It was "Winter Week" in preschool this week with all sorts of super-duper winter activities! There was the "ice skating rink", pretend snow in the sensory table, snowman games, "Break the Ice", and painting with ICE CUBES!! Oh yes, painting with ice cubes just happened to be the Special Activity of the day and it was a real hit. Food coloring was added to the water and frozen in regular ice cube trays. The kiddos wore gloves (always tricky getting those little fingers where they belong!) and then created their designs by "coloring" with the different colored cubes.
You could modify this activity by using various ice cube trays with different shapes and sizes or colors. One little hint to share is to have some extra gloves because they do get wet as the kiddos color. Very simple and very FUN!
Just as I had suspected, my students were excited to hear that today was a special "holiday" to celebrate their great handwriting! I brought copies of the special paper from the Handwriting Without Tears website with the "National Handwriting Day" seal at the top. Each of the kiddos chose one special adult at school and wrote them a note using "very best writing". They were so darn cute about wanting to pick somebody special who would be happy to receive their handwritten notes. Among the lucky recipients were some classroom teachers, the school nurse, and of course the principal! The children carefully followed all of the rules of writing to "finger space", keep letters on the line, start sentences with a capital letter, and always end with punctuation. They were very sweet to remind each other of the rules and complement each other on their efforts. Naturally, the notes needed lots of stickers to brighten up the paper. Who doesn't love a celebration?! They did a great job! As my kiddos liked to say today......
Did you know that there is a National Handwriting Day to celebrate John Hancock's birthday?! Oh yes, it's true and this year it will be on January 23rd! Kids love to celebrate ALL special days so take this opportunity to encourage good handwriting skills. Some ideas might include using special paper or note cards to make a hand written note for a parent, grandparent or teacher. Write a note to a soldier overseas or to an elderly person in a nursing home. You can find more ideas and free downloads of paper on the Handwriting Without Tears web page at http://www.hwtears.com/handwritingday2012
and on the Zaner Bloser web page at http://www.zaner-bloser.com/write-newsletter-january-2012-feature-story-happy-national-handwriting-day
"Run, run, as fast as you can....you can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man!" Kiddos LOVE that story and they love everything gingerbread at preschool! The classroom never smelled so yummy as it did during this week's special activity making little gingerbread men on paper. The children were given a paper with a gingerbread man shape and used a glue stick to fill the shape with glue. Then it was time to shake, shake, shake some cinnamon on the paper and when they shake off all of the extra cinnamon, they were left with a cute little gingerbread man!
Note the "visuals" on the red paper that provides my little friend with 3-step picture directions he can follow by himself. The picture posted doesn't provide you with a very clear view of the directions so I'll tell you that the directions are to (1) Write your name; (2) Glue stick; (3) Sprinkle cinnamon. Everything "written" in pictures and easy to follow. "Visuals" are an EXCELLENT way for children to learn and follow directions. They work wonders!
Mmmm, Mmm....when all of the masterpieces were hung in the hallway, it smelled like a Preschool Bakery! Super simple and the kiddos loved it.
Another fun gingerbread man activity this week was building a giant "cookie" at the easel. The giant cookie cutout was hanging on the easel and the children added velcro pieces to complete their designs.
Who doesn't love a great sale to ring in the New Year?! You might have read my post about the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting program from December (http://jensotforkids.blogspot.com/2011/12/zaner-bloser-handwriting.html ) where I wrote that I had learned about some helpful additions to their curriculum including music, manipulatives, and online resources. Well, a very nice representative from Zaner-Bloser happened to see the post and has offered an exclusive sale offer for readers of 'Jen's OT For Kids'!!
Follow the link to the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting at http://www.zaner-bloser.com/zaner-bloser-handwriting/zaner-bloser-handwriting-overview where you'll see a link about ZB Fonts Online. This feature allows you to make your own worksheets to be consistent with the Zaner-Bloser books you might be using in the classroom. There is a free version with limited features or a premium version, ZB Fonts Online Plus, that provides more options and allows you to save and edit worksheets you create. The regular price of the premium version is $30.99/year HOWEVER you can now get ZB Fonts Online Plus for $14.99 if you enter the code ZBFOP. This offer will be valid through December 31, 2012!
I've found that it's helpful for students to have CONSISTENCY when learning and practicing handwriting. If you are currently using the ZB curriculum, I do encourage you to take a peek and see if you can find something to enhance your lessons. If your school does not have a handwriting curriculum, please take some time to look over various books such as ZB and Handwriting Without Tears to see which might be a good fit for your students. A mere 5 minutes a day of direct instruction DOES make a difference for teaching and reinforcing good writing habits.