Valentine's Fun!

We had a ton of Valentine's Day themed fun this week:

The kids loved our Valentine Shapes emergent reader - I passed out the picture cards and then as we read each sentence the child with that shape Valentine would come up and add it to our pocket chart. Most of my kiddos have the 2d shapes down pat, but I have a few new ones for whom it's good practice. The 3d shapes are proving a bit trickier, so we'll continue to practice those as well.

I try to only do one paper a day with my kiddos, because I know its not the optimal way for them to learn. On the other hand, the cutting and coloring is good for developing those fine motor muscles and I know once they get to Kinder they're going to need to be familiar with sitting and completing worksheets (sigh!). The kids enjoyed this Valentines' Day beginning sound practice sheet though :)

This Valentine number puzzle was a hit as well - my kiddos clamor for number puzzles and I have noticed that it is really helping those who are a bit shaky with their number recognition!

We had a lot of fun making sets with this simple game. I wrote the numbers 1-10 on heart shaped boxes and then added a bucketful of heart shaped scatter crystals (Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby purchases). I added this to our Math Center activities and it was a hit! The best part was that the kids worked independently for several minutes filling the hearts before I had to come and check their work, so it took very little time on my part - which was good because it is assessment season!

My favorite thing this week was our Sensory Table. I bought foam heart stickers and wrote every student's name on them, along with alphabet letters and numbers. Then I added Valentine's bubbles, bouncy balls, rings, necklaces and bracelets. I spread the goodies out in 3 bowls and froze them in layers.

The kids used sponges, bottles, basters, scrub brushes and ice cream scoops to try to melt the ice to get out the goodies. Our rule was that each child only kept one thing each time they went to the center. I also popped the ice back in the freezer between center times to make sure it didn't melt in between times.
The kids had a blast working their goodies out of the ice, but also giving them to others! I had said each child could only keep one item, but I never mentioned anything about giving away items. So sure enough, when they managed to pull out more than one thing within their allotted center time, they would rush over to a friend to give them the goody! Such love was in our classroom! I watched carefully and saw that everyone was being included in this gift giving! If someone really wanted an item but couldn't get it out during their center time, when that item popped out of the ice during the next center time it was immediately taken to the child that wanted it so badly. I spent less than $10 on the goodies, and they provided so many RAKs that it was totally worth it!
Oh! and the best part about the foam stickers was that they still stuck! When they were pulled from the ice, the kids read the name and the sticker was rushed to the appropriate child who then proudly peeled the paper off and wore it the rest of the day! I had thought for sure the stickiness would dissolve in the ice, so this was a pleasant surprise! One note though - frozen bouncy balls crack rather than bounce. We learned this the hard way! Once they thawed they were fine, but the first few ended up in the trash :(

During our parties, I always like to make a special treat. This keeps the kids focused and in their seats which makes the party more manageable for me! We've been watching the Sesame Street Alphabet Podcasts, and the kids LOVE it when Cookie Monster eats the letter of the day in the videos. So when I saw this pin, I knew I had to incorporate this treat into our party! For math we created this Cookie Monster emergent reader, so the treat was doubly appropriate!

 How adorable is that?!
Each child got a spoonful of blue frosting, a rice krispie treat, 1 mini cookie, 1/2 a flattened tootsie roll, and candy eyes.

Oh and our Castle Blocks are still going strong, check out this little lady! She was so excited that she made the castle from the back of the box all by herself. She's got some seriously strong spatial sense - I see an engineering career in her future!

I'm off to get started on sub plans. I'm attending the EdExpo 2015 in Atlanta this weekend so I'll be gone Friday and Monday - gotta make sure I have enough planned to keep my kiddos busy for the sub!

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