Friday, September 19, 2014

Dinosaur Days

Let me start off by saying that blogging again has been an AWESOME motivator! It's given me that extra dose of inspiration to make my lessons the best possible! Here's what we've been up to this week!

It's no secret that I LOVE dinosaurs. I went through a really huge dinosaur phase when I was 5 and 6 and have loved them ever since. In fact I remember coming home from Kindergarten or 1st grade and couldn't wait to watch 1 of 2 things: 1. The Land Before Time (I cry every time!) or 2. A Walter Cronkite Nova special about dinosaurs that my mom recorded for me from PBS. (Oh yeah, I've always been a super cool kid.) But seriously, dinosaurs are universal. All the kids in my class LOVE them!
So when it was time to teach the letter D, I knew that most of my lessons would have to have something to do with dinosaurs. We had SO much fun! We counted dinosaurs, compared dinosaurs, dug for dinosaurs, painted with dinosaurs, made dinosaur projects. and did a lot of dinosaur pretending!

The most popular activity this week was digging for dinosaurs! I set up a bin with some Kidfetti and some dinosaurs as well as the dinosaur sorting cards from All Kids Network and had the kids use spoons to dig out the dinosaurs. I showed them the above video and we talked about how careful you have to be when digging up dinosaur bones. They then sorted the dinosaurs they found!

We also used our dinosaurs to make dinosaur footprints! This was one of the favorite activities of the week. Anything to do with making dinosaurs stomp is fun!

We made some dinosaur sun catchers that I found on Pinterest. I love how they turned out!


We also dotted these dinosaurs and decorated our own dinosaurs named after ourselves! The kids got to choose what kind of dinosaur and what color they wanted to be and went to town decorating! It was great practice for learning how much glue to use!  After, I asked them a little information about their dinosaurs. I love what they came up with!

Our favorite activity by far was making dinosaur feet and having a DINOSAUR DANCE PARTY! The kids had so much fun. There was lots of roaring and stomping (hence the blurry pictures).


Here are a couple of our favorite videos from this week...


   I hope you've enjoyed getting a peek at our dinosaur fun! Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2014

My New Best Friend

Oh my goodness. Today was rough as most Mondays are. If you'd ask my little friends, they'd probably tell you we had a great day which of course we did. It just took SO much effort to keep everyone engaged! Attention spans were very very short today. It took lots of dog and pony show on my end to keep everyone on track!

One thing however that went beautifully was table work this morning. When the kids come in they have a choice from 2 activities at the tables to work on until everyone arrives. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it can get a little crazy! Especially on mornings when my assistant works car line and I'm the only one in the room. If have to stand in the doorway to help a kiddo things can get rowdy.

Why did things go well this morning? Because of a little something called the Calm Counter

This thing is wonderful! I find Pre-K kids have a very hard time monitoring their volume. The concept of an inside voice difficult for students. That's where Calm Counter comes in. It works by accessing your computer's microphone to measure the noise level of the room. As the room gets louder, the arrow goes up and goes from green to red. I had this projected on my Eno board when the kids came in and it was a great way for them to self monitor their volume while also getting to play! 

It takes a little tweaking to get the microphone sensitivity right depending where the kids are in relation to the computer. Of course I did have lots of intentional loud noises just to see the needle go up at first, but they soon grew tired of that and played as normal. The best part? Because things didn't get as crazy cleanup was a lot easier! 

Please note that this site does access your webcam as well as your microphone. Since I have a laptop and didn't have time to look into turning off my webcam this morning I simply covered it with a piece of electrical tape. Keep this in mind to keep you and your students safe!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Classroom Tour 2014

Hello everyone! It's FRIDAY! Totally my favorite day of the week! As promised here is a tour of my classroom this year!

 This is the view of my room looking from the door. Other than an area to the right, this is pretty much it. My classroom is small compared to many Pre-K classrooms but with our 3 year old classes maxing out at 14 the space suits us perfectly!

 This is a small reading area and our morning command center. When the kiddos unpack their bags they come in, drop their folder in a bucket and flip their card in the pocket chart. One side has their name and the other has their face. Every morning it starts on the name side and they have to find their name and flip it over to find their face! I mix it up as the year progresses to make sure they are learning their name and not just memorizing their spot. The pictures make it self checking and its a great way to see attendance at a glance!

Our cabinets where all my important teacher resources are kept - note the Keurig Machine! ;) I've been organizing my teaching resources into binders this year and I LOVE it! I keep one binder per letter of the alphabet and one for our monthly colors numbers and shapes. This helps me find things so much more easily and makes planning with my coworkers a breeze! 

I also love using the plastic drawers for organizing weekly work. I have one drawer for each day of the week and one To-Do. I put all the things I need my assistant to do in the last drawer and as she finishes them she files them into the weekly drawers. Each day I just need to open the drawer and everything I need is there!
Our whole group area. Here we do morning meeting and calendar every day as well as do alot of fun things on our Eno Board! 

Want to know one of my favorite things about whole group time? Using pointers!Its just one of those things that I couldn't wait to do as a kid and I get a kick out of it still! I started making pointers out of pre-painted wooden shapes after seeing this post on First Grader... at Last! a few years back. This summer I decided to add a pointer for every letter of the alphabet to reinforce the sounds each week. Now I have a big bucket of beautiful glittery pointers that the kiddos and I both absolutely LOVE!

 This is a closer look at my small group table and our focus board. I put the skills we are working on each week as a visual reminder for the kiddos. At this table I do work with 3-4 students at a time in differentiated groups during our center time.

 I work in a Catholic school so we have a prayer table integrated into our room. Next to that is the kitchen center. One of the struggles I have with such a small room is center time. There is not a lot of room for kiddos to spread out and play so I mix some permanent centers like the kitchen and reading  with other more portable tabletop centers.

 I hope you enjoyed getting a peek into my home away from home! Before you leave I want to show you what I made today. I present you with Mr. Muncher!

Isn't he the cutest? I made him using a small swing top trashcan and laminated card stock with a little hot glue. I plan on using him each week to reinforce letter sounds. I purchased these letter cards on Amazon to use with him which are very sturdy laminated small cards perfect for little hands! If you'd like to snag the sign I made for his front you can get it here.

I hope your weekend is getting off to a wonderful start!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What I've Been Up To...

This summer has brought a lot fun exciting changes. The biggest being that I got MARRIED!

 Super wonderful and exciting! We went to Disney World for our honeymoon and spent the rest of the summer fixing up our apartment!

As all things do, our wonderful summer had to come to an end sometime and now school is back in full swing. I am very fortunate to work at a school I love with some absolutely amazing people so it wasn't too much of a hardship! I will be posting a classroom tour soon but right now I'm linking up with Oh Boy Fourth Grade for my September currently. Here it is!

Listening:  My husband and I share a mutual love for video games. It's his way of unwinding after a long day. Usually he plays with friends online and I sit next to him on the couch with my laptop on Pinterest or blogs. Its wonderful that we are happy just to be next to one another on our respective screens.

Loving: I was out of school yesterday and today with a nasty stomach bug. I HATE being out of school! Yes, being sick sucks but mostly because the fun lessons I have planned don't get taught! I'll be glad to be back with my kiddos tomorrow!

Thinking: While I was sick as a dog yesterday I was trying to be somewhat productive and was looking up Pre-K things on Pinterest. I think I'd really like to incorporate a word wall in my classroom. I would like to focus on adding pictures & words that begin with the letters to reinforce letter sounds all year long. The only problem is space! My room is so tiny!

Wanting: I am very much over summer. Which is a pity because fall like temperatures don't hit until late October or November in Louisiana. I can however still dream of the days when I can pull my cardigans, scarves and boots out of the closet and do simple tasks without breaking into a sweat.

Needing: Oh the couch. My foe and friend. So comfy especially when you add a husband and a cuddly pooch. 

Trips: I've been dying to go to London and Versailles for years now. London because I love everything British and Versailles because I find Marie Antoinette so very fascinating! I also want to go to New York just to go and see what all the fuss is about!

Hope you have enjoyed seeing what I've been up to! Don't forget to click the link above to post your own September currently!