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?

 

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?

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

Cleaning and Rearranging My Preschool Classroom

Preschool graduation has come and gone.  Now is the time to clean and rearrange my preschool classroom.  I was fortunate enough to have a great helper along with two preschool student helpers work on scrubbing down all of the chairs, tables, and shelves in my classroom.

Stacked and clean and out of the way for the moment
Stacked and clean and out of the way for the moment

The chairs were in a lovely circle around the circle time rug to dry, thanks to my young helpers who pretended it was a castle.  I stacked them so I could do my rearranging and vacuum all the bits of Magic Eraser from the rug.

The photos in this post show the aftermath.  Now I am ready to start rearranging to get ready for Art Camp next week.  My preschool has three day camps each week of June; I will be teaching the first two this year. I will be using three easels, although only two were in the room when I snapped some photos.

Dramatic Play area looks rather empty right now, but soon will be filled with an ice cream shop
Dramatic Play area looks rather empty right now, but soon will be filled with an ice cream shop

The corner will become the ice cream shop.  Thankfully we already had a bin full of items to create the shop that we have used in other years and I will be adding just a few finishing touches to it before camp starts.

I will be spending tomorrow morning in my classroom, hoping to get most of the way ready so that I won’t have too much to think about when next week rolls around and it is camp time.

Does your school do anything different in the summer months?

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.

If you like the coat hook and cubby labels here, please check out my Ocean Theme Decor Bundle.  I set up the file so that you will automatically get the same size and font, but you can also switch it up and make changes if you have a favorite font on your computer.

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?

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.