Thursday, December 17, 2015

Reindeer Food

One of the things we did this week was make reindeer food.  This is so simply.  They just mixed oats and glitter in a bag and added a label.  We were able to incorporate math skills by having students measure their ingredients out.  For the label, I just searched for "Reindeer Food" on TeachersPayTeachers and found several options.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Santa's Workshop

Our dramatic play for the next two weeks is Santa's Workshop.  We put lots of wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, gift bags, tissue paper, etc. in the center.  The kids have had a blast wrapping and delivery presents!  I can't tell you how many wooden blocks I've received as presents in the last two weeks!  Haha

December Odds and Ends

This is such an easy center to set up.  I have different pages hung on the board.  Below each set of words is a basket with all the magnetic letters they need to complete each word on the list.  Once they complete one set, they can move on to the next set. Easy peasy.
We love reading to our fifth grade buddies!  This month we read a Christmas book with the phrase "can you see".  They read for about 20 minutes and then we played on the playground with our buddies!  It was a great end to our day!

Gingerbread Man Hunt

Throughout the season we did tons of gingerbread activities.  Today we made a gingerbread cookie and of course when we went to get him out of the oven he had run away!  After a chase around the building (he left us lots of great clues), we found him back in our classroom!  What a tasty snack!  He was so easy to make.  We purchased the Betty Crocker gingerbread mix, a Wilton pan from Amazon, and we were on our way!  Cooking in the classroom is a great way to incorporate math skills, not to mention cooking is a life skill our little friends will need as they get older!
Discussing how to read a recipe (ingredients and step by step directions)
(mixing the batter up)
(I forgot to take a picture of him before we cut him all up!  We did lots of little squares because we shared with our fifth grade reading buddies who were coming up to listen to us read after snack!)

Monday, December 7, 2015

T is for Tree Stained Glass

I absolutely love doing stained glass projects with my kiddos!  Here are our Christmas tree ones!  Once you have the frame cut out, place it on a section of clear contact paper.  Then have your students put squares of tissue paper down on it.  We used Christmas tissue paper to make it look like trees with ornaments.  Add another piece of contact paper on top.  Trim excess contact paper off and hang in a window.

Peppermint Scented Playdoh and Rice

I love incorporating scented items into my classroom!  For December I added peppermint scented playdoh and peppermint scented rice.  The kids had so much fun!
Peppermint Playdoh
1 c. flour
1/4 c. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. cream of tarter
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. water
food coloring
peppermint oil
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
Add food coloring and peppermint oil to water.
Combine flour, salt, and cream of tarter.
Slowly add colored water to dry ingredients.
Add additional flour until desired consistency.
This recipe kept four children at a time happy, but I will definitely double it next time!
Peppermint Scented Rice
To scent rice I fill a gallon size bag about 2/3 full of rice.  I add a few drops of food coloring, scented oil, and water and then shake the bag of rice until it's coated well.  It works great!  


Friday, December 4, 2015

Gingerbread Activities

During the month of December we did lots of gingerbread activities.  We started the theme off by reading different versions of gingerbread books.  We read:
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires
The Gingerbread Loose in the School by Laura Murray
Gingerbread Mouse by Katy Bratun
Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup
Keep Running Gingerbread Man by Steve Smallman
Each day we read a different version of the book. Then we summarized it. Every day after we read our new book and summarized it, we reviewed the summaries of the previous books. After we had read all the books each student came up to me (privately as to not change any student's mind!) and told me their vote. Then we met as a group and each student came up and put their gingerbread girl/boy (graphics by Krista Wallden of Creative Clips) over their favorite version. There was lots and lots of cheering as the books battled for first place! As we put them on we counted how many were in each column, compared more and less, introduced the word "tie", talked about how many more this one had than that one, etc. The graph is drawn on a Dollar Tree tablecloth.
One of the other gingerbread activities we did was to decorate our loft as a gingerbread house.  This is one of the first pictures, but we added "icing" to the window and lots and lots of other decorations, too.  I didn't get a picture of the final product!  (silly me!)
We finished up our Gingerbread theme with a Gingerbread Man Hunt!

Monday, November 23, 2015

T is for Turkey Stained Glass Project

I absolutely love doing stained glass projects with my kiddos!  Here are our turkey ones!  Once you have the frame cut out, place it on a section of clear contact paper.  Then have your students put squares of tissue paper down on it. Add another piece of contact paper on top.  Flip over and glue the turkey's body, eyes, beak, and wattle on. Trim excess contact paper off and hang in a window.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Train Names

Here's a great activity that would go well with the Polar Express if you are doing anything with that!  First we cut 12" X 18" gray construction paper in half to make it 6" X 18".  Then they drew two horizontal parallel lines and lots of vertical lines to make the tracks. 
Ahead of time I cut 2" squares for the engine, and cut a 1" square out of one corner.  I also cut a small window and triangle for the front of the engine.  In addition I cut LOTS of 1" squares for the cars, and two different size circles for the wheels.  I just colored the smoke stack with a Sharpie for the engine, instead of cutting out construction paper.
My students wrote the first letter of their name on the engine (capital letter) and then we counted how many cars they would need for the rest of their name and they wrote one lower case letter on each car.  Using glue sponges, they glued the cars and wheels down.  Then I drew 3-4 dots where they should glue down their cotton balls.  I did this because we've been practicing "a dot, not a lot", so this was the perfect opportunity for them to see about what size glue dot they needed!
Here's a close up of the train I got the inspiration from.  I'm sorry I can't give credit to the original poster, but it only links to the image and doesn't have any identifying information.

Five Senses

Last week's theme was Five Senses.  Surprisingly enough, this might have been my favorite theme so far!  We had so much fun!  The best thing I did was purchase My 5 Senses Centers and Circle Time for Preschoolers by Jamie White from Play to Learn Preschool.  She had some great activities which went well with some of the things I had!
Every day we sang a song, watched a video, and did a sort.  We also had a special activity planned for each sense.  Check out my other blog posts to see what we did each day!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Counting with Apples

During our apple theme this week I made this lame extremely simple activity for my kiddos.   I have learned that simple is just as effective as something that's extremely time-consuming to make.  I made a page that had three trees on each page, with different numbers on them (1-12).  With my PreK kids, I just used pages (1-3) and (4-6).  They rolled the die (you can see it in my aide's hand above the arrow) and then they used tweezers to put that number of pompoms (apples) on the correct tree.  This utilized many skills.  First, could they identify the number on the die?  Second, could they find the tree with that number on it?  Third, could they place the correct number of pompoms on the tree?  Not to mention the fine motor skills they were developing with the tweezers.  So simple, yet so effective!

I just slid this in a dry erase pocket/sleeve and off they went.  I was a little nervous about not laminating it, but I wanted to see how it worked and it was great!
So just because I love you all so very's a little something from me to you!  Click HERE to get this little lovely for free!

Friday, September 18, 2015

All About Me and Family and Pets Themes

This year we had an All About Me weekly theme as well as a My Family and Pets theme.  During these two different weeks we did a couple of different projects that I remembered to take pictures of!

First name assessment of the year.  We'll use this same page 3 times during the year to see the growth of how students wrote their names when they came to us and how they are able to write their name before they head to kindergarten!  I'm super excited to show students their page at the end of the year!

We put some faces and bodies out for students to decorate with playdoh, pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes, beads, and other odds and ends.
After reading the book "A My Name is Alice" by Alice Lyne we provided students with heads and half circles.  They got to choose which pattern to use for their half circle.  Once they had the head and shirt glued on their paper (they used glue sticks), we wrote up the saying "____ my name is _____ and I like ______."  This got glued on next.  The next day we provided pieces of construction paper for mouths and hair.  They decorated their person as they saw fit using glue sponges (BEST THING EVER!)  Once they were done I gave them their initial letter (which I had cut out) to glue onto the first blank of the saying.
Once we finished our people, we went to work on our names in small groups.  Students were provided with a paper that had their name printed in gray on it.  They then used bingo daubers to cover the letters.  This also helped me gauge fine motor and color identification skills.
When we finished both components they went on our bulletin board in the hallway!  They look amazing and we've gotten so many wonderful compliments!  I got the idea from Pinterest.

Another activity we did during our family theme was to provide students with sentence strips and ask them to draw their family on the sentence strip. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Color Days/Weeks

Our school has school-wide color days each week.  So far this year we've done red, blue, and yellow.  Besides everyone (in the entire school) wearing the color of the week on a specific day, here are just a few of the things we've done so far to celebrate!

Each week we decorate our doorway with streamers and cut out shapes on the designated color day.
Each week we cut out (the color of the week) items from magazines and catalogs and glue them onto contstruction paper.
For red week we used tweezers to sort pompoms.  All the red ones went into the red mini garbage cans!

Blue Week Snack: blueberry pancakes and blueberry yogurt on blue plates!  YUM!

Little Boy Blue in a pocket chart!  Students used the blue chart highlighters to highlight the word blue.  They used the other chart highlighters to highlight the letter h (our letter of the day).
Yellow Week Snack: lemonade, bananas, and vanilla wafers (I wish I would have known about lemon Oreos I would have done those instead!!)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Animal Clinic

To go with our theme of My Family and Pets this week I set up a Animal Clinic in our Dramatic Play center. 
On the left side of the dramatic play center, on the top shelf, we have a phone, a box for patient records, and a doctor's prescription pad.  In addition, there are three different clipboards.  One has a patient sign in sheet, another with patient information sheets, and a third with doctor's notes sheets.  On the middle shelf we have containers for cotton swabs, cotton balls, tongue depressors, & medication (we used foam circles, I never want the kids to mistake real medicine for play).  We also have leashes, collars, & toys.  On the bottom shelf we have food dishes, doctor's tools, & dog treats.   
On the right side of the center we have the different animals (fish, cats, dogs, snakes, and a frog).  One of my students also decided we needed a microscope in this center and added it to this shelf. I thought this was awesome!

In the middle we have a waiting room.  Next year I'll move the hooks for the doctor's and nurse's jackets and bags, but they were there from last week's Post Office Center and I decided not to waste the command strips to move them! 

We also have a light table set up with "x-rays" on it for them to check out!

Checking in for an appointment.
Filling out patient information sheet.  This sweet guy asked, "Does your dog need a shot?"  Haha!
Writing down doctor's notes!
I had so much fun making this dramatic play center! Here are some close ups!
the patient information and doctor's notes pages.

cards to label animals in center, word wall cards, and prescription pad

number sequencing puzzles, fun with spinners counting game, cards to label items in center, number recognition cards, patient record page