Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes

I have seen so much Pete the Cat in blog land recently. I had seen these books before, but never opened them to see what Pete was all about. I also can't believe that I didn't get sucked into him before now with all of the posts I have been seeing.

All of a sudden this weekend an activity dawned on me. UM, PETE THE CAT AND COLORS! We are doing colors again this week and how great would Pete be for a color activity! I love that the students have to think of what color his shoes will be when we walks through different things. *light bulb* Extend this! Make cards with other things Pete could walk in, then ask the students what color his shoes will turn! Such a perfect activity for my pre-k guys!

So I made these: Pete the cat Activity Cards

They include a card for what Pete walks in, and a card for what happens to his shoes. There are 11 different shoes, including the wet ones, which is perfect, because the most students I have at once is 11! You can find this activity in either my TpT store or Teacher's Notebook Store!

I also can't wait to play the song posted by the publishing company for the students! If you haven't heard it yet, click here to listen! I hope your students love Pete the Cat!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bus work--photos! Finally!

Um. So I am obviously AWFUL at promises. I totally just realized that I NEVER followed up on posting pictures of our final activities from Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the bus!

I promise that in the future, I won't post about activities until I actually have the photos ready to post! :)

Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long (for those of you who actually were waiting), but here are the photos of our displayed bus work:

And the activity that was my favorite... "Don't Let ________________ Drive the Bus!"

We filled in our names on the line and decorated our own school buses after reading the story. I cut out the squares for the students photos and added them when they were finished with their bus! I love how these came out--so cute!

Sorry to have built up so much about this and then just drop the ball! I'm excited for my next post, but I'm not going to tell you what it's about AT ALL, just so I don't do this again! :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dr. Jean's Color Train

Ok, first off, I seriously hope that Dr. Jean's songs get stuck in my students' heads as much as they do in mine! I left school Friday singing this song! (and have been all weekend as I've worked on this activity..it's awful.)

But we all know how awesome Dr. Jean is! I recently purchased a CD and book set with her songs and the students and I listened to our first song this week, Color Train! It's perfect for our colors weeks!

We are going to be doing colors this week as well, so I decided I would extend our listening to Dr. Jean's song. We have been following with the book when we listen, but I decided to make interactive song cards to match up! I can hand these cards to the students (each student will have to have more than 1 card) and when they hear the card they have mentioned in the song they will hold it up! I plan on doing the cards with the color words.

Since we all love Dr. Jean, I thought I would share these awesome cards with you!  These are no longer available for download. If you need a set, please email at creatingandteaching(at)hotmail(dot)com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award & Apple Planning

Mrs. Morris at Simply 2nd Resources has given me the "Versatile Blogger Award!" I am thankful, honored, and excited that someone else thinks I deserve ANOTHER award! :)

And not to toot my own horn or anything, but I do think I have a pretty Versatile Blog :) Does anyone know where this award originated from?

So today as I was filling in behavior calendars I realized something. We are 1 week away from October. ALREADY?! I am actually looking forward to Fall--officially here today, but I just wish it felt like it!

I've started planning for our apples weeks. I don't think I have enough time to fit in all the activities that I want to do! I could probably spend 1 month on each, apples, pumpkins, monsters, and fall! I love it all & all the fun activities that there are to go along with it!

I am sending home Jennifer's apple glyph with my students to complete with their families. This is the first time I've done a glyph project, but I love sending home activities for the students to do with their families. I hope I get a good response! :)

What's your favorite apple/fall activity to do with your students?!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's in Your School Bag?

I love Abby's idea for a Linky Party "What's in your school bag?" over at The Inspired Apple. How fun! And plus, I don't think there is a teacher out there who doesn't love a great, cute, and functional school tote.

I wanted so badly to link up last night BUT I was really not feeling well. There are all kinds of germies moving about our school already and sure enough I've picked up something. (Thankfully I wasn't in the cafeteria today when a child puked...) I'm still feeling under the weather, but I think I can pull together the energy to take a few photos if I made it through the school day :)

My school bag progression reminds me a lot of Abby's (and Goldilocks & the 3 Bears...)

My first tote was this ADORABLE bag my co-op teachers made for me while student teaching with all of the kiddos hand prints. They also gave me a matching apron.

I love the bag, it's nice and tall, but just not wide enough.

My second tote was my Herve Chapelier tote from college. This bag comes in great colors and the material is very durable.

I love this bag too, it's nice and wide, but just not tall enough.

Are you seeing the Goldilocks problem here? That's when I decided on this bag, and it's a winner! I bought this as a Christmas Gift to myself last December and I'm still using it! I love 31 bags, but this one is the winner for me for my school bag. It's wide & tall. Seriously, you should see just how much I can stuff in there!

Right now, here's the inside. It's not too full tonight. I try to think realistically when I bring my bag home on weeknights. What will I REALLY do tonight? And usually I don't even do all of what I bring...

1. my planner
2. notebook paper
3. blog photo pemission
4. lesson plan book
5. cough drops
6. book for my grad class
7. a page from my "buses" theme section in my organization binders mentioned here
8. oriental trading mag
9. last years planner
10. folder for grad class
11. manila envelope with budget ordering info from last year--yeah, that's been there a while
12. DJ Inkers critter craze (I've been meaning to call the company beause about 1/3rd of the graphics are coming up all black. Has this happened to anyone else?!)
13. Special Education Rights
14. folder with masters info

15. story telling CD borrowed from co-worker last year (I should probably get around to burning that and returning it...
16. page dividers. idk why
17. gift certificate to a coffee shop
18. half empty marker pack
19. scholastic book order form
20. pens, pencil, misc.
21. paint chips. you know, for when the sudden urge to create this overcomes me...

I also have what Kristen at the Teeny Tiny Teacher ever so creatively named a "Nerd Cart". The nerd cart comes home on the weekend usually, especially if I had a lot of IEP work, BUT I have a problem with my nerd cart too! Either way I enter the house there are stairs and I end up carry this HEAVY thing by it's top handle. redic. I'm currently in the market for a 31 large utility tote to replace my nerd cart. I think it will fulfill that purpose nicely!

If you join the party, leave a comment saying so! I'd LOVE to be nosy and look inside your teacher bag too!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dismissal Time and a Freebie

We love it, we hate it. It's known as dismissal time. I'm not sure how things are run at your school, but in my opinion our afternoon dismissal process is cah-razy. It stresses me out like no other.

Last year we had 2 dismissal times because we still had half day K. This year, the only kiddos dismissing at 11am are pre-schoolers! Hallelujah! This is so nice, peaceful, smooth, calming, and easy! I can see my parent pick-ups coming from a mile away and not squished up in our lobby like sardines in a can, like it is at afternoon dismissal. (I promise you I'm not exaggerating.)

If we are dismissing from the play ground, as my kids and I usually are if the weather is nice, then a speck of the stress is diminished because we are not funneling from two hallways into one line to go through our cafeteria and out to the buses.

Now, I need to do a little stage setting for you here just so you can feel some of my stress. Our lobby is small and the parents are forced to stand in the school entry way until they see their child coming, at which point they push, shove, fight, find their way to the tables (that are keeping them in the entry way) to sign their child out. I'm not sure how the other teachers feel about this, but I can barely see to tell if my parents are standing out there and no pre-schooler wants to leave their teacher to sit on a bench and wait by themselves in this chaos. (Nor do I really want them to as their teacher)

All of my students ride mini-buses, small buses with bus aides and car seats--which line up ON THE OTHER SIDE of the parking lot from the kindergarten buses. If we could go through the front lobby to get to our buses our lives would be easier, but given all that I just mentioned, that doesn't happen.

Enter the next part of this process--every class "funnels" (it really feels that way) into the cafeteria and around the tables out the side door and around to the buses. My kiddos and I must continue allllll the way down the side walk, back to the front of the building where we find our buses.

We are close to where all the teachers stand once they have put their kids on the bus, and some more parents who have opted not to be treated like sardines in the entry way. This is the point where I feel stress. I worry about my parent pick-up students seeing their loved ones and darting from our line without myself, or our para, making contact with their pick-up.

After having a lot more parent pick-ups this year than I did last year, I have decided to create little cards for the children to hold. When they see their loved one, they give them the card. Then their loved one returns it to myself or our para, making sure that we have all made contact with one another.

Here are the cards that I made! I plan on cutting them out, putting them on a slightly large piece of construction paper & then laminating. You can download them for yourself by clicking!

Parent Pick Up Card

I really hope that this works and helps calm my nerves a little bit when it comes to this. Only time will tell. And I apologize that this post had to be this long, just to get to this itty bitty freebie I wanted to share!! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I need your help!

An item I listed on TpT a while back, has always shown up highlighted in Red on my user dashboard. It looks like this:

Does anyone know why? Or how I fix it? Does this mean that the item is not showing up for people to buy? Please help! Thanks!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Handprint Pigeons

Seriously. I could GLUE my camera to my hand and STILL forget to take pictures in my classroom! I am so frustrated about this! We did a craft activity (the surprise one) and I forgot to take pictures of it!!!!! And I have 3 chances seeing as though I have THREE groups of kids. Ai yi yi!!

And I also forgot to take a picture of our displayed student work from this week. I will try and remember to do that this week, but seriously, I can't make any promises knowing my track record so far!

So, we wrapped up Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus this week and the kids just loved that book! I loved seeing them all want to pick it off the book shelf and read it by the end of the week. And they truly did remember the story! You must read this with your kids, it's great! :)

In the meantime, here we are making our Pigeon's with our handprints!

Adding feet with whatever color marker we choose. Pigeons can have purple, pink, and green feet right?

We gave our pigeons beaks, 1 eye, and a "neck" (the white rectangle). I was so impressed with my students. Not a single one of them tried to put more than 1 eye on their pigeon. Last year, I would have had 20 eyed pigeons! :)

I will post pictures of the "surprise" activity, which now that I've dragged it out, probably won't be that great! :)

For the next two weeks we are going to be doing colors. I've sent a letter home encouraging parents to send their student to school wearing something of the color we are doing that day. I REALLY hope they do, because that will make some our activities that much better! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

This week our theme is buses. I'm still getting used to having to plan differently this year. Last year I only had 2 groups of students (an AM & PM) and this year I have 3. By the time I get to doing an activity the THIRD time, I feel like I'm living dejavu.

We will be reading 2 books with our small group activities this week:

1. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (reading this one 2x)

Monday and Tuesday we read Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and did an activity after reading. Each student was given either an animal or a person. We identified what they had, and then tried to see if they could drive the bus. One lucky person had our bus driver! The kids LOVED this book!

Can a fish drive a bus?


Can an alligator drive a bus?


Can a bus driver drive a bus?
(I think our bus driver is actually a police officer, but shh!!)


Wednesday and Thursday we will be making the pigeon at the art table with our hand prints, yellow beaks, and google eyes! I'll be sure to snap some photos! :) And at the end of the week I have THE BEST activity for the second time we read Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. I'm so excited for this one! I can't tell you yet, it's a surprise!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Let's Explain Pre-School.

Before I get into my post, I'd like to take a second in remembrance of September 11, 2001.

It's really hard to believe it's been 10 years since this tragic day in our history. I remember exactly where I was, as I think almost everyone does. I was in the 8th grade, at a brand new school, in science class. Our teachers were told to turn on the tvs and we all watched. School froze, no one changed their classes, and a lot of parents started showing up to pick up their kids. They came to the decision that school would close and everyone would go home to be with their families.

However you choose to remember the day, all of our thoughts go out to all of those whose lives were lost and their families.

I can't believe the first week of Pre-School has come and gone already! I love all of my kiddos, a handful of them I had student teaching a year and a half ago. It recently dawned on me that I don't think I have ever actually fully explained how our pre-school program works, so now that our school year has started, maybe I'll do just that. (To help you wrap your head around some of the craziness!)

Here's what my schedule looks like:

Alright, you got all that? Moving on. Kidding. I'll explain. 

I have a M, W, F AM group of students (11 in that class). 
A T, TH, F PM group of students (9 in that class). 
And a T, TH AM group of students (currently at 4, but will get bigger).

This program is designed for special needs children. Most often children come from Child Development Watch (CDW) & they have been receiving services through them. Once a child turns 3, they are allowed to transition to us. In some cases we do get students from concerned parents making phone calls, in which case, we then do a screening. Our classes also have have 1-3 "role model" students in them. They are "typically developing" peers. 

As you can see in my schedule, I get Monday and Wednesday afternoons off for IEP meetings and paper work. I did not have that last year and seeing as I already have 4 IEP meetings this month, I am loving that time!!

There is one other teacher with the same schedule as me, although instead of a M, W, F AM group, she visits a homebound student. The third teacher has 2 groups of students that come 4 1/2 days a week. And the fourth teacher has a crazier schedule than the rest of us! Her M & F students come ALL DAY, and then those same students come half day on T, W, TH AM..and another group of students on T, TH PM. (I don't expect you to get all of that, don't worry!) 
You might be wondering what determines whose class the students go in? WELL we have a rubric for this. Based on a students needs, and the amount of services they receive, they fall somewhere on this rubric & it tells us an initial placement.

PHEW!!! That's a lot. I know. I expect you to still be confused, but hopefully as the school year goes on, you'll understand a LITTLE bit of what I'm talking about!!

To see some of what we did during our first week, click here to read the post on our classroom blog!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Bulletin Board Contest!-Voting

Remember the Bulletin Board Contest I posted about here? Well, now is the time to vote!

Please click here to go and vote for your favorite bulletin board! All you have to do is click "like" under your favorite one. (I'm hoping you'll vote for mine, obviously!)

I have to be honest though, I'm shocked by how few entries there are! I thought there would be a lot more! Maybe it's because you had to use Art Skills products in the bulletin board (although I'm not sure if everyone did?--if that were the case, I would have picked my behavior fish!)

Best of luck to everyone who entered! And thanks to Miss Kindergarten for being my first vote! :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Today was a Test

Today was my first grad class. And a test of my survival through a very full 12 hour work day. Shew, it was a long one. And the horrible pounding headache around 11:30am that resulted in me having to turn the lights off in my classroom did not help.

Yes, I took 2 grad classes this summer that overlapped for 2 weeks with the school year, BUT it's much different to have class at the end of the year & the beginning of year. If you've done this, where do you find the energy?!

AND as of today, I already have 4. yes. FOUR. IEP meetings before Sept. 28th. AWESOME.

I'm just lacking the energy for an elaborate post today. I hope to get up some pictures on the classroom blog of our first day of school by the weekend!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Blogging Top 10!

Alright. So for starters, I had an excellent first day with my kiddos, then I was so proud of myself for dragging my butt to the gym despite how much I wanted to lay out on the floor like a snow angel due to exhaustion, AND THEN, I find out that the wonderful, lovely, creative, and inspiring, Hadar, aka, Miss Kindergarten, has listed me on her Blogging Top 10!!

Seriously? Seriously. I feel so honored! I remember Hadar's blog being one of the first teaching blogs I started following and she has been so helpful to me throughout the process--always answering any silly questions I have! She's speaking for the Teacher Blog Expo coming up soon--I know she'll have great info to share!

Now, time to list MY Blogging Top 10...and in no particular order! I'm pretty sure that so many of these bloggers have already won the award, but, they are my go to blogs for ideas, inspiration, & classroom humor.

1. Hadar at Miss Kindergarten: duh, for all the reasons I just mentioned! She's great!

2. Kristin at Teeny Tiny Teacher: I love her humor and reading her posts. She makes you feel like you are sitting down and having a conversation with her. (And I never thought someone could be more of a Big Brother fan than my mother...until I met Kristin!)

3. Doodle Bugs Teaching: she quickly made herself known in the blogging world! She has awesome *free*, yes *free* printable resources all of the time. Can I be a first grader in her classroom?

4. The Inspired Apple: Isn't Abby on everyone's Top 10 list?! I follow both of her blogs and she is just the sweetest person! Her creativity in the classroom is always so inspiring!

5. First Grade Blue Skies: I have gotten so many great ideas inspired by Jennifer and she too has been helpful along my blogging journeys! I really felt like she was that first person who was always commenting and encouraging me with my ideas! Thanks Jennifer!

6. Mrs. Olson's Pre-K: Whenever I find another Pre-K teaching blog, I can't find the follow button fast enough! I love Mrs. Olson's classroom and ideas!


7. Confessions of a Homeschooler: I came across her blog via Pinterest and let me tell you, she has some excellent resources to offer! She covers grades Pre-k to 4 and has tons of printables to share, or links to other sites with great printables. I have found so many activities here!

8. Oh the Places We'll Go (Mrs. Dillard 1st Grade): ok, first, does she sell her energy? Just reading her posts and facebook updates make me feel like I need a nap. Am I the only one? I love her creativity and I've never seen someone go all out with a theme like Mrs. Dillard! Her students must LOVE their classroom, and their teacher of course!

9. Kinderglynn: Donna was also one of the first teaching blogs I started to follow and she helped keep me going! Donna is ALSO a fellow Delaware teacher blogger, although we're at opposite ends of the state (it's small enough for me to say that), it's still neat to know another blogger from nearby!

10. Frogs, Bees, & Under the Seas: I love this group of bloggers! They are each so creative and talented and I LOVED their posts this summer! The themed Thursdays were my favorite! They always had something new and exciting to share!

I could easily keep going with all of the great teaching blogs out there! If you are looking for more, click my fav blogs tab to see my "sqworl" of favorites or check out the list of blogs I follow here on blogger! Congrats to all my top 10-ers!!

Please go here for your blog button!! 

Thinking Chair/Reflection Area

Yesterday after I posted pics of my final classroom tour I had a lot of questions and inquiries about my thinking chair area! In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the photo:

I responded to questions that I did not have these resources available, that another pre-school teacher had complied them at the end of last year. (All classrooms in our building have some level/form of these questions posted.) Well, out of no where, it dawned on me that she found them on this excellent resource... Boardmaker Share.

If you've never been there or ever even heard of Boardmaker, it's a computer program mostly used in special education rooms with Dynavox boxes, pictures for any form of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), etc. Boardmaker is an expensive program, but this website allows people to upload various activities, schedules, routines, etc. that they have made to share with others. You can set up a 30 day free trial on Boardmaker Share where you can view, print, and even edit activities you find. (You must download the "print editor" to do any of this. That has a free trial too!)

Because my print editor has expired, I'm not sure if any of these resources print out as large as the one I have in my classroom. (Each sentence is made up of 2 8x11.5 pages) But, I found them in other sizes, and hey, that's a start isn't it!

Clicking the links below should direct you to each one of these activities. If it doesn't, please let me know. Remember, you WILL have to sign up for the free trial to download/print these activities out!

This is the one that I *think* will print large, but I'm not positive!

This one could be done on a lap size board for students.

I hope this has been helpful to all of you who have inquired about this! :) And I also hope you find lots of other great resources at Boardmaker Share!

Monday, September 05, 2011

This is It. We're Ready.

So, Wednesday was the first day for Kindergarten at our school, but our pre-school kiddos start tomorrow! Yep I will officially be kicking off my second year teaching tomorrow morning with my first group of kiddos! I took some final and last pictures Tuesday night before open house so you could see a finalized, complete, clean, and organized classroom!

I'm sure to some of you it might not look much different than the last set of pics I posted, but I think it does! :)

 Classroom Entry

 Dramatic Play

Listening Area & Book Area (once I open the loft)
Behavior Management Bulletin Board & Block Area
Calendar/Circle Area & Toy Area Shelf

Writing Area & Word Wall
Small Group Table

Table Time, Art Area, & Sensory Table in bottom right

Teacher Desks (I know you were curious!)

Thinking Chair/Area


Wish me luck tomorrow! I'm excited, but I know I'm going to be EXHAUSTED! I also start a grad class Wednesday night! Eek!!
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