Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spiders and Skittles Freebies!

While I don't really like spiders in real life, I do love teaching about them. I feel like I learn something new every year. This time around, I wanted my preschoolers to learn the parts of a spider. Learning the words is easy enough, but I wanted them to be able to show me what they knew. Thus, I created this Parts of a Spider assessment tool. 

Click on the picture to download your copy. 

 After Halloween, I had some extra Skittles that needed a purpose in life. What better purpose than a math lesson? I don't think this graph has enough spaces for all the Skittles in a regular bag, but I guess that means you'll have to eat some along the way! Before giving this to the kids, have them make predictions about the number of each color in their bag. Have them smell, touch, and describe the Skittles. 
Click on the picture to download. 
I didn't realize when I made this that it would be such a great 1:1 assessment tool for my group. Some of them really struggled with putting only one Skittle in each box. 
After all the Skittles are laid out, then the counting begins. I purposely did not put numbers on this graph so that my students would have to touch and count. 

I hope you can use these in your classroom! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Letter or Number?

Last year, I made a letter/number sort freebie around Thanksgiving time.  Thanksgiving is really my favorite holiday, so it's no surprise that I made a freebie to celebrate.  Almost right away, I had a request on TpT to make more sorts with other themes.  Of course, I said, "Sure! I am totally inspired to make many more sorts!"....and then never did.  If you were the person who made the request, I am sorry.  In light of the new school year starting up, though, I am inspired once again!

Differentiating between letters and numbers is one of those skills that we take for granted.  Some littles have a really hard time with this.

This one's for the girls.  {Don't worry - I didn't forget about the boys!}

Click on the picture to download your copy!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hand. Heart. Brain.

I was watching a video from a Transitional Kindergarten Conference in California earlier today, and I fell in love with something one of the speakers said.

And I quote..."If it hasn't been in the hand and the heart, it won't go to the brain."

I just love that! Kids are so hands-on and visual, and when we ask them to sit and use only their auditory learning skills, we are doing them no favors.  I have to remind myself of this fact every day when I am thinking about how to teach. When I think about the lessons that my kids remember most, those lessons were usually experiences that allowed the children to touch, see, hear, or do something new.

So I made this little poster for myself.  It's a reminder that when I want to get something into their brains, I need to get there through their hands and their hearts.

Click on the picture to download your copy.  If you would like a colorful version, just let me know in a comment, and I'll whip something up!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Illinois Blogger

I am linking up with Diane over at Fifth in the Middle.  She has created a section of her blog that is dedicated to connecting bloggers in each state.  Since I'm an Illinois blogger, I'm linking up with the rest of the midwesterners. 

Speaking of Illinois, I was at our state Pre-K and Kindergarten conference last week. What a fantastic experience! 
How often do regular people like me get to meet famous celebrities like Deanna?
Yep, that Deanna.  She's so cute and tiny, I look like a giant next to her! And I'm not that tall! I wish I could remember every single one of her fabulous ideas. I have already been trying some of them out this week at school.  

I would love to hear from other Illinois bloggers!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jack Hartmann Freebie

We love Jack Hartmann in my classroom!

I wanted to start singing his song "Echo the Letter Sounds" from the CD "Get on Board the Transition Train".

I knew my littles would need a visual, though.  Kids need pictures to keep track of where they are in the song and what will come next. 

So I made these letter and picture cards to help them out.  
Of course you can use them for any activity that involves letter cards.  I used a black and white background to highlight the colored picture and save on color ink. 

I hope you love them!

Click on the picture below to download your copy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dinosaur Teeth

I tried something new for Dental Health Week this year.  I'm sure you've seen this activity floating around Pinterest.  I soaked eggs in Coke and Kool-Aid until they absorbed the color. (It didn't take long - only a minute or two.) 
I tried convincing the kids that these were dinosaur teeth, and that we were having to brush them for the dinosaurs.  It didn't work.  
As you can see, the kids used toothpaste and toothbrushes to get the eggs clean.  It works like magic! I gave them each a bowl to keep their egg from rolling and a little bit of water to wet the brush. 

I chose not to hard boil my eggs because I ran out of time.  Many of the eggs did get dropped, and they broke. We just cleaned it up right away.  I probably used 18 eggs total for 22 kids.  Not all of them were broken, but we threw them all out at the end. 

This activity is definitely a keeper! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day!

Don't you just looove Valentine's Day?  It's exhausting and crazy, but the little ones just get so excited! We had two great parties in my classroom.  

What a fantastic group of parents! They put everything together. I didn't have to do a thing. 

I'm off to eat some macaroni and cheese for dinner.  I hope your Valentine's Day was just fabulous!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Have you tried the blubber bag?  I used lard as the blubber.  I took one gallon size Ziploc bag, put a small container's worth of lard in it, and then put another gallon size Ziploc inside.  That way, the kids have a buffer and they don't have to touch the lard.  You could also use Crisco.  
When we learn about penguins, one of the things I focus on is how they stay warm under such cold conditions.  
First, the kids feel the ice without any blubber buffer.  Then they use they blubber bag to feel how insulated their hand becomes.  
 Here I am passing it around.  
My 3s made these tissue paper penguins.  I just found a large blackline of a penguin and printed it on card stock.  I used it as center to introduce them to a penguin's markings. 

I hung them on my DIY bulletin board.  You can read more about that here
One of my smaller afternoon groups made the penguin in the middle by sponge painting on really large sheets of butcher paper.  I cut out the shapes and glued them together.  I think he might need some wings, though!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sale Time!

Time to shop 'til you drop!

Click on the picture to go to my store!

I'm super excited! 
Here are some of my latest and greatest:

{Hot Cocoa Activities for Little Learners}

{Valentine Syllable Sort}

Hope you get some great deals!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine Freebie!

It's that time again! 

{Click on the picture to get your freebie!}

This game is designed for kids who are just learning their alphabet.  I created it in black and white to save money on that expensive color ink! You can copy it on pink or red paper to get into the Valentine's Day mood. 

Here's a little preview:

You can hide these cards around the classroom for a fun alphabet hunt game, or you could post them on the walls for a Write the Room center.  


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fabulicious Freebies!

Better late than never! 

Click on the picture to get your freebie!

****Update as of 2/3/13:  I apologize that this didn't work before! It should be working now. *****

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Writing in Preschool

One of my favorite ways to incorporate important literacy skills is through our Preschool Daily News.  
 As you might guess, this is a daily occurrence in our classroom; it's part of our circle time routine.  Each day, I pull two names from a cup and I ask those children to think of something they would like to share with the class.  It can be whatever they are thinking about at the time. (And sometimes it gets really interesting!) 

I write their thought on the "newspaper".  Our "newspaper" is a sheet of chart paper that I laminated.  I use dry erase markers to write on it.  If they have spoken a whole paragraph, I let them know that I am only able to fit so much, so I will only be able to write the first part of what they said.  As I am writing, I am sounding out the words, and asking for help with the initial sounds.  Later in the year, I will talk about punctuation and the difference between letters and symbols.  

After everything is written, I have another child come up and point to the words with a pointer as the class "reads" the messages together.  

I do this with both my three and four year old classes.  Even though these children are still in the pre-reading stage, this activity provides many benefits, including:
*print tracking skills
*one-to-one correspondence
*showing students that their words have importance and they can be written down
*seeing how letters are formed (discuss some of the letters as you write them)
*initial sound practice
*name recognition practice
*helps students get to know each other
*demonstrates value of each individual's thoughts

How do you promote literacy in your daily preschool routine?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hot Cocoa {mini giveaway!}

How is it already January 20? I can't believe how time is flying this month.  While my primary job is teaching my preschoolers, I am also the program director, which means I have to market and promote my school to get new families to enroll.  January means one thing in early childhood: Enrollment Season! I have been so busy creating marketing materials, attending meetings, and promoting at preschool fairs, I can certainly see how January has simply gotten away from me.

Luckily, along came this 3 day weekend to save me from insanity! I have been using it to update some of my old products on TpT.  This month marks my anniversary as a seller! I used to teach first grade, so some of my products are more geared toward lower elementary students.

Here is one with some major updates, and it's FREE!
 Another one with some updates (and it's only$1.00).
And last, but not least, my latest creation: Hot Cocoa Activities! 
This comes with two poems that I wrote, and its activities focus on sequencing, counting, writing, and tracking print through poetry.  I will use these with my 3 and 4 year olds, but the writing portions are obviously better suited for K and 1st grade.  

{Click on the picture to view on TpT.}

Here's a little preview:

And now for the {mini} giveaway! I will email this packet to the first 2 people to comment on this post with their email addresses.  

Thanks for reading!