Saturday, September 29, 2012

We're going on a field trip!

Do you take your children on field trips?
We are taking our Pre-K kids on a walking field trip to the local museum just down the road.  Preparing your children for a field trip is important for safety and insuring your children have a successful learning experience.
from DIY Classroom
It is important to talk about rules of walking or bus riding, bath rooming, staying with teacher, and whether this is a touching place or looking place.
It is equally important to talk about what you might see and what you want your children to learn from this trip.
I absolutely love this before and after graphic organizer.  It was made for 1st graders to do individually, but it can be done with little ones as a whole group. 
Get it from Fluttering Through First Grade.  She also has a zoo paper.  Our 1st graders go to the zoo, so I'll pass that on to those teachers.
After the field trip!
After visiting is a great shared writing opportunity.  Let children retell the trip in order and include any exciting parts.
Do you have a fun way to learn from a field trip?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Science center

Having a science center or multiple science centers is a great way to encourage creative thinking, process thinking, and questioning along with exploration.  I love science.  Kids love science.  The US doesn't even compare to other countries in the subject of science.  I am always disappointed when I don't see much science done with young children.  So, I'm glad to share some of these fun things you can do to encourage your children in the skills they need in science.  You don't always have to understand science to do experiments.  Check these out and try one in your classroom.

First, try teaching the scientific method.  Here are some free cards to help.  Then leave them in the science center to remind children what real scientists do.
Thank you Ginger Snaps

Materials needed:
magnifying glasses
lab coat (optional but cute)
notebooks or paper
writing utensils
little clipboards are fun
An Experiment (try these)

Sensory table- Made for exploring materials by using mainly your hands and by using your hands you can use other senses and explore (pouring) measuring, language, sharing.
This site does a good job explaining why sensory play is important.
You can learn how to make your own sensory table at Teach Preschool.
remember when making a sensory tub to have at least 2 inches of materials and enough extras to provide each child with one or more. Remember it takes time to explore these skills, sometimes a child will pour something 100 times before they are willing to give up the item, so this center is not recommended to use as one to teach sharing, it just happens when they want something new, they might trade but probably wont take turns. Children need to be reminded to keep the materials in the tub and to pic them off the floor when they do fall. if you find children taking something out to play with it somewhere else, you should provide another one to play with. don't confuse the sensory tub with a place to provide a game- such as fishing game in water. Children need to use their hands to explore.
beans, rice(slippery), pasta rocks, shells, water, fake snow I found these cute plastic bulldozer type car, real snow, Easter eggs, Easter grass, ice with salt, sand (slippery), fake leaves
Things to include: scoops, tongues, measuring cup (i also use laundry detergent lids), turkey baster, egg beater, toys magnifying glasses
Here is something called cloud dough. It looks like a good substitution for moon dough.
here are some cute ones to look at and each of these sites usually do a monthly sensory bin you can look at others they've made
space theme I love the shiny pasta.


rainbow garden its bright and uplifting

flower garden to this one you could add colored cups to encourage sorting

Another cute one.

Here are some other ideas for sensory tubs.

Here are some amazing and colorful sensory tubs.

Water table
     sink and float- try it with apples and pumpkins this fall

If you have one you would like to share please leave your site on the comments section. I love to see how creative people can be.

Discovery Bottles
This is the easies, cheapest and least messy way of allowing kids to explore and question.
Check out this previous post for how I store mine.

Great discovery bottle ideas

Light Table
make your own light table or less find directions at Teach Preschool and then look at how she made light table disks.

Here is another mini version light table which might be more appropriate in the older grades. If I could find one of these containers I would make one this size, maybe two.

ideas for light table including a cool Christmas tree


See through planter

This looks like amazing fun. Neat version of salt and ice.

Baking soda and vinegar, the more scientific version

Lots of weather related stuff here

Pinned Image
I love it when learning becomes 3D.  I am so sick of seeing the Water Cycle worksheet.

Steve Spangler science always has neat experiments

Cloud Jar
clouds in a jar from teach preschool

Color mixing using flashlights

ice in a bag, color mixing too

More color mixing, but also how to use a science journal

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Literacy center- listening center

Listening center
     As a child I remember having a Mickey Mouse record player with hundreds of records tht came with books.  My sister and I would recreate the stories like we were putting on a great play.  Reading to children teaches kids to read.  That's why we tell parents it is so important to read with their children on a daily basis.  As a teacher, we do not have the time to read lots of books directly to children.  I believe a listening center is a great substitution.
     You could buy one of those listening centers set up with head phones, which can be quite expensive, or you can use multiple CD players like Kids Count 1234.  You'll find the link below.
     Scholastic is a great place to order books and the CD's to go with them.  I order multiple books when they are only $1, so the kids do not have to share a book while listening.  Many books are in a sing song rhythm, which makes for lots of fun watching to childre dance to the story while they are listening.

     You can also record your own voice reading a book.  This would also be a good way to get parents involved.  The kids love hearing familiar voices on the tape. 

     As children get older, they can express their thoughts about the story on a response sheet. 

Here you'll find a free response sheet.  Check out how she uses multiple CD players for multiple listening options.

Here is another response sheet

Here is another response sheet

Here you'll find another simple response sheet.

 Anything with a cute font makes an activity fun.  First with Franklin does that with this book review sheet.

Here is another cute freebie from Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What a sub needs

For the teacher
- If you are a teacher reading this, here are some ideas to help your sub and students get through the day with no problems and still do a little learning.

Check out my previous post too For a Substitute Teacher.  It will tell you what I feel is most important to a substitute teacher.

genius- the sub tub, check out all that Pencils, and Crayons, and Books OH My adds to her tub.

These are an amazing idea.  Purchase them here.  Or get together with some of your coworkers and design your own.

This cute idea is free at TPT.  It would go along well with the book Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshal.
Pinned Image
For the Substitute Teacher
-If you have ever been a substitute teacher you know that you have to catch the attention of the children in that class and establish some kind of management skills before you can teach a lesson.  So get organized and prepared for a day in the classroom.

I have found that a puppet or stuffed animal really got the attention of the kids.  I would pretend it was whispering to me what it wanted to tell the kids. Of course he wanted to know the rules of school.  Make it a surprise and let kids guess what is in your bag.  I was remembered as the lady with the lizard.

Poems, finger plays, or chants-  I love 5 Green and Speckled frogs.  I found some felt board frogs and a sheet of blue felt to make it more visual.  Here is a song you could do to learn the children's names.  It is not very time consuming and it is a lot easier to prove your in charge if you can name kids throughout the day.
     Names are short,
     names are long,
     say your name and clap along. 
     Name Name

Small play things- Playdo, markers, paper, stickers- even older children like them and they make great time consuming activities if you get all your plans done early.  I have been in classrooms where the teacher only planned worksheets all day long.  It was boring for me too. And, they don't take the same amount of time for every child.  If you have something for children to do when they are done, it causes less behavior problems.

Read aloud books- Children love to be read to.  Bring your favorite, but be careful not to bring the very popular books that the teacher has already read a million times.  Learned this the hard way.  No Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  There are lots of books about substitute teachers.

Something to do in down time- specials- an hour away from the kids can be a little boring.

Something to leave the teacher-  All teachers want a note to read that tells them what actually happened throughout the day.  They want to know who you are.  And if you want them to ask you back again, you should leave your name.  The Dollar Tree usually has some pretty paper you could use to write you note on.  Or try making your own.  Just print out a sheet of paper that says "A note from Mrs. or Mr. Sub"  Pick a cute clip art and you have your own stationary for the job. 

I made a bunch of pretty pens to leave each teacher as a reminder of who I am.  Here is the little poem I wrote to go along with them.

Thank you for having me here today.
When I got the call, I said,"Hooray."
We had lots of fun
And tried to get all of your plans done.
I hope I left things nice and neat.
Each child picked up around their seat.
So that you'll remember me.
I've left my pen.
I hope you'll have me back again.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Question of the Day

     ? ? ? Question of the Day? ? ?

     I use to work with a teacher who asked a question of the day during snack time and posted the answers the kids gave outside the classroom for the parents to read while they waited to pick up their children.  When I first started teaching young three year olds, just getting them to sit down and eat, getting them more juice, and cleaning up messes were challenging enough for me.  I was not ready to add something like asking a question during this time.  I still feel modeling behavior and creating discussion during meal times is more important than asking a question.  But, now I have worked questions into my daily routine, why not write down some answers.  It is a great shared writing opportunity and a way to create community among the class.  Children also love reading the questions and answers throughout the day.

What do you put on first?

     I do not ask and record a question everyday.  Creative Curriculum offers a question of the day, if I wanted to use them, but they aren't exactly little kid friendly.  Some of the questions I use because the usually deal with the theme we are doing, but others are related to a specific skill we might be working on or something special about the child. 

It really doesn't matter what question you ask.  It is how you record it that is important.

Children should be able to reread and interpret the questions and answers.

Parents should be able to understand the question and answers.  This gives them some insight of what is going on in the classroom.

     I've always wanted to make a permanent reusable picture solution to child graphing, like using magnets on the back of juice lids with their pictures on them.  I've seen it done with cloths pins But, then the kids and parents could only read the answers or results once.  I think it is a good opportunity to encourage children to write their names, but with three year olds,  it is hard for others to read their names.

I've have decided to use computer printed names and pictures for the children to glue onto the graph or question page.  Just use your computers program that makes labels or business cards to print out a sheet of each child and you have a set that will last you through 9 or 12 questions.

You can put your questions on a flip chart or any paper.  I like to hang the questions or graphs up by the door so the parents can see them when they come in and pick up their child.  When I take one down, I put another one up.  I then add the previous chart to a class book of questions which I keep in the library for the kids to look through.

Monday, August 27, 2012

How do you make behavior managable?

     The beginning of the year comes with many amazing behaviors.  I mean hitting, kicking, crying, and screaming.  And yes, I got to see all of them today.

     When it comes to preschool, children are learning to push buttons, to cross the line, and how far to go.  We need to teach them how to live safely, respectfully, responsibly, carefully, and patiently.  If we base our classroom management on rewards and punishments, they will learn how far they can go and what they will get if they don't. 
2 Simple Steps
Good Classroom Management is achieved through 2 clear aspects in our classrooms.

1. Through proper room arrangement, modeling, and age appropriate activities you will cut down on negative behavior.

 or Teach Preschool always has some good inspirations.  This is her great outdoor classroom.

Teach your children how to wash their hands, line up, open milk, stand in line, and all those other tasks that run your daily routine.  No one has to line up at home to use the bathroom.  The more you model for them, the more they will understand.

2. I read a post which mentioned life skills as a behavior management system.  I chose to use a little of what we learned back in college to combine with this system.  I want to create ownership and community within my classroom.  So we use these words to associate with toys, people, and the school itself.  Can you be helpful by cleaning up the toys?  Can you be respectful of some one's feelings?  Can you be careful by walking down the hallway?

 (I do not post rules for little ones.  If they can not read them, it doesn't do any good to refer to them.)
1. I am helpful.
2. I am careful.
3. I am respectful.
4. I am patient.
5. I am responsible.

     For the first few weeks of school, we review each "rule" by repeating them at the beginning of the day. I try to use the words often throughout the day using positive reinforcement to those children following the rules.

     You can use any technique to record behavior that fits your personality or the classes.  I believe young children need a visual.  That is why the red, yellow, green has worked for some children.

A few techniques I've used

-Stars-  Each student's name is on a star which goes up and down as student behavior changes.

-Hand prints-Each one of these sentences is printed on a hand print cut out from the ellison machine. 

-Painted sticks- Red yellow and green sticks are put into library pocket on their desk.

-no visual reminders-  works better with younger children.  Remind children of rules and reward positive behavior by noting it.

-noodles, gems, rocks in a jar-  As you see class using skills reward them with a piece in a jar.  When the jar is full, do something special.  I'm not talking party here.  How about extra computer time or choice time.  Extra recess or game day.

Communicating to parents 
     When using the hand prints, I would put a sticker or stamp on each finger to represent the 5 behaviors. This is not used as a reward but as a system to communicate to parents about their child's behavior. If the parent sees five stickers they know it was a good day.  If one or more is missing, then there was a problem.  A small note can be written on the hand

     You could color a smiley face in a child's communication folder.  As a parent, I disliked this method.  It didn't tell me what my child did wrong or right.

     You could just make periodic phone calls or notes home to inform parents of behavior.  Remember to send just as many positive notes or calls as negative ones.

Here are some cute free printable notes that don't relate to behavior, but I thought you would like to have them also.

Here is a cute note to send home to parents to send back to school. This will encourage communication back to teacher.

I haven't found a free printable that you can send home to communicate behavior yet.  Do you have one that you would like to share?

Book Box- Zoo animals & Teddy Bear

Zoo Animals &
a few Teddy bear books

A Trip to the Zoo by Carla Greene
At the Zoo by Susan Canizares & Arianne Weber
Bear's Dream by Janet Slingsby
Birthday Zoo by Deborah Lee Rose (rhyming)
Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert (shape)
Curious George by H.A. Rey
Curious George Bakes a Cake by Margret & H.A. Rey
Curious George makes Pancakes by Margret & H.A. Rey
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Five Little Monkeys reading in bed by Eileen Christelow
Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree by Eileen Christelow
Five Little Monkeys with Nothing to Do by Eileen Christelow
Going Home by Ann & Reg Cartwright
A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Siverstein
Hiccups for Elephant by James Preller
Hold Tight, Bear! by Ron Maris
If You Give a Moose a Muffin
I Love you, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester Clark
Inside a Zoo in the City by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (Rebus)
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Miss Moo Goes to the Zoo by Kelly Graves
Monkey See, Monkey Do by Marc Gave (Hello Reader level 1)
MoonBear's Dream by Frank Asch
Please Say Please! Penuin's Guide to Manners by Margery Cuyler
Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
Sammy The Seal by Syd Hoff
The Teddy Bears' Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy
Where's my Teddy? by Jez Alborough
Zoo Animals by June Behrens (real photos)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Box- Poetry, nursery rhymes, etc

This box contains books that are collections of rhymes or nursery rhymes.  They don't seem to fit into any other of my categories, so I bunched them together.

Green Beans and Other Silly Poems by Nancy Leber and Lolli Leber
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstien
Miss Mary Mack adapted by Mary Ann Hoberman
Play Rhymes collected and ill. by Marc Brown (cute animal movement rhymes)
Questions selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Take me out of the Bathtub and other silly dilly songs by Alan Katz
Why the Banana Split by Rick Walton (a  play on words book)
You Read to Me, I'll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman (Short stories that rhyme)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Don't Throw that Box away- Make something with it!

     Because I am a teacher, I am a collector of things people would normally throw away or recycle.  Only other teachers really understand this habit.  This time it was a unique box that opened at the top.  It was sturdy and would be easy to reuse.  But, for what.  It has been sitting in my work room for about 6 months till I found something that fit perfectly inside.

     I covered the top and the sides with scrapbook paper and our newly found sparkle Modge Podge.  I just added a label with letter stickers.

     I have been working on sensory bottles in these 6.5 oz water bottles that came in the lunchables my daughter has been eating.  They are small enough to carry and store.

     I thought it would be great to carry to school on a day I would be subbing as an extra activity.  I am working on a worksheet that goes along with these bottles, so I could use them with older kids. ex.  I have a letter bottle where children search for letter beads in rice.  Older children could find a letter then list words that begin with that letter.

     Here are the bottles we have made so far.  Glitter and water (glitter will color the water), vegie oil and water, pink water with dish soap (shake to make bubbles), baby oil and pom poms, sand and shells in water, hair gel with fish rocks and glass beads
Here is where to go to see how to make sensory bottles and what to put in them.  They thought of everything.
Here you will find a neat seasonal sensory bottle ideas.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School Teacher Gift

     While teaching preschool, I was very lucky to have some of the best and kindest parents.  I always got wonderful gifts for Christmas and at the end of the year.  It made me feel very special.  So, when I became a parent, I wanted to make sure I was one of those parents who tried to make the teacher feel special.  My daughter and I work together to make something special for her teacher.

This was last years experiment. Edible Crayons & Candy Pencils

This year we are making a personalized clipboard and matching pens.  It will be included in a basket with other fun things like stickers and post it notes.  Both of these cute ideas I saw on pinterest and are pretty simple.

 pretty clip board
Wooden clip board
Scrapbook paper
Letter stickers
Modge podge
 (we found sparkle kind)

Cover your clipboard using modge podge with scrapbook paper. 
I used ribbon to hide the change of paper color.
Add stickers to personalize.
Paint over all with sparkle modge podge.
Then paint over with regular modge podge.(Those were the directions on bottle.)
The sparkle kind was very sticky after it dried, so adding the regular coat must help seal it.

The sparkle Modge podge worked beautifully.  I would decorate my walls with this stuff.
This is the smaller version my daughter had to have.  We haven't finished her teacher's yet, because we are not sure of her name.  But it is cute, and my daughter wants to write on it all the time.  Great benefit.

Pretty Pens
Clear pens you can remove ends (refillable)
I found them at Dollar Tree 2/$1 but grocery store had them 5/$2.38 colored ones too.
Scrapbook paper (matching clip board)

Cut scrapbook paper length of clear part of pen only and width about 1 1/2 in.
Remove pen and wrap paper around it.
Put it back together.  I had to use the scissors to push the paper completely in the pen.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Great printable play dough recipe

I have found the greatest 3rd grade teacher to ever help out a preschool teacher.  She has lots of free printables and ideas you could use in your classroom, but this will help all those teachers that ask for volunteers to make play dough.

Visit Clutter Free Classroom 
for a free printable picture and word recipe card.

It would be great if you make play dough in the classroom too.  Children could easily follow the picture cues to make the recipe. 

More fun free printables

I'm so upset that my printer seems to have died just in time for my summer break when I could be making and collecting.  But, hopefully you will enjoy these printables. 
They are all free.

Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten has a lot of her introductory centers for free just in time to start out the new year.  I love her stuff.

I really like dltk's printable books.  Every child could use practice reading.

Classroom Freebies is a website dedicated to bringing free resources to teachers.  I love it.

The Convenient Teacher has some adorable printables.  How cute is this.

While looking for some winter activities, I discovered Apples for the Teacher.  There are all kinds of printable activities here.

space theme vocab, handwriting and others

Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives has some beautiful freebies for letters, numbers, and words.  They would be great for my literacy centers. Also, check out her very cute environmental print ideas and printables.

This one is my favorite.  It is simple and cute.

The Teachers' Treasure Chest has collected some great center printables.  She has done a great job collecting, so take a look.

Here are more center signs.

A Special kind of class has some letter and word assessments.

Smiling in second grade has cute journals and other cute stuff.

teacher bits and bobs has a cute back to school freebie.

Teacher's Pay Teachers has a lot of resources, many of them free.  You just have to search for free resources

Free Chicka Chicka resources from Kinder Alphabet

Building words with a Cookie Sheet and more

consonant blends chart

Are you teaching labeling?  Here's a freebie.

A collection of free printable sites

Here is where I found the cutest labels for your supplies. and here are more.

toy labels (mostly boy toys)

simple black and white toy tags

cute polka dot labels

Neat math stations

I have collected printables and included them in my center posts, so check out them if you're looking for something for your centers.
Literacy centers

Math centers

If you have a free printable you would like to share, please include it in a comment.  I would like to see it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Book Box- Back to School

My Back to School Box of books includes books about family and friends.  We have always done those themes at the same time.

When I Was Little A four-year-old's Memoir of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis
If you have four year olds this one is perfect.  It creates so much language and background information about your children.  We always did a self portrait after reading this one.

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards))This is a funny rhyming book that you could easily use to teach children when it is appropriate to paint.

Are There Any Questions? by Denys Cazet (Children ask lots of questions while on a field trip)
Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes (making new Friends)
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (great self esteem)
Clifford Runs to Story Time by Norman Bridwell
Countdown to the First Day of School by AnnMarie Harris
Dinosaur Starts School by Pamela Duncan Edwards
First Day, Hooray! by Nancy Poydar
First Day of Kindergarten by Kim Jackson
Go To School by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Berenstain Bears story)
Hello World! Greetings in 42 Languages Around the Globe! by Manya Stojic (great multicultural)
Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss with some help from Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith
How I spent My Summmer Vacation by Mark Teague
I Can Do It By Myself by June Goldsborough
If a Bus Could Talk by Faith Ringgold (The Story of Rosa Parks)
If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff
I Love School! by Philemon Sturges
I'm Gonna Like Me Letting off a Little Self Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell (self esteem)
Let's Go To School by Michelle Petty (easy reader)
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (great for behavior management)
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni (Fun activities to go with the book)
Miss Honey's Busy Day by Richard Scarry
Mouse's First Day of School by Lauren Thompson
My Family  A sesame street book
My First Day at Preschool by Edwina Riddell (picture and word book)
The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague
Teachers Are for Reading Stories by Harriet Ziefert
That's What A Friend is by PK Hallinan
Thomas and the School Trip by Owain Bell
Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods that make my day by Jamie Lee Curtis (Good for Emotions)
Tucker's Best School Day by Susan Winget
What Will I do If I Can't Tie my Shoe? by Heidi Kilgras

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Box- Fall & Apples

We're Going On A Leaf HuntI love books that copy other common books or poems.  It makes it easy to compare and contrast.  This book rhymes and counts while naming and showing what common leaves look like.

Apple Picking by Janet Craig
Apples by Melvin and Gilda Berger (good life cycle book)
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Autumn's First Leaf`by Steve Metzger (how leaves are friends even if one changes color)
Big Red Apple by Tony Johnston (Hello Reader level 1)
Clifford Loves Autumn by Norman Bridwell
A Day at the Apple Orchard by Megan Faulkner & Adam Krawesky (real photos)
Fall Colors by Rita Walsh
I am A Leaf by Jean Marzollo (It is great to hear a 3 year old say "Chlorophyll")
Leaf Season by Quinlan B. Lee (Clifford Puppy Days)
Leaves by Melvin & Gilda Berger
The Tiniest Pumpkin by Janet Craig
Under the Apple Tree by Steve Metzger
Up, Up, Up! It's Apple Picking Time by Jody Fickes Shapiro
What are Seasons? by Chris Arvetis and Carole Palmer
When the Leaf Blew in by Steve Metzger (What cause and effect when a leaf blows in the barn)
why Do Leaves Change Color? by Chris Arvetis and Carole Palmer

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Glow in the Dark Fun

We were on vacation during the 4th of July, so I thought it was a great opportunity to do some fun stuff in the dark.  I love glow sticks.  I love that you can get a bunch of them for $1.00. 

The challenge is making curved letters with strait sticks. 

We found glow in the dark bubbles.  They only glow once.

We made a firefly

using a water bottle.  We covered half with tissue paper. and wrapped a pipe cleaner around top for antenae.  Google eyes glued to cap make it more fun.  My  intension was to just add a glow stick to the bottle when we wanted to take it outside, but my mom sent us some glow in the dark paint.

The paint is thin but works well.

Just squirt and shake.

Here are some other neat looking dark time activities.
Train up a Child did glowing water beads and other fun stuff.  You need a black light for this.  I like this idea better because it doesn't involve breaking the glow sticks.  I've seen people who have painted with the glow stick liquid, but I just do not want to trust that it is non toxic.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Math centers- Patterning

Learning to repeat, create, and continue patterns will help our little ones find and use the patterns in our math system.  Even our base ten counting system is one big pattern.  A child that can count on forever but forgets the tenth number has figured out the pattern.

Patterning centers are the easiest to make and can fit into every theme.  I've gotten a lot of rubber manipulatives by themes through scholastic book clubs.  They were about $10 each set.  They are well worth the money.  I have seen apples, Halloween, fall, back to school, bugs, transportation, Christmas and others.

I have used holiday stickers to make simple pattern cards.  Children can copy and extend the pattern I've made.

Unifix cubes are easy to make color patterns.  I have made cards on sentence strips for children to copy.  I also use the colors we are working on.  Put two colors like orange and black for Halloween in a basket and set it on the table.  Children can't help but find the pattern.  While roaming the internet I did find a printable sheet of unifix cube patterns, but I will have to find it again to share it with you.

Pattern blocks have many shapes that can be made into patterns.  Here is a colored or black and white printable using pattern blocks.

You can make patterns with anything.

patterning on the pocket chart and other patterning fun.

Sun Scholars has a neat tray activity for patterning.

Dr. Suess Patterning

Friday, August 3, 2012

Let's get organized!

   It's getting close to the beginning of the school year.  Everybody is thinking of how they are planning for the new year.  Since organization is so important to a teacher, I thought I would share some of my organizational tips and share those I've enjoyed seeing.
This site has all kinds of tips for new teachers.

I just found this helpful blog about how to keep a clutter free classroom.  Neat.  Check out Clutter Free Classroom

  I like this idea for storing stuff.

Here you'll find some good ideas for organizing back to school from Not Just Cute.

I also like this teacher's way of organizing.  Check out what she uses for extra supplies and books.
My paper or craft stuff-  This has been the most challenging area for me to organize.  I want to keep ideas together but also the stuff left over from those ideas (such as all the Ellison cut shapes for shape trains) that way next time I use them I wont have to do so much work or shopping.  This challenge has evolved into this.  I bought the long/ letter size manila folders.  Stapled the sides like a pocket.  On the front I have a print out or just wrote the directions for the activity.  Inside is big enough to hold regular sized construction paper flat or large paper folded.  Then if there are little pieces that go with the craft, they are in a Ziploc bag in the pocket.  I store all these file boxes in order of when we do them throughout the year.  When I am planing my week or month I pull out the pockets plan my lessons and write down how much of a supply is needed to finish the project.  It works for me.

1+1+1=1 makes what are called lap books.  It keeps all the activities they do in one file folder. 

My toys and stuff-  I use a tub for each month or season.  They mostly contain a certain theme.  So Beginning of the year, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Transportation, Winter Holidays, Winter, Doctor/ Dentist, Spring/ Easter, Farm, Bugs, Summer.  I also have a tub for ABC/ Number games that have no theme and one for art and craft materials that are left over.  Inside these tubs I put games, dramatic play items, manipulates, or anything 3D

Teach Preschool gives us a way to organize felt board pieces.  I think I will be doing this one.  It's great when things are easy to find.

My books-  I have nearly a thousand books that I with the help of friend, my mom (the garage sale queen), and scholastic (last year they were giving away a free book for every online order) have collected over the years.  I have not found the best way to organize them all so they can be seen.  I have simply resorted to sorting them by theme then storing them in a scholastic box.  This way I can pull out the box that is related to the theme we are working on and do my lesson plans based on them.  In order to store them in the garage, I then put the boxes in large plastic tubs with labels on the outside.  I once tried to make a spread sheet that I would be able to use with the title, author, subject, and description, but it just took too long and I didn't use it.  This year, as I use them I will write a book box post that will contain all of the above and maybe activities that go with them.  Blogging has been a great way for me to organize myself.

Here is a cute way to organize books.  The labels are available now.  Check the comments below for the link to visit.

Creating lesson plans- Amazingly my lesson book might look organized but usually I start out with lots of scribbled ideas and lists everywhere in a note book.  Then as they are written down in my lesson book, I cross them off my messy page.

Teach Preschool makes webs.  We have all seen this in college, but for some reason it did not stick.  This is a tool I need to try using again.

If you do guided reading and need a way to organize the kids, you're going to want to check here.
The Classroom- since I am still looking for a job in this state, I will not be sharing any pics of my own room, but check out some of these.

I thought this was a neat idea.  I think I would put journals in it.

I thought this might be a good replacement for those library pockets we use for jobs.

here is a great calendar set up

Great idea for all those long things like calendar names or poems or kids names
And as soon as mine are made, these will be my favorite organizational tools.

dish drainer file organizer
here is another use for a dish rack

This classroom is the nicest size.  Look how beautifully she uses space.

Here is a neat writing center.  Hanging it on the wall clears up space.

What a great idea to hold easily lost items

Here are neat organizational printables

How about using those name tag badges for label holders? Check it out.

Here is a neat idea to hold all those pens, pencils, markers, etc we have laying around.

and here is another one made with milk jugs.

Some more cute signs, but also neat ideas on what kids can do when they are finished. Here are some cute ideas with printables.  Check out What the Teacher Wants!  There are cute job signs.  Behavior punch cards and volunteer forms

The Kids and their Parents-  In the past I haven't had much of a problem communicating with parent, because I they had to drop off and pick up their children at my door.  I could just ask a question any time.  So, what do I do now that the children are riding a bus to and from school or getting picked up in a car that drives up to the door on a busy street?  We will see what works best.  Newsletters, emails, notes home, folders, calendars, daily or weekly "what I did" sheets

I have used a folder like this before.
I think my daughters school has a pocket folder with  prongs where they attach a calendar.

Teach Preschool uses a calendar to send home.

Two Things in Common has a great way to organize new student information.  Simple.  Why didn't I think of that.

Do you use portfolios?  Check these out.  What a great way to use play to assess.