About Me Theme in PreK

AboutMeSensoryCrochet

For our second week of PreK we focused on an About Me theme, with lots of emphasis on our names and the letters in our names.  The sensory bin was full of green rice, pasta in the shape of alphabet letters, and alphabet magnets, along with tools to interact with the letters and rice.  In addition, I used a clip art font that matched the pasta to create an alphabet sheet that letters could be matched with.

I also introduced my crocheted alphabet letters to my students.  I keep these out all year long.  You can find the crochet patterns to create these here.  When I created them I chose to use the same color for the capital and lowercase to help with matching.

AboutMeEasel

Although we have many activities that include several letters of the alphabet, we do have a focus letter of the week.  Our first letter is T, so one side of the easel had words to build with letter magnets that start with T.  You can find these cards from This Reading Mama.  I cut them apart and laminated them for my purposes.  I used the two sets of alphabet magnets below for this activity.  I did not like the shape of the lowercase t in the foam magnets and did not have enough to have six of them anyway.

I use a large binder clip to attach my small bins on the side of the easel that does not have a shelf.

(Note:  all Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get a few cents if you purchase through my link, which helps me pay the bills.)

AboutMeMathandFineMotor

I introduced the family counters this week, along with houses that I printed on matching colored paper. Students were mostly given a chance to just play with these however they liked. Many sorted by color and some started playing pretend with them. I will add some more ideas with these next week since our theme will be family.

Some of the building bricks ended up on the math and fine motor table with the opportunity to build the letter that starts your name. At least one student made at least four different letters, including the first letter of his name. I will put the letter making cards in the block center after this so students can try this again if interested.

 

AboutMeChicka

One of the books we read this week was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  We also found the letters in our name with dot markers while some students also used the letter T dot marker page to find the letter T as well as pictures of things that start with T.  The Chicka Chicka page can be found here.  The letter T dot marker page is part of my Alphabet Letter and Sound Search.  For these sheets I only place a handful of letters and sounds on each sheet so that students are not overwhelmed.  For example, the T sheet has T, F, M, and P only.

We created our own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Look Who Is In Our Room book during the week.  We used green feathers for the leaves, so no cutting a million leaves for the teacher and assistant since kids are not that proficient at cutting during the first couple weeks of school.  The trunk was brown construction paper this year, although I have also used sandpaper in the past.  Foam letters were used for student names and I added a photo of the student to help students read the book to themselves once it is placed in the classroom library.

On the last day of the week we ate a special Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree with a graham cracker, green apple slices, and alphabet cookies that I found at Walmart.

AboutMeLiteracyWriting

My assistant and I finished making the name cards for the writing center.  These consist of the student’s photo with name at the top and blank boxes below each letter for name practice.  These cards will be in the writing center all year for practice.  Students right now are mostly focusing upon their own name, but some want to practice their friends’ names as well.

I also found some letter T handwriting practice to laminate as well.

In the crafts and literacy center I introduced using a poke pin.  I use a couple layers of cork board with a carpet square underneath to protect the table.  I use the large poke pins for this and only have this center available to one student at a time.  I also make sure it is near the area where I or my assistant is working for this introductory week so there are no accidents.   I used the letter T sheet from this set.

AboutMeScience

For science this week I pulled out as many shades of knee high panty hose as I could find.  Students could put them on their arms to compare shades to see if any of them were close to the shade of their own skin.

Fingerprints were a huge favorite this week.  Lots of kids covered in purple ink.  The fingerprint page with the magnifying glass is found at Making Learning Fun.

 

 

 

First Week of PreK Activities

NameMatsPin

Our first short week of PreK is officially in the books so I can share what we accomplished this week.  We started with creating our meal time name mats.  I cut white card stock in half lengthwise and wrote each student’s name on them with white crayon.  I also wrote it lightly in pencil on the back so we would know which one to give to each student.  Students painted with watercolors to reveal the secret message, which were their names.

Once dry I laminated them and the students who have the job of getting tables ready for snack and lunch get to put out the names on the tables at meals so everyone knows where to sit.  You would be amazed how quickly everyone learns everyone’s name when there is the incentive of actually choosing where everyone sits for meals.

We put our watercolors in test tubes with small brushes.  The sample above is from Amazon, which is an affiliate link.  We may have gotten ours from Oriental Trading.  I always use some sticky tack at the base to stabilize them and reduce the chance of the whole thing being knocked over while painting. I also highly recommend the brand of liquid watercolors above. We had another brand and the containers were much easier to end up with the watercolor all over your hands while dispensing it. The other brand also did not seem as deep, no matter how much you added to water.

MathFineMotorPin

For the first week and quite a few more students than last year, I purposely chose many activities that children could successfully interact with on their own.  I put out the ocean animals and the sorting bowls, along with the hand tongs that I found at Walmart in the kitchen section. I also put out bags with name puzzles. This year I found a different border for every student so when a letter inevitably ends up out of a bag and on the carpet I can more quickly figure out whose it is.

The first set above is the one we have in our classroom. The second set has more colors but I have not seen it in person. These are both affiliate links.

SandySensoryPin

Since my classroom theme is ocean based I decided to go with a sandy sensory bin.  The sand ended up being a bit dusty, so we ended up removing the sifters and spraying water periodically to keep the dust down.  This sand will end up being disposed of after this week since it was so dusty.  We chose some colored shells that were leftover from something, another couple sets  of hand tongs and fish theme ice cube trays from Walmart, and some ocean themed bath toys from Dollar Tree.

DoctorPlayPin

At the beginning of the year I like to have a pretend play theme that is not too complicated or with too many pieces to pick up at the end of centers time.  Since the next week is an About Me theme, doctor seemed to be a good choice.

I put the light table in pretend play to be the x-ray machine and examining table for the baby doll.  I found the x-rays at Tried and True.  I printed them on overhead projector sheets and laminated for durability.  I have some of the animal ones for when we switch over to a Vet theme later.

ScienceCenterPin

My science center needs to be a in more central location this year due to having more students and needing more spots for eating snack and lunch together.  I was planning that the science center would have two spots with the other two chairs for the waiting area for the doctor’s office.  This worked until more than two wanted to use the science center so I may end up having the science center have four spaces whenever it seems like it should be popular.

I have shells to be sorted and looked at with a magnifying lens as well as several sensory bottles and a view finder with ocean animals like the Amazon affiliate link above.

PlayDoughPin

At the arts and crafts table we worked on our name mats as well as one other craft project this week.  I also made play dough, which I put in slide lock bags with names on them.  This gives students another reason to want to recognize their own names and helps with reducing germ sharing.  In addition, I rotated dot marker activities (found at Gift of Curiosity and 1+1+1=1 , cutting strips, and qtip painting on this table throughout the week.

CircleTimeAreaPin

I got a brand new Froggy to dress for the weather since mine had lost a foot at the end of the year after five years of use.  I managed to break our laminator while prepping to laminate him and was fortunate to have someone to come to my rescue and let me laminate him and his two large jackets.  The rest of the pieces fit in my small laminator.

I started my year with my ocean theme calendar.  I still have this alphabet set up in my circle time area, although I may update it with my ocean theme one soon.

FinishedBoard1

I also completed my ocean bulletin board with my student crafts.  They put together scuba divers.  My daughter and I took photos of the students that I made into circles to glue on the face of each diver.  The children got to decide whether they wanted their diver to swim upward or downward.  I then helped them figure out how to place the head so it would be facing correctly.  This does mean that some of them look like they are wearing their oxygen masks on their stomachs.

Back To School Sale and a Giveaway

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The Back to School sale is almost upon us at Teachers Pay Teachers.  I already have some goodies in my shopping cart to help me create some new things for my classroom this year.

The sale starts Wednesday, August 1st and continues Thursday, August 2nd.   You have the opportunity to save up to 25% off.  Just remember to use the code:  BTSFRESH.  I have personally forgotten to put in the sale code in the past and kicked myself for it.

If you purchase bundles on the sale days you will have the opportunity to save even more, since they are already discounted compared to purchasing the items separately.

The bundles in my shop that will be heading to the printer soon to get ready for the school year include these:

Alphabet Bundle

I already have the building cards laminated as well as the magnet pages, but I will be printing dot marker, stamping, and emergent readers all year long from my ABC Bundle.

Calendar Cards Bundle

I have many of these calendar cards already printed and ready to go, but I am sure I will end up printing at least one more set to switch things up this year.

Question of the Day Bundle

I just need to laminate the summer set from my Question of the Day Bundle since I updated it over the summer and want to use some of the questions for the first week of school.

Fall Math and Literacy Centers Bundle

I need to laminate the geoboard cards from my Fall Bundle.  As soon as I know for sure the names of my students I will be printing out the fall books with their names on each page.

Forest Animals Decor Bundle

I also have lots of classroom decor items, including some new bundles.  You can check out Classroom Decor in my shop to see more.

Before you go on your sale spending spree, be sure to leave feedback for any items on TPT that you have purchased in the past.  You receive credits for doing this that can be redeemed when you make your next purchase.  Another way to make your money stretch further.

What would the Back To School Sale be without a giveaway? I am giving away a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.  The giveaway will end at midnight Wednesday night so that I can send out your prize in time for you to make the most of it during the sale.
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Geoboards in PreK

FallGeoboardsPin3

In the summer preschool teachers have time to play with the geoboards.  We had some random free cards with ideas for students to create with the boards but I really wanted some cards that went along with some of our themes to use this year with my students.  I started out with ideas based upon some fall shapes.

I picked up my geoboards from the Green Valley Book Fair, but they have a set on Amazon (aff. link) as well.

I discovered that my daughter’s abandoned loom bands (aff. link) work great with the smaller geoboards.  I tested my patterns with both loom bands and regular rubber bands.  Sometimes the regular rubber bands are a bit large and need to be wrapped to one side of a loop to curve around.  The loom bands obviously will not stretch all the way across the board.

FallGeoboardsPin2

In my examples that I have shown in this post, the apple is made with rubber bands for the apple portion and loom bands for the leaf and stem.  I used rubber bands for the leaf and acorn.  The rake is made with all loom bands.  As you can see from the photos I place both portions of the rubber band on one side of a post to change directions for curves or points.

As with anything with small parts, I do not start using geoboards with rubber bands or loom bands until I am familiar with my students and know if any still put things in their mouths.

These fall geoboard cards can be found in my shop separately or as part of my Fall Bundle.  The bundle currently includes twelve different activities to use in your classroom.

FallGeoboardCardsSquareCover

FallBundleSquareCover

Summer Camp Centers in Preschool

SummerQtip

Summer camp centers during our cooking camp needed to be mostly self led.  I did get brave and put out my brand new Summer Qtip Painting because I had a feeling that several of the kids at camp would enjoy the challenge since the camp was mostly students who would be entering preschool or PreK in the fall, not moving on to kindergarten.

Other than ending up with quite a few papers that did not have an owner, this center was a great success.  One thing that definitely helped were the color coded cotton swabs that I discovered at my local Dollar Tree.  I did end up needing to clean up one set midway through camp when one camper decided that the science experiment of color mixing was very interesting.

SummerQtip2

I was pleased to see that some of the campers even decided to try tracing the words at the bottoms of the sheets.  During the year in PreK I would probably have my students use a different writing implement to do the tracing part.

SummerSensoryBin

For summer cooking camp I knew sensory bins would be a hit and keep those who were not cooking very occupied.  I also did not want something that was a challenge to clean up.  My coworker had seen suggestions online for making the funnel contraption so I knew we had this to pull out of our closets.  I chose the colorful died beans because they would be easy to see on the dark rug beneath the bin.  The scissor scoopers were already in my stash, but I would love to pick up a set like the ones on Amazon from Learning Resources (aff. link.)

SummerCenters

One sensory bin was not enough for the first week of camp, so I also set up one with a sunflower seed bird seed mix, magnets, and magnetic alphabet letters.  The magnets (aff. link) are from Learning Resources.  The magnetic alphabet set was one I had in my stash, but you can also find one here (aff. link) that I also own.

I realized that we had not pulled out the Cranium Fort set this year, so each day we started a building for the students and let them try to add to it.  The older students spent more time building and the younger ones sat in it.  This set is no longer manufactured, but you can see a link to it here (aff. link) so you know what it is in case you fall upon it at a yard sale or somewhere.

IceCreamShopIn addition to these activities and our cooking we also had out some puzzles, Potato Heads, Lego Duplos and our Ice Cream Shop Pretend Play.  These kept our full house of preschoolers very busy during our cooking camp.

Bird Theme Centers in PreK and a Giveaway

BirdsandFeathers

For our centers time in PreK for a birds theme, we worked our muscles in our fingers in many ways.  I created birds from clothes pins to be Momma and Papa bird.  I tried glue dots for the feathers, but hot glue definitely works better and I repaired them with hot glue.  Students grabbed pipe cleaner worms and fed them to the baby birds, which are large pom poms with google eyes and beaks glued on them.  I found similar ideas that inspired mine here and here.

We also placed beads on the matching color feathers for more fine motor practice.  Just a warning–be sure that the beads will fit on the feathers.  Our blue feather had quite a thick quill, which made it a bit difficult to get started for some students.  We used goose feathers (aff. link) for this center.  This center idea came from ChildCareLand.

BirdsBugsPlayDough

We share some of our supplies in our preschool, so the bug play dough tools came to my class this week instead of during bug week.  My students enjoyed pressing these down into their play dough.  I also had several play dough mats, including some from  1+1+1=1 .  The bug dough tools are from Lakeshore and are called 3D dough stampers.

CuttingPatternBlocks

To prepare for our build a bird craft you saw in my last post I had a bunch of bird wings for students to cut out during the week in a few colors, including white so they could color them if they wished.

I also found several bird themed pattern block pages to put out on the table.  This site has a bunch, just be sure to always print actual size and NOT to fit so that your blocks will fit on the page.  I made that mistake a couple times in the past and could not figure out what I was doing wrong.

And now for my giveaway.  Since this is Teacher Appreciation Week, I will be doing a giveaway for a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.  Giveaway starts at midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning.  Winner will be announced Wednesday morning so that you can use your card during the sale.  Be sure to use the code THANKYOU18 when doing purchases during the sale on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Even if you don’t win the giveaway you can get great deals, especially on bundles, which will be an extra 25% off.

The bundles I use every week in my classroom include these:

Question of the Day Bundle

Alphabet Bundle

Calendar Cards Bundle

And here is the giveaway!!!!
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