Monday, January 31, 2011

Artic Friends

Each year at the end of my winter unit I do a unit on Arctic friends, animal and people.  We talk about Alaska and the north pole and Northern lights.  the last two years I have had the children paint their interpretation of northern lights at the easel.  We water down tempera ( about 1/2 and 1/2)  and they begin brushing from the top and letting it drip down.  We use yellow, red and blue.  They turn out very nice.Sorry I have no pictures

During this week we also learn about polar bears, penguins, walruses, seals and whales.  We pretend to do scrimshaw on walrus tooth.  For this we use Styrofoam plates and cut teeth shapes out.  They then draw on the Styrofoam with a shish kabob skewer pointy end and then we brush black tempera on and rub it off.  It leaves the design in the groves and gives the effect of scrimshaw.

For a penguin activity we spend every line waddling like penguins and  we make a penguin fact book that looks like a giant penguin.  I have elaborated on the idea I originally found for the book by having the children take two large black ovals we fold one hot dog style and crease the line in.  They cut on the line, to make the wings,  we take a small orange oval and they cut hamburger style to make the feet.  The children are cutting and learning about folding vertically and horizontally.  The eyes are sticker and the beak is folded paper that I have pre-cut triangles in to make the beak.  We have 5 round balls with the penguin words on them.  I want to say this came from and old Mailbox magazine, but I am not positive.  The title is PENGUIN PALS.  We sort our 5 pages and put them in order and staple our little book.  We then add the white round book to the center of our oval penguin and there you have the giant penguin book.  This is not art, because the children don't have total free reign on what they accomplish.  This is a learning project which involves, listening ears, cutting, folding, and pre-reading skills. Everyones wings end up in different directions and they are funny.  The children think it is fun though, so that makes it great for me.  After all who wouldn't like a giant penguin book.  I sweet mom took a picture of her daughters penguin along with a snowman that we got the idea from another teacher blog.  Both turned out so cute

The last thing we did this for the finale of our winter studies was make the sock snowman that I saw on another blog.  I have been hunting all afternoon for the link and have yet to find who to give the credit to.  It was wonderful.  And the children have something to really keep.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

5 things I love about my job

I love everything about my job, I can't think of 5 specifics, I love the fun we have in the classroom, the parents present and past that affirm I am doing what I am suppose to be doing, the children who struggle and the children who get it right off the bat. I love the assistant that I have that just goes about and gets stuff done while I am interacting with the children.  How lucky I am.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I love playing games with my class friends.  During December we spend the entire month playing games to remind us of different parts of the Christmas story.  The first week we talk about the angel visiting Mary to tell her that she would be the mother of God's son Jesus.  We make hand print angels and a child acts out the angel part in the story.  On the last day of class I hide white feathers all over the class and tell them to remember our story this week their are angel wing feathers hidden all over the room.  The children love finding and keeping the feather.
The week we talk about the wisemen following the star to Bethlehem.  I hide 5 construction paper stars with the letters J, E, S, U, S on them.  When they children find all the stars we have to figure out what the letters spell.  Once we figure it out we put them on our wall for another game we play at our Christmas party. 
Notice  Christmas party not Holiday party.  I love being at a Christian school where we can celebrate our Christian heritage and the birth of Jesus our Savior.  " God loved us, and sent His son"  John 3:16 (simplified for preschool)  One of my favorite sites for getting Bible ideas is

Mrs. Nanette spinning the next player
Finally at our Happy Birthday Jesus celebration, we play a game called put the baby in the manger.  The children color the baby Jesus and then just as you play pin the tail on the donkey, we put the baby in the manger.  Everyone wins, but the real winners get first prize pick. 

Monday, January 10, 2011


I talked about my trashbag snowman last year and in my winter time 2 post.  I did it, wrapped the bags in batting and hot glued.  I made felt pieces and what great results.  The bags stayed stacked and the children had alot of fun. 


COMPLETED!!! They worked and talked and made a fine snowman in the classroom.   Best of all we actually have real snow right now this year in Allen Tx, so they got to experience the real thing at home.  Some years, this little man is all they get!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter time fun.... #2

What a fun week, we played, we learned, we sang, we had a great week.  We did lot's of white things this week because our color was white.  For several years I have done this winter art that someone shared with me.  You color a snow scene on blue construction paper and then do a wash of epson salts and water over it.  As it drys the epson salts makes a milky crystal glaze over the page.  Winter time!!!!!!
     I think the most fun thing we did was mix up ingredients to make our own hot chocolate and then we had "snownuts" , which are really powder sugar donuts.  What made it all even more fun was my finding a site with a cute little song to use and some other great hot chocolate ideas, like counting marshmellows in a cup, and something I will definitely use next year, using a large marshmellow with white paint on brown paper, to show the marshmellow in the chocolate. The site for the hot chocolate was a blog called 
Look back to last years winter post for a trashbag snowman idea.  A teacher friend of mine just did this last week and she just stuffed the bags ahead of time for all the children to use the 3  trash bag balls and all the supplies for a snow man in homeliving.  I loved her revision of the idea.  We talked about how it would be cool to wrap those bags in batting, and put velcro on them so they would stay stacked better so I will be trying that out this weekend.  with batting I think that you could even use felt pieces for the buttons and eyes nose and mouth, and just have a variety of hats and scarfs for them to choose from. 

On another note, the sensory table is usually filled with Steven Spanglers fake snow, and letter cubes, and other white things, for a snow sensation, but I did not realize in time that I was out of the wonderful stuff.  This year I am using the fake snow from the Christmas decorations.  It has not got the same feel but it looks like snow.  This week we had to find the letters and make the words hot, cold and winter, next week I will add white packing peanuts for them to pick up with tongs and scoop up with scoopers. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wintertime fun

As we get ready to head back to class, I get excited once again to share my favorite collection of Wintertime ideas.  Check my last years January blog for our trashbag snowmen.  This year I am trying some new things as well as using some of my old favorites. A great game to use during these units is a game called Thin ice. I have seen two versions, and I think mine may be an older version, but the children pick up marbles with game tongs (great fine motor exercise}and place on a piece o tissue that is held tight in a hoop.  The goal is to see how many marbles it takes to break the ice.  It is a great resource to use with older preschool children needing those fine motor muscles to be getting strong. 
There are many games that help with motor skills along with learning how to communicate, and share with each other. Children with speech delays, or other auditory issues gain so much from the interaction in a good game.  If you don't have access to games make your own by purchasing some dice.
Snow man building game
 Have the children take turns rolling the dice, rather than giving each child their own.
 Let them build a snow man.  You can either just draw picture of different parts ( eye, nose, mouth etc) and have them place those on a pre-printed snowman, or you could have them roll for the snow balls. They would have to roll a 1, 2 or 3.  and if they had rolled a 2 they would have to roll a 1 to finish up their snowman before starting on the parts.   As I am thinking about this I have seen so many cute little decorated snowmen, why couldn't they roll and make that cute little snow man to keep.
  A game and craft all in one.  Love that multi tasking...just sayin....
All this said, I am ready to get back to work and play with my little friends.