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!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Letter Pp has become Pretty Popular!

    Wow, as I sit here and get ready to share all I have done with the letter Pp (at home and in my classroom), I realized that Pp is pretty  popular!
    Seeing that we have still been on a Pumpkin Palooza high, my little munchkin and I did some work with the letter Pp. I utilized many resources that I have found over the past few weeks that I just love!
    I purchased a Letter Land pack by Live Love Laugh Everyday In Kindergarten, earlier in the school year and it has become one of my faves to use.

    I had the little munchkin search for the letter Pp.    
Click here or the pic above to grab your own copy of this great resource!
Then we used these Phonics bookmarks created by Lidia Barbosa over at Kinder Alphabet. I LOVE these! Great way to save paper and practice skills!

 There is so much in there and I will be using it in my classroom very soon!
   Click the picture below to purchase your own pack. 
    And the Pumpkin Palooza and Letter Pp fun carried over into my classroom, as we began our study on the Letter Pp and Pumpkins!
    When I introduce  a new letter, I like to do art projects with  the actual letter. Here, we used the eraser tip of a pencil and paint to make a Polka Dotted Pp.

    Then I like to do an art project with something that begins with the letter sound. Here, I had the kids make a Pepperoni Pizza.  They had to find “pepperoni” circles that had the letter P on it and glue it to the “pizza” (bigger circle)

    To begin our study of Pumpkins, we created a web and wrote things that we knew about pumpkins and they   were all very excited to learn more!

    I spruced up my Science Center this past week and put different sized pumpkins in a basket for the munchkins to explore. 
They explored and compared the different sizes and a few of them even tried to measure the circumference of the pumpkins! I was impressed!

    We read the book “Plumpy Dumply Pumpkin” and explored different textures, which led us to create our own textured pumpkins, using art materials like feather, felt, glitter, buttons and sand paper. 
    They loved using silly words to describe what the objects felt like. My favorites: "Scritchy & Scratchy", hence the reason I had to use it in the display title!
    And the best part of our Pumpkin Exploration was when we opened up the pumpkin and took a look and a feel inside!

    Some of them were very excited to stick their hand inside and pull out some seeds, while others were just not very into this sensory experience- which  was okay with me! I absolutely LOVE the expressions on their faces when they felt the wet, squishy pumpkin guts!!!!
    Here are a few pics of my little one doing the exact same activity at home, right before Halloween!  What an awesome sensory experience!

    So, as you can obviously see, the Letter Pp sure became very popular these past few weeks!
    But I think Pumpkin Palooza is now in its final days! Time to move on...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On the Road to Literacy!

   So I know the last time I posted anything about my classroom, I mentioned that things were under construction. Well, things are still under some construction as I continue to find ways to meet the needs of my munchkins, who have been a challenge for me thus far in the school year.
   The past few weeks have been both stressful and hectic, yet somewhat inspiring at the same time; as I have been able to reflect on my teaching practices and express some of my concerns and challenges with my director who has given me some direction and further insight on how to manage my classroom of boys! 
    I think I now have a clearer sense of where I need to focus my attention & energy and where to start. It is basically back to the drawing board!! 
    I know, it is already November, but I have to start somewhere right?
    In our preschool curriculum, we have just begun our Letter of the Week series.!  Although I have been implementing literacy activities since Day 1, it is now time to focus on one letter and sound at a time.
   Learning the alphabet alone provides SEVERAL different fun and engaging learning activities for my kiddos. And thank goodness for Pinterest and  my wonderful collection of The Mailbox Magazines (which have always been a valuable resource for me) which highlight many different hands-on letter activities that I plan to use in my classroom this year!
    So, we are on the Road to Literacy! J

    Here are a few things we have been doing to get ready to learn letters:
    The most appropriate way we began our study of letters has been through name recognition activities.
    The munchkins have done name puzzles and have matched  and counted the letters in their name.

    I created a dry erase card for every child to use, by gluing a sentence strip onto white construction paper and then laminated it. I made sure the writing section contained no lines at all, giving them the confidence to write their letters as big and round as they need to!
Some kiddos are working on writing their full name, while others are practicing their first name.

    I pulled out a set of alphabet flashcards and have provided several opportunities throughout the past 2 weeks for the children to explore them and practice writing letters on blank dry erase cards.

    And we are still getting some good use out of our old Apple Pie PlayDoh by using letter cutters to spell names!!  (This is definitely the last week of it and then  it is getting tossed in the trash!)

    And… our sand table has become an Alphabet Digging Ground.
    There are so many fun and engaging ways to introduce and learn the Alphabet, my mind is in over drive! 
     What are some of YOUR favorite Alphabet activities???  
     Please share.! I would love to hear comments and/ or suggestions! =)