Easter Centers in PreK

EasterMathCenter1

I have a few Easter centers that get used every year because I know my students will enjoy them.  The basket of eggs from Dollar Tree, along with the egg grabber that I picked up somewhere along the way, keep my students busy counting throughout the week.  If you don’t have a Dollar Tree nearby, this set from Amazon looks similar (aff. link).

EasterMathCenter2

We have way too many foam numbers in our craft closet, so I stapled them on small cups for sorting and counting up to 10.  We keep getting alphabet and number foam tubs (aff. link), so I know I have plenty of numbers to create more games.

EasterColorSorting

Another inexpensive and fun center involved more supplies that we usually have plenty of laying around.  Just take a cardboard egg tray and fill it with halves of plastic eggs in various colors.  I added buttons to match with a couple different types of grabbers.  Later in the week I switched out the buttons for pom poms.

SensoryBin

Generally sensory bin photos are the “before” variety that look really adorable.  This is not one of those.  This is the “after” variety, after a day of play.  I filled this with plastic egg pieces that needed to be matched with capital and lowercase letters.  There are also some small baskets, some more glittery eggs, and shredded paper grass.

I highly recommend paper grass (aff. link) over the plastic.  One year I used plastic and the static in the room was ridiculous.  Plastic grass was sticking to the wall and all over the kids playing in it.  I wish I had a photo of it; it was hilarious.

FruitVeggieWords

In addition to Easter we were also starting to discuss healthy habits, so I pulled out the fruit and dairy letter tile cards for my students to build some words.  I decided to use the lowercase cards this time for simple matching.

EasterCardCenter

The best way to get my students busy in the writing center is to have a card writing center.  I found these free card fronts and printed and cut them out.  I also cut and folded some construction paper.  Students glue the message  on the front the card and then write at least the name of the person the card is for and their own name inside.  I have family words and student names available for them.  Many students also drew pictures in the cards.

ResurrectionPuzzle

Due to my jelly beans being too hard to poke toothpicks in, we ended up with this puzzle and some other activities in the science center during the few days we were at school.  For this puzzle I did not cut it all the way up since twenty pieces might be a bit much for some of my students.  I cut some pieces individually and left some with two pieces together.  I had several students call me over to show me that they had completed this puzzle.  You can find this puzzle Christian Preschool Printables.

 

 

Favorite Authors Week with Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond Books

bakingsensorybin

For our favorite author week in PreK I chose to use Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond books.  Since many of them involve baking, we had a baking themed sensory bin.  The base was flour and oatmeal.

closeupbaking

My students loved playing with this bin and used lots of pretend play while working.  The best part was looking over and seeing kids who obviously had touched their faces while playing.  We had several who had to not only wash hands afterwards, but also get a wipe to clean faces.

cookiepuppet1

We do not often make puppets in my class, especially with lots of pre-cut pieces, but since I found this template online and we had our library pretend play up with the puppet show I thought this was the perfect week for a puppet.  You will notice that the puppet above had some whiskers that shifted while drying.

cookiepuppet2

Not sure what the plan was with this puppet’s whiskers, but love the planning for the chocolate chips on the cookie.  Several kids also opened the mouth to draw inside, which was great thinking.

cookiecerealcounting

I was lucky to find cookie cereal at Aldi that was allergen free for my class, so we were even able to have a cookie snack at the end of the week.  We used the cookie cereal with this ten frame match up that you can find free from KidSparkz.  There are a few other activities also available with the set.

spincookie

We also played this spin and cover game with our Aldi cookies.  This one seemed to work okay with the spinner being attached to the game, although I usually prefer them to be separate since my preschoolers sometimes make all the pieces go everywhere when spinning.

IMG_0964

During most years my students really enjoy dice games and dot markers, so combining the two usually means I need to make more copies before the end of the week.  This Mouse Cookie game is from Royal Baloo.

milkandcookie

We also had some letter and sound review with this cookie and milk matching game.  The linking shapes we used were a bit finicky, so my director and I both are thinking of adding a set like these to our wish list to purchase.  If you know of a great brand, please let me know.

storysequencing

After I shared If You Give A Pig A Pancake, I put out this story sequencing activity.  I put velcro on it as well as laminating it instead of having it be a cut and paste activity to make it more age appropriate for my student’s abilities.  They enjoyed following the story in the book and placing the pictures on in the circles.

letterwatercolor

I try to switch up how we work with our letter books each week.   This time around I decided to have them use watercolors at a center throughout the week so that we could cut them up and put them in our letter books on Friday.  My letter books are in my Alphabet Bundle, or you can get the Letter J books separately to try them out.

palmsundaypathgameeasel

Our Bible lesson this week was Jesus riding into Jerusalem.  I decided to put this path game on the easel and use alphabet magnets that match my student’s names as their game pieces.

gears

My science table this week was filled with this Learning Resources gear set.  My students enjoyed exploring this set throughout the week.  Since we had not used it this year I just put it out for exploration, with no specific instruction or requirements.  I did answer questions if students asked.

Some of the stories we read for our author week:

A Few Nursery Rhyme Activities in PreK

 

A Rather Tall Wall for Humpty Dumpty
A Rather Tall Wall for Humpty Dumpty

We have been having literacy themed studies in our early learning center lately, including a study of nursery rhymes.  Above you can see one of the science based activities that went along with Humpty Dumpty.  My students were given some blocks, a Humpty Dumpty Easter egg with some washers inside to make him magnetic, and a magnet.  They built walls, put Humpty Dumpty on the wall, and then tried to make him walk along the wall with the magnet without falling.

Another Humpty Dumpty Wall
Another Humpty Dumpty Wall

As you can see, different students had different ideas about how to build a wall for Humpty Dumpty.  I also sent home a bag with instructions to fill it with something that would keep Humpty Dumpty safe.  We then recited the Humpty Dumpty rhyme, tossing the bag with the raw egg and whatever they brought to keep him safe off the wall (preschool shelving.)  The kids loved waiting to see whether each egg made it or not.  This year we had some break and some not, which is great.  One year none of them broke so I let the kids put an egg in the bag with nothing so they could see one break.

Baa Baa Black Sheep Sensory Bin
Baa Baa Black Sheep Sensory Bin

When I looked at my past lesson plans I could not immediately remember what I had done for a sensory bin with Nursery Rhymes.  Then I saw the sheep and the cards in my box of Nursery Rhyme stuff and realized what an easy bin this is.  I just poured in our art supply box of pom poms (Amazon referral link)  in, along with some cards and sheep from Making Learning Fun and a few tools for fine motor practice and I was set.  We did not play shear the sheep as suggested.  Instead they filled their sheep with wool based upon how many pom poms the sheep suggested.  Of course, the students also made up their own games all week as well, including lots of different types of sorting.

Library Dramatic Play
Library Dramatic Play

To go along with our literacy theme the dramatic play area was turned into a library.  One of my coworkers created much of this last year, with help from Play to Learn Preschool’s set.  This was a great way to get students to remember our library shelf by moving it into dramatic play and adding opportunities to share stories with one another with big books and felt pieces for retelling.

Story Time Area
Story Time Area

Felt pieces were placed in the blue bin below the easel.  I switched them out based upon books and rhymes we had been doing during circle time.

Check out and return area
Check out and return area

Students were very excited to check out library books and take them home.  Most students were good about bringing books back quickly, but we did have a few who needed some reminding.  This is good practice for when they go to elementary school and need to keep track of school library books.

Puppet Show
Puppet Show

After the first week of Nursery Rhymes I added the puppet show to the library.  Our pastor was kind enough to build this for our school.  I placed puppets in the center that went along with our nursery rhymes and Bible stories so that they could retell them with the puppets.  It also helped give them ideas and reduced the temptation to turn the puppets into boxing gloves.

Nursery Rhyme Calendar Set

We have been using our Nursery Rhyme Calendar during our literacy weeks.  I chose to use the Hey Diddle Diddle version with an ABCD pattern.

Question of the Day Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, Favorite Books

We also used many questions from the Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, and Favorite Books set, including the one above.

So Much For Space Week

Space Theme Sensory Bin
Space Theme Sensory Bin

We were starting back from Christmas break with a space theme, which goes along well with our Bible lesson about the three kings following the star.  Then, on top of the crazy cold weather, we had a glancing blow from that super storm which resulted in a two day week.  Not much time for space.  I will be giving the kids one last day to play with a few things on Monday before moving on, however.

You can see our space theme sensory bin above.  I used black beans as the base.  I also included some glow in the dark stars of various sizes as well as the space themed tube. I have included links to similar items below. I get a small commission if you order through my link. I picked up the space tube at Michaels or ACMoore and I am unsure where the stars came from since my director picked them up. I know our pack did not have as many as the example I found online, but they look like the same kind.

Uh Oh Snow Dough in the Space Sand
Uh Oh Snow Dough in the Space Sand

So it was the first day back after Christmas break and we had snow dough on the art table and space sand on the writing table.  They are nowhere near each other, but near the end of the day I found snow dough in the space sand.  I picked out the big pieces and decided the rest were stars.  See what we were doing with it below.

Space Theme Sensory Writing Center
Space Theme Sensory Writing Center

I found the cards for this activity at Homeschool Creations.  The black sand I found at a dollar store as well as the metal pan.  If you do not see black sand at your local dollar store, you can also try your craft store.  The smallest size container I see through Amazon is here.  I have also heard of people dying sand, but my experience has not been successful at this point.

Space Theme Question of the Day

Above you can see a quick phone shot of one of my questions for this space theme week.  It was interesting to see that not every kid thought they would like to live in the space station.  Maybe if I had put “visit” the answers would have been different.

Below you can find a few of the items in my shop that I used in my class for my space theme.  Please don’t laugh at the cover to my space word wall; it is the very first item I listed for sale in my shop and I no longer have an editable file because my computer crashed shortly afterwards.  I am quite disappointed that we did not have time to play my space path game and will figure out some other time to pull it out soon.

Outer Space Path Game
Outer Space Path Game
Question of the Day Space, Hibernation, Friends, Healthy Habits, Dinosaurs
Question of the Day
Space Theme Word Wall
Space Theme Word Wall

Christmas Theme Sensory Bin in PreK

Christmas Sensory Bin
Christmas Sensory Bin

I was finalizing my lesson plans when I realized I had no idea where my Christmas sensory bin material was.  I took a look at last year’s plans and remembered that I had thrown it all away because it was looking rather tired.  It had been a long weekend and my brain was not working so I headed over to Dollar Tree to gather some materials since I needed some inexpensive ornaments for our classroom tree.

All Dollar Tree supplies
All Dollar Tree supplies

I picked up red and white paper shred, meant for gift wrapping.  I also picked up these long stretchy cords in green and gold that were meant to be used in crafting wreaths.  I cut them into pieces.  I also purchased a couple Christmas tree shapes trays and several Christmas boxes that could open.  In addition there were some Christmas erasers and a couple sets of Christmas ornaments that were shaped like presents in two different sizes.

A little close up of some of the items in the bin
A little close up of some of the items in the bin

Since we had much less time than usual in our classroom this past week I will be using this bin again this week.  To change it up a bit I am adding some jingle bells, a magnet wand, and a couple tools for picking up items.

I did have to remind students that the small present shaped ornaments were not to really be opened since all that was inside was a piece of styrofoam.  A couple did get opened anyway, but after a reminder we made it through the week with only two casualties out of twenty ornaments.

Fall Theme in PreK

Fall Writing Center
Fall Writing Center

I wanted to use some sensory writing in my writing center during my fall theme, but had not found exactly what I wanted in my stash or online.  I ended up using the clip art I had purchased for my calendar sets to make some alphabet cards that I can use in several different ways, depending upon where I want to use them.  I had thought I was going to use a more fall themed salt or sand in my center, but I forgot to check for supplies and ended up using green.  The kids did not care at all about having a fall color sand or salt and someone was at this center all week long.

Fall writing center in action
Fall writing center in action

I got the idea for using the clothes pins from Play to Learn Preschool.  With this center there is always a bit of salt or sand on the table and floor by the end of the day, but a little bit of reminding how to gently shake the tray to clear it makes it be less and less each time you pull it out.

Fall Leaves painting with baking soda paint
Fall Leaves painting with baking soda paint

We did a few crafty projects for our fall theme.  One of them involved baking soda paint and vinegar drops for a science twist.  First, I let the students pick which leaf they would like to paint.  I found some leaf templates online and enlarged them a bit.  Students chose the color of baking soda paint, which was baking soda, water, and liquid watercolor.  Note that the paint needs to be stirred frequently.

Adding vinegar for fizz
Adding vinegar for fizz

Once students finished painting they got to add vinegar for some fizzy leaves.  Once these dried I cut them out and we put them up in our fellowship hall windows to help decorate for our Thanksgiving Feast.

Fall Tree Craft
Fall Tree Craft

Another of our crafty activities involved giving students various sized strips of brown paper to create a tree.  Once the tree was created, students could use the end of toilet paper tubes to dip in fall colored paint to create leaves on the trees.  The leaf idea came from here.  I enjoy this activity because every student’s project definitely looks different than anyone else.

Fall Sensory Bin
Fall Sensory Bin

My sensory bin was filled with fabric and foam leaves.  I also had a leave shaped tray as well as acorn and pumpkin shaped colanders.  In addition I had table scatter in the shape of leaves, acorns, and Indian corn.  Students had fun sorting as well as searching through the leaves for all the hidden treasures.  I could have easily added an alphabet set from my Fall Alphabet Centers to this as well, but wanted to keep it more open ended for this week since I was using them in my writing center already.

Fall Word Wall
Fall Word Wall

I had space on my pocket chart for many of the words in my Fall Themed Word Wall set.  This could also be used in my writing center for word writing, depending upon what I have done in that center the week before.  I try to rotate the types of activities in each center so that kids don’t start ignoring a center because it always has the same basic activity.

Fall Word Building
Fall Word Building

I was happy to see several students have success with my Fall Word Building activity.  I have introduced using the letter tiles (affiliate link) at least one other time with my students, but had much more interest in using them with this set.  They use the letter tiles to spell the fall words.  In the set there are options to simply match letters, match capital to lowercase, or to spell with only the word under the clip art.  Since my students do not have much experience yet, we used the lowercase set to match letter to letter.

 

 

 

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel

I pulled out Sneaky Snacky Squirrel (affiliate link), which is always a hit.  The only thing you need to watch is that some kids want to really jam those acorns into the logs.  I had to take the log from one child who had jammed them nearly all the way through.

Personalized Fall Book
Personalized Fall Book

Finally, another hit this week was our Personalized Fall Books.  I was hoping these would be a hit, especially after the work it took for me to figure out how to make them so they would be easy for everyone else to make their own later.  I used these in small groups.  We took turns sharing what the picture was and reading what our sentence said after I helped the first child figure it out.  They really enjoyed being able to read a book with their own name on each page.  I look forward to using more of these with my students and have plans for more in my shop soon.  (I already have the Winter and Spring ones ready.)

Pumpkin Week in PreK

As promised, I am sharing the marble painted apples and pumpkins that we created during the apple and pumpkins themes.  Students had a great time rolling their marbles back and forth through the paint and only a few got away.

Puzzle printed on milk filter for felt board
Puzzle printed on milk filter for felt board

I am always looking for new activities for my easel and felt board.  I discovered the suggestion to use milk filters for printing for felt boards on Making Learning Fun.  In this case I printed a puzzle for pumpkins week.  The one thing you have to watch is that these can get messed up if they get wet.

Pumpkin Table Scatter and Ice Cube Trays for one to one and fine motor practice
Pumpkin Table Scatter and Ice Cube Trays for one to one and fine motor practice

Table scatter can often be found in craft stores, the dollar store, or the dollar spot.  I had some pumpkin table scatter that I paired here with pumpkin theme ice cube trays from the Dollar Tree.  I put two different kinds of tools to grab the pumpkins with for fine motor practice.

Pumpkin Seed Counting
Pumpkin Seed Counting

For this center students need to choose a number and then count out that many pumpkin seeds.  This set of cards can be found at ChildCareLand.  I placed this center next to the spot where I have my number posters so that students could use it for reference if they were unsure of the number.  I modeled how to use the number posters to help them as well.

Pumpkin Slime
Pumpkin Slime

I made Pumpkin Slime, which seemed to be great for the first few days.  This recipe had Borax in it and I think the last time I made it I used liquid starch instead.  It worked great at first.  I added pony beads to it, which the kids loved picking out.  However, something happened the Thursday evening of this week to change the consistency of the slime.  The first kids to get into the bin could not get the slime to let go of them.  It took a very long time to figure out how to get the slime off of them, so I had to close down the bin for the day.  I am not sure if there was a change in weather that caused the slime to change or what, but I think I may try a liquid starch recipe the next time.

Dot Marker Letter B
Dot Marker Letter B

Our letter focus this week was the letter B.  When I do dot marker activities with my students I like to have a few different options.  Dot markers tend to be a popular center and students are at a variety of levels in their alphabet awareness at this point in the year.  For students ready to start listening for the B sound I use my Alphabet Letter and Sound Search pages.  I also found a few other letter B dot marker activities, including the one pictured above by RoyalBaloo.

Pumpkin Play Dough
Pumpkin Play Dough

I always make play dough for my classroom.  For this time of year I made orange play dough with pumpkin pie spice added to it.  I put it in individual slide lock bags with my students’ names on them.  This way students need to use name recognition to find their own play dough.  They also need to be responsible for their own play dough as well as keeping their germs to themselves.  The play dough mats shown are from Living Well Mom.  I did have several students create pumpkins to go on these mats, which is great since occasionally students just ignore the mats and play (which is fine as well.)

Pumpkin Alphabet Match
Pumpkin Alphabet Match

For this pumpkin alphabet match I only chose the letters we had focused on so far this year.  This way there were not too many to spread out and get confused over at this point in the year.  I found this set at This Reading Mama.  I wish the lowercase letter a was a different font for this set, but since I did not cut apart the capital and lowercase letters for my set it works out okay.

Pumpkin Exploration in the Science Center
Pumpkin Exploration in the Science Center

For science we had several pumpkins on hand to explore in different ways.  At first we checked out the outsides with a few ways of measuring the pumpkins.  One of the days I had a bin full of water so that the students could explore sinking and floating.  Our final day involved exploring the insides of the pumpkin.

These are a few of the activities we completed during Pumpkin week.  What is your favorite pumpkin related activity in your classroom?

 

 

Down on the Farm Theme in PreK

One of my farm themed questions of the day
One of my farm themed questions of the day

We start each day in PreK with a question of the day.  Most of them relate to the theme we are working on in class.  My students’ parents really like to wait to see which answer their children will pick before they leave for the morning.  You can find farm themed questions in this set or in my Question of the Day bundle.

Rosie's Walk path game
Rosie’s Walk path game

One of the many farm themed books we read during our farm theme is Rosie’s Walk.  I found this path game at Making Learning Fun and braved using our large laminator to create it.  I used this as a shape review game.  I also printed the felt board pieces from the same sight for my students to use in the library corner during the farm theme.

Matching horses with their clothes pin legs
Matching horses with their clothes pin legs

For another sorting and fine motor activity, I had my students match up horse clothes pin legs to laminated colored bodies.  I used permanent marker to color the legs since paint does not seem to stay.  I used this in assessing my student knowledge of colors as well as pincher grasp.  I found the printable horses here.

Pattern Blocks on the Easel
Pattern Blocks on the Easel

I try to use my easel in different ways, so for the farm theme I used one side with pattern block patterns.  I put contact paper on top of the print outs and gave the students foam pattern block pieces (affiliate link) to stick to the contact paper.  It stays sticky enough to be used for a couple weeks, if interest stays.  I switched out a couple of the pictures for the second week to renew interest for those who had already tried it the first week.  Some of the pattern block pages come from PreKinders and the alligator, which goes with our letter that we were studying, comes from Jessica’s Corner of Cyberspace.

Farm themed sensory bin with bird seed
Farm themed sensory bin with bird seed

For my farm themed sensory bin, I used a filler of bird seed.  I created fence pieces with hot glue and two sized of popsicle sticks.  I also added letters to sort the animals.  We had some lincoln logs to create a barn as well.  As a preschool teacher, I am sure you can imagine what it looks like at the end of each day (or even a few minutes after the kids get to school.) Many of the animals come from a farm themed tube, but others are ones that my youngest daughter outgrew.

Poke Pin Pig and Letter A
Poke Pin Pig and Letter A

One of the fine motor activities that my PreK students enjoy is using the large poke pins.  For our farm theme I found a poke pin pig from This Reading Mama.  I also pulled out a letter A poke pin page from this set of Miss Helen’s Hippos.  I have a few cork board sheets stacked on top of each other to help keep from getting tiny holes in the table.

Farm Animal Word Building
Farm Animal Word Building

Another resource I used from Making Learning Fun were these letter tile cards.  You can find the letter tiles on Amazon (affiliate link).  It did take some work to get them to print out correctly for me because I did not have the size paper suggested.  Not sure which story these corresponded with since I printed them out quite a while ago.

Dramatic Play Prep Cutting Practice
Dramatic Play Prep Cutting Practice

During our first week on the farm I had my students work on creating items that would go into our Pumpkin Patch the following week.  We created pumpkins from paper bags.  Students cut leaves for plants, cut popcorn pieces for the popcorn machine, and cut hay for the hay ride.  I was able to have each student take a turn so I could assess everyone’s cutting skills at this point in the year.  All of these cutting ideas come from Pocket of Preschool’s Pumpkin Patch dramatic play set.

Next I will show you how the Pumpkin Patch turned out…

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?

 

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?