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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Guest Blog: Wish List Wednesday!

This past week I was invited to do a guest post on Cachey Mama's Blog. Below is a copy of my post! I also added a few thoughts to the bottom!

Hello there!! I am the proud author of the new teaching blog Teachy Marie!  I’m just getting started with my blogging and was so surprised and excited to be asked to write a guest post for Cachey Mama’s Classroom!  I feel so very honored to help Lori out!  I love her ideas and she is such a great “sharer” with all her lessons!

I am new this year to PreKinders, so I have a very extensive wish list for my seemingly bare classroom!  Our school has Smart Boards on rollers that we can check out from the Library, however we don’t have enough projectors or laptops to hook up to them.  So most of our Smart Boards are collecting dust in the storage room.  Even when we can check one out, we have at least four cords that are up to 30 feet long, 25 kids ducked down on the floor so the projector that’s sitting on a desk can project over their heads to the smart board.  Heaven forbid someone accidentally knock the desk or Smart Board and require reformatting!

So now that you know where I’m coming from, I can tell you what my number one item is on my classroom wish list!

You guessed it… the new iPad 2.  
I would love to be able to show my kiddos interactive stories and videos, on a screen big enough for everyone to see, while still able to hold it in my hand during our circle time!  My kids love watching/listening to songs/nursery rhymes on my computer, however my computer is about 10 years out of date, and usually cannot run very long without shutting itself down.  I think the iPad would help improve all aspects of my lessons as well as allowing me to teach in the 21st century!  The possibilities are truly endless!

Huge thanks to Lori for asking me to be her guest for today!  I’m always looking for new followers, so please stop by for some center ideas at Teachy Marie!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Couldn't put Humpty together again... we can!!

Each week we do a different nursery rhyme in our PreKindergarten classroom!  The other week we learned "Humpty Dumpty."  My kids really loved this nursery rhyme and we really had a lot of fun with it!  
So here's what we did...

Each day, we reviewed the rhyme on the easel with retelling cards from sparkle box
(Click the link to go to the site to print your copy!)

Notice the big handmade Humpty?  We use him later... it was important for him to be present each day, you'll see why in a few...

Next, in centers we did some directional art, and each student made their own Humpty Dumpty to take home (after we displayed them in the hall of course!)  
Here's how they turned out!

They were super easy to make and my kids really loved making predictions about which piece went to which part of their Humpty!  Here's how we did it...
We used the words from kizclub, which we also got different retelling pieces from, that are not pictured here.  I use this site all the time, even when I taught 2nd grade.  My kids love retelling and sequencing stories after they have read them.  I would usually put these pieces on magnets and let the kids use my file cabinet or my desk to retell their favorite story........ 
but for prek, we just used them in whole group, and some used them in centers.  

Now back to that Humpty I made for whole group... Remember him? Here he is!!

Well he was very helpful Monday through Thursday when we would review the rhyme, but for some reason, on Friday, only one piece of him was there??!!! There was a big problem in room A-11... Humpty Dumpty had a great fall Thursday night while we were gone!!  But the worse part was, we didn't have all the pieces to put him back together!!  Luckily, Friday is the only day we do NOT have specials in the morning, so we conveniently had some free time to go searching!  First, we did some brainstorming and each kid gave a prediction of where Humpty's parts could be... 

After we made our predictions, we took our chart with us, and we searched the school.  As we left each place, we either marked out or circled rather or not we found his pieces in that location.  The kids were so excited and they were so happy to find the pieces... in all our specials classes :) 

When we got back to the room, we laid all the pieces down and the kids matched patterns, and worked together to put him back together. 

There was only one problem left... How do we get him to stay together??  We brainstormed some more and the kids came up with great ideas such as: glue, staples, tape, bandaids, duct tape, brown tape, even bubble gum!  But overwhelmingly, the idea was to use bandaids, which worked out perfectly, as that is what I planned for anyway!  Each kid was able to come apply a bandaid on Humpty.  The other kids were so cute and helpful by directing each kid where they should apply the next bandage.  Where it was the most helpful to our Humpty!  My kids loved this activity, and the parents were even talking about it the next week!  We keep Humpty on our door on the inside, and the kids say bye to him at the end of the day.  I highly suggest this activity, it was a lot of fun, and didn't take much planning!!

Couldn't put Humpty together again??!!.... WE CAN!!! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Those Are Some Fiiine, Fine Motor Skills You Have There....

I realized my huge blog neglect when I saw all my photos I needed to upload! So here we go! I noticed the majority of my photos were based on our fine motor activities we do in the mornings and during centers!  Hopefully someone can get some ideas!

During morning work my kiddos love to try to find different patterns to thread through metal loops.  The loops were super cheap at Wal-Mart and the wood was donated my by dad!  He actually did a little extra for me, by sanding and staining the wood, when I had only asked him to drill the holes for the hooks.  What a great daddy I have!! 
IMAG0380 by teachymarie

The kids loved making their names on large paper with balls of tissue paper!  I loved watching their little fingers try to figure out how to make those little balls, and to not use too many pieces of tissue paper.  The kids really learned a lot with this activity, and they definitely got a work out for their fine motor!  I wrote their names with marker and applied the liquid glue, while the kids picked through colored tissue paper squares. 

 Now, of course I had to do SOME fall stuff... really I did a lot, but this is the only one on this post. 
The kids had to tear orange construction paper and glue them to small paper plates.  I'd like to remind you that this is my first year working with the little.bity kiddos, so I was very surprised at how much of a fine motor work out this was for my students!  We have our super cute pumpkins in a 'patch' in the hall!

This is another activity my kids really love!  I can't remember where I got these from, but as soon as I find it I will edit this post and give you all the link! This activity originally had a set with numbers on the page.  The job was for each kid to make that number of pieces of food for the pet that was labeled on the mat.  Because my kiddos haven't yet learned to read all their numbers and to rote count, I just used the cover page of the set of pages, and my kids are just practicing making little balls of food for their pet.  You can see the top corner of the page still says "Sorting Mats 1-10".  My kids love feeding their pets!  They came with a set of Dog Food and a set of Cat Food.

 I really like this activity!!  My kids had to sort the colors of fruit loops to place on corresponding neon colored pipe cleaners.  The kids did a great job of not eating the fruit loops (we didn't let them eat the cereal they worked with because the same cereal was reused for each group, on the same pipe cleaners).  At the end of each group, we would give them a few clean pieces to munch on. 

My last activity for today's post is for peeling and sticking.  My kids really enjoy trying to peel and apply stickers, and this activity makes it even harder by making the sticker fit in the little circles.  I have multiple sets of this activity in many different shapes: stars, squares, rectangles, ovals and a circle, like shown below. 

I hope you all can use some of these activities, and if you know of anything for fine motor, please send me your posts/ideas and I will be sure to mention you and your wonderful help! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Visitor!

Happy Monday everyone!!

Today as I finished bringing my kids to the bus, I come back to my room to discuss the day tomorrow with my aid, and we are greeted by a Monday Visitor!

Believe it or not, this precious pooch just walked into the school, uninvited like he owned the place!!  In the photo he has on a leash someone got from their truck, but he was tag-less and sadly, homeless!  Poor guy was so sleepy and sooo hungry!  I gave him some water and a small bowl of goldfish crackers.  I figured it was the healthiest snack in my room - for a dog at least! 

He knows how to "heel" and follows you when you call him.  On a leash he walks right by your side, and as you can see in this photo, he sits on command!  I can only imagine how upset his family must be with him not being home!  A teacher on my hall owns the local animal shelter (which closes at 2pm) so she took him home with her to clean him up and wait for a call from a frantic family.

Hopefully his family is found, so the poor guy can go back home... but until then he is definitely sleeping in a warm bed with a full belly tonight!

Happy Monday Ya'll!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Classroom Makeover HELP!!??

So, I had a typical Sunday... blog.stalking!  Shocking huh?  Well, today I found so many awesome, cute, AMAZING classrooms and now I'm torn about redesigning my classroom!  I always get those great compliments about how cute and bright my own classroom is, but now I feel like I'm underdressed in a fancy restaurant!  I don't want to spend all my money on the big redo, so I'm trying to be smart and find a smart way to work with what I've got, but to still change things around!  So I'm here for some advice!  Since this is my new classroom this year in PreK, some of the furniture that was bought for my room is in the standard "basic colors" of: red, blue, green, yellow.  For example, I have a storage unit that is similar to this one, with all my math manipulatives and center activities in them.
It is such a great storage unit and I love it, however, I do NOT love the standard colors.  I'm not even sure if I'm allowed to change the colors to the ones I want (by spray painting the tubs) because I definitely don't want to purchase a ton of new tubs to replace the brand new ones I was just given. Hmm...  Last year, in 2nd grade, my reading center was amazing and soooo cute!  Here's a teeny photo of part of my reading corner.  You can see the super cute baskets I got from really good stuff.  

Since I have so many of these cute baskets, I would love to incorporate them some how!!  I also have a "tropical.beach.chicka.chicka.boom.boom" themed classroom!  

So here's where it all get's tricky.... I am inspired by some of these other classrooms!  I really love the blue, green & black colors!  But I'm not sure that's possible with all my preK stuff??  Here's what I like...

I just really love how everything in the room matches, it all coordinates with each part of the classroom!  So what do you think?? How do I make my prek room, turn into one complete theme, without using standard plain colors!!???  If you know of cute DIY sites, let me know! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Classroom Fun!!

Okay, so I finally uploaded my photos of our fun activities we did over the past two weeks in class.  This being my first year in Pre-K, I found myself taking a lot of photos because everything my little kiddos were doing impressed me so much!  I'm also linking up with CFC's awesome blog to let everyone take a peek in my planbook!  So be sure to check out all the awesome ideas everyone posted & be sure to leave feedback! :)

 Annnnndd.... here we go, my first linky party, annnnnd my first blog about things I'm doing in my classroom! I hope you enjoy!

The kiddos practiced their names with clothes pins on laminated sentence strips.  I was sure to write the clothes pin letters on BOTH sides of the pins, just incase the pins were backwards.  This activity really surprised me because it took the kids a good while to complete it.  We will definitely be working on more activities to improve their fine motor skills!  Either way, they definitely loved this activity!

Next, my kiddos made mosaic names!  I applied the glue for them and provided small construction paper squares.  We also discussed the letter formation of each letter, as I applied the glue in the way in which you write the letters.  Does that make sense? The kids were so impressed about how they were able to decorate their names!  They're really going to love it next week when we do a similar activity but with balls of colored tissue paper!

I really loved this activity!  I wrote each kids name on a sentence strip, and then again on a second strip and cut it into pieces, laminated and added Velcro!  Each kiddo had to match their letters to spell their names! 

I was really impressed with our first day of peg boards!  One of my little ones made a red border around the board, this was really interesting to me because from what I've seen most of my little kiddos just put the pegs in any order! 

We got a little creative this week with magnetic letters!  Each student practice spelling their names on magnetic boards, and also practiced matching letters on a ABC placemat!

The next few things were to practice our fine motor skills!  Each kid practiced the appropriate uses for scissors and learned how to manipulate them.  To make it a little easier on their first try, the kids cut up pieces of thick contact paper scraps!  I got these from another teacher!  I didn't think it was a great idea at first, but it worked out awesome and was actually a lot easier for the kids to cut than regular paper!  The thickness of the contact paper allowed them to grip it better and to learn to cut! 

 I also loved this activity from Lakeshore!  (Click the link to go directly to the product/item info)  The kids practice their fine motor skills by feeding the animals!  THEY LOVE THIS!!  They make munching noises as they feed the bunny, puppy and monkey (not shown).  I highly recommend this product if you teach students who need to work on their fine motor skills!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Made It!

Well, it's official... I made it through my first week in Pre-K!  Coming from second grade, I definitely underestimated all the little things kids learn from the lower grades before coming to our classrooms!  It is impossible to try to list all the things they have not been taught or that they have not seen before, but I'm sure you can get the idea!  My little kiddos were eager and ready to come to their very first day of school...EVER!  Of course there were some tears, but by the end of the day everyone was sweetly snuggled on the floor for their nap and my assistant and I were wiping our brow in relief!  Only to find out nap is a bitter sweet experience if it's your first day and you didn't know you were supposed to make all the kids go to the potty before going to sleep. (Lesson learned)

I'll definitely post SOON to share pictures of our centers and fun activities we did this week!  I know this is SUPER short, but I felt I needed to post something since I've apparently neglected my new blog already!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene...Are You Serious?!?!

So, as I'm sure most of you heard, the east coast was rocked by hurricane Irene this past weekend!  We lost power at my house for the entire weekend, and learned to really live with nothing.  Sounds spoiled I know, but it was definitely hard.  Every minute that went by, with nothing to do, all I could think of was my unfinished classroom and all the laminating I left on my desk, waiting to be cut out!

Alas, today, Tuesday, our school regained power and teachers were allowed to return!  After missing Monday and Tuesday's workdays we were all rushing into school today to prep our classes for our Open House tomorrow evening!

I came in partially expecting my new furniture, and thousands of dollars worth of manipulatives to have been delivered, since my Pre-K class currently has nothing in it for this upcoming school year!  But of course nothing was there due to... IRENE!!  So I did my best "pretty up" the class and to try to overlook the lack of tables and "things".

Hopefully tomorrow, I can turn this room into something miraculous by 3pm!  I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There's a First Time for Everything!

Welp, there's a first time for everything!  I've decided to start a blog, as much as I never saw the point of it, I fell in love with many different teacher blogs and thought why not share my own classroom ideas?  So here it goes!  I'm not sure what to blog about first except for what I am doing now.

This year I will be in my fourth year of teaching and my third grade level taught!  My favorite question people always ask is "Oh, what grade do you teach?" and my answer is always.... "what have I not taught!?"

My first two years I taught adorable first graders and in my third year teaching I was lucky enough to *loop* up to second grade with my class.  What an experience that was!  I learned so much about myself when I was able to explore different avenues of teaching, because I already had a very high comfort level with my students and their families at the start of the school year.   The end of the year was bitter.sweet as I said goodbye to my kiddos of two years.  Some of them definitely needed a break from each other, but in the end, we were all a big family.

This year I am beginning yet another journey in teaching... PreK....
Our program is funded by VPI (Virginia Preschool Initiative) and this year many Virginia schools were given a grant to add another PreK classroom to their school.  When our school added their second PreK class, I seemed like a good fit.  So this year I will be dipping my toes into something new... again!

So to get this blogging thing started, I guess I will start by keeping you posted on my new classroom set up!!
My only current classroom picture is of some of my new organizing labels.  Needless to say, I got a little carried away with my labeling.  But I love how colorful and organized my cabinets are turning out!