Sunday, August 24, 2014

Brand New!



We started back to school earlier this month and everything seems BRAND NEW! The students are all new to Pre-K and some of them are new to the school. My assistant and I are BRAND NEW teachers to the students, even though we've been in the school for several years. I've changed our class mascot from fish to owls, so there are new owl decorations everywhere! There is just something about things being new that seems to make life just a little more exciting!

On the first day of school, I took pictures of the students that will go in a memory book for them at the end of the year. I posed them in front of one of the bulletin boards that will have seasonal changes, but basically remain the same. At the end of the year, we'll take another picture in the same place and be able to see how much they've changed and grown!



Also in the first week, I had each of them color a circle to decorate a large owl in our room. Later, these circles will be placed in their memory books, as well.



My classroom received a refurbishment grant this year to replace worn out materials and classroom supplies. One of the big things I got was a new rug! Isn't it bright and beautiful? It is humongous and has spots for everyone to have a little personal space.



We also got a few new bikes for our playground. I chose the "big wheel" style and they have been a big hit! There are always friends waiting for a turn!



I have wanted MagnaTile blocks for a long time, but frankly, they are very expensive and there are always so many other things I need. I was able to use some of the grant money to purchase a set. I am amazed at the creativity and imaginative things the children create with them. I picked the translucent blocks with the plan of using them with light box I'm making. They will look great when lit up, I think!



We got some new foam blocks that are great for building and perfect for use with the new animals we got for the block center!




Some of our dramatic play costumes had seen much better days. We ordered several new ones. This is the NASA astronaut uniform that we got! (It is especially nice paired with awesome cowboy boots! ;)



I love this little couch and chair set that we purchased with refurbishment funds! I broke the set up and now have a cozy spot to curl up with a book in reading center and added the sofa to our dramatic play area.



One of the things that was a combination of new and not-new was our old sensory table. It was so bulky that often I use big bins or a tabletop sensory table in the classroom. I repurposed our old bulky table to the playground for outdoor sensory fun. The kids are really enjoying having it outside!



Even the way the children are experimenting with familiar materials seems "brand new". Watching this new class explore in centers and try new techniques brings me a little joy each day.


I'm sure that as time goes by, these things will all become worn, well loved and lack their "new" appeal, but for now we are enjoying the discovery of "brand new"! I have a few more items that I haven't put out right away, just to savor the excitement of having something fresh for later on. Hope your "brand new" school year is off to a good start!

If you'd like to read more about our first day of Pre-K, hop on over to PreK+K Sharing and read "On The First Day of Pre-K..."



Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: 101 Kids Activities That Are The Bestest, Funnest Ever!



{Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book at no cost for the purpose of reviewing. The opinions contained in this post are entirely my own. Also included in the post are Amazon affiliate links.}

I was so excited to receive a copy of  "101 Kids Activities That Are The Bestest, Funnest Ever!" by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller earlier this summer. I follow the Kids Activities blog and facebook page and love all the great activities they share and post, so I just knew I would love the book!

"101 Kids Activities That Are The Bestest, Funnest Ever!"  is chock full of easy to implement activities for kids that are sure-fire boredom busters! The book is broken down into four sections, "Boredom Busters", "Crafts", "Games" and "Simple Science". Each activity is only one page long, with a materials list and tips to help with activity implementation. Almost all of the activities are accompanied by a beautiful photograph of the activity. Plus, there are modifications included for younger kids and for older kids! 

I've not been in a classroom this summer (with the exception of helping out on various summer camp field trips), so I've not had the opportunity to implement any of the ideas yet, but I am SO excited that I've already bookmarked many to do with students during the first few weeks of school! (I will admit to trying a few activities on my own, though. I just couldn't wait! ;) There are a few activities that I've tried in the past, such as the "No Sew No-GlueTutu", the supersoft dough featured in "Archaeology Dig With Supersoft Dough" and  "Cork Boats & a Tinfoil River", that were BIG hits with my Pre-K classes, so I'm thrilled to have tons of new ideas ready to try. 

One of the first activities I want to try is this "Sticky Note Pom Pom Maze" from page 37. It looks like SO much fun! I'm pretty positive that this will quickly become a student favorite immediately!


From 101 Kids Activities by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller, printed with permission of Page Street Publishing June 2014
For full instructions, click here to download.


My class always does a unit on transportation and we usually make paper airplanes to fly, but I think I've just found the ultimate homemade glider! On page 121, Rachel and Holly feature a game called "Egg Carton Glider Throw". The game idea comes with instructions on how to make your own foam glider that is more sturdy than the store bought versions, AND, it is from recycled materials you probably already have lying around! Doesn't it look fun?


From 101 Kids Activities by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller, printed with permission of Page Street Publishing June 2014
For full instructions, click here to download.

I've shown this book to a few teacher friends, and they have all said that they have to have a copy! There are just so many great activities to try. Our new school year starts in less than 2 weeks, and I think after the dust settles and the kids are comfortable in their surroundings, I'll share the book with them and let them pick some activities to try, as well!


My Amazon affiliate link to get your own copy of this fab book:



All photos used with permission from 101 Kids Activities by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller, printed with permission of Page Street Publishing June 2014.


I'd love for you to share your thoughts! Leave a comment below!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Golf Is For Kids, Too!



It's Master's week here in Augusta, Georgia!!! Every year, our town hosts one of the biggest golf tournaments worldwide. People come from all over the globe. Local folks rent their homes and take on extra jobs that support the tournament (parking cars, catering house cleaning, driving, etc.). All the schools here close, as we use this week area wide for our Spring Break week. Golf is a BIG business. I have to say that as a kid, I did not fully appreciate what all went into Tournament week.  




Golf is a great game of skill. Children can get into the swing of things by playing miniature golf.  I found these cute carrot golf clubs that we have been playing with. It's been a great way to practice eye hand coordination and gross motor skills! Plus, you can't go wrong with golf clubs that only cost $1!!!

             Picture borrowed from: Christie Dedman The Birmingham News
http://blog.al.com/bargain-mom/2012/03/carrot_golf_or_baseball_kits_a.html


I have some WONDERFUL families in our program! One of my moms told me about a great children's book, "Badges, Egg Salad and Green Jackets: Masters A to Z"  written by a local author, Julie Alfriend Ferris, about the Masters. When another mom discovered I didn't have a copy, she gave me a signed copy! It is a great way to acquaint children with golf and the Masters Tournament and is beautifully illustrated with watercolor paintings!


These photos don't do the book justice, but here's a little peek at a couple of my favorite pages:




Here's a video of our local news station interviewing the author about the book. If you or your kids are golf fans, I'm sure you'll want your own copy of "Badges, Egg Salad and Green Jackets: Masters A to Z". You may visit   Junebug Print  or like the "Masters A to Z by Julie Alfriend Ferris" page on facebook to learn more! 

Many of our classrooms have incorporated golf into their activities and decor. Here are 2 of the bulletin boards that classes in our school are sporting!



Happy golfing! 




Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Just Playing?" Marble Run




Thanks for joining me here for another installment in our "Just Playing?" series! You are invited to view the photos/videos and really think about what you see going on here and be sure to share your thoughts, observations and reflections in the comments. Sure, the children are playing, but they are also learning! 

This week, I'm sharing a pictures of a marble run some of my school age kids made with blocks. They were so excited to share it with me! They kept revising it, trying to get the marble rolling faster and faster. About halfway through the run they would have to blow on the marble to keep it going. Finally, they tilted the end of the table up just a bit to create a slope which helped the marble roll without any help.






This week is NAEYC's official "Week of the Young Child". I've been so inspired by our "Just Playing?" series, that I wrote a post on PreK+K Sharing this week called "Play Is Where Learning Begins: WOYC".





We may be "just playing", but....
What are the children doing here?
What do you see?
What learning is taking place?
What skills are being practiced/developed?

just playing

This post is part of the "Just Playing?" Blog Hop!
Thank you for remembering that young children do not "just play." Young children play. They develop through play. They learn through play. They experiment through play. They grow through play. A child's work is play. Play is important!
Please take a moment to reflect upon the photos and questions above. I would love for you to share your observations in a comment. I'd also like to invite you to "hop" on over to all of the other bloggers who are sharing photos of children learning through play this week:

If you are looking for more of our “Just Playing?” posts and resources from around the globe, please visit our Pinterest Board.
Are you a blogger? Would you like to join the JUST PLAYING? blog hop community?
You can join the hop via our Facebook Group: Just Playing?



Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Just Playing?" Paper Cup Telephones




Thanks for joining me here for another installment in our "Just Playing?" series! You are invited to view the photos and really think about what you see going on here and be sure to share your thoughts, observations and reflections in the comments. Sure, the children are playing, but they are also learning! 

This week's photos were taken during an activity while exploring how sound travels. I made several sets of paper cup and string telephones and shared them with the children. I demonstrated quickly just once and let the kids go about exploring and experimenting. Eventually, they discovered that the more taut the string was, the better the sound traveled. 








We may be "just playing", but....
What are the children doing here?
What do you see?
What learning is taking place?
What skills are being practiced/developed?

just playing

This post is part of the "Just Playing?" Blog Hop!
Thank you for remembering that young children do not "just play." Young children play. They develop through play. They learn through play. They experiment through play. They grow through play. A child's work is play. Play is important!
Please take a moment to reflect upon the photos and questions above. I would love for you to share your observations in a comment. I'd also like to invite you to "hop" on over to all of the other bloggers who are sharing photos of children learning through play this week:

If you are looking for more of our “Just Playing?” posts and resources from around the globe, please visit our Pinterest Board.
Are you a blogger? Would you like to join the JUST PLAYING? blog hop community?
You can join the hop via our Facebook Group: Just Playing?




Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Just Playing?" Going Fishing Magnet Play




Thanks for joining me here for another installment in our "Just Playing?" series! You are invited to view the photos and really think about what you see going on here and be sure to share your thoughts, observations and reflections in the comments. Sure, the children are playing, but they are also learning! 

Some of the kids got out the magnets the other day and began to explore. In the box with the magnets, I have some metallic and non metallic items for the children to experiment with. 




While one little guy was playing, he kept adding items to the creation he was making. Before long, it resembled a fishing pole. 



He carried it around and pretended to fish, making motions as if to reel in a fish.



After a bit, he added a few of the paper clips and a plastic fish manipulative. The kids are pretty used to me taking photos of their play and when they have made something they are particularly proud of, they'll frequently call me over and ask me to take a picture, so it wasn't a surprise when he called to me, "Mrs. Ayn take my picture! I've caught a big one!"





We may be "just playing", but....
What are the children doing here?
What do you see?
What learning is taking place?
What skills are being practiced/developed?

just playing

This post is part of the "Just Playing?" Blog Hop!
Thank you for remembering that young children do not "just play." Young children play. They develop through play. They learn through play. They experiment through play. They grow through play. A child's work is play. Play is important!
Please take a moment to reflect upon the photos and questions above. I would love for you to share your observations in a comment. I'd also like to invite you to "hop" on over to all of the other bloggers who are sharing photos of children learning through play this week:


If you are looking for more of our “Just Playing?” posts and resources from around the globe, please visit our Pinterest Board.
Are you a blogger? Would you like to join the JUST PLAYING? blog hop community?
You can join the hop via our Facebook Group: Just Playing?



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lorax Door Decor




In honor of Seuss week, we have lots of fun activities planned. This is the door to our classroom that welcomed our students last year. I plan to decorate similarly this year. The eyes sort of "float" on the window, attached to pleated paper. 



I took pool noodles and craft tissue to make a couple of truffela trees to line the hallway. 



The children will make lots of Seuss inspired art this week, I'm sure and our walls inside will be decorated with it, but I wanted to give them a little inspiration to get them started!

Happy birthday, Dr. Suess!!!!!!!


Thanks for stopping by!

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