Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer School Rodeo Part 2

I previously posted some links about and information on my rodeo theme for summer school. Since then I've been sorting through activities and finding ideas and skills that will be best for my group of students. I found one idea about having a field day/rodeo day on one of the websites. Great idea! Time to call on my friend...she's a pre-k teacher who just happened to be a physical education teacher for 17 years. Here's what we (and when I say "we" I really mean "she") came up with:

Rodeo Day

Rodeo day is organized on a center rotation with a teacher, assistant or parent volunteer assisting at each center. Each center rotation will last 12-15 minutes, so the whole rodeo day / field day will be over in an hour or so. Just in time for lunch afterwards and singing around the campfire before!

There will be three or four children in a group. (If we add another class or more students, we will increase the centers accordingly. I want a maximum of five children at a center, three or four would be best.) Activities are designed to encourage oral language develpoment, social/emotional development, gross motor development and fine motor development. We we will ask the children to come in jean shorts or overalls. At school they will put on hats and vests they have made.

Key component: You want to have as many children as possible actively participating in centers at any given time. It is important to practice waiting for your turn, but more active participation at any given time equals less discipline problems. Makes sense...the students are involved in the task rather than getting in trouble.

Morning Circle: Sing Around the Campfire, review "Rodeo Rules"
1) Safety comes first! (hands and feet to self...this includes horseshoes, lassos and hobby horses)
2) Stay in your center until the whistle blows
3) Listen to the "cowhands" (staff and volunteers)

Rodeo

Lasso the cows:
Set up:
~Tie a jump rope to a hula hoop to make a "lasso." (You need two of these.)
~Place a big picture of a cow on a sawhorse or a playground cone to make a "cow." (You need two of these.)
~Get four carpet squares. Each child sits/stands on a carpet square. We place two in front of one "cow" and two in front of the other "cow." It visually cues the children on where they need to be. (Make sure to place them a "lasso" apart. You don't want a child accidentally getting hit by a flying hula hoop. If you have five children in a group, you need five carpet squares. Every child should have a spot.)

Play:
~The child sitting on the carpet square closest to the "cow" tries to throw the "lasso" around the "cow." We usually give 2 or 3 chances.
~After the turn is completed, the child who was on the "waiting square" moves up to the "lasso square" for his/her turn. The child who was throwing moves to the "waiting square" to wait for another turn. This step is important because it teaches children how to wait, but they don't have to wait for very long. When you have two lines at each center like this you have at least 50% of the class actively participating at any given time. Remember: more children actively participating in the lesson equals less discipline problems.
~Repeat until the whistle blows. The first whistle blow is the cue to "clean up". After the clean up whistle, we have children point to their next center. The second repetetive whistle blow is "move to the next center". Since today is rodeo day, we will "gallop like a horse" to our new centers.

Benefits:
Practice social/emotional skill of taking turns. Throwing movement naturally requires students to cross their midline. Great opportunities for oral langauge. 50% of the children are actively engaged at any time.

Panning for gold:
Setup:
~Paint rocks with gold spray paint to create your gold.
~Fill water table (if you don't have a water table, Home Depot or Lowes have mixing tubs in the concrete/masonry area that would work. They look similar to this, but I have seen others for $6 or $8.) with sand at the bottom and just enough water to cover the sand, so that it resembles a stream.
~Gather 4 or more sifting tools.

Play:
~Let students "pan for gold" with the sifters.
~Move gold to a "safe spot" with tongs or "cheater chopsticks."
~Repeat until the whistle bows. Clean up and get ready to gallop to a new center.

Benefits:
Great sensory activity. The practice with the tongs and cheater chopsticks exercise the muscles needed for writing and cutting. Lots of opportunities for oral language. 100% of the children are actively engaged the whole time.

Rodeo Clowns:
Set up:
Set up any obstacle course of your choosing. You may want to use tunnels, rocking boards, hurdles, etc. Rodeo clowns help rodeo riders stay safe when they get thrown from a horse. They have to be able to duck and move quickly.

Play:
~Set up "waiting carpet squares" similar to Lasso the Cows. This keeps a familair structure/routine.
~Students crawl through the tunnels, balance on the rocking boards and go over and under the hurdles.
~Repeat until the whistle blows.

Benefits:
Students practice taking turns. The practice following multi-step visual/oral directions. 50% of the students are engaged at any time. This is a great activity to practice action words (crawling, balancing, stepping, galloping, jumping, etc.)


Trail Mix
Setup:
~Gather mix items: for example Cheerios, raisins, M&Ms, & pretzles. Also get juice boxes (not authentic, but gets the students a drink!)
~Create a picture recipe.
~Gather a bowl, a spoon, small cups or bowls and a box of baby wipes.

Play:
~Have students clean their hands with baby wipes since soap and water won't be available.
~Have students "read" the recipe with you.
~Have students add ingredients and stir the mix.
~Eat the trail mix and drink a juice box.
~Enjoy until the whistle blows.

Benefits:
Students practice early literacy skills when reading the recipe. Students follow a sequence of directions. Students get a chance to cool off and have a less active center. 100% of the children are actively engaged the whole time.

Horse Race:
Setup:
~In previous class lessons, have students make a hobby horse. (I plan on using a wooden dowel and a white sock. PreK students will choose what color they want their mane and the eyes. We will stuff the sock and then invite an older class to help us "thread and sew" the mane. The older students will use yarn needles to push a pre-cut length of yarn through the sock. The older students will help the PreK students tie the yearn in a knot.)
~Set up waiting carpet squares.
~Set up a "corral" for horses that are "resting."
~Set up a playground cone at a distance away from the carpet squares.

Play:
~Children will take turns "riding their horses" around the playground cone and back.
~Repeat until the whistle blows.

Benefits:
Gross motor parctice galloping. Practice waiting their turns. 50% of the children are actively engaged at any time.

Cook-Out
Not really...don't want an open flame near children on school property. We will probably just eat a hot dog lunch (cooked in a crock pot) with baked beans (warmed in a crock pot) and potato chips.

Rest!
All of the cowhands, cowboys and cowboys are tuckered out! Cool down and rest...perhaps with the video Fievel Goes West.

The very cool thing about Rodeo Day is that it is fun and different but it is organized according to a basic classroom routine. We just moved the routine outside. You can use this routine and structure for almost any special event just by changing the centers to fit the skills and theme you want to practice. We use it for Fall Festival and Water Day, too.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Digital Photos and Oral Langauge Samples

I really like having digital photos of students engaged in classroom activites, field trips, or special events.

The digital camera is such a useful piece of technology because we can click away hoping to capture that one moment and not worry about wasting film.

I am very fortunate at my school because we have quite a few digital cameras available for teacher use and a number of color printers that can be used to print photos. We take tons of photos and use them to promote authentic, familiar language building experiences.

We start with photos of students playing or working in classroom tasks. At cirlce time or in small groups my assistant and I model how to talk about the picture. For some groups we work on labeling the objects or people in the picture. The next step is to use a 2-3 word phrase to tell about the picture and the action in the picture (i.e. Susie painting.) We then work to increase the descriptive words and build upon the sequence of the activity.

Our goal is to show students an array of 2-3 pictures, let the child choose one to talk about and record a language sample such as this (although it may be grammatically incorrect) : "I playing water table. I getting the crab a new home. Him like his new home because him it's big for him and him safe there."

The child who told us this story demonstrates his ability to label familiar objects and to use verbs with the "ing " ending. He also demonstrates that he understands the science concept that the crab moves to a new home because it outgrew the old one and for protection. His language sample further shows that we need to continue to work on proper pronoun usage and grammatically using helping verbs such as "am".

Digital photos act as a writing prompt or an idea prompt for young children. They spark many great conversations and opportunities to see what students have learned.

Phrase question?

Recently, Mrs. V posted some great word combinations that her children made up. It got me thinking....

Not that we are kids, but on a similar strand, my friend and I make up phrases to go with situations.

Our most used is "porch lag." My husband said it to me tonight when it took 20 minutes to say good bye to my mom and my sisters...starting at the dining room table, moving to the family room, then the driveway....eventually he whispered to me, "Enough porch lag, say good bye." Porch lag is the amount of time it takes to actually leave a relative's house, starting at the time you initally say "we need to go" and ending at the time that you actually leave the driveway.

My friend and I have been looking for a phrase for "the number of times you go back into your house for one more thing before you leave for school in the morning.."

Any suggestions?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer School Rodeo Theme

In an earlier post, I shared some of the resources and ideas that I had for a pirate theme for summer school. My thought process for doing the pirate theme was to do some adventure, treasure, ships, island lessons....using a fun organizing theme that I wouldn't use during the school year.

I received my class list and I think I need to make a change. Two of my students have had some difficulties with aggression towards peers and/or adults. One of my original concerns with the priate theme was how to remove the swords and fighting and keep the adventure and treasure concepts at the forefront. I thought perhaps I could manage it with some of the students, but given the new information on the needs of my students, I want to set all of them up for success. I do not want to organize lessons around a theme that may contribute to problems.

In light of the new information and the reflection on that information, I have now decided to go with a Rodeo Theme for the summer.

I found many resources on the internet that practice oral language skills, fine motor skills and gross motor skils. Within these skills the ideas focus on books, crafts, cooking, songs, fingerplays, games and sensory table ideas.

My tentative schedule is as follows:
Entrance Routine (I use the visual routine from my entrance procedures post)
Table Work (color page, table top manipulatives, book exploration)
Circle Time (calendar work, story, phonemic awareness)
Centers (craft, small group skill work, discovery play)
Recess (playground)
Lunch
Gross Motor (organized game or play with balls, jump ropes, etc.)
Table Work ( table top manipulatives, finish craft)
Closing Circle (with the rodeo theme we're going to "Sing at the Camp Fire)
Dismissal

The following websites have provided a host of ideas to plug into my schedule and skill work.

Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett
Cowboys at the Virtual Vine
Western Coloring Pages
Wild West Songs, Games and Crafts
Rodeo and Western Ideas
Rodeo Printables
Texas Rodeo Time
Rodeo Western Day Lesson Plans
Wild, Wild West Lessons

Tentative Book List (I will certainly add to it and I may not read some....BTW, Some books have great pictures but too many words and concepts. I use the book but tell the story or the information instead of reading every word.)

Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett
Cowboys and Cowgirls Yipee Yay by Gail Gibbons
Why Cowboys Sleep with Their Boots On by Lauire Lazzaro Knowlton
Cowboy Dreams by Kathi Appelt

Now all I have to do is organize everything and prep the craft project materials................