Parts of a Set

This week we carried our practice subitizing small sets a bit further.  Given a set of four rocks, one child acted as the “teacher” and covered any number of rocks with their hand.  The second child, “student”, then deduced how many were hidden.  They used their knowledge of “four” and the visual clues showing how many were still uncovered.  Subitizing and working memory united to build on the children’s growing understanding of sets.

Pre-K Play: First Draft 2015

Many of you already know that our students have been hard at work writing the script for our Pre-K movie since the beginning of January. Now that we have finished our final draft, we thought it might be fun to look back at the development of our story. Below, you will find the first draft of our play. This copy of the script is written word-for-word as described to us by the students, so please ignore any run on sentences or the lack of actual dialogue. However, if you look closely, you’ll see their ability to include many important story elements such as a beginning/middle/end, as well as a problem and solution!

You’ll also notice that several students choose a character but then do very little in the actual play. Typically, we start each script writing session by acting out the story line that was previously written on another day. This helps the students to see how big or small their roles are and then gives them an opportunity to change it (if they so choose).

The students were allowed to make as many changes as they wanted to their characters or the story line until the beginning of March. Since then, we have begun practicing our lines and designing our costumes and sets.  On May 8th, we have invited our videographer friend, Weird Eric (of WT Summer Camp and Applefest fame), to help film and turn this fantastic story into a movie! We are very excited to dive into the movie making process!

But first, please enjoy this little window into an exploration in script writing!



First Draft

N.M. – a  flower

V.H. – Anna

Z.W. – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

R.M. – a rainbow flower without a stem

A.H. – a baby unicorn

Z.B. – Elsa

P.M. – Mickey Wizard

L.W. – Woody the cowboy

L.L. – Snow White

J.K. – a forest guy


Once upon a time, Woody found a cage and he looked in and he said, “Wow there’s a little dog. Hey, you wanna play?” and they played together and he said, “I’m going to throw this football like a quarterback.”

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse plays football too and then he paints with his brother and then he calls the mickey wizard to come over to have a big party and they all play with their family. Then they have a sleepover. They heard Mickey Wizard crying. He’s crying because he lost his magic wand. Now he has to get a new one. So Mickey Wizard goes to the store to buy a new a wand.

Just then, they see a princess named Anna. Woody says, “Anna would you like to stay over”. And Mickey Mouse Clubhouse says “ok, we have 400 beds for you sleep in” and then Elsa comes and they invite her to stay. They tell her that there are 400 beds and that she can sleep with her sister and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will stay with his brother. Just then, Mickey Wizard comes back from the store with a wand and he feels happy.

“Hello, Mickey Wizard,” they say. They tell him that there are 400 beds and he can stay with Woody in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’s bed.

Elsa sees Snow white who is riding in on a baby unicorn and everyone invites them to stay for the sleepover. Everyone gets tired and they all go to sleep.

The next day everyone wakes up and they decided to go outside and play. When they get outside, they find two beautiful flowers and they pick the flowers. The forest guy says, you have to put those flowers into the water. So they take the flowers inside and put them in some water.

Then the baby unicorn gets lost! So everyone goes to look for the unicorn, except for Anna who stays home to take care of the flowers. They looked around and they realized that the monster had taken her into the cave. The forest guy hears a sound and he thinks it’s the baby unicorn and it was the unicorn. But Snow White says, “this will take forever to find the unicorn!”

Mickey wizard breaks the cave with magic from his wand and he uses his magic wand to bring the unicorn to him and to safety. The baby unicorn made it back to the house safely. Everyone says, “YAY!!!”

The End.

Making Sets

One of the skills we play with in Pre-K is making sets.  Our goal is to count a finite number of manipulatives and then create a new set with the same number of objects.  The children receive a cup containing a number of items, between 1 and 20 at this time of the year.  We discuss using reliable counting strategies to find the total number of items.

In this picture, the student has eight glass rocks.  Next, she chooses a different manipulative to match the set.  She has chosen buttons.  She carefully aligns one button beside each rock.  This supports one-to-one correspondence as well as giving her feedback as to the reliability of her original counting strategy. (Imagine the student had counted the rocks as they lay in a jumble.  Would it be very easy to keep track of each piece as she tried to match them with a button?)  Finally, she records her findings on a sticky note and places her new set with the note in a cup labeled with her name.  After guided practice with this activity, the children can complete this task on their own.  The cups can then be checked later by the teacher so that we can identify misconceptions or confusion and provide more support.

Data Analysts in Pre-K?

Single Venn LoopBet you didn’t know your child was a data analyst.  Sure they are!  But don’t start a bank account to collect all that lovely income yet….  Data analysis in Pre-K refers to the ways young children collect, represent, analyze, and visualize the information they encounter.  It sounds a bit complicated, but really we do it all the time.  Anytime we take a quick poll to find out how many children like cats better than dogs or who’s got mittens vs. who’s brought gloves we are collecting information and analyzing it.  We can then use that data to compare which is more or less and even which might be equal.

One of the ways we organize data is by sorting and classifying it.  To help support these skills, teachers provide children with easily identifiable attributes such as colors, shapes, or obvious group relationships.  This past week, I introduced the class to a single loop Venn diagram.  Our first experience with it was on the morning message.  The question of the day was, “Do you have an “Aa” in your name?”  Children who did have an “Aa” wrote their name inside the circle while those who didn’t, wrote outside.  Later we compared how many names had “Aa”s and how many did not.

At center time, I provided a group with a single Venn loop and a box full sorting materials.  Although I did suggest the first set (“Put everything with wheels in the circle.”), the group came up with many more of their own categories.  This early in the year, all of them used only one attribute to distinguish a set.  “Put all of the fish inside.”  “Put everything that is orange inside.”  This is wonderful experience for them to both follow another child’s attribute choice and for them to define their own.  As we progress through the year, we’ll practice classifying using more than one attribute, adding another loop to our diagram.