Showing posts from December, 2011

Another Science Center: Marvelous Magnets!

If you have been following my blog this year since September, you may have remembered me mentioning that I have been trying to keep an independent science center going all year long!  This is mostly because I am preparing for a new presentation on Science Centers that I will be giving at the I Teach K! Conference next summer in Las Vegas, Nevada.  My goal is to collect and present ideas that take little or no prep time, with materials that most of us probably have in the classroom already!  So I have been trying out ideas and trying to work the kinks out of each of them.  Well, in December, we spent a little time on magnets in our science center.  In addition to painting with magnetic marbles , here’s what we did: My Magnet Collection Week One- Explorations with Magnets The first week, I let them simply explore my collection of magnets.  Now for my students, this is a real treat, because I usually only let them play with my special magnets as rewards, and this is the f

Twas the Week Before Christmas And....

...We were still in school.  In all of my teaching career, I have never tried to teach school right up through December 23rd!  I decided to try to consider it a personal challenge to see how much I could actually get done, despite the fact that all anyone seemed to be able to think about was the impending holidays and celebrations.  Each day, we updated our calendar and counted the remaining days.  I was ever more astounded as we got closer and closer to the Big Day, and found myself and the children STILL there, staring each other in the eyes.  (I don’t know why, I just was!)  I really expected attendance to be quite poor as the holiday approached, but in fact it was not!  I am inclined to think that parents were probably grateful to have their children taken care of while they did all of their holiday preparations, LOL!  Not one child was taken away for an extended trip out of the country or for any type of vacation.  Amazing!  Kudos to my class and their amazing parents!

A Gingerbread House Card, A Paper Plate Angel, and The Gingerbread Man Play!

Have you ever wondered how to put on a class play during the holiday season that would be easy for you, have a good part for every child in the class , and that parents, administrators, and children would LOVE?  Well this is it:   The Gingerbread Man is the perfect play for the early childhood classroom in public schools, especially if you need to avoid topics related to specific religious holidays ( such as Christmas- sniff! ) and go with a more general holiday theme (if you know what I mean!)   This post also has a free download for a cute little Gingerbread House card download, and also a downloadable project to make an angel out of a paper plate.  Enjoy! Each December, my class is busy, busy, busy, getting ready for our annual Gingerbread Man play , and while it is always extra work, it does provide some extra focus and fun for both me and the children during this busy time.  Also, the special events do pull in some extra volunteers, and I always appreciate that, because t

A Candy Cane Project and Printable Book, A Science Center, and Writing About the Elf on the Shelf!

We're counting it down to Christmas - or at least til Christmas vacation!  Would you believe that my district's calendar has us working all the way up til the 23rd of December?  For goodness sake, I don't know how I am going to ever be ready for the big day!  I am just grateful that I am not also in the middle of assessments and report cards right now, as so many of you are.  I don't know how I would focus, or how I would ever get those children to focus on all of those tests! My class is now working on preparing our Gingerbread Man Musical Play , and we are SO excited!  Today was our first day of practicing it on the stage, and that was of course quite a thrill.  I know that all of the moms, dads, grandmothers and grandfathers will be happily snapping photos and will be "so proud" of their little ones!  It is always a special evening, and a wonderful event.  Now that I have the play all cast and there were no tears, I think that the hard part is over and

How to Teach Children to Write Words Like They Sound

Teaching kids to write words just as they sound can be a little tricky, but if you follow some basic steps, it is certainly do-able!  In this post, I share my best tips for making this happen as painlessly as possible, including a "directed lesson" lesson plan for those that would like to have it. How to Teach Children to Write Words Like They Sound As you may remember, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post that detailed how the teachers at my school were supposed to use a new "directed lesson plan" format that included step by step directions to teach children new skills.    You can see one of these lessons here for teaching kids to read three letter CVC words. This week's lesson is based on that same directed lesson, step-by-step format that we are being expected to use in my school district these days.  And I confess that for me, forcing myself to stick to this format is like trying to teach in a straight jacket!  I have always loved the c