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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday: Sharing Kindergarten

Hi sweet bloggers, this is Mary from Sharing Kindergarten

I love to share ideas for Kindergarten (ish) students.
You need to know that I love my job! My goal is to be the BEST teacher I can be. This is my career, passion, hobby, and never ending goal. I want to share it all with you on my blog,
Want to know my most desired wish? I want… to teach. In other words, the testing and paperwork process needs to calm down. It does not have to stop… just calm down.
Yes– there is a time and a place to assess students. Yes– There is a time and a place to do paperwork. BUT, each student matters, counts, and deserve my time and effort. I want to teach everyday not assess everyday. I want playtime, art, movement, science experiments, food, glue, messy faces, colored hands, and tons of smiles and laughter
I am blessed because my school “gets it” more than most. We teach students with faces, names, families, and personal struggles. We do not teach test scores. 
I know I am preaching to the choir, but that is what is #1 on my wish list.
I hope you stop by my blog to see all the actual teaching ideas we do everyday and tell we what is your favorite thing to teach. I have a freebie waiting for you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Straw Transfer with Tongs

I began thinking about this activity when I realized I have a few children who were having trouble holding the pencil for writing. They were holding it too high and when corrected, they often reverted immediately back. I even had one who was holding the pencil with his fist. So, I decided they need to strengthen the muscles in their hands and this would be a good start.

It actually surprised me that the children were this interested in it because I have gotten these tongs out before in the sensory table and they barely touched them. Most of the children had preferred to use their hands to transfer the items. But I guess the trick was putting this activity out on trays instead. They came back to it each day for the whole week! Some of them even reminded me to get them out when I forgot. I always love it when an activity is a success, especially when I had a good objective for it.

The items the children are transferring are almost like pieces of straws only heavier. These provided an extra challenge because the cylindrical shape made them slip easily out from the tongs, but the kids did a great job. They were very focused and persistent. Some of them were racing to see who could clear all of theirs off their tray first.

Monday, February 27, 2012

'Fleur De Lis' Birthday Card using Cricut

Here is a card I made with the Cricut for a friend's birthday. I used burgundy colored cardstock for the card itself.
I used metallic gold sticker paper to cut out the fleur de lis. I placed it on a thin textured paper diamond cutout over a strip of black paper along the bottom. Then, I tied a metallic gold string around the top with a few beads.

For the inside, I raised the background paper using a piece of foam, held down by gold brads. Then, I cut the words out using the Cricut on tan cardstock.

Here you can kind of see that the words are raised a little.

Motivational Monday

Every truth has 4 corners; as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other 3.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Storytime Sunday: My Heart is a Zoo

I have been seeing this book all over the blogosphere for Valentine's Day. I know it's a little late, but I have been playing catch-up. I decided to read this and have the children make their heart animals as I have seen others do. Here is how ours turned out:

Also, I did the colored heart ice cubes with L. Here are some photos. He liked it, but he kept wanting to eat them and I was afraid he would choke, so we didn't do it for too long.

I filled the ice tray with water and then used one drop of food coloring for each ice cube which I figured out was way too much. I should've made colored water and then used it to fill up the tray. Although when we were done, the cubes had only melted a little, so I recycled them by putting them back in the tray, adding a little water and refreezing them.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

I was so happy and honored to receive an e-mail from H is for Homeschooling saying that she's passing on the One Lovely Blog Award to me!

Here are the rules:
  1. Link back to the one who gave you this award.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.
  3. Follow the person who sent it to you.
Here are the 15 lovely bloggers I'm passing it on to:
Thanks to you all for the wonderful work you do on your blogs, giving me ideas, making me laugh and allowing me to watch your families learn and grow! And a special thank you to H is for Homeschooling for giving me the award. I absolutely LOVE looking at your tot trays, outstanding!!

Coffee Filter Art

I thought it would be nice if L made his grandparents a Valentine's card, so we set out with coffee filters and markers. I didn't really plan how it was going to happen, so it turned out good that he just wanted to make dots all over it!
Then, we used the spray bottle... well I used it, he hasn't quite figured it out yet.
 Here is what our filter looked like while still wet.
I cut a heart out of it and placed it on top of a scalloped-edge white heart on the front of the card.
 Here is the inside.
BAM! As easy as that, you have a handmade card by a one year old! Well, sort-of anyways :) Plus, I know this is a little late for Valentine's Day, but the same idea can be used for lots of different types of cards and projects. Have fun and get creative!

Friday, February 24, 2012

T.E.A.C.H Awards

Wow, its time for February T.E.A.C.H. Awards awards again! When I started this, I thought once a month seemed kinda far apart, but time flies! So here are my picks:






Congrats again for your wonderful ideas! If you were a winner, grab one of the "featured" buttons below.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thinky Linky Thursday

The link with the most clicks for the last 2 weeks extended Thinky Linky Thursday party were:

Thanks for all the link-ups! There were tons of cool valentine's, winter and other ideas. I love looking at all of them! Please keep coming back and linking up each week and as much as I hate to start making rules, PLEASE TRY TO VISIT SOME OF THE OTHER LINKS. This is how I choose who to feature each week, so I need lots of clicks! Plus the reason we all link up is to share ideas with others, so help your fellow bloggers out. I promise, you won't be disappointed by the regulars who link up here!! THANKS!

If you were featured, please grab the button below to proudly display on your blog.

Preschool Teacher

TBA's Ultimate Linky Party

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday: Beautiful Books

This week's guest post is by Rivka at Beautiful Books. She reviews all kinds of children's books for preschool age and provides exciting and fun activities to go along with them. Take a moment to check out her blog and become a follower!

Thanks so much to Cachey Mama for inviting me to share on Wishlist Wednesday! My hope is that this post is as inspiring and fun for you to read as it was for me to write!
Books are always at the top of my wishlist, and every classroom and home should have plenty. (Need some ideas? You might enjoy browsing my top picks.) But almost every mamma and teacher wants more great books.
So what else do I want? A better place to read them! Thankfully this post gave me an opportunity to do something just for fun. Logged into my Pinterest account and started pinning and creating the perfect book nook. I know just where I want to put it - in the living/playroom right next to the two tall book shelves. It is kind of a mess right now.
Here is a picture of what it looks like now:
What’s Wrong With It
  1. There is a desk (you can see the corner on the right hand side) that just becomes a dump all for everything that doesn’t have a place.
  2. The single chair was great for one child snuggled in my lap, but now is too little for my three little ones and primarily is used for the cushions that can removed and used for tumbling mats.
  3. While their is wonderful light coming through the window, on cloudy days, or in the evening, it need more light. I would love some wall sconces to bring in some nice warm light without cluttering the floor.
My Wishlist
  1. I would like to paint the bookshelves that are there white, and the walls a calming blue to bring some color into the spot.
  2. Add another small corner bookshelf, as the books are overflowing off the shelves right now. Perhaps make this just for board books or books for the youngest so they are in easy reach.
  3. Put the craft supplies that are on the upper shelves in decorative boxes and label.
  4. Add bean bags and pillows in decorative colors and fun patterns where the desk is now for a comfy place to sit. Perhaps put a little tent in the corner for some privacy when wanted, just really drapey curtains over the window.
  5. Add a basket or two for books as well to keep things tidy and add a touch of whimsy.
Browsing online, I came across a free interior decorating software called, so here is what I was able to come up with as a rough sketch (note the 3rd rendering of the picture put a strange wall that covers half the photo, but you get the idea).
Just shows you the power of visualization! Immediately I went from feeling discouraged about the mess that is there right now to inspired about what the space could will become.
Why This is My Wishlist Wednesday
If you want your children to be lifelong readers, a big part of the job is building good memories around reading and making it fun. While there are lots of ways that we already do this, I know that having a special space for snuggling and reading would make it all that much better!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I've been published! (sort of)

I just wanted to let you all know about a project that was done by Marygrove College's MAT program. 
It is called the Math Literacy Guide and it's available for download on their website here. Just fill out your name and e-mail address on the right hand side and you can download the PDF. But, here is the best part, one of my blog posts is included in the guide! I am so excited. I have never had anything I've written published before. So please check it out and let others know about it. It has some really good ideas for grades K-6. I have also added a link to it on my right sidebar under teacher resources. 
Thanks for your support!

Lacing Mittens Fine Motor Activity

Here is another one of our winter weather activities we did to go along with the book The Mitten by Jan Brett.

And here is the finished product! Great for working on fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. Being able to hold on to the mitten while simultaneously lacing the yarn through the holes is a skill that takes a lot of practice. And as we all know, practice makes perfect!