Friday, September 23, 2011

Germs! Germs! Germs!

I don't know about you, but things can get a little 'snotty' in pre-school. Allergy and cold season always hits hard in VA, and I find myself repeating "cover your cough", "don't pick your nose", and "use hand sanitizer" over and over again. This year, I really wanted to emphasize good hygiene and staying healthy to my students! So, I sat my students down for a 'heart to heart' talk about a four year old glitter-filled kinda way! 

I asked the students about their knowledge of germs and what happens when they don't wash their hands. We talked about the importance of covering coughs/sneezes with elbows, using sanitizer, and keeping things (hands, dirt, etc.) out of their mouths! My motto is "only food and drink go in your mouth!" (Thanks Dad for this bit of wisdom when I was younger!) I then used a book about germs to show them what germs look like under a microscope. This REALLY got them! They loved seeing what the invisible, yucky germs really look like on their hands! We talked about how none of those germs looked like delicious chocolate, sandwiches, and even strawberries- so why would we want to put fingers in our mouths? 

Then, I demonstrated how germs stick to hands. Each student rubbed lotion on his/her hands. After that, I sprinkled a little bit of glitter on each child's hands to demonstrate a real germ. The glitter stuck to the lotion and the students were VERY disgusted at the idea of having yucky germs on them! We learned a hand washing song and then practiced washing off the 'germs' while singing our song! It was cute when students found glitter on them later and claimed to have found germs on them! 

Even a day after this lesson, I've noticed that fewer students are putting their hands in their mouths and more are using tissues when their noses get 'itchy'! I might have the hand washing song stuck in my head, but it's worth it for a clean, healthy classroom! 

Top and Bottom, Top and Bottom (wash tops & bottoms of hands)
In Between, In Between (washing between fingers)
We can wash our hands, We can wash our hands (rinsing)
They're all clean, They're all clean (drying)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Classroom Tour

Starting the year off with an organized and open classroom is so important!  It makes the room feel welcoming and provides an atmosphere that is motivating to work in during the day. With this in mind, I spent a lot of time this summer thinking about how to arrange my classroom. I even made a little diagram and would rearrange the paper shelves and tables while watching movies. (Jasper tried to help too by batting at the little pieces.) Yet, not matter how I moved the pieces, it didn't seem 'perfect'. It always ended up with me wishing I had 'just another foot over here or wanting the vent a little more to the left'. But, I'm glad to say that I LOVE the end result! I'm also in LOVE with my OWL theme this year! (I bet you would have never guessed!) Here's a quick tour of my WONDERFUL classroom!

 This is the view of my door. I post print-outs of SMARTboard lessons that we do in the classroom on the SMARTboard in the hall for everyone to see our technology activities! I clip artwork to the little owls in the hall.
 View of the room from the front door. The students will sign in at the easel and the mailboxes are right next to it. Our Word Wall is in the back and we will be putting letters on it during the first week of class.
 This is the view directly to the right of the door. I decided to put Dramatic Play near the cubbies to keep the 'fun' centers close to each other. I got the red wardrobe at a yard sale a few years ago. It houses my math games and manipulatives.
 This is the right side of the room. The red table will be the Art Center. The brown table beside Dramatic Play is our water table.
 This is to the left of the door. I wanted to have a lot of room to post words and writing activities for my Writing Center. My bucket filler board is to the side.

 It's so important to be able to see every student from all angles. This is the view from my desk at the back of the room.
This is our carpet and literacy center area. To the right is the SMARTboard and document camera.

 The reading area is new this year- and it's my favorite part! I have a few things to add to the center, but wanted everything to be open when parents came to the Open House. I'm also going to have the students read the room/poems here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome New Students!!!

I just wanted to say how EXCITED I am about all of my students this year! We are going to have a lot of fun (and learn a little too!). Tonight was our Open House and ALL- yes ALL- of my students and/or parents came to the event! It's always so fun watching the students walk in to the class for the first time. I love watching the initial shyness melt away as they discover new toys and familiar books. Getting a student who doesn't want to open up to crack a smile makes all the planning and over-planning worth while! One of my favorite parts this evening was when a sweet boy came waltzing in the door with a shiny red box and gold bow. Inside the box was a colorful dried clay/playdough heart with his name written on it. My heart melted. Talk about precious! Needless to say, it's going to be a very eventful school year!

(I edited the front to hide the name.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

E Books

      Reading is one of my absolute favorite things to do. Even when I was younger, other kids used to make comments about how I always had a book with me and was reading during any free moment in school. One time, I finished my book and started to read the dictionary! It is my hope to facilitate a similar passion for reading to my students. 

      One method of sharing a love of reading is to incorporate ebooks in to my lessons. The students LOVE them because they think they are like videos and it occasionally gives me a few extra minutes to prep for the next activity- or assist a child in changing his/her wet clothes. There are quite a few great website that offer FREE ebooks. Here are some tried and true favorites and a few new site I recently discovered:

1. Tumblebooks- This is my absolute favorite. Our district subscribes for us, so I don't know about membership costs, but whatever it is- I promise it is worth it! I use the 'ebooks for ekids' and there are tons of great picture books and chapter books listed. Almost all of the picture books are narrated and easily relate to our weekly themes. Some books are listed in English and French or Spanish and often offer coinciding games as a follow-up activity for the students.
2. Barnes and Noble- I just recently discovered this FREE site, but can't imagine how I've never used this before! Each month they feature a new picture book that is read by authors and celebrities!
3.Starfall- These books are great for early readers and FREE. There are books that can be connected to every literacy skill and the games are fun for the students too!

Off to see Harry Potter part 2- I'll add more soon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I caved

     Well, I finally did it. I conquered the school supply aisle at Target! I was trying to avoid that section of all stores as long as possible in an effort to relish the relaxing summer I've been enjoying. However, I caved. I just love all the fun colored notebooks, funky pencil cases, and super cheap sales! Even better is that all the storage bins are on sale! I just love trying to find the 'perfect' way to organize everything in my classroom- I often fall asleep thinking of new ways to better store my class materials! I'm sure most teachers have been out browsing the Back to School section, and now, I'm finally one of them.
A FEW of my fun organization finds. I'm going to use the paper towel holder (from the $1 Spot) to store the abundance of tape that always seems to roll out of my closet when I open it. The small yellow bucket ($1 Spot) will hold my SMARTboard accessories. 

 While successfully avoiding the school supply aisle, I found plenty of other items at yard sales and on clearance to use in my classroom (it's an obsession that I love, what can I say?!). My garage is filling up, but I picked a few of my favorites to share with you:                                                                                                                                       
I found this bell at a yardsale for $1.50! I've been looking all over for one of these!
Isn't this the cutest? I found it 1/2 off at Target. I think I'm going to put ABC letters on it and make it a Chicka Chicka tree. By the way, it lights up and sings 2 songs too! 

                       These adorable characters are at Kohl's. Only $5 each, I HAD to get them all since my students love Clifford- almost as much as me!                                                     

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Welcome to my new blog!  I stumbled upon dozens of amazing teaching blogs through Pinterest and decided to join in on the fun! {Click on the link to follow me- and if you need an invite, let me know!} I am very excited to begin this new adventure and share my love of teaching (among other things) with you! In addition, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new blog design - Dreamlike Magic Designs was wonderful to work with and I definitely recommend them! Keep checking back!!