Monday, December 19, 2016

You better watch out, you better not cry...

Today We made Santa masks!  With us being in school until (gasp) the 22nd...we HAD to make this week fun!  My awesome aide Sarah took a paper plate and cut  out 1/2 of the inner circle and held it up to her face and said "Ho, Ho, Ho!"...that did it...another favorite pre-k craft was born.  We added glitter, cotton balls and construction paper cut into hat shapes...oh...then we added a stick for a handle...and voila!  

The kids absolutely LOVED this craft.  Most of them spent the rest of center time playing Santa.  It is so great when an art project becomes part of dramatic play! 

This activity is a keeper for sure!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas is Coming!

Teaching Preschool and PreK during Christmastime is a double-edged sword...They are anxious, sensitive, full of energy, and tired...but they are also excited, happy, awed, and so full of the Christmas spirit that they carry magic with them wherever they go.

My children are grown (23 & 20) and while Christmas will always be magical, it has lost that childlike fascination with EVERYTHING Christmas-y.  I am so grateful that I get to spend my days with little children.  I get to feel that magic each day.  I get to watch them light up when they tell me what they hope Santa will bring them, when they tell me where their silly elf has hidden that day, and when they talk about how magnificent their Christmas tree is!  I see in their eyes my children at that age, and even myself.  I love it so much.

I like to make our classroom as magical as I can.  Every year on December the first and elf comes to visit our class.  He stays every day and moves around to keep a good close eye on the kids.  He is the first thing they look for when they walk in the never fails, but at leas once during the season he just really loves a particular spot and stays there an extra day! (LOL)

This week we will be doing a craft that I first did last year when I was just tired of doing the same old thing.  I wanted to make a wreath that would add some Christmas to our room and the kids could take home and decorate their own space when we were done with school for the break.

I love doing paper plate crafts, and we have a TON of them at our school, so I hatched a plan!

We cut out the inside circle of a cheap paper plate.  This was done by the teachers of course!  Then, we let the kids paint the plate all over with green washable paint-I let my kids be very liberal with the paint.  We laid in on pretty thick.  Then we gave the kids green glitter shakers and sparkly bits-we have jars of sequins and sparkly shapes, so does any craft store worth it's salt-and we let them stick sparkles and shake glitter to their heart's content!  They had a BLAST!  Was it messy?  Of course it was...but that is what early childhood is all about!

As a finishing touch we ties some red yarn around the top when they were dry.  We ties just enough so the wreaths could hang nicely.

As you can see, they really are quite beautiful!  Some kids were minimalists, and some kids wanted even more glitter and pizazz after it was completely covered!  It was so much fun watching each of them create their own special wreath.  Every day from the time we made them until they left on break, they would go over to the bulletin board and just stare at their own, and their friend's wreaths marvelling at the beauty and the glow.  It was really special.

Here is a view of one of our boards from last year.  This is the Preschool (3-4's) board.  I love the different coverage of paint, and the placement of the sparkles.  It is so sweet to see what they make with their little hands.  

I can't wait to see what this year's class does!  Knowing the darling group I will be just as magical!

Please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Shop and check out my Christmas lesson plan!  It has 5 art projects and more than 5 awesome literacy and math projects included.  These wreaths are just one art project included!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

I LOVE Gingerbread week!

I have had a blast with my Gingerbread unit this year!  The kids LOVE the books I've been reading...they know the words and say them right along while I'm reading!  They are so excited to do every center this week!  They can't wait to paint, decorate, mark letters, play memory name it!  I have so many fun center activities, It is tough to decide which ones to do and which to keep as back-up for next week!  I want to do them all!  I have to thank the awesome clip artists-Laura Strickland at Whimsy Clips, Krista Walden with Creative Clips, and EduClips!  I adore the cute clip art, the kids LOVE the fun images, and I have come up with so many fun ways to use their wonderful work.

An activity that I did today with my PreK is and emergent reader entitled "One Yummy Gingerbread Man".  It is a fantastic sequencing activity that never fails to please!  I think I have done this activity for 5 years now, and it is always a favorite.  The key is to use "fancy" scissors.  I have a bunch of scrap booking scissors from my mom's days of doing paper crafts..thanks mom!  The scissors are a little bit harder to use than our regular scissors, so there is a fine motor skills element to the activity as well as just the sequencing element.  I think my favorite part of this activity is the look on the kids faces as they 'bite' off the parts of the gingerbread man...especially the head...they all get such fiendish grins!  I wish I knew who to credit for this amazing activity, but I found it online years ago and I just don't remember-but, a huge shout out to the creative teacher who made this before me...great activity!

I took two days to finish this activity.  I have a class of 18, and I needed to take my time with small groups of two to three kids at once.  We also had to really practice using small amounts of glue so that our pages wouldn't stick together.  If you know PreK kids, you know that using a small amount of glue can be very challenging!  I am so happy that I decided to break it into two days-it was so much more enjoyable for me, and the kids got a lot more out of it.  

More Gingerbread coming tomorrow!

Please check out my gingerbread lesson plans, center activities, and dramatic play sets on Teachers Pay Teachers!  Just follow the links below!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Run, run as fast as you can...

The story of The Gingerbread Man is a classic tale with a not-so-happy ending.  I'm always surprised by how my preschoolers and pre-k kids react to the first story I read during gingerbread week.  Today I read the first original tale of the little old man and the little old woman who made the gingerbread man who met an awful fate by not thinking things through.

BOTH classes today (3-4 year-olds in the morning, and 4-5 year-olds in the afternoon) didn't believe it was the end when the fox ate the gingerbread man.  They wanted their happy ending, they wanted the hero to have an out...but alas...not so lucky!

I'm excited to read the next books on my list-maybe there will be a better outcome for our hero...?

Today we marked the beginning of Gingerbread week by making gingrbread men and women for our bulletin board.  Tis year the kids were very imaginative and used the materials on hand in fun and interesting ways.  I like to set out a sorting tray with puff balls, sequins, buttons, jewels, and cotton balls.  We add our glitter and we are ready to go!

Here are some photos from our bulletin board from years past.  I'll post this year's board when we are through.

More Gingerbread fun is on its way!

If you want some amazing and engaging Gingerbread center ideas and activities check out my "All About Gingerbread" Lesson plans and center ideas on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Happy Holidays!