Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Inspiration Thursdays

Teacher's Appreciation is coming up next week! Have you thought of your child's teacher yet? If you homeschool don't forget those Sunday School, piano, or karate teachers. Here is a great idea from this great blog.

Teach Well: Handmade gifts are from the heart. Find scraps of paper and have your child create their own art to go inside the recycled container.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Beat Goes On...

"One of the best and most effective tools to promote this early mathematical thinking is through the use of music and musical activities in the classroom."

Read on to find out ways to explore music and the fundamentals of mathematics...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Resurrection Egg Hunt

All month we have been studying about Jesus' Resurrection during our Bible Time. I have been using this video as a teaching tool. It goes with Family Life's Resurrection Eggs and book. I show the video and then give each child a basket to go on our own egg hunt. These eggs are filled with items to help teach the Easter story.

Supplies: plastic eggs, clip art of items, or Resurrection eggs, Easter basket, Easter grass

Process: Before your lesson hide the eggs indoors. If you are doing this with your class, make sure you have enough for each child to find one. After collecting your eggs sit together and read the story. As you read have the children open the eggs that match thought the book. After the story collect the eggs. Then have the children actually make their own set of Resurrection Eggs to take home. Have the children cut out the clip art and place it in the correct color egg. Let the children put their eggs in their baskets and take home to tell their families about the true meaning of Easter!

Teach Well: Have your children go outside to collect their own rock for their pink egg for an even more of an experience. To find more information about each egg go here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Be Inspired Thursday: Room Tour

Take a look at magazines, catalogues, or online to create creative spaces for your classroom or at home. Think outside the box and try and find things around your home to use to make your child's space unique!

Who says your classroom has to be white? OK, maybe your school has limitations about painting your classroom. If not, try an eco-friendly product that is safe for children and the environment. This room is painted with Yolo Colorhouse paint.

The rug, white table, and lighting fixture is from Ikea and the table top manipulative toy was found at a garage sale.

Our little child's chair would make any reading center special in a classroom. Ours was found at a garage sale and then we bought a slipcover from Target to cover it. The curtains were handed down from my sister. To make the art, I purchased Ikea's bedding set and used their wood canvas to create pieces that would match the light fixture.

I had the bookcases already and just added baskets to fit. I change out these baskets every other week to go with the theme that I am teaching about. I also add manipulatives and other favorites to encourage play. I used this same system in my classroom. In the classroom, the children knew not to get into the baskets unless I put them out as a center. It makes the classroom look organic, clean, and creative! The puppet holders are wine rack holders from Ikea.

In the classroom, this system worked well in my art area. I kept paint locked up, but left items that we might use for the theme that month (such as feathers, silk palm branches, worm bait, plastic frogs, etc.)

This book holder is actually a holder for pot lids from Ikea. We had originally bought it for our pots and pans and they didn't fit in our cupboards. But for $2.99 you can't beat this great book rack!

I also found this child size coat rack at a garage sale. After a lovely coat of paint, we added our dramatic play items. I also change the items I hang here with our theme.

I also keep a radio at child height to encourage my child to learn to play his music when he wants to. In the classroom, have a listening center for children to listen to stories on CD or tape. This is a great center for those children that need alone time.

Cross Fingerpainting

Encourage and develop small motor skills by having your child paint with their pointer finger only. When painting try and be eco-friendly by reusing plastic container lids that usually can not be recycled. It takes a bit more clean up to rinse and dry these off, but think of how much a classroom or school could keep from wasting daily by doing so!

Supplies: pink and magenta paint, dish soap, white crayon, and black construction paper

Process: Squeeze a little bit of both colors onto your paint palette. Add a bit of soap for easy clean up. Give each child a piece of black paper. Encourage the child to use one finger to create crosses on their paper. Use the white crayon to write their name on the paper.

Teach Well: Have extra paper on hand for those children that learn kinetically. These children will want to continue painting, put their hands into the pallet, and paint over their original art. This is how they learn and explore! If you want to keep their art, have scrap paper on hand to give them to continue their sensory experience. Hang the crosses on a bulletin board with an Easter verse as the title.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Book Review: Together We're Better

I was so glad when I went to Creation Station online and saw that they are selling this book by Bev Bos. This is on my Resources I-Can't-Live-Without List.

This book is filled with Eco-friendly creative ways to bring coactive learning into the classroom. One of my favorite chapter is how to make wall and plexi-glass easels. I love the hands-on activities and easy to read directions that fill this book cover to cover! Although this book was published nineteen years ago, it reminds us that our classrooms and playgrounds are meant to be fun, creative, and active!

Creation Inspiration

I can't help but love this special cup of cocoa found at Apartment Therapy! What a great and unique treat for your classroom's Easter party! Click at the link above to find out all the details!

Egg Soccer

Supplies: plastic egg and four cones

Process: Set up your field in a gym, large room, or hallway. Use the cones to create goals on either side of your field. Make sure there is enough room to run around. Have the children stand on one end of the field. Give each child a plastic egg and have them kick it to the goal. When they reach the other side, have them stop until everyone has kicked their egg to the goal. Remind them that they must use their feet only and have them kick their egg again to the other side of the field.

Teach Well: I love to use the plastic eggs that come in play food sets for this game. You can use plastic Easter eggs if you use clear packing tape to seal them closed. This game can easily be adjusted for older children by having multiple smaller fields and sharing eggs like a real soccer game. If you are playing this game with preschoolers, do develop their gross motor, social, and emotional skills leave it uncompetitive.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Classroom Creation Inspiration

Check out this idea at Apartment Therapy! This white board tree could make for a beautiful addition to your classroom or at home!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tulip Fun

Create these cute tulips from scraps of construction paper. Use a glue gun to attach the paper to the craft stick for easy and fast preparation.

Supplies: play dough, paper, craft sticks, glue gun, and a marker

Process: Pre-cut the flowers and use your marker to write letters on the flowers. Glue the flowers to the craft sticks. Set your brown play dough (as your dirt) on the table. Have the children create words that you have been working on in class.

Teach Well: Leave this out as a center and have the children work in pairs. I have seen this done with floral foam (at your local craft store in the floral department) but it can be quite messy. The floral foam can be placed in pots and the children can make their own word bouquet. The floral foam ends up being more of a sensory than literary experience.

Letter Play

Take a break from the usual spelling or reading lesson! Get out the play dough and have your lesson become kinetic!

Supplies: playdough, letter cookie cutters

Process: Pre-make your playdough. You can find this reciepe at my previous post here. You can work together and create words with a few cookie cutters set out. When you are finished, have the children create their own words with all the letters.

Teach Well: Keep a look out for cookie cutters at garage sales and Goodwill! Put a few letters out as a center. Try and keep the letters out that you have been working on in class.

April Inspiration

Well, April is here and finally signs of spring are everywhere! In April, my theme is He's Alive! Here is my list of things I can't live without this month!
  1. I couldn't help myself and had to include a rubber chicken in this month's lesson plans.

  2. Plastic eggs

  3. Cleaning sponges for creating handmade stamps

  4. The Story of the Resurrection Eggs in Rhyme & Song

  5. Resurrection Eggs

  6. Jelly Beans

  7. Jelly Bean Prayer

  8. The Miracle Maker

9. The Bunny Hop

10. Everyone loves The Chicken Dance!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Feed the Frog

I love this center! These bug launchers and flies were found at my local dollar store. You can use any die cuts. These cute frogs were found at our local Learning Palace.

Supplies: Die cut of a frog, bug launchers, tape, and plastic bugs

Process: Set up this center in it's own corner away from traffic. Tape the frog to the wall. Have a line where the children sit to launch their bugs. Place a bug into the bug launcher and close the lid. Try and aim at the frog. Pull the trigger to launch!

Teach Well: I recommend there only be two children at this center and that the children are sitting down. This center looks like a lot of fun but it is also strengthening those small motor skills.


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