Sunday, September 15, 2013


We are getting ready to start our Letter Days soon. We work on all the letters all the time, but I also concentrate on each specific letter, usually spending about two days on each letter, to focus on correct letter formation and the letter sounds. We practice writing the letter so many ways, so many times on these days (in the air, on friends' backs, on the whiteboard, in shaving cream, in sand, and... even on paper). So many of the children have been forming the letters incorrectly from the start, that they need to relearn the correct way, with lots of practice.  It must be innate to form letters bottom up. OH my goodness! :)  Introducing letters this way  also gives me time to do some little activities for each letter to help the children remember the letters and sounds better. I can say, "Remember when we made butter to help us remember letter Bb?"

I wanted to show you the Africam in case you hadn't seen it. It is a site with live safari cameras 24/7. You can chose one camera, or watch them all.   I love introducing it when we talk about letter "Aa." 

Here is a Youtube video of some highlights from Africam:
When we watch, we usually watch the watering hole, and don't see much, to be honest with you. And yet- we still love this site! We did see an elephant walk over and drink once, and some sort of a small lion, and it was so exciting.  I have this on during free choice time, because it is so peaceful and quiet, but gives the children something to keep track of- and if we see an animal, it really does make our day! 

You know how that first snow flake brings your classroom to a  s c r e e c h i n g  halt as the children flock to the window?  Well, it doesn't take much to excite us.  The thought of seeing an animal keeps us going. It also seems to keep the classroom a little quieter at free choice time, with that peaceful watering hole there, just waiting for some visitors. 

The site has videos of animals that have been seen on the cameras that you can share with your children, too.

I think the time difference is about six hours ahead of our time in NY, and the animals are most active early in the morning (between 6 and 9 AM) so "school time" isn't the most ideal for seeing activity- but you can see some!  It's fun and peaceful to have up on the Smartboard , anyway.  Sometimes at home I can see some animals on the cameras late at night if I am not sound asleep think to look.

Another great site to remember is Kids Biology , especially for teaching non-fiction units. 
Here is a screen shot just to show you.  You click on any animal in the database and get a photograph and little description of any animal you want. 

And, of course, I couldn't leave this post without this little joke from "The Diary of a Pre-school Teacher"  that fits right in: 

My five-year old students are learning to read.  Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said, “Look at this! It’s a frickin’ elephant!”

I took a deep breath, then asked…”What did you call it?”

“It’s a frickin’ elephant! It says so on the picture!”

And so it does…

A fricken elephant
                A F R I C A N    ELEPHANT

Have a wonderful week!

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