Thursday, November 14, 2013

Five Plump Turkeys - Shared Reading

My kiddos LOVE the Five Little Pumpkins song. They were really sad when we stopped singing it after Halloween. I'm excited to teach them the Five Plump Turkeys song. I'm going to use it for our shared reading the week before Thanksgiving. You can pick up a copy for your class here.

The packet includes a poster that can be used for shared reading or singing the song.

The packet also includes a large print version of the song that can be assembled on chart paper or in a pocket chart for shared reading. 

The packet also includes an ordinal number assessment. There's a basic assessment which asks the child to color the turkeys in order (1st, 2nd, 3rd). The advanced assessment asks the child to color the turkeys out of order (2nd, 4th, 5th).

Also, the packet includes color copies and black & white copies. So colored printer or not, your packet will still look super cute!

What songs or other activities do you use to keep your kiddos engaged before the holiday season?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hands On P activities

I'm going way back in the files for this post. Some of these pictures are from my first year teaching! (Hence the lack of quality pictures) Here are a collection of P activities I've done over the years.

P Sort with Pepperoni

What can be more engaging then pepperoni pizza?! These pizzas are really easy to make. Paint two paper plates to look like pizzas (red is the base color, brown around the edge for the crust). Oooh complicated I know. Then add strips of yellow paper for the cheese. The pepperoni can be made by taping red paper to checkers or just leave the red circles plain. Write an uppercase P on half and a lower case p on the other half. And wallah you have a pepperoni pizza p sort! 

Puppy Craft

Pig Craft

Pink and Purple Puffy Paint

This puffy paint is super easy to make. Just mix equal parts of shaving cream and glue plus a little bit of paint. Let dry over night. 

P Poster or Book

Vocabulary/Language is such a HUGE part of our curriculum. Plus this builds phonemic awareness. Each week, we try to think of as many words as we can that start with our letter. This particular year, we made it into a book. Each child wrote a P on the left page and my TA drew the pictures on the right page. I've also done this same activity on chart paper and made it into a poster. 


Shared Writing

Laura Numeroff's books have a very obvious pattern. This makes it easy for the students to pick and replicate on their own. This is always one of our first shared writing activities of the year. 


I'm always too busy . . .well cooking . . . to take pictures of our cooking activities.

Make Pancakes - especially if you're reading If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff.

Make Pretzels in the shape of a P. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shape Monster Glyph

A shape monster glyph is a great way to reinforce a unit on shapes. It also encourages students to follow directions, develop cutting skills, and practice counting. 

The age and ability levels of your students will determine how much you'll want to prep before hand. The shapes were drawn for the students to cut out themselves. The hair, legs, feet, eyes, and mouths were also precut. The students cut out the shape and teeth. They also crinkle folded the legs and then glued all the pieces together.

I love how much personality the monsters have! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Self-Portrait Portfolio Pages

I'm always looking for artifacts for my students portfolios. I try to find items that will be keepsakes for my students and their parents but also show their development throughout the year.

I make a self-portrait page for the fall and one for the spring and place them next to each other in the child's portfolio. This also allows me to collect data (number of body parts drawn) for report cards.

You can download the template FOR FREE here. The background is white but can be printed on colored paper or cut out and pasted on colored paper.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Preschool Self-Portraits

I love self-portraits. It always amazes me how much each child's personality comes out in their drawings. I constantly have parents asking me, did my child draw that?! The answer is yes! With the right directions/facilitation you can help each child do their best. 

I love the results of this project and it's simpler then it looks. This project usually takes us about two days. I begin by giving the child a blank piece of paper. (I use white card stock  Then I ask each child to think about what their face looks like. Is it round like a ball? Oval like an egg, etc. Then I ask them to draw their head. It's important to use permanent marker, because washable markers will run when painted over. Then I ask the child to think about what they have on their head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc. DON'T DRAW HAIR it will be added later. Last, I have them draw two lines down from their chin to make their neck.

Then, we look at our multi-cultural paints together and choose the shade that matches the closest. (You can find multi-cultural paint through discount school supply) They paint all of the white space on their head/neck. 

I cut out their portrait after it has dried and glue it down on a piece of white card stock. 

Then we work on their hair. I use blonde, black, and brown yarn. I ask them about what color their hair is, is it long or short, does it need to be braided, in a pony tail, curly, etc. This part is very teacher directed.  Some accessory ideas; colored yarn for hair ties, barrettes, streamers folded up for bows, pipe cleaners for head bands, jewels or beads for earrings.

Then, it's time to paint in the eyes if necessary. I use white acrylic, because the tempera paint lets the color underneath seep through. Then the child adds a dot with the color of their eyes. 

We added writing to our art that says "My name is ______." You can read about adding writing here.

We display our self-portraits all year in the classroom and then send them home in portfolios at the end of the year. 

Fall weather has FINALLY arrived here in St. Louis! I'm enjoying a lazy Sunday with the windows open and Cardinal baseball on TV. 

If you like the ideas found on my blog, please leave a comment and follow me! :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Integrating Writing in Preschool

As a preschool teacher, it can be difficult to find the balance between academics, social skills, play, teacher directed activities, child directed activities, and more all while being developmentally appropriate. It can be exhausting. Hopefully this activity will help you in the never ending struggle to find that balance.

*On a side note, if you haven't read Already Ready by Matt Glover and Katie Wood Ray, I HIGHLY recommend it!

There are many different facets of writing, and this activity only covers a few of them. 

It mainly focuses on:
  •  handwriting 
  • developing understanding the difference between letters, words, and sentences.
  • spaces between words
  • punctuation

To begin, I write the sentence I'm wanting my students to write and cut out each word individually. This is my model. 

Before the students begin writing, we discuss what we are going to write. I show them each word individually and we count how many letters are in each word. I remind students how each letter has a sound and we put those sounds/letters together to make the word. After going over all the words, we put them together to make a sentence. I point out the period at the end of the sentence. 

Then, I have the students copy my sentence one word at a time. We talk about how the letters look. (The letter a has a circle and a line, can you make a circle and a line?) After they write each word, I cut it out and have them start on the next word. 

When they are finished, they help me put the words together to make the sentence. While they're glueing the words, we talk about the space between each word. 

It sounds intense, but it really only took about 5 minutes per group (since this was our first writing activity like this, I only taught 2 kids at a time)

Okay, so now you're thinking WOAH you expect a preschooler to know all THAT!! Take a deep breath. It's not about the students mastering these concepts, it's about exposing them to these concepts. After seeing them pointed out in shared reading, shared writing, and in activities such as these, they'll begin to understand how our language works. Literacy Beginnings, by Fountas and Pinnell is another great read. 

It explains the importance of exposing our students to concepts such as these. Notice the word EXPOSING! I don't expect my students to know these things or even "learn" them immediately. If they are exposed to these concepts they'll pick them up when they are developmentally ready. 

I try to add writing extensions such as this one to art projects every once in awhile. The students are already engaged because it's their art they're adding to. You also get two birds with one stone because you have student art AND writing in the same display!

5 year old example

4 year old example

3 year old example

Thanks marcheseclowns for the art idea!

Happy Apple Picking!

Monday, September 30, 2013

How Many Apples up on Top?

I absolutely LOVE teaching about apples and all things fall. It is by far my favorite time of the year! 

First we read the book Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss.

Then my TA set out these play-dough mats on our math table with some apple scented play-dough. (Unfortunately I don't have files to share, my very talented TA free handed them. You could try tracing the pictures from the book if you're artistically challenged like me!)

We encouraged the kids to make small apples with the play-dough to put on top of the characters just like in the book. This is a great fine motor activity!

This activity can be individualized to challenge students across a broad spectrum of development. 
  • 1-1: For students working on one to one correspondence, let students add as many apples on top as they'd like, then count them together. Pointing to each one as you count. 
  • Meaningful Counting*: If the student has a good handle on one to one correspondence, have them add a specific number of apples. (Roll a dice or draw a card to choose how many apples they should put on top.) Remind students to count as they add apples and stop when they get to the desired number. 
  • Beginning Addition*: If the student has mastered meaningful counting, this activity can be used to teach addition skills. Have the student add a certain number of apples (such as 3), then have them add more (such as 2 more), then ask how many apples there are all together. 

*If you're focusing on these math skills I recommend using pom poms for apples as the play-dough has to much lag time for counting. 

I used these mats for math small groups after they had already been available for free play for a few days. This way the kids had time to explore and use the mats as they wanted to. Which made them more open to following directions during math time. 

Our classroom smelled sooooo good! You can find an apple scented play-dough recipe here at The Picky Apple. It's really easy to make. Instead of putting all the different spices in, I just put in apple pie spice. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Friend Bingo

It's the beginning of the year and my kids are all referring to each other as he and she. He hit me. She took my block. He won't play with me. It's up to me to distinguish just which he or she they're referring to with very little clues. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to get a point in the general direction of the child in question. Although usually this means they turn their head while pointing and all their words start flowing away from me and I can't understand anything that they're saying. This activity won't help you with that, but it will help your students learn each others names. 

Every year I create a bingo game using each child's picture. I print my pictures out at walgreens with 4 pictures on each 4x6. You can read my tech tip here for creating tiny pictures. Instead of making them tiny, size them down to 1/4 of a 4 x 6. (so each rectangle is 2x3). Then use them to create bingo cards. If you have a colored printer, you can just create the whole bingo card on your computer.

The kids love getting to play bingo with their pictures! Once we've played for a little while some of my older kids pick up on everyone's names. Then they take over being the caller for me! :)

How do you help your students become familiar with their friends names?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Easy and Cheap Smelly Paint

We made smelly paint as part of our 5 senses unit. It's really easy and cheap! All you need is kool-aid, water, and a bowl (and the obvious like paper and a paintbrush). 

All you do is add some water to kool-aid and walah you have smelly paint! Our room smelled sooooo good while the kids were painting. There's no exact science when mixing the kool-aid mix and water. The less water you add the more vibrant your colors will be. A little paint goes a long way. We used three different colors and only needed half a package of each for 10 kids. 

When the paint is wet, the colors are very vibrant and the smell is strong. It does fade a little as it dries. It also loses most of its smell after it dries. Make sure to wear paint shirts, as I'm pretty sure kool-aid will stain clothes. 

You can read more about my 5 senses unit from a previous post here.

On a different note, I'm looking for some new blogs to follow. I've switched over to Bloglovin since google took down google reader. And in doing so, have weeded out some blogs and added new ones. So if you have a blog, please leave a comment with the link so I can check it out! 

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