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Friday, March 30, 2012

Shaving Cream Fun

This week, we have been revisiting the 5 senses, specifically our sense of touch. So, we began exploring with shaving cream. 

I just placed some on a tray with a small amount of paint and encouraged the children to mix it up with their hands. Surprisingly, some did not want to get their hands messy and some wouldn't touch it at all.

Then we smoothed it out and tried writing in it with our finger or a popsicle stick. 

Then, the kids got the idea to make their hand prints on paper with the colored shaving cream still on them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thinky Linky Thursday

Preschool Teacher

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for clicking on links throughout the last week! There were a total of 77 clicks, the most to date. I am so glad that Thinky Linky Thursday is helping spread the love around to some really great blogs and sharing such wonderful ideas!

So... Here are the most clicked links:

Place Value Plastic Eggs from Meaningful Mama

If you were featured, please take a button below:

Thanks to everyone who contributed for sharing your lovely ideas!

TBA's Ultimate Linky Party

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday: H is for Homeschooling

This week's wishlist is provided by Sierra from H is for Homeschooling. I am so excited to finally have her guest post. I have gotten to know her blog pretty well, mostly through linky parties! Please drop by and leave her a comment on her amazing site! I know you will find some great treasures there, I always do!

Hi Cachey Mama's Classroom, Readers! I'm Sierra from H is for Homeschooling, and I am so glad to be a guest blogger for Lori today! This series is a fun way to look ahead and hope for the best, both things I enjoy doing. My Hubby-Man and I have two amazing little boys- "Boogie", who is almost 2.5 and "Bam Bam" who is 9 months old. I started "tot school" with Boogie at the end of the summer, which is also when I started blogging. I wanted to remember our homeschooling journey from the beginning, and blogging is a great way to make memories and join a community. The way we do tot school has developed and changed over the past 7 months, and we are currently in a period of child-led play more so than structured play. This is what works for Boogie right now, so I am making it work for me too, even though I have a background as an English teacher and really like structure. Someday, when the train table is put away, I will cry for these slow, unstructured days and miss them. Even knowing that, I do daydream about our future classroom. In the wee small hours of the morning, when I am feeding my littler one, I catch up on my Google Reader feed and often see posts featuring homeschool classrooms. Since we mostly do tot school in the kitchen on the floor, and because my supplies are in diaper boxes in the laundry room, or spread throughout the kitchen in various boxes and cabinets, my wishlist item is a homeschool classroom. I don't ask for much, do I?!

Here are the top 3 spaces I love, and why.

I love this classroom from 1+1+1=1 because of all the wide open space, the storage space (closets and bookcases), and the fact that each child and their mom has their own work area. The only downside is that there are no windows.

I love this classroom from Homeschool Creations because it is so bright and sunny!! I also love the ceiling, the window seat and reading area, the color on the walls, as well as the wide open space, and the separate learning spaces for each child (there is also a table they use for working together) and their mom.

I love this classroom from Confessions of a Homeschooler because of the windows, the giant shared table, and the incredible organization. There are also a lot of great things hanging on the walls, like the map and alphabet banner you can see in this picture, but there is also a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree and a huge whiteboard.

So, if anyone wants to buy me a house with a spare room that is huge and has lots of windows and a couple closets, my family would be much obliged :P

Thanks, Lori, so much for letting me come over here and share my wish!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Flowers Fine Motor Activity

Here is something I made up for L to work on his fine motor skills. I poked holes in a box. It's not pretty, but it works. You can decorate yours more if you wish, at least mine is green like grass.

 Next I made some flowers with pipe cleaners. Very basic, but I did have to change them a little. At first I tried to make leaves on them, but I figured out in order to make them a little more sturdy and easier for L to get them in the holes without them bending, I just bent the pipe cleaner in half and twisted it around itself over and over. 

That's it. Then you just poke the flower stems in the holes.

 Here are some photos of L playing with it.

There are lots of variations with this activity. You can make as many or as little flowers and holes as you want and put them farther apart or closer together. Whatever you think is right for your child. Have fun and happy Spring!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thinky Linky Thursday

Preschool Teacher

This week's most clicked links were:

Congrats and if you were featured, feel free to grab the button below for your blog or post. Thanks!

TBA's Ultimate Linky Party

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday: Crazy for First Grade

Introducing, this week's guest blogger... With over 2000 followers and a Teachers Pay Teachers store you will adore, it's Anna from Crazy for First Grade. Make sure you stop by her blog to check out all her wonderful first grade ideas!

Hey there, I'm Anna Brantley over at Crazy for First Grade. I was SO excited when Lori contacted me to be a Wishlist Wednesday guest blogger here! I'm currently the mom to an almost 3 year old son and a public school first grade teacher to 21 amazing students in Watkinsville, Georgia! It didn't take me long at all to know what was #1 on my classroom wishlist. Earlier this year, I went to a technology fair and discovered the SMART Table. I'm talking love at first sight, y'all!! The SMART Table is the very first multiuser/multitouch technology tool that allows groups of students to interact and work simultaneously on one surface. With around a $7,000 price tag {OUCH!}, I knew it was a wishlist item right away, but was still just thrilled to be able to play around with it for a little while!!!
So, what does a SMART Table do & why do I want one?? 
  • Multiple students can interact with the SMART Table at the same time on the table’s multitouch screen surface. That's right, more than one finger at a time to manipulate objects!! 
  •  It's perfect for an engaging learning center or small group activity. 
  • It comes with eight awesome applications – Multiple Choice, Hot Spots, Paint, Media, Addition, Puzzle and more. Using the tool kit, you can customize & create activities by changing backgrounds, questions, and images. For example, you can create themed activities for any of the applications to match them to any SMART Notebook lesson activity or Senteo/Response question set. 
  • You can find tons of free & ready to use SMART Table activities on SMART Exchange! I love that many of the activities involve categorizing and sorting. 
  • You can use a Document Camera with the table. 
  • It's portable, but can also be locked in place. 
  • Last but not least, it's super FUN and a fabulous way to incorporate technology to meet the needs of your students. 

 Check it out for yourself!!

 Thanks again, Lori, for letting me share my wishlist item!!! 
Anna Brantley

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

10 Literacy Ideas for Toddlers

When working with the little guys and gals (toddlers), it's important to make the activity fun, simple, and developmentally appropriate so they don't get too frustrated or feel pressured and maybe not want to do it at all. So here are some of the ideas I have put together that you can do with your little ones to give them their first critical experiences with letters and words!

1. Read to your child. I know this one seems obvious, really allow the child to turn pages, point to pictures, hold the book his/her self. Read books the child picks out plus new fun ones they have not seen before. I like interactive books where my son can move things on the page, turn, push, pull, and touch because children learn better with hands-on experiences. There are some wonderful interactive books out there!  These are just a few hints to make reading aloud to your child more meaningful.

2. Magnetic letters on the refrigerator. 
3. Sing ABC songs. There are more than just "Now I know my ABCs," and tons of variations of it. Below are some I found on Amazon (Check out the great deal on 50 songs for $8.99!) or you can hit your local library and search their kids music section to see what you discover. Most children love clapping or dancing along with upbeat music.

4. Foam letters in the bathtub or water table/bin. They stick to the side of the bathtub when wet!

5. Letter stencils with chalk on a chalkboard. 

6. Dig for magnetic/foam letters in sand. You can even use cardboard cutout letters.

7. Spell child's name on cookie/baking sheet and have them match the magnetic letters.

8. Name puzzle. You can make your own by writing each letter of the child's name on a piece of cardboard and cutting it out. You can have the child paint it or decorate it to make it brighter. My example is a little messy, but I'm sure most toddlers won't even notice. You don't even have to cut around every edge.

9. Play a game with your child where one of you points to an object. You say what it is and the letter it begins with and then encourage the child to repeat the sound that letter makes with you several times. 

10. Make a  song out of the letters of your child's name. For example, to the tune of B-I-N-G-O: "There was a boy whose name was Aaron, Aaron was his name-o, A-A-R-O-N, A-A-R-O-N, A-A-R-O-N and Aaron was his name-o." Get creative!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Easter Sensory Bin: Keeping it Simple

I decided to make a very simple sensory bin for L. Just colored rice in pastel colors and easter eggs. They are empty because almost anything that will fit in them would be a choking hazard for his age, but for older children you can put some things inside such as erasers, small cars or balls, etc. 
When putting together a sensory bin, it is important to think of what you want the child(ren) to learn from the experience. For this I chose scooping, pouring and filling. Mostly because those are things that L likes to do and are on his developmental level.
I have to admit I am guilty of this myself, but some sensory bins are bordering on sensory overload. I look at some of them and am not even sure I, as an adult, would know where to begin. So just make sure you think about the purpose, developmental level of the children, and ability when deciding on what materials to include in yours.
Here is what it looked like before.

L getting hands-on with the rice and eggs.

I'm pretty sure he was trying to climb right in there to get a better look!

Filling the eggs with rice.

More filling.

L could not close the eggs on his own, so I helped him and they formed sort of like shakers which he totally LOVED. He would pick each one up and shake it. If it didn't make any sound, he picked up another until he found one that made noise.

And here is the rice afterwards. All mixed up, the pastel colors still look just as pretty!