Saturday, March 31, 2012

DIY See Through Planter

      We are planting sweet peas, my favorite vegetable.  They acctually like the cooler weather, so we are kind of late for Texas weather. 

     Root-Vue Farm, HSP162

When I saw these in a teacher magazine, I knew I wanted it, but the price tag just turned me away every year.  I tried the plastic baggy from the window, but found they don't grow very big.  And as I learned you  do not put tape on the windows, or you'll be scrapping the windows to get the sticky stuff off.  If you could find another way to attach them to the window, maybe 3M hooks would work, they are great to see the roots of the plant.  But, I want to produce vegetables.

I have lots of 2 litter bottles.
Take the wrapper off.  Cut the top off the bottle.  Make sure it is clean.  Left over sugar will effect the growth of your plants.  (Interesting science experiment for later)

Put dirt in the empty bottle.  Add seeds as close to the edge of the bottle as possible.  Make sure you water it well.  Watch the seeds sprout.  Plants grow up and roots grow down.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Practice number skills with a game

This has been one of my favorite home made games so far.  And surprisingly all the kids enjoyed it, too. All you need are some number cards, some kind of marker, and dice.  I made this number strip in my word program by adding a text box and giving it a neat border.

I made this game to assess whether or not the kids who knew how to match numbers to sets could immediately recognize a set up to 5.  (In the Creative Curriculum assessment books)  It did a good job of assessing this objective.  But, to my surprise it attracted other children who weren't interested in numbers yet.  (3 year olds)

The child rolls the dice and counts the dots.  Then they put a marker on the number they rolled.  We used pom poms here.

Now that I am going to be with 4 year olds, I am going to make a new set of number strips using dots.  I found this dice that has numbers 0-9.
The game will be played the same way only opposite.  The kids will recognize the number then find the set to cover.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Come eat dinner at our restuarant

Changing your dramatic play area will keep children interested in real dramatic play.  I have seen the kitchen a big mess of food on the floor and babies in the oven.  If the area is always the same, the toys tend to become just things to throw around.
It's a great way to include real language and to practice it over and over again. 

We turned our dramatic play area into a restaurant.
It really is the easiest way to change your dramatic play area without changing or adding a lot.

I made a menu from ads in the newspaper.  Make sure you use everyday words like appetizers.  It will increase your students' vocabulary and connect their play and behaviors to real life.

When I first open the center, I model how you would play restuarant.  This will prevent them from writing on your menu and keep them using the other materials properly.  I might say, "Hello, I am your waitress."  "Here is our menu." 

What would you like to order?  I will give this to the cook.

I included some small notepads and pencils, so the waiters and waitresses could use their pre-writing skills during play.  I found this set of 5 at the Dollar Tree.

Just make sure you get your customer's order right or they might not come back to your restaurant.

Here are some interesting comments I overheard at the restaurant.
"Your restaurant is nasty.  There is food on the floor."
"That's not what I ordered."
"How much do I owe?"
"I want ice cream and that and cake."
"Don't you have plates at your restaurant?"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Painting trees with threes

Painting trees with threes
Painting trees is fun because you could use anything to make a tree pattern.

First, we put glue on a rectangle for the trunk.  This girl thought it was fun to make an "R" which starts her name with the glue.  Good reason to let kids use the glue.

Then, we use wax paper crumbled up and dipped in paint to create leaves. 
We used red, orange, and green.  In the fall we use yellow and brown, too. 

Let the kids print away.  No matter where they put the paint, it will always make a neat leafy tree.

You will have to replace the wax paper when it gets too much paint on it and starts to flatten, so bring the whole roll to school with you.  The kids loved this project.  Some even did it twice.  Some kids noticed the paint was mixing to create other colors.  This is one of my favorite tree art.  I love to hang it in the room because it adds so much color to the room.  It reminds me of being outside.

Getting to know a new class in March

I have been moved to a new classroom with four year olds.  Not only do they need to get to know a new teacher, but I have to get to know them very quickly before our next assessments are due and the end of the year comes.  (our end of the year is May 8)  Needless to say, I have very little time to get to know everything about each child and the way they learn.
Every class loves Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom.  And there are some great ideas on how to extend the book out there.  This is the one I chose to help me introduce myself to the kids and introduce the kids to me.  I found this wonderful Chicka, Chicka class book worksheet at Teachers pay teachers for free by Lidia Barbosa at   I used the cover page that Lidia Barbosa so nicely gave me and let each child make their own coconut tree.

I gave them a brown rectangle to use as the trunk.  Then gave them a piece of green tissue paper to rip into leaves (practicing fine motor skills).  Then I asked each child how many coconuts they wanted on their tree.  I dipped their fingers in brown paint and together we counted the coconuts.  I then gave each child a picture of themselves to glue on the page.

The book turned out great.  They love reading it.  The pictures on the pages make it easy to read and personalizes the book.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lost in the days

Do you ever just look at the calendar and wonder where the days have gone?

Well, with all the excitement of the baby taking her first steps and meetings and changes, I have found it difficult to plug the camera into the computer.

I am also being moved to another class which consists of 4 year olds.  But, for now spring break.  I will be trying very hard to get all the pictures and activities on here to share.  I have also seen some great ideas I can't wait to try.  Thanks to everyone who still comments on my blog.