b is for birthday

i love to honor the birthday child in the classroom.

we bring the knitted cupcakes from katie to the housekeeping corner and bring out the birthday puzzle to the puzzle corner.

at circle time before snack, we make a little cake out of playdoh (and joke that if they don’t watch out their mamas and daddies might eat it) and figure out how many candles to put in.  according to the rules of our building, though, we can’t light the candles til we get home.

happy birthday, dear ones…

t is for tail

so during animal week we make tails.  i could have thrifted knee high pantyhose, but that gave me the willies.  and at 49 cents a pair, i was okay with it…plus, i got 18 little plastic egg holders too!

i have never had to remind kids as often as this year to keep them in the back…we’re trying to show people that we are animals, so let’s be realisticif the tail is in the front people won’t know for sure what we are doinghmmmm, how can i help you keep that from moving to the front?


oh, my remaining 12 year old self is giggling on the inside…rejoicing in the humor of our creation…after all, we are funny looking creatures. so if you, too, want to have a tail, grab yourself the needed supplies and stuff away.

oh, good times in the ‘room…

a is for address

i love to offer preschoolers real items to use (the montessori influence).  starting early in the school year, i bring out phone books for preschoolers to use as they like.  when i use current phone books, we can usually find each preschooler’s family…what fun that is.

and yes, the fuzzy blue hat will make this work feel even more important.

t is for tornado

using some thrifted rope-like-crinkly paper (i’m sure there is a name for it), we unrolled and unrolled to make a classroom-size tornado.  it took a couple of tries to make it strong enough for little ones to handle, but we got it.  hot glue and a couple of old rulers to wrap the top around made it work.

with this tornado hanging in our block corner, there were many farms, zoos, cities and spaceships that had to escape the powerful wind.

t is for “tie-dye”

this is a great example of when the process is more important than the product…though the product was spectacular.  instead of trying to “make a flower” or “make a cloud” we focused on using as much paint as we wanted…most preschoolers had the clear goal of no white showing.

we could also make these different shades of yellow, egg shape, shamrock shape, leaf shape, heart shape, apple shape, dinosaur shape, beach ball shape, umbrella shape, the landscape for a paper zebra to be glued on to, pumpkin shape, a bunch of grapes shape, igloo shape, jewel shape, kite shape, nut shape, octagon shape, violet shape, whale shape, x shape, money shape, quilt block shape, tree top shape, rain drop shape, etc. : )

we used industrial-size coffee filters (and i mean industrial:  these things are at least 18″ in diameter) cut in cloud/flower shape, folded 4 times in pie fashion, then used plastic pipettes and food coloring containers to drop liquid watercolor paint.

oh, the excitement would brew as a preschoolers suspected they put enough paint on to have no white showing when they unfolded it…and if not, we could easily refold and add more paint.

these were sopping wet, but dried easily when we draped them over chairs, gates, etc.

u is for umbrella

here we have colored rain on pre-cut umbrella shaped paper…

we made rain by mixing liquid watercolors.  a teacher poured little pools of paint and the preschoolers blew through straws to move the paint around.  we were sure to take breaks for some deep, slow breathing. : )

v is for vehicle

using cars, trucks, anything with wheels, we made tracks by running these wheeled vehicles through blobs of paint.

i taped paper on the entire table and drew a simple “road” ahead of time. then i would drop blobs of paint as needed….you can imagine those became oil slicks (time to talk about pollution), rain puddles (time to talk about weather), ice spots (time to talk about seasons), ketchup (time to talk about car accidents when trucks can spill their load), dirt (time to talk about way-back-when before there were paved roads)…ah yes.

i also introduced the concept of clockwise and counter-clockwise…we walked around the table in one direction and then switch!

once dried, everyone could take home a section of the big paper…there are no names written on them, this is one way i like to nurture the “we’re a team” feeling…we all help as much as we like and everyone gets to take some of it home. comparing and competition dissolves. mmmmmmm.

and then since next week was w week, we washed the wheels in water…and it was tricky since the paint dried by then. but with old toothbrushes and baby shampoo..no problem. : )

s is for store

or g is for grocery store or f is for food store or m is for market or…

on the last days of school i put out the cash register, pads of paper, pencils, receipt books, and a sign showing the symbols of money (how exciting for those who have mastered the “s” and “c” shapes)…it was an “everything is for sale” store…though we added “except sand and water” after the first day.

the preschoolers put “price tags” (post it notes with pencil marks) on anything in the room they wanted.

yes, it made clean up more tedious, but it also cleared shelves that needed to be wiped down anyway…

e is for egg shell (and 25 others)

i buy these large cardboard alphabet shapes each year. then as we work our way through, we coopratively glue things on to represent that letter. here we have egg shells glued on the e.

other favorites i can remember:

apple seeds on a

buttons on b

crayon chunks on c

dirt on d

fake fur on f

grass on g

hair on h

ice cube painting on i

jewels on j

ketchup packets on k

lint (from the dryer) on l

(fake) money on m

nut shells on n

oatmeal on o

purple paint on p

q-tips on q

ribbon on r

sand on s

tape on t

(paper drink) umbrellas on u

velvet on v

wipes on w

x-rays on x

yellow yarn on y

zippers on z