Education · PreK class · through my camera lens

PreK color week

This year I am going to add more education to my blog. Yes, I know that not everyone who reads my blog is a teacher, or mom or into kid things, but at the same time it is a part of who I am. I’m not saying I’ll post things weekly, but I will share more the things I do in my classroom.

The month of September’s theme is Changes. This is the first full week and we are learning about colors. Our work stations this week were:

art table– Mix It Up Art project. We watched the story Mix it Up on YouTube on Monday. In the story they do magic to make a hand appear on a page that is covered in finger prints. I told the children they could either put their fingerprints inside or outside the outline of their hand. We gave each child a paint pallet with red, yellow, blue, white and black and let them use however they wished. I like this concept because they can mix it without upsetting other children or making it so another child couldn’t use the paint too.

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Theme table- The children each took a coffee filter and drew a design on one half of the filter with markers. They then folded the filter twice and then sprayed the filter with water to let the colors spread and mix. No photo description available.

Writing table– I wrote each child’s name out on a long sheet of paper. The children used bingo daubers to cover the letters of their name to practice spelling their name. We are focusing on writing their names so it starts with a capital and the rest are lowercase letters.

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Math area- I put out a bin of mini erasers and had the children sort the erasers by color. They had to grab a handful of the erasers. They put the erasers into brown paper bags that are labeled with color words.

We also did a few whole group activities:

Melting ice cubes. I colored water red, blue and yellow and froze them into ice cubes. We observed the cubes melting in cups that we set up as red+ yellow, red + blue, blue + yellow and red+blue+yellow.

We did a STEAM experiment where the children again used coffee filters. They only used one color this time. We used secondary and tertiary colors. With this project, you color around the circle that is formed at the edge of the ridges of the filter (not on the flat part). You want to make it a thick line. Then fold the filter three times to make it a small cone shape. dip the tip of the cone into water and let it wick up to the color line. The colors will separate to show the colors that mix up to make the secondary and tertiary colors.

We also did a favorite color graph.

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We are finishing the week tomorrow by baking sugar cookies. We have three cans of vanilla frosting that we will color yellow, red and blue. The children will get a little of each color and be able to mix them and frost their cookies in the frosting color(s) they choose to use/create.

Education · life · PreK class · through my camera lens

First day of school… for me!

I’m taking a break from my blog hop for the day. You can go back and read my posts here, here, here, here AND here. Also go check out AJ at A Petite Slice of Life and Alley Bean at Spectacle Bean to see their posts on my blog hop. Are you ready to join in the fun? Please join in and post on my blog hop topics… it’s fun to go on a trip down memory lane… or talk about your children starting school…. or even you teaching or going to college now!

But I wanted to take a break from the actual blog hop topics to tell you about my actual first day of school! I went back last week for teacher prep week and then this week we had our meet the teacher nights… today we started school!

I revamped my whole room, I almost always do this… I guess I don’t like things being the same? So here you go… a peek into my room. Oh and the day went better than I expected. Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

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Education · family · life · PreK class

back to school

It’s that time of year. Back to school! Today I stopped in a work to get the postcards to mail off to my students and then we headed to the library. This will be our last library day for the summer, other than dropping off the books we checked out this time. Tomorrow the boys get their class information. On Wednesday, we will go to both schools so they know where their classes are and Blake can try out his locker.

Yep, it is the start of the new year. This summer has been a good one for our family. In addition to our cruise and visit back in Orlando, we spent a lot of time together. The boys enjoyed three different weeks of camps. They spent time at home and lots of time out and about with friends. The addition of the fire pit has been great for our family too. Most weekends we have one if not two fires and just spend the evenings hanging out together. Some times we experiment with cooking. Some times we get out the football. Most of the time we just put on music and sit around singing, laughing and just being together.

I typically look at the start of the school year as the start of the new year. I live my life on the school year calendar. So it’s time to look at what I can and will change this year. There are some major changes in that Blake is going to middle school and the boys will not be in the same school for the first time in forever. They will not ride the same bus either.

I am staying at the same school and working with the same age group. This means that I will be home before both the boys. This will help with that transition, I think!

My goal is to continue to eat healthy and workout on a regular basis. I want to continue to see myself and my body in a healthy light. I want to continue to work on creating new items to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. I want to relax and enjoy the chaos of the school year and all that it brings.

So, as I get ready to mail off the postcards to my new students… I will enjoy these last few days before school starts, and the new year begins.

life · PreK class

Moving towards the school year

I’m sitting here staring at a my blank blog post screen. I’ve tried typing a few times, but nothing sticks. Today is the boys last day of camp.

On Monday, we start into the get ready for school mode. This means that we stop sleeping in during the school week. It also means getting back to a consistent bedtime. The boys go back to school on Aug. 22nd and I go back on Aug. 26.

I sat down today and started shifting the themes for my classroom around. This year I am going to have a Fairy Tale each month. We will use this as a jumping off point for an engineering challenge as well. I am also working on making my explore time more than just adding in blocks and dramatic play. I am going to incorporate art exploration, more loose parts play and board games. A few of the professional development classes discussed the importance of creativity and young children. While I want my students to have some academic exposure, since they will be going into kindergarten after my class, I want to increase their outside the box thinking as well. Last year I had must do and may do areas in the room. This year we are going to have discovery stations and explore stations. This will allow the children to do the more structured learning during the discovery time and then the imaginary/creative learning during the explore times.

I’m not sure how this will all work out, but it will be worth trying. I’ll keep you up dated as we continue to try out new and exciting activities in the classroom.

Education · life · PreK class

Last Day of School

Getting ready to head back to work for our preK graduation… today was my last day.  Tomorrow and Friday I have to work, but it is just cleaning out the room and helping around the school. The nice thing is I have a few weeks before the boys get out. This will allow me to participate in their end of the year items. It will allow me to get the house in order and life as well. All I know is…..

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Education · life · PreK class

Last Thursday

Today is the first of the lasts for me! Today was the last Thursday with my class. Each day from now until Wednesday will be a last.  Wednesday is my last day of class. It is the night of our graduation. It will find me with 19 children and their 80 or so family members.

I will be glad when this is done. I feel like I’m butting heads because I didn’t plan it the way other people planned the graduations in the past. If you tell me I can plan it my way… then I will plan it MY way.

I am making it easy. Drop off the kids at 6:15. Family goes into the gym where there will be a slide show playing.

Around 6:30, the children will proceed in and I will greet the families.

We will sing a song.

I will give out some of the certificates

We will sing another song

I will give out  more certificates

We will sing another song

I will give out the last of the certificates

Sing our final song (one I wrote myself!)

Walk down the isle… find your parents

Have a treat, take pictures, take your art work off the wall… Say good bye!

yep… see simple easy.

I’ve had people try to tell me that the way I want to set up the chairs is wrong

That I need to have the kids enter without the mortarboards on, that they should put those one part way through…NO… that just prolongs things. simple easy is all you need

4 more day and it will be my summer… I will get there

life · PreK class

Yesterday was Tuesday


Image result for what? it's only wednesday?It’s Wednesday. This typically means that we are half way through the week and it’s not bad because the end is in sight. Not today. I went to bed with a sore throat and woke up the same way…. boo! This also meant that I did not sleep very well.

At work today, my co-teacher was talking to a child about a station that he had completed. She said “You must have done this yesterday, no I guess you did it on Tuesday.” I looked at her and said “yesterday was Tuesday”.

Twice I looked up at the clock and it was 15 min before the time I expected to see.

I know the fact that spring break is next week could be playing a role in this. Maybe it is the nicer weather, even if it is cooler today than it has been lately. Who know… but time is slowly moving and it is on Wednesday.

Hey, at least tomorrow is Friday Eve!

Education · life · PreK class

Pre-School Graduation planning

It is Wednesday. The day that is half way through the work week. Yesterday it really hit Image may contain: 3 peopleme that I needed to get moving on planning the “graduation” for my class. Part of me thinks that a preschool graduation is silly… what is the criteria? Congratulations you turned 5? You are old enough to go to public school. You are moving from preK of one form or another and moving onto kindergarten.

But, this is something that is expected. The did it when my boys were little and I can remember going to their preK graduation and seeing them there in their cap and gowns. They walked across the stage and received their first diploma.

Image may contain: 1 personWe had to laugh as some of the families had huge balloon and floral bouquets. They were cheering and hooting over their child getting their diploma.  Not us, in some ways we were just sitting there shaking our heads. I found it very strange that people felt the need to make such a big deal out of this event in their child’s life. But, it is!

Now, here I’m am the teacher who has to plan this event. I’m trying to find ways to make it less graduation and more just a celebration of the end of the year. Yes, they are moving from one school to another, but is it really something that should be equatable with graduating from high school or college? I do realize that now schools are having graduations when children leave elementary school. But, that even makes a bit more sense to me…. they completed K-5/6 in the school. They are moving on from the youngest school and moving on towards higher education.

I guess what I see is the more graduations you put in place the less graduation means. To me graduating from HS and then college meant something to me. It was something you worked and looked towards over many years. But if you graduate in preK, kindergarten 5/6 grade, 8th grade all before graduating from HS, what does that do to the actual HS graduation? Is this the participation trophy for school?

Oh well… I will find songs to sing. I will have my students practice walking in and getting their “diploma” and it will be fine. Parents will take pictures and all will be happy…. right?

life · PreK class

Skills your preK child needs to know

Over the years of teaching, I’ve learned a lot of things. Teaching four year olds this year has been even more eye opening to me. In all my years of teaching kindergarten, there are many things that we assume children will know how to do before starting school. I have tried to work with my students on some of these, but I often feel like I’m hitting a wall because the parents are not encouraging the children to work on these skills at home.

I know that some of you are now trying to think about what in the world I’m going to post about… is it knowing the alphabet? How to tie their shoes? Or maybe even how to write their full names? Nope none of these. These skills, I’m thinking about, are not academic. It isn’t difficult learning skills such as how to tie your shoes. These are simple life skills.

Before school your child should be exposed to the following tasks, even if they do not master it, they should have an understanding of how it works

  • Using a paper towel dispenser
  • Blow their own nose
  • Putting on their own clothing (jackets, shoes, socks, sweatshirts etc…)
  • How to put things into their backpack
  • Opening up zip lock bags (closing them again would be a bonus)

Here are some other skills that are worked on in preK, but would be helpful to work on at home too:

  • Zipping their own jacket
  • Pouring a cup of water
  • How to “pinch and pull” to open bags (this doesn’t need to be totally mastered, but have an understanding of how it works)
  • Passing items across and beside when sitting at a table
  • Using scissors, markers, pencils, glue sticks

I find that many times the parents do not want their child to be frustrated. They see their child struggle, so they just take over. Or, they don’t want to wait for him/her to complete the task. What they do not seem to understand is this is not helping your child. Your child needs to struggle. They need to work out how to do these tasks on their own. If that means starting to get ready five minutes earlier so he/she can put on their own jacket and/or shoes, then give it a few more minutes.

When you take a few minutes to show them how to do something, instead of just doing it for them, your child will see that he/she CAN do it. They are capable of these tasks. If you tell them they can do it, and allow them to work through the process you will see the pride they find in accomplishing the task. Please, please, please…. let your child learn to be independent. It does not make them love you less. It does not mean they do not need you. Trust me… it will help. They will see that you see they are getting older. That you see they are ready to do more on their own. They will see the pride you have in their accomplishments.

family · food · life · PreK class

Monday, Monday, Monday!

This weekend was busy and slow all at the same time. We missed the warm weather as we woke up Saturday to snow flurries. Yes, it was in the high 70s on Thursday and then it was snowing on Saturday. The flurries occurred on and off ALL day Saturday. Sunday was a day of a bit of this, a bit of that all at home. We even managed to get outside for a bit. (the temps were in the 50s)

I was proud of myself food wise this weekend. Saturday I had a salad for both lunch and dinner. Both were salads with grilled chicken, but they each took on totally different flavor profiles (one was chicken wheatberry and the other was chicken club). On Sunday, I had leftover sweet potato chicken hash for lunch. For dinner, I made homemade meatballs and red sauce. On Thursday, Richard had pasta and meatballs when we went out and he did not like the meatballs. This was incentive to me to make my own meatballs. So, I did! I served the meatballs over ravioli for Richard and Blake. Colby ate all his ravioli and then had a meatball. But, I put my meatballs over roasted zucchini and blistered tomatoes.

We had every intention of getting up and working out this morning, but it just did not happen. Richard and I are both still struggling to get a good night sleep. It is a struggle to get out of bed at 5:30am when you feel like you tossed and turned all night. We will find a way to get back on track… maybe?

Today I did feel more on my game at work. I didn’t feel as tired as last week, which is a good thing. This week we are starting our two week unit on ponds. Today the children learned the word ecosystem. I love the teach children words and concepts that many people think are too high/too complex for children who are 4/5. I look at life and say nothing is too hard when you explain it the right way.

I’m getting ready to make dinner. I’m trying out a new dish, but one that will feel comfortable and familiar. This time I’m making cheesy chicken and rice bake.

Hope your Monday was smooth!