Homes Theme in Prek

Matching Families to Houses
Matching Families to Houses

For PreK this past week we had a Homes theme.  Along with that, we talked about the first four days of Creation, when God created our earthly home.  We use Cross Connections for Early Learners for our Bible lessons.

One of our activities involved using the families counters.  I used a clip art house from one of my favorite clip artists, Zip a Dee Doo Dah Designs, to create houses for this activity.  I just printed the houses on the appropriate colored paper and laminated for durability.

Rooms Sort
Rooms Sort

Another sorting activity involving some fun clip art was also in my room.  This one involved sorting furniture and fixtures into the correct rooms in a house.  You can find this clip art from Dave’s Simple Teaching.

Day and Night Creation Bin
Day and Night Creation Bin

For our sensory bin we worked with the idea of each of the first three days of creation.  For the first day I put in black and white beans to represent day and night.  I later added cotton balls and blue streamers for day two of creation.  I also added toy trees and plants for day three.  In the next week we will add to this bin with things from the remaining days of creation.

Pets Grooming and Care Station
Pets Grooming and Care Station

Since our pets theme is coming soon, we switched to animal care in our dramatic play area.  I used several items from Pocket of Preschool’s Vet Dramatic Play set to create this area.  For this week we were only focusing on grooming and feeding of our pets, with x-rays and vet visits coming in the future.

Grooming Station
Grooming Station

The labels are really a must for dramatic play.  It really helps the students clean up when it is time and keeps things from getting chaotic.  The kids did have a little problem with the purple sponge matching a red sponge label.  Maybe I will look for a red sponge for next year.

Feeding Our Pets
Feeding Our Pets

I matched the color pom pom for food to the main color of the animal for easy sorting at clean up time.  Last year the students never thought to actually open the fish food container since when you pop it open it does not look open.  This year they have figured it out and have opened it and stuffed and re-stuffed the pom poms in the container.

Pattern Block letters T and F
Pattern Block letters T and F

For some reason I only have photos of the letter T pattern block page, although I also had out the letter F one as well.  We had T the week before and letter F this past week, so I put both out for the students to work on, along with a train and fish pattern block.  The letters come from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  As with all printables that need to be an exact size, watch your settings when printing.  You usually want to print actual size to make it work with your blocks.

Letter F book

For our letter F we also did our letter book in small groups.  This week we used the gray scale book with just the word.  We will work our way up to using the ones with the entire sentence.  I want to also make a set of the color books for our library, especially for during our review weeks.

Rhyme of the Week
Rhyme of the Week

We have a rhyme every week on our pocket chart.  This past week’s was Little Miss Muffet.  I found the cards to match the poem at Sparklebox.  We read the poem during the week with a pointer.  If the poem has a song, we usually sing it as well.  Soon, we will start looking for our letter of the week in the poem as well.

There are many other activities that we worked on during the week in PreK, as those of you who work in a preschool know how full a week can be.  Next up will be our Pets week.   What themes are you working on this month?

 

About Me and Letter T in PreK

About Me and Letter T in PreK
About Me and Letter T in PreK

After our three day introduction to PreK week, we jump right in to our About Me theme, along with some emphasis on the letter T.  We also spend time working on recognizing the letters in our own names and the order.  Although I have a letter of the week, we always do work with other letters during the week as well.

Dot Marker Letter and Sound Search for T
Dot Marker Letter and Sound Search for T

My students are familiar with the use of dot markers, but are not familiar with having to dot particular spots on a sheet or leaving some blank.  I introduced my Alphabet Letter and Sound Search activity with students who chose to check it out.  Since it was the first time doing an activity like this, I printed out the color clip art for letter T to place next to the sheet so students could just search for those to dot after finding the capital and lowercase T.  These sheets, along with all of my alphabet activities, are found in the Alphabet Bundle as part of the letter books.

Push Pin Fine Motor Work
Push Pin Fine Motor Work

For some fine motor work, I got out my large push pin and cork boards.  I used a smiley face from This Reading Mama’s About Me theme as well as the letter T page from this alphabet push pin set.  I was very pleased with the endurance of my students with this center since I know that it can make preschool hands tired to work on these.  I did make the smiley face half page sized to reduce the amount of poking needed.

About Me Cutting Practice Strips
About Me Cutting Practice Strips

Also in the This Reading Mama set were some cutting practice strips that I put out for scissor practice.  I had students put the cut pieces into a separate bin so that we can use these later for making patterns or glue practice.

Building Alphabet Letters with Legos
Building Alphabet Letters with Legos

My students really enjoyed using the large legos last week in the block center, so I pulled out enough legos for them to make the first letter of their names as well as the letter T.  I found the lego letter cards at Wildflower Ramblings.  For this center some students made letters, but some just built with the legos.  As the year goes on I will encourage students to do the suggested activity first before creating on their own.

Beginning of Alphabet Sensory Bin
Beginning of Alphabet Sensory Bin

Our sensory bin was filled with alphabet pasta, some green rice, and some foam alphabet letters.  I used this pasta alphabet clip art to create each student’s name so they could find the letters of their names in the bin.  I also made a sheet with the alphabet in order so they could search for alphabet letters.

Stamping Letters in My Name and Not in My Name
Stamping Letters in My Name and Not in My Name

My writing center this week was focused on recognizing if a letter was in a student’s name or not.  I found a printable from Little Literacy Learners that we used with our letter stamps.  I was pleased that just about every student chose to work on this center this week and were fairly successful in finding the sheet with their own name before starting stamping.

These are just a few of the activities we worked on this week in PreK.  We also made our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Look Who’s In Our Room class book as well as creating self portrait dolls to remind us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made to go along with our Bible lesson.

Welcome to PreK Week

Our first week of preschool was this past week.  I was able to finish getting my room all set up with my ocean themed items in plenty of time for our Sneak Peek.  I even had a new student enroll after our Sneak Peek and got her name everywhere in the room before school started.

Student names move down each week while jobs stay where they are
Student names move down each week while jobs stay where they are

My classroom jobs are placed over the coat hooks in my classroom.  I have to decide each year which jobs to use, based upon how many students are in the classroom.  I place velcro dots above the coat hooks and move the student names down one space each week to change jobs.  This way line leader is always at the head of the line and caboose at the end.  It also helps save the wall.  I used to move the jobs and ended up taking paint off the wall from moving them down each week.  The Helping Hands sign is part of my Ocean Decor Set, which also includes this set of jobs and more.

Question of the Day
Question of the Day

I purchased a new long green pocket chart for my Question of the Day.  I like that it is long enough that students can make one long column of names to answer the question.  It makes it easier to visually see which answer has more when we count and discuss during circle time.  If you need some questions for your Question of the Day, please check out that section in my shop.

Ocean Animal Sort
Ocean Animal Sort

For fine motor and math, I placed ocean animal sorters with matching color bowls and a couple types of grabbers to work on pincher grasp.  The sea animal counters are from Lakeshore.  The ones I see online do not have penguins, but appear to have sharks instead.  We also did a roll and graph with ocean animals.

Sandy Sensory Bin
Sandy Sensory Bin

My sensory bin had sand with shells, sea glass, and shark teeth to discover.  Students enjoyed using the sifters and scoops all week.  I had to sift through the entire bin of sand to pull out everything I had put in the sand.  I would not be surprised if someone discovers a shark tooth out in the playground sandbox later in the year since that is where I put the sand when I was finished.

Writing Center with colored sand
Writing Center with colored sand

Since it is the beginning of the year I want the writing center to be simple and fun.  My students thought the red, white, and blue sand were sprinkles and enjoyed trying to create the letter on the crab’s stomach.  I will admit there were students who also drew designs in the sand with the crabs.  The crabs are from Learning Resources, but I found an Amazon link here.

Ocean Calendar
Ocean Calendar

I use my ocean themed calendar for the beginning of the school year before moving on to fall themed sets.

Puffer Fish and My Seahorse
Puffer Fish and My Seahorse

Last year I had my octopus above my classroom all year, so I needed to change it up a bit for this year even though I really loved my octopus.  I decided to create a seahorse.  Our main craft for the first week were the puffer fish you see on the bulletin board.  They were inspired by these puffer fish.  With my students we painted the paper plates one day, then added eyes, mouth, fins, and white dots the next day.  I ended up doing the cutting since when I was first planning this I had several less students scheduled to be enrolled in my class.  Once I saw that the class was larger I knew we would not have time to do the cutting this early in the year without taking too much time.

Looking for items in my post?

Ocean Theme Decor Bundle

Fall Calendar Set

Question of the Day Bundle

How was your first week of school?

 

Shark Tank PreK Dramatic Play

Shark Tank Dramatic Play Set Up
Shark Tank Dramatic Play Set Up

Since I am using an ocean theme for my classroom this year, I thought a Shark Tank dramatic play area would be a fun way to start the year.  I also know that we will not be doing a separate ocean theme week this year, so I do not need to save this pretend play idea for later in the year.

Thanks to a past Vacation Bible Camp we had made duck tape portcullis pieces that we had saved.  These work out perfectly to be a pretend shark tank.  To make this, we stuck silver duck tape sticky sides together in a grid pattern.  These are hung from the ceiling with fishing line to make them low enough for my students to look through the holes at the sharks and other ocean life.

Another view of the duck tape shark cage
Another view of the duck tape shark cage

A coworker put together most of the supplies for this dramatic play.  Oxygen tanks are made from large soda containers, flippers are made from foam sheets, an old camera is the underwater camera, and some inexpensive goggles finish it off.  I added a foam shark hat from ACMoore for the shark to wear.

Supplies for Shark Tank with labels for putting away and added literacy
Supplies for Shark Tank with labels for putting away and added literacy

Since dramatic play is a favorite area I always want to make sure I get some literacy development in this center.  This time we have labels for where everything goes with both the picture and the word.  We also have badges for friends using this center to wear.

Badges to wear in the shark tank center
Badges to wear in the shark tank center

What do you have in your dramatic play area?

 

More Prep Work On My Ocean Theme Preschool Classroom

Coat Hook Cards and More Calendar Cards
Coat Hook and Lunch Bin Cards and More Calendar Cards

Prepping my classroom for a new year means lots of printing and laminating.  I finally decided to go ahead and print some things with student names on it yesterday.  Of course, I received a new student as soon as I did that so I had more printing and laminating to do today.

In my photo above you can see my lunch bin labels and coat hook labels, which can be found in my Ocean Decor Set.  The labels are editable so that you can type in your own student names.  I airbrushed out most of my students’ names in the photo above, but you can see a bit of the font from the first letter of the names.

As usual, I had a bit of space in my laminating sheets, so I printed up my Nursery Rhyme calendar cards for Hey Diddle, Diddle.  I will probably use these in March to go along with our literacy related themes that month.

Birthday Display
Birthday Display

I completed my birthday display today as well.  The poster in the middle is also part of my Ocean Decor Set.  I printed it as a poster and pieced it together before running it through the large laminator.  The gift bags are white with scrapbook paper glued to the front and ocean animals attached to the front with each student’s name and birthday written on them.  I laminate the ocean animals and write on them with sharpies.  At the end of the year the names and birthdays will come off with magic eraser.

Tomorrow I tackle the bulletin board and the dramatic play area.

 

Updating My Preschool Centers Signs

Laminating Ocean Theme Centers Signs and Winter Calendar Cards
Laminating Ocean Theme Centers Signs and Winter Calendar Cards

Since I apparently chose the wrong paper to use as a backing paper for my centers signs, the old ones were in desperate need of being replaced.  I had taken them all down because my room was being painted over the summer, which made me notice just how faded the backing paper was.  Note to self:  don’t laminate just any pretty paper that you want to hang on your wall all year long.

Printing new ones meant I could also switch up which set I use this year, so I decided to choose the Ocean Life Preschool Centers Signs this time around.  For the last couple of years I had been using the Blues and Greens set, which also matches the classroom jobs that I currently use.

I ended up having extra space at the bottom of each laminating sheet, so I looked ahead to see which calendar cards I still needed to print for the year.  I decided to print cards from my Winter Theme Calendar Set, so now I have calendar cards printed, cut, and laminated all the way through January.

New Class Pet
New Class Pet

My daughter and I have also gotten our new class pet set up in his tank, mostly thanks to my daughter who loves animals of all kinds and enjoyed doing most of the work for me.  She named him Jonah.

Do  you have a class pet?

Editable Personalized My Fall Book

Editable Personalized Fall Book
Editable Personalized Fall Book

Recently I have been playing around with editable pdfs because I know how much my students love reading books with their names in them.  I just put the finishing touches on my first book, which is a fall themed eight page book that students can read and color.  In order to make a set of books for each member of your class, you only need to type all of their names one time into the class list and the pdf does the rest for you.

Fall books stacked, cut in half, trimmed and ready to staple
Fall books stacked, cut in half, trimmed and ready to staple

When I print my books I trim the tops, bottoms, and right sides.  I leave the edge on the left for a good stapling area.  The file is set up to make it easy to stack, trim, and staple.

Stapled books
Stapled books

Books are all ready to color as well as to draw what your students think of when they see fall.

Ready to color and read
Ready to color and read

Interested in a set of your own books?  Please click on the graphic below to head to my Teachers Pay Teachers shop, Laura’s Lily Pad.

Editable My Fall Book
Editable My Fall Book

Choosing Fall Calendar Cards

PreK Classroom Current State
PreK Classroom Current State

I keep seeing all of these classroom set ups that are beautiful and organized and ready for students.  In the meantime, my classroom looks like the photo above.  Thanks to a great volunteer and my director, my room just received a fresh coat of paint, which required my room to get to this state until the paint has a bit of time to set.

Acorn and sunflower ABAB set
Acorn and sunflower ABAB set

Despite this, I ventured into my room today to try out my fall calendar cards to see which ones I might like to use this autumn.  Before I printed them out I looked at my themes for the year to get an idea of which calendar cards I might want for each month of the entire year.  After doing that I penciled in a couple new ideas for calendar cards for the spring that I hope to add to my calendar bundle later.

Leaves and rake ABC pattern
Leaves and rake ABC pattern

I realized as I was taking these photos that I did not print the page with the days of the week to go along with my fall calendar numbers and month.  That will be next on my list.

Turkey and pumpkins ABB pattern
Turkey and pumpkins ABB pattern

I chose to make my calendar cards a bit smaller than the pocket because I have found that those too close to the same size as the pocket are really difficult for preschoolers to put in the calendar.  My cards try to take into account that you may have a laminated edge around the cards.  Even with this laminated edge there is room to easily slide the cards in and out of your calendar.

Interested in some calendar sets for your classroom? Just click the image below to check out the fall set. I added two more sets of months cards after I decided I just had to have a couple more choices for myself.

Fall Calendar Set

Preschool Summer Camp Art Projects

As promised, I am sharing the Mondrian Inspired Cross Canvas projects that we completed during our summer preschool art camp.  I teased you above with our Red, White, and Blue themed art project in progress.  Keep reading to see how that one turned out.

Mondrian Inspired Cross Canvas
Mondrian Inspired Cross Canvas

Most of our students painted every section of their canvases.  I put out the colors one usually sees in Mondrian works, but a couple students got creative at the end and created a new color.  I was not surprised since we did have color mixing practice during this camp and the new color was this student’s favorite color.

Creating A New Color
Creating A New Color

I did have a few students who were younger who had projects that looked like this one.  I think they are very beautiful as well.

A Little More Abstract
A Little More Abstract

In order to make these cross canvases, we purchased the canvases from the local craft store.  I used blue painters tape to tape off the cross design.  Students used acrylic paints to paint their projects.  We let them be finished whenever they said they were finished and asked again the next day if they wanted to add more if they had not painted the entire canvas.  We were okay if they said they were finished then.  No pressure, just fun.

Now what were we doing with that top photo of our work in progress?

Fireworks Craft
Fireworks Craft

I drew black lines on the black paper with sharpie marker.  (For one student I drew in white crayon since the child has some vision issues.  I could probably have used white crayon for all, but I was not sure how the project would turn out yet and did not know if the crayon would end up showing up.)

Students drew on the lines with colored glue bottles.  I had red and blue glue ready for them.

After the glue lines were drawn they sprinkled red, white, and blue sand on the glue.  We started out with small spoons, but then decided to just try using fingers and that worked just as well and kept some of them from going too overboard with the sand.

Finally, we shook off the extra sand and set it out to dry.

Firework craft
Firework craft

I had never done this particular fireworks craft before and was pleased with how it turned out and how it kept the students engaged.  It even seemed pretty sturdy to take home once it dried.

Now that camp is over I have been busy working on new projects for my shop.  Be sure to head over if you are thinking about the new school year already.  If there is anything you don’t see that you would like, or a different color scheme, please feel free to contact me.  July is my time to create.

My latest listing is below.  Two more calendar sets and then I will set up a bundle for the year.

Transportation Calendar Set
Transportation Calendar Set

Preschool Summer Art Camp

Art camp was this month with preschoolers ages three through five.  I filled the room with many art centers, including three easels.  This meant six spots for working so I had to think up some different ways to use them.

Contact Paper and Foam Pattern Blocks
Contact Paper and Foam Pattern Blocks

I have used contact paper on my easel with foam pattern blocks in the past.  However, this time instead of having a picture to match the students could create whatever they wanted to make.

Chalk and Dry Erase Easels
Chalk and Dry Erase Easels

I also set up one easel with chalk and an eraser and another with dry erase markers and an eraser.

Painting Easels
Painting Easels

The side facing the main part of the room was the painting side.  On the first day of camp I offered two shades of paint and long artist brushes.  The second and third days I offered different painting tools for variety.  I sent home many artist’s creations during camp.

Clay in the Sensory Bin
Clay in the Sensory Bin

So students could experiment with clay and clay tools I set it up in the sensory bin.  In the photo I had not taken the clay out of the bag yet.  At the end of each day I covered the clay with a damp paper towel or two and covered the bin.  I did need to spend a little time training in proper use of the tools so that stabbing was not the only technique attempted.  I was pleased to see that one of my students who generally does not like to touch play dough decided to check out the clay during art camp for quite a while.

Sharpies and Photo Paper
Sharpies and Photo Paper

When I purchased ink I sometimes get packs that are good deals that include photo paper.  I rarely end up using the paper so when I noticed a suggestion to use photo paper and sharpies, I thought art camp would be a good week to try it.  I made up a couple sample ideas and just let the kids who were interested draw whatever they liked.

Bubble Painting
Bubble Painting

I realized that none of the teachers in our school had done bubble painting this year, so I tried that the first day.  As one usually finds, the projects that are not the first ones turn out a little better as the teacher gets the kinks out.  The kids had a blast blowing bubbles and we did not get too much mess (or any paint sucked into anyone’s mouth.)  Definitely process art.

In my next post I will share our big Mondrian inspired canvas project.