Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fantastic Flower Fun... and a writing FREEBIE!!

    Alright, so I have somehow managed to maintain my sanity the past 2 weeks, but I dont know how much longer that is going to last! My child who was on short term exclusion is returning this week AND I have to work on finishing up my End of the Year Academic Assessments (and 2 other final assessments), as well as start planning our Moving Up Ceremony
    I will try to manage as best as I know how b/c it is all almost over! And Summer Vacation is on the horizon! YAY!!
    Last year, my little one and I did several (and I mean SEVERAL) flower activities. This year for our Garden Theme, we have been doing flower activities but have also been putting more focus on letter activities.

   She has been learning the letters Ff and Gg and since she shocked me and almost brought me to tears the other day with this writing (which she did all on her own just by looking at my writing):
    I decided to follow her lead with starting some writing with her. I created two writing mini-books for her, with letter Ff words and letter Gg words. (I have also just made mini-books for the other 2 letters that we have been learning about this month.)
    Click on the pictures below to download a FREE copy of the Letter Ff and Letter Gg Mini-Books!

    And this little sponge of mine has also shown signs of learning that she is learning the concepts of print. I caught her tracking print the other night when I was reading her a bedtime story. Once she fell asleep, I pulled out a pocket chart, some sentence strips, colored some flowers and put together a little Flower Colors sentence activity. And I made a little pocket to put the flowers inside.
    She LOVED it! The best part was when she played it for the 3rd time and said, Mommy, I love this game!
   I have also been wanting to try Easel Starters, which is an art idea that  have seen on one of my very favorite blogs, Teach Preschool.
   We read the book: This Is the Sunflower and then talked about flowers and the parts of flowers.
   I pulled out the easel that we found for $7 at a garage sale down the street! Since she already has one, we decided to make this one the Outdoor Easel.
    I put a circle shape on the paper (I meant to glue some sunflower seeds inside of it, but I forgot!) and then allowed her to create her own (flower) painting.

How many of you have started your End of the Year Countdown?? 
I have 13 days to go!
How many more days do you have left???

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

To all those who serve and have served... THANK YOU!
   OK so the end of the year madness is in full swing and to make matters just that much more crazy, the hubby got a new job (YAY!!) AND that meant that he had to be away last week for new hire training and next week he will be out of town again for the 2nd half of his training. So on top of the hectic stuff at work, I have had to run the household solo last week and will have to do it again next week!!!!
    But, the little one and I have been keeping up with our learning fun and I have some pics to share but I need to find a little more downtime. I hope to have something posted tomorrow!!
     I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

"My Idea Box" ... AND Letter Gg is for Garden!

    Well, my organized planning seems to be off to a good start!! I find that I am very Theme oriented and like to plan activities around a theme. And since there are a TON of ideas out there for the more popular Pre-K themes, it can all get a bit overwhelming.
    So I already thought of a way to organize materials at home (which I shared in my last post and now I think I found a way to organize my activity ideas!! I created a document that I call "My Idea Box", where I scribble down all the different ideas that I have and activities that I come across that can fit in the theme we are (or will be) working with. I have 6 different columns for my "Idea Box": Letters, Letters/Sounds, Math, Science, Art, and Books & Literacy. These areas match the work baskets that I started. 

    Whenever I come across an idea, I scribble it in a box and then keep an eye out for materials that I may need. I think this will also help me to organize my ideas and I can immediately reference back to my "Idea Box" if I am looking for fun ideas! And if the activities don't get done, I call always use them another time! 
    For the next few weeks, my little one and I are going to be learning about the letters Gg, Ff, Ss and Rr. I chose these letters to revolve around a Gardening Theme.
   We started with the Letter Gg and I pulled out her ABC Basket and we read her little Gg book, from a set of Alphabet Readers, compliments of the bonus points I earned through Scholastic! And then we worked with the Letter Gg sounds in her Sound Train game from Lakeshore.

Sh also on a letter Gg Search using the Alphabet Identification Sheets by Pam over at Miss Pam's Room.

    Since my little munchkin loves art, I always have to make sure that I have plenty of art materials and ideas on hand! 
    We decided to create a Garden! 
She painted green cardstock paper with brown paint and then used a garden rake tool to make fun lines in the paint. 
Once it dried, she scrunched up colorful tissue paper to create flowers and glued them on to make a cute garden!
   She did some Number Order work with Numbered Flowers that she found in her Math Basket when she searched her baskets mid-week.

    Overall, it seems like we actually have some organization and independent work going on with our Learning Fun at Home!!  And she seems happily surprised when she finds new, fun activities that she can do on her own! 
    I wish I could say that much for all the end of the year madness that is about to be in FULL effect in about a week!! BUT I must say that now that one of my more difficult children has been moved to Home Based Services, things have run fairly smoothly this week and the stress level was definitely low in the classroom -- for myself and the rest of the children!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Steppin' on The Letter Bus!

   So I have been working hard to make my learning activities a little more organized for my  little one. Things have been busy and hectic and I have been very disorganized in getting things together for her. And I find myself scrambling for things when she says, "Mommy, I want to do work."
   We have done Alphabet work before, but I have been searching for a more organized way to do things, so that I could plan ahead and have things ready and available for her.
    So I put together a LETTER BUS!
   Every few weeks, I am going to focus on certain letters and make, create or find fun activity ideas that revolve around these letters. 
   Since we have been working outside trying to clean up the garden bed lately, I figured we might have some fun learning about the letter Gg. 
    In the next few weeks, we will be focusing on letters Gg, Ff, Ss, Rr.
    I have pulled it together (a little) and created baskets of learning activities for her. For now she has a Math Basket, a Writing Basket and an ABC Basket. (I am still collecting fun art materials for an Art Basket.) I have gathered activity ideas and materials to put in each basket.
Math Basket:
Dry Erase Books, Counters, Counting Mats  (Actually, I am still collecting things for this basket)
Writing and ABC Baskets:
Writing Basket: Name sheets, Letter Writing sheets, Notebooks, Different Writing Tools (pens, pencils, markersm crayons), sentence strips
ABC Basket: ABC Chart, Dry Erase books, ABC stickers, Alphabet Flashcards, Letter/Sound sheets, Writing Tools, Alphabet Games
   Here are some of the printables (both available at Teachers Pay Teachers) that I am using right now in her baskets:

Alphabet Activities:  Letter Identification
    And here are some store bought things that I am also using in the baskets:
Beginning Sounds Phonics Train by Lakeshore

Wooden Alphabet Puzzles by Melissa & Doug
 Beginning Sound Puzzles by Scholastic
   I figure that by having things in baskets, she can pick and choose what she wants to work on at any given time. Of course, there will also be fun activities that we will do together, but the baskets will allow her to do some activities on her own, if mommy is busy cooking or whatnot.
   I am hoping that this will help keep activities organized a little. There is SO many fun ideas out there, sometimes I get a little overwhelmed... Hopefully this will help keep me a little focused so that I can plan ahead... just a little. Because I know there is always going to be a fun idea that comes from out of nowhere that we just HAVE to do....

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

    Just popping in to say HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the wonderful teachers and mommies out there!
     I have been busy making learning fun (and more organized) for my little one... so I will be back tomorrow to share some fun activities!
     Here is what I made (for myself) this morning:
   I LOVE it... and I am going to go out and buy a frame for it... IF I can get myself out of my pjs today!! ----- Hey, it's Mother's Day, so I get to do what I want, right?  :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Winding down as the kiddos are winding up...!

   You know how teachers have that one really rough year, every so often? Well this is ABSOLUTELY that year for me. I hadn't had a really bad year for about 4 years.... I was well overdue!
   As the year winds down, it seems like my kiddos are winding up! Spring has finally arrived and wow-- seems we went all the way back to September. And so I have been MIA for awhile... and I can't say that I will be able to muster up enough energy to keep up...
   With the news that my director is moving to another center and with the year I have had, I am actually rethinking where the next school year will take me!! That along with my husband being in between job offers and all of the end of the year craziness, is really taking its toll on me.
I need a glass of wine AND a cupcake!! 
Yes, that will make me feel better!!
Anyhow, I am feeling beat up and worn down and summer can't come fast enough. 
   In the meantime, I am going to try and hold it together because I just know that the kiddos can sense the anxiety and fatigue that only the end of the year can bring!
    How is everyone else handling the upcoming end of the year madness? Any fun activity ideas to share that I can use to keep the kiddos on task? Any end of the year advice to share?