We now have the following free choice centers available for the students to choose from: Painting Easel, Blocks, Puzzles, Play Dough, Lego Table, Dramatic Play, Puppets, Reading, Listening, Games, Math, Sensory Table and Pet Center.
When I opened Math Center for the first time, I sat back and took some observational notes as 4 students chose to play with our Learning Resources Three Bear Family Counters. We've been doing a lot of sorting and patterning in our math lessons, plus learning about shapes, so I wanted to see what they would do when set free with these counters.
We also opened Game Center this week with some board games from Learning Resources.
I was sent All Around The Playground and Picnic Party to try out in my classroom in return for an honest review.The thing that I LOVE about both of these games is that there are different levels of play. Right now we're working on number, shape and color recognition and one to one correspondence so the Level 1 play is right up our alley. As the year progresses and we start building our skill set, these games will be able to advance with us!
All Around The Playground game was an instant hit with my kiddos. They loved the little people and the colorful gameboard. This one has a two-sided spinner for game play. We chose to use the side with shapes and colors as we are really working on basic 2D shape recognition. There are merry-go-rounds on the board too, so if you land on a special space, you get to take a ride! This was cause for lots of giggles! This game is for 2-4 players and is for ages 3 and up, although my 4 1/2 year olds were sufficiently challenged just by Level 1 play. On the other side of the spinner are numbers 1-10, so it would be great for reinforcing numbers and one-to-one correspondence too! The kids enjoyed this game so much that Game Center wasn't empty all week! The game play is simple enough that they could play it by themselves after a few times playing with me.
Picnic Party is also for 2-4 players, and is aimed to the 4+ age group. This one was a little trickier for some of my kiddos, but with adult support they still enjoyed the game. The Level I play requires students to compare numbers - which some of my kiddos could do easily and others found a bit tricky. For the ones that need help, I will add some unifix cubes next time so they can build their number towers and compare them.
We also introduced our Pet Center this week! I created a Classroom Pet: Hermit Crabs pack that we are using with great results. It includes a pocket sort for foods that hermit crabs can and can not eat (which led to great nutrition discussions!) as well as vocabulary cards, diagrams, a daily care check list, graphic organizers, observation journal, emergent reader and more!
Our last activity of the week was creating a card and police officer masks for "Thank a Police Officer Day" which was yesterday. I delivered our card and a picture of the class with their "masks"and the sergeant at the desk was very appreciative. He told me he'd display them in the briefing room so all of the officers can see them. Activities like this are very important for my students since I teach in a Title I school. Many of our students have relatives in jail, and often times, police are seen as the enemy. By doing activities like this, and having police officers come visit and read stories, I hope to show my students that the police really are the "good guys" and there's no need to fear them.
The template for our police officer masks came from this pack by Dr SAM on TpT!