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?

 

Happy Easter with a Calendar Freebie Reminder

Easter board

Today I am having some quiet time at home with no children to prepare myself for the Easter celebration tomorrow.  It is a beautiful, sunny day and the grass is mowed thanks to my oldest daughter.  My youngest helped me sell some items on Craigslist, which has helped with spring cleaning as well.

Above you can see the artwork of my students in preparation for Easter.  We made the palm leaves for Palm Sunday and the crosses as we discussed Good Friday.  The crosses were made with painters tape and the idea was to dab the paint with the circular sponges with handles, but my students all had other plans, which is okay.  I just laughed at myself because it was one of the very few times that I made an example for them to see of what it might look like when it would be finished after the tape was pulled off.

I have also been hard at work this week on my Teachers Pay Teachers shop, adding lots of alphabet goodies, including a massive bundle of everything alphabet that I have created so far.

Spring Calendar Numbers

Don’t forget to check out my spring calendar freebie, even if you just want to save it for next year.  I hope to add a bunch of new calendar sets soon, so if you have any in mind, please let me know.  I am currently working on one with insects.

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

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?

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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