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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday:For Love of Cupcakes

I would like to thank Jamie at For Love of Cupcakes for her guest post this week! Check out her blog and follow her. I guarantee you'll love it. I am totally addicted to her tweets as well, so you might wanna follow her on there too! Oh, I might have a special place in my heart for her because her baby, Cupcakes :) was born the same day as my baby boy! Enjoy!!!

HEY Cachey Mama's Readers!

I'm Jamie and I USED to be a preschool teacher. I was also a kindergarten teacher. Both at a Catholic school that had to close due to financial reasons. :( It was the best job ever though. At that school, we didn't have a whole lot of resources as it was in a very poor area. But before I worked at that school, I student-taught at a public grade school in a more affluent area, which did have a lot of resources and they had some awesome stuff!

Last week, Cachey Mama mentioned a cricuit machine to do dicuts. That would be number one on my list too! That little gadget is awesome - great for decorations, projects, fun; it's just awesome. So, the next thing on my wish list would be...

a Book Binding Machine:
It adds a spiral binding like this:
If you have this amazing tool, you can have all your students illustrate / write a page and bind them together to make class books.  Or individual students can make their own books.  The possibilities are actually endless.  Here's an example:

See, isn't that the cutest?!  These are AWESOME for parent-teacher conferences!  You set up a desk and a chair outside your classroom, put out some candy/breath mints and a few class books for your parents to scope out as they wait.

I didn't have one of these fancy machines at the Catholic school where I worked so I simply 3 hole punched all the pages and used yarn through the holes to bind the books together.  My principal loved it when I put these books out for parent-teacher conferences and so did my parents.  :o)  Win Win Win!

I hope you liked this post.  Thank you Cachey Mama for letting me do a guest post on your blog!!  :o)  If you want to follow me, I would LOVE to have you!  My blog is For Love of Cupcakes and I'm also a Twitter Fiend!  @4LoveofCupcakes.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Memories Software Giveaway!!!

I am hosting a giveaway sponsored by My Memories. They have an award winning digital scrapbook software that is extremely easy and fun to use. My Memories Suite helps anyone create digital scrapbooks, cards, calendars, etc. without having to buy expensive programs and then learn how to use the software.

The contest will go until Tues Sept. 13, 2011 and the winner will be chosen randomly using a random number generator at So in order to win the My Memories Suite software, here are the ways to enter: (make sure you post a comment for each one and that your e-mail is on at least one of your comments in order to contact you if you win!)
  1. Become a follower of this blog (or let me know if you already are)
  2. Follow Cacheymama on Twitter (or let me know if you already follow me) and leave your Twitter name in the comment 
  3. Write a post on your blog about the giveaway (leave the URL of your post in the comment)
  4. Comment about your favorite scrapbook layout in the My Memories gallery
My Memories wants to get the word out that their software is not just for scrapbooking. Get creative and use your teacher skills to come up with all kinds of projects. Here are some examples of a few things I have created with My Memories Suite software...

Block Area Labels

Cute nametags!

They have the cutest scrapbook layouts or you can create your own custom page from scratch. So many graphics, fonts, and layouts to chose from, but if you don't see exactly what you want, they also have kits and layouts you can purchase online! How great is that?

My Memories has graciously agreed to give all my readers a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the store!!! Just use the code STMMMS8389.

Welcome to the Family! from Lisa Jurrens on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Storytime Sunday (A Day Early)

Tomorrow is the big giveaway announcement, so I decided to go ahead and release Storytime Sunday today even though it's Saturday.

So today I will talk about the Crayola board book Two Hippos up on Sticks. This was a fantastic Target find in the dollar section. But I guess I didn't really realize how great of a find until I searched it and found a copy selling on Amazon for $4.99+$4.99 shipping! Wow!!!
Anyways, this simple counting book is great for very young children (I actually bought it and 3 other Crayola books for the baby). It has the best pictures with all different patterns, cute animals doing silly things, rhyming words, and of course counting. I also like that some of the animals are doing things that they would realistically do like butterflies welcoming spring and ants moving a load (which can tie in with life science concepts) and some of the animals are doing unrealistic things like dinos soaring in space and hippos up on sticks. So you can use it to talk about real vs. fantasy concept as well. I love this book!
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday

New feature! I am starting a new feature called Wishlist Wednesday in which I will be talking about something I wish for in the classroom or child/craft related. Also, because I don't want you to get tired of hearing me whine about all the things I want, I will be having guest bloggers post on Wednesdays something from their wishlist. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please leave a comment or e-mail me!

Now, down to business. This is something I have been wanting for a LONG time. This machine is not only the most convenient tool ever created, but for the record, I came up with it long before it was ever on the market. I knew I shoulda got that idea patented.
I {heart} the Cricut. Where can I win one of these??? LOL, maybe someday...


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Addition to our Classroom

So, in case you didn't know, we have a class pet, Cutie the hermit crab. He used to have a friend who isn't with us anymore. Well, I finally got around to getting Cutie a new friend. Although Cutie is quite a bit bigger than the new guy and I wasn't sure if how he was going to react when I introduced the two. Cute did do a bit of bullying at first (or at least that's what it looked like to me, though I am not an expert in hermit crab behavior), but seems to leave the other crab alone for the most part now. The new little guy is a bit timid when you hold him. He will come out of the shell right away, but get scared back in easily.

 Although there are 4 shells in there, there are only 2 crabs, Cutie is the greenish shell and the new one (he doesn't have a name yet as I will let the kids name him) is the pearly looking one on the far left. 
 Cutie and the new guy feeling each other out.
Our newest friend in Head Start!

Also, I will share a few deals I found at the back to school sale at Office Max. I originally went to pick up 10 of the 1 cent spiral notebooks (the limit is 5, but you can get double if you're a teacher) and some of the 15 cent glue bottles. But I ended up finding these $.99 deals as well.
 Awesome for writing area and Kindergarten Readiness! 
Normally I would buy play money from the dollar store, but I have noticed it seems like you are getting less and less in the pack for a dollar, so while this one didn't come with coins, it seemed like a good deal because we all know just how long it takes for play money to get torn up with 3 and 4 year olds. (Especially with my class being primarily 3's this year)

Also, stayed tuned for my first contest announcement coming soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Motivational Monday

This year in Head Start I am looking forward to a great year! I want to focus on the needs of my children and have the best year we can. Lots of play, lots of learning and lots of <3!

Link up to CFC's Wonderful Time of the Year Linky Party

Clutter-Free Classroom

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Storytime Sunday Linky Party

This week's book I chose from my collection of children's books since the kids haven't started back to school yet. It is one of the Usborne Lift-the-Flap books called Who's making that mess? by Philip Hawthorn and Jenny Tyler.
This book has got the most precious illustrations and it's a totally cute story of how "messy Jess" is always getting blamed for the mess, but as you can see when you lift the flap, it is indeed an animal making the mess.

Tons of fun for kids to read especially with the flaps they love to lift, but also the repetitiveness and rhyming words helps them learn pre-reading skills. Not to mention the opportunity to allow the children to predict who made the mess or what kind of mess will be on the next page. I know your kids will have a great time with this book!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fabulous Faves Linky Party

Favorite Color

Favorite Stores

Favorite Sports Team
Favorite Books
(scrapbook mystery series)

Link up to Fabulous in First's Fabulous Favorites in Photos Linky Party!

Classroom Setup Progress

Been back to work for 2 weeks already, but I feel like I've barely been in the classroom with all the trainings and meetings. But here are some of the things I have gotten done in the room:

So this is one of my big goals from last year upon realizing I did not have nearly as many diverse materials in the classroom as I did diverse children. This social studies center is actually new and it came about after being given a pile of atlases and realizing I had no good place to put the globe. In the middle of the table is a local map that I printed that shows the school, the zoo, and the library and some parks.

Music center. Working on my goal of more interactive classroom, I decided to post some questions that will lead to discussion about the types of sounds different instruments make.

One of my passions! The science/discovery area. It is not finished yet, but here are some of the ways I have tried to make it more interactive. I love the title Exploration Station. It is so descriptive and just makes you want to play with and experiment with what's on the table. Cutie, our class pet the hermit crab will soon be on the table. Since the beginning of last year I have had the dream of having so many plants around the window that it looks like a jungle. Not sure if that is ever going to happen, but I do at least want to get a couple plants in here for the kids to water and take care of. Some other ideas for this area are colored sand to mix, slime to play with, nature items such as pine cones, leaves, twigs, rocks,etc. We will be changing it out at least once a week and we also have trays on the shelf across from this table for kids to do individual sensory activities.
Although it's not something I made, I would like to take credit for the idea of the mirror in the middle so kids can see what their face looks like when talking about feelings. I love this idea!
The start of my circle time area. Word wall all in one place together as opposed to all around the classroom like last year. I want to be able to refer to it easier at circle time and it is very close to writing area. Also, you will see no numbers on our calendar. We decided that concept is too advanced for preschool age and that we will just use the pictures which are photo of the school, home, and other things we might be doing on a random day. And you will see some of my target finds.
Being the good little Head Start employee I am, I incorporated one of their buzz words for the year. This is my Kindergarten Readiness bag. Inside you will find small group activities that deal with letters, sight words, word families, letter tiles, etc. Inside the folder is the Kindergarten Readiness screening that the center coordinator will be doing for all the children who will be entering K next year.

So, those are some things I have gotten done. Can't wait to have a full list of names, so I can start on the name cards for writing area and labeling everything!


I do realize that Preschool Teacher only has 17 followers right now... BUT I am looking to the future! I have decided there will be a 100 follower giveaway contest. There are lots of changes coming to the layout soon which I am really excited about! Also, be expecting more fun and exciting postings including possibly discounts on items at my Etsy Shop: Cacheymama's Creations, linky parties and much more. But, faithful followers, that means you have a job to do, get the word out! Link up to me, grab the button and spread the word. Thank you all so much for reading! We need to expand the preschool blog population :) Oh and don't forget to follow my Facebook page, Twitter and Pinterest!

Michelle's Math in the Middle Pinterest Linky Party

Love Pinterest? Have a teacher blog or love reading teacher blogs? Well, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Michelle's Math in the Middle Blog to link up and see all the other great teacher blogs who have linked up!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Interactive Classroom

One of my goals for the year is to make my classroom more interactive. By this, I mean I want someone, a parent for example, to be able to walk in and see that the kids are learning all around the room and not "just playing." I am trying to post questions in as many areas of the room as possible. And by "post," I mean put it on the wall or shelf or somewhere in plain sight in large enough print to be easily seen. Last year, I made cards with the questions on them, but that was pretty much a waste, I don't think they were used once. So, that way any adult, including teachers for quick reference, can easily connect what the children are doing in an area with what they are learning. For example in science (discovery) area (photos coming soon), you would see the question "What will happen if you...?" I left the end blank, but covered with contact paper so I can change the ending with dry erase markers, so it could say "if you mixed red and blue?"

Another way to make it more interactive is to make the environment a teacher. With interactive charts (photos to come), pointers, magnetic letters on the chalkboard, and hands-on activities all over the classroom available for children to use at any time, they guide their own learning and the teacher is only there to facilitate learning by asking many questions and allowing the children to explore to come up with the answers.

This all goes hand in hand with Head Starts 2 initiates for this year, Family Engagement and Kindergarten Readiness. I am going to make sure we have things planned ahead of time for these and I am already working on a K readiness bag that I will use for small groups. Families will be able to participate more in the classroom, not that they weren't always welcome before, but now we will have prepared and planned activities ready when someone comes to the room as well as take-home activities.

Which brings me to my first photo:

What, you may ask, is this??? My secret book of tricks. Much of it will be revealed slowly in future blogs. But there are so many interactive things you can do in the classroom. And this book is jam-packed with ideas. Story props are another one of my goals for this year. I am hoping to get a good collection started that I can add on to each year. Here are 2 ideas to keep you going until I can really get some good photos from the classroom to blog about. 

This is pretty easy, just cut and laminate the pie pieces so they can be put together. Velcro on the back to use with felt board. Nice way to introduce fractions.

So, I'm assuming I don't have to say what book these go with. And if you don't know, you must not be reading my previous blog postings. Great prop to help act out the story. Kids can put their fingers through them like little puppets. Great for sequencing and counting!

Well that's all for now, but I'm sure there will be more on this subject in the near future.

I realized there was a lot of math in this post, so I linked up to Marygrove College's Math Linky.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Motivational Monday

I love this saying. 
A new twist on the classic cliche "everything happens for a reason."

Storytime Sunday: 10 Favorite Children's Books

Here are 10 of my favorite children's books. I am going to purposely leave out all the Eric Carle books because you all know how much I love those already. So here goes...

This book I read while in college in a children's lit class. It is great, especially for older kids who can read or the teacher can read with the help of another adult if you have younger children. The poems are meant to be read aloud by two people, sometimes seperately and sometimes together (the book will indicate when it's your turn to read). All of the poems are about insects. This is such a great book and the imagery is awesome. I think your kids will like it!

LOVE this book. All about feelings and the pages open up, so the kids can use it like a mask. So much fun! My kids always have a blast with it and want another turn.

I love Lois Ehlert books. The shapes and colors are wonderful. It's a good introduction to abstract art for young children as the pictures are mostly made of symbols.

This book as well as How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight are 2 of my faves. I love the detail in the illustrations. Also, I love how you think the dinosaur is going to be trouble, but at the end, he ends up doing exactly what he's supposed to do!

Rhyming words, fun imaginary creatures, and faraway lands, what more could you ask for in a children's book? But of course, the legend that Dr. Suess is, there is so much more in this book. It is a great inspiration for children. All kids should have this book!

This book as well as the next one were childhood favorites of mine. Not only does this book have rhyming and great vocabulary, it also has a rebus format, substituting images for words in the text. This helps children read along. Great for pre-reading skills.

I know, I know. They are giving moose muffins and pigs pancakes now, but back in my day, it was If you Give a Mouse a Cookie and I so loved the cute little mousie! This book is perfect for predicting.

This book is good for science. It not only talks about houses for animals and different people, but objects and vehicles too. It makes you think because you don't normally think of all these different things as having a house, but more like a place where it belongs.

This book definitely teachers kindness and patience because I know I wouldn't be sharing my pizza with a bunch of people who wouldn't help me make it, but the little red hen did. A different take on the classic book The Little Red Hen in which she makes pizza instead of bread, this book is nice for doing with a nutrition lesson, writing recipes and sequencing the order of events (or ingredients used for the pizza).

And last, but certainly not least, The Water Hole. This book is a whole lot more than just a counting book. The illustrations of the animals in the rain forest are amazing! It uses onomatopoeia when the animals speak to each other and address the topic of droughts.

So here are my top picks, more exciting story times coming up every Sunday. Most likely I will be discussing books that I will be reading in my classroom for the upcoming week.