Dec 26, 2011

Last week of 2011

My classroom enrollment has been very low the last two weeks since a lot of families are taking time off to visit family or just spend time with kids at home. I have had 4 or 5 of my normal 12 students everyday. It gets boring but I am loving the one on one time I get to spend with them while the numbers are low in the classroom. They really love it and their behavior reflects that.

We are trying to keep the routines as normal as possible even though we have more flexibility with the schedule during this time of year. I did some holiday stuff last week, wreathes from paper plates (circle cut out of middle), star of david for hannukah and we did the christmas tree dot worksheet I had shared a couple weeks back. The kids loved the fake presents I wrapped and put in the dramatic play area too. The wrapping paper lasted all of one day as they sat on the boxes, threw them and passed them around. I try to incorporate curriculum into the centers as much as possible to enhance whatever we are trying to focus on that week. Some of my favorites were:

-Putting wrapped "presents" (empty boxes) in the dramatic play area with the kitchen and dress up clothes.

-Shredded paper in my science/sensory table for "snow." They had measuring cups, spoons, etc to scoop and play with the paper. It does go everywhere but the goal is for it to stay in the confines of the table.

-Snowmen cut outs that I laminated to use during circle time when we count. They would much rather count fun pictures than the manipulatives we always use for math.

-Christmas and winter theme books in the library. Our favorite is Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep! which tells of a bear that can't hear too well and doesn't understand that old man winter is telling him it is time to hibernate. He mixes up the word sleep for jeep, sweep, deep, etc. Fun rhyming words for the kids to try and guess throughout the book.

Can't wait to post pictures of our New Year's banner we are making and some other New Year's themed projects :)

Dec 24, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas!

Merry Christmas friends!! I love the season and try not to get too caught up in the Santa and presents part as much as possible because I knows the true reason we celebrate Christmas is something much bigger than all of that. To be honest we should celebrate our Savior's birth ALL year long not just from post-Thanksgiving to New Year's. I would love to keep Christmas decor up all year long actually, it might help me remember to be thankful for this special birthday year round. Hmmmm...

Here's to good times with your families and friends, to giving without receiving, to laughs, good food, and all the JOY that Christmas brings us, not just this time of year.

Merry Christmas Y'all!

Dec 18, 2011

busy week!

The kids and I had such a busy week!
Wednesday was our Christmas program... they were a riot, dancing and singing VERY loudly for their parents. I was proud! We had our Christmas party friday, complete, of course, with Christmas cupcakes and juice boxes! :)

Friday night was the staff's Secret Santa reveal dinner... as I guessed, my assistant teacher Ms. Williams was my Secret Santa! She did pretty well...I got sour candy, scary movie, Sonny's gift card, pickles, 2 liter of Dr. Pepper and a Gators ornament!

I am so thankful for all the parents that showered me with Peterbrooke chocolates, Starbucks cards and cute homemade cards from their kiddos. I even got my first teacher ornament that says my name!

I am looking forward to my birthday this Wednesday, being off Thursday and a half day Friday! Can't believe this time next week I'll be in food coma and Christmas will have come and gone :(

Talking a lot with my kids about Holiday traditions this week... can't wait to see your posts about your own and share what we do in class!

Dec 8, 2011

lunchtime blogging

Decided to do some lunch hour blogging... it's been a rough day and maybe this will help me deal! haha!

Loved our Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales theme this week! I think my most favorite thing was make gingerbread men and women and putting their faces on them.
Printed out a gingerbread man from clipart
Traced it on brown paper
They colored it
I took pictures of them and put their heads on their gingerbread man or woman
Laminated them
Hole punched
Put Christmas-y ribbon on it
....and voila an ornament!

I would have posted a pic but didn't want to put my little ones faces on here without permission :)

I did add a pic of them hanging in the window where you can't see faces (notice the christmas tree design.. haha!)

Dec 5, 2011


Well, sadly I had to take off the links to my worksheets from Wednesday's post because their links were messing with my blog layout... long story short my sidebar on my blog got pushed down below because the width of the links were flying over into that space! Took me forever to figure out but I guess I'll have to figure out another way to share those printables now! If you want them directly to email let me know and I can do that for now until I get savvy enough to repost them without harming my layout! If you have any ideas for ways to post printables from Word doc form to my blog let me know!!

Other than that I enjoyed a quiet Monday at school! Three of my kiddos (all boys) moved up to their "big boy class!" I was sad to see them go because I loved having them in my class but they are going to really benefit from being in there! Such is the life of a teacher :)

Looking forward to practicing our Christmas program song, Jackson 5's recording of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." My kiddos really love shaking their finger and saying, "You better be good for goodness sake!"

Happy Monday!

Nov 30, 2011

Worksheets Wednesday!

Not sure if I will forever dub this day of the week as worksheet wednesday but it is today! I made a few printable worksheets for those of you interested in having them for your own :)

I included pictures of my Tracing Squares and Lines sheets in an earlier post. Here is a printable for Tracing Curved Lines and Drawing Lines. The Drawing Lines worksheet has an arrow to show the kids which way to go (left to right.) I only stress this with my kids because I want them to have as much left to right practice before they start to learn to write letters. It was natural for most of my kids to go this direction when I tried it with them, but just in case, there are arrows.

My favorite worksheet I included is a Fine Motor Skills practice that is Christmas Tree themed! I will use a "dot marker" which is similar to a bingo marker but you can also use a cotton ball as mentioned on the sheet itself. The circles are in the shape of a tree and your preschooler can practice their fine motor finger coordination. I can't wait to use this next week! :)

Nov 29, 2011

Baa Baa Black Sheep & Other Rhymes

The importance of rhymes in stories for preschool and toddler aged children is extremely important. I'm sure you've noticed that your little ones listen more attentively to stories or poems that rhyme. It's a crucial part of their literacy development....check out this article on more about the importance of reading stories that rhyme to your child.

On that note, I LOVE nursery rhymes! Next week we will read and base some of our curriculum on them. I did my bulletin board this month featuring student art replicating scenes from Baa Baa Black Sheep, Hey Diddle Diddle and Humpty Dumpty. We built Humpty's wall with paper cut out bricks finger painted by the class, painted 3 sheep for our Baa Baa Black Sheep pasture and then I added a felt cow at the top  jumping over a glittery moon. (I'm sure I'll post a picture soon!) My favorite board I've done so far, for sure!

I think one of the best things about Nursery Rhymes is that they are completely silly to the kids! They have no idea what is going on half the time but they rhyme and sound so funny. We love singing about Mary and the crazy lamb that follows her to school :)

The benefit I see for my kids in reading and learning nursery rhymes is the phonetic awareness. Even early on, it's a big milestone for the kids to distinguish sounds from others and hear them throughout the day rhyming, even silly words (some that don't exist, in our dictionary.) Once they start to distinguish sounds they can assign sounds with letters and predict a word's sound (you know you do that without thinking about it now)....eventually becoming fluent readers and writers.

Here is the sample of the sheep we made. I found this idea and we made our own. (I'll post a pic later on.) I cut out the sheep body and head and legs out of black paper. We used a cotton ball and white paint to create the wool. Then I had them help me with the eyes and I assembled all parts at the end. They turned out SUPER cute, maybe even cuter than this! [I'm biased!]

Nov 28, 2011

Pre-Printing Practice

Hope you all had a fabulous Turkey day! I sure am thankful that I had a few days off from work. I think everyone needs a good break sometimes... and no matter how much I love my students, I needed a break from them :)

I've been noticing some major developmental changes in some of my older kids lately. I have a few (mostly the ones that are 3 years old or close to it) that are really impressing me with the fine motor skills they have mastered. It's at this age that it's really important to refine those fine motor skills. Whether you realize it or not, they are practicing these skills in almost everything they do. When kids pick up those small objects under the couch that you never knew were there or take out the crayons and draw all over the wall, they are experimenting with their fine motor skills. Kids will need these skills so that they can draw, write and turn the pages of a book when their literacy and language skills improve.

I assess my students on milestones weekly and keep re-assessing them as the year goes on so that I can watch their progress. One of the milestones I'm going to start focusing on is starting to mimic letter formation. Most of them don't know one letter from the next but it's more to do with how they "pretend" to write letters when they are drawing or "writing." You may even notice some kids are left or right handed prominently at this age! (I think that's cool)

To give my kids some practice in writing I usually start with learning to draw lines. This is the most simple concept. If you're going to practice lines you might as well practice going left to right to reinforce that sentences will be read and written left to right in the near future. Another step up would be shape tracing or curved and crooked line tracing.

I made a worksheet for them with an outline (dashed lines) of 4 squares. My kids 2 years 10 months and up did REALLY well with this concept. The ones younger than that were a little less interested and didn't do as well... but, we will keep practicing!

I'm going to try line drawing tomorrow. I made my worksheet for that pretty simple too with more dashed lines. I will be doing this one on one with them so I'll reinforce trying to go left to right but you could draw arrows to help, too.

(sorry for the long post!) Happy Pre-Printing! By the way..I am thinking of making cooking up some printables... feeling generous and creative! Haha!

Nov 17, 2011

goals and turkey day!

Made some really cute turkeys with my kids this week, can't wait to hang them up on monday for t-giving week! We used our handprints for the feathers, stamping them in a semi circle shape. Then I cut two brown circles, a larger one from construction paper and the smaller one from a brown lunch bag (being resourceful) to use as the body and head. We added buttons for eyes and an orange beak and the red dangly thing (don't know what this is called) both from construction paper as well. Cute memory of how big/small their hands were if you look back on it in a few years! The kids loved seeing their handprints come to life :)

I have also been thinking a lot about goals. My kids are starting in the "I did it" phase right now. They want me to notice everything!! We set small goals for them so that they can feel accomplishment throughout the day but also, they know there are some things that take time.

I cleaned out our pull ups collection this week, as many of them are potty trained now and don't need a stack on hand. It was bittersweet to see how many kids I got to send home pull ups with. I cleared about 3/4ths of my diapers out! I'm so proud of them for working hard on using the potty!

I did an activity with them today from a magazine stack. We sat around the table and flipped through to find foods we think are healthy and not healthy. This week has been about Food and Health. We discussed soda vs. milk, fruits vs. chips, etc. They loved cutting out the foods we found and we took turns gluing them on a paper plate. We filled a couple plates with yummy foods we might try! They of course wanted a turn with the scizzors next so I gave them each a magazine page and a pair of kid scizzors and away they went, for 30 minutes! I couldnt believe how much attention they gave to cutting away at the paper! These kids seriously love scizzors! I teach them to say, "open close open close...etc" as they cut and to make sure they have their fingers placed correctly. It's been fun to see some of them really grasp how to cut and use scizzors in the past few months. I'm a proud teacher!

Happy Thursday!

Nov 10, 2011

things I love for my classroom

My most favorite discovery lately has been the many uses of Contact Paper. It works similarly to laminating something. I use to make papers dry erase marker friendly, so that we can re-use it, or when we finish an art project like our Veteran's Day banner (pictures tomorrow) it gives it an extra oomph of completeness. I guess I just can't get enough of it.

We talked about sight and hearing this week.... music, identifying sounds, colors, magnifying glasses, patterns, etc. We made our own "stained glass" creations using contact paper (there it is). I cut squares (shape of the month) of different colors of tissue paper (reinforce color recognition and use of various materials for art) and gave each student a piece of contact paper sticky side up (about 4x4). They stuck the squares down and then when they finished we put another sheet of contact paper over it (Sticky sides together create almost a laminated look). We hung them up in the window to see the light shine through the colored paper! You can also easily cut this into a shape like... leaves for fall maybe?

Stay tuned for my veterans day post tomorrow! Lots of crafts to post!

Oct 13, 2011

Rylan is here!

My best friend Kendra had her baby today! He arrived about 7:25pm tonight, 9lbs and 11oz!! A BIG BOY! She is doing great and he couldn't be more perfect.
I am excited for her and her husband--and I can't wait to spoil him! YYYEEEEEEE!
I sure do LOVE babies!

Sep 26, 2011

welcome fall!

Evidence of Fall (even though the weather isn't)

Although this NFL season isn't living up to my wishes, the Gators have been pretty good so far.. although, I believe they need to up their game some if they want to beat 'Bama this weekend.

My best friend is teetering on the edge of totally ready for her baby to pop out and the "am I really ready?" I am SO ready for her to bring Rylan into the world! I think it will be this week... her due date is Oct 7th but I doubt she'll last that long.

Put up my Spider Web bulletin board today... i'm sure I'll have to post pictures soon to show it off :) We cut circles (shape and scizzor practice) and I hot glued pipe cleaners for legs. Pictures of their little faces will go on the spiders tomorrow when I finish it up.

I am SO ready for cool fall weather!

Sep 15, 2011

Good Reads for Pre-School Age Kiddos

I thought I'd do a post about some of mine and my students' favorite books!

Before I go into detail about the books I love to read to them, I want to point out (if you didn't know already) that most kids LOVE to listen to books read on CD. Alot of these recordings we have in our classroom are set to music and the readers are great! The kids find it really special to hear the books read by someone other than their teacher too! HaHa! I'm sure they are sick of hearing my voice all day long, so I don't blame them!

Our favorite book this week is a recording done by Carly Simon to "Take me Out to the Ball Game." She sings the song and there's a little story mixed in about a cat that loves baseball and saves the game by getting all the other fans (all played by animals) to sing with her to cheer on the home team. The kids in my class REALLY love singing along with this book! They ask for it over and over and over and over...

Other favorites,
--How I Became a Pirate
--Chicks and Salsa
--Silly Sally
--I Like Myself
--Llama Llama Red Pajama
--Goodnight Moon
--Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
--Duck on a Bike

September is Florida Literacy Month by the way! :)

Sep 11, 2011

Happy September!

There's nothing more American than watching football, and especially on this important day for our country. I know we are all reliving our feelings and remembering where we were when we heard what happened 10 years ago today. I remember being in 7th grade (I know that shows how young I am) in gym class first period and a classmate mentioned something about the Pentagon. We spent the better part of the day hovering around TVs in our classrooms watching the news and thinking about those who lost their lives. I am very thankful for our heros who saved lives, risking their own, for those who needed help during this time.

I am excited for the rest of this month-- good things coming! School is going great, I love my students :)
We just finished up a week about Children Around the World and next week we are doing Sports Around the World. (i'm obviously excited!) I got some great books at the library-- including but not limited to books such as Nascar ABC's. I didn't know it existed but it's actually a really cute book! We are also going to make "gold medals" using paper plates, gold paint, and red, white, and blue crepe paper as the streamers. I tried it out last week and it turned out cute! Should be fun to see how they like it :)

Aug 21, 2011

Back to school back to school

Tomorrow is back to school time for pretty much everyone I think... my gator friends and those with kids in duval and st johns county. I get a whole new class tomorrow as well- 11 new little ones! I am excited to get to know them, watch them grow and laugh and giggle with them.
There is something SO fun about the first day of school....i've always enjoyed it!

Good luck on your first days! I'm sure I'll be back with an update :)

Aug 17, 2011

new blog name!

I changed my blog name today to reflect the new content I am going to share (maybe, maybe not) on my blog! :)

Here is a panorama of my classroom today after I cleaned it before leaving for the day.

Aug 15, 2011

new blog?

contemplating starting a new blog, teacher themed? I love this one but I may need to move on and start fresh. I am excited to be sharing my stories from the classroom, ideas and questions... any thoughts? to blog or not to blog..

Aug 10, 2011

Employment (once again!)

Left the dance studio I was working at for a short time to begin a full time venture back into Early Childhood educating. :)
I loved my first day at the Primrose School of Julington Creek. I'm still with 2 year olds-- I guess I have a weird love for that crazy age! They are so energetic and it's really fun to watch them grow the amount they do at this age!

Jul 6, 2011

lake house

Looking forward to the Lake house this weekend! Had so much fun on the boat Saturday with some great old friends and some great new friends from UF. I love them so so much! :)

If you haven't heard Zac Brown Band's song with Jimmy Buffet, "Knee Deep," check it out. Perfect background music for this posting.

Jun 27, 2011

oh, how i love kitties. :)

I guess I'm turning into a crazy cat lady.

"Lenny" joined the family today! A friend needed to find a home for the rescued kitty. I am such a sucker for a cute face with big eyes staring up at me. Lenny is very sweet, friendly, purrs like crazy and litter trained. (thank goodness.)

I hope Twitch is ready for a friend/ little sister!

May 8, 2011

Happy Mom's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there! I know there are also other women in my life besides my mom I think of on this day--considering they had such a huge influence of my life as well. I think of my Aunts that spoiled me as a child but still kept me line, my neighbor Miss Chris that watched me when my parents were out of towm and that kept a box of her old formal dresses for me and other kids in the neighborhood to come play dress up in, and my older sister that because of our age difference felt like another mom to me most of my life. Without great women in my life I wouldn't be where I am today. Thank you Jesus for providing me with such great women as role models to me! Thankful for my Mom being there for me and raising me as her daughter even though our connection wasn't biological :) Love her!

Apr 6, 2011

back to Jax!

you read correctly, I am headed back to Jax!

I cannot wait. I am feeling overwhelmed, excited, happy, nervous and sad (a little) all at once!
I am leaving my class I teach here in Gainesville for an opportunity for work in Jax.
My old dance teacher and now, friend, offered for me to come and be the studio manager like I used to be in high school. I will be working for her and hopefully getting some babysitting/nanny hours in during the day as well.
I am thinking I may look into grad school also! :)
I move back at the end of the month.

Mar 28, 2011

spring cleaning

I did some spring cleaning of the mind and led me to trust in a few things God was laying on my heart to "clean up" in my life.
First of all, and I won't go into this deeply, I had to end my relationship with my boyfriend. The natural connection that should be there between us-- just wasn't there for me anymore. I felt too much like I was loving the idea of being with him rather than him. He deserves so much more, and we will both find someone whom we connect with! :)
Second, my dreams of being a teacher in public schools were put on hold as I received news that I wasn't eligible for getting my certification through the alternative route. That route is for non education degree holders. Basically, my degree is TOO broad for the FL department of education to deem worthy of becoming certified. It will be too many classes and almost going back to get another degree in order for me to even be eligible. It's complicated basically.
I am trusting now that there is something out there for me--- I am hoping youth or children's ministry will be available to me! I have done my internships with both education and ministry so I am sure something will open up for me. All in God's time, of course.

For now, here are some recent photos of my preschoolers!

birthday girl, Madison turned 3 on the day of our Valentine's day party!

Kah Mari vs. cupcake, Valentine's Day party

Mar 14, 2011

gator diaper cake

Good news:
one of my best friends is expecting-- due in October!
I can't wait to throw her baby shower for her! :)

What's in store

I have been feeling kinda bummed about some things the past couple of weeks. I have a lot of decisions to make and although I think I have finally made one of them--things still feel weird.
I have decided that in August I will be moving back in with mom and pops until I get my teaching jobs in Jax all figured out and am financially stable enough to get a new place.
Things with the man are good-- I hope they continue to be good since I will be moving on from Gainesville. Tonight's conversation about me moving was a tough one.
I am certainly looking forward to being home though. I know living with the parents after I've been gone for 4 years will be hard but it's what will work I love being home probably more than the average 22 year old. I just really love being around my parents.
Please send prayers my way on decisions and having peace within all of that. Thanks!

I've totally been slacking on the blog but those kids make me a tired woman at the end of my day! I'll be sure to share my st. patty's day artwork from the class though!
(Eva's handprint shamrocks idea sure is cute!)

Jan 25, 2011

meet my class!

I took some class pictures the other day so stay tuned for that.... until then, here is a glimpse into my class.

Clay... "the flirt." He is one of my younger two's and still has some adjusting to do in his older classroom. I love him to death because he is just so dang cute with his big brown eyes but can be so difficult sometimes! For such a tiny kid he can really defend himself against the other kids. Most of the time the poor innocent little girls get their hair pulled, feet stomped on and get punches to the stomach and head from Clay. It's hard to stay mad at him when I think he is just the most adorable kid I have ever seen.

Raylynn.. or Ray ray. She is the oldest kid in our class, the momma and the teacher's helper. She mediates the fights, helps kids up when they fall and is actually a big help to me when I need to get something done. I will be sad to see her leave when she moves up to the next class. :(

Thomas... I cannot wait to see him really blossom in school. He recently got rid of the pacifier and we convinced his mom to let him start doing things for himself like eating at the table and not in the high chair. He needs a little extra help right now with simple tasks he should have mastered at 2.5 years old but I know he will catch up soon! He has already started talking more and I am really working with him on saying more and more words. It's amazing how much the pacifier can affect speech development... and I'm not saying that applies to all kids, because all are different. In his case, he needed to get rid of his because he wasn't talking and developing socially.

My kids love....
to play in "centers"... the kitchen, art table, library and puzzles, for example.
to run outside.
to ride bikes on the playground.
to eat.
to draw and do crafts.
to dance.

Jan 20, 2011

crafts for little ones!

As promised, I am going to share some of my favorite crafts we do in my classroom! :)
This month we are on a winter theme (even though the weather doesn't match some of the time!)...

Yesterday we made fluffy paint snowmen.
take some of your household shaving cream, white school glue, washable paint and mix together to make a paint that dries fluffy! to get the right mix, use mostly shaving cream and a little bit of glue then paint for the color you want and for better consistency. Use your fingers or a paint brush to spread on a paper..then let dry!
I will post pictures of how ours turned out soon.

Also add glitter or other toppings for more fun!

let me know if you try it!!!

Jan 11, 2011

travelin' cat

Did I mention that my cat spent 3 days last week outside? He decided to run run run fast out of Steph's car. He spent his time ( we think ) in a garage before I found him. What a roller coaster ride! I was sure I wouldn't see him ever again. :(
Thankfully I got him back! His paws were a little scratched up but other than that and some dirt, he is A-okay and after a $116 trip to the vet, she agrees too.
Love my kitty!

Hopefully he doesn't get the itch for adventure again anytime soon!

Jan 10, 2011


I am officially a teacher :) I got offered a teaching job at the preschool across the street from my house in Gainesville, which couldn't be more convenient! I will be teaching 2 year olds from 730 to 330 Monday thru Friday... Full time job here I come!
I am waiting to hear back from the Teach for America job on January 18 so if I get that I will have to make a decision to move for that job or stay in gainesville. If the job offer with teach for America isn't where I wanted ( I don't want to move out of state) then I may stay in Gainesville for a while longer. If I do take the job I will have to leave the the preschool in august, when I move. We will see!!
I'm excited for this new chapter of my life! :)