Monday, October 04, 2010

Five Balloons Way Up High


A couple weeks ago I mentioned in a post that I only have 4 felt board songs, then shared one of them. My mom doesn't read the blog, but I was talking with her the other day about our felt board and she said, "I didn't know people used those any more. I still remember the one from kindergarten."

I've always thought of the felt board as one of the fundamental tools of teaching preschool, something as ubiquitous a easel painting or puzzles, a thing not even worth really mentioning on the blog, but Mom's comment made me realize that as many early education blogs as I read, I've never seen anyone else post about felt boards. Is it possible that I'm the last man standing when it comes to this incredible teaching tool? That can't be true can it?

If so, get cracking! The Woodland Park kids, especially the 2-year-olds, love our felt board songs. Nothing holds their attention better, and I suspect, like my mom, they'll remember our pink and orange felt board long after they've moved on.

Ours is a homemade job inspired by the donations of bolts of orange and pink felt. We just sewed a piece of each color together like a pillow case, slipped a thin sheet of plywood inside, then sewed it shut. Viola!

When I pull it from behind the shelves where it lives, the children call out the color they want. More often than not it's pink, but sometimes we go with the orange side. 

We almost always start with this one. We count the balloons, "One, two, three, four, five." Then we go into the chant:


"Five balloons
Way up high
In the sky
Watch them fly."

"If one should . . . pop!
And quickly drop.
How many balloons do you see?"


Then we count the balloons, pointing to them: "One, two, three, four." Inevitably at least one excited 2-year-old will bounce to his feet and come up to the board to practice his own one-to-one correspondence skills, pointing to them along with me. 

"Four balloons
Way up high
In the sky
Watch them fly."

"If one should . . . pop!
And quickly drop
How many balloons do you see?"


"One, two, three."

"Three balloons
Way up high
In the sky
Watch them fly."

"If one should . . . pop!
And quickly drop
How many balloons do you see?"


"One, two."

"Two balloons
Way up high
In the sky
Watch them fly."

"If one should . . . pop!
And quickly drop
How many balloons do you see?"


"One."

"One balloon
Way up high
In the sky
Watch them fly."

"If it should . . . pop!
And quickly drop
How many balloons do you see?"


And we all shout, "Zero!" And I always add, "That's the number for none."

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12 comments:

Laura Major (Learning Is Child's Play) said...

Oh My Gosh! Say it isn't true!! Teachers aren't using "Felts" anymore? That is so heart breaking!
Flannel boards where always being used in our classrooms! The kids LOVED them and played with them often!
I myself used them, at least once or twice a week, with the various themes I was teaching! I had a whole filing cabinet filled with homemade and store bought felt sets!
I love them still today and even joined a company called "Story Time Felts" where I am a direct selling consultant! They are amazing and last forever! Seriously! I have sets that are 12 years old and they look just like they did the day I bought them, even after years of being played with!
I'll have to pull some of my homemade story ones and post them too Tom! I really hope teachers will say they are still using felts in their classrooms! I’m pretty sure the "older" Teachers like me ;) will say they are and I hope the younger ones will too! :)

shar said...

I have to admit that I now use a magnetic white board instead of feltboard, but in the same way. I made the crossover when I was unable to buy felt to replace missing parts or make new songs/stories. There is a warm fuzziness and an almost magical quality to the feltboard though, that is just not the same with a whiteboard.

Autumn mama said...

I love my board ! We use it almost everyday ... i even have one in the story area for the children to use independently when they want to! Although i am one of only 3 preschool teachers that i know still using it... heart wrenching... hopefully this post will help a come back for the old and faithful felt boards !
cheers !
dawn

April said...

I am not a preschool teacher, but I am a mommy to a 2 year old and I started using a felt board with her when she was a little over a year old. At that time, she just enjoyed taking the pieces on and off the felt board. Now she says the rhymes along with me. I made my felt board out of a diaper box and a flannel backed tablecloth. Total price--$1, and since I didn't use all of the tablecloth for the felt board, I use the rest of it to protect the table for art projects.

I came up with a balloon felt board rhyme a little over a year ago. You can see it here:

http://apgacruz.blogspot.com/2009/10/balloon-felt-board.html

rosesmama said...

I used a flannel board when I was a daycare teacher at Bank Street, and then at a few places in Baltimore after I moved. I had a lot of stories and songs, some passed down from earlier teachers, some lifted right from favorite books or stories (Are You my Mother?, Goodnight Moon, The Three Bears . . .), and once, a strange little story made up by a visiting 7 year old that the children loved (adults never 'got' it, but the children loved it).

In the mixed age group at Bank Street, there was a ready made flannel board culture; alot the kids knew that when the flannel board came out that fun would ensue. In other places, newly introducing the flannel board took some time, especially when I was substituting.

Sometimes there would also be flannel pieces for the kids to play with, to make up their own stories. I would leave this out as an independent activity later in the year, and eavesdrop :)

Marilyn623 said...

Wow....one of my high school students actually did that in our preschool just last week! We love the felt board but don't use it often enough.

There are vendors at the NAEYC conference that sell printed art on felt fabric for the felt board...just cut them out and ready to go. All kinds of themes.. I do like homemade the best, though.

No..the felt board is not dead, just not touted as much as it should be.

Deborah said...

That is so funny - I did just write about an apple pie and the felt board I did with it last week! I love the felt board and just received a big order of new felt stories in the mail today! Can't wait to use them. I love the balloon idea - my favorite is the popcorn felt story!

Ayn Colsh said...

I love my flannelboard and use it at least weekly, but still think there is so much more. I had hundreds of ideas tucked away, just waiting to be made into flannel board stories. Hmmmm....thinking of a post maybe!

Ms. Erin's HeartRoom said...

I confess, I have one that I acquired at the beginning of the year. It is still sitting behind my desk. I will pull it out soon, I promise!

Anonymous said...

My old classroom at daycare actually had felt carpet half way up the walls. We used to give the children heaps of felt pieces to suit their interests at the time- both purchased and handmade. We used this at circle times and the children had free use f it through the day. Now as a trainer we give our students two felt "Dickie Birds" to start off their collection.

Tracy said...

I still use a felt board, though my board is being repaired, so I am using a tiny one that came with a set of felt pieces. It is hard to balance and too small, so it is not used as often as it should...

Ellen said...

Felt boards are alive and well among children's librarians! =)

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