Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Stars!

Yesterday and today, I did Santa activities with my Preschoolers.

For morning work, they completed a color-by-number...

During story time, I read That's Not Santa by Leonard Kessler.  Then, we made Santa Stars.


Here's a close-up (done by a student in my 3 year old class)

For one of our center activities we completed this b and d letter sort from Mrs. Lee's Deck the Halls Christmas unit available on TPT:

I just noticed this kiddo has a d on the b Santa... oh well!

Yesterday and today, we also had our Holiday Party.  I let parent volunteers plan crafts for them to do during the party, and here's one of the crafts the 3 year old class got to do...

Cute, huh!

For all the other teachers that worked today, we made it!!!!  Enjoy the holidays!!!  I probably won't have any new posts until the New Year.  But, I'll still be stalking blogs hoping to find some cute things for after the break.  I do plan to start creating some things, so hopefully soon I'll have some of those things ready to share!  

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 19, 2011

With the help of my husband... Currently December!

Grinch Day!

First, I want to thank Erin at Creating and Teaching for blogging about my blog!  It's been really exciting to see my stats and followers go up!  Thanks to everyone who's been stopping by!

Today I read How the Grinch Stole Christmas to my 4 year old class.  Then we made Deanna Jump's Grinch Grin, from her Grinch Unit.  We didn't do the drawing/writing part of this activity, so ours are a bit plain, but it was fun and cute nonetheless. Unfortunately, I haven't done a lot of writing with my preschoolers yet (just their names and numbers 0-10).  My New Year's Resolution is to start up Kid Writing!

Here's a close-up of one:

I absolutely LOVE the spin Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade put on her Grinch... the scalloped circles for the Santa hat (see below).  I plan to buy a scalloped circle puncher, but I had to make due with my plain circle puncher for this year!  I have circle punchers in a few different sizes, and I have to say, they are worth the money for all the time they've saved me!!!

This was our Grinch morning work...

And this patterning activity was one of our center activities (also from Deanna Jump's Grinch Unit):

Most of my kiddos gave me what you see above.  I
A few, like the one below, really went to town...(I just realized the pattern is the same as the one above, which is funny, because they sit at different tables!)

Awhile back, I said I would post a picture of the gingerbread men we watercolored.... note to self... print these poor guys on cardstock next time.... regular copier paper creates for ripped projects and whining!  Here are some that did not tear...  

And finally, I was hoping to link up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade's Currently December, but I'm not sure how to add text onto her template.... somebody's going to have to explain that to me!  : )  

One more day of the Grinch with my 3s tomorrow, then I'll be back on Wednesday or Thursday with cute little Santa Stars to share!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Polar Express

Earlier this week, I read The Polar Express to both my 3 year old class and my 4 year old class.  Afterwards, we made these Polar Express trains from Deanna Jump's Polar Express Unit:

When I purchased this unit from Deanna, I didn't know it had this train craft.  It was an unexpected but hoped for treasure that I knew was PERFECT for my class to do as a follow-up to the book!  Unfortunately, I didn't have gray construction paper for the front of the train, so we used black which blends in with the background paper, but I still love how they turned out. (Click HERE for a link to Deanna's TPT store).

To guide my students in making this craft, I made a template for them by running the construction paper through the copier (quick and easy).  I outlined this one with white crayon so it would show up in the picture better.

I was worried that my sweeties would have trouble positioning the pieces right on the paper without having a guide, and I wanted to make sure they had enough room to do some painting.  After giving them their template to guide them, I passed out the pieces for them to glue on.  They did a great job putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

For morning work, we completed a Mailbox page that I thought fit with our Polar Express theme:
"Tickets to Ride" (I took this picture before the students arrived, so this one isn't done yet)

Every Friday, I send an Optional Homework assignment in each kiddo's folder.  It makes me happy every Monday morning when I see completed homework in their folders that they've brought back in to show me.  I decided to make homework optional because, let's face it, these kids are only 3 or 4.  A lot of the kids have stay-at home moms that are sending their kids to preschool to be enriched.  They don't HAVE to send their kid to preschool, so I work hard to make my preschool program very educational, and I like to send these optional assignments home to give these parents tools to use at home.  I'm lucky that many of my preschoolers get worked with at home.  I think this is GREAT, and I am happy to provide them with resources for extra practice on things we do at preschool.  Below was the optional homework I sent today:

As you can see, I write Optional Homework on the paper so that parents are aware that it's not mandatory.

Thanks for looking!  Have a wonderful weekend!  I'll still be teaching through next Thursday, so be sure to come back soon to see the Grinch and Santa activities I have planned for next week!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Elf Activities

Product Details

Today I read an old version of The Elves and the Shoemaker.
Then, we made cute little elves from Life in First Grade.The patterns for this craft are a free download on Ms. Leslie Ann's blog.

Below is a close-up of one.  Notice that the maker of this one put the shoes on the "right" way.  Above you can see that a couple have their shoes on funny!  : )

As you can see, this was an involved craft.  I had all of the tracing and cutting done ahead of time (with the help of my wonderful classroom aide).  I also had some of the pieces put together ahead of time (I put the ears and hair on the heads. I also put the balls on the shoes and the hat ahead of time also.  AND I glued the googly eyes beforehand as well).  I was so glad I could do this craft with my class.  I'm so lucky right now to have the time on my hands to prepare involved crafts like this one.  Next semester, I will be taking 3 grad classes to get my Reading Specialist certification, so, needless to say, I won't have quite as much time!

Here was our elf morning work:

Students had to color by letter.  (e = green, l = red, and f = yellow).  This free activity can be found HERE.

Below are center activities we did today:

We completed this graphing activity from Fran Kramer at Kindergarten Crayons.  Although we did our gingerbread week last week, I couldn't help but roll this one in.  We did a graphing activity last week, and because graphing is still a pretty new skill for my preschoolers, I was happy to give them more practice with it.

We also filled the sleigh with rhyming words.  This worksheet came from the Dec./Jan. 2011-2012 Mailbox Teacher's Helper for Kindergarten.

I'll be repeating these activities with my 3s tomorrow.  4s did them today.  I'll be back later this week with more holiday fun!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gingerbread Fun!

Here are the Gingerbread Houses we made!  I found this idea at Gluesticks, Games, and Giggles and made my own patterns for the craft with the exception of the candy cane and gingerbread man.

We also did activities from Julie Lee's Gingerbread Unit:

We read and colored The Gingerbread Cookie.

We sorted pictures by beginning sound.

We counted peppermints and made sets to match the numbers.

*All of the above worksheet activities are from Julie Lee's Gingerbread Unit.  I modified the Candy Count worksheet to allow my preschoolers more room to glue their peppermints down.  There are two more on the back, but I only had a couple of my early finishers do those.   

Below, we counted pennies and wrote the number.  My preschoolers do NOT like writing numbers!  

I just ordered these Follow-the-Dots-Number-Stamps from Lakeshore (only $9.95!).  

Follow-The-Dots Number Stamps

Next time we have a center worksheet where students have to write the number, I will allow them to choose the stamp they need, stamp the number, and trace!  Plus, I plan to use these stamps to create some number writing practice pages!  Whether they like it or not, my preschoolers are going to practice writing numbers!  I think using the stamps will make it more fun for them, and fun is good!  

LOVE these Gingerbread girls (above) and gingerbread boys (below)!!

These are from Deanna Jump's Gingerbread Unit.  In her unit, she provided the dimensions for the craft, and I used the dimensions to create the patterns.  This works better for me than having my preschoolers cut the rectangles into circles.  I love how they turned out!  (We did this activity after reading The Gingerbread Girl!)

We'll be reading another gingerbread story tomorrow then doing a watercoloring activity.  Pictures to come!

My sweet dog, Louie, in his jingle bell collar!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Heart Shaped Christmas Trees and some coin talk

This past week, my classes constructed these Christmas trees out of hearts from Reagan Tunstall's Christmas Arts pack, available in her TPT store:

If you've purchased her pack, you can see that I adjusted the activity... I opted to let my preschoolers freely decorate their tree and didn't have them make a pattern out of the ornaments... although, of course, I would have loved to have them do it.  My kids have gotten really good at extending patterns, but making patterns is still a work in progress.  I also opted not to use the square or triangle ornaments... just the circles.  Although everything was precut for them.... as you can tell from just a few trees that fit in the picture, each tree came out unique.  We completed this craft after reading The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree, and my preschoolers were excited to be able to make their own big and beautiful tree!

Here is an extending patterns practice page that we did.... from Mailbox

We also got practice recognizing numbers and counting with this Mailbox page featuring pennies...

Speaking of pennies.... I review coins and coin values EVERYDAY with my preschoolers since I know that coins and coin values are taught and expected to be learned by the end of Kindergarten.  From my experience teaching Kindergarten as a Long Term sub, it takes awhile for kids to learn coins.  So, I figured, why not expose them in Preschool.  Can't hurt, right?  One of my preschool parents has a son in my 4 year old class and a son in Kindergarten and told me that her Kindergarten son, who is learning coins in Kindergarten, got upset that his preschooler brother knew all of the coins and he didn't!  He was upset, too, that he wasn't taught coins in preschool  : )  Of course, not all of my preschoolers have learned all of the coins and values, but several have, and this makes me smile!

I use poems that I found HERE on Jessica Meacham's website.  Under December, January, February and March, click on Coins.  Clicking on the coins link will give you access to her free printables of the poems.  I made the Shared Reading Chart Sized Posters!  Before I found blogs, I found Jessica Meacham's website, and let me tell you, it is a valuable resource.  I've taken and used a lot of her ideas!

This week I will be doing a gingerbread theme, and I was excited to find a free gingerbread printable (ordering numbers 11-20), from Fran Kramer that you can find HERE...and as I was writing my post, she posted ANOTHER gingerbread freebie (writing lowercase letters to match the given uppercase letter)!!!  Yay!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree!

In the spirit of decorating for Christmas, I chose Christmas trees as our theme this week.  I figured a lot of families decorate after Thanksgiving, and the mention of Christmas trees got my preschoolers really excited!

First, we read The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever by Steven Kroll.

Image Detail

Then, I gave my kiddos a precut and prepunched Christmas tree for them to decorate with squares of construction paper!  Here's how they turned out...

The template I used for the trees is from DLTK.  Click on the link to take you right to the free template.  Instead of construction paper, you could use tissue paper!  Another idea is to add a star to the top of the tree.  A lot of my students asked about having a star... (I'll have to remember that for next year).  And you could add a hole-punch and string at the top to turn the craft into a paper ornament.  Tomorrow and Friday my classes will be making a "Christmas Hearts Pattern Tree"  from Tunstalls Teaching Tidbits.  This link will take you to her blog- not to the craft!  Come back tomorrow to see pictures, but in the meantime, be sure to check out Reagan's blog and her Christmas Art Projects Pack on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Here's another tree activity that we did today for morning work... students had to sequence the pictures.  This is from a Mailbox magazine.  If you're ever curious of which month and edition any of the pages come from let me know and I can add that.

Happy Tree Decorating!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Old Lady Activity

I am FINALLY getting around to posting our I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie activity...

After reading the story, I had students color the old lady and the story pieces (compliments of Lil' Country here for the link).  I put all of the story pieces in a ziplock bag and attached it behind the old lady.  I'm not sure the source of the old lady printable.  I got it from a teacher that I subbed for.  I loved that one of my students colored the old lady's face green... I think I'd be feeling pretty green too if I ate everything that she did!  haha!

Before Thanksgiving, we also completed "Feather Count" from Julie Lee's Happy Thanksgiving Unit.

Today, we began Christmas tree activities!  Tomorrow I'll post the hole-punched Christmas trees that we decorated!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie

LOVE this story.  However, when I read this story to my 4 year old preschool class, I have to say that I felt conflicted about whether or not to read the line "Perhaps she'll die."  Ultimately, I made the decision to skip it, but I'm still wondering if I made the right choice.  My decision boiled down to me not being sure how to  include it... read it and address it, or read it and ignore it unless one of my 4s said something about it...  What do you do about this line of text?

Our "old lady" activities coming soon after I get through conferences tomorrow!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Paper Plate Turkeys

Today's morning work, a number dot-to-dot, courtesy of

One of our center activities:  (ordering the turkeys from smallest to biggest)

And finally, today's craft:  Paper-plate turkeys...

I found this idea at Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade.  This was the first time we used markers this year in preschool, so the kids just loved doing this turkey project.  Didn't they do a great job with the faces?!  I showed them first and was very impressed at how well they did following my directions!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet the Sight Words

Does anyone else use these DVDs in their classroom?

I use the Meet the Sight Word movies by Preschool Prep EVERYDAY with my preschoolers (during snack time...keeps 'em quieter, AND why not make snack time educational..., and I also play them at the end of the day while we're packing up...again... it keeps the class quieter and gives them a little more practice with the sight words).  They.are.amazing!  The kids LOVE them!  And I LOVE them. 

I bought Meet the Sight Words 1 first to try out, and I have to say... at first I thought to myself, man, what a waste of money because the movie says the words over and over, and it just kind of seemed corny, but nonetheless, I decided to try it out with my preschoolers, and I couldn't have been more wrong.  Not a waste of money at all!  I am so impressed by how many of these words my THREE and FOUR year old classes have picked up from these movies.  I now own Meet the Sight Words 1, 2, and 3.

I hope to get a contracted job teaching Kindergarten, and if/when I do, I will play these for my Kindergarten students during their snack time and at the end of the day as well.  If you teach preschool or Kindergarten, I HIGHLY recommend these sight word DVDs.  Your class will love them and learn from them!  

Meet the Numbers, Meet the Letters, Meet the Digraphs, and more are also available and on my list of things to purchase!