Tag Archives: Teaching

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”

Having a Blast with Birthdays

Literacy

One of our favorite things to do when the kids are learning about the letter B is talk about birthdays!  One story we really like is “The Secret Birthday Message” by Eric Carle.  In the story, the little boy has to follow the secret birthday message on a kind of scavenger hunt to find his birthday surprise!  As some added fun, we print copies of the message and hide pictures of the book around the room.  The children then get to follow the clues to find the surprise, just like the boy in the story!

Dramatic Play

In our dramatic play area, we set up a birthday party with pretend birthday cakes, party hats, paper party plates and cups, and balloons.  The kids love taking turn pretending it is their birthday and having a party!

Art

This year, I wanted to try something different at the art table for birthdays.  What I came up with were these fun three-dimensional birthday cakes.

They are made from upside down paper bowls.  To make the frosting, I mixed one part glue with one part shaving cream and then added a few drops of liquid watercolor.  This concoction dries thick and foamy, and really looks a lot like real frosting!  After spreading on the “frosting,” the kids decorated the cakes with foam shapes, candy sprinkles, and cut-up pieces of straws as candles.  Of course, you could use any collage materials you have on hand to decorate the cakes.  The kids really got into making these.  I almost felt like I was watching Cake Boss there for a while!

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.

Tie Dye Ice Sculptures

This is something we do every year in January.  The ice sculptures always turn out so cool!

To do this activity, we ask each child to bring in a uniquely shaped piece of ice.  We get all kinds of fun ice from creative families.  For example, we get ice frozen in balloons, rubber gloves, Tupperware, jello molds, bowls, and cups among other things.

They bring their ice into school and put it in the water table.  At play time, we give the children kosher salt to sprinkle on the ice and watch the effects, making little craters in the ice.  Then, after the ice has melted a bit, they can use the salt and press two pieces of ice to gether, fusing them together. Their coldness re-freezes the parts that have melted and makes the pieces of ice stick together.

After the children have had some time to create their sculptures, we give them  eye droppers (great for fine motor)and liquid watercolor paint to color their creations.  The results are beautiful!

The Versatile Blogger

I am honored and excited to note that I have been given The Versatile Blogger Award (VBA) by Suzanne down at My Buddies and I!  I want to thank you, Suzanne, and encourage everybody to check out My Buddies and I.  It’s a really sweet blog about her day care (check out her yard- it’s a great play-space!).

The VBA Rules require that I now pass on the award to 15 excellent blogs.  My awards for Versatile Bloggers go to (in no particular order):

Play-Based Classroom. Never underestimate the power of play!  Amen to that!

Dr. Jean.  Dr.Jean is wonderful when it comes to preschool/preK/Kindergarten ideas.  If you haven’t visited her site before, it is definitely worth a look!

E is for Explore.  Tons and Tons of great activities for kids/classroom.  Especially love the how they often combine science and art!

Almost Unschoolers.  I found lots of great games and projects here that she does with her kids for homeschool.

Teacher Tom.  Teaching and Learning from Preschoolers.  If you haven’t seen Teacher Tom’s blog yet, please check it out.

Housing a Forest.  Filled with  ideas for art, crafts, science and games.  She does all kinds of great things with her kids at home!

1 2 3 Kindergarten.  A blog with lots of great activities for kindergarten readiness!

Steve Spangler Science.  We truly are Steve Spangler groupies.  If you haven’t discovered him and his great science yet, it’s not too late!

Teach Preschool.   I especially like the M&M paint idea I found here!

Rushing to Read.  Some good children’s book reviews.  Great if you are looking for a good book for your kids!

Frugal Family Fun Blog.  Fun and cheap things to do with kids.  Many ideas!

Adopt a ‘Do-Cute Girl Hairstyles. A must-see if you have a little girl in your life.  Lots of really cute, really easy hairstyles!

Delia Creates.  Some really cute sewing ideas here, plus some really fun kid activities!

Jill Cataldo- Super Couponing.  Jill has a great couponing blog.  I use it every week to save money on my grocery bill!

Klique Social Media Marketing.  Looking to expand your business using social media?  Klique can help you with interactive webpages, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and YouTube.  “Klique” on the link to check out their blog.

Congratulations to all the winners!  Check here to see the VBA rules.

Finally, I’d like to share 7 things about myself.

1.  I am married to my best friend.  I know this sounds cliché, but we were friends for over ten years before we got married!

2.  I (still) dance: ballet/pointe, jazz, tap and other.

3.  I like to paint.

4.  I am a Catholic, and I love it!

5.  I live in a small and adorable apartment with a bay window that overlooks a park with a gazebo.

6.  I love Fiestaware.

7.  I super-coupon and make my own cleaning supplies.

Thanks for reading and please take some time to check out the links above!

Good, Clean, Fun with Ivory Soap Clouds

Today was another one of those “I-saw-it-on-Pinterest-and-had-to-try-it-myself” kind of days for me at preschool.  I’ve had this idea pinned for a while now, and since today was White Day, I thought making Ivory soap clouds would be the perfect science experiment.

I brought a microwave down from the kitchen and put it on the counter next to our circle time area.  I started circle time by doing a flannel board for the book “It Looked Like Spilt Milk,”  which talks about all the different shapes clouds make and all the different things they can look like.  Then, I took out the bar of soap (we had to talk a little bit about what a bar of soap is; most of the children were only familiar with liquid soap).  I told them that this kind of soap has little pockets of air inside of it.  We also talked about how when air gets hot, the molecules move away from each other and expand.  I had the children make predictions as to what would happen if I heated the soap up in the microwave.  They had some really great guesses.  Some thought we would see the air bubbles come out of the soap, some thought it would melt, some thought it would expand in the microwave but then get smaller when we took it out.

Then I cut just a small piece of the soap off, put it on the plate, and put it in the microwave.  I set it for 2 minutes, but the reaction was over in about 1 minute.  The air bubbles expand and cause the softened soap to enlarge in puffy mounds.  It ends up looking like a big fluffy white cloud. Once it stops growing, it doesn’t do much else, so it doesn’t hurt to leave it in the microwave longer, but there’s not much point in it, either.

During play time, the children had a chance to come over and I helped them make their own soap cloud.  This was nice because they got a chance to see the process up close better than they could at circle time.  I reminded them to be careful and not touch the cloud until it has cooled a bit because it is a little hot when  you take it out of the microwave.  To go with the story, I had them tell me what they thought it looked like once it came out of the microwave and I wrote that on the paper plate.  That way they got to take home their soap clouds and I told them they could use in their bath tonight.

Play Dough Snowmen

January is a busy month at the preschool.  This is the month us teachers write-up the student evaluations and have conferences.  With all this to do, I unfortunately have not had time to keep up with the blog.  But… I do have about 5 drafts waiting to be written or finished.  There are so many great things to write about and so little time to write them!

I’ll start with a simple fun idea to get the (snow) ball rolling.  We put these little snowmen kits at the play dough table.  They included buttons, ribbon scarves, little hats, google eyes, pipe cleaners, and sticks.

Then, we put out our home-made white play dough and let the kids create!  The kids had so much fun with it!  Our three-year-olds especially loved creating these little miniature snowmen.  Here are some of their creations.

Ornamentation Station (Part Two)

Here’s a continuation of festive Christmas ornament ideas for preschoolers to make at the Ornamentation Station!  To see Part One, click here.

Beaded Hearts

This is an adorable little ornament that really turns out beautiful.  Also, beading is great for building fine motor control; plus the children get practice with patterning.  You start with pipe cleaners bent into a V shape.  The children then bead each side of the V.  Here we used green pony beads and red wooden beads (the wooden beads we cut off of a string of garland).

Once they have beaded up both sides, they can twist it secure and bend the end down to make a heart shape (they may need your help with this part).  We finished by using short pieces of pipe cleaner to make hooks.

Scratch-Off Paper Ornaments

These are simple ornaments that are easy for little hands to do.  We used scratch-off paper, the stuff that has rainbow colors underneath when you scratch off the black on the top.  We used our Ellison die cut machine again to make a variety of shapes the kids could choose from to make their ornaments.

Some kids will draw or make designs.  Others will just scratch the whole thing off, which might not be very artistic, but is great exercise for their little fingers!

Beaded Candy Canes

I will end with an easy-to-do classic – beaded candy canes using pony beads and pipe cleaners.  Again, it’s great for building fine motor strength and patterning skills.  Plus, its something the kids can do on their own.  And while we adults might find an idea like this a little tired or over-done, the kids have only been around a few years, so to them its brand-new!

I’m always looking for more great ideas!  If you have any ornaments you love to make with children, please leave a comment and share your ideas!  Thanks!

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!

Ornamentation Station! (Part One)

During Christmastime, our workbench transforms into “Ornamentation Station,” a festive place where little elves can create all kinds of adorable Christmas Tree ornaments!

Usually the ornaments are something very simple that the kids can create independently.

The following are a few examples of ornaments the kids could make at the Ornamentation Station.

Cinnamon Gingerbread Men

The gingerbread men were made by using sandpaper and our Ellison die cut machine, but they could easily be made by cutting the sandpaper into gingerbread man shapes using scissors.  We put cinnamon sticks at the table as well as stick-on buttons or other decorations.  The children simply rub the cinnamon stick on the sandpaper gingerbread men to make it smell wonderful, then decorate it however they would like.

Paper Balls

 

This one required a little bit more assistance from the teacher, but was great for some of the older kids as it promotes fine motor control, following step-by-step directions and patterning.

At this point I have to admit that I got this idea from Martha.  Yes, I saw this Martha Stewart ornament on Pinterest and loved it!  The idea is simple.  I provided the children with paper strips with holes punched at each end, as well as some brass fastener brads.  First, they decorated the paper strips using markers (if they wished).  Then, they secured their series of  paper strips with the brads on each end of the strip (they needed the most help with closing the brads).  Then they fanned out the paper to make it into a ball.  I helped them tie a length of yarn to it so they could hang it from the tree!

Stay tuned for even more Ornamentation Station ideas!