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.)