Friday, September 21, 2012

Items to Recycle


My mother works at Walgreens.  I went to get up my supplies and she was stocking shelves.  I discovered that they have those "bubbles" they put the back to school items in just get thrown away.  Just thrown away!  Since, my mom has been saving them for me and I LOVE them in my classroom!  They have covers, but they were already thrown away when I got these.  The next set, they agreed to save me the bubbles and the tops. Go ask your local Walgreens, Walmart, Shopko, or Whatever!

Noodles  "To Go"

When I moved into my classroom I discovered the previous teacher had TONS of storage containers, conventional and not.  One item I found and love using is her washed and recycled Noodles to go containers.  They make great little containers with tops for art supplies, paint, and more.  It is wide enough to, say, dip a sponge in and it is washable.  Also with having an AM class and a PM class, it is nice to be able to cover it between classes.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, 123

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Video
(found from Kindertastic Blog)

 __ told __ and __ told ___, I'll meet you at the top of ___________'s tree!

Students Directions:
"stamp 4 different letters. When you are done go wash your hands and come back."  I then glued the writing sheet on.  when they returned, they were told to write their name on the name line. We then named letters the stamped.  I wrote for those who needed support as they dictated. Students able wrote their own letters.

Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 Video
I can only find the "Trailer" for this video.  I am working on finding the whole thing, but at this point with 4K going to 11 was ok.

Another version.  Has the right song, but the video is a power point.

Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom!  Will there be enough room?  My name _______ has _______ letters in it.

We did this as a whole class project. I had names typed out with lines between each letter.  Direction 1: cut out on lines, put scissors in air (collected)  2: Hand out brown paper. Rip a long skinny tree trunk.  Put your extras in our scrap paper box.  Hands in the air.  3. Hand out green paper.  Rip 3 pieces for leaves.  Any extra pieces go in scrap box.  4. Glue all your pieces on like a tree and your letters can climb your tree like in our books.  5. Write your name on the big line.  6. Lets count number of letters in your name.  7. Teacher shows how to write on scrap paper.  Student tries. 8. Teacher glues paper on blue so that nothing is overlapped.  9.  Put paper in my basket and go have free choice time.

Same vs. Different between "Boom Boom" and : 1,2,3"

I really wanted the children to start talking about similarities and differences (compare and contrast).  After talking to my mentor teacher in the 4th/5th grade room, she mentioned that they compared and contrasted and it went "ok."  I figured if I could add any support now, to help get them ready by 4th grade, it would be fun.  This was fun little books to introduce this concept with!

My Classroom

The set up of my room, I feel, helps foster learning, fun, and early literacy skills.

We follow Conscious Discipline in our classroom.  As a part of this program I have in my room:

It is my job to keep you safe, it is your job to keep it that way.  My job description.  Everything I do in the classroom comes back to the children being safe.  When we start to have issues in the class, I simply as the student if they are being safe and if they are doing their job keeping our room School Family safe. We emphasize this is not just physically, but emotionally and socially as well.

A safe spot.  When children need a break from what ever is upsetting/stressing/bothering them, they can go in the safe spot to cope. Posted on the wall is a variety of emotions to allow the student to state how exactly they are feeling.  Once they identify what is bothering them, they can figure out how to cope.  There are they 4 techniques we learned in them posted on the wall to help them get back in control of their emotions.  I also have a pillow for a soft place to sit, a blanket for one friend specifically that just needs to cuddle at times, and sensory corn to run hands through and get a calming sensory experience.  As time goes on, more materials (according to the program) will enter the safe spot.

Kindness center.  I use this center to remind our friends to be kind to each other and to look for kindness in others.  We read the book: How to Fill a Bucket.  At the beginning of the year, the students decorated what they imagine their magic bucket to look like and hung it in the center.  The fish bowl in the back is where we put "drops" when we catch someone being kind and we feel that others made an effort to make someone happy. When the bucket is full, we are going to have a class party to celebrate all of our kindness, and in turn fill our buckets more!

Family and Friends Board according to conscious discipline, when a teacher gets his/her first desk, the first thing they do to make it feel "home" is to put family pictures up on it.  Children should have the same opportunity in the classroom to allow them to connect with family while at school. 

We wish you well.   When a student (one of our school 
family members) is absent, it helps the children feel a connection with them if they have a wish you well board.  If a student is absent their check in slip will be left out. We take that slip, wish the child well, and put it on the board.  When the child returns we welcome them back and tell them we are glad to have them with us.

As a part of Creative Curriculum we have play based centers that allow children to learn through doing.  The centers are there to help foster the skills/standards presented by the WMELS (Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards) as well as the social, emotional, physical, and academic needs of the student.  This also includes early literacy skills.

The centers are as follows:
Reading Center Tree House

Reading Center  This center is filled with at least 50 picture books that children can begin looking through, enjoying, and begin the process of reading (left to right, top to bottom, front to back, right side up, etc).  Books are their favorites as well as thematic.  I put the reading center up in the tree house because I wanted the move desired location in the room to be the place they could go to read.  I also wanted it to be a quiet cuddly place and the tree house fostered that environment.
View of some of our reading center books
More reading center books and comfort items.

Whole sensory area- 5 senses posters and table
 Sensory Table 
This center is a good example of incorporating literacy.  I do this in a variety of ways.  1. is to have the 5 senses pictures up not only read what they are doing, but make a connection between what they are doing and the words on the wall.  2. I then had the students take some of their "describing words" and have them tell me what they experienced when they used their 5 senses.  This started in the 5 senses unit at the beginning of the year, but will continue on.  I am excited to see their vocabulary grow. 3. I post "In the Sensory table is....." poster with the material so they can link that word to the material they are touching.
Describing word made by students
as they used their 5 senses in
our room.
5 Senses posters.  We used these
during the first week in our "All about
me" unit.  We will continue to use
through the year.

Art Center In the art center I have a variety of materials in which the students can use to express themselves.  Each week we have a letter of the week.  I have created bubble letters of each letter in which they "decorate" in a variety of ways, the method always having a first letter sound that matches the letter: Ll=lines, Tt=tiles, Cc=Cotton Ball Clouds, etc.  I am also working on teaching responsibility. There is one letter for each student and it will go in an alphabet book we have at the end of the year.  This means everyone has to do it.  I do not call them to do it, but expect everyone to do it at some point during the week.  I do have a check list to mark when it is done and I do remind them to be responsible and visit the art center before the week is done to get their letter checked off.

Puzzles and Games  

I have a variety of educational games and puzzles that are at many levels as well as reach many content areas.  This allows students to work on skills such as problem solving, trial and error, repetition, practice, and team work.  It also helps them with academic concepts: alphabet puzzle=alphabetical order, counting=number order, counting, etc.


In the writing center I have a variety of materials to practice writing with, but a majority of my supplies are laminated paper.  I have created many different forms of letter practice, name practice, word practice, etc into laminated sheets that allow many students to practice, wipe, and practice again.

Dramatic Play  Currently in dramatic play I have home living.  I start with home living because it is the scenario students know best and best able to reenact.  I have a variety of play food in the center as well as babies and doll clothes, high chair, counter, etc.  I also included some old spices containers.  The children LOVE  that they still smell like spices and play cook often.  They also practice fine motor skills taking the tops on and off.  I also have magazines, phone books, and cook books to help incorporate literacy.  There are three types of phones as well: toy rotary, corded home phone, and a cell phone.  These help children see the trend in phones/technology as well as practice numbers and using them.  I couldn't help but laugh the day I saw a little boy vacuuming with a cell phone on his ear!  Where do you think he learned that one?

Block/Construction Center The block center has a variety of types of blocks as well as cars and rescue heroes.  I have a large number of boys in my class so I wanted to start with activities they would be drawn to.  I do see the girls in here often as well.  I have the safety signs poster to help enhance the literacy in the block center.  Labels are also present on everything.  I have observed the children playing in this center and I have to say they have used all the blocks and toys in a variety of ways.  I have seen the whole group play one collective game, some small groups, and individual play.  The play is not the same day to day either.  I thoroughly enjoy watching play in this center.

Discovery Center The discovery center is filled with a variety of science and math skills.  I use this center to help the children to develop persistence  trial and error, and math and science discoveries.  I have magnifying glasses, geo boards, a scale, and counter/sorter tools that they can learn and play with.  I also change some of this out seasonally. For the fall I will put in some pumpkin "guts" and leaves.  Snow and ice will make an appearance, as well as some seeds/planting in the spring.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Seasonal Tree-3D Bulletin Board

 I change the tree seasonally.  I feel children should be able to know what is going on in their world during the seasons and what it means for us. The trunk is made of crumpled up brown paper.  It came in the large rolls.  The branches are held up on the ceiling with fishing line and the ceiling hooks you can buy at any school supply store.   The children do the decorating in multi-media techniques.

For the fall leaf, I cut out the leaves on the Cricut.  I then had the children sponge paint the fall colors on the leaves.
For the winter, the students will decorate snowflakes with glitter.

For the Spring, the students will decorate little flower blossoms with the pinched tissue paper dipped in glue technique.

For the Summer leaves, they will do some sort of printing on a green leaf, possibly printing with real leaves on the leaf for a textured, vein look.  I will post the other season pictures as the seasons come.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Birthday Train!

I created my birthday train from an idea I found on Bulletin Board Ideas.  It is adorable and I knew I just had to have it!
For the Train engine and train cars I used the Cricut (My Community) cartridge.  I bought animal print scrapbook paper and ran it through the Cruicut.  I cut the top of the cars off because otherwise it was to tall for my animals to peek out.  I colored the wheels black with a marker.

For the animals I purchased the same adorable clip art the website did.  I just printed them in color and carefully cut out.  The clip art is from: My Grafico.  It is called: Stockberry Studio.

I cut the circle "tags" out on the Cricut ()

I then laminated EVERYTHING to keep it all together and be reusable.  Also, you can erase permanent marker off of lamination with a regular eraser.  I laminated first, write names on after.  That way I can just erase each summer and re-write each fall.

Assessment Tool

Using Dr. Kirst's suggested assessment tool to jot notes. With 31 4k kids and all informal, natural assessment on a play based program, I am already finding this to be an easy tool to write quick notes for report cards. Thanks Dr. Kirst!

You can make on for each subject area, class, standard or however you want to break down information.

To make this you take 1/2 as many papers as you have students (when you fold the number doubles) + 1 for a title tab and confidentiality to cover first students info. I used legal sized paper because I knew I had a lot of students. Lay the papers on a table making each top page a little further down...big enough to write the name on a tab. When they are all layered, fold the bottom towards the top so you see all the tabs. Crease and staple. Super easy!

Lesson Planning Tool I LOVE

My usual Sunday routine consists of searching pinterest for teaching ideas as well as just sit and relax a little in the morning.  In the afternoon I usually take the pins that are relevant to that week and work them into my lessons and print and sort and file and so on and so forth.

Today, I found this Lesson Planning tool.  I LOVE IT!  I had to share.

When you create it it, it first asks you your information.  It is a free 30 day trial and then only $12  a year after that.  If you go to the pricing section it mentions something about it you get more than 1 teacher from your school to do it it benefits you price wise.  I would suggest making sure everyone in your school types the same information.

When you start it asks you for your class.  Just name the first subject you have for the day.  Once it is started you use the "GO TO" tab on the right.  You go to classes first to add the rest of your classes and times  in a day.  You can also include specials in that area because it will put your whole schedule in a table then.

I then went to the "GO TO" section again and choose templates.  Things I do daily in say my "morning circle 'class'" like greeting, pledge, yoga, etc.  I do this for each subject.

I have academic centers in my play based learning classroom.  That being said, regardless of the material I put in my centers, the usually meet similar standards.  I put these in my template as well.

If you go to "GO TO" and choose Display, you can choose what shows up on plans.  This allows you to have a standards section, homework,  etc.  You can change the "section 4, section 5, and section 6" into anything so depending on what your school requires you to have as part of your lesson plans you can customize.  This could be assessment, materials, etc.

That is the toughest part.  Once the above mentioned is all done, you can then "GO TO" Plans.  you then just click on the day and subject/class you are planning for and start typing!  So nice!

You can "GO TO" Share options.  Type in a code easy.  This way your principal, co-workers, etc can see if you choose to let them.  When you go to the log in they just need your email and that code to view.

Here is my viewing information so you are able to see some of my personalization.
My email:
My viewing Code: gloudemansplans

Their tutorials for more info.