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Sunday, September 30, 2012


In September, we did a lot with apples.  We started by making observations about apples.

 We then made apple smiles for our snack.  They are made with 2 apple slices, mini marshmallows and peanut butter (this year I had to use carmel because of peanut allergies).  The kids love these.

 These apple trees are made in several steps. We start by doing green marble painting.  When they dry, the children cut along the lines I've drawn (with older kids, I had them use a tracer).  They then cut out the trunk and glue their collage together.  The last step is to add the apples with a pencil eraser.

 We of course had to do a graph.

The kids love this poem. I also typed it up and they added the picture clues (colored apples).  We practiced reading the poem as we pointed to each word ( I put a black dot under each word). This was the first paper that they brought home that they could "read" to their families...very exciting!

         Finally, after reading 10 Apples Up on Top, the kids did a self portrait and then decided how many apple they would put "on top."  The apples were little red circle stickers. Under the picture it says "_________ has ____ apples up on top!" I kept these in their portfolios so I could show parents at conferences how they were drawing themselves, writing their names and counting at the beginning of the year.

Friday, September 28, 2012

We Love Pete the Cat

We had a great week with LOTS of Pete the Cat fun.  After reading Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes, we made shoes (in our favorite colors) that were inspired by those made by Sandi from Rubberboots and Elf Shoes and April at Chalk Talk.  Do I love those two teachers? Goodness Yes!

The next thing we did was learn to read! :)  The kids were so excited when I told them that they would "shock and amaze" their parents by reading a book to them. We started with reading the words of our book from the sentence chart.  The children were happy to see that once I read the title "I Love My Shoes!" they could use the pictures and pattern to "read" the next sentence.  I always use Dr. Jean's words and say things like, "Wow, that's great! Good Readers look at the pictures to help them figure out the words."  We will start singing her song "The Tools of Good Readers" in a few months when we are ready to look for smaller chunks that we can read. 
After we read the words as a whole group, I met with small groups and we colored our book I Love My Shoes! I have spent way too long trying to figure out where I got the book from. I'm not sure... if it's yours, please let me know (and thank you).  It did not have any words so I typed up the words and then just glued them on to the bottom of the pages. 

For the last couple of years I have used a black sharpie and put a dot under each word that we will be reading before copying a book or poem.  It really helps the kids to track the words if they use the dots to make sure their finger is under each word.

We also loved reading about Pete's 4 groovy buttons. 
 I used the pattern from Cindy from Hooray for Kindergarten for our adorable Petes.
I love how the kids' personalities come out even if they  are using precut pieces.
Everyone wanted to make their Pete the Cat and pick their favorite 4 colorful buttons.

The last craft we did this week was to glue pieces of ripped up paper on our names and record how many letters are in our names on our graph. I liked the name activity (that I saw on Deanna Jump's Blog) because it is good small motor practice and I think they look really cute.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Our Busy First Week

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

        We had a wonderful first week.  After reading The Kissing Hand on our first day, we moved on to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  The kids love helping to read the story...especially saying "Boom Boom" in a loud deep voice.  I used the book as an opportunity to practice using our special "push and squeeze glue." I LOVE these glue caps which dispense only spots of glue.

 The key is to teach the kids that they never "open" the glue.  Instead they need to push the tip on the paper as they squeeze the bottle. I bought these caps years ago and it is one of my best purchases.

After gluing on the trunk, leaves and coconuts, the children used stickers to add their names.  Finally they wrote their name on the poem and counted how many letters were in their names. They are really cute and it was good to see where the kids  were with following directions, and writing their names and numbers


Magic Play Dough

          The kids loved playing with the "magic play dough" that I brought in that turned blue if the child playing with it is going to have a  great year in Pre-K.  The magic play dough was home made play dough shaped into 20 small balls.  I pushed my finger into each ball and added a few drops of blue food coloring.  I like that the kids will now always refer to our blue play dough as the magic play dough.

Our Walk

We ended this week with a wonderful walk around the college campus where our school is located.  
Am I lucky or what? :)

We were silent for 1 minute as we used our senses to notice things at the fish pond.
We played on the giant chair and rolled and ran down the hill.
We smelled flowers and played in the rose garden. 
Fortunately our parents know that play is learning and it's sometimes dirty :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Kissing Hand

        We finally had our first day today and it was great.   I have read The Kissing Hand on every first day of school.  I love when my kiddos are all excited to tell Mom that they will kiss her hand in the morning so she won't be too sad during school time because I know that those first days really are harder for Mommy than they are for my little ones :)  I call the children over one at a time and paint each child's hand.  I like having a private minute to talk about their day and about the kissing hand. I know the parents will love looking back at their child's little kissing hand as that hand gets bigger and bigger.
I write "child's name"'s Kissing Hand and September 2012 on each one.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Classroom Photos ... Finally

     We haven't had any internet in my home for almost 2 weeks (no cable tv either).  Actually, its been surprisingly nice  (and I do have my iphone to satisfy my Pinterest addiction :)  Anyway, our school finally started this week with 2 days of "Meet the Teachers."  I'm very excited about my new class.
      And here's my room...
I LOVE my tree that was inspired by the tree created by Denise at  Mrs. Picasso"s Art Room.  I put color copies of  the covers of favorite books on some of the circles.  

View from the door we usually come in (unfortunately I have 3 doors:)
This is where we have circle time each morning. We are in the process of adding pictures to each of our stars.  The yellow section on the right is for photos of our "Student Star." I will be the first "star" and so pictures of my family,  favorite places, when I was little and things I like to do are on the board when the kids first come to our "Meet the Teachers Open House" with their families.  I wrote about my cool letters here.

View from the other corner.  My table for meeting with small groups is in front of the blue cabinets  (they were beat up, horrible beige cabinets before this summer).

This bulletin board includes our playground and some of our favorite spots on the Swarthmore College campus that we frequently visit on our walks (including a red tree, a GIANT adirondack chair, a rose garden and a pond with gold fish...I know I am very lucky!!!)  We will add children to the board next week when we each decorate a little cutout of ourselves.

I forget where I saw this but I wanted to make sure that I had the children's names several places in our classroom when the kids first came to school so that there is something everyone can read.
We will do quite a bit of graphing during the first weeks as a way to get to know each other (and to allow me to do some informal evaluations).
Housekeeping corner
We use the big tables for snack and for lunch (if the kids stay for lunch bunch).  The colorful bins next to the near table always have art supplies (markers, paint, crayons, scissors, glue and paper -separated by color per Sandi at Rubberboots and Elf Shoes) and play dough with a bin of rotating items to use with the play dough.  There are small "table toys " and games on the shelves next to the other table.  These items will be rotated each month. This month there is a sand table in the far corner of our room.

      As you can see from my classroom photos,  I really tried to limit how much "stuff" is in my room and on the walls this year.  As I wrote about earlier, I love the idea of rotating toys on a monthly basis (and having far fewer toys in the room at any one time),  The walls will soon be filled with the kids art work.  The room always looks so empty without kids and their art....I can't wait till next week when it will be full.