Friday, March 30, 2012

A Peek At Our Week!

This week went by so fast. For the most part, it was a great week. We had vision screening on Thursday as well as 6 (yes, 6!!) observers, so that threw us all off a bit. :)

We learned so much about insects! We used all of the activities from my insect unit. I wish I had more pictures...sorry about that! It was so great to see how well the kids picked up on everything. I love when kids are having fun while learning!

After reading several nonfiction books about insects and the characteristics of insects. We then sorted pictures based on if they are insects or not.

I typed up several statements on cards, read them to the kids, and had the children come up to determine if it was a true or false statement.

We matched pictures to words. This gave the kids a chance practice identifying words by their beginning sounds.

We practiced one to one correspondence by counting out raisins onto these cute ladybugs. Edible activities are always popular! :)

We measured various sized pictures using cubes. We recorded our answers and then measured ourselves using the butterfly.

We had several read it, trace it, write it cards with several insect words. This was great writing practice for the sweeties.

This game is called Catch that Wasp and the kids played in partners. The kids rolled a die and moved that many number of spaces. For a challenge, the kids drew an alphabet card, and if they could identify the sound of the letter, they could move ahead one space.

This activity pack has brought so much fun and excitement to our classroom this week! If you're interested in purchasing, click the picture below.

 Have a wonderful weekend! I am flying to Houston early, early tomorrow morning to spend time with some sweet friends. Enjoy your weekend!! :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Insect Week, Freebie and Spring Has Sprung Sale!

This week we are learning all about insects. We learned all about ladybugs today. They are so fun to learn about! Who doesn't love ladybugs? :)

First, we talked about the parts of an insect. We used this poster to determine if various animals were insects or not.

We read a book about insects and their compound eyes. I saw this idea on Pinterest. Gather a bunch of straws and place a rubber band around them. This was great for the kids to see through an insect's eyes.

We started out by reading this book. It's called Ladybugs by Ann Meinrichs. This is a great resource and my kids were so engaged today throughout this book. We also read The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle.

We played Buzz! This is a super fun game that helps with number and number word identification. I have several games similar to this in my TPT store. The object of the game is to fill up your game board. The children draw a card, identify the number or number word on the card. If they are able to identify the card, they place it on their game board. If they can't, it goes back in the pile. If they draw a Buzz! card, they may remove a card from one other players' board. The game is so fun!

Several of my littles are working on reading CVC words. I am so so proud of them! This activity was super fun and engaging. The children spin the spinner, identify the letter, then record the letter on the cricket mat. This is where the sounding out comes in. They sound out each letter, then read the CVC word. They will also determine if it is a real or nonsense word. There is a recording sheet that some of my higher level students completed.

We made ladybugs today at the art center. These turned out super cute! I'll have to snap a picture tomorrow of the finished product. We added googly eyes and antennae. Loved them.

If you're interested in any of these activities, you can find them in my Insect Math and Literacy Activities~ It's A Bug's Life! Click here for my insect unit.

Here is a freebie for you. We are going to do this little activity tomorrow.

Spring has sprung! :) I am throwing a 20% off sale from tomorrow, March 27-Saturday, March 31. Enjoy!

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Have, Who Has Games

Do you ever play I Have, Who Has games with your kiddos? We have recently started playing and it is so fun! The great thing about it, is that you can play by saying the letters OR the letter sounds. I am completely amazed by the progress of some of my kids just from playing this game. It also builds confidence in the little ones because they are standing and speaking in front of their peers.

I keep these cards in a box right by my chair. That way, it's easily accessible so I can grab and we can play.

Here's how you play: Pass out any number of cards to your group. I have 14 kids, so each child gets 2-3 cards and that works just fine. The kids stay sitting and the child who has the first card "A" begins by standing up. They will say, "I have A, who has B? (or whatever letter is on the card)" The person who has the letter being called will stand up and repeat the same process. This continues until the last card is read. My kids LOVE this game because we always time ourselves. We like to beat our previous time. I know yours will love it too! Click the picture for your free copy. This download has the letters in random order and in alphabetical order.

Here is a link for a number I Have, Who Has game. It focuses on numbers up to 30.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Morning Meeting in Pre-K!

I thought it might be neat for y'all to see my morning meeting routine. It's fun and my kids love it! I love how engaged they always are and so I hope this is helpful for you.

Before we begin our day, we go over our classroom expectations and read A Great Attitude by Sandi Hill. Every. Single. Day. Setting your expectations at the beginning is something I have learned can set the tone for the entire day. Below you will see what I use in my room. The pink behavior cues were given to me when I was student teaching. The cues on popsicle sticks were given to me at the beginning of the year. I think you can find things like this at the Dollar Store. These come in handy big time!

We implement LOVE (Listen, Obey, Voice, Enjoy) at my school so each day we talk about how we should show love in our classroom, during centers, in the hallway, at music, etc. For example, I show love in the hallway by.... L-listen to my teacher, O-Obey the teacher, V-inside voice, E-enjoy by participating. The kids respond very well to this so I was super glad to have been introduced to this technique. My amazing assistant made up a song to the tune of "We Will Rock You" that helps the kids remember what LOVE means. She's fabulous!

When I see that my kids have been doing a great job obeying, I encourage them with these quick motivators. These are from Dr. Jean. I laminated them and placed them on a ring so we can always grab them and encourage the students. It's amazing what positive reinforcement does! :)

Back to our morning meeting time.... After we have gone over what it looks like to obey in the classroom, we start our day by moving around to these Have Fun Teaching CD's. The pink one is great for movement. We start by moving along to "Stretch it Out Simon" to get our bodies warmed up. Then, we move to "Walk it Out Willie" or another song on the CD. I like to change up the songs each day so the kid don't get tired of the same ones. My kids LOVE these CD's!! I highly recommend them.

At this point, I go over daily jobs. Sorry that I don't have a picture of my job chart. I completely wasn't thinking! I change jobs at this point because for the next thing we do, we need our Pointer.

We are always moving in my classroom and I think that is so important for young kiddos. Once we have stretched our muscles and warmed our bodies up, we begin singing and moving to Dr. Jean's ABC song "Who Let the Letters Out?" The Pointer (A job in my class) comes to the easel and points to the letters as we hear them in the song. There are motions that go with each letter. For example, for "B" we act like we are bouncing a ball. We love this song! It is a daily ritual in our class and my kids are able to learn their letters and sounds in a fun way.

I don't have a picture of our number chart, but after we review our letters and sounds, we do a "counting punch" from the Have Fun Teaching Counting CD. It counts all the way to 50, so we punch each number. I have seen so much progress in my students' ability to count.

After we have moved around a bit, we take a seat for our morning message and our calendar routine. Each morning, the kids come to the class with a greeting message. We fill out the message together. This is where I can model for them. For example, I will say "Goo_ Morning! Goo_ morning? That doesn't sound right, does it? What word should that be? What letter can I add to make that word?" The kids always love to tell me the missing letter. I'll call on someone to come up to the board and write the letter in.  

Then we move on to our calendar routine. During student teaching in Kindergarten, we had a long calendar time (which was awesome), but for pre-k'ers, I had to modify. We always say the month we are in, say each letter in the month (M-a-r-c-h), then we say the sound of each letter. Next, we count how many days we have been in that month. Once we have identified what day it is, we sing a song that I learned from Hadar Maor at the online workshop a while back. It is to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin?" The words are "Today is Wednesday, Today is Wednesday, March 21st, March 21st, 2012, 2012, that's the date, that's the date." 

Next up is the weather. This is my easy, peasy weather plate. Ha! Y'all, I am pinched for time these days, but this works great. :) My weather helper today said, "I am putting this in the middle because it's rainy AND cloudy!"  They love to clip the pin on the plate.

The last thing we do is a thematic lesson. This week our theme is Zoo, so each day at the closing of our morning meeting, we have a lesson on a different animals. Today, it was zebras. We brainstormed what we knew about zebras before reading our zebra book. I wrote down everyone's answer, whether is was true or not. :)

After our lesson, I like to do some sort of demonstration or experiment that correlates to what we are learning about. Since zebras have black and white stripes, we predicted what would happen if we mixed black and white paint. Several kids predicted grey, while some predicted striped (my favorite answer, ha!), blue, black, and red. So, we tested it out..... The kids determined that the more white you add, the greyer the mixture. YES!

This may look like a lot, but in reality, it doesn't take much time at all. It flies by, too! The kids aren't bored because we are constantly up and down. If I see that they are getting antsy, we will just get up and dance to one of our Have Fun Teaching songs. Those are a lifesaver! :)

I hope you enjoyed getting a peek at our morning. I'd love to know what you do for your morning routine!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Zoo Week, A Freebie and A New Blog!

New Blog!
The wonderful director at my school has started a blog! She has started a blog to share her amazing ideas as well as get ideas from other people. Click here to check out her blog out and leave her some love!

We kicked off our study on zoo animals on Monday and we are learning so much! So far, we have learned about hippo's and giraffes. My little ones blew me away with what they remembered about hippo's from yesterday. Love them!

We started off by reading Big Babies, little babies. This is a great text that provides information for a variety of animals.

Some of my kiddos are still working on beginning sounds, so they have been doing this activity from here. It's been a great teaching tool for my little ones who are needing extra help and it has been a great refresher for my little ones who have mastered the concept.

We are working on one to one correspondence with a few of my students, so we played a matching game from here. We used the cards as well as animal manipulatives. It is just more fun with the plastic animals :)

I am a big advocate for fine motor development, especially in the early years, and I think lacing cards are wonderful to develop fine motor skills. This is a box of lacing cards my coworker let me borrow. My kids respond very well to lacing cards and always get so excited to see them in the classroom.

 Tomorrow we will be sorting farm and zoo animals. This is a hard concept for kids to grasp, so we just practice, practice, and read lots of books! :) Here is a sorting freebie for you. Click the picture to grab a copy.

This is actually part of my farm pack. You can click here if you'd like to purchase.

I'll try to remember to take more pictures!! Have a great rest of the week!