Our classroom: