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

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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.
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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.