Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Changing up your dramatic play area

In my classroom, we have a little pretend kitchen area.  I like to change it up so that the children build other kids of vocabulary.  I make it into a restaurant by adding menus from different places where I can get to go menus.

I also add in a notebook with pencils and a large calculator for a cash register.  It is even better if you have a pretend cash register.  They love writing down orders and adding up what you owe.

You also can tell that the children love to write on the notebook.  This really builds up their vocabulary  I like changing the dramatic area as restaurants, doctor's office, dentist office,  airports or anything that we are using as a theme.  It really works.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The students use plenty of manipulatives before doing this project.  We use different colored counters and roll the dice.  Then what ever comes out they add up.

Then I made copies of animals.  One color for the purple die and one for the orange.  Then I took a small group of children and had them add with these paper manipulatives.

They have so much fun adding and counting.  This also lets me know if they know how to add.  It is a really fun activity for them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

buggy science center

When we have a creepy crawlies theme in the classroom, I make sure to have lots of fun things in the science center.

I provide books, hand lenses, and little insect models.  I also place lots of pictures with the name of the insects on the wall.

The children love looking at the insects.  I also try to have an ant farm for the children to experience. 

Later I will add plastic spiders and then they could have a game of sorting the insects and spiders.

You would be amazed at how much a student can learn about insects.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fire safety game

Someone wanted a social studies lesson and I suggested this game.  I found different items from a book and I colored and cut it.  Then I laminated it and made it into a game.

After talking about fire safety and reading books about firefighters, the children play this game as a whole group.  Then you place it in centers for them to play on their own.  They really love it and it is a way to get some fire safety games into the centers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Print rich environment

Remember to always have a print rich environment.  In my science center I always have words that go with the theme and also books that go with the theme.  I also have a class journal and pencils in the science center where the children can add their observations.

I do the same with the math center.  I keep a math class journal and lots of math books.   They then go in and add their own notes in there for all to see. 

This is a way to get them to write and to know that writing has meaning. 

More discovery bottles

We have these also with popcorn and water.  You can make one with just popcorn and little items.  There is one pictured of beads and a block.  And the last one is a magnetic one.

If you have nothing else you can put paper clips and I attach a magnetic want to the bottle and the children like to see the magnet move the items inside.
I also like to use things attracted to magnets that things that don't.  Then they learn about what items magnets attract.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More samples of Discovery Bottles

These discovery bottles are so easy and so inexpensive to make.  The first one has colored sand and little things for a mini-scavenger hunt.  The second one is a sort of a lava lamp with colored water and oil.

I just love making these bottles and it is a great way to recycle bottles.

Discovery Bottles

I am sure most of you have heard of science discovery bottles.  Just a reminder that they are so easy to make and the children love them. The ones shown are just glitter and water and the other one is half bottle of water and lots of dish soap. 

The children shake them and they love the results.  They learn so much science just with bottles, that don't cost much.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Instead of a handout that the children can color, we cut out paper with number 1, 2 and 3.  Then the children used foam stickers, which I got in an arts and crafts store, and put that amount of stickers on the corresponding number. 

They loved picking the stickers.  I used an ocean theme, but the stickers come in any shape and color and you can use your current theme to teach numbers.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


As some of you may have noticed I like to make sure the children know the concept first with manipulatives.  The children will do lots of patterning activities as a whole group activity.  I use them as patterns, such as boy-girl, stand-sit, looking forward-looking backwards.  Then we make patterns with toys.  Then they do it with partners and then as you see in the photo, the child was playing in centers and made patterns on his own.

Then I cut out pattern block out of paper. Remember they have already practiced doing patters with real pattern blocks.  They choose what pattern blocks they want to use and make a pattern using the pattern block made out of paper.  This shows that they really got the concept of patterns.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More Measurements

More measurement ideas.  The first picture the children are in partners measuring the mat with counting bears and then they will measure their hands and feet and arms and etc. 

The second picture shows the children's work after they heard the book Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni.  Then they practiced measuring again with partners and then they use the paper inch worms to measure things on paper as a project.  Makes measuring fun and meaningful for the student.


I used the die cut machine to make leaves as a measuring tool.  Then I measured the children and took pictures.  We then made a class book of how many leaves tall they were.  One page per child. 
I placed the book in the math center and they love it.

They also got into partners and measured things using different toys.  They then had to tell me that the item they were measuring was, for example, 5 bear counters long.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Number game

During Halloween, I printed some flashcards with numbers on them.  The children would them put counters on the card that corresponds with the number on the card.

I put dots to make it easier and then for Thanksgiving time, I put turkey cards without dots to see if they got the idea.

As you can see on the photo, the purple mat the child is using is a piece of cabinet liner I got at the dollar store.  I then cut it to fit what space I wanted.  These mats are then used during center time to define the space they are allowed to use.  

This has really helped them understand that the whole carpet is not their play area and clean up has been so great. 

Monday, March 15, 2010


Before we do this activity, we sort lots of times with manipulatives in whole group, partners and individually.  Then what I do is just cut contruction paper in to little squares.

The children then sort by color.  I love to do the "red" "not red" or "blue" "not blue"  because it lets them sort in different ways.

I also got the m and ms sorting.  I just bought a bag of m and ms and gave them a hand full.  They then sorted them and recorded their sorting on the paper.  We also talk about graphing at the same time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Learning numbers

As everyone knows it is not enough just to know how to count but the children need to recognize numbers as well.  I use these flash cards to help them do that. 
When the children come in to the classroom in the morning, before they get their breakfast, they must grab one of the cards and then come and tell me the number. 

This has worked wonders.  It has really helped them identify the numbers and remmeber them.  I believe in the drop in the bucket technique and doing this everyday does not take lots of time but does help.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Question of the day

I love having a question of the day.  The picture is an example of how I graph it with the children.  I ask the question first, then we put their names under what they answer.
I then get unifix cubes and give them out to the children.  As as example, we can see the picture.  The purple unifix cubes represent pizza, the brown ones represent chicken, the red ones represent the spaghetti, and the blue ones respresent sandwiches.
I then get the children in lines according to their answer and make a human graph.  I then make sure they understand that eat cube represents one of them.  I them show them that I draw the unifix tower on the chart paper.  We count and I use lots of questioning.
  • what answer is more popular?
  • what answer is the least popular?
  • how many in each answer?
  • why did you answer the way you did?
  • how many more or less in each answer?
This graph is them posted on the wall so that they can the children could see it through out the week.

This works great for graphing, and mathematical operations.  It can be a weekly or daily activity.

Now for a transition idea:

Rote counting by each child taking turns like hot potato.  When the child gets the hot potato they count the next number.  The first child says 1, the second says 2, and so on by passing the hot potato(which can be a stuffed animal)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


How should we transition students from one activity to another?  We need to be able to use transitions as a teaching moment. 

One of the ways we can use transitions as a teaching moment is by rote counting.  Many children get mixed up on the teens when counting, and this will give them much needed practice.

Another way to transition from one activity to another is by using flashcards.  Chidlren are always in need of learning the alphabet.  Use alphabet flashcards.  When a child names the letter they have, they can get in line to go to lunch or go play or whatever the transition may be.  Another way you can use the flashcards is by showing them the flashcard and having them name something that starts with that letter.

Next posts I will focus on math in a prek/preschool classroom or things you can use for your child at home.  I will try to add more ideas for transition in every closing of posts.

Prek teacher

I am a prek teacher and I have so many ideas to help other teachers and parents help children succeed.

I recently read a book on read alouds. It is the best thing to do to help your child succeed in reading. I made a vow that I will read a minimum of 3 books a day to my students. If I read more, then that is fantastic. Remember that it can even be the same book three times and the children will benefit.

The children will benefit because they will listen to what a fluent reader should sound like, they will get new vocabulary, and they will pick up listening skills. Listening skills is an essential phonological awareness skill needed to be great readers.

Don't hesitate to write to me if you need ideas on any preschool subject. I have been teaching 16 years and am a bilingual teacher.