Saturday, October 27, 2012

Alphabet Clipart

Just a quick preview of the new alphabet clip art I created.  I am working on the color version and have a second second set in the works as well.  Since I noticed that this is the 20th item I have added to the TpT store, I thought it would be a great time to have a little sale.  So, everything in my store is 20% off from October 28 - October 31.  Enjoy the treat!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Color Book: YELLOW

YELLOW - Autumn Leaves

Yellow is a great color of autumn.  For our unit today, each child is asked to bring a leaf (not necessarily a yellow one).

First we sort the leafs by color.

Then we read a book about leafs.  There are lots of great ones.  I like to read a non-fiction book and a fiction book.

Then we do leaf rubbings.  I usually let them do two.  One they can use different colors, and then one with just yellow rubbings which is saved for the color book.

Another fun activity inspired by pinterest, was making these great marbleized autumn leafs.  This was a lot of fun, and the results were beautiful.

First, fill a cake pan with shaving cream.

 Then, drizzle paints over the cream.

Use a pencil and drag it back and forth through the paint to create a design like this:

Press a leaf cutout into the paint.

Use a squeegee to scrape off the shaving cream.

The results were great swirls of autumn colors!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Color Book: RED

RED –  Apples

For our apple unit, we begin by reading two great books:

Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington (A great story about all the different things you can do with apples.  She harvests them, sorts them, makes pies, and juice and apple sauce, and then sells the apples and apple products at market)

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall  (this story follows the growth of apples from blossom to fruit)

I encourage each child to bring an apple from home.  I always have a few extras on hand for those who forget.  We start by counting them and sorting them (color, size, stem/no stem, sticker/no sticker, etc.). 

Then we use the apples to make apple sauce and apple prints. 

Making Apple Prints: (Of course save these for the color book)

Be sure to use at least two apples and cut one horizontally and the other one vertically.  You’ll be able to create two different types of prints.  To aid the students in grasping the slippery apples , I use a potato peeler to make two small holes to use as “handles”.  If you just squirt a small amount of paint onto a paper plate and rub the apple around, this seems to produce good prints.  Another alternative is to use a foam brush and paint the apple halves before making a print.

Making Apple Sauce:

I use my handy dandy "Apple Peeler, Corer, Slicer" machine to whip right through the prep process.  The kids LOVE using this machine.

We put all the apples in a pot and add the other ingredients (a little water, a little sugar, and a dash of cinnamon. The variety of apples make the finished product tastier!

While the kids are helping we sing:

Making Applesauce Song (to the tune of Skip to My Lou)
Take some apples, put them in a pot
Stir them, stir them, stir them a lot
Add cinnamon and sugar, and what have we got
We made some apple sauce.

Applesauce Recipe
6 apples (peeled, cored and chopped )
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon

Place all ingredients in covered saucepan. Bring to a quick boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until apples are tender. Pour contents into a blender and blend until desired consistency (I like it with some chunks.) 

I personally do not love apple sauce that you buy at the store, but I LOVE homemade apple sauce - especially warm.

Another great apple books is:

Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchings (a great counting book)

Please note:  I have made a great updated version of the color book and added it to my TpT store.  You can find it here:  COLOR BOOK

Color Book - Cover (Rainbows)

Fall is the perfect time to learn about color and explore art with many different mediums.  With younger learners, art is more about the process of creation.  This unit provides an opportunity to try many different processes and mediums including:  water color painting, print making, rubbings, bubble painting, cutting, directed drawing, stamping, finger painting (blending colors), folding,  stenciling, and sewing.

You can begin with the cover to introduce the unit, but I have ended with the cover as a concluding activity, and that works well too.

We read the book A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman and then use a prism and a flashlight to create a rainbow in the classroom. 

Some other great color books to have on hand are

White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker

Pete the Cat:  I Love My White Shoes by James Dean & Eric Litwin

Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle

To complete the cover we use water color paints to make a rainbow.  Since this is a first experience for many students, I carefully demonstrate how to dip your paintbrush in water and swirl it around in the paint working across the paint palate in rainbow order, and of course thoroughly rinsing between each color so the paints don't mix.   Two small dots are on the cover page to assist the children in making the first arch of the rainbow.  If they start at one dot, and make a large red arch and finish it at the other dot, there should be enough room for all the colors.  This is a great opportunity to teach the sequence of the colors of the rainbow.  I also encourage the kids to paint at least one letter on the color page with each color before they rinse their brush so the title is a rainbow too. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Word Family Wheel Books

I can't believe that in just a few short minutes, my four year old is reading all of these word families.  He can do each one by himself and is so proud.  Hopefully they will be successful for you with your children or in your classroom as well.  I just uploaded them to the TpT store.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I'm in the Sale

Teachers pay Teachers is having a big sale, and I am participating with my few humble offerings.  Fill up your wishlist now, and enjoy the discount.  {Prices shown are after the additional 10% discount is applied}

Here are some of the products available in my store.  Click on the pictures below to go directly to the store.

Alphabet Handwriting Practice Pages
$3.99 on sale for $2 . 87

What Can You Make with 10 Black Dots? Number Book
$3.50  on sale for $2 . 52

Picture the Alphabet Cards (104 cards) in color and blackline
$4.99 on sale for $3 . 59

Alphabet Activities:  Letter Hunt
$3.99 on sale for $2 . 87

Lots of Fonts!!
Set of 3 $6.50 on sale for $4 . 68
individual fonts $2.99 on sale for $2 . 15

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wheel Books for Word Families

So I have been working on making word family wheel books for half the summer. (I know, it really hasn't taken me half the summer, but I've been working it out mentally for at least that long.)

I am trying to fill several needs with this project.  Most importantly, I want the kids to get excited and feel successful reading simple words.  I want them to be able to self check their reading skills too - peeking under the flap to see if they read it right.  After several different design styles, I've finally settled on this one (you should have seen some of the interesting styles I tried).  I like that there is a solid place to hold and easily make the wheel spin.  It has proven very straightforward to cut and assemble (one version I had had a hole in the middle that revealed the changing initial letter - but this just proved too challenging for little ones to poke out.)

Now I just have one last issue - the size of the pictures.  If I use the bigger size, the picture kind of peeks out and can catch (if it isn't completely glued down) on the opening as you spin the wheel.
If I make the pictures a little smaller, the pictures are completely hidden as the wheel spins.  But, they almost feel too small for little fingers to cut and paste etc.

Since it's still summer, I only have my little guy to try it out instead of a class full of "testers", I'd love some teacher feedback.

If you are willing, could you download this prototype and try the two different back wheels and LET ME KNOW WHICH SIZE YOU LIKE BETTER?  Other feedback is also welcome.  Please leave comments here - not in the store.

I'm assuming the assembly is pretty straightforward:  Cut the back wheel and picture squares first.  Glue the pictures under the appropriate word.  Cut the front wheel - and cut the dotted line (this makes the flap to peek and check)  Assemble with a brad (paper fastener).

Friday, August 3, 2012

All About Me Poster

Still just getting started with this blog, so I thought I could start with some of my beginning of the year activities.  I love sending these posters home with the new students to get to know them better.  They bring them back the first week of school.  It's always interesting to see the ones that are done by the little ones independently and the ones that the Mom's can't resist "improving".  Some will come back completely "scrapbooked" with mounted photos, and others with scribbled doodles. I love the "word that describes me" section - always provides insightful glimpses into their personalities.

Grab the freebie in honor of the beginning of the school year until Labor Day!  Please don't forget to follow me here and/or in my TpT store so you don't miss out on any more freebies :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Top 5 Picture Books + a few more

I am just beginning a new website and blog.  My previous blogging has been specifically for my preschool students' families to see what their kids have been doing at school.  But now, I wanted to shift to a new style of blog and join the teacher collaboration community, so we'll give this a try.  I saw this linky party at and LOVE the idea, so I thought it would be a great first post.

You are supposed to post your top 5 Must Have Picture Books.  Being a preschool teacher, this is incredibly hard to choose just 5.  I have my own "library" and am always on the lookout to add more.  Thanks to Scholastic Book Club, it's not hard to continually add to the collection.  (By the way, I was able to get an ipad with the book club points that I saved for over 10 years - but that is a whole different post topic)


Here are my top 5 + a few more

#1 Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough
Being a bear collector, I can't help but love this book and the sequel It's the Bear.  It is the adventures of a little boy who loses his teddy bear in the woods, and the great big bear who loses his teddy too.   They are just a fun read and are a great addition to our Teddy Bear Unit. 

#2 The Little Red Hen illustrated by Lucinda McQueen
I love this traditional tale and the lesson it teaches about being willing to help, and natural consequences.  It's a great repetitive book that has a great sequence for "retelling".  Though the children never think it's fair that the hen eats the bread by herself, the rest of the year all I have to do is say "then I'll do it myself, said the Little Red Hen" and I instantly have willing helpers.

#3 If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff
This is probably my favorite of her books and is fun and engaging for the pre-K audience.  The sequence of cause and effect events is delightful, and it's a great excuse to make muffins - and of course some jam to go with it.

#4 K is for Kissing a Cool Kangaroo by Giles Andreae
Delightful rhyming alphabet book (you can't have too many alphabet books)  I like how many other objects are pictured on each page that begin with each letter, and the illustrations are great.

#5 Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox
Such a fun twist on the traditional fairy tale.  I laugh every time I read it. Often the humor goes over the heads of the little ones, but they still laugh at the silliness of the story. 

#6 The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
A rich king wants a quilt, but the quiltmaker only gives them to people who have nothing.  A great book about the power of giving.

# 7 Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Love this simple picture book that is a great starting point to talk about different points of view, and seeing things from a different perspective.  (I've used this successfully with teenagers too)

I could of could go on and on.  Perhaps I'll add another post later on about other books by topic.