Sunday, September 23, 2012

FREE BOOK for teachers! :)

The First Year Teacher .... the book is FREE today on Amazon for the kindle. 
Click the book title to take you to the item. :)

Fun with Boxes :)

Recently where I work we had a week themed "Think Outside the Box". Here are some of the things I created for my kiddos:

 I made this "Sensory Box" by covering an old diaper box. I traced the circle right on the box and half cut, half carved it out with scissors. :P

Then I covered it in construction paper. (You could easily wrap them with some kind of larger paper or wrapping paper if that works better for you or you want a specific kind of pattern.

The idea is to place something inside the box, hidden from sight and have students blindly reach inside and try to guess what it is. It is also a good way to get them talking and using descriptive words.

I made this using a small version of a pizza box. The "pizza" is made of two paper plates, colored and cut into 8 slices. On each slice of the top plate I drew a number of toppings (ex: 1 tomato, 2 pepperonis, 3 green peppers, etc). The bottom slices have numbers on them. Each slice has top and bottom velcro so the pieces can be matched with each other.
This is my "MONSTER BOX".  I get out various flash cards... (colors, shapes, letters, numbers, etc.) and lay them out on a table or on the floor. Then the hungry monster asks for one of them specifically and the child feeds the correct flash card to the monster. If the child feeds them the incorrect card, the monster spits it out and states the correct answer, and asks for the first choice again. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Red Flower, Green Stem

The Little Boy
by Helen Buckley

Once a little boy went to school. He was quite a little boy and it was quite a big school, but when the little boy found that he could go to his room by walking right in from the door outside. He was happy and the school did not seem quite so big anymore.

One morning when the little boy had been in school awhile, the teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked to make all kinds; Lions and tigers, chickens and cows, trains and boats; And he took out his box of crayons and began to draw.
But the teacher said, "Wait!"
"It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make flowers."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make beautiful ones with his pink and orange and blue crayons.
But the teacher said "Wait!"
"And I will show you how."
And it was red, with a green stem.
"There," said the teacher,
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at his teacher's flower. Then he looked at his own flower. He liked his flower better than the teacher's but he did not say this; He just turned his paper over, and made a flower like the teacher's. It was red, with a green stem.

On another day when the little boy had opened the door from the outside all by himself,
The teacher said: "Today we are going to make something with clay."
"Good!" thought the little boy;
He liked clay. He could make all kinds of things with clay. Snakes and snowmen, elephants and mice,
cars and trucks, and he began to pull and pinch his ball of clay.

But the teacher said, "Wait!, It is not time to begin!" and she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher, "We are going to make a dish."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make dishes and he began to make some that were all shapes and sizes. But the teacher said "Wait!, and I will show you how."And she showed everyone how to make one deep dish.
"There," said the teacher,
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at the teacher's dish; Then he looked at his own. He liked his better than the teacher's but he did not say this. He just rolled his clay into a big ball again and made a dish like the teacher's. It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon the little boy learned to wait, and to watch and to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon he didn't make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened that the little boy and his family moved to another house, in another city, and the little boy had to go to another school. This school was even bigger than the other one and there was no door from the outside into his room. He had to go up some big steps and walk down a long hall to get to his room. The very first day he was there, the teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
And he waited for the teacher to tell him what to do but the teacher didn't say anything.She just walked around the room. When she came to the little boy she asked, "Don't you want to make a picture?"
"Yes," said the little boy.
"What are we going to make?"
"I don't know until you make it," said the teacher.
"How shall I make it?" asked the little boy.
"Why, anyway you like," said the teacher.
"And any color?" asked the little boy.
"Any color," said the teacher.
"If everyone made the same picture and used the same colors, how would I know who made what and which was which?"
"I don't know," said the little boy.
And he began to make a red flower with a green stem. You may also be interested in:
10 Tips
Tips From A Teacher
Not Easy
The Job Labeled Easy
10 Ways To Teach
Classoom Organization

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Little BIG Love

At the end of a long, hard day this is the kind of thing that makes me realize why I love my job so much. The rewards are endless. This is picture of a collection of "gifts from kiddos I've had over the last six years. Cards, pictures, drawings, etc.. that for whatever reason they decided to make for me.

Being handed a crumpled piece of paper filled with the doodles of a two year old and hearing them say they made it for you is one of the most rewarding things & I am lucky enough to experience it often.

I have a collection of this kind of stuff hanging on a wall in my closet at work, and a collection of cards & sweet notes in a scrapbook that remind me that what I am doing matters. I'm so thankful for all of the families that I have gotten to know (&love) because of my job... :)

You may also be interested in:
10 Tips
Tips From A Teacher
Not Easy
The Job Labeled Easy
Red & Green
Red Flower, Green Stem
Classoom Organization

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Classroom Organization

I love to keep my classroom organized. Things run much more smoothly for me when I am organized. Here are just a few of the ways I organize in my room:

1. A bulletin board for teachers visiting my room. We do this for parents... why not for us!?
It includes:
  • important information
  • a detailed schedule of the day
  • weekly cleaning list
  • completed paperwork pocket
  • a map for laying cots out for nap & of the room
  • stickers at the ready
  • stencils
  • & more... it changes :P
2. A jewelry organizer. It hangs on the wall of my closet and I put some of my craft supplies in it. This way they are at eye level and easy to see. It makes things easy to find! :)

3. A kids art supply box. No fuss, no muss. I only offer this selection of supplies to the kids. It has everything anyone would regularly use... (crayons, markers, colored pencils, glue, scissors) but it is separated out for them so that all the things not meant for them (or permanent, too sharp, etc) are never given to them by accident.

4. A "scrap" paper basket & a magazine "scrap" holder. Its amazing how much paper you can save by cutting of and saving those extra bits of paper when you cut something out! Why waste a whole piece?
Any time I finish a magazine, I take it to work and cut several different things from it, sort them and store in a divided box. That way I have those things on hand when I need them for a project.
You may also be interested in:
Moving Well
Tips For An Organized Move
Household Chore Chart
Organizing In Small Spaces
Easy Storage

Some Things of My Own Design :)

I made this birthday calendar for my room as a tool to teach both birthdays and months to the kiddos in my class. They love it finding their birthday on the chart & singing our months of the year song.

 I love the photo galleries people are doing in their homes, so I thought "why not make a kid friendly gallery in my classroom. Still working on it.. but, I plan to keep them up and use it as a back splash for art projects :)

I made this poster to go above my sensory table. Each lettter on the poster has something different drawn into it that has to do with different things we use in the sensory table. :)

This is my attendance chart. When they arrive they put their apple on the tree. When they go home they put it on the door. :) 

This is my version on the "Family Rules" posters & signs seen all over Pinterest, only made for the classroom. :)

Welcome Fall!!!!!!!! I love fall. :) This is the fall tree I did for my classroom door this year :)

This is an example of one of those things I previously talked about in a post. Kids can learn much more then we think. I added this information to my circle time a couple of years ago and it is always a big hit with the kids. They know it in no time! :) It's so cool!

Their favorite part is finding Kentucky on a map. ;)
Through the year I slowly add a few more states that they are familiar with.. (For example: Susie went to Florida on vacation! Where is Florida?)  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Sweet... :P

You may also be interested in:
10 Tips
Tips From A Teacher
Not Easy
The Job Labeled Easy
Red & Green
Red Flower, Green Stem
Classoom Organization

Monday, September 3, 2012

Job Chart Idea

Create charts or bulletin boards with the help of your class. For this chart I painted a handprint for each child in my classroom and wrote their name on the hand print. Then switch them around to let them know what job they have for that day. They like seeing their names, and knowing that they helped to create something for the room. :)

**The "Classroom Jobs" sign and pockets were purchased at Dollar Tree.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Tips From A Teacher :)
(For Teachers AND Parents)

1. Consistency is key. Children learn best with repetition. If they aren't getting something, practice it. Don't leave it to someone else to make sure you child knows something. Often children get behind because they don't have enough opportunity to practice the skills they are trying to learn.

Likewise, if the rules contantly change for them they don't know what the rules are. Set limits, give them rules and as they grow slowly give them responsibilities. When we know what is expected of us it is much easier to accomplish that goal.

2. Keep Things Interesting. OK... I know that I just said to be consistent, but you also have to make sure they aren't bored.  Be consistent with what you are teaching and your routine but teach it in different ways.

For example...
Teaching ABC'S/ Reading Skills:
  • Read
  • Sing the song
  • Albhabet flash cards
  • Spelling words on signs, magazines, food packages, etc in your everyday life.
  • Matching letter to letter
  • Tracing or coloring letters
  • Letter based games.
  • Talking about what letter things start with
  • Writing their name everywhere
  • Focusing on familiar letters
  • Labeling
  • and so many more... :) 
If you use only one way to practice you are missing out on lots of simple opportunities to learn. 

3. Be Silly. Kids love silliness of any kind. They remember you in these moments. Dance, make a mess, be goofy, laugh out laud, make silly faces, get on the floor and crawl, act like an animal, use silly voices; The list could go on and on. Don't forget that kids love it when you act like a kid. If you want them to do something, do it yourself; They love to copy us and it's a very special way of learning. Don't be afraid to look stupid and don't forget to improvise. 

4. Use what you have. Lots of people think that you have to spend lots of money to teach, but honestly other then basic craft supplies lots of the best ideas are made from "trash. Get creative! Think about what you can do with that empty canister, box or bag. It's easier then ever now with all the technology we have. If you don't believe me, Google something like "Things to do with a toilet paper roll" You will be amazed... (& probably ashamed you never thought of any of these things ;))

On top of that... if you put some thought into it, it is pretty easy to make lots of things reusable. Laminate or seal and store in a good place. Also, use learning tools for learning and with adult supervision and other toys for play (This way things won't get destroyed).

5. Think ahead and organize. If you never have anything in mind chances are you will end up turning on Dora the Explorer... (or resorting to something your kids have done a million times.) Plan days for learning, or better yet, a specific time of learning everyday. (Even at home!)

6.Use consequences AND rewards. Who wants to focus on only the negative? That's right... no one. This is not to say that you don't have a consequence for "bad" behavior... but it is also VERY important to celebrate and recognize the good. Kids often act out for this very reason; They want the attention. Praise and reward them when they do the right thing, when they learn something new and when they make you proud. Our words matter... choose wisely.
You may also be interested in:
10 Ways
10 Ways To Teach
Not Easy
The Job Labeled Easy
Red & Green
Red Flower, Green Stem
Classoom Organization