Creating a New Student File

At the beginning of the year you are busily making lots of things with students’ names on them.  You think you are just about ready with everything when in walks your director or principal with news of a new student.  Suddenly you need to have one of everything ready for the new student.

Here are some things I keep in my new student file in the classroom and on my computer that will hopefully give you some tips to make getting a new student a little easier.

For your computer files:

Coat hook name labels
Coat hook name labels

Coat hook labels

Cubby labels with Question of the Day name tags above
Cubby labels with Question of the Day name tags above

Cubby labels

I learned to save my file with a sample name on the coat hook label, cubby label, and anything else that I want to actually match up the font size and color.  You would think you would remember the font size or the name of the font, but when a new student shows up midway through the year you may be testing out different sizes and then getting frustrated when you print it out and it just does not match.

For your paper files:

Mystery word water color name place setting
Mystery word water color name place setting

Lunch place setting

At the beginning of the year I have had my students use watercolor paints to discover the mystery word that I have written in white crayon.  The word ends up being their names, which ends up getting laminated and used by our table washer to set places for snack and lunch.  I put a couple sheets of paper cut the correct size to match in my new student file.  It would probably be smart for me to toss a white crayon in there as well.

My birthday display in progress.
My birthday display in progress.

Birthday display supplies

Height chart supplies

For my student birthdays and height chart I just write the names and information on with a sharpie on the laminated item, so I make sure I have a few extra laminated pieces in my file, ready to go.  I also make sure I have a couple extra birthday crowns copied and ready to go in my birthday file, especially since this year I don’t have an assistant that I can send down to copy one at the last minute.

Writing center supplies

I also have a writing center with student name and photo cards, so when I create these I go ahead and cut the card stock the correct size for a few extras to stash away.  That way the card stock will be the same color and the same size.

Class books

For class books I usually just make sure we create a fresh one on a new topic soon after getting a new student, but I do like to add new students into our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Look Who’s In Our Room book, so I make a complete set of supplies to make a couple pages of the book for any student who arrives after the first week of school.

Question of the Day name tags

For answering our question of the day I made up some quick name labels with different borders.  I laminated and then wrote with sharpie so that I can change as needed.  For example, partway through the year I will change them to last names to that students get used to recognizing those.

A special thanks to Classroom Doodle Diva for the cute clip art girl for my blog post image at the top of the page.

What do you keep in your new student file?

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PreK Ocean Theme & Pizza Shop Sneak Peek

This past week I prepared my room for my PreK students to come have a Sneak Peek on Friday.  Since I was keeping my ocean theme from last year I just had a few updates to work on to make things fresh and new.

WelcomeSign

I needed to reprint my welcome sign since I did not have time to laminate it last year and the spots where the sticky tack was attached to the paper had that greasy look to it.  Now that it is reprinted and laminated I won’t have to worry about that in the future.

My birthday display in progress.
My birthday display in progress.

I had to do some work to my birthday display as well.  The sign had to be trimmed and laminated, names had to be added to the birthday bags, and a few bags came down since I currently have a few less students this year so far.  Will try to get a finished photo this week with the sign above it as well.

Pocket chart calendar with ocean theme months and dates
Pocket chart calendar with ocean theme months and dates

I start the year with my ocean theme calendar, but switch up the number cards throughout the year to work on different patterns and to go along with themes or seasons.

The shelf area of the pizza shop. Still in need of some more toppings.
The shelf area of the pizza shop. Still in need of some more toppings.

Since I did not have to start from scratch with my ocean theme I had some time to work on my dramatic play Pizza Shop.  I purchased Pocket of Preschool’s Pizza Restaurant set to help me add to what we already had available at school.  I love that she has all the labels as part of her set.  Labeling everything really helps with clean up since students know where things are supposed to go.

I bought the green containers and the pizza pans at Dollar Tree as well as the measuring cup and measuring spoon.  I think that trip just about used up the gift card that a lovely parent gave me as an end of the year gift.

Set up for Sneak Peek with a simple pizza collaborative craft
Set up for Sneak Peek with a simple pizza collaborative craft

I set up a quick craft to help decorate the dramatic play area with help from my students.  During the Sneak Peek I had paper pizzas with toppings to glue on using glue sticks.  Besides being a simple activity that will help decorate pretend play, it gave me an idea of how my students use glue sticks.  I can already note which ones need a few pointers.

Pizza Shop bulletin board display with student pizzas
Pizza Shop bulletin board display with student pizzas

Here is the Pizza Shop display with the pizzas my students made at the Sneak Peek.  The Pizza Shop sign comes from Sparklebox.  That one was already in our pizza prop box so I just had to put it on the bulletin board.

Look at all the toppings, but someone forgot the crust and sauce.
Look at all the toppings, but someone forgot the crust and sauce.

Here is a glance at the pizza pan full of toppings, some from a couple sets we already had, with some additional toppings I made with suggestions from Pocket of Preschool’s set.

Now to get ready for the first day of school this week.

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Back To School and Giveaway

Monday is the big day for me and the official beginning of my personal back to school.  Our family started school at the beginning of the month with my oldest daughter starting cross country practice, so getting to sleep in has been gone for quite a while for me.   Monday starts my online college course, so this week is truly my back to school week.

I will be taking a course in Christian Doctrine as I am working towards synod certification in Early Childhood Education through Martin Luther College.  This is my last three credit hour course, so I am excited to get it completed.

Ocean Theme Calendar
Ocean Theme Calendar

Back to school for me as a teacher starts Wednesday with work days to prepare my classroom.  I am sticking with my ocean theme, so just need to freshen it up and make everything that has student names on it, but we all know there is still plenty to do.  I have my calendar all ready with my ocean themed items, like the months you see.

School themed question of the day
School themed question of the day

I will also be choosing which question of the day I want to use from my set.  I will probably use this one some time the first week.

Bonus Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers

In celebration of a new school year I am having a giveaway for a Teachers Pay Teachers $10 gift card.  Teachers Pay Teachers is also having a one day sale on Monday which I am participating in, so fill your carts and watch your emails as I will send out notice as soon as the giveaway ends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner has been emailed.  Congrats to Karen S!

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Best Year Ever Sale

As I have been busy getting ready for my church’s Vacation Bible Camp this weekend, I have also been making my wish list for the Teachers Pay Teachers back to school sale.  You can click through to my shop through the awesome graphic below, made by Glitter Meets Glue Designs.

 

best-sale-ever-instagram

Once I make it through Vacation Bible Camp, I need to finish up a few products that I have started that I want to use during this new preschool year.  I am working on a new set of dot marker printables that I am very excited about.  You can see a draft of one of them below.

DotMarkerPreviewPage

I am also working on some alphabet based emergent readers to add some variety to the ones I already use in my classroom.  So far I have added one set to my shop.

LetterAReaders2Alphabet Letter A Emergent Readers Set

I am very happy that I spent all of last year creating my Question of the Day Bundle because now I just pull them out each week and am ready.  No more scrambling at the last moment before kids come in to think of a question or scrambling to find my list of questions on my plans so I can put them up.  I just grab my printed, laminated sets for each day and put them in my pocket chart.

Of course, I will have at least one more set of questions get added to the bundle this year because you know that themes are never exactly the same from year to year and I spy at least two new ones this year that we did not do in my classroom last year.  If you have any themes you don’t see in my Question of the Day Bundle, please be sure to let me know so I can add them.

Question of the Day Bundle
Question of the Day Bundle
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Fine Motor Work With The Alphabet

Our preschool has some awesome manipulatives for the students to work with throughout the year.  I especially like the Excellerations® Linking Cubes and Triangles.  I felt that these could be even more beneficial for some of my students if I made some activity cards to give them some direction for building.  I had the idea in the back of my head for most of the last school year, but just never found the time.  I finally sat down this week and figured out the clip art size to work for these cubes and triangles.

Don’t do what I did and forget to print to actual size if you get these activity cards.  When creating this set I was having some issues with the printer and completely forgot to make sure the pages were set for actual size and had them print to fit.  I was in panic mode for a bit until I realized that I had print to fit, which made the cubes and triangles totally not fit.

I put clip art from Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs on each card that starts with the letter to help with letter sound connections to the alphabet letters.  I also know that many people may not be blessed with the use of a color printer, so I made the set in gray scale as well.

ABClowercasecubestriangles

What are your favorite manipulatives to use in your classroom?

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Making the Most of Summer Break

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Summer break has officially begun, although there is still much on my to do list.  I still have two summer camps to finish preparing for and to teach next month as well as a summer conference.  I also want to go through my cabinets at school and reorganize them as well as putting in order the mess that is my “school area” at home.

Then, since I am not just a teacher, but also a mother….I have a list of things that need to happen related to my children.  There is middle school orientation, two different summer church camps, and Vacation Bible Camp that will involve the whole family.  OH, and did I mention the family trips to visit grandparents?

I had to get myself organized so that I would not forget anything so I downloaded a monthly calendar and put in the essentials.  That keeps me from forgetting major events.

How about the day to day, though?  I discovered an app a couple years ago called Motivated Moms to keep track of my day to day housework type chores.  I have now started to use it to also keep track of the teacher projects that I am working on as well as my Teacher Pay Teacher projects.

My life is not filled with the latest and greatest technology, so I use the app with my Kindle Fire and it works great for me.  They have options for Android and Apple products.  It is easy to customize and I like that it has set chores already for each day, which reminds me of some of the things you should do every once in a while, like turning your mattress or changing your filter for your heating/air conditioning unit.

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If you are interested in checking it out, please click the button above.

Now I am off to get a popsicle before I tackle the next thing on my list.

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Preschool Pond Theme Activities

We recently completed our Pond theme in my preschool classroom.  We were lucky enough to get some gray tree frog tadpoles to visit our classroom during this theme.  The tree frogs like to lay their eggs in the water in our above ground pool before we open it for the summer, so we always save some of them before cleaning the pool.  They will continue to live in my classroom through the next month so we can watch them grow throughout our summer camps.

For some reason my sensory bin looks a bit less like a pond this year than last year, probably due to the fact that I was using our new larger sensory bin that is red instead of blue.  The bin has some flat blue glass beads in the bottom, a bunch of frogs purchased from Oriental Trading, some lily pads made from foam, and some tadpoles made with pony beads and a bit of pipe cleaner, inspired by this.  I used brown beads and pipe cleaner since that most closely matched our real tadpoles in the classroom.

Pond Sensory Bin
Pond Sensory Bin

For dramatic play I went for simplicity since we did not have a long time for centers during the week due to rehearsing for graduation.  I found this kiddie pool on clearance at the end of the summer last year and grabbed it to make it into a bird’s nest.  It also makes a great pond.  The lily pads are place mats I found at Dollar Tree.  I already had the frogs.  The ping pong balls are from Dollar Tree as well.  I wrote an alphabet letter on each one and students had to catch them with the net and then place them in the correct spot labeled with the same letter on small paint palettes.

Dramatic Play Pond Area
Dramatic Play Pond Area

Frogs are similar to the ones pictured above, found on Amazon.

I was also excited to find this small garbage can at Dollar Tree and created a frog for a counting game.  The other teacher I work with had some plastic flies.  Students rolled the dice and then used the tool to pick up and feed the frog.

Feed the Frog Flies Game
Feed the Frog Flies Game

We also had a fun catch the bugs game with pink toy noise makers that I also found at Dollar Tree.  I placed a section of velcro on the ends and cut up small pieces of felt for the children to catch with their frog tongues.  You can find out more about this idea here.

For my pocket chart calendar I would use these calendar cards:

 Frog Calendar Bundle
Frog Calendar Bundle

Calendar Bundle Frog Pond Theme

Have you done a pond theme in your classroom?

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PreK Creepy Crawlers Week Fun and Games

 

 

Spider Web Fly Toss Game
Spider Web Fly Toss Game

My PreK students always keep very busy on Monday mornings since there is so much new in the classroom.  This week is our Creepy Crawlers theme.  I was energized from my spring break to discover some new ideas that I am glad to find engaging to my students.  This spider web game was a big hit.

I discovered an idea for the spider web when browsing Pinterest.  I knew I already had a hula hoop that I had found at the dollar store last year, so I pulled that out, along with some masking tape.  The example on Pinterest showed cotton balls, but I thought that black pom poms would look more like bugs or flies caught in the web.

I overheard one of my students saying that it was like a carnival game.  I only had one student try to grab the hoop, which I think is quite a success, especially since that student did not try grabbing it again.  We used up quite a bit of energy playing this game and worked on our gross motor skills.

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Bees and Other Creepy Crawling Critters

Bee with pollen
Bee with pollen

Spent a little time this evening working on lesson plans for my upcoming bugs and insects theme.  Love this macro photo of a bee covered in pollen, although it does make me a bit itchy to imagine that pollen all over me.

Working on a word wall to use next week, so making a list of insects and bugs that I want to be sure to include in my search for interesting photos.

Which insects and bugs do you like to use in your preschool creepy crawling critter theme weeks?

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Preschool Favorite Authors, Sandwich Shop, and Letter J

Question of the Day for Dr. Seuss
Question of the Day for Dr. Seuss

We started the week with a leftover question of the day from our snow day on Friday.  We do a question of the day every morning as we come in the classroom.  Many of the parents hang around to see what their children will choose as an answer.  We needed to do this question since we still needed to read Green Eggs and Ham as well as have our special Dr. Seuss snacks which were saved from Friday’s “no snow” snow day.  If I recall correctly we had a tie in responses with this one, which is unusual.

Easel with J words and painting with water
Easel with J words and painting with water

This week our easel has painting with water on one side and practicing writing words that begin with J on the other.  Sometime I use these word sheets with magnets or stamps, but this week I decided to let them write the words with the dry erase markers.  I found these sheets on This Reading Mama’s blog.  I decided to use water and a brush on the other side because I had put it out a few weeks ago when I realized I had no plan for the other side of the easel and the students loved it and spent a bunch of time practicing letters and drawing shapes, especially some of my friends who are not quick to choose activities involving manipulating writing implements.

Race to the Top counting game
Race to the Top counting game

In my fine motor and math center I found a Race to the Top game with linking cubes.  My students have enjoyed using linking and snap cubes as well as dice games.  This one has just enough of a twist from activities we have done recently to keep their attention.  Race to the Top can be found on The Measured Mom’s blog.  We are using the one that goes to twenty but she also has one up to ten.  To get students started with this game I invited one student to play with me.  Once we started the game another student came over and asked to play so I let that student take my spot.  If one student quits I either jump in to play or ask another student if she would like to play if the student playing cannot figure out who to ask.

Count the Colored Fish
Count the Colored Fish

This game is best saved for the second half of the year because students need to only count the fish of a specific color, not all the fish.  I highlighted the color word with a dry erase marker that matched its color (although I apparently missed the one on top when I took the photo.)  You could also put a color word chart at this center.  I chose this game because we are reading Swimmy by Leo Lionni as well as Flotsam by David Wiesner.

Alphabet Trash Sensory BIn
Literacy and Art Table

My large square table is where we do our art and literacy activities.  Some of the activities we started the week with included play dough with alphabet stampers (similar to those linked below), Letter J crowns, painting alphabet letters to create a class alphabet book and a chameleon craft on paper towels which we plan to spray later in the week.

Due to a very large number of absences this week we may not end up with a whole alphabet book.  I am contemplating what to do since I ended the day with only four out of ten students.  It is pretty difficult to get twenty six letters painted with that many absences.

Alphabet Trash Sensory Bin
Alphabet Trash Sensory Bin

When I decided to do this sensory bin it reminded me of one I made a long time ago for a Vacation Bible Camp.  It had been a bin full of shredded paper and my fellow teacher had commented, “Who would have thought that preschoolers would love to play with trash so much?”  I had several kids playing with this right away on Monday.  A couple boys kept catching pieces with the grabbers I found at the dollar store and bringing them to me to show me which letter that was caught.  This Alphabet Pick Up game can be found in Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station.  The grabbers were found at the dollar store and were similar to those shown in the photo link below.

Sandwich making station
Sandwich making station

Our dramatic play area became a Sandwich Shop this week.  I used the foam pieces I had cut last year, placing them in aluminum trays from the dollar store.  Growing in PreK has some printables and was my inspiration for the beginning of this center.

Table set up with mustard, ketchup and placemats
Table set up with mustard, ketchup and place mats

On the table for customers are place mats as well as ketchup and mustard.  These were also found at the local dollar store.  I did not realize when I purchased them that they were meant to be joke bottles.  The kids love them because when you open the lids and squeeze them a little string that is red for ketchup or yellow for mustard pops out.

Ordering and Drinks Station for Sandwich Shop
Ordering and Drinks Station for Sandwich Shop

The big addition to the sandwich shop was my drink station, inspired by Play to Learn’s post.  The students figured it out right away, although I did have one moment when a student pulled the colored tissue out of it.  Another student informed me and I fixed it and explained to the student what it was since I am unsure he had any idea why the tissue was there.  To the left of the drink station are trays of crocheted cookies and plastic chips.  I have a couple different ways of ordering that I will alternate in this center.  One is found at PreKinders and the other was found at Growing in PreK, which was linked above.

What fun are you having in preschool this week?

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