Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crafty Tuesday...DIY Mini Chalkboard

   Ok, so I haven't done a Crafty Tuesday post in awhile, but my craftiness has absolutely not been abandoned!
   Chalkboard paint is the new craft craze these days and I was eager to create something. The only materials that I found for a writing center (in my teacher stash and materials in the center) were white boards. What ever happened to chalkboards? So there was my little project: I made mini chalkboards for my preschool classroom!
    Very simple and quick to make! 
    I just grabbed 2 mini clip board & paper sets at the Dollar Tree and picked up some chalkboard paint at Michaels. (I love that these 2 stores are two doors down from each other in the same plaza! Makes shopping easy, but sometimes not so great on my pocket!)
    Anyhow, each clipboard needed two coats of paint and I waited at least an hour between each coat.
And within 3 hours time, I had some cute little mini chalkboards- and paper pads--that are going to 
go into my Writing Center!! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Crazy over Pizza!

    There is no question about it in this house- my little munchkin LOVES pizza! And the funny thing is, about less than a year ago, this was far from the truth, as she wanted nothing to do with pizza...and I thought that was the weirdest thing ever. What preschooler does not like pizza? But sometime before her 5th birthday, the love for pizza finally emerged! Now I have to be careful when I ask her what she would like to eat...because nine times out of ten, the answer will be pizza. (That is, if the answer is not chicken nuggets, yogurt or a Nutella sandwich!)
   So we did some learning with a fun little pizza theme. She learned quite a few sight words during the last school year and I have continued to reinforce them all summer long.
   With Kindergarten right around the corner, sight word review was on the to-do list and so we reviewed sight words with a fun activity idea that came from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas. All that is needed is some construction paper, glue markers and some paper plates. I colored the paper plates to look like pizza slices and wrote different sight words from the Pre-Primer Dolch Sight Word list onto the "ingredients" (broccoli, pepperoni and sausage)
She read each sight word and if she read it correctly, she glued it onto a slice of pizza.
She made three of these little pizzas... enough for everyone!

     And everyone has heard of the book " The Little Red Hen", right?  Well, I was shocked when I found out that there is now a book called, "The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza" I was shocked b/c many years ago in a teacher training workshop, my group and I were asked to modernize an old folk tale as part of a Reader's Theatre activity, and this was the exact twist we put in our modern version of The Littlle Red Hen. Interesting.... I could have had a published book right now...who knew?
     Anyway, we read this book and then made a pizza! Well, actually, we made mini pizzas, using flatbread, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and my favorite topping: Pepperoni
She put hers together like a pro!  Just cheese, please! 
All ready to go into the oven!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Getting Organized...

    This school year, I am determined to get organized and stay organized! With all the free time I had the past school year, I was able to start really looking through all of my teacher stuff. And I mean really looking through, as in actually deciding to toss some things out!! That was huge for me, but I have accumulated so much stuff in the past 10 years, some things just had to go (mostly paper goods, thankfully!)
   Anyhow, since my munchkin is a little older this summer, she can easily keep herself entertained for longer periods of time! So that has made a world of difference, as she plays, colors, reads or even watches a DVD or two, while I sit alongside her and work on some little projects.
   Two of the first things I knew I had to organize were my stickers (I've got way too many, in my opinion) and my books. I have all of my books in plastic totes, according to seasons & holidays, but I now have an awesome library collection at my new preschool center that I can use...and it will save my books from the inevitable wear & tear and love from little preschool hands!
   For my stickers, I grabbed a binder and picked up a few clear plastic pencil pouches. Since I tend to file things according to seasons & holidays, I did just that. Each pouch holds stickers for each season. And the other pouches are filled with other types of reward stickers...
My personal favorite: Scratch & Sniff Stickers!!
    When it came to organizing books, I decided that I will just take a few of my personal favorites from my library, into the classroom. I picked up a few of these magazine file boxes at Target.
    I was going to make my own from cereal boxes, but since they will be used by 3-5 year olds, I need something more sturdy and durable. I used fun animal print duct tape to jazz up the boxes.(After alot of thought, I decided to go with a Jungle Themed Classroom this year!)
    Since these boxes will be handled by little hands, I went the extra mile and reinforced all the edges of the boxed with clear packaging tape. No cardboard cuts for my munchkins! Plus, I am sure that it will help keep the boxes intact so that they make it through the school year.
     I bought random label holders somewhere awhile back (I can't remember where...I think it was Michaels) and they were never used... until now! I also purchased these Book Bin Labels to help me get organized,  from Krazee 4 Kindergarten. There are over 200 different labels!
    Here is how I am going to organize my books. Each book box has a Theme label and a colored dot sticker. The books that belong in that Theme Box have the same color dot sticker, making it easy to match the book to its correct box.
    Four of the boxes are for Monthly Theme Books and other boxes are for universal themes, such as Alphabet Books, Number Books, etc.  
    As I was browsing Pinterest for more ways to organize classroom materials, I saw a cute weekly drawer organizer and I wanted to make my own. So, here it is! (That last drawer is empty, but I think I might make it a Sub drawer.)
     And of course, since now I have a way to organize my weekly lessons and projects, I decided that if I am going to be really committed to staying organized, I am going to need Monthly Binders as well. That is my current project... I will share it soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's Back to School Time!

    Yay! It's one of my favorite times of year!  
It's Back To School Time! 
    And, NO it is not because the kids will be out of the house and busy all day, as opposed to sitting at home some days, bored out of their minds... Well, that is part of it.
    But not only am I excited that they are going back to school-- I am excited because I am, too! I enjoyed my year off from teaching (even though I did miss it alot) and now it is time to get back into a classroom and do what I do best: Teach preschool children!
   I realize that it has been over a month since I last posted here on my blog and NO, I didn't neglect my blog once my Facebook Page launched, I just really had no time to sit and actually blog. The munchkin and I have continued to do fun learning activities throughout the summer, they just (unfortunately) didn't make it onto the blog.  July was a VERY busy month- busier than I had expected it to be! We had family come to visit and then took off to Myrtle Beach (which was awesome!) and then when we got back, a job was offered and I gladly accepted! And since then, I have been in a Back to School state of mind. 
    I have been thinking alot about my blog this week and it is going to be 3 years old soon! I am looking around to try and redesign it this school year! I have no clue where to start but the plans are in the works! Hopefully by Christmas I can get it all together.
    Anyhow, I am planning a small Back to School Giveway in the next 2 weeks. Any prize ideas that you would like me to consider?? Please share what kinds of goodies you like to win!
   Well, back to being crafty and creating my fun Jungle classroom decor! I can't wait to show you what I have been working on!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mad Science Monday: FROZEN Slime!

   I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!  The weather was perfect and it was a pretty quiet and relaxing 4th of July for us this year.
   I know some of you are in the same boat as me when I say that my little munchkin is stilll very much obsessed with everything FROZEN. So, I have been thinking- why not have some learning fun with a FROZEN theme?? There are TONS of ideas all over Pinterest lately and I am eager to try a few and have some FROZEN fun!
    Today, we squeezed in some Mad Science Monday fun.... and we made FROZEN slime!
    There are many different ways to make slime, but the one I chose was very simple and required only 2 ingredients and it was a recipe from Growing a Jeweled Rose:
1) Liquid Starch (I found it in the laundry detergent section at Walmart)
2) Colored Glitter Glue (It can be found at Walmart, Michaels or any craft store.)
The munchkin poured the glue into a bowl and I slowly added in the liquid starch, one cup at a time. 
    We mixed it together and kneaded it for a few minutes until it reached a soft, slimy, yet not too sticky consistency. If it is too sticky, add a little more liquid starch, but not too much or it can take on a consistency of playdoh. (We made 2 batches- one purple and one blue and added her Elsa, Anna and Olaf toys.)
The slime was so fun to stretch and twirl!!
She engaged in slime play for over an hour. Elsa, Anna and Olaf each got slimed!
And Elsa got a brand new blue glittery (very see through) dress!!
And then she put them to bed!
This was so much fun! I even enjoyed playing with it myself... great sensory play for any age!
I know this is just the beginning to all the fun we are going to have with a FROZEN theme!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Teeing Up and Hammering Away Beginning Sounds!

    The past few days, the little munchkin has been working hard at reviewing beginning sounds. I want to make sure she has a good grasp on beginning sounds before we move on to identifying middle and ending sounds. Kindergarten will be here before we know it!
   She had some fun with a little wooden hammer and golf tees we borrowed from daddy's golf bag. (When I first put out the hammer and golf tees for her awhile back, she really liked it.) So this hammering activity, "Tee It Up For Sounds" by Make Take Teach was lots of fun, with some learning included!
    Another beginning sound activity she did was with our ABC Cookies. We have used this on many different occassions to learn different skills: Letter Identification, ABC order, Spelling and now Letter Sounds. The great thing is that it includes learning cards inside.  (One lucky Facebook Fan will have a chamce to win today!)  So, if you are not a fan on my Facebook Page yet, you should be if you want a chance to win this!

    With these games and other spontaneous activities that we have done with beginning sounds, I am confident that my future kindergartener has a very good grasp on letters and their sounds! 
Now onto some more challenging, learning fun! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Vet Doc Is In!

   The past few days have been full of imaginative play! I rearranged a few things in the playroom to set up a Vet Clinic! What better way to learn more about pets and how to care for them than with pretend play props.
   My mom gave me a gift card to Lakeshore Learning for Mother's Day, because she is awesome and knows how much I love to teach and engage little ones in learning.  And of course, I used it on my munchkin to buy her a Vet Dramatic Play Set (It will eventually end up in my classroom, no doubt.)  I gathered a few of her stuffed animals toys and her Doc Mcstuffins Doctor kit to add to the area.
   I created a few signs, such as the welcome sign, the waiting room sign and the Doctor on Duty sign. I also used a vet play printable resource from PreK Pages that included the Pet Patient forms.
     I switched out our learning bins and replaced them with random baskets, to be used as crates to store the animals that are under observation, as well as little shapes with the pet name on it.
    I took my dog, Brownie, in for a checkup, and Dr. Naomi gave him a thorough check-up, wrote down his information,  took his temperature, told me he had an ear infection and then gave him some medicine for his ears.
Dr. Naomi was busy all week long, taking x-rays, giving medicine and even bandaged up an injured pet.
    There was so much learning going on. She had hands-on learning about how to care for animals, even when they are sick or injured. She learned a few new vocabulary words relating to body parts of different animals, practiced writing letters and words on paper, and showed empathy when caring for the animals. She was a kind, gentle and loving vet!
Here is what was included in the Vet Dramatic Play Set:
Lakeshore Learning Materials can be a bit expensive, but they are awesome!
 (And the stethoscope is an actual, working stethoscope)
    This has been a very fun, engaging and educational little unit. For a culminating type of activity, we took our two dogs for their check up yesterday and she was able to see firsthand how the vets checked and handled animals. Our dogs got a thorough check up and a few shots... and she was intrigued by it all. I might have a future Veterinarian on my hands!