Thursday, February 26, 2009

Felt Board Fun

Felt boards are a wonderful teaching tool. You can use them for storytelling and to illustrate counting songs by incorporating simple objects cut out of felt or by attaching a piece of Velcro to the back of a graphic that has been laminated. After you have sung a simple song a few times, your child will enjoy singing and "acting" out the song by herself with the felt shapes. Many different concepts can be taught with a felt board, right now we are using it to learn about shapes. I'm deviating from my normal lesson plan format, so it'll be easier to show you how to make one for yourself!

Come on back tomorrow, when I'll show you how you can take your felt board along with you on the road by making a travel version AND tell you how to win one!

If you have an activity you'd like to share go link it up at Katie's A Listmaker's Life, we'd love to see it!
I made a simple felt board to use with ER, wearing last year's bunny ear headband - optional ☺It's just a piece of foam core board cut down into a rectangle, mine is 15X19 but any dimensions will work. I've also seen felt boards made by covering a stretched artist canvas using the same technique. Foam core is sold by the sheet, often the size of poster board but is thicker. Both foam core and stretched canvas can be found at craft stores and both go on sale regularly.I covered it in blue felt, wrapping it around and hot gluing it into place on the backside of the foam core. I didn't attempt to miter the edges because I planned on covering the back up.I ended up hot gluing two sheets of felt to the back to help cover up the yuck. I was going to just cut another piece of the blue felt to cover up the backside, but then I realized I could use different colors of felt to represent different sorting areas and get two activities out of one. For example, she could put all the circles on one side and all the triangles on the other.
We're using it to learn our basic shapes along with colors. I used my Sizzix die cuts to help cut out felt shapes, and save me some work! I gave her all the shapes and let her make a shape picture. She likes doing this a lot, then when it's time to collect them I'll ask her to hand them by a specific attribute such as all the red shapes or all the circles. We also count the various shapes to work on counting and 1:1 correspondence.

Making basic felt shapes and simple pictures for songs is easy. Find a clip art that you like, try to find one with simple lines as you only want the outline anyway. Lay a piece of wax paper on top of it, trace it with a pencil. Cut out template and then pin or hold on top of felt. Cut out of felt.

If you're looking for a St. Patrick's Day counting poem, here's the one I'm going to use next month. I've got shamrocks die cut and ready to go, all you do is sing and add one shamrock on the felt board with each line. Count them up again when you're done.

1 green shamrock, in the morning dew,
Another one sprouted, and then there were two.
2 green shamrocks, growing beneath a tree;
Another one sprouted and then there were three.
3 green shamrocks, by the cottage door;
Another one sprouted,
And then there were four.
4 green shamrocks, near a beehive
Another one sprouted,
And then there were five.
5 little shamrocks, bright and emerald green,
Think of all the luck these shamrocks will bring.

Extention Activities: This is a bit off topic as I'm switching over to language, even though it's math day!

I used to sing a song like the Shamrock one every morning in circle time using the felt shapes. Sometimes the kids would help me add the shamrocks to the board or we'd act out the song with the kids using shamrock puppets on their own. This was easy to do as our school also had a big shamrock die cut, just tape them to a popsicle stick and insta-puppet!

I'd also use the same poem during center time, by writing the poem on sentence strips and putting them in my pocket chart along with shamrock die cuts. The kids would use my special pointer - aka a wood dowel with yet another die cut taped to one end - to point to each word as they read the poem aloud. That's called touch reading. They might also have to count the number of times a certain letter appears in the poem, a quick little way to add the letter of the week into an activity.

After we were done using a thematic poem, each student would get copy of it to put in their song book, just a folder with the clasps to attach paper in the center. After awhile each student had a collection of songs he or she could read. Since most of the poems incorporated a lot of basic sight words, also called Dolch words these became great teaching tools. Sometime a center activity was to read from their song book to themselves or to one another. Great practice that everyone could be successful at, as the nonreaders had memorized the poems and could still proudly point to and say each word.

It was so exciting one day, when one of my little darlings looked up at me and said in a shocked voice, "That says the, just like in morning message." As a special ed teacher you live for those moments!

11 Friends Said:

Courtney said...

We LOVE felt boards here!

Thank you for the ideas!!!

Kristen said...

This is a great idea. I also really love the picture with the bunny ears. Btw, my next post will be the "bag tag" post. I hope to get around to it very soon!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the sweet words, visit and award.
(Sorry you had troubles? Glad you where persistent.)
I enjoyed reading your blog-ypu are very talented.

Patti Cox said...

The above comment from Patti

Tonja said...

That is a great idea...I think my youngest son would eat the shapes

Missy said...

Great post! We love our felt board, too! I should get it out more. My daughter would use it all the time. My felt and felt boards is actually on my list of posts soon! We must be thinking alike. I like your activities, as well.

Vickie said...

What a cool project. This brings back memories with Lindsey, first born. We had joined a parent and tot class and everyday they used the felt board. During play time, we would always go to the board.

Good memories.

Mama King said...

You must have been the best Kindergarten Teacher! I like the idea of making a travel I'll be back to check for your post!

Joy said...

Always the best ideas Katie!

k-e-household said...

This was one my to do list, so when I actually complete it, it will be a glorious day! (I have to start it too ha ha ha)
I wanted to do a travel one too. Look forward to seeing it...

*Noelle* said...

oh, luv her bunny ears so much!! also looooove felt boards too!! cute little rhyme:)

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