Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Very Busy Spider...and Preschoolers!

Wow!  I haven't posted in a long time.  I was busy getting married over the summer, and then prepping for school.  When I saw that Deborah at Teach Preschool was hosting a linky party for Fall and Halloween inspired activities, it gave me me a kick in the pants to get back to my blog.

This week our students are learning S for Spiders.  I love Pinterest and blogs simply for the fact I learn new ideas and tricks to teach my students a concept or theme!  Deborah's spider webs were the perfect way to have our children make webs, and I found this picture on Pinterest for our very own spiders!

The other fun idea I found was Playdough eyeballs from Teach Preschool.  What a genius idea!  My students loved the addition to our playdough center.  It was a big hit.

Finally, I came up with two new ideas for my own classroom that I would love to share with you!

First, with inspiration from Deborah's mini poster about spiders, I created my own anchor chart.  I see them a lot on Pinterest, but designed for upper grades.  I wanted to create one that is interactive for my students and at their level.  I took Deborah's three concepts about spiders 1) Spiders have 8 legs  2) Spiders eat mostly insects that fly  3) Spiders catch insects in their sticky web and created a chart!  Here is a picture:
 This is without the parts added during our discussion.
Here it is completed!  Students had the opportunity to put 8 legs on the spider, wings (made of parchment paper) on the fly, and add a fly to the sticky web.  The web is drawn with a black marker, with a piece of contact paper over it to allow the fly to stick!  Students also had the chance to touch the contact paper to feel how sticky the web was.

My second addition to our centers was a spider sorting game.  While at Walgreens last week, I found rubber colored spiders.  I knew I had to buy them for a sorting game!  I created webs of different colors on my computer, printed on cardstock and laminated for durability.  I added magnets to the webs and spiders.  (Note: Make sure you use super glue or E6000 glue for the magnets on the spiders!  Hot glue doesn't work!)  I added this game to the magnet board in our classroom.  What an easy way to practice color sorting!  Find the game here.  (Freebie!  What joy!)

Here are the spiders I found at Walgreens!

I hope these activities will add to your fall learning experiences.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our ABC Book

I have not been happy with the ABC books I have created or used for our 3/4 class.  I finally found one on Pinterest!   Find it here!  I was so excited because it combined a simple practice of writing the ABC's and an activity that relates to the letter.  I do not get all up in arms if their writing isn't perfect yet, because that will come with time.  I simply want to introduce them to the letter, practice the sound, and begin to think of words that start with the same letter.   For the activities, I want to do something that works their small motor skills...cutting, tearing paper, drawing a picture of themselves, etc.

As you will see in the pictures, I used some of her same ideas for the book, but changed some to make it work for my program.  We use Handwriting Without Tears so I used their word printing to make the letters. The idea for the letter X can be found here.

I will definitely be making these again for next year!

Dirt Sensory Table

I love the Target Dollar Spot.  Absolutely love it.  In face I am looking forward to Back to School time just to go shopping at the Dollar Spot. 

I hit pay dirt (pun intended!) when I went a couple of weeks ago!  Kids sized gardening gloves!  Kids sized shovels and trowels!  I decided to add dirt to the table and let the kids explore.  I also added plastic flower pots.

Next year, I think I will add bulbs or something that they can "plant."

I love Target!

R is for Rainbows and Rain/ U is for Umbrella

R is for rain and rainbows!  U is for umbrella!  A lot of my inspiration for our rainbow week came from  Deborah has a lot of wonderful ideas for rainbows!

Letter Work:
Here we integrated color words and writing and made a color book.  This was from Teach Preschool too!

We also made our own version of the Rainbow Roll Game found here.  I made an electronic copy of the game which can be found on Google Docs.  The letters and numbers are included that you can change how you play the game.

Large Motor Activities:
We made movement ribbons for the kids to practice moving to the music.  I would play soft and loud, fast and slow music and the children would move their ribbons to the music.  They even involved their body!

I was inspired to create my own ribbons after finding this pin on pinterest.

We also used streamers to create a rainbow of our own!  We read the book A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman and created this fun movement activity.  The kids weaved the streamers themselves, and then they worked their bodies through the small openings!  The activity is inspired by this post!

 We made 3-D rainbows inspired by this post.  Each rainbow was unique!

We read Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld.  It's a wonderful book that talks about how a cloud makes it rain.  We then let the children mix black and white paint to make a rain cloud.  We mixed blue food coloring in with corn syrup and they drip drop painted rain drops on their cloud!

B is for Bugs

B is for bugs! I is for insects!  Due to our crazy busy schedule, I only had the chance to take a few pictures from our bugs week.

Centers: I used PreKinders for a lot of this bug theme!  It was a wonderful resource.  Check out this link for the bug jar sorting printables from PreKinders.  I also purchased Learning Resources Backyard Bugs for counting and using them with the jar printables.

I made this addition and number practice activity for my students.  I used the glass beads from the crafts stores and used Modge Podge to adhere black paper to make spots.

 I would tell the students how many dots to put on their ladybugs and then we would add.  I introduced the concept of "Counting On" to the students to help them prepare for Kindergarten.

 For our 3s class I would just tell them which number of spots to put on.  This is a great activity to practice one to one correspondence.
Bulletin Board:
The inspiration for this bulletin board can be found here!

Here are the crafts we did for the different bugs:

  • Ladybug
  • The bumble bee, click beetle, and the ants were from The Mailbox
Circle Time:
For my older students I created Bugs Sentence Strips which are available for sale on my Teacher Pay Teachers store. 

Hope you enjoyed going buggy with us!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bugs Sentence Strips

Here is the latest product in my TpT store!  Bug Sentence Strips can be used to introduce different types of bugs, as well as practice sight words and color words.  I hope you enjoy it!

While there, check out my TpT store...

Catapults and Levers

One of my goals this year was to incorporate more science into the classroom.  This past week we made catapults in the classroom!

For personal ones for the kids to take home, we used this craft with popsicle sticks.  We had the kids glue the popsicle sticks together and then we hot glued the clothespins and spoons on.  We gave the students cotton balls to launch.  Watch out!  Fun to be had by everyone!  They played with their catapults for a good hour!  We loved to teach them how to tilt and angle their catapult to make it go further or a different direction.

One of my aides and her husbands created a lever for the kids to experiment with.  We also put out cylinders, blocks, rulers, cotton balls, and other flying materials for the children to begin to create their own.  Check out the pictures!

We had the students do some critical thinking and writing with this activity.  Check out this freebie!  It is designed to get the students thinking about what they thought could happen, and then what actually happened.

Then we decided to try to do some "Angry Bird" type experiments.  We built a building and then tried a slingshot method to knock it down.  Gave the students a real world experience off the iPad!

X Marks the Spot

Aargh!  Pirates landed on the shore this past week in our classroom!

The children LOVED this theme.

We made treasure maps using this concept of paint.  The kids found it cool to paint with coffee!

Once the paper was dry, we had them draw their treasure maps.  We talked a lot about preparing our minds for the project.  We didn't want them to just draw something.  We asked "Where would you hide your treasure?  What do you have to go by?  What can you draw to show how to get there?"
 Thought it would be interesting to show the difference between the ages....this is a 3 year old picture.
 This was another 3 year olds pictures.
 This was a 4 year olds picture.

We completed our treasure hunt study with a group treasure hunt!  I didn't like one certain way to do a treasure hunt I found on the internet or I combined to make one I liked!

Here are the two examples I pulled from: the drawings from this one and the letter and motor activity from this one!

Here is mine!

 A treasure chest made by one of my wonderful aides!

 Walk the plank!  Walk over dangerous rocks!

 The surprise at the end!  They each got a pretend gold coin and a chocolate coin.  I found both at Party City, a party store that has great deals on items such as these.

Finally, I added the pirate gold coins to the sensory table with our balance/scale.  We put the balance in there for the kids to explore how to make things even out.  They loved the pirate gold!

Check back for another post about our catapults and levers!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

M is for Monster

Silly Monsters was our theme!

We focused on teaching and reviewing the shapes through this activity.  We then talked about how to scare away monsters by yelling at them and laughing at the monsters.

We read Go Away Big Green Monster! and did this activity with the paint.  We loved how each of the monsters turned out different.

I added these Monster faces to the magnet center.  Check out the great download here.

For math practice, we continued addition.  I adapted the idea of monster eyes for math from this website.  I love her website!  It is great for adding in ways that are learning games but not the rote flashcards.  I chose to make this a whole group circle time activity.  Her version is great for table work.

I choose to make monsters that would work for both my 4/5 class and my 3/4 class.

For the 4/5 class, I would put two monsters on the board.  We would count the eyes and review how to write the numbers.  We then practiced "counting on" again.  We reviewed the + and = signs.

For the 3/4 class I would put one monster on the board.  We practiced counting and then writing the numbers.  Great practice for reviewing what numbers look like and how many make up each number.

The great googly eyes came from Discount School Supply!

Make it work monsters!

E is for Easter

Happy Easter everyone!  He is risen..He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Easter is a great time to tell the Good News to all my students.  I really make sure they know that Jesus died to save us all from our sins.

Here are some math activities that we did the week leading up to Easter (our Spring Break fell on Holy Week so we did Easter a week early!).

We used Jelly Beans to begin to introduce addition skills and counting on.  We have done "how many are there all together problems?" for some time now, and I wanted to show the children the + and = signs.

 I would put a number in the boxes below the giant jelly beans.  The students would put the number of jelly beans in the matching boxes.  They would then count and figure out how many all together.  I began the process of showing them counting on, which is where they start with 7 (from the picture) and count the 3 more.  So it would go like this... "7....8, 9, 10"

I then had them practice writing their numbers on an answer sheet which we sent home.

For the younger class, we did Jelly Bean sorting.  The children would use the jelly beans to match the colors.  When they were done sorting, I had them count each color for me to practice one to one correspondence.

We also did these projects...sorry I don't have a picture!  Here are the links: Contact Paper Cross and Handprint Cross.

For reading, I created an Emergent Reader with the story of Easter.  I also used the same words to create sentence strips.

Good news to share!  I am now a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers.  All of the items I mentioned we did on this post are now for sale!  Check out my store...!  Two freebies are up there now.  The Emergent Reader and Sentence strips are for sale.

Make it work!

Monday, April 8, 2013

O is for Ocean...Part 2!

Here are the centers for the weeks of our ocean theme.

 I got this idea from this website.  The link takes me to a different post now, but it's there!  Believe me!

 Flannel board from Michael's.
 Fishing game!  Identifying letters and numbers!

I also added sea creatures to the water table.

Make it work!

O is for Ocean

Wow!  I can't believe that it has been a month since I have posted!  We have been really busy around here with Easter and wedding stuff.  I played the organ for Holy Week and Easter so I spent a lot of time on the bench practicing.

We will do some catching up on the blog here this coming week!

I will start with O is for Ocean.  I tied this theme with our Spring Program...Commotion in the Ocean.  It is a book written by Giles Andreae.  More on that in another post!

We started our ocean theme talking about the different ocean animals.  We made animals that were on display for our program night.  Here are a few pictures!

 We fingered painted the background to make the blue green color (color idea from here!)  We used their hands to make the octopus.

 Crabs: Paper plate painted red, accordion folded legs and fun googly eyes! 
 Starfish idea came from one of my Mailbox magazines.  You mix a little bit of paint with shaving cream and glue.  We put sparkles on top.  The result is a slightly puffy starfish!

Flying jellyfish (link here)

Next we made ocean wave bottles.  I had each child bring in an empty water bottle.  I found a couple different ideas on pinterest, however one did not work out any better than the rest, so I combined to make my own...a "Make it work!" moment!
 First, have the children put small sea shells at the bottom of the bottle.  I found a pack of 4800 from Oriental Trading for cheap!

 Next, have the children fill the bottle with water.  I had them fill 1/2-3/4 full.  I tinted ours with a little blue and green food coloring.

 Next, fill the remaining space with baby oil.  Baby oil is clear and works the best!  I told the kids that oil and water are not friends and they don't want to be by each other.

I let the kids top their project with silver sparkles.  Hot glue the top on and let the children explore how waves roll back and forth in the bottle!
The kids absolutely loved it!  They carried their bottles all around the classroom.  They shook it up and watched how the oil and water separated.

Thanks for joining us on our ocean adventure!