{12 Days of Books} - a little late is better than never...

Well, I had intended to do a fun "12 Day Countdown" of our favorite Christmas books, but I'm just not that organized AND I had to travel back home for a few days for a funeral for an uncle, who was a wonderful man by the way... I still hope to get through our favorite 12 Christmas books before the holiday comes and goes, but we shall see.

Our first book, which we did actually read last Friday was....

Appropriately enough, the book that we read 12 days before Christmas, was "Jack Kent's Twelve Days of Christmas." Jack Kent is a famous illustrator and cartoonist, who authored and illustrated an impressive list of children's books. My favorite Jack Kent books is "There's No Such Thing as a Dragon," which I fondly remember from my own childhood.

Most people are familiar with the traditional "Twelve Days of Christmas" song... or at least have heard it somewhere before. As a child, I think that I knew more of the words, but now, the words are fresh in my mind... along with Kent's cute and expressive cartoon drawings that accompany the story.

... and I always thought it was "4 calling birds" -- who knew that it's really "4 COLLIE birds"?!

As the song (and book) continued, the pages filled up with all of items... it was quite a crowd...

By the end of the book, the young girl is sprinting away from the boy... who simply loved her so much that he wanted to give her tons of gifts -- albeit pointless and useless gifts by today's standards....

Which left me pondering the idea of a love as strong as this... how do we express that without seeming ridiculous?

There are 4 more books to come -- hopefully later tonight, so that I can catch up AND share our holiday favorites with you!

Snow Day & Snowmen

Snow day off school and my toddler is napping ... it's a perfect opportunity to catch up on blogging - or my lack of blogging during the past week. I've been busy with preschool shenanigans, university end-of-semester tasks and holiday preparations at home. Managed to get our Christmas tree up - while not as organized as usual, it's up and my toddler LOVED decorating it - that's all that matters really!

We've been reading lots of Christmas books at our house lately. I had wanted to post a whole 25 days of Christmas reading, but couldn't get it together fast enough. However, we will be doing a '12 Days of Christmas Books' with some great vintage books and some new favorites ... stay tuned beginning December 13 -- I'll be sharing our favorite books in posts between the 13th and 25th of the month... probably a few at a time rather than one every day (I'm just not that organized to write a post a day!)

As for what's been going on at preschool, here are a few of our pictures from last week that I never got around to posting....

 We made a big ball of sparkly snow play-doh roughly using the microwave dough recipe from a while back.  I can't say we were champs at measuring this time, but it worked out well - microwaving did take extra time because we made a quadruple size batch! I put out assorted odds and ends for making a snowman and let the kids go to town.

Check out the biggest snowman with the black beads on the sides of its head -- those are hearing aids! I've got a student who has recently become very aware of his hearing aids and has started putting hearing aids on all of his drawings, sculptures ect.

The sparkles in the dough were about a cup or two of Buffalo Snow that I picked up on clearance somewhere last year. It makes a heck of a mess by itself, but in playdoh, it's really quite charming!

I also changed out the materials for light play and introduced a couple of sheets of cheap snowflake window clings. The kids are still getting the idea of the whole 'light play' thing... and many of them just aren't all that interested in it yet, but we'll keep trying to find just the right materials that catch their interest...

We sang "Five Little Snowflakes" (to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle") with the snowflakes, adding one at a time with each verse, and overhead that went something like this:

One little snowflake with nothing to do 
along came another, then there were two 

Two little snowflakes playing with me
along came another, then there were three 

Three little snowflakes calling for more
along came another, then there were four

Four little snowflakes dip and dive
along came another, then there were five 

Five little snowflakes having so much fun
whoooo! went the wind, then there were none!

I can't say that I remember where it came from, but there are similar versions all over the internet!

Lastly, we made this simple letter craft. S is for snow ... or snowballs. Pretty simple.

I have to say that I've enjoyed my day off... catching up on house work, laundry, blogging, time with my own child... They're calling for more snow late tonight and early tomorrow morning... two snow days in a row? We'll see...


Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, we've officially moved on to "Winter" themed activities in my classroom. I currently work at a school that does not really celebrate any holidays; our mantra is something like 'educate don't celebrate' ...  so this season can be a bit challenging!

Although we don't have any snow (yet), we've moved on to books about snowmen, snow, hot chocolate and other wintery themes. This week might be uncharacteristically warm, but next week they're calling for snow!

Here's our new sensory bin for the week- Snowballs Bin! containing cotton balls, a bag of glittery decorative balls from the craft store, plastic snowflakes, tongs, scoops, pots, pans, bowls and spoons!

 A few new fine motor trays - one for using tongs and one specifically focused for pincer grasp. Both contain simple items: various size pompoms (some sparkly), ice tray, empty oatmeal container and tongs. We also use both of these trays to practice reaching across mid-line by strategically placing the bowl and the tray/canister so that the students much reach as far across mid-line as possible -- then we switch placement, so that they must reach with the other hand across the other side.... my students HATE when I do this... so we only do it for a designated period of time, then I allow them to complete the remainder of the activity however they choose!

And this afternoon's craft activity - make-a-snowman gluing activity... contents included simple pre-cut shapes for mittens, stick arms, hats, boots, buttons, scarves, mouth, nose and eye stickers. The snowmen were cut from watercolored paper from earlier in the day - we painted with liquid watercolors using turquoise, blue and sliver paint and sprinkled salt over the wet paint for a 'snowflake' effect!

I think that our snowmen turned out great! There's more winter fun to come! What have you been up to?