Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I've wanted a fish tank for a long time. I really wanted to get one last year, but being my first year teaching there were to many other things on my mind. But this year,  my fish tank was at the top of my Back to School list. I love watching my fish and the kids do too. It has a very calming effect. I was excited to plan a fish themed week. 

We are naming our fish and snail this week. 
We named our yellow guppy Cookie.
We named our blonde guppy Optimus.
We will name our other two fish and snail later this week.

Fish Tank in a Bag
I bought hair gel from the dollar store. (2 big bottles were enough for 18 kids.) I had the kids count how many letters were in their name and then together we counted out that many fish. I wrote the letters of their name on the fish. The kids dropped their fish into the bag and then squeezed in the gel. Then we added food coloring. I sealed the bag with some packing tape for added "security". The kids loved squishing the bags (they smelled really good) and making the fish "swim". An added challenge for older kids is trying to make their fish line up to spell their name. 

Fish Pictures
I love kid driven art! First, I had the kids draw a fish tank using a black crayon. (Washable markers will smear when painted over.) Then, I set out lots of colorful paints and let the kids paint their pictures. The results were very colorful and creative! 

More fish ideas coming soon!
For more teaching tips & ideas check out my website at

Saturday, August 27, 2011

All About Me

School is back in session! During the summer I took part in a blog party over at www.pre-kpages.com. We read Literacy Beginnings by Pinnell and Fountas. It was great to read what other teachers thought about the book and hear all their ideas. All this information filled my head with wonderful ideas and activities I just had to try! All these new ideas along with hours of planning made for a very smooth and exciting start of the school year. 

The first week and a half of the school year I did a Welcome to School theme. This past week our theme was All About Me. My favorite part of this week was our class hand picture and self-portraits. 

Class Hand Picture

We read the book The Shades of People. The last page of the book is a picture similar to this. The kids were very excited about taking a picture just like the one in the book. The next day we read The Colors of Us. This book uses "food" words to describe the color of people. After reading the book, the kids told me what shades they saw in our classroom. I combined their own words along with our class hand picture to make the picture on the left. I printed an 8x10 to display in our classroom. 


The self-portraits turned out really well. I love how kid driven the art it. For details on how to make self-portraits like this in your classroom or get more ideas for an All About Me theme, check out my website under the All About Me tab. 


Next Week: Fish Theme