Category Archives: Faith

Bunches of Bulletin Boards

We are always looking for fun, new bulletin board ideas.  I thought I would share some of the bulletin boards we have had here at preschool over the years, in case you are looking for some new ideas, too!

Birthday Boards

These next two were made by a very talented co-worker of mine who actually quilted these bulletin boards!  So cool!

Welcome to School Boards

This one was our seasons tree. We left it up all school year but changed the decorations with children’s artwork to go with the seasons. I’m missing a picture of the spring one. It had flowers on it.

Fall and Thanksgiving

This picture was taken before I put the title on the board. It read “OWL Always Be Thankful.”

This one was an interactive board. Each of the turkey’s feathers were made out of a different material for the children to touch and explore.

Winter

Snow globe- “There’s SNOW Place Like Preschool”

St. Valentine Secret Message Hunt

We did another hunt-around-the-room activity today. My director/co-teacher put this together. Our morning class is really into sight words, so this worked quite well for them. However, I’m not sure if most preK or preschool classes would be successful with this activity. I think it would probably be a good activity for Kindergarten.

We hid these cute little love bugs all around the room (clip art compliments of Carson Dellosa) each with a number 1-9. Next to each love bug we placed a sight word.
We supplied the kids with clipboards and papers numbered 1-9. The children went around the room and wrote down the words next to the corresponding number. Then, (and this was the really fun part of the activity) they got to read the sight words to figure out the secret Valentine message (our message was “I love Jesus. His love is in my heart.”)! It was really a fun, active writing and reading activity.

Simple Christmas Ideas for All Around the Classroom

Today I’d like to share with you some festive things my preschool does to make Christmas a special time in the classroom as well as help teach the real meaning of Christmas.  Again, most of the credit here goes to my wonderful director who had been implementing these great ideas for years.  

Workbench

During Christmas, our workbench turns into “Ornamentation Station,” where the children can make Christmas ornaments to their heart’s content.  The Ornamentation Station is so much fun that I wrote two separate posts about it.  You can find them here- Ornamentation Station (Part One) and Ornamentation Station (Part Two).

Dramatic Play

The most important place in our classroom during the Christmas season is our manger where we keep our baby Jesus doll (a special doll we only bring out during Christmas).  The children are invited to sit in the rocking chair and rock baby Jesus and take care of him.  On the ceiling above the Baby Jesus, we hang a star to remind the children of the star that led the Magi to the newborn king and to mark it as a special place in the classroom.  This is one hands-on way we love to use to teach the kids about what Christmas is really all about.  Plus, there is nothing more precious than to see a child rocking the baby Jesus to sleep!

Our Christmas tree is another way we make our classroom festive for the children.  We set it up with the kids, and the kids get to decorate it with shatter-proof ornaments, ornaments they make at the “Ornamentation Station“, plus mittens they bring in to help needy families.  At home, kids don’t always get to decorate the Christmas tree however they want, so this is a great opportunity for them to decorate and re-decorate however they like!

Literacy and Writing Table

The writing table is one of our favorite areas of the classroom, especially at Christmas time.  The following idea is a hit with the kids year after year.  Plus, it’s a great use for old Christmas cards!  Simply take the front off of the Christmas cards, then give the children scissors, glue, stamps, and construction paper cards.  We also provided Christmas-themed word cards.  The children are free to cut out the pictures, glue them to their cards, stamp, write, and create their very own cards!

In addition to "Merry Christmas," we provided words such as "mom," "dad," "grandma," "grandpa," and "Santa."

This next idea is a new one, and it turned out to be so much fun!  I found these great alphabet Christmas tree printables at prekinders.com (Go here for these and other Christmas printables).  We gave the children transparent magnetic bingo chips to cover the letters following the color key at the top of the page.  Then, once they had decorated the whole tree, they could use the magnet wand to clear the Christmas tree!  They had so much fun doing this!  Of course if you don’t have the magnetic chips, you could use any sort of bingo chips or small circles to play.

Water Table

One thing that is fun to put in the water table for Christmas is a miniature Christmas tree with tiny ornaments, beads, and garland.  It is fun for the kids to put decorations on the small tree; plus it’s good for building their fine motor control!

Please leave your comments and share any other great Christmas ideas you use in your classroom!

Where Has Thanksgiving Gone?

Dear America,

What have you done with Thanksgiving?  Where has it gone?

It is not merely the “season opener” for Christmas-time.  Now, don’t get me wrong, Christmas is a truly wonderful and meaningful holiday.  I cannot downplay the significance of our savior and God humbling himself to come down to earth and become human, to come to us as a helpless baby born in a stable.  In the spirit of what Christ gave to us, Christmas is a season of giving.  However, as a result of being a season of giving, it is also a season of receiving.  And it seems receiving is the aspect of the season that gets focused on way too much.  All the commercialism you push, America, takes advantage of that.  And it’s in that commercialism that we are losing Thanksgiving.  Children especially can get caught up in all the gimmie-gimmie-gimmie of the Christmas season.  What are we teaching them if we don’t stop and say “thank you” for all the numerous blessings God gives us everyday?

Christmas is important, and we need to teach children (and ourselves sometimes, too) the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.  A good way to start is by celebrating Thanksgiving in its own right.  Not just as an oppurtunity to get together, eat a lot of food, start our Santa lists, and get excited that Christmas is coming, but as a time to give thanks to God for all He has done.  To take a break from all the “I wants” and instead say “Thank you for what I have.”  After all, America, this is your holiday.  Own up to it.  It’s a beautiful thing.

So please don’t put up your Christmas decorations after Halloween.  Take time for Thanksgiving; it’s worth it.

Thank you America.

With Love,

Me

Crafty Crayon-Melting Creativity

This whole melting-crayons thing is all over the internet right now.  On Facebook, on Pinterest, I have seen it just about everywhere.  I have also seen all different variations on this project:  adults melting crayons on huge canvases as art to schools in Phoenix leaving the crayon projects outside in the hot sun to melt.

At any rate, it just seemed to cool not to try.  I, of course, took my own variation on it.  First of all, I wanted to be sure each child had the opportunity to experience this science-art hands-on.  Which meant they would not just watch the crayons melt, but they would make it happen.  Second, I wanted the children to choose their crayons to put more free-choice into the project.  Third, while I wanted each child to be able to make their own creation and be able to take it home, it was not exactly in my budget to run out and buy each child their own brand-new box of Crayola crayons and a canvas (Between two classes, that would be about 30 students and since I like to make art myself at home, I know canvases can get expensive).  However, we did have a large bag of used crayons on hand at the preschool, and there is always plenty of construction paper.

This activity worked really well for the week the children were learning about the letter C.  We talked a lot about crayons and colors.  Also, since we are a Catholic Christian School, we did a lesson that day about something else that is made of wax and begins with C – candles.  They learned about and saw first hand what candles are used for in church.  But I digress.  Back to the crayons.

We’ve been talking a lot about liquids and solids with the children, and we’ve been exploring these properties in different ways.  This time, I pulled out a crayon and we talked about it.  Is it a liquid or a solid?  What is the crayon made out of?  What happens to wax when it gets hot?  After discussing, I pulled out a hair dryer and we tested the kid’s theory of what would happen when I heated up the crayon. Sure enough, the wax started to drip.

We told the children we would be doing art and science at the same time.  I absolutely love when art and science meet.  Those are my favorite kind of activities (and often the children’s favorite, too).  At free play time, we set up two hair dryers, one for each side of our easel (we discovered very quickly that we needed to plug them into different outlets if we wanted the both to be running at the same time!).  That way two children could work at once.  We let the kids choose about four or five crayons and tape them to the top of the paper.  We did not mess around with hot glue or anything like that.  As long as the crayons still had paper on them, the tape worked just fine.  We put the crayons at the top to get the full effect of the dripping.  Next time, though,  I think I might let the children tape the crayons any way they want to and explore what happens!

It took a good bit a patience for the children to wait for the crayons to get hot enough to melt, but once they did, the kids got so excited!  “Wow, look, there goes red crayon!”  “Now blue is dripping!”  And because anything of this nature becomes a race to children:  “I think green is going to win”

The students were really good scientists for this project, making all kinds of observations about what was happening with the crayons.  They noticed one hairdryer made the crayon wax drip down the paper, while the other splattered the wax more (it had a stronger blower).  Some used both thick and thin crayons and noticed they melted at different speeds.  They noticed different colors melted faster than others.  They even noticed certain crayons (the cheap ones) although colored, melted clear.

I found it to be a very fun, educational and successful project.  To go along with this project, in addition to the candles in church lesson, we read “The Crayon Box That Talked” by Shane Derolf and talked friendship and teamwork.  The children also had a lot of fun color mixing with paint at the art table.

Have any of you tried this crayon project with your children?  How did it work out in your classroom (or home)?  Post your comments and let me know your tips and suggestions!