Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Make Him Laugh

Today, the babies were busy. I played with Baby L and Crawling Baby for most of the morning. Crawling Baby played in the tunnel, bounced on the big ball and walked around with a push toy. He’s getting even better at walking. He was able to walk while hanging on to the couch. When he got to the end, he grabbed the bouncer and finally was able to walk towards the window. He likes watching the kids and when I went over to him, he cried for me to open the door. He wanted to go outside, but it wasn’t very nice out this morning. We played peak-a-boo with the big ball which he thought was funny. A lot of stuff we do is repetition from day to day or week to week, but that’s what the babies need.

While I played with Baby L, Crawling Baby was busy reading. He likes to flip through books and babble to himself. It’s funny to watch because sometimes he’ll look at the same book and babble for at least ten minutes. Lately, he’s been showing more of an interest in books. For a few minutes, he was sharing his book with Baby L. It was sideways while they were looking at it, but they kept feeling the textures on the pages. Baby L would try to take it away, but I did my best to keep it between them so they could both look at it. They didn’t mind. I don’t expect them to share because they don’t understand how, but as long as it wasn’t frustrating them, I thought it was okay. For a long time, Baby L played with different rattles and spinning toys. I found a mini phone on the shelf which I was going to give to them, but when I tried to see if you could lift up the phone, the thing snapped in half. Luckily, no one noticed and I just shoed it to another teacher who threw it away. I figured it was poorly made since I didn’t pull the phone that hard.

During lunch, I fed Crawling Baby. He was so disappointed with the soft tacos that he barely ate and eventually, he put his head down and fell asleep. At snack time though, he wanted more and more yogurt. After two bowls, we decided that was enough because he wouldn’t drink his milk either. Since he still seemed sad and tired, I’d make funny faces right before each spoonful of yogurt to make him laugh. He usually tries to feed himself, but luckily, after a couple of spoonfuls, he realized that he couldn’t pick yogurt up from the table. He started to cry again later because another teacher had wiped his nose. He hates things like that. Anyway, he was standing holding on to the couch and my hand and I was sitting half way on the couch. I purposefully slid off the couch to make it look like I fell and he thought that was so funny. He pulled my hand to help me up and we started all over again, but this time, he’d pull my hand to make me fall off. Finally, he saw Baby L standing in front of the mirror so he went over there and almost knocked him over.

Baby L can use the shelf or the wooden bar in front of the mirror to pull himself up. He did that for the first time today. Baby C can also walk holding on to the couch, but instead of crawling, she roles everywhere. They brought out one new toy that I thought was cool. It’s an inflatable duck that you put water in and there are little things floating around inside. The babies liked watching the floating things and hitting the duck so the water made a little splashing noise. That’s the closest thing to water play we’ve done so far except Crawling Baby finding some puddles outside. Overall it was a pretty good day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Music and Sand

Today I spent a few hours with the toddlers, but since there were a couple extra teachers, I spent most of the time in the classroom cleaning and taking care of other things while the kids were either napping or outside. Towards the end of the day when there were only two kids left, one of the girls decided she wanted to play the drum. It’s a medium sized drum with two sticks. We both took one. Her drumming was loud of course so I showed her that she could drum quietly as well which didn’t last long. She kept trying to put the sticks back into holders on the drum, but she couldn’t quite push them in. I’d get them started for her, but then she realized it worked better if she pushed them in with her foot. We also tested what the sticks sounded like when moved across the drum and on three different balls. After a while she pushed them away and went back to loud drumming with both sticks. One of the supervisors came in and told her that she loved her music. They had one of those stability balls in the room so she loved bouncing on that too. She thought it was fun to fall off. This girl usually gets into trouble almost every day, but today she was doing great. She didn’t get in trouble at all and on the playground, she skipped around telling everyone how happy she was.

I stopped by the infant room to see if the teacher in there needed help. Crawling Baby came over to the gate and started to whine at me so I picked him up and talked to him for a few minutes. When I went to put him down, he started to cry so I tried to get him to play with a couple toys, but then the teacher suggested I take him to the sand box. He was happy out there. He liked watching me shovel sand into a bucket. I’d do it in different ways. Sometimes, I’d slowly let the sand fall into the bucket or quickly dump it in which he thought was funny. I started to dump the bucket because I thought he’d enjoy seeing the big pile of sand, but he didn’t want me to. He wanted me to keep shoveling and patting. I started to tell him about the texture of the sand when he spotted his mom on the preschool playground. I held his hands and we walked over to her. She told me how much Crawling Baby loves the sand box, but I think he was glad to be going home.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekly Favorites for June 26, 2011

Sink and Float Activity Plus Extentions.
The simple sink and float activity with all sorts of neat extentions.

Let's Build a Flower Shop!
A fun dramatic play activity.

Edible Sand
A few creative summer snacks.

Bubbles and Light
A fun light table activity using bubbles.

Making color Wheels in Preschool
An activity to help children learn colors.

Sea Shell I Spy Bottle
An ocean themed I spy bottle for summer.

The Worlds Best Bubbles
An easy recipe for homemade bubbles.

At the Beach Cupcakes
A cute beach themed snack.

Infant Activities.
A few activities for babies one year and under.

Layered Ball Scavenger Hunt.
A great fine motor activity.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Steps

Today was a long day. Most of the babies were fussy and I was tired. We were going to go for another walk, but things got in the way. We spent a lot of time outside on the playground though. Baby L had fun playing in the sand box and Baby C was happy on the swing. It was funny how the babies were fussy and unhappy inside, but when they were outside, they were happy. It was a nice day because it wasn’t too hot or too cold. Crawling Baby wasn’t himself this morning. He played a little bit, but wasn’t all over the place like usual. After lunch, they took his temperature and found that he had a fever so his mom came to get him.

While playing this morning, he stood up using the shelf and took two or three steps on his own. One of the teachers said he did that yesterday as well, but these were his first steps that I saw. I think he’ll be walking within the next few weeks. In August, they might be moving up to the toddler room. I told him that I’d have to go visit. They grow so fast!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Assignment: Child Development

I chose the following resources to demonstrate important concepts and skills within the field of child development.
Here’s a video demonstrating the beginnings of social development for babies. Even babies can have buddies. Babies become interested in each other and learn to imitate.

The following story demonstrates the beginnings of developing empathy in infants. This link also includes extra resources. Developing empathy is important because children who are kind to others feel better about themselves.
An Act of Infant Kindness
I found this poem about play; the building block of child development. Play is how children learn skills from each developmental domain. The poem shows physical, cognitive and social skills. Play is enjoyable to children, but it also prepares them to be successful in the future.
When I am building with the blocks please don't say I'm "just playing".
For you see, I'm learning as I play, about balance and shapes.
Who knows, I may be an architect someday.
When I'm getting all dressed up, setting the table, caring for the babies, don't get the idea I'm "just playing".
For, you see, I'm learning as I play;
I may be a mother or a father someday.
When you see me up to my elbows in paint or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay, please don't let me hear you say, "He is just playing".
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I'm expressing myself and being creative.
I may be an artist or an inventor someday.
When you see me sitting in a chair "reading" to an imaginary audience, please don't laugh and think I'm "just playing".
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I may be a teacher someday.
When you see me combing the bushes for bugs, or packing my pockets with choice things I find, don't pass it off as "just play".
For you see, I'm learning as I play.
I may be a scientist someday.
When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some "plaything" at my school, please don't feel the time is wasted in "play".
For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to solve problems and concentrate.
I may be in business someday.
When you see me cooking or tasting foods please don't think that because I enjoy it, it is "just play".
I'm learning to follow direction and see differences.
I may be a cook someday.
When you see me learning to skip, hop, run and move my body, please don't say I'm "just playing".
For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning how my body works.
I may be a doctor, nurse or athlete someday.
When you ask me what I've done at school today, and I say, "I just played", please don't misunderstand me.
For you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to enjoy and be successful in my work.
I'm preparing for tomorrow.
Today, I am a child and my work is play.
Author unknown.
I found it here.
There are so many resources I could choose from and it was hard to narrow it down to three, but I picked pieces of child development that are interesting to me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekly Favorites for June 19, 2011

Here are my favorites for the week. I hope you enjoy them.

Melted Hot Rocks from Irresistible Ideas for play based learning.
A neat project using rocks and melted wax.

Book Pages Turned Placemats from Pocketful of Posies.
Here's an idea for old books that are falling apart.

Stained Glass collage from handmade Beginnings.
A simple project using a variety of materials.

DIY Light Table for Preschool from Teach Preschool.
Also check out her Mini Light Box.
A great inexpensive idea for making your own light box.

Candy Sensory Tub from Counting Coconuts.
A fun candy sensory tub.

Montessori-Inspired Ocean Unit for Summer Learning and Fun from
A resource for a bunch of ocean themed activities.

Ice Tunnels: Bring on the Summer Fun! from Art and Creativity.
A fun summer activity using ice, salt and food coloring.

Fun Food Friday Somewhere Over the Rainbow from Meet the Dubiens.
An edible rainbow!

Stuffed Heart Collage Card. from The Imagination Tree.
A Father's day idea. It could be used for other greeting cards as well.

Pudding Beach Cups from Sun Scholars.
A creative beach themed snack.

Noodle Beads from Crafty Soccer Mom.
A simple and inexpensive craft.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Today, we did mostly the usual stuff with the babies. There were only four of them. This morning, Crawling Baby was the only one awake so we brought him outside to the sand box. He liked tipping a bucket over and moving a shovel around in the sand. I took another shovel and showed him how to put sand in the bucket, but he was more interested in tipping it over. That’s okay though, he’s just getting used to the sand. As he was crawling around the playground, he found a puddle which he enjoyed playing in. His clothes were soaked afterward and he got cold, but he really likes playing in the water. On the infant playground, there’s a hill and on one side, there’s a slide that goes from the top to the bottom. Crawling Baby had fun sliding down, but he wanted to crawl up the slide instead of crawling back up the hill. I watched him try and try for at least ten minutes. Eventually, he did it on his own! I was surprised that he didn’t get frustrated and give up. He fussed a few times and I’d walk down the hill to where he was on the slide. He’d look over at me and then get back to what he was doing. He was happy to reach the top.

This morning, Crawling Baby started hiding in a tunnel. This tunnel is underneath this wooden play pen type thing. It’s a wide tunnel that has two sections. It has four entrances, but two of them are blocked off by walls, but it’s easy for them to crawl in and out. I was sitting in the middle of the room and he started babbling from the tunnel to get my attention. I peaked in the tunnel and he’d laugh. Then I’d hide and he’d peak out at me. This went on for a few minutes until he found a rubber duck inside the tunnel. He threw it out at me and I threw it back in. It’d bounce around a little and he’d laugh. To make it more of a challenge, I started throwing the duck to the back part of the tunnel. Crawling Baby would go back there to get it, but he’d still throw it the same distance. Instead of it landing near me like he wanted, it’d only land in the front part of the tunnel so he’d have to throw it two or three times. That didn’t last long. It was kind of frustrating for him so he went back to only sitting in the front part of the tunnel. After that, he wanted to sit on my lap and we looked at books. He misses his morning nap that he doesn’t get anymore.
In the afternoon, Baby L and Baby C loved catching bubbles. The other teacher would blow the bubbles and Baby C would role after them. Baby L kept reaching up with his hands. Baby C would babble and Baby L would giggle if there was a big bubble. I knew the toddlers went nuts for them, but I had never seen how the babies reacted to them. It was too bad Crawling Baby was napping because it would’ve been funny to see him chase and pop them.
The other teacher also brought out this mat that when you crawl or walk on it, it makes different sounds. There are bell and honking sounds, but at the end, there’s a splash sound. Baby C liked rolling over the mat and wasn’t quite sure where the sounds were coming from, but she enjoyed it the most out of everyone. Crawling Baby figured out that the sounds come out from this plastic box. He’d hit the footprints and realized that’s how it makes the sound, but surprisingly he didn’t crawl on it. Baby L just sat next to it and hit the footprints that were closest to him. I’d hit the other ones so he could hear the other sounds. I think their favorite was the splash, but they liked the other sounds too and kept dragging the mat all over the place. The babies had a fun day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekly Favorites for June 12, 2011

I hope everyone had a great week! Mine was busy and my list is short this week. I hope you enjoy the links. Hopefully I'll have more time this week to post some new entries.

Puffy Ice Cream Cones in Preschool from Teach Preschool.
A fun ice cream project for summer or any time. It's a good excuse to eat ice cream!

Magic Potions and Fizzing Formulas- Getting Kids’ Attention With Chemistry! from Not Just Cute.
A beginning lesson in chemestry for those little scientists.

Rock Candy Experiment from tinker Lab
How to make rock candy.

Garden Sensory Bin from Growing Up Our Style
A fun idea for a summer sensory bin.

Texture Flash Cards from
Children's Learning Activities.
A neat texture game.

Homemade Marbled Bouncy Balls and Ramp from I Can Teach My Child
A fun activity with homemade bouncy balls and a ramp! Simple and inexpensive.

Ten Tips for Teachers Starting a Blog from Let The Children Play.
A helpful list on how to get started blogging.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Taking a Walk

Today was a slow day. There were only three babies there for most of it. There’s Baby K who’s new and Baby M who isn’t usually there on Wednesdays. They are both fussy babies. Baby K is because she’s new and has become only attached to one person. Baby M is difficult to feed, put to sleep and he gets fussy over little things that wouldn’t bother the other babies. I saw his happy side a couple of times today. The first was when he was in the swing outside. He kept laughing and babbling. The second time was when he was sitting on the couch with one of the teachers and he kept laughing at her. Baby L wasn’t there today, but I spent some time with Crawling Baby. I helped him walk and he actually stood on his own for a few seconds before falling down. They brought this circle that he likes to sit in. It’s made of squishy material and has a squeaker, a bell and other things attached to it. He wasn’t interested in those things, but they had some balls like you’d find in a ball bath and he liked throwing them out of the circle. He thought it was so funny when I’d throw them back in. He’d hand me a ball just so I could throw it. He thought it was extra funny if the ball would hit the bell or bounce really high. He was occupied by this for a long time. Of course, he’d laugh if I had to go crawling around after the ball. Another thing about him is that he loves to eat. After his lunch, we brought him outside to play in the sand box. Since there wasn’t much going on, I brought my lunch outside. He shouldn’t have been hungry, but he kept trying to take my food. I had to hold the bowl up in the air so he wouldn’t grab it. He goes nuts for food and babbles non stop while he eats. When it was time for Crawling Baby’s nap, one of the teachers was amazed that I could get him to sleep. He usually doesn’t go to sleep fast, but all I did was put him in his crib, cover him and after rocking the crib for a couple of minutes, he was sleeping. Other times I’ve gotten him to sleep by giving him his bottle while sitting with him. When he’d fall asleep, I’d take the bottle away. He was so tired that he didn’t even wake up before I left.

This morning, we decided to take the babies for a walk before it got too hot. We walk down streets that have very little traffic. We stopped at the water front to show the babies the water, but the only one who was awake was Crawling Baby and he was barely awake by then. It was a nice walk. If the babies were awake, they would’ve seen lots of birds and different plants along the way. It’s nice that we can spend most of the day outside with them now. For most of them, these are their first experiences playing outside. A few of the parents have commented that it’s so cool that they get to play in the sand box because they don’t have things like that at home. I’m sure we’ll go on lots of walks and the babies will have plenty of play time outdoors this summer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Assignment: Tests of Achievement

I think that some standardized tests can be useful, but they shouldn’t be emphasized as much as they are. Some of these tests might be a good indicator of what children have been taught, but not always. There’s the issue of the children who are from other cultures. In many cases, they haven’t learned certain things that are apart of the dominant culture. If they were to take some of the standardized tests, they might not do well and test scorers would assume that they are less intelligent. However, they might be very skilled in other areas that weren’t on the test. Standardized tests don’t measure creativity, knowledge of nature, social skills, athletic skills etc. Many of these skills are necessary for careers later in life, but they are often pushed aside in favor of academic skills. We need creativity to be able to problem solve in almost any job. Not everyone is an athlete, but there are many jobs that require some level of fitness. In just about any job, we have to interact with others. Reading and math are important skills which we all need to learn, but why are children being tested on things they will never use? I remember questions about complicated math diagrams and concepts that I had never seen before. Being tested on information that someone has never been exposed to is pointless. It only proves that it hasn’t been taught. It doesn’t measure anyone’s intelligence or achievement. There’s also the issue of children with special needs not being able to complete some parts of the tests. How can we assess them in the same way? They might have the same level of skills and intelligence, but cannot complete the test in the format in which it’s given. Finally, focusing on preparation for standardized tests leaves less time for classroom teachers to introduce other areas of curriculum or to do assessments of their own. Children need more hands on experiences and should be assessed by those who know them and their learning style.

I found an article that describes the way they assess school age children in New Zealand. It sounds similar to ours except the tests are done by the teachers and have a direct impact on the children. For example, when children are assessed for the first time before entering school, the teachers learn how familiar children are with numbers and literacy. This helps teachers to better work with them individually and in groups. Next, the teacher starts a running record which still focuses on literacy. The child reads aloud while the teacher writes down what the child reads and does. This helps determine when a child is reading fluently. Once a child reads fluently, they no longer keep a running record, but introduce STAR testing instead. This only focuses on reading ability. It tests skills such as word recognition, vocabulary and paragraph and sentence comprehension. There is also a six year net observation survey which is given at age six. This is done one on one with a teacher and tests skills such as letter recognition, connecting illustrations with text, writing vocabulary, print awareness and listening skills. Finally, there are the PAT’s or Progressive Achievement tests which happen throughout school. These tests focus on reading ability, listening skills and math. These tests allow the teacher to compare a student to other students from across the nation and gives them ideas for what to focus on in future lessons.
Assessment at Primary

If teachers here in the US could use the results of standardized tests to better teach their students and aid them in developing lessons, having these tests would make more sense, but I think they’d have to be redesigned first. There are other ways to assess a child’s learning. Portfolios work well for preschoolers. Why couldn’t they work well for elementary school students? The portfolios could contain examples of their work such as writing samples and math worksheets. It could include art such as drawn pictures or paintings. For science experiments, larger art projects, social activities etc, they could include photographs to show what children have learned. Finally, to standardize it for making comparisons to children of the same age around the country, there could be a checklist of some type that would include all the skills covered by the portfolio. That way when comparing the effectiveness of schools and what children have learned, there’d be a simple tool to refer to without having to see the full portfolio. This system of assessment sounds like a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of work to prepare for these standardized tests that don’t show a child’s true intelligence.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekly Favorites for June 5, 2011

Here are my favorites for the week. Enjoy!

An Act Of Infant Kindness from Janet Lansbury.
Proof that infants can show empathy.

Coloring Plants from Irresistible Ideas for play based learning.
A neat science activity using plants and food coloring.

Summer bucket list for a toddler from Teach Preschool.
A list of things to do with toddlers over the summer.

Sugar Cube Sculpture from Tinker Lab

summertime learning eBook: free and filled with fun ideas! from Teach Mama.
A free book filled with summer time activities.

Beach Treasure Mobile from
A handmade decoration using natural materials.

patterned playdough & a new recipe! from Irresistible Ideas for play based learning.
A bunch of creative ideas using play-dough and different materials. Also check out their irresistible playdough recipes and their Very Special Play-dough Tea party.

Today I Painted a Duck from The Duffy's.
Rubber ducky painting!

Summer Sea-Theme Keepsake Box from Kiboomu..
A nice keepsake box craft to keep for yourself or give as a gift.

Magnifyer Discovery Board from A Little Learning for Two.
A neat way to explore all sorts of materials.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Birthday Boy

Today is Crawling Baby’s birthday. He turned one. I felt bad for him because he wasn’t having a good day. They are trying to change his schedule. Instead of having two naps, they are trying to only let him have one longer one in the afternoon. Crawling Baby doesn’t like this and gets grumpy without his morning nap. Even though he was in a bad mood, we still played. I made him laugh by crawling after him and when he’d turn to face me, I’d crawl behind him. Then he had to turn around and start the game all over again. He also kept throwing keys and other toys off the shelves. I’d take the toys and put them back on right after he’d throw them off. He apparently enjoyed this because he kept throwing the keys on the floor. It didn’t seem to bother him that I kept picking them up. We bounced on the ball which he enjoyed. He also likes to stand behind the ball and I pull him up onto the ball and role it then slowly lower him back down. I saw an improvement in his walking today. He had better balance and stood up quicker, but he’s not ready to walk by himself yet. He’s almost there! I hope he enjoys his birthday at home with cake and ice cream! Before I left, I told him to have a good birthday at home. I know he doesn’t understand the words, but he knows that I’m being kind to him and that’s all that matters. He started to cry when I left. He always follows me to the gate. I felt bad because he wanted to play some more, but I had to leave.

There was a new girl who I’ll call Baby K. She’s six months old and already wasn’t feeling well after only starting yesterday. This morning, Baby K and Baby C were on the floor. Baby K was sitting and Baby C was rolling around. Baby K thought it was so funny that Baby C was rolling back and forth. Baby C would role over almost on Baby K’s lap. Baby K would laugh or babble whenever Baby C got close to her. Baby C would laugh too which made the whole thing funnier. I like to see them interact. Baby K would try to touch her head too which Baby C didn’t mind.

Baby L was also on the floor, but he was playing with some interlocking plastic toys. He wasn’t building anything. He was more interested in chewing on the toys and babbling. I sat next to him for a while and he kept hitting my arm and laughing about it. I’d make funny faces or noises and it made him laugh too. After everyone fell asleep except Baby L, we decided to take him outside. He fell asleep in the swing. After he woke up, we brought him over to the sand box. He thought the shovel and bucket were the greatest things. He kept chewing on the dirty shovel which we thought was gross, but he was pretty happy about it. He had sand all over him which took me a while to clean off. The other babies came outside too, but they were either in the swings or in the jumper.

Later in the afternoon, I was sitting on the floor with Baby L, Baby C and Crawling Baby. They all wanted my attention at once. Baby C rolled over, Baby L started to fuss and put his hands up in the air and Crawling Baby crawled over and started pulling on my shirt. Since Baby L can’t crawl, I put him in my lap. I was showing him how to clap his hands and he kept hitting my leg. Baby C brought some toys over with her and wanted me to sit her up so she sat next to me on my right. She kept putting her head in my lap and grabbing Baby L’s face. Crawling Baby also was trying to sit in my lap, but Baby L kept pushing him away. After a few minutes, he found a dump truck and sat on my left while moving it around. Baby L was interested in the dump truck too so he kept grabbing it from him. Eventually, Crawling Baby came around to my other side and started playing with a bucket that Baby C had found. Then it was time for me to go so I gave the babies a hug and told them I’d be back to play with them next week.
Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates