Wednesday, April 12, 2017

[number sense activity pages for numerals 1-5]

Hi again. :)

Happy Wednesday! Today was a funny day at preschool. 

Back story...
Last week was spring break, so no school for the whole week. Saturday night I ended up with bronchitis which only worsened on Sunday. Little Goose ended up with the stomach flu on Sunday and threw up pretty consistently every 2 hours all.day.long.

Consequently, I canceled school for Monday. :(
And Tuesday. :( :(

Goosey was better and went to school yesterday. I was starting to feel better [except this horrid cough, but hey, #bronchitis]. And then Grammy started with the stomach flu.

Sigh.

Luke's about ready to move out for a week. Ha!

So I sent a text last night - "Heads up. I'm still coughing, but shouldn't be contagious. Goosey is better. But now Grammy has the stomach flu. I'm planning on school tomorrow but wanted you to be aware of what's going on so you can decide if you're sending your littles or not. I'll open all the windows in the morning and continue to sanitize everything. I'll have on guard diffusing in the classroom."

This morning I had one little guy show up at 9:25 [school starts at 9:30]. His momma and I chatted until about 9:35 when she decided to just take him home. I told her I thought at least a couple of kids would show up... 

She said it was no big deal and they left. At 9:36, I had another little guy come. His momma and I chatted for a minute and he decided to stay. Just as his mom was leaving, another little guy showed up. 

That was all. 

Preschool, Party of 3. 



Not a whole lot of new academic stuff today. Ha, ha.
We wrote in journals, briefly talked about the letters K and k, read stories, played play-doh, played puppets, painted, played outside, and colored with sidewalk chalk. 

It was fun, but my teacher heart smiled when they kept asking if we could be letter detectives or work on our math page. 

Luckily Grammy is feeling better and Luke is showing no signs of illness, so I *think* school is a go for tomorrow!!

Tomorrow is my little littles. My threes. My Glowworms.
They're darling. And hilarious.

We've been working extensively on numbers 1-5. We've made cube towers. We've counted objects. We've written the numbers and traced the numbers, and colored the numbers, and stickered the numbers. They were ready for something more.

Before spring break, I introduced the new Number Sense Activity Pages. 

 


They were hooked. So funny to see them remind each other about where the sticker dots go on a ten-frame. And to say out loud the steps of writing a number. 

 


The flip side of the activity page is the writing page. We write the number 5 times each with a pen, a pencil, a crayon, and a marker. Then we draw that number of objects in the box (I've updated these to use simple shapes). They hate writing with pens. It makes me giggle when they have these big annoyed sighs when it comes to that part. #theyaresopickedon ;)

 


I've listed these pages in both my Teacher's Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers shops. The file sells for $3. 

But...[you knew that was coming, right?!]
I'd like to give away a copy or two of this file! :)

Leave a comment with your email and I'll send it to you to use with your classroom or your own kiddos.
**Giveaway ends Friday, April 14, 2017**

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

[upper/lowercase letter sorts] and a giveaway ;)

Each Monday, my "bigs" [4-5 year olds] start the week by learning about the letter of the week. 

I introduce the letter. 

We talk about how to write the letter. 

We compare the new letter to the other letters we've learned. 
What looks the same? 
What is different? 

Then I let them take turns writing the new letter [either upper or lowercase] on the white board. 
 

Often we'll read a picture book that features a character starting with the new letter. 


































[side note: Have you read these books?! Hilarious!!! Pirates Love Underpants and Aliens Love Underpants - we read them both during Uu week - and I just saw that they also have Monsters Love Underpants and Dinosaurs Love Underpants!!]

And then we head back to the tables to complete a letter sort.




Good practice with scissors and glue [funny side note - these kiddos really REALLY love using liquid glue! I often give them a choice of liquid or stick glue for this sort and almost always they'll choose liquid!!].


 


Once the sort is complete, we use these drawing sheets to learn to draw on the back of the sheet, an object that starts with the letter of the week.

It's a quick, light, simple way to introduce the new letter or to reinforce what the upper and lowercase letter look like.

You can find the file here [Teacher's Notebook] or here [Teachers Pay Teachers].

But...I'd like to give away a few copies of this file. If you think this would be useful in your classroom or home, please leave a message with your email and I'll send you a copy! :) 

**giveaway only valid until April 13, 2017**

Thanks for hanging out with me!

Monday, April 10, 2017

[back in the saddle again...with a super great preschool resource]

Whew. This preschool thing has been a whirlwind of activity, hard work, tears, smiles, frustration, accomplishment, and joy.

After not finding a curriculum that I loved, I started creating my own. Week after week, I wrote, edited, rewrote, edited, experimented, rewrote, and finally found a system that I am super pleased with.

Not all components are complete. But they're close. :)

Today I want to share with you a favorite from my Fireflies class (4-5 year olds). They're in that early stage of discovering how letters work together to make words. They are writing phonetically and asking me how to write all sorts of words. It's so fun!! Early on, I decided that my 4s were going to leave preschool with a foundation of letter understanding [correct formation, sounds], beginning spelling skills, knowledge of reading [title, words in a sentence, tracking], and a base of early sight words.

We've been using these foldable mini books for a few months now, and it's been magical! ;) 


Every day my littles beg for reading time. They can correctly identify the sight words from these books [is, for, I, see, a, the] in other passages and in environmental print. I get frequent texts from parents with their littles pointing to one of these words in the newspaper, in books, and on signs. My heart smiles a little bigger with each text. 









We use the first book on Mondays [class meets M/W/F]. First they highlight each time the focus letter appears in the book. Together we identify the pictures and discuss any unfamiliar pictures [umpire for example] so they "know" what the last word on each page is. Then we read together the whole book. I watch carefully for correct tracking and correct as necessary. Each student circles the word "is" on each page and checks with their partner for accuracy. Each student then draws a line under the word "for" and checks for accuracy. Next, they whisper read to themselves. Again, I'm watching for tracking. Finally, as they color, I go to each student and have them read at least one page from the book to me. This book goes home to read and keep.

The second book we use on Wednesdays and Fridays [I just keep their copies on Wednesdays and send the books home on Fridays]. Because the books use both "a" and "the," they're a little more challenging. We go through the books in a similar fashion as before. We simply focus on the word "a" on Wednesday and the word "the" on Friday. "I" and "see" are reviewed each day.










Our complete ABC curriculum includes these mini books, an upper/lowercase sort [Mondays], an initial sound sort [Wednesdays], and a tracing/alphabet activity page [daily]. 

You can find the foldable mini books here [Teachers Notebook] and here [Teachers Pay Teachers]

The sorts and activity pages will be finished and listed soon.

I love the print and go ease of these books. I love that my littles beg to read them. I love how quickly they're giving my Fireflies a base of high frequency sight words. But mostly, I LOVE teaching preschool!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Brand New Adventure

Hello. It's me. ;)

I really disappeared there for a while, didn't I?!

I'm (hopefully) back now. Back with a brand new adventure. I took a leave of absence for the 2015-16 school year. I stayed home. I cooked. I cleaned should have cleaned. I was a mom. A wife. A piano teacher. A crafter. A photographer. And I didn't really even think about school for a really long time. That was super weird for me.

About February, I started thinking about school. Not school so much. Teaching. I started thinking about teaching. And I realized that as content and happy as I was staying home and being all of those things, I really missed teaching. 

One morning I casually mentioned to Luke, "What would you think about me cleaning out my craft room and turning it into a preschool room?!" I swear he would have started hauling things out of that room right then if I would have let him! 

I kind of let the idea marinate in my brain for a few weeks and then put a few feelers out on Facebook. 

Our community has just about as many preschool teachers as it does photographers - A LOT! I wondered if I'd even be able to fill one class, let alone two. I was blown away by the response. Within days, both my Glowworms (3 year olds) and my Fireflies (4 year olds) classes were nearly full. My heart just about exploded.

I went before the city council and had my business license approved. I submitted my letter of resignation to the school district. And I started clearing out that craft room with the awesome red shag carpet. 

My classes were completely filled early this summer. I was given desks and chairs and caps and gowns and stacks of paper. 

And now, here we are. September 9th, 2016. Today my littles have their 3rd day of preschool. Yesterday my little littles had their 2nd. We've had a few hiccups. A few tears. A few sleepless nights. A little playdough. A little coloring. A little tracing. A little scissoring. A little story time. And a whole lot of wonderfulness.

This morning I was up early. Really early. I made stuff. Preschool stuff. It's so great to be back.

Guys!!! I am a PRESCHOOL teacher!!! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

[it's PURPLE!!!!]

So...a few weeks ago, a special package arrived in my mailbox. Inside that package was a product I was eagerly anticipating, and super excited to do a product review for.

Let me just say that I've been a long time fan of the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener (aka the World's Greatest Pencil Sharpener - the one all the teachers are talking about)!
I mean, really, look at this great line-up...


What you may not know, is that Troy is one of the most generous and thoughtful business owners I've ever worked with. For each pencil sharpener sold, he donates $1 to help develop a school in a developing country. He also very kindly gifted Kenton two different pencil sharpeners (the super darling car sharpener that sat in the drawer of his hospital table and a black one that stayed in the halfway house) when he was going through his cancer treatments. For my little artist, those sharpeners allowed him to have super sharp pencils in his hospital room all the time, so when he wanted to draw, he could.

With the best product on the market, and the best customer service, Classroom Friendly Supplies is my go to company for teacher appreciation gifts and housewarming gifts. I love LOVE that there is now a permanent mount available! 

In my classroom, I had 2 blue sharpeners. I loved them. My kids loved them. The other teachers in my building coveted loved them. Soon, every teacher in our hall was the proud owner of TWO Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpeners. Yes, they're that awesome. 

Back to what I was saying earlier...a few weeks ago, a special package arrived in my mailbox. I let McKayslin open it because I knew what was inside and I wanted to see her reaction (she will only sharpen pencils in a Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener - as will Luke - and well, you already know how I feel about this little guy!).


Seriously so cute!

She was so excited!!  The best pencil sharpener in the world (which even sharpens those stupid really great "holiday" pencils, colored pencils, and cheap pencils like a dream) NOW COMES IN PURPLE!!!


Of course, she had to try it out immediately.



Such an easy sharpener to use - my littles (first graders!!!) caught on after only a couple of minutes of instruction! You just squeeze the little black grips together, pull the metal piece away from the sharpener and insert your pencil. Release the black grips (they'll hold the pencil tightly). Place one hand on top of the sharpener body to stabilize the sharpener and use the other hand to twist the handle. You'll know when the pencil is sharp because the sharpening sound stops. To remove the pencil, simply squeeze the black grips together again and take the pencil out of the sharpener. This is the kind of point you can expect every.single.time. It's pretty great!


This little gem has taken up permanent residence with McKayslin's art supplies. Her colored pencils sharpen quickly without getting worn down or torn up. I love that. 

In my classroom, my favorite feature of this sharpener, is that once the pencil is sharp, the kids can keep on cranking away, but the blade disengages so the pencil doesn't get eaten up in that super awesome game of "Ireallydon'twanttodomyworksoI'llsharpenmypenciltoatinylittlenubandthengetanotherpencilanddothesamethingagain!" 

Bonus, the blade is replaceable! I had my classic blue sharpeners in my classroom for over 3 years before the blades needed replacing.

Honestly, every pencil ever sharpened in my Classroom Friendly Sharpeners has come out with a clean, sharp point, every single time. 

Stop by Classroom Friendly Supplies and check out all of the fun colors Troy has to offer. And while you're there, pick up a sharpener. Or three. I love them in the classroom, and I love them at home. I promise, you won't be sorry!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

[The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener]

Something pretty awesome showed up in my inbox this morning! These are the best pencil sharpeners of all time! (Seriously, ask any teacher that has one!). 



And something new and super fun is coming soon from the makers of The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener... 
smile emoticon

Monday, August 3, 2015

[Waves Hello...] Daily Calendar Work for First Grade

Well, guys, I have some news. After 19 years of teaching (which is basically my entire adult life!), I am taking a leave of absence for the 2015-16 school year. It's still freakishly weird for me to not be getting my classroom ready, and planning the first week of school, and...and...and. But on the flip side, this is so great!!!  

My plans for the year are to do a lot of nothing. ;)

Just kidding. I've started designing digital scrapbook kits (if you're a digital scrapbooker, I'd love for you to come follow me on Etsy). I hope to expand my skills in that area with some fun school clip art and papers and borders and...and...and... 

I also will be doing more photography. 

And - I'll be going back through the things I have created in the past to update and improve them. There will also be new activities and lessons posted hopefully weekly here on the blog. Some resources will be free and some resources will still cost money. (This no paycheck thing is kind of scary!!).

The first new product I'm listing is a daily calendar and number sense pack. I developed this in January because I really was not a fan of the calendar program we were given. My kiddos LOVED calendar time once we implemented this! They really caught on quickly and became rockstars at money, time, counting by tens and ones, expanded notation, and creating equations.  Because the only thing that changes from month to month is the actual calendar to fill in the date and the graph (because we totally ran out of grid on the sunny day bar by like April!!), this becomes a great morning routine that the students look forward to and enjoy.

You can find it on Teacher's Notebook. Incidentally, I'm having a sale. :)  And...just for fun, the first 3 commenters here (YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in your comment or email me directly!) will receive the full file free! 

Have a super great day - and good luck with school! I know I'm going to miss it, but right now, this is what my family and I need.