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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Gift of Togetherness

I have a class of 18 four year olds. Each day I walk in to work there is always a dilemma. It could be the teacher that called in last minute. It could be the lesson plan I forgot to print, or the supplies I don't have. Sometimes it's the surprise tantrum, or the misplaced lunch. Honestly, I have grown acccustomed to some sort of chaos. Today was just like any other day. The chaos started with me. I have a 30 minute commute to work and I woke up at the time when I should have been opening the Center. Bah Humbug! Not a way to get back into the groove. 

Buzzing like a bee, I went to cleaning, clearing and organizing the classroom in preparation for what else may come my way... and you wouldn't believe it...there was nothing. I had 13 students, and three of them went home at before 12:30. Throughout the day, I felt like I met every need. I felt I voiced every concern and had an awesome time singing, dancing and just lovin' on my few. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my 18, and our class family wouldn't be complete without each and every one of them. But, just like in any other family, each of the members must spend that quality time together to connect, share, and just enjoy each others company. At nap time, I unwrapped, enjoyed, and was grateful for the gift which was today.

Happy Holidays,

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dear Preschool Teacher, Is this what you love?

It has been a month since I've blogged. Yes, I have awesome pictures. Yes, I have great material. Yes, I still love writing. But no, not as much as love being in my classroom. I have found writing is not my first love as I suspected. I came to this conclusion after I lost yet another assistant for my class. I've had to work twice as hard to keep our school family running smoothly. I've thought of writing and wished I was writing...but every piece of time and energy not used for my family is used for my class. I wish for more hours in the day. It seems by the time I prepare my Centers, have class, go home, love on my family, it's bedtime and it starts all over again! Confucius says, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." Dear Confucius, I did choose a job I love but every part of it feels like work. However, I still look forward to doing it all over again tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Preschool Sensory: Bathing Babies

Ah the joys of bathing babies!
For our "All About Me" unit I pulled out the babies and and those new absorbent cloths. I cut the cloths into small squares and put them in them water along with the dolls. Yes, you can imagine the "water table" talk, almost as good as the "water cooler" chats we hear about in corporate America. 
"My baby is peeing." "I need to wipe her face."
"I don't have a towel to dry my baby!"
The only difference between their chats and ours is my kids are actually learning from their conversations.

Books we enjoyed with this unit:
My Feet (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)My Hands (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Wonderful World of Writing in Preschool

We have a table designated for writing only.  On any given day there may be pens, markers, crayons, note pads, or envelopes for the kids to explore. However, writing is not exclusively for our "Writing Table" only. Here are some other ways we explore the wonderful world of writing.

We use shaving cream on the tables to practice our letters. 

We use sidewalk chalk to be creative. 

The white board provides a smooth easy to wipe surface. 

Making name tags provide great detail and concentration.

Whatever the medium, surface, or opportunity it's worth it to explore the wonderful world of writing. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Preschool Potato Print Families

This is a tried and true project. Teachers have done this for years but I pulled it out of my "bag of tricks" and you would have thought it was a new invention. For "Our Family" unit last week, I cut potatoes length wise. The children painted one side of the potato and made potato prints to represent each member of their family. After the print dried they added facial features, arms and legs to each family member. As with any preschool project enjoying the process was the most fun.
Books we enjoyed with this unit
Are You My Mother? (Beginner Books(R))Mortimer Spanish Edition (Munsch for Kids)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Our Preschool Birthday Celebration

I just love birthdays! I make it a point to go all out on my students birthday. Since the VPK year has just begun we have already had our first birthday celebration. While majority of my students have been with me for months, Niona has only been in my class for two weeks. In that time she has only spoken a few words here and there. Nevertheless, you don't have to speak to party! Her mom brought in a cake and drinks for the class. I put their birthday hats on, blasted the music and they all danced like they had never danced before. The Mom thought this was hilarious. Niona danced to the music and Mom smiled proudly at her. We sat Niona in front of her cake and all the kids sang Happy Birthday to her loud and off key. Once the party was over Mom gave Niona a big hug and paused patiently while Niona whispered. She turned to me and said, "Niona said, Thank you Mom for my party."

I just love birthdays!

For more ideas on how you can create a memorable birthday in your preschool class visit this link
for Deborah J. Stewart's Teach Preschool site.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Preschool All About Me

Last week our class did an "All about me" unit. On Tuesday we talked about our feet. For art we made footprints. Each child chose a colored piece of construction paper and a paint to make their foot print. They took only one shoe off, I painted the bottom of their foot and allowed them to place the print on a piece of paper. We got to chat about the coldness of the paint, the way the bristles tickled and how the choice of paint would look on the paper.

During Circle Time we read, "My feet" by Aliki. After the story we took off our shoes and put lotion on our feet. We talked about the sole, the heel, the arch and our toes. We recited "This little piggy went to the market" and appreciated each toe.

We plan to put our painted footprints in an "All about Me" book to take home.

Here are some of the other books we read for this unit.

My Two Hands, My Two FeetIncredible Me!My Hands (Let's-Read-And-Find-Out Science: Stage 1 (Turtleback))Hello Toes! Hello Feet!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Preschool pieces got you puzzled?

During my underwater theme I checked our resources and found a puzzle that fit perfectly. There was one problem, it had 48 pieces! I knew there may only be one or two of my students that would sit long enough to even attempt a puzzle of that magnitude. I put the puzzle out anyway and naturally everyone was drawn to the bright beautiful colors and the sea animals that seem to float on the pieces. After several failed attempts the puzzle was left scattered amongst the table where it sat for two days. During Centers on the third day I sat and carefully numbered the back of each piece and the board they sit on. Unlike tracing the pieces which I've done in the past, I had hopes that matching the numbers would spark a conversation and possibly get some progress with the puzzle. As soon as I was done adding the numbers again they flocked to the puzzle. This time there was a little more success. I was happy to see them carefully looking at the numbers and trying to find it's matching place. I sat with a few of them and talked about the numbers "3 and 1 is 31, where is that same number on the board". Even after numbered pieces and assistance no one completed the puzzle. Next step, trace the pieces!

I figured this is how toy makers and early childhood specialist conduct their research for age-appropriate toys.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Preschool "Sports" week

Last week we had "sports" week. I requested my parents bring in any sports memorabilia, hats, jerseys, and/or favorite team posters. We ended up having tons of stuff to explore. Each day I would pull out of our bag and ask the class about the ball, or item and how they thought that sport was played. Then, I would do my best to demonstrate the sport and how to use the equipment. We got an opportunity on Thursday to take all of our items outside and attempt to try out everything. What a riot! There were golf clubs, basketballs, footballs, tennis balls, frisbees and soccer balls all over the play yard. Boy, were we tired. The next day we all brought our bikes, trikes, and big wheels with our protective gear for "bike day". I am still surprised when there are students who can't peddle. I spent quite a bit of our outside time coaching the peddling technique. What a great way to work those gross motor skills and an even better way to end the week.

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Listening Ears" are on in my Preschool class

Last week we talked all about the moon, the stars, the sun and space. I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions since this theme was all new to me. Bobbi sent me a link to her blog "Casa Camacho" with a few ideas she had already done. I loved the "phases of the moon" activity and thought it would be easy, fun and yummy to do. However, the day of the activity our class had guests. A dad brought in his daughter to meet me and to give her a feel for her new class. I invited them both to stay for the activity as we both could tell she was engrossed in the centers and clearly was not ready to leave. Well of course you know how a class can be when guests are in the room, kinda distracted; paying attention but barely; fascinated with the new girl, etc. I was able to hold their attention long enough once the oreos were open and I began to demonstrate how they should complete the "phases of the moon". Still, I wasn't convinced it went over well, until this week that is. During lunch, Brianna bit her turkey slice from the Lunchable into a "crescent" and she was so proud she held it up for me to see. If that wasn't enough she was busy showing me her "whole" moon when Eric held up his nibbled off turkey "crescent" too.

Be careful what you say...they just might be listening!

Thank you Megan, Nancy and Bobbi.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Preschoolers and Hula-Hoops

You probably can tell I love being outside. Yes, sometimes our Florida heat is unbearable, still we venture out each day to see what wonderful experiences await us. One day while shopping for my own little girls, I picked up some hula-hoops for my class. I wasn't sure if four-year olds could master the complex timing and rhythm it takes to hula-hoop. Regardless, I thought it'd be fun. I've watched my own 7-year old go at it for the longest time on her hips, on her arm, down on her knees and back up again. I purchased the hoops with the thought that if they didn't master it my kid would have enough hoops to last her until middle school.

On Friday, each child came in and asked about the hoops and everyone couldn't wait to go outside to get their turn. They each took turns trying. I demonstrated the technique then coached as they tried. Eventually, some ran away to more familiar territory, the slide, the swings and the balls. But, there were a few that stuck around and was determined to keep that hoop on their hips. I called for the class to line up and still they were trying. No one ever quite got the hoop to stay up, although a few were very close.

I decided not to give the hoops to my daughter because with just a few determined faces It's worth it for them to try and try again. Here's an A for Effort!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Preschool Camping

"A camping we will go, a camping we will go. Hi ho the cherry-o, a camping we will go". Last week our theme was camping. On Friday, we strapped on our backpacks and paraded around the center on a nature hike. We found an orange tree, beautiful leaves for rubbings, pine cones, twigs, and logs for our indoor campfire. Since it was so hot outside it didn't take long for them get tired and long for the comfort of our classroom and a cool drink.



Once we settled in, we discussed the dangers of being outside, the sun, bug bites, scrapes, etc. I passed out plastic baggies, gloves, band-aids and alcohol pads for the kids to create their own first aid kit. While they worked at getting the items in the bag and securing it closed (great fine motor skill activity). I printed labels to place on their bags. I taped each label on with clear box tape.


After lunch, we sat around our campfire to sing songs and listen to a spooky story. We ended the afternoon with smores of course!

Happy Trails,