July 31, 2011

Say Cheese Book

This book is a favorite all year long! Laminate these cute camera accents. (You can get them at your local teacher store.) Write the title, "Say Cheese", on the lens of one camera. Use a circle cutter to cut lenses out of the others. Tape a child's photo on the back of the camera. Bind the cameras at the top. I used paper reinforcers and metal rings. Flip through the book and read the words "Say cheese, (child's name)." Its a great way to help children recognize one another.

July 30, 2011

Parking Lot Math

This is a simple way to encourage math (or other curriculum areas) in the Block Center. Create a parking lot using a vinyl placemat. Use a ruler to make 8-10 parking spaces. Tape a different color of circle in each space. When the children are done playing with the cars at the Block Center, have them park them in the appropriate spot. If colors are too easy for your kids, write capital letters on the hoods of the cars and the corresponding lower case letters. Or try numerals and dots. Have other ideas? Share in the comment section below!

July 29, 2011

Magnetic Name Match

Here's an oldie but a goodie! Get a cookie sheet that is magnetic. Tape each child's name to the cookie sheet. Laminate each child's photograph and hot glue a magnet on the back. The children match the photo to the name. I start with the names in alphabetical order (the same as our name wall). Then I retape the names in columns with girls on one side and boys on the other side. Finally, I put them in random order. You can also add magnetic letters and let the children find the first letter in their names.

July 28, 2011

Center Basics

I get asked how I do centers in my classroom. I do not have a center rotation. First, I can not keep up with a rotation chart. What if little Sally is gone one day? Does she stay at the same center or does she not get to play at that center until the next week? Also, what if the child doesn't want to play at a certain center? If forced to, will they really be learning? I have a center chart. You will notice there is population control, or a limit to the number of children at each center. Otherwise, it is free choice. The kids can pick what center they go to and change as many times as they want during center time. The first week or so is hard- the kids want to change centers every few minutes. However, the novelty of switching centers wears off. I use actual photos of the centers so the kids know exactly where they are going. Last year, the centers/number of children were: Computer Center (2), Water Table (2), Sensory Table (2), Art Easel (2), Art Center (4), Puzzles & Games (4), Block Center (4), Pretend Center (3), Writing Center (4), and Reading Center (3). I have been moving my classroom around so the numbers might change a bit. The types of centers will be the same.

July 27, 2011

People Blocks

I am a crafter. (Although these days I don't have much time to do it so I am more of a craft supply collector!) I do stamping but I use unmounted stamps on acrylic blocks. When I order from some stamp companies, they send wooden blocks for the stamps. I hated to just throw them away. So I taped my kids' photos on the front. Now they each have their own block for the Block Center. At the end of each year, I can untape the photo and use it again.
In the blocks on the right, there is a drawn one. This is the one my kids had me create one for Baby Sylvia while I was pregnant. :)

July 26, 2011

Alphabet Crayons

I got some cool silicone trays to make alphabet crayons. After peeling the label off of a TON of crayons, I placed them in the trays (you can order them off Amazon). I decided to do multicolored crayons so I mixed them. I put them in the oven on 270 degrees for about 20 minutes. After letting them completely harden, I popped them out. Fun!
I have other shaped of trays to try- hearts, shells, animals, palm trees, & ducks. I can't wait!

July 25, 2011

Visual Agenda

Letting the kids know what will be happening each day is important in early childhood classrooms! In my school, we are required to post an agenda. To make it meaningful (and appropriate) for my Pre-K students, I create a visual agenda. On the 1st day of school, I take pictures of the kids doing everything- eating breakfast, sitting at group time, playing outside, etc. I create a "collage photo" for each of the parts of our day. You can order these for 29 cents at Walgreens. And you get to pick them up in about an hour! I post the pictures in a somewhat circular fashion at the kids' eye level. In my case, this is on the front of the big book stand. It's a meaningful way for the kids to see our day!

July 24, 2011

Child Care Land

Have you discovered Child Care Land (www.childcareland.com)? If you haven't, you are missing out! They some great ideas and best of all, you can print some of them for free! I'm not talking about worksheets (if you know me you know my feelings on worksheets in early childhood). There are printables that the children can manipulate! You can print the letter squares, laminate, punch holes, and put them out with links- you know the ones that kids use to make handcuffs & lassos! Let the kids link letters, spell their names, or make sight words. Post your ideas below!

July 23, 2011

Little Red Box

My kids have always loved the Little Red Box song! I have sang it for years but it is also on Dr. Jean's CD, Silly Songs.
I decided to take it to the next level and add photos. I purchased the box in the party supply section at the Dollar Tree. (I love that store!) I put the kids photos in the box (these are their old center tags) and VIOLA! A perfect visual for their favorite song. Simply pull out a child's photo as you are singing the song and the kids will join right in. It is a great song and makes a good transition to centers, to line up, etc.

If you don't know the song, it goes like this...
If I had a little red box to put my (child's name) in.
I'd take him/her out and (kiss, kiss, kiss) and put him/her back again!

July 21, 2011

ABC Rocks

Sorry that I have neglected my blog! It has been busy with the kids' birthdays both in July and getting things ready for back to school. I promised to post my version of the alphabet rocks and here they are!
I wish I would have gotten bigger letters but the rocks and stickers are cheap enough to make more. I am going to make some with photos of my students to add to the block center. The kids LOVE anything with their photos!