hypercello

A glimpse into my life

Getting ready for preschool! Part one–the writing center

Dalton, as silly as ever!

I know I’ve been very scarce on here the past month (or more), but I’m hoping to change that as the school year starts back up.  We’ll be back in a routine, and hopefully I’ll have more time to play around online.  Dalton (my son) just stared 2nd grade through the Ohio Virtual Academy (we love schooling at home!) and Alyanna (my daughter) just turned 7 months and is getting out of a month-long cranky phase.

Alyanna, sitting pretty in my preschool classroom

I’ve been very busy as my summer vacation has slowly come to a close.  I’m a preschool teacher (3 year olds, my favorite age!) and I’ve been getting my room arranged for my kiddos that come tomorrow.  I have two classes (M/W and T/TH) that come for 2 1/2 hours a day.  This is my third year teaching in this classroom, and I’ve decided this year is all me (first year I was trying to learn the ropes with a Christian half-day preschool, last year I was pregnant/new mom so I introduced new things in my room pretty slowly, so this year is my year to totally shine).  I spent quite a bit of time over the summer getting activities ready for my classroom, and the past three weeks (between home visits with my preschool–another part of my job I love!) I’ve focused on getting the room ready.  I wanted to share my room setup in hopes it might help another preschool teacher out there.  I didn’t realize I could say so much about each area of my room, so I decided to break this post into multiple postings.  Stay tuned to see other parts of my room!

The writing center in my preschool classroom

This is a center that I introduced towards the end of last year, and the kids absolutely loved it!  I change it every two weeks or so to keep it new and exciting.  The bulletin board shows what the writing theme is (this one is “Welcome to preschool!”), and I show all the different answers for the writing prompts on it.  My writing prompt for this one is “Teacher, teacher what do you see?  I see a (crayon, pencil, backpack, scissors) looking at me!”.  When I introduce a new writing prompt, I’ll show it at circle time, and go through each of the options.  During free play, either myself or my aide will be near the writing center to help any students as they practice writing.  I have between four and six prompts, for them to choose from, and I add the picture so they can figure out the word by themselves.

All the fun stuff the children can do while at the writing center

I also include nameplates so they can write their own name, or the name of a friend.  Since I have two separate classes, I color-code them (one class is blue, the other class is red).    I also include a printout of the alphabet to help them in letter formation.  We do not use any tracing pages in the classroom.  As it was illustrated for me in a teacher class one time, the child may trace a letter and have it looked correctly, but if they did not trace the lines in the correct order, it’s not helping them learn how to make letters.  I model writing often during the day, and sit down with the children for one-on-one writing time to help them learn how to form their letters (if they are ready in their writing process).  I consider worksheets to be “busy work,” and I know the children will get plenty of that in the years to come.  I try to make everything hands-on and fun, so they don’t realize they are learning.  🙂

Fun little writing books

In my writing center I also make little books for them to write in.  They are really simple to make.  I find clip art online and make a book using PowerPoint (just put the clip art on the left side of the paper, since when you fold it, the left side becomes the front).  I put one piece of blank paper on the inside, so they end up with a nice little book to write in.  I love keeping some of these in their portfolios to track where they are in their writing process.  The children love to come see what new books are out each week.  Just another way of making learning fun!

I hope you enjoyed getting a peek at my writing center.  I’d love to hear about other teacher’s writing centers (or ideas that work/don’t work).  Check back tomorrow to see my art center.

 

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Preschool DIY’s

I’m a preschool teacher (3 year olds–love them!!), and our school year just ended.  Since I have the summer off, I figured I’d work on getting stuff ready for next year.  I found this awesome website, Teach Preschool, that has given me numerous ideas of what I want to make for my classroom for next year.  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been up to.

Kool-aid scented rice:

I followed the directions found here, and made up three scents of rice–pink lemonade, blue raspberry, and lemon-lime.  I love the way they smell, and they dried very quickly.  I’m looking forward to using these in my classroom.  I’ll be making more scents of these as the summer goes on.  I think they will be great for sensory play, and for use in many art projects.

Light Table:

I’ve been wanting a light table for my classroom, but they are so expensive to purchase pre-made.  I decided to google it, and found quite a few directions on how to make one (here’s the one from Teach Preschool).  Mine is made out of a clear scrapbook paper plastic box that I frosted the lid, painted the inside bottom with silver metallic paint, and painted the outside in black paint.  I put a strand of garden lights in it, and it works great.  I know my kiddos are going to have a blast playing with it.  I tossed some of my scented rice on it for the photo.  🙂

Art daubers:

I love doing dot art, but don’t do a lot of it since the daubers are so expensive (unless I hit up the local bingos).  I never thought about making my own, but this post showed me it could be done.  I had a really hard time getting the makeup pads to stay on, so I modified it by putting a piece of flannel fabric over it to help secure it.  I’m hoping the kids have as much fun playing with them as I did.

Magnets:

Magnets are always fun to play with.  I loved this set of magnetic sticks, and made up a set. Now I just need to figure out how to turn the back of my book area (or the back of one of my toy shelves) into a magnetic board (and the other one will be made into a felt board).

These are just some of the things I’ve been working on so far (and preschool has only been out a few weeks).  My class is going to rock so much next year!

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