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.

 

 

Road Trip to the Book Fair

Silly Book Fair Visit Photo
Silly Book Fair Visit Photo

On Saturday my youngest daughter and I decided to take a road trip to the Green Valley Book Fair, near Harrisonburg, Virginia.  We generally visit the book fair once or twice a year in conjunction with a trip to visit relatives.  However, I recently saw a book that we really wanted at least two copies of advertised on their facebook page as being available this time, so we decided to just make a day of it together.

 

Photo borders to add to my collection from the Green Valley Book Fair
Photo borders to add to my collection from the Green Valley Book Fair

The Green Valley Book Fair is not to be missed if you are a reader and especially if you are a teacher.  This time I mostly picked up items for my daughter and for some summer reading, but I also managed to get some photo borders for my classroom as well as some geoboards.

Three Summer Reading Selections
Three Summer Reading Selections

For my summer pleasure reading I grabbed three books, one of which I finished before we had been home for 24 hours.  I picked up a copy of Fahrenheit 451, The Long Walk, and Stalin’s Daughter.  I read The Long Walk Saturday afternoon, evening, and finished it Sunday morning before church.  Since my husband has seen the movie and appreciated it, I will probably watch that soon as well as part of my summer break.

The book that we just had to have copies of was Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.  We borrowed a copy from the library after reading Between Shades of Gray.  My daughter really wanted a copy for herself and we decided that my other daughter will gift a copy to her history teacher as an end of the year gift since she read Between Shades of Gray at my daughter’s suggestion earlier in the year.

What are you reading this summer?

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?

Spaghetti, Please! Healthy Habits Sensory Bin

I have a Healthy Habits theme coming up in my preschool classroom for the next couple of weeks.  The other teacher of four year olds and I wanted to swap sensory bins after a week so I wanted to come up with something fun that was not terribly messy since the other bin involves messy fun with pretend teeth and brushing.

I searched a bit around and discovered a photo of a spaghetti themed sensory bin.  I also looked into using real spaghetti but that seemed a bit too messy for this time around and would probably involve making new spaghetti each day, which I did not really want to sign up myself as well as my fellow teacher to do.

I checked out our pom poms supplies and discovered a lack of large brown ones for meatballs and not much in the way of small ones for cheese so I headed off to the craft store.  Unfortunately there were no brown pom poms to be found there and only mixed sets that might have yellow so I needed another solution.

In comes the pom pom maker I saw in the crochet and knitting aisle.  I picked this Clover brand one up and found it very easy to use.  (You can use my affiliate link to see more details about it from Amazon.)  In the past I have made those cardboard rings to make pom poms and felt like I did not make ones that were uniform or well tied.  So far, so good with these ones.  I will do an update after a week of use by preschoolers to let you know how they fare.


Next up is cutting off white yarn into foot long sections to look like spaghetti.  My yarn actually came from the mill ends section of the local craft store, unlike the white yarn pictured above, since I already had it on hand from another project.  My inspiration used real pasta, but not spaghetti.  Since we have had real pasta as well as real spaghetti in the sensory bin before this year, I wanted to try something new.


For sauce I pulled out some red felt and cut it into organic looking blobs.  We will see what the kids think of that tomorrow when we have our first day of school this week.

Getting ready to cut and laminate the alphabet and number meatballs.`
Getting ready to cut and laminate the alphabet and number meatballs.`

I also created some quick meatballs with alphabet letters and numbers on them for some review activities.  My plan is for the students to pull out a letter with a tool and then make that letter with one of the yarn spaghetti noodles on the plate.  With the numbers I was thinking the students could make a plate with that many yarn meatballs or that many spaghetti pieces.  I found a similar idea for kindergarten students with words on Mrs. Bremer’s Class blog.


Can’t have a spaghetti sensory bin without this song. I need to remember to teach this one to my students tomorrow.

I am looking forward to seeing what my preschoolers think of this spaghetti sensory bin tomorrow.  What is in your sensory bin this week?

Planning for December, part two

Just before Thanksgiving my coworker and I attempted to plan the entire month of December together. I will admit that I did a good job of getting this coming week planned, but only have a general idea of the rest of the month. I am grateful that my coworker wanted to plan this way, though, because it will really make the rest of the month much easier.

Christmas Q-tip Painting
I decided that I wanted some fun fine motor practice for my students this month. We have done a few q-tip painting activities in the past, mostly focusing on making the shapes of the letter of the week. The set I created involves dot painting along the outlines of Christmas related drawings. I will probably use the black line with the clip art this time around in my classroom.

To use these printables I provide q-tips or other cotton swabs and a small paint palette with a few colors of paint as well as a paper towel to set used swabs on. There are a few students who really like to mix colors, so I do need to remind them that these are shared paints for the center and that mixing is not a choice. I will try to make sure I do have an activity in which those students who like to mix paint will be able to mix during an art project, if possible, during the week. Otherwise, I will try to let my happy mixers be the last to use the paint at the end of the last centers time so that they can mix to their heart’s content.

Visit TPT and make  your wishlist now

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site wide sale Monday and Tuesday, so make your wishlists now and be sure to check out one of those days. I have a few items I want to purchase myself and need to decide how much I can budget. Some are just to use in my classroom and some are to make items to use in my classroom as well as add to my store.

Planning for December in Preschool

12 Days of Christmas Set

Thanks to an awesome customer I have twelve new questions for the holidays for my Question of the Day Bundle.  Between these questions and the ones already in the bundle I am sure I have plenty for the entire month of December.  I may end up making a few more, though, since we are focusing on the five senses during December and I may want to have a few questions that relate the senses to Christmas.

I am also planning to switch my pretend play from a Construction Site to a Post Office, so I have a bunch of work to do before Thanksgiving so that I don’t feel overwhelmed when I get back.  I need to pack up the golf tee nails, the sand paper, the wood, tool sets, and construction vests.  Since I am planning to move my writing center into the Post Office I need to pick up a bunch of Christmas cards from the dollar store to stock that part of the center.

Welcome to my Classroom

After a break from Laura’s Lily Pad to get my school year started, complete a college course on Play and Learning, and deal with some family issues, I now am dusting off my blog and sharing my classroom photos of my new Ocean Friends PreK classroom.

I started out the year with an ice cream shop in my dramatic play area.  The freshly painted wooden kitchen pieces were donated by a family from my church and were painted by another member of the church.  My director made most of the decorations when she did this dramatic play area in her classroom in year’s past.