Sunday, December 16, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Reading... and a Button Christmas Tree craft!

   In light of what happened this past Friday in Newton, Connecticut, I was too heart broken to post  on Friday and offer up a Freebie. I will post it another day.
   As an Early Childhood teacher and a parent, all I can say is that I cannot even begin to imagine what those families are going through. My hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of them during this very difficult time.
    It has become a sad world to live in, hasn't it?  It serves as a reminder of how precious life is and how we should always stop to count our blessings and never, ever take anything or anyone for granted.

   On that note, I will quickly share a new tradition that I started this year with my little munchkin. "12 Days of Christmas Reading". I wrapped up 12 books (most purchased from Scholastic, some were taken from my classroom stash and given to her). We began our Christmas Reading on Dec. 12... The first book she unwrapped was Little Critter: The Night Before Christmas!

  And here is another Christmas tree craft that she did this past weekend.  As I was cleaning house to prep for our family (who will be here this coming Saturday), I gave her some red & green buttons, a sheet of cardstock paper and some glue. I drew a triangle on it and told her to glue the buttons to make a tree.
And that was all I had to say! She knew how to start and went right to work!
         It was time consuming but she finished it all by herself!
Now, I need to go get another picture frame, b/c this one is definitely going on the wall!
Now to get settled for the night and get ready for the last few days of school before 
Christmas break! =)
(I will be back later this week with the FREEBIE I needs some tweaking!!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bit by the Christmas Craft Bug!

   This past weekend, I was bit by the Craft Bug and since I was in a Christmas-y mood, I pulled out some of my scrapbooking supplies and started to make a few simple holiday decorations for the house. 
 I only got around to completing one, but I am working on two more.
(Thanks to BHG for this cute and simple idea!)
   I guess my little one felt left out, because she later refused to let me go to the nail salon (which was something I needed badly) because she wanted to do “work.
   So I pulled together some simple Christmas crafts for her to do.
   I cut up strips of different types of green scrapbook paper and she made a beautiful tree!
This tree will be going in a frame!
   And then we did some cutting practice as she made another tree! 
This is as far as she got and then she just wanted to snip away!
   She got a little carried away with the cutting, as you can see!
This evening, after dinner, she told me she wanted to do more work!  
I love it! I have TONS of cute and fun activities planned for her! 
As I prepare the house for my family in the coming week and a half and plan for the Winter Concert at my Head Start Center, I am also finishing up a little Freebie, that I will post by the end of the week- just in time for TBA's Freebie Friday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Counting Christmas!

    My little munchkin has been counting down the days until Christmas! And I am not sure she fully understands the whole tradition of Christmas,..or if she is just counting down the days until our family is here!
   Anyhow, she has amazed me in her math skills lately! We read the book, Counting Christmas by Karen Katz and have been working on lots of fun math activities. 
   I took advantage of the sales on cyber Monday and found some awesome Christmas Center Packs!
   Here is the pack I purchased on TpT which I am featuring in this post.
   I loved these worksheets but since she cannot write numbers yet- I found an alternative way for her to use this worksheet. I used foam numbers and I was very impressed by how fast she completed the sheets!
   Then we worked a little bit on patterns. Umizoomi is one of her favorite shows at the moment and I heard her making patterns along with the show and she was kicking butt! =) So, I knew she was ready for a little pattern work!
   First we worked with some die cut shapes from my xmas stash. There is one of our shih-tzus watching her work! =)
       Then went on to the worksheets included in the math pack.
And then she made her own pattern:
 In my Christmas junk, I also found some stockings with numbers on them. I couldnt remember exactly how I had used them ( I think they were counting mats), but I had her do some ordinal number practice and asked her to line them up and put the stockings in order. And BAM- she was done!
This is just a sneak peek of all the things we have been doing at home! 

Stay tuned for some more... and shhh... a FREEBIE is coming soon!! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sensational Time for Senses!

     Yikes! Where is the time going?So I know Christmas will be here before we know it and I have been BUSY, BUSY trying to keep up with work related stuff and home life!! I am already frazzled... the thought of it is enough to make me want to stay awake all night long just to get things done! I need at least 3 more hours to every day!!
    Anyhow, at my center, we are not "allowed" to celebrate holidays.... BOOO! =(
But I will be trying to squeeze in some holiday fun, in a very sublte way!
     In the meantime, I am going to post a few pics about the unit that we zoomed through in the past week or so:
Sensational Senses!
Here are the Sensory Bags I created to start off our unit (I have posted these before)
And then I came across a 6 pack of VOSS water bottles for my Discovery Bottles!  
They were the perfect size for my kiddos to explore their sense of sight!
     In the first bottle, I put rice and tons of random objects I found lying around in my daughter's playroom. Another bottle (my absolute favorite) was filled with corn syrup (that was just taking up space in my cupboard) and marbles.  Yet another was filled with water and random objects, along with red food coloring. And to make things colorful, I filled one up with sprinkles (which were also just taking space in the cupboard). 
The kiddos LOVE them!
       These things have managed to stay intact!! Which I was worried about b/c my preschoolers can be quite rough!
        I got a little crafty and made a new "What's Inside" sensory box with some of my scrap booking supplies and added some fun stuff inside for the kids to explore their sense of touch.
       I LOVE the look on his face as he uses only his sense of touch! (I did have some cheaters, though who could not help themselves and had to peek!)
       For some fun with our sense of smell, I bought some Scented Oils at the Dollar Tree and added a couple of drops into some of my ink pads for a new stamping experience!
        I also created a Smelly Station, where I put different scents inside of salt & pepper shakers (Also from Dollar Tree) and had the kiddos smell each of them and then we made a graph of which smell they actually liked! (Cocoa Powder was the clear winner!!)
       I have lots more to post... Letter Activities and the beginning of the Christmas Fun at home with my little munchkin! But for now, this will have to do...  =)
     Until tomorrow...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Feeling the Love!

    So I just found out that I have been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award! 
    A HUGE THANK YOU to Jessica over at Fun in PreK-1 for nominating me for this awesome award!

What is the Liebster Award??
The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show newbie bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.

The Rules:
- You must post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
- Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
- No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you)!

So, here we go!
11 Random Things About Me:
1)    I am a huge Michael Jackson Fan!
2)  I hate driving at night!
3)   I collect Madame Alexander 8” dolls.
4)   I get very emotional when I watch ASPCA commercials, b/c I am such an animal lover!
5)   I have many children: 1 son, 1 daughter, 2 shih-tzu dogs, 1 cat and 3 guinea pigs!
6)   The only brand of gym shoes that I wear is NIKE.
7)   I like to sleep with my feet sticking out of the covers.
8)   I am addicted to COFFEE- -but, what teacher isn’t?
9)   I have been working with preschool age children since I was 15 years old! (That was over 15 years ago!)
10)  I hate doing laundry- I make my hubby do it!
11)   I hate my hair but I am too scared to try something new with it.

Now, here are the questions that Jessica asked of me:
1.     What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you?  :)
Wow I can’t even think of where to start with this one! Preschoolers say the craziest things!
The latest was when a Burmese student of mine (who we were told has very limited English) said “Oh shit” aloud during snack time in PERFECT English and the whole room just stopped. All the kiddos looked at me and I had to try so hard NOT to laugh! I was about to choke on  my animal cracker b/c I was dying to bust out laughing!
2.  What is your favorite color?
At the moment- Purple
3.  Favorite children's book?
I have SOOO many… but right now, it would probably be Goldilocks and the Three Bears. (And that is only b/c I am doing my lesson plans around it in the next 2 weeks!)
4.  Favorite places to get cute clip art/fonts?
Scrappin Doodles, DJ Inkers and sometimes Etsy
5.  Cats or dogs?
2 dogs, 1 cat AND 2 guinea pigs
6.  What is your favorite subject and least favorite subject to teach?
I love Language & Literacy, but it can be difficult to teach (especially since I work with quite a few English Language Learners) and I used to not like teaching science, but lately  it has been of a lot of interest to me!
7.  Favorite type of music?
8.  Favorite grown-up book?  :)
Hmmmm, I don’t have much time to read these days, but right now I am educating myself on the intriguing disorder called Sensory Processing Disorder. I am currently reading "The Out of Sync Child"  VERY informative an relevant to some challenges that I am facing this year with my preschoolers.
9.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Hawaii. I have been there (went for our honeymoon) and I would LOVE to go there again someday!
10.  Disneyworld or Disneyland?
I have been to Disney World many times (and will be going again this coming summer). I have never been to Disney Land.
11.  Advice for a new teacher?
Learn all you can about the grade level you teach; be open to new ideas and always keep learning about yourself and your students. Stay positive and make learning fun in the midst of all this testing business.

Okay, now that you know a little about me, I will now spread the love and nominate 11 more up and coming blogs for the Liebster Award!

The blogs are:

And here are the questions I am asking them:
1)    Where is your favorite place to travel?
2)  What is your least favorite household chore?
3)   What is the #1 thing on your Christmas list this year?
4)   Do you have a favorite author?
5)   What kind of car do you drive?
6)   Do you prefer to holiday shop online or in stores?
7)   Do you have any kids?
8)   What is your favorite clothing store?
9)   Winter? Or Fall?
10)  Any pets?
11)   What would you consider to be the perfect way to spend some “Me” time?

Post Thanksgiving Note...

   Well, I felt like I was completely MIA last week, trying to get things in order for Thanksgiving.
   NOW Thanksgiving is over... and now I really need to kick my butt into super high gear as I try not to lose my mind getting ready for Christmas, which is to be very exciting (and stressful I'm sure) b/c our families are coming to Buffalo this year for Christmas!!

   Anyhow, before all that craziness begins, I just wanted to say THANKS to my small group of followers! I have been blogging since March and while I had hoped to have a bigger reader/fan base at this point, I will take the 45 that I DO have.  THANK YOU!
   I really do not know how some bloggers find the time to create awesome things for the classroom and can blog more than once a week!! Man...they make balancing family and career look SO easy! =) But I do admire all of them and much of my inspiration comes from those types of bloggers! So a big THANKS to all of you! (You bloggers know who you are!)

   So, on that note, just want to say thanks and post one more thing that my little munchkin and I worked on right before Thanksgiving.  I has absolutely NO time to post last week, but I do want to share this cute idea that I made my own, after finding it on Pinterest!
   My munchkin made one and them I made 3 more and filled them with Reese's Pieces candy and left them in the staff room for my colleagues.
 Here is the one my little munchkin made:

    So now to put on my Super Woman cape and get ready for the next month, which is definitely going to be crazy wild and busy! =)
   Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobblin' Good Fun with the Letter Tt!

Lots of Letter Tt fun going on this past week!!
And most of it has been centered around TURKEYS!!!

    Before all the Gobble, Gobble fun began, the preschool munchkins made the letter Tt with toothpicks.
    Then they had to make their very own turkey by finding feathers with the letter Tt and pasting them onto a turkeys body.
Check out these lovely turkeys!!
    We had a little bit of textured art fun, using feather, felt, tissue, sandpaper and other fun materials to make feathers for our new friend- Tim the Turkey! 
    You see, I had a "turkey" named Tom, who I created during my very 1st year of teaching, and I had invited him into my classroom to meet my kiddos every school year, BUT unfortunately, the years have taken a toll on him.
    And instead of trying to patch him up, one of my assistants volunteered to make a new one! She is currently is working her way to her CDA certificate, so I enjoy having her take part in the classroom and encourage her to make things and develop activities, so that when the day comes where she is on charge of her own classroom, she can already have things in her Teacher File!

   Since we have been working hard at learning letters for the past 2-3 weeks, this short week is serving as a Review Week. Here is a Turkey Letter Game I created a few years back. 

This is a differentiated activity that addresses the different levels of ability in my classroom, in that children can find feathers with the same letters on it OR they can pick a letter (in this case, it was S,P,T) and find feathers with the letter and feathers with a picture of the letter sound.

   And of course, there was the lovely hand print Turkey that my other assistant wanted to do with the munchkins! 
     I must say that I am very thankful for my assistants this year. I love that they are both so involved in finding and implementing their own activity ideas with the children. It makes lesson planning for me that much easier and it gives them an opportunity to do activities that they want to do with the kiddos!

Monday, November 19, 2012

S is for Sand and Sun…Sounds Sensational!

   Our study of the letter S came just as we began our Five Senses unit.
  This school year, I believe that a lot of my kiddos have a bigger need for sensory activities and this was the time to dive into Sensory Fun!
   The munchkins made the letter Ss with Sand and also searched for letter Ss triangles and glued them onto a circle to make a sun!
   My favorite part of the week was when I had time to make some Sensory Bags!! I took all the great ideas on Pinterest and made some of my own very fun Sensory Bags.
    I made most of them with clear hair gel (which I picked up at the Dollar Tree), food coloring and lots of glitter and random art collage stuff I pulled out of the art closet in the classroom. The green googly eye one was made with aloe vera gel that I had sitting in my cabinet. And one was made with rice, blue food coloring and some sea animal counters.
   I sealed them pretty good with packaging tape, and then placed them inside another Ziploc bag and sealed it as well. My kiddos are pretty rough, so I made sure to REALLy seal those bags shut!
   And wouldn’t you know? One of them still ended up leaking by the end of the day!! But hey, It happens! 
   I had a blast watching the kids explore the bags. They touched them, smashed them, and smelled them!

    I even captured a great picture (from across the room) of one munchkins putting the bag on his head and rubbing it! I can bet it felt pretty good!
     There were other activities during the week that involved sand, which is such a fun sensory experience. I have kids who sit at the sand table all throughout Free Choice Time, so I knew I had to think of more sand activities that could be done at the tables.  We made letters in the sand and I put out sandpaper and markers and encouraged them to write and draw on small sheets of sandpaper.
Some kids really loved it and went back to the art table 3 different times during Center Time & Free Choice Time!

   The Sensory Bags were just a brief introduction to our Five Senses unit. I am excited and eager to make more sensory objects for my munchkins to explore with their senses throughout the next few weeks!