Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back-To-School Swap!

Swapping with other teachers is one of my favorite things to do!  I love getting to see and use new ideas.  I always get a creative burst in my own teaching, when I use someone else's stuff.   I was really excited to hook up with Creative Playground's "Back-To-School" Blogger Product Swap!
For this swap, I got to swap with Mrs. Lindsey.  She is a kindergarten teacher (my favorite age)!  I got to try out some of her sensory tub activities.
I love sensory tubs and tables!  Sensory tubs are so exciting for children.  They are able to explore novel and interesting things in a box.  Even before adding specific "academic" things for children to explore, there is so much learning going on in a sensory table.  Kids are exploring with their senses.  They are combining their tactile experiences with other smells, sounds, and visuals. 
Sensory tables/tubs can be as elaborate or simple as you want. You can use something as simple as rice, or create a themed sensory table.  I created a tadpole/frog sensory table, you can see here.
Now that I am home without a classroom, I have a make-shift sensory tub.  I just used a large, clear Tupperware tub.  For Mrs. Lindsey's activities, I filled the sensory tub with rice, rocks, and buttons.  I just used things that I already had at home.
We worked with the Alphabet Activities first.  It was so fun!
Lindsey includes upper and lowercase letter cards, as well as, 3 picture cards with the beginning sound of each letter.  She also includes cards with an upper and lowercase letter on each card.  Another nice feature of this pack is that it is all included in color and B/W. 
There are so many ways to play games with the alphabet sensory tub.  We matched upper and lower case letter cards.
 We also found a letter in the tub, after a lot of sifting and playing!
 Then matched it to the letter in the alphabet pocket chart.
We also matched letters to pictures with the same beginning sound.  It is very easy to differentiate for this activity.  There are 3 pictures for each letter.  For my daughter, I only put in 2 or 3 letters and sets of pictures at a time.   This helped her not get overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices.  You could also focus on the "Letter of the Week" and familiar letters.
She put the picture in the pocket chart with the matching beginning sound.
Another cheap and easy way to get students to really focus in on the specific letters is to place trays in front of the tub.  Students will match the lowercase letter and the pictures with the same beginning sound to the correct tray.  This helped my daughter to really focus in on the differences in the sounds that she was saying.
We extended the learning, by creating our own alphabet books for each letter that we worked on.  We went hunting around the house for our objects, but you could easily have every student bring in something that begins with the letter for show and tell.
 Then, you have all the components for your alphabet book.  Have each student hold their object and put together a quick and easy book.  Mine is laminated, but you could just do it on paper.  Or, you could put together a powerpoint slide show!  Seeing themselves really engages the kids and I bet they won't forget "their" word and beginning sound!
Next up is rhyming!
We placed the cards in the bin just like before.  My son hid all the cards for my daughter.  You could actually have this as a classroom job for a helper.  I know that would be a sought after job!
 One trick that we used, while playing the game, was to place the cards that did not have matches along the side of the tub.  That way when we chose a card, we could check for a rhyme with all the other cards.  This seemed to work very well. The cards were contained, but still accessible.
 She found a match!!!
With my daughter (4 years old), I only used picture cards.  Lindsey includes the matching words in the packet.  You can play the games in many ways.  You can match the picture star to the word star, or you can match the picture car to the word star.  Then, they are decoding words and finding the matching rhyme.
Another option is to only include words in the sensory bin.  They will decode the word and find the matching rhyming word.
Lindsey also included some extension worksheets for students to complete.
 They cut and paste the matching rhymes.
We had a ball with Mrs. Lindsey's "Sensory Tub Fun" activities.  She actually has a bundle, where you can get tons of skills to put in your sensory table.
Thanks so much for exploring Mrs. Lindsey's sensory tub fun with me! 
Head over to Mrs. Lindsey's blog to see her review of my Pirates!!  Aargh!!
 I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!  Don't forget to check out some more amazing products in the link-up below.  Swapping is such fun!! 
You can win one of Mrs. Lindsey's sensory tub set here!
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