Saturday, July 30, 2011

Preschool lesson plans: Using a Digital Camera

Why use a digital camera in the classroom? Well there are so many.
Let's see-

1) Documenting progress for the parents. They don't always see the value of the work we do because there's no visual evidence. But if we take and post pictures our lesson plan activities we inform them of the progress their child is making.

2)Including your parents in the daily's hard to leave you baby. We can make it easier by including parents.

3) organization. Cubbies, circle time spots, journals.... You name it.

The time it saves just with the "I wanna sit next to Tommy but not Sam and Isabel spit on me" argument is worth it!
Clean up- make your own picture Labels. It helps the kids to help put things away. (Translation- Less work for you!)
Have a great Day!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Time to Organize Your Classrooms!

This is a re-post of a previous one regarding classroom labels. Everyone is getting ready for the new year so it's relevant. Organize time-

We know that we need to have language every where in a preschool classroom. Kid's learn by osmosis at the preschool level, and seeing written language strengthens pre-reading skills. So a great way to advance pre-reading skills, and help promote self help skills is classroom labeling.

When you label items in your classroom it helps to have the word and picture. This helps the children understand the correlation between these symbols and the spoken word.

Another great reason to label in your classroom is clean up time. When a child can put things away on their own it gives them a sense of self sufficiency and pride. Besides it makes it easier on you. If they can pick up themselves then YOU don't have to do it all.

I found a great place to help this endeavor- Environments. They have resources for teachers that you can make up on their site and print out. You do have to register for a free membership but isn't worth it.

Here's a second website that has labels. I used those to organize my kids rooms!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Preschool lesson plans: dinosaur cooking activity!

While looking for a cooking idea to pair with the dinosaur theme, found this-Martha Stewart Recipe
So this is what I decided on. It's wonderful to illustrate fossils and what they are. We read dictionary definitions of fossil, reptile and a few others. Dictionary skills are very important!
I suggest you make her cookie dough. I used sugar cookie dough and it didn't work well.
Happy cooking!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roar roar dinosaur! Preschool lesson plans

I know I didn't post last week for bugs- I will get that up soon!

But this week is dinosaurs! Happy two year old who LOVES to roar!!
We are in the Huntsville area and they have a dinosaur exhibit the space and rocket center. We will be heading there later this week.
Yesterday we talked about dinosaurs, What they ate, and the differences between them.
We watched some of "walking with dinosaurs" on Netflix.
Today we made a stegosaurus.

I love that Dino smile!!!
Then we worked on addition facts (1's and 2's)

Harrison worked on his motor skills with noise putty recommended by the OT. He thinks he's just making tooting
Sounds. Giggling like a big boy!

Harrison wrote a A- two years old!!

See ya next time!!!

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th My Friends!

I played with my kiddos today! I'll post the lesson plan later!

We made suncatchers.

We made salt art. It's like sannd art in bottles. You take chalk in a bag of salt. The friction
Rubs the chalk and colors the salt.

And the finished product-

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I know. Another absence.

Well I've been MIA again. I'd say I'm sorry but I already did that.
We have had a endoscopy, colonoscopy, and allergy testing in the last week. I'm so glad it's over!
But my lil man is feeling lots better, and allergic to a lot of stuff. Em is being treated for really bad asthma.
But we are getting there. We have answers!
We are getting back into our routine. Yay!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Preschool Lesson Plans- Art as a lesson in determination

I read a post about art in the classroom, and how the teacher handled the difficulty of the lesson.
Before I go further, read This.

This spoke to me because we all try to "dumb down" to kids. Make the curriculum fit them, instead of allowing them to master the curriculum. How will they learn how to work through difficult situations if they aren't challenged to do so?
Something that comes to mind is my 10 year old nephew. You guys should be jelous. My lil man (who's not so little anymore), is sweet, loving, hardworking, and smart!
He trys so hard, but things are difficult for him. He has some learning issues, but we all learn differently.
Well anyway, he has been passed up even if he hasnt mastered the material. When asked this year why they didn't fail him, they said it had to do with "No child left behind".
But if he is being expected to do the work in the next grade, without mastering the foundation skills needed, isn't that what's happening? He's getting left behind?

My point is this- if we don't challenge our kids to figure things out in our preschool classrooms, we are doing them a great disservice. Just as passing someone without merit will not be doing him any favors.
We have to teach independent thinking, problem solving, and self reliance to form the leaders of tomorrow.
Why would we expect less?

Wonderful sweet intelligent nephew- he's totally rockin'!

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

SPD and Preschool

Today is a big day for my lil man. He, at his regular speech appointment, is undergoing an evaluation for TN early intervention so that he can receive more intensive treatment (most likely in a school setting). Prayers are needed for my baby!

On to the main subject. SPD, sensory processing disorder, has a lot of little things to deal with, but the scariest lately is chewing.

SPD kids crave sensory stimulation including orally. Lately Harrison has been chewing on inappropriate things. I had to sweep his throat for bottle caps twice. In fear of what could happen, I called his OT. She reassured me this was a good thing. It means he is maturing developmentally. He's in that stage that 6-9 month olds chew on anything. Yes I know. He's 2 1/2 but it's progress. Intellectually he is further along. He knows colors, and if he could talk he could count.
But back to chewing. I went to Walmart and bought a big assortment of chew toys. This dinosaur is his favorite right now.

But he likes them all. He goes from one to the next. But he's getting the oral stimulation he needs but in a safe way!
That makes for a happy mom!

Here's an article on SPD for more information.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reading in Preschool Lesson plans

Reading. Teaching your preschooler to read can be an intimidating task. You read this method and that method and "your baby can read", you start to hyperventilate because of all the varying information.
By the way I use "my baby can read" with the boy but not to read. That's another post though;)

The basics of reading are 2 things- sight reading and phonics. I've heard teachers say phonics only or they teach using sight reading. when I was in first grade they only taught sight words. Luckily I moved to a school system that used phonics later.

I use both. I use memorization of sight words and phonics. If you don't learn phonics, and you, as an adult, are standing in front of a board of directors reading a finance report. Oops! A word you don't know is in it. A phonics reader can figure it out.
So here are a couple things I'm using and have used to practice.
DICK and JANE are back!

A great way to breed confidence in a early reader! Easy and interesting to a beginning reader.
Also, here's a little something I made to help Emily practice her words using an unused photo book and index cards.

I think that's pretty obvious.
But here's something that teaches phonics. I've used it for years in my classes and used it with Emily, singing in the car.

Really fun and lays the foundation for being a strong reader. It's sold by discovery toys and well worth the $13 I paid.
Happy reading!
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The tea party preschool lesson plan

Here's this week's lesson plan. I know its very simple but my girl has been going to school all year in pre-K, and will be in kindy in the fall. a break is needed, but she (and I) need structure. She is a lot older than the other kids, and more advanced. I worry that she won't be challenged. BUT I love she is so ahead of the game.

You also see a section for Harrison. Also simple. But these are the activities that he needs to develop in his way. It is just as much a lesson plan, and curriculum.
See you next week! Have a great holiday!

Tea Party Lesson Plan

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Butterfly life cycle

We have butterflies!!!! We ordered caterpillars a few weeks ago.
We have watched them go from caterpillars, to big caterpillars, to really BIG caterpillars! Then we watched them build their Cacoons.
Today when we got home we had butterflies!!
Emily didn't know what to be more excited about- the signed t shirt from one of the Tennessee Tornados or the butterflies!
We have discussed the life cycle of the butterfly, used the appropriate life cycles as vocabulary words, and read books about them. Her favorite is Charlie the caterpillar. We also have been working on reading, addition, and improving handwriting!
Next week is Fancy Nancy tea party manners! I'll post a lesson plan this weekend!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Special Needs and lesson plans

As a teacher, I found it much easier to deal with special needs than as a mom. I always made it my priority that the most difficult child became my favorite or special project.
Now, don't freak out. That doesn't mean I would do this to the exclusion of "normal" kids. I felt such a love for every child that those kids easily had their needs met. But those kids who yell, scream, hit, bite, kick, throw things etc would take a bit more effort.
I've had ADHD children, autistic, sensory dysfunctional, kids born on drugs, abused, neglected and unloved children. I even had a child with severe eczema all over his body including his hands. My heart literally broke to pieces when he turned down a cupcake because he knew he would have to wash his hands. I went into the cot storage room and cried myself. I was deeply affected by all the kids trusted in my care over the years.
But my ability to handle all of those kids and just grow the love and understanding I needed to fulfill their needs makes my situation so hard.
We have discipline issues. We have issues with eating.( he's losing weight).
He can't speak on demand to tell us what's bothering him, what he wants or needs.
That combined with the SPD, in which his brain doesn't function well in his world. He doesn't feel "right" in his own skin, and he can't communicate the discomfort. I'm so frustrated and praying for an answer.
I'm working with him. And his speech therapist and OT rock. But day in and out, I just don't have what I had as a teacher to give him.
I ADORE him, beyond measure. And worry about him too. I'll let you know about his progress and mine too!

Our summer beginnings in our preschool lesson plans

The beginning. We we do a garden every year, along with the plants in the yard. And we inherited a bunch of plants there.

My hubby uses the square foot method to organic gardening. It WORKS! We had tomatoes well into November last year.

But both kids love plants and gardening. We have already planted and have been tending it everyday.

We have also had visits from som e of our friends in nature. We discussed how they help us and our garden. We talk biology, ecology, and responsiblity. A awesome lesson!

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My absence

I've been MIA for the last year. There are reasons, of course. One being the special needs of my son, who has minor medical problems, and in the past year has been diagnosed with developmental apraxia, and sensory integration dysfunction. With the therapies for these and problems in his health, I just haven't had the time.
Also, Emily attended Pre-k at a local elementary school this year.
But I'm back! We are going to do some summer learning activities and therapies and activities for Harrison too.
So welcome back! I miss this little diary that I can exercise my teacher muscles on!