teaching to learn, means learning to teach

Posts tagged ‘favourite songs’

Elephants. What’s not to love?

It never ceases to amaze me that children are so eager to learn! In every interaction, every experience, every routine task and every moment of chilled calm or frenzied playing, there is so much going on that you can’t help but hope that the kids we share our time with won’t ever forget the joy of learning and searching.

I spent a few weeks in the Babies Room recently. This meant I was privy to some of the most joyous leaps of development, as well as an integral part of following up on their interests. I found that the sensory seekers – you know the ones who love to climb over their friends or push at them – could be redirected easier into appropriate play after a quick ‘toss in the air’ game. Setting all those needs for physical connections and movement into adult interactions has been fun! I’d generally follow this up with games of ‘Row, Row, Row your Boat’ or Peek-a-boo if there were a few rowdy ones πŸ™‚

The quiet ones were seeking their connections through the toy phones, or sharing eye contact before offering a hand to play with. Building trust in the bond we’d share, getting their permission to move in before laying on my tummy in their space and sharing their toys. As with any age group, the boisterous ones would try to join in with my play, effectively locking out the more gentle of play. It takes talent to hold a gentle conversation whilst throwing balls or building towers out of our zone, so that the interactions can remain and be encouraged.

I found that all the babies we have are loving sitting in laps or mini group times to look at books. This pleases me greatly! I hope they continue to find joy in the written word, that their imaginations can be allowed to run wild and that their connections to their life and all that it encompasses will be better understood, because of a love of books.

I found a rather large book with bright illustrations that the babies loved, so of course I read it repeatedly πŸ™‚ The whole thing could be sung jauntily to hold their interest longer too, so we added the song to our music grouptimes!

“One elephant went out to play,

Upon a spider’s web one day.

He thought it was such tremendous fun,

That he invited another elephant to come!”

You can see where this is going yeah? πŸ™‚Β  So lots of re-reading, lots of singing, lots of elephant noises and lots of fun! What better way to extend on this interest, than by putting up a display of elephantsΒ  on to a woolen spiders web and sharing the words on the wall, so that the parents could see what we’ve been doing, feeding their need to know that their children are safe, cared for and that positive thought is being put into their child’s development.

And you know what? Educators Connecting, Children’s Learning and Parental Confidence aside….it was Fun! πŸ™‚


Snakes in the Room!

We’ve been using these scooter board on flat ground for a while, but were limited to the cement areas as the carpet and astro turf really slowed them down. Once we added the ramp and a some teacher muscle, the kids immediately renewed their interest!

We’ve been enjoying the ramp and roll so I thought I’d take advantage of this interest and introduce some maths concepts into our play.

As the kid rolled down I marked their end point with chalk. They were so excited to see their names and places. Most of them repeated the roll, altering their hold or improving their grip to see where they ended up on the chart πŸ™‚

We found that each child could change where they would finish, but not accurately predict whether they would end up from their body positions.

Oh, and after we’d finished it was really cute to see some of the other children move in with dustpan and brushes to try to clean off the chalk!

As a side note, introducing the Boa Constrictor song, that I mentioned yesterday, was hugely popular πŸ™‚ The song and actions were picked up quickly. I realised that ‘middle’ was a foreign concept for them, as was a ‘boa constrictor’! So I stopped what I was doing and started again. This time with a feather boa from the dress up box. Slinking it in front of and on top of the kids like a snake.

Then for the safety lesson. Talking about how this type of snake wraps itself around the animal’s neck to stop them breathing. This is constriction and why we don’t wrap things around our friends, or our own, necks.

Then on to the fun part! Having our ‘boa constrictor’ nibble on our toes and all the way up to our heads πŸ™‚

Because the kids were singing the song spontaneously during the day, I introduced a sleeve puppet snake and began a simpler, more interactive group time and chasey play.

When you ‘threaten’ the children with being ‘eaten’, it’s the giggles that let you know their sense of humour, imagination and cognitive skills are happily on track πŸ™‚

Sandwich Press Snakes!

Wanting to introduce measurements to my kids as well as make a colourful and interactive display out of it, I decided to use a low wall of our room for a run of snakes. Small snakes, medium sized snakes, large snakes and one huge, ginormous snake that runs nearly 2 metres long!

Knowing that I’d have to laminate them, if I wanted to keep them in one piece, I had to think of an art style that would be a culturally relevant and colourful addition to our space. Painting was out, because it would take to long to dry in this wet weather. Pens and pencils were out because we have some fantastic displays using those mediums already. I considered collage, but skipped it once I remembered an activity my Mum used to do with us as kids. She used to grate crayons and we’d sprinkle them on paper and iron over them. I didn’t have an iron…but I did have a sandwich press πŸ™‚


Starting off with grating the crayons, I would have loved to get the kids to help with this part, but the grater felt too sharp and close to my fingers for me.

The children chose their own colours and sprinkled them over the top of the snakes. Originally, I’d put a run of glue on them to help the sprinkles stay put as I moved from table to sandwich press, but I found it didn’t make a great deal of difference, so soon left that step out.

We discovered that the sprinkles need to be spread thinly or else you end up with a mush of brown, rather than a pattern of colour.

As the process moved along, some children took to drawing pictures and coming over to fill those with crayon sprinkles. I really loved how they took it this step further!

Laminating was another challenge, due to the length of the snakes. I cut a slip of the joined end, out of the laminating sheets, and threaded the snakes from the bottom of the last page into the ‘neckline’ of the next page.

The kids were eager to see their snakes come out of the laminator and be cut and ready for play! I’m really looking forward to seeing how they go with naming sizes, measuring against each other and counting snakes! But for now I need to find that soft, collapsible tunnel we have somewhere, so I can sing this song!


I’m being eaten by a Boa Constrictor

by Shel Silverstein

Oh, I’m being eaten
By a boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor,
And I don’t like it one bit.
Well, what do you know?
It’s nibblin’ my toe.
Oh, gee,
It’s up to my knee.
Oh my,
It’s up to my thigh.
Oh, fiddle,
It’s up to my middle.
Oh, heck,
It’s up to my neck.
Oh, dread,
It’s upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff…

If it’s what’s inside that counts, we’d better find out what “it” is!

Originally I planned to write a post about the range of learning and activities we’d been engaged in this month. Our kindy program is running under a “body” theme. I know lots of people don’t like running their rooms under a theme, but I find it helps me to create a frame for our room that gets the most successful learning.Β  I can incorporate the theme into all areas of play, whilst still plan around children’s observations and extend on their skills. However, the further we’ve carried the theme, the more excited learning I’m seeing happen, the more activities, discussions and the more photos I’ve taken. So, it’ll have to be split into 2 or 3 posts (at least!)

We started with the basics, could the children name their body parts? Could they create facial features on a template? Could they use their body to mimic movements? Could they identify what different parts of their body could do? Turns out they could! This meant it was time to up the ante….two of our puzzles shows you the layers of the body, one a girl and one a boy; the skeleton, the internal organs, the musculature, the bare skin and finally, dressed. Taking our inspiration from this and from our body paint activity, we’ve begun delving below the skin.

I thought we’d start easy, with something tangible, something we could see and understand. Our lungs. They breathe, they help us yell, they cough, they help make funny noises and they make our chests move. I’d already drawn up a near-life-sized picture of a child and we used this to identify where our lungs were hiding. We tested out how we could make big breaths and little breaths then discussed how the shallow breaths felt. This lead on to a discussion about exercise, getting sick, asthma and smoking. The kids really seemed to know what they were talking about! Now for the fun stuff! using a large sheet, we created ‘breaths’ by pumping it up and down like lungs.

Then to show how much harder our lungs had to work when they were put under stress, I added a lightweight carpet mat on top of the sheet πŸ™‚ Oh boy, we had so much trouble creating that breeze and all of us had to work our muscles to move it! It really showed the ‘working harder’ concept better than I thought it would!

It did however the lead to one of our favourite songs “My Lovely Lycra”, which was lovely for me, as I hadn’t sung this in ages and for them to remind me of the song was flattering.

During the day, after each ‘body part’ discussion, we’d lay out a particular art activity to extend our learning. Of course, with lungs on the ‘menu’ we did blow painting πŸ™‚

Seeing as I don’t think you’re bored yet, I’ll go on to another body part we looked at. The Heart. We talked about the difference in shape between a ‘Love Heart’ and our own ‘hearts’. We talked about how the heart cleans our blood and pumps it through our bodies. The kids all knew that our blood was red (which was a nice sideline to discuss how even though we were a great range of skin colours, we all bled red…..oh and that the darker your skin tone, the less you can see the veins in your wrists!) and that when you cut yourself, you bleed. But how did the heart move all that blood around? Well, like this πŸ™‚

and this (Balloons are awesome hey?!) By pumping the air from one end of the balloon to another, we were able to see how our heart pushes blood and why it comes in spurts ba boom ba boom.

The follow-up art activity for this was to create people from cardboard shapes and split pins, add a heart and a brain (just so they could have an idea of another organ to go to) then take them over to the tables for painting in veins with red paint and ice block sticks. The lines were fine and encouraged the children to focus on direction and not just smear the bodies, like a range of actors form a B grade Zombie flick!

I apologise, but I have no pictures of the art work, the process or the steps. It was a fully involved, multi step process that had all the kids clamouring for a go! No hands free, means no photos for you but a great time for us! I might take one of where they are displayed in the room and add it as an edit! Sorry about that, but you can’t blame me for forgetting you all when I’m so immersed and engaged with the kids πŸ˜›

Words to “My Lovely Lycra” (note that I couldn’t afford a large piece of lycra, so I’ve used a large piece of stretch knit cotton)

*everyone sits in a circle, with their legs outstretched under the ‘Lycra’, holding the edge with both hands. I usually start with a round of the chorus, sort of as a warm up πŸ™‚

My lovely Lycra can stretch (*everyone leans back, pulling the lycra taut) and relax (*everyone sits up, lettign the lycra go slack, still holding on)

Stretch and relax, stretch adn relax *add movements

My lovely Lycra can stretch and relax, str-eee-tch and re-la-a-a-ax (stretch these movements out longer to match the longer sound)


*shaking the Lycra quickly from side to side

Ching Chinga ching, ching chinga ching, ching ching ching ching

My lovely Lycra can make lots of waves (small short bursts of an up and down movement – no higher than the kids shoulders)

Make lots of waves, make lots of waves, make lots of waves

My lovely Lycra can make lots of waves, make lots of wa-aa-aa-aves


My lovely Lycra can show all the toes (lift above your head and look at everyone, then snap it back down all in the space of “show all the toes”)

Show all the toes, show all the toes, show all the toes

My lovely Lycra can show all the toes, show… all… the… to-o-o-oes


(for an older group, pop a large soft toy on to the Lycra and bounce it up and down with large ‘up and down’ motions, for a younger group, I’ve sewn large buttons on in three places and tied elastic around the body of three ‘beanie’ toys with a loop at the other end to fit around the button – this stops them flying off the mat and keeps this ‘wild’ part of the game fun! 3 buttons for 3 toys to extend the fun!)

My lovely Lion/pets/animal name can play trampoline,

Play trampoline, play trampoline, play trampoline

My lovely Lion/pets/animal name can play trampoline, play tra-mpo-li-i-i-ine