Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Christmas List

I always try and give parents a sort of wish list for their child. You know, those games, toys, and movies that would help their development. Here's this year's.

1. Super Why ABC Letter Game

 2. Super Why movies (which you can also find on Itunes)

3. Lucky Ducks


6. Candy Land game

Picture Book Sequence Cards

Ever have those favorite books fall apart? Keep the pages for storytelling sequence cards. I love this book about pumpkins. I had the growth of a pumpkin lined up and then had a few pages missing from the line up. Have the children place the missing pages in the place where they belong.

Teach Well: Find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle old books!

Easy Christmas Cards

Christmas cards can be easy for children if you prepare the project to only a few simple steps! To get some ideas, go to card sites like this one or this one. I learned this design from Jeanean at Craft Warehouse. She does a card make and take every Sunday afternoon. It is a great way to learn how to do the project before you do it with your kids!

Teach Well: Try scrapbooking paper instead of construction paper for your Christmas crafts. It is acid free and will last longer for the parent who saves their child's art.

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

Supplies: pumpkin colored playdough, recycled pie tins, rolling pin

Process: Have the children make pumpkin pies with their dough. If you have a play kitchen have the children put their pies in the "oven".

Teach Well: If you have any pumpkin cookie cutters place them on the table for even more make believe!

Eat Chicken Thanksgiving Tees

These t-shirts make great shirts for a Thanksgiving program or party.

Supplies: White t-shirt, cardboard, and fabric paint

Process: Have the children bring the shirts in a few days earlier than the project. Place a piece of cardboard inside the t-shirt. Write the words "eat chicken" on the back of the shirt. Dry for at least 24 hours. On the day of the project, paint the child's hand quickly with a thick layer of paint (brown for the body and colors for the feathers). I let the children pick what colors they would like for the feathers. Press the hand flat on the tee. Add eye, beak, and waddle. Later add the words to the front of the tee. Let dry.

Teach Well: Do you have any wooden puzzles that need throwing away? Keep the wood board they sit in. They make great boards for the inside of the t-shirts. Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Turkey Hats

Supplies: construction paper, black pen, stapler, and glue

Process: Cut out the shapes ahead of time. Make a headband by connecting two brown pieces of paper (about one or two inches wide). Have the children glue on the face pieces and staple the face to the front of the headband. Make the legs by folding the paper accordion style. Staple them to the headband. Staple the feathers to the back of the headband. This headband makes a great headpiece for a Thanksgiving program!

Teach Well: A great tip I learned was making sure the smooth side of the staple is on the inside of the headband so that it doesn't irritate the children.

Sequencing Cards

Keep your eyes out when you are shopping Goodwill or thrift stores. This game was a great find several years ago.

Teach Well: If you can't find premade sequence cards make your own.

Pumpkin Pies

Supplies: orange, brown, and white paper, pumpkin spice, glue, tape, and a shallow container

Process: Cut out pie and whipcream shape from paper. Create a crust from brown paper and tape to the back of the pie. In a container have the child squeeze glue on the paper. Shake pumpkin spice on the pie. Glue the whipcream cutout on top.

Teach Well: If the child is having a hard time shaking enough spice on the paper, pour some into the bucket and shake the bucket around to cover the glue.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

God Provides in the Wilderness

Supplies: cd player, sound effects cd (with walking on gravel), sheet, pre-popped popcorn or marshmallows and small cups

Process: Begin the story of Moses in the wilderness walking with the Israelites. Talk about how they lived and why they were there. God was taking them to a very special new home. Put the cd on repeat and begin walking around the room. Tell them that they even had to sleep in the wilderness. Pause the cd and pretend you are sleeping on the floor. Push play on the cd and begin walking again (do this two more times). Explain that they didn't have anymore food and they started to get hungry. Rub your tummies. Then they started to complain. Start complaining about being hungry. Then, God did something amazing! Pause the cd and have them sleep again (tell them no peeking!). Quickly lay out the sheet and sprinkle popcorn on the sheet. Have them wake up and see what God gave the Israelites! Give everyone a small cup and remind them to only pick up what can fill their cups. God provides for our needs!

Teach Well: If you have an assistant, have them turn the lights on and off for your "day" and "night" time. Remind them that the lights will go off before you do it so that young ones won't get scared.

Writing Readiness

White boards can be good change from worksheets. I like to keep a variety of writing activities in class to keep the children from getting bored of the same thing. White boards seem to give a child a feeling of independence.

Supplies: a small dual white board per person and dry erase pens

Process: Pre draw a circle on one side of the white board. Add several of the same letter that you are working on. Then put other letters around them. Have the child find and circle the letter you are working on (in this case letter Hh) When they are done have them flip the board and practice writing.

Teach Well: Take photos of your children writing. It helps you evaluate them later. Are they holding their pencil correctly? This way, at the end of the day, you can see where each child is while keeping the photo in the child's log.

Same Sound Stuffing

Supplies: Mailbox Magazine October/November 2009 page 55

Process: Make copy of cooked turkey from Mailbox Magazine and game cards. Lay cards face down on the table and take turns flipping two cards at a time. If the card has the same beginning sound place on the cooked turkey. If not, flip the cards over and it's your friend's turn.

Teach Well: If you are playing this game as a class enlarge the cooked turkey copy.

Children's Post: How to Cook a Turkey

one turkey                                          shrimp
soy sauce

(Terron odd and Ethan even)

1. Get a turkey at the grocery store.

2. Then you want the turkey.

3. Then you push the oven right here.

4. The oven gets hot.

5. You put salsa on the turkey.

6. Then you put soy sauce on the turkey.

7. Put some shrimp on it.

8. Put the turkey in a pan and cook it.

9. Put in for four minutes.

10. You get it out of the oven.

11. Eat it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

It was so wet that the kids were dripping when they were done. But did it matter? Nope. They played hard and had a great time!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What Bread is Missing?

We are doing the story of Jesus Feeds Five Thousand. This game is a lot of fun and can be created quickly!

Supplies: 5 copies or clipart of bread (I found mine on my Microsoft program) and a marker

Process: Cut the bread out. Add numbers 1-5 on the each piece of paper. Then after review the story during Bible Time, play the game. Line the bread in order and count together. Have the children close their eyes and you take a number away. Open eyes and let the children raise their hand if they know which number is missing. As they get the hang of it, take two or three numbers away.

Teach Well: If your children are older have numbers that could add up to five. Use one of the pieces of bread as an addition sign. You could still have the children close their eyes and you could place the probelm in front of them. When they open their eyes, have them try and figure out the problem.

Masked Raccoons

I have been doing this craft for eight years. The idea was originally in Mailbox Magazine and I was glad to see this month's magazine have an updated version of this. Although, I stuck with my original design this year, I added the painted corn to the raccoon's hands. If you are doing a bulletin board, these little guys look so cute in a 3-D corn field. I will have to dig in my photos and see if I can find copies of the bulletin boards to share.

Supplies: glue, Q-tips, brown lunch sack, black marker, a white crayon for each child, and black paper

Process: Pre-cut the small pieces before craft time. On a different day, trace the children's hands onto black paper. Cut them out and have them ready to go on the day of the project. Read the story Raccoons and Ripe Corn. Then, remind them that raccoons have hands, eyes, ears, and a nose just like us. Together have the children find the mask shape and use a white crayon to draw the eyes. Remind them that they can draw a circle to make an eye. Put glue on the back and place on bag. Then have them find the oval nose to glue on next. Then remind them that the ears go on top of the raccoons head and to glue the triangle ears on. Then have them draw a mouth with a black marker. Also have them draw lines on the body. Glue the hands next.

Teach Well: It might be tempting to help the children glue since this is still close to the beginning of the school year. Children are still developing their small motor skills and may have a difficult time with this project. Go slow. Allow enough time to do this project with your class. Do it as a group so that children will see how others are successful and that they can be too! But, keep your hands to yourself! Let the child learn and be free to create as they wish! What you will get are not cookie cutter raccoons but a collection of creative critters to display!

Dancing Leaves

Supplies: three silk leaves, one string tied into a loop, hot glue, and streamers

Process: Have the children hold thier items while you hot glue the pieces together. I have used a stapler for this project, but trust me, you will want hot glue instead. Pieces stay together and everyone is happy. ;) Glue silk flowers layered on top of each other like a fan. Cut red, orange, or yellow streamers at about 12 inches long. (You don't want them too long because then the children start stepping on them as they dance). Glue three pieces on the back of the silk leaves. Then tuck the string in between and glue in place. When everyone is ready sing this song:

Leaves are Falling (sing to the tune of London Bridges)

Leaves are falling all around
All around
All around
Leaves are falling all around
It is autumn! (fall down on the ground as you sing this last line)

Red leaves are falling all around
All around
All around
Red leaves are falling all around
It is autumn!

Continue with the colors that the children call out that might be on the leaves in their hand.

Teach Well: Use classical music to dance with their leaves. Is the music fast? Or slow? Dance to the way the music plays.

October Songs

Mary Rice Hopkins' In My Garden

Along with these favorites...

The Farming Song

I’m digging (chh chhh)

Digging (chh chhh)

Digging on the farm (x2)

I’m digging like a pro

And I wanted you to know,

I’m digging (chh chh)

Digging (chh chhh)

Digging on the farm

I’m planting (plop!)

Planting (plop!)

Planting on the farm (x2)

I’m planting like a pro

And I wanted you to know

I’m planting (plop!)

Planting (plop!)

Planting on the farm.

I’m watering (splash!)

Watering (splash!)

Watering on the farm (2x)

I’m watering like a pro

And I wanted you to know

I’m watering (splash!)

Watering (splash!)

Watering on the farm

I’m picking (boink!)

Picking (boink!)

Picking on the farm (x2)

I’m picking like a pro

And I wanted you to know

I’m picking (boink!)

Picking (boink!)

Picking on the farm.

I’m eating (yum yum)

Eating (yum yum)

Eating on the farm (x2)

I’m eating like a pro

And I wanted you to know

I’m eating (yum yum)

Eating (yum yum)

So God helps me


The Word of God

The Word of God’s like

Itty-bitty seeds

Scattered all around (x2)

Some in the road

Some in the weeds

Everywhere you’ve got itty-bitty seeds

The Word of God’s like

Itty-Bitty seeds

Scattered all around


It's Computer Time!

I love to get different programs from the library to use on our Friday computer lessons. Not only does it keep things interesting around here but there is more of a variety of learning games to choose from. Since I live out of town, I can order a program from a city library and have it sent to my small local library down the street. So easy it's almost like Netflix but free! :)

Teach Well: Teaching computer skills at a young age doesn't just encourage learning technology but also helps develop small motor skills in preparation for writing with a pencil.

Ice Cream Cone Game

October we work on ball skills including kicking and balance. This game is great for both! I learned this game while watching infant soccer practice with a friend one year. I thought it was a great idea!

Supplies: a ball and a cone

Process: Create a starting and finish point. Have the children balance their ball on the bottom of the cone. Walk from the starting line to the finish line. If the drop the ball just have them pick it up and continue. Remind them to keep their hands off the ball!

Teach Well: Keep games for young children without loosers. We are always winners in Miss Jen's class!

Friday, October 16, 2009

School Photos

If you are homeschooling, school photos are still a possibility. If you don't feel comfortable taking the photos, hire a photographer to come in your home and capture some moments. I love the fact that our school photos aren't with a cheesy backdrop. Plus, we have the advantage to take several photos until we get the perfect one.

Teach Well: If your child does go to school, don't feel obligated to purchase the school package. Go ahead and grab the camera and take some yourself!

(You can see more photos here)

Children's Post: Autumn Leaves

Fall leaves are these colors... yellow and red.

When it gets cold outside... "the leaves fall down and then they turn to colors." - Terron

If you were a leaf on a tree and it was autumn, what would you do? "Fall down!" - Ethan

"Fall down and I would hop around when I'm a little leaf. I could hop around like this. I would talk and I would hop to my home. Then, I would go skateboarding with my mom!" - Terron

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Leaf Prints

Supplies: Leaves (real or silk), paint, and black paper

Process: Place paint on a plate. Have the children place the leaf face down into the paint. Push down slightly. Pick up and place onto paper. Push down lightly to "stamp" the paper. Dry. Hang in your classroom!

Teach Well: If you have a diecut machine you can place a sponge into the machine. I loved creating leaf sponges to use instead for this craft. It is easier for the children to hold and place on the paper. Thin styrofoam works well too.

Fall Collage

I am always trying to reduce waste in the classroom. I feel guilty throwing a small scrap of paper away! Why waste when children can create beautiful collages using scraps around the classroom?

Supplies: scraps of fall colored paper, fall stickers, confetti, yarn, silk leaves, magazine cutouts of farms or fall colors, diecuts, paper, and glue.

Process: Place items at your art center. Let your children create how they wish! I love using black paper for them to glue onto. It makes the colors stand out and it displays well.

Teach Well: Have glue bottles out until they master squeezing the glue out. Then move to small containers of glue with q-tips. It will help develop their small motor skills and save glue.

Using Technology in the Classroom

How as teachers and parents can we use technology to teach our children? I want to use technology as a tool to help teach in unique and fun ways! My husband has an Apple Ipod Touch. For those who are familiar with this device know that there are thousands of applications that can be downloaded and some are free.

Today we used the Ipod to begin our writing-readiness training. We found an ABC Tracing game for preschoolers in which you can use your finger to trace along the letters while also hearing the phonic sound for that letter.

Teach Well: Use technology to introduce new things in new ways!

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

I love teaching the Bible in ways where children experience the lesson. This month we will be learning about sharing in the story Jesus Feeds Five Thousand. Today was our first lesson where I act out the story as I tell it with my basket of loaves and two fish.

Supplies: bag of rolls, basket, 3 dish towels, and cutout of two fish (I found clipart with my Microsoft program)

Process: Before the lesson starts line a dish towel at the bottom of the basket. Place several rolls on top of the dish towel. Place another dish towel on top of the rolls. Then, place five rolls and the fish cut outs in the basket. Put another towel  over it all to keep it fresh until the lesson. As you tell the story, make sure you show the children the five rolls and fish. Count them out loud. When you get to the part of Jesus passing out the food, begin to pass out the rolls from the bottom layer of your basket. If you have a large class tear the rolls in half or thirds. At the end, you should still have some left on top to show the children that there were leftovers! While the children eat, talk about how the little boy shared his lunch... how can we share with our friends?

Teach Well: Remember to look for allergies when using food in your lessons. If a child doesn't want to take a piece of bread just have them say, "No thank you" and move on. Some preschoolers are unsure when you begin a story with food. As they see the other children enjoying it, they may want to try it after all. So remember to ask them again at the end of the lesson to see if the child changes their mind.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Squirrel Game

I love to shop thrift stores. When I go I am always keeping my eye out for vintage educational games. I found this game at Goodwill that I bring out only for this season. Can you believe it? It is so darling with the little pinecones on the board. The children love it!

When looking for games I usually know that there might be pieces missing. This game had a few pinecones and the dice missing but that didn't keep me from bringing this treasure home. I always buy larger dice to use for my preschoolers and keep a box at home to use as needed.

Teach Well: Shop thrift stores for unique board games that can go with your theme! As you start to collect them and bring them out on special occasions the children will sense how special they really are!


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