Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Winter-themed activities in a preschool classroom

Is it Winter or is it Fall?  In Phoenix, Arizona it is hard to tell!  In my classroom it is Winter, however when you look at altree with leaves underneath l the leaves under the tree on the playground you would think it was Fall!

 

Hot and Cold

Here are a few ways that we learned about the extremely short Winter we have in Phoenix.  I started off with the concept of hot and cold.  It was the first week after vacation, so we kept it pretty simple.  I brought into circle time things that were hot and cold and we talked and sang about it.  We sang one of my all time favorite songs (because it is so versatile).  The song has no name and I learned it from a music therapist many years ago... it's just one of those songs that stick and you can really sing it to any concept of opposites.  The music therapist originally sang it to yes or no, during this lesson I sang it to hot or cold and it goes like this:

Hot or Cold

Hot or Cold

Is the ______

Hot or cold???  Then you provide wait time for the student to answer. 

I let every student have a turn and showed the object to all of the students after the answer was given.  The kids really liked it. 

 

Science ExperimentMaking Ice Cubes

melted ice cubes in ziplock bags tapped to door ice with colored waterAfter that we did our first "Experiment".  The kids all made ice cubes colored with food coloring, once they were frozen they helped to put them into plastic ziplock bags and make "predictions" of what might happen, then they taped their bags to the classroom door (shown in picture to the right0.  The kids checked on the ice cubes periodically, and very quickly they melted.  Days later our baggies of water were still a hot topic of conversation in the classroom as they still hung on the door. 

During our Winter discussions we were lucky to have multiple days of freezing temperature over night.  I thought quickly one day and introduced my students to the terms "experiment" and "predictions".  We had talked a little about those terms with our ice cube project, but we went a little deeper during this very last minute project.  We simply put colored water in small jars and placed them outside over night.  While we were filling the jars and adding some sparkle for a visual appeal we all made predictions of what we thought was going to happen, then we set them outside over night. It was very fun to see the reactions as we looked at the ice the following morning.  We extended the experiment by making predictions again of what would happen if we put our ice back out in the sun until the end of the day.  And guess what, we live in Phoenix so it melted again!!  We left them out one more night... but our freeze was now over so we came back to jars of water the next morning!!  The kids really liked this activity.... some of my kids did not really understand the project, but most of them did.

 

Mittens:  Positional Concepts, Matching, Vocabulary, Literacy

We have also talked about some of the things that you might wear when it is cold.  We talked about the coats that we had to wear to school and mittens and scarves (that's all we really experience where we live so that is where I left it).  I set up some mitten matching activities and had scarves available for dress up and play.  Another song that we sang, (and again it is a favorite because of its versatility) was "I have a mitten on my head on my head".  I have absolutely no idea where I learned this song, but it is a positional concepts song that I use ALL the time!!  And it goes like this:pairs of mittens with clothespins

I have a mitten on my head on my head

I have a mitten on my head on my head

I have a mitten on my head

I have a mitten on my head

I have a mitten on my head on my head

(As you can see you can change the object to fit any activity and change the positional term and body part or location and it is an instant hit!!  I love it too because it becomes so familiar to the kids).

With the discussion of cold and mittens we read an all time favorite The Mitten by Jan Brett.  My kids LOVE this story. We really have a good time acting this one out.  I don't usCover of the Mitten story by Jan Brette a story box with this book, but we all get hands on and involved with the story.  If you haven't read the story it is about a little boy who drops a white mitten in the snow and animals one by one start to climb inside to get warm.  Jan Brett has a website http://www.janbrett.com/index.html and from here you can print out various things to go along with the story.  For my class I printed out the puppets.  I put them on cardstock and popsicle sticks and we use them as props during the story.  I usually bring in a large white sheet (This year I forgot and we had to improvise last minute) I give each student an animal puppet and be sure to tell them what their animal is and a little about the animal (that information was provided with the printout on the website).  Then we act it out.  As each animal climbs into the mitten in the story, the student who "is" that animal climbs under the sheet.                                               animal puppets that go along with The mitten story

The book is very well written and provides for repetition, prediction and sequencing.  On the pages of the book there is a snap shot of the animal that will get into the mitten next, so low vision kids can use that.

 

Hibernation

After we finished talking about the cold, we discussed a little about hibernation.  I really enjoyed the hibernation activities, but the class was small for this week... so we didn't get into too much detail.

I borrowed a few books from the library about hibernation, but we mostly discussed and talked about Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming. This book again provides for repeated lines and sequencing.  The students who were in school for the story worked together to makeCover of Time to Sleep a sequencing project about the story.  I found a website that had lesson plan ideas for lots of different books, http://www.archjrc.com/childsplace/bookthemes1.html#timesleep from here I found the print out for the animals in the project.  You could easily use the animal templates to make it into a book and texture and braille it.  I did the activity with typically developing 4 and 5 year olds who have low vision... so this way worked for them.  I had them reference the book to see what animals went next and work together to complete the project. 

time to sleep activity

 

We ended our winter unit with a Snow Day!!  It does not snow in Phoenix, so we have to experiencetruck making snow snow a little differently... a truck brings it to us!!  The kids were all able to watch the truck make the snow.  This is the first time that my kids have seen how our snow is made, usually they come to school and there is just a pile of snow waiting.  I think that by seeing the snow get made it helped them understand the process.  We were able to talk about how snow usually comes from the sky, but in Phoenix it does not so the truck makes snow for us to play in.  It was a great day!! 

 

 


winter  collage

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