Thursday, March 29, 2012

Preschool: An Animal Map Game

When you're a preschooler, the joy of joys (one of many, really; kids are enthusiastic) is getting new toys.  And that is just what happened in our room this week.  There were of course the inevitable meltdowns about sharing, which is always a challenge when we're excited, but for the most part I was proud of how well our class enjoyed the new toys together.

On the day of delivery, we played a game of my own invention that I've been wanting to do for ages.  Our Circle Time rug has a large map of the continents and oceans, hence teaching the class "The Continents of the World" song during Circle.  All our previous animals for our animals center were dinosaurs and African animals: giraffes, zebras, wild cats, elephants, etc.  I requested an order of new ones: farm animals and North American forest animals, and when they were delivered, we could play our game.

After our usual Circle Time routine, I invited the children one at a time to choose one animal from the shelves.  When they brought it back, I asked them what animal they had chosen and where they thought their animal lived.  It allowed us to review the continents, remind ourselves which continent we live on, and familiarize ourselves with our new animals.  It also prompted a nice discussion of which animals we have seen, and where.  

One student chose a dinosaur; I had anticipated more would do that, but they were probably too excited about the new animals to chose an old favorite.  It may have also been because the student who did choose one didn't get to put it on the map, since dinosaurs are (as the class knows) extinct.  I meant this to be a teaching moment, but I guess I didn't chose a special enough alternative spot for the dinosaur to go (just off the Circle rug), because the student got upset.  That was a good lesson for me, so maybe it was a teaching moment after all.

We have two cows in our farm animals set, so I suggested this one might be a Brahman: 

With a little more research, I think it looks more like a Brangus cow, which is a cross between a Brahman and an Angus.  It was nice to have an animal that could feasibly be from Asia, though, so maybe we can continue to call it a Brahman.  We'll discuss it next time we play.

One last creative categorization was the goat:

When one of my little friends set the goat so confidently down in Europe, I thought of Heidi and gave my assent.  

Only one of our animals was unidentified:

That was where the game ended; I told the class I would look up the unknown animal and we could continue the game another time.  My best guess is a Pronghorn Antelope, based on the horns.


With these facts, we are ready to start play again!

Here's a Kid Quote to leave you with a smile:
Four-year-old: "I had a dream that I was with my mom in the jungle and I was so handsome with a hook and I used the hook to get the crocodiles out of the TV so they wouldn't hurt anybody!!!"

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