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Friday, August 14, 2015

Shapes - The New Class

This was the week the kids moved up to the next class at the daycare, so I had several new faces.  Since we are starting over with a new group and younger kids, I'm dropping down to 2 books and a 20-minute storytime for a while, and as they settle in and learn the routine I will increase to 3 books and 30 minutes. 

I decided to go ahead and use the shapes theme that we did on the storytime bus a couple of weeks ago, though I did select some different books.  I thought it would be good to focus on a basic concept at the beginning of the year.  Also 3 books about shapes is a little monotonous, so it would be good to use it when I would be planning a shorter storytime. 

We started with the usual welcome song and introductions, except that we sang the song twice since it was new for most of them.  Then we did the "story song" and reviewed proper storytime behavior. 

For our first book, I chose Shape By Shape by Suse MacDonald because (1) It is short and simple, just right for young 3 year-olds, (2) It's cute and interactive, and (3) The kids on the Storytime Bus really enjoyed it, with some classes even asking to read it again.  The one criticism I have of this book, is that Brachiosaurus was an herbivore and did not have sharp, pointy teeth.  Being a science major, these kinds of inaccuracies really bug me.

After our story, I used the "Do You Know What Shape This Is?" song (to the tune of "Do You Know The Muffin Man?):

          Do you know what shape this is?  What shape this is, what shape this is?
          Do you know what shape this is, I'm holding in my hand?

Then I would hold up a shape (I had circle, square, triangle, rectangle, diamond, star, heart, & oval) and see if they could name it, count the sides, and name the color.  We also discussed how to distinguish a square and rectangle, circle and oval.

After that, I read Shapes That Roll  by Karen Nagel.  I chose this book because it had a nice rhyme and rhythm, and bright, shiny illustrations and cute shape characters.  I also liked that it had a mix of geometric and irregular shapes, as well as introduced 3D shapes and distinguished between circles and spheres, squares and cubes.  It can be interactive as well, by having kids name the shapes and discuss what shapes will roll and what will stack.  After we read the book we discussed how you can see shapes all around us everyday, and pointed out different shapes in the classroom.

Then we ended with our closing song and smiley-face (circle) hand stamps. 

How It Went
I had a larger group than usual, with 13 kids at the beginning and 2 more joining us about mid-way through.  I've typically only had 8-10 the last few months;  I think everyone's eager to get up and get going at the beginning of the school year, then seem to start coming in later and later once cold weather hits.  The group had about 6 kids that had been in the class all year, and the rest were the ones who had just moved up, so were probably all just barely 3.  As expected, with all the newcomers and the overall age of the class being younger, they were full of energy and very excitable and talkative.  The veterans of the class were excited to see me and introduce their new classmates to me.  So now I have a lot of new names to learn, which the teacher was kind enough to help me with by giving them nametags.

I told the senior class members they were going to have to be sure and help teach the new kids our songs and routine, and they did their best, singing the regular songs nice and loudly.  As I expected, they really liked Shape By Shape a lot.  They were very cute, showing their wide, crescent smiles, and fierce expressions.  I wish I could find another book like that, that sequentially builds something one shape at a time with the kids guessing what it will be each step.  I've seen some somewhat similar, but none nearly as good.  They seemed to really enjoy the "Do You Know What Shape This Is?" song, but kept getting louder and louder with each one!  I had to stop halfway thru and remind them not to shout so loudly and disturb the other classes.  They do not know their shapes really well as a group, but there was always at least one kid who knew each shape.  Shapes That Roll was just a bit too long; they liked it, but their attention did wane in and out.  If it had been later in the year I think they would have been fine with it, though.

At the end I told them to listen up because I had some homework for them.  You should have seen their faces ;)  "Homework??" they said, incredulously.  I told them for the rest of the day I wanted them to pay attention and notice all the shapes they could see around them, and gave examples of some in the classroom:  the circular clock, rectangular windows, the heart on one person's shirt, and the star on another.  Then I gave them hand stamps and got lots of hugs. 

I have to say, they really lifted my spirits today.  I was not feeling well at all and was really dragging this morning, but I completely forgot about feeling crappy while I was there and felt energized when I left.  I love going to see this group! 

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