Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Curriculum and State Standard Questions

Whether or not you decide to order a preschool curriculum through companies like Zoo Phonics or Abeka. You first need to know what your preschool state requirements are. Some states, such as Oregon, doesn't have state standards for preschool, although it is possible that might change soon, states like Washington do. To find your state go here.

There is a list for Early Education Foundations, from three to five year olds, for the state of Oregon that can be found here. This is what I go by, which is similar to my report card. When you find your state's benchmarks you can go ahead and order your curriculum. (This is of course if you are teaching your child from home although some Early Educators have to create their own curriculum.)

I wanted to share with you my favorite can not live without teaching matrials. I love our local teaching store to find some of these items.

1. Mailbox Magazine is filled with fun hands-on activities to go with most of my themes. I love their fun ideas. Plus, they never grow old. I have even found some at garage sales that I have picked up and they are just as awesome as the new ones.

2. Zoo Phonics is an amazing product! Even if you can't afford the set (cause I know I can't) ;) look on Ebay or Craigslist for those that are selling theirs. You can also start off with the video and a set of flash cards to begin your collection. Let me just say that I have seen three year olds reading because of this program. It is a guarenteed to work product!

3. Find a book that can help your child with their writing skills, like this one. Try and get one that you can make copies of. This way if you have any other children in the home you can re-use it year after year.

4. If you didn't want to follow my Bible teaching plan but wouldn't mind a great Bible curruiculum, start easy with Mary Rice Hopkins' product. I have used all of her curruiculum to go with her music and it is great!

5. For gross motor development I can't live without my Aerobic CDs. Such as this one, this one, and this one.

I will share more of my favorites as we go along but these are my must-haves before the school year starts.

Teach Well: Be prepared with your teaching supplies and books before school begins. This way you can look it all over before the first day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Schedules and Creative Spaces

The best way to begin preparing yourself for teaching next year is with your schedule. When are you going to be teaching? Is it in the morning or does your child do better in the afternoon?

Then, decide what you are going to be teaching. My scope and sequence helps break down what I teach, when I teach it.

To give you an example, I copied my own schedule below:

Morning Preschool Schedule

8:30-8:45 Opening/Free Center Time

8:45-8:50 Clean Up

8:50-8:55 Pledge of Allegiance

8:55-9:15 Circle Time/Calendar

· Wednesday Discussion
· Thursday Math Concepts
· Friday Science Enrichment

9:15-9:30 Bible/Verses

9:30-9:50 Jamboree Time (Gross Motor Play)
· Aerobic Wednesdays

9:50-10:00 Drinks/Bathroom Breaks

10:00-10:20 Activity Time

· Wednesday Letter Readiness/Zoo Phonics
· Thursday Spanish
· Friday Computer

10:20-10:45 Snack

10:45-11:00 Story Time

11:00-11:20 Craft

11:20-11:30 Clean up/Song Time/Pray/Line up/Dismissal

The next step to preparing for the school year is by making creative spaces for learning. Whether you are going to be teaching from home or in the classroom, creative spaces help children experience learning in a unique way. To see a great example of that take a visit to Megan Powers' classroom, Scholastic's 2009-2010 Kindergarten Teacher Advisor.

Below is a video of her classroom. Check out her spaces!

If you teach from home you can easily create these learning spaces. Later in the school year, I will show you some of mine to get you even more inspired! Make sure to visit Megan's blog through out the year to get even more ideas!

Teach Well: Create creative spaces in your home or classroom. Don't worry... it's ok to be inspired by another teacher like Megan!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What to Look Forward to this School Year

As the summer comes to an end and the beginning of the school year gets closer, parents and teachers alike anticipate the first day of school. I get excited about pulling the September's boxes that have been stored away for a year; decorating our creative spaces; collecting items needed for our crafts; and the best part - new school supplies!

These last few weeks of August, I will be sharing with you what you will have to look forward to at Teach Well, Teach Often. This site has been created for inspiring teachers and parents alike. For those parents that are homeschooling their preschooler, these next few weeks will help you prepare for the months ahead.

I teach thematically. You can take a closer look at one of my themes here. To look at the entire school year's themes and activities, click here for my scope and sequence.

I am looking forward to the fun we will have with our children this school year! Keep checking back this week and next to help you prepare for the year and for some great give aways to add to your classroom at school or at home!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

DIY Puppet Stage

It's time to get your classrooms or creative spaces ready for the school year to begin. Why not add your own puppet stage in your dramatic play area? My friend, Rebekah, over at Yeebird posted this great idea from Country Living Magazine. Hop on over to get the instructions. It would look great in your dramatic play area along with these puppet holders.

Teach Well: You don't have to buy new fabric if you have some at home! Make a patchwork stage or paint onto muslin for a one-of-a kind look!


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