Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book of the Week

 This weeks book is titled 'How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight?' By Varsha Bajaj.  It is a cute counting, rhyming story about different baby animals that want different amounts of kisses.  Starting at one going up to 1 million. 

Monday morning I read the book to the kids and showed them the activity I created for it.

 This is a really fun count the kisses and matching activity. I created the charts in Mircosoft word.  They took a bit of time.  If you would like a copy of them please leave me a comment.  I have them saved on my work computer and will get them transferred to my laptop if there is a want for them. :)
 I gave the kids magnet numbers for matching and gems for counting out the kisses.  When I played it with the kids I made a kissing sound as I put the gems out.  The kids giggled each time I did that.  It was pretty fun.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Laundry Alphabet

In preschool learning our letters is such an important thing. It is the gateway to reading and more.  Well I can not sit them down and drill the letters into them, who would want to learn that way?? lol  So I scour Pinterest almost daily for new ways for the kids to PLAY with letters.  I came across a printable, free activity, a week or so ago that you can use in several different ways.  See original site idea here with printable.   I love when I come across free printables. 

After I printed them and laminated them I tried to find a place in my classroom where I could hang sting for the kids to play with them like the teacher did on her site.  Well I could not find such a place.  So instead I turned a piece of card board into a mobile hanging activity.  I covered the card board with some brown paper and glues on yarn and then glued the clothes pins over that.  I spaced them out for easier hanging.  As you can see everything fits on pretty nicely.  I originally forgot to put the letter "L" on there and one of my students was kind enough to point it out.  :) Other then that it was a fairly easy thing to make. I do have the occasional half of the clothes pin that falls off but i have that same problem when using clothes pins in general with my class. Not really sure why they can't keep the clothes pins together but oh well they go right back together with ease.

Transportation Theme

Last week we talked about transportation.  We started by listing all the kinds of vehicles that can take us places.  They listed everything from wagons, to skis, to hot air balloons and all the traditional types in between. 

When I looked through last years supplies for this theme I found that I had made spaceships, planes, trains, boats,cars, and semi-trucks in different colors and laminated them.  I could not remember what I did with them though.  I hate when I can't remember. Well to make myself feel better I turned them into a magnet sorting game.  I put magnets on the back of the laminated vehicles and drew up a background that showed the different places the vehicles belong, such as space, air, water, tracks, parking lot and roads.  Then the kids can place them where they go and also have fun pretending they are going all over. 

 This is what I drew up.  I have more vehicles then what is shown.  I ended up with 2 spaceships, 3 planes, 4 trains, 4 boats, 3 cars and 2 semi-trucks.  This way of sorting was quite a hit with the kids and when I told them they can pretend the vehicles where going to other places where they normally do not go they would excitedly tell me things like "Teacher look the boat is in outer space!" so cute.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Letter Recognition

When I took over in preschool I knew that I was going to need to teach the kids to recognize all the letter of that alphabet.  I had been working on it sort of in the Toddler room but not really expecting much of it to stick.  Well now I needed it to stick. I was going to have to do more then have a letter of the week that we talk about at circle time.

I was scanning through Pinterest, as I always do, looking for fun ways for the kids to play with their alphabet.  I found that several teachers will use clothes pins with the letters on them to work on matching letters.  Here is one example of that: 

I took this idea and made a few centers that related to themes we were discussing.

 These are the first letter matching set I made for my class. I cut out the dinos from old file folders and used them to match upper case letters to their lower case counterpart. I had several kids super excited to play with these.  Some kids I had to really encourage to try. But I feel they worked really well.

These I made for Valentines week.  I had the laminated hearts all ready from previous years so it was pretty easy to add letters to the hearts.  I have to say that these were not as liked as the Dinos but I still had a few kids show interest in them.

I used the same set of clothes pins for both matching sets.  I plan to do more matching sets when the inspiration hits.  Right now I am focusing a bit more on Number recognition and counting.  We are having a lot of fun with that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book of the Week

A few weeks ago I started making a Book of the Week activity at our writing center.  I have a little box on that table and I will try and pick a book that I can make an activity of some kind relate to it.  

A House For Hermit Crab
Author: Eric Carle
I chose this one a few weeks ago. Now I had never actually read it, but I had skimmed through it and I thought I grasped the ides behind it so I set up an activity where the kids could pick the best house for crab out of random items.  Well when I read the books to the kids before I explained the activity, I realized I should have read it first (lesson learned hehe). So after I read it I cut up strips of stickers and put them in a cup and told the kids they can use the stickers to decorate the house once they picked the best one.  It was so fun watching them pick the house and then decorate all of them with the stickers. 

Courage of the Blue Boy
Author: Robert Neubecker
 I had read this book, several times in fact.  I love its message of putting a little bit of yourself out in the world, even if its scary.  So I cut out people shaped from blue paper and gave the kids 3 dot markers to dot their blue boy with color.  Several kids took home quite a few Blue Boys. This could be done with markers and crayons as well but my kids loved having a chance to use the dot markers. :)

Tumble Bumble
Author: Felicia Bond
I recently read this book for the first time and totally fell in love with it.  It is a simple rhyming book. Its starts off with an ant walking and he meets a lot of new characters and then they break into someones house. LOL  I found this part the funniest. So I drew up the characters and the yellow house for the kids to reenact the story and add to it as well.  Please note the characters I took time with but the house I did fast because I forgot to make it until I go to school and the kids were begging to play with it all. So far the kids really seem to enjoy it. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Simple things

So I have created some very unique centers by keeping my eyes and mind open to different creative avenues. 
I saw a post on Pinterest about cutting up a pool noodle and using it with string for a cheap motor development activity.  I bought three noodles for this purpose.  My kids did not like it. So I put them in a box and let the kids explore them as blocks to build with.  This was fun for a time but then they figured out how to shot them at each other by squeezing them hard in their hands and they POP out flying across the room. (Great for an outside activity)  After trying to find a way to get them to stop that I put them away for a few days, to get back out when I found a purpose for these. 

 Well one day someone was playing with toothpicks, putting them into the small holes of a Parmesan cheese container (great fine motor practice), and I realized that toothpicks would potentially be fun to use with these noodle blocks. I tried it out and found that the noodle material was really porous and you could poke the tooth pick in pretty easy. This is now one of my classes favorite center. We have made some pretty crazy things with just these two materials. You do need to caution the kids about poking their fingers in the process.  No one has ever broken the skin but poking has happened. :)


This center is a pretty interesting one.  My youngest daughter (9 years old) was giving away this little house and castle we bought her from the Walgreens Pharmacy for Christmas. Now things that my girls want to give away either got to my school or a thrift store. I chose to hold on to these for my class.  When we bought them they came with little furniture and people.  My daughter had lost most of these. The only survivors were a Pegasus and 5-6 pieces of furniture. This was not enough for me to give to the kids so I added some marker lids as a temporary solution until I could find replacements.  The kids loved it to pieces. Then shortly there after my oldest got rid of a Monopoly game (threw it out in the car port and scattered the pieces ALL over. Grrr!).  Well I rescued the little metal player tokens and added them to the Pegasus and furniture.  I took out the marker lids.  The kids loves the metal pieces but requested to have the marker lids back. LOL I am so glad that my daughters cast off toys will entertain my students. It very easy on my shrinking finances. :)

Experiment #1

I am not new to blogging but I am not that great at it.  I intend to use this blog to help out other Preschool teachers like me to find creativity for our classrooms. Preschool so far for me has been fun, exciting, and a challenge.  My first job was to teach my kids that I will be loving but firm with the way things will be ran.  The previous teacher had let the kids run, and stomp all over her and it took me 3 weeks to get them under control and to a point where we could play and learn in a safe for all environment. I had to scour the internet (Thank God for Pinterest) for classroom management techniques that worked for my high energy class. I was super successful using this technique:
 It worked like a charm.  So things have been moving right along, pretty smoothly since implementing this classroom management style. Pretty soon I realized I was going to need to figure out how to teach these guys more then just the themes that I had from my previous class (Toddlers).  They needed to get ready to go to Kindergarten. That was a bit daunting at first but again I scoured the internet for help. (seriously Pinterest is my God send:).  The past few months I have really had my eyes open for learning and exploring opportunities.  I have a great group of 13 kids.  They are really open to new experiences and love getting a chance to show off new skills.  I really hope that the things I share with you will help you discover your love of teaching in Preschool. :)