Thursday, October 11 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Cordelia’s 4th birthday with a song and strawberry cake.  There were many bakers helping with this.  I did not see a crumb in the compost, so I’m guessing it was pretty good!

Outside, the weather was gorgeous and brought a few kids out to enjoy it.  Lisette, Baker, and James were out when I was out sliding themselves and trucks down the slide.  Baker was also working on his balancing with a beam across the stair and palette. 

Many of the kids came, played, built, and left the car and train area.  It started with Lisette, but through the morning, I saw Baker, Harlan, June, Alex, Elliette, Knox, Morrie and Oliver join in.

The dry table with the boxes and tubes was tested out a bit more today.  Someone found a way to climb higher up so they were able to reach the tubes.  Some of the tubes send the chestnuts into containers while others just send them back down to the table.  So far, no one has asked for the ladder or found a chair to move to the table, but they will figure that out soon enough.

The water table is still drawing interest.  Bubble making is always a fun thing to do especially if the water is warm!  Using the whisks builds muscles in different areas of the hands and wrist necessary for fine motor operations.  Next week I will try to find other tools to make bubbles.  Perhaps straws.

We have large pieces of paper on the easel which seem to allow for more large body movement.  Rather than just putting one or two lines on the paper, the kids are working across the paper with big arm movements!

These kids are doing an amazing job in circle as well as walking in the hallway.  We can share some information, sing a song, share some information, and then sing another song with little interruption.  As we walk down to the gym, these kids truly are as quiet as a worm, or butterfly, or whatever they choose to walk as!

My thanks to Jeff and Josh for all of their help today!

Wednesday, October 10 - What We Did Today!

Today at first circle, we started a book called “We Are All Alike…We Are All Different!”  This is a great book, written by Kindergarteners comparing our similarities and our differences.  It is a beginning to celebrating diversity.  The books that we will be writing, “All About Me”, will be expressing each of us as individuals.  We will be reading these to our friends and to the classroom as a way to compare how we are the same and how we are different.

I was able to help the kids finish their self-portraits which will be the cover of their “All About Me” books.  I took six kids at a time to the art table, gave them each a mirror, and had them tell me what they saw.  We talked about colors, shapes, and places on our heads.  Most of the kids took this seriously and were very proud of how their portrait turned out.  Be sure to check them out!  They are on the front bulletin board in alphabetical order.

As I was focused on helping with the self-portraits, I didn’t see a lot of what was going on elsewhere, but I did notice that Naomi had about six kids outside doing various things such as digging up worms, climbing Mt. Everest, and riding the roller coaster.

Once finished up with their portraits, most kids stayed inside and played some games.  There were several marble runs being built, fairy houses with magna tiles, Duplos and Legos, and cars speeding down ramps.

After snack, we have been looking at magazines while others finish up.  Once circle comes, I ask if anyone read or saw something they would like to tell us about.  This has been readily accepted as opposed to when I was having them read books.  As the main idea is to allow kids to practice turning pages in a book, knowing the front and back of a book, noting the writing in the book and for early readers reading something they are interested in, the magazines are just as good as an actual book.  Especially if they enjoy it!

My thanks to Bevin and Naomi for all of their help today!

Tuesday, October 9 - What We Did Today!

Today we had some new activities.  At the art table, we were working with water color cakes.  It was set up as an opportunity to discover what makes the colors lighter or darker, which paper works best with the water, and to see the different styles each of the kids have.

The water table was very busy today.  It was warm soapy water with whisks, an egg beater, and straws.  Oliver found a way to create enough bubbles that he could wear a beard of bubbles.  Others were just enjoying the satisfaction of blowing bubbles.

The dry table didn’t draw anyone that I saw.  I taped several boxes together to create an apparatus allowing kids to pour chestnuts through tubes and see where they go.  Two are high with one or two lower ones.  This may have something to do with a lack of interest.  I like to work with the kids asking them how they could reach the tube, what do you see in our classroom that might help.  Eventually, they will be automatically problem solving around this area.

Sara was working with a group of kids who were measuring chairs and tables in the classroom using tape measures.  They were so interested, they took off. Cordelia even measured me (I’m shrinking, evidently!)

Griffin was outside for much of the morning helping kids to climb the slide or dash down the roller coaster.

The cars and garage have become a great place to work together and start conversations.  If just one kid is there, they’re happy, when there are more, they work together building, racing cars, or bringing other toys into the area to extend the game.

My thanks to Sara and Griffin for all of their help today!

Monday, October 8 - What We Did Today!

Today we looked at some red plant life that I brought in from my walk.  I asked the kids to look at it, smell it, feel it, and listen to it.  Then I had them describe it to me.  They said it was spikey, pokey, red and small.  It smelled gross.  And pieces came off of it.  I told them they were seeds from a dogwood tree.  Great job working on their descriptions.

At the art table, some kids were adding their faces to their self-portraits.  Some were mixing their skin color. Others were checking out the shape of their heads to be cut from the painted paper.  Wednesday I will attempt to have everyone’s self-portrait finished and on the board!

Margot and Josie had so much fun mixing paint they asked me if they could keep mixing.  I brought out something to put the paint into with several extra cups for mixing and left them to it.  When I came back, Margot had created black with a bluish tint.  Josie was still working slowly and had several different pots of mixed paint.  Eventually, she mixed them all into one as well.

A new set-up in the dry table allowed for various tubes to roll chestnuts down.  It wasn’t even circle time before a couple of kids had chosen to roll cars down the tubes instead of the chestnuts.  The biggest problem with this was that many of the cars quickly stuck inside a skinny tube.  This did not seem to stop them though, they continued for most of the morning.

Kristen was outside with two to five kids the entire morning.  They were in their “house” working away.  My thanks to Rachel and Kristen for all of their help!

 

Friday, October 5 - What We Did Today!

Today everyone was very busy!  The signing in is coming along well with all of the kids participating.  Please remember, if they just scribble their name, that is okay.  We are practicing at whatever stage we are at.  We have been trying new things at first circle.  I am trying to find a way for kids to hold their thoughts while I tell them what is happening.  I had them wait while I explained what was happening at the centers, then, I asked them to imagine what they would like to try first and when they knew, to raise their hands.  Once they told me where they were going to go, I had them head off.  We will see if this helps to build some of the impulse control.

We cut our heads out of the painted paper after checking in the mirror for shape.  We had many circles and ovals, but only one triangle (which it was).  We checked for hair colors and types.  Cut yarn the right length and glued it on to our heads.  Next up, faces!

Playdough was popular today with many different things being created.  Sebastian made a glog by himself after saying he couldn’t, and Rowan was making lots of different creatures.

Outside, Brittni had at least one kid for most of the free play.  When I was outside there was roller coaster rides, of course, and some digging.  River told me he found a worm in the garden.  We have been checking out our pumpkins and we have 3 different varieties growing.  There is the Cinderella – orangey pink – the white ones – can’t remember their names, and the pie pumpkins – the small orange ones.  I’m looking forward to harvesting them!

There was much manipulative play today, Liam and Simon and then Margot and Una were building marble runs.  Liam and Simon were also testing out cars on various ramps to see where they would go.  Addy, Eliza and Una were having a picnic, Addy and Rowan mixed their skin color, and Sebastian and Bash were making crazy Mr. Potato Heads!

We had some quiet reading time while the last kids finished up their snack.  Today I brought out some National Geographic Kids magazines for them to read.  We talked about what we saw that we were interested in.

My thanks to Tony and Brittni for all of their help!

Thursday, October 4 - What We Did Today!

Today we were busy with several favorites.  At the play dough table, we started with chocolate play dough, a favorite of mine for many reasons, when someone asked me, why do we just have brown play dough?  I told her that if we had more than one color, the two would get mixed together and that would create brown play dough.  She said they would not mix them, so I brought out the purple play dough on one side of the table and kept the brown play dough on the other.  They were true to their word and had a great time manipulating glass stones into the play dough or out of the play dough.

At the art table, there were several baskets of collage items, glue, and scissors.  Collaging with little ones is fascinating as they are still figuring out how much glue is enough, what side it goes on, and other process-oriented questions.

The water table is always a favorite.  There is something about warm water and tools to play with that calm even the toughest kid.  It also can rile them up when the tools have many uses, including blowing into water and squirting water, but hey, that’s why the come to preschool, so you don’t have to try it at home!

Outside, there were kids climbing trees, riding the roller coaster, and sliding on the play structure.  The weather has been great for them to enjoy the outside area.

At circle, we have been learning some Halloween songs.  Be sure to check with your child and see if they have a favorite, mine is Stirring!

My thanks to Melinda and Alicia as well as Pat and Mim for all of their help today!

Wednesday, October 3 - What We Did Today!

Today we read about all the shades of brown there are in skin, cinnamon, chocolate, honey, ginger, French toast and many others.  We then mixed our skin color using red, yellow, white and black paint.  The kids tested their colors on the back of their hands to check on how close they were getting.  Once they were comfortable with the color, they painted a piece of paper using their color.  This will become the base of our self-portraits.

The water table draws a lot of kids, whether to splash or try to decide how the tools work I’m not sure.

Outside Brad was busy keeping track of who was next on the roller coaster.  Was it Josie, Lex, Molly, Eliza, who knows?  Gus and Rowan were working in the sand box and trees, Bash, Sebastian and Molly were digging for “all the worms” in the garden.  They were having a tough time finding any despite how deep Bash was digging.  I think the five hundred that I let loose headed out of town as soon as possible!

Eliza, Addy, Una, and Josie were playing family, making food, taking care of the baby and anything else they could think of.

River and Josie were using tweezers to pull brown things out of the chestnut table while Bodhi, Eliza, Simon, and Liam were racing cars around.

My thanks to Jake and Brad for all of their help today!

Tuesday, October 2 - What We Did Today!

Today the full twelve kids were here with Lisette starting her first day with us.  It is a great group of kids and they seem to be enjoying themselves.

At the art table, we dropped liquid watercolors on to leaf shaped defusing paper.  The colors spread out across the shape and mix together at various spots.  It is fun to ask the kids where they got blue since I didn’t put blue paint out. 

The chocolate play dough was used today to bring some kids together in play.  Conversation starts as they share play dough and ideas.

The water table has some tubes, basters, cups, and pumps.  The kids are testing them out to see what does what and because no one has told them how to do it, they are finding many other ideas in which to use the tools.

With all of our car lovers, I brought out an old garage I got at the rummage sale.  Many of the kids were lining up cars, driving them to the elevator, driving them down the ramps and home to a place on the floor mat.  There was a lot of interactive play.

Outside, the kids were sliding, digging, climbing, and riding the roller coaster.  James set up a ladder in the trees to give the kids something new to climb as well as a balance beam to walk onto the structure stairs.  Much fun was had!  My thanks to Michelle and James for all of their help!

Monday, October 1 - What We Did Today!

Today we had a circle full of talkers.  To make that work, I had each person tell us something they did last weekend.  For some kids this was a simple “I went camping” but others had a five-minute speech prepared.  As difficult as it was to get through this, I think it is a good way for the kids to realize their turn will come also.  I may continue to work this in to morning circle if everyone’s patience allows for it!

At the art table, we had eye droppers, liquid watercolors, and leaf shapes.  We will hang our Autumn leaves when they dry, but many will also be coming home!  Some kids had so much fun they made four or five, so you may be enjoying the Autumn leaves in your home!

The water table had some tubes, pumps, basters, and cups.  It was great watching the kids test the equipment and attempt to figure out how the water was getting up to the top of the pump, or wonder why wouldn’t it pump when it was being held higher in the air?

I brought in a new manipulative that I found over the summer.  It has 26 3 or 4 inch acorns each with a letter of the alphabet on the outside.  When you take off the cap, there is a small object that starts with that letter.  For instance, S is a small star with a capital S on the acorn and a lower-case s on the inside of the cap.  They are also color coordinated, the star is blue the letter on the acorn is blue, and the cap is blue.  Many kids were testing this out and I was able to see the variation in where each child was regarding letters and sounds.  What a great tool for me and a fun one for the kids.

My thanks to Cheryl and Naomi for all of their help today!

Friday, September 28 - What We Did Today!

Today we had a total of 15 kids for the first time this year.  And, yes, three more kids do make that big of a difference.  Una brought in some leaves for us to see and compare and then Bash showed us a praying mantis and a butterfly he had in a bug catcher.  We were able to take the praying mantis out of the catcher and put him into our big aquarium to observe.  What a great opportunity!

Inside, much was going on.  Sensory wise we had chocolate play dough, fishing in the water table and searching for brown things in the dry table.  Most of the interest was in the dry table.  While using the tweezers, they picked up various brown items hidden among the chestnuts.  Great practice for their fine motor skills.

The art table was another activity meant to work their fine motor skills.  There were crayons and pencil sharpeners along with waxed paper and an iron.  Sharpening the crayons creates small flakes of wax that drop onto the wax paper.  These were folded and ironed by Jeff and then passed back to the kids.  The process of the sharpening takes much control of the fingers.  The kids then could cut their paper into any shape they wanted and then add a string to hang them up.  Many of the kids decided they made great necklaces by punching two holes into the paper and adding the string.  Very creative!

In the dramatic play area, Una was busy making sandwiches while Addy was busy eating sandwiches.  Liam and Simon were creating different ramps to run cars down.  Margo, Una, Simon, and Liam were busy building the marble run without any adult intervention.  Later, Margo, Molly and Rowan were working on the structure and had added much to the original structure.  Our new student, Lex, moved among everyone with much confidence.  He is a great addition to our class!

My thanks to Jeff and Rachel for all of their help today!

Thursday, September 27 - What We Did Today!

Today we had a wonderful day with some opportunities to work on conflict resolution skills!  As I have said before, this group is amazing, they keep themselves busy, help clean-up toys even if they did not play with them, and they line up so quietly you’d swear they were Kindergarteners.

Inside, the fishing poles are still popular, even though I have to untangle them two to three times a day.  Kids are catching fish, counting fish, attempting to catch certain colored fish, and seeing how many fish they can get on the hook at one time.

The chocolate play dough is still being squished, patted, rolled, and cut into various shapes.  I like to watch kids practice cutting with the play dough and scissors.

At the art table, we are sharpening crayons leaving shavings of crayons on wax paper.  We fold the paper in half and iron the shavings causing them to melt and mix and spread.  The kids can then cut the paper into a special shape and then hang it in the window where the sun shines through the colors.  This is not as easy as you think.  These kids are just beginning to strengthen their fine motor skills which is necessary to twist a crayon in a sharpener.  This did not slow them down one bit!

Many of the kids started out the day playing with the cars and track.  This tends to bring in about four or five kids in the same area.  There is always conversation, story lines and some disagreements.  A perfect set up for conflict resolution practice. 

Elliette was cooking for June and Baker while Oliver, Morrie, and Alex were enjoying the music from the CD player.  Cordelia was climbing the rock wall (up and down!) while Morrie and Alex were digging in the sand.  Seyi was totally into the crayon shavings project, spending most of her day there, while Harlan was there for a moment then on to new things.  My thanks to Ayo and Amber for all of their help today!

Tuesday, September 25 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Alex’s birthday with a song and strawberry cake.  It was actually very good.  The easel painting is with palette knives which I really enjoy watching.  Since it’s not a regular “thing”, it takes a moment to figure out what to do.  The technique leaves a very cool line of paint which holds a variation of the color being used.

Not explored much, the art table had warming trays and crayons.  The subtle warming of the crayon leaves a glossy almost paint like look.  While testing it out, Seyi discovered that if you forget and leave the crayons on the paper, they continue to melt leaving a puddle of color.  She was very excited about this possibility and continued attempting to puddle more crayons.

The dry table is filled with horse chestnuts and other brown things.  There are tweezers as well, to pick up different objects that are found.  The kids were very interested in this to start out, but I think the warm weather called out to them.

Harlan and June were busy making music in the loft which was a joy to listen to.  Harlan headed outside with the idea of catching some bugs.  When James heard what she was up to, he joined in and they spent the rest of the time digging in various places looking for bugs.

The playdough was brought out after the cake was finished.  It is one of my favorite tools to get kids to start conversations with each other.  Because they don’t have to make eye contact, they can be looking at what the are making, they are more comfortable talking to someone in the same area.  Not only does this promote language and conversation skills, but it is an easy way to find out about another kid without putting themselves in an uncomfortable place.  Many friendships are cemented with play dough!

My thanks to Melinda and George for all of their help today!

Monday, September 24 - What We Did Today!

Today we counted everyone to see who was missing.  Both Sebastian and Molly were still out on vacation.  I showed them what I found on my walk and had each of them choose one to look at.  We then came up with words to describe them.  We had round, smooth, spikey, and pokey to name a few.  The objects were various seeds – horse chestnut, pine cone, walnuts.  We will continue working on describing what we see and adding to our vocabularies for a while with the idea that it will help to make them more aware of what is around them.  At last circle, I read a book called “I Accept You for who You Are.”  A school age child thinks she would like to be special, but as she looks at the other kids in her school, she is able to see their differences and understands how each of us is important just the way we are!  Next week we will be beginning our books “All About Me” allowing us to notice and appreciate how we are alike and how we are different.

We started working with crayons at the art table today.  Many kids took some of the ideas they had tried with the chalk and applied them to crayons while others added new materials such as paper punches and fancy scissors.

River, Addy and Una were working with the magnetic letters on the writing table.  River likes to put letters together and then ask me what it says.  For instance, riaverthezew.  I always attempt to sound the word out which helps the kids to see that each letter has a sound and even if it isn’t a real word, we can still read it.

Outside there was digging, climbing, riding, and some planning.  Most of the kids were outside for a good part of the day.  Inside, Una was making sandwiches and tea, Rowan was digging in the sand pit, and Gus, River and I were working with crayons.  Liam and Simon were enjoying the fishing poles and Addy was holding Bill.  It was a busy day and the kids were awesome!  My thanks to Lisa and Brittni for all of their help today.

Friday, September 21 - What We Did Today!

Photos compliments of Tony Pacific. Thanks Tony!

Today we had a first circle at about 9:45.  The kids did well, although at times it seemed like a free for all.  We introduced covering our ears with our hands if it gets to loud.  This way, everyone follows until it is quiet again.  We also talked about raising hands if we want to tell someone something rather than talking when someone else is talking.  That one will take a little longer to take hold!  After the kids left for lunch bunch on Wednesday, I noticed that Sun was not eating.  I took him out and held him for a while.  It was obvious to me that he was not doing well.  He passed at around 3 on Wednesday afternoon.  I told the kids in circle, so you may be hearing something about it at home (or not).  The last thing we did in first circle was to look at some leaves I had collected on my morning walks.  We compared them in size and color.  If you and your child find something in nature that you think we might be interested in, please have them bring it in to school.  This is a great way to begin an attachment to nature early!

The rest of the day, I was inside with about four kids that switched off and on.  They were working on the different textures they created in play dough and working with chalk.  I have really enjoyed watching the development occurring with the chalk and their individual creativity.

Outside, both Dads were working with the kids, so I didn’t see a lot of what was going on, but I did see Addy, Eliza, and Margot up in the top of the play structure, Rowan, Josie and Eliza throwing water (sand) at a pretend fire, Simon, Una, River, and Josie riding the roller coaster.

My thanks to Justin, Justin’s Mum, and Tony for all of their help today!

Thursday, September 20 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Eliette’s birthday with a song and rainbow cake.  Josh had several kids helping with the cake.  Considering we were following our allergy cans and can’ts and I forgot to get more vanilla, the kids seemed to enjoy it.  Of course, as Josh mentioned, there was enough sugar to make sure it was edible!

Outside, Alex and Morrie were busy with the roller coaster and the play structure.  They came up with different things they could slide down the slide such as tools and cars.  They were there for most of the day.

Inside, once the cake was finished, there was a lot of fishing going on.  These fish were not being cooked and eaten though, they were set free.  Various groups of kids are getting an opportunity to meet and play with new people by way of the water table.  Once discovering that they like the way another kid plays, they suggest to or follow the other to a new play area.

The chalk was not of much interest today letting me know that it is time for a new media at the art table.

The train track was set up and Elliette and I began creating a village around it to bring in some people.  This brought interest to others who one by one joined us.  First it was Oliver with a desire to run the trains, then Cordelia who added some houses, and finally a couple of more picking up trains to move around the track.

My thanks to Josh and Michael for all of their help today!

Wednesday, September 19 - What We Did Today!

Today we passed on our morning circle as I am waiting for everyone to be comfortable before sitting down first thing in the day.  Instead they were outside playing in the trees, learning to take turns, and helping each other to get the roller coaster car up the ramp.

Inside, many of us were busy at the play dough table.  We were practicing rolling, flattening, cutting, creating, and much, much more!  Gus was creating a person through out this process, River was making Pacman, Bodhi was finding the best flattener tool, Rowan was creating a plop, and others were just discovering how cool play dough is!  By the way, it’s my famous chocolate play dough!

The water table is stocked with fish and four poles.  There was much interest in catching fish with the poles, but even more interest in seeing what happens when you get tangled with your neighbor’s pole.

The art table is still set with chalk and some interesting possibilities for tools – cotton balls, Q-Tips, toothbrushes, and water.  Jake added a new idea by using masking tape to block certain areas causing a negative print.

Dramatic play was the scene of a luncheon as Una set-up the table and asked me to her restaurant.  She, Eliza and Addy had already spent much time setting up and cooking various foods.

River and Margot piled pillows below the loft stairs and jumped from the loft into the pile of pillows.  They were both enjoying this activity, so in the gym, we have been putting the crash pad next to the table and letting kids jump from the table to the crash pad.  This has become a favorite gym game.

My thanks to Jake and Kristen for all of their help today!

Tuesday, September 18 - What We Did Today!

Today was another amazing day.  Just be prepared for the newness to wear off in a week or two!  Okay, maybe it is because there are only eleven kids and we only had 9 today, but really, I am enjoying this calm and helpful group.  They are amazing at cleaning up, everyone helping everyone else to clean-up the area then move on to the next area instead of sitting down and letting others complete the job.  They are picking up on turn taking and waiting patiently.

We were able to model some strong “no thank you” as well as taking responsibility for hurting someone and making sure they are okay.  Most of this happens in the gym, which makes sense as it is less structured then the classroom.

Outside was beautiful today and we took advantage and played a lot on the play structure, digging, and the roller coaster.  Knox practiced climbing the rock wall while others were climbing the “mountain”.

Inside, the play dough was a favorite.  I saw so many different textures just watching what the kids were creating.  Baker was making fish bait, Alex was working on flowers, and Cordelia was flattening, rolling, and poking.

We will be working with chalk this week, so today, we painted our paper with water and then wrote with chalk.  The colors were so much more vibrant than without the water.  We also used other tools like cotton balls, Q-Tips, and tooth brushes.  Exploration of materials is what art is all about at this age!

My thanks to Griffin and Debbie for all of their help today!

Monday, September 17 - What We Did Today!

Sorry no pictures, I forgot my phone!

Today we celebrated Liam’s 5th birthday with lemon cake and a song.  Many of the group were helping with the cake which came out great.

I was outside for quite a while today watching Eliza and Simon enjoy the roller coaster, Margot and Bash dig for worms, Molly and Bodhi building in the play structure, Rowan and Liam climbing the trees, and Addy, River, and I checking out bugs on the pumpkin leaves.  The weather was lovely, and the kids were absolutely enjoying their time.

When I moved inside, I found Gus, Molly, Eliza and Margot working with chalk at the art table.  Margot had said that she wanted a wet paper.  We had a spray bottle of water, but I thought she meant totally wet, so I brought out a cup of water and a paintbrush to wet the paper with before adding the chalk.  This seemed to catch on and others asked for cups of water as well. 

At clean-up time, there was a lot of help from kids that did not make a mess.  I pointed this out and thanked them hoping that others might follow in their footsteps.  It worked, and the entire classroom was clean in no time.

My thanks to Brittni and Anthony for all of their help today!

Friday, September 14 - What We Did Today!

These kids did a great job again today.  They have just jumped right in.  We had a first circle that I held for too long, but they still managed to make it through.  I was reading Bodhi, Rowan, and Margot’s sand dollar reports.  As your child finishes up, be sure to bring the papers in as the kids enjoy having them read in circle.

At the art table, we had chalk, Q-tips, spray bottle of water, and toothbrushes to work with.  When I headed over to see what they were doing with this combination, I saw some great tests as well as color mixing happening.

We have been using some purple galaxy play dough donated to us by the Cram family.  There are glitter flakes and small glass stones mixed in the play dough.  There was a group of four or five making “plops”.  These appeared to be a round ball of play dough with two stones for eyes and an indented smile.  Rowan said they were plops because they go plop, plop, plop.

Outside there was the regular roller coaster group, but also a group of worm seekers.  I told the kids that I cleaned out the worm farm and added them all to the garden.  Well, that was all they needed to hear before heading out with a shovel and bug catcher to find worms!

We have been trying two other structured activities.  After clean-up, if the snack is not yet ready, the kids have “quiet game” time where they can play any of the manipulative games alone or with others as long as it is quiet.  So far this has been going well.  We are also “reading” books to ourselves or friends after snack.  This is a way to help them realize how a book is read.  My thanks to Jesse and Sara for all their help today!