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Bountiful blessings of beans and more!

Thanksgiving Sensory Table  

My sensory table friends are always asking how I secure all the great ‘fillers’ for my table and bins, and I just knew I had to share with you’re my latest ‘bountiful blessing of beans.’  Not that beans are a big ticket item or anything, but let’s face it, when you have to purchase 10-20 bags for a sensory bin, it gets a bit pricey.  So anyway, last week I put out an all points bulletin to my parents in search of beans and pasta.  We are NOT an affluent school district by any means.  But I figured, beans and pasta are pretty cheap, and it would give my families who always want to ‘help out’ an inexpensive way to do it.

Well now my bean cup over-flows with a variety of beautiful beans (and I actually just got another 4 bags today! Hurrah!).  Of course, I have immediately put these lovely legumes to work with a new still my kindershave been tackling—matching simple CVC words to their pictures.  Many, many, many of my kindersare still struggling with many letter sounds (mostly vowels), but they have been very successful at working together to make correct matches.
It’s a fun station that you can easily introduce in small group and then place it in your word work stations for as a ‘choice.’  This happens to be in a bin with handles, so my kinders simply pick it up and take it to an unoccupied corner of the room to work with it.
Since I was snapping some pictures anyway, I thought I’d grab some of our new Thanksgiving Math Stations while I was at it.  (Of course if you have questions about any of these activities, just click on the picture and it will take you to the activity link.) This was day number one.  It makes it quite a bit easier to transition to new stations when my kinders are familiar with the basic activity and only the skill or difficulty changes.  You would think they would get sick of I-Spy activities or Write the Room, but they never do.
I love being able to still offer play-doh to my kids who need a bit more of a challenge at math, because they are in desperate need of fine motor work.  Just because they are ready for more difficult tasks, doesn’t necessarily mean that they can stop working at building those muscles.  This station totally covers all my bases.
Spinners are always a bit hit, and I love that I can focus on number counting fluency, number recognition, number words or ten frame fluency simply by changing out the spinner mat from the CD case.
I-Spys are always a staple in my class.  I spend at the beginning of the year  teaching my kinders a good routine of circling the numbers (or words) on the mat as they find them so they are duplicating, but even the best students sometimes forget and have to go back through and try to figure which one they missed.
Write the room for math is another way that everyone can really find success at their own level.  I’m mighty proud of this little guy.  He speaks very little English, but has come leaps and bounds and excels in math.  The familiarity of activities has really been helpful in allowing him to be successful.  He needs very little instruction by now and easily figures out his assignments.
And this is just the first day of math stations!!!!  Can’t wait to see what the rest of the month brings.
So what’s in your sensory table/bin(s) this month?  I can’t wait to show you the plethora of pasta that’s sitting on my counter right now!  I am truly blessed by giving parents.  But that’s going to have to wait a day or two, I’m not sure I have enough alcohol to accommodate the quantity so a quick trip to the store will be in order tomorrow.
Until then . . . beans . . . beans . . . the flavorful fruit  . . .


Marsha Moffit McGuire

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