t is for thanksgiving 

throughout the week we worked on big mama turkey and our own baby turkeys to take home.

big mama was an old piece of paper saved from a year ago and filled with excess paper (our hands and arms got a work out from crumpling the paper):

and when she was complete, she was a fun friend to hang out with.

our baby turkeys were paper bag bodied construction paper feathered scraps of paper faced tape nosed permanent marker eyes and beaked masterpieces. throughout the week each child told me something they loved or were thankful for or wanted me to write down as we discussed the different themes (person, animal, food, toy, nature, and the bonus “whatever else you want me to write down”).

sweet babies. they know what they love.

and in every class there was someone, either from personal experience or a book or a future plan for herself, who brought up the concept of adoption as they took their turkeys home from big mama. 40-some baby turkeys adopted to the community this week.

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the day before thanksgiving break we pretended it really was thanksgiving with shared food and gratitude.

the table was “fancy” like our books and we used real plates and forks and spoons along with our real glass cups. this meant our feasting was followed up by optional dish washing.


(and how special that we got a real grandma and a real great grandpa to share a feast with!)

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dishwashing with water “as warm as we can get it without you getting burnt” was a busy place.

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happy thanksgiving, everyone. may you feel warmth and love surrounding you this season.


a is for alligator

we did some talk about alligators vs crocodiles. we measured out the length of real alligators with tape in the floor. we sang songs about alligators. we mixed blue and yellow to make green. we arranged stuffed alligators by size. we saw two real alligator heads at show and tell.

and then we made alligator tails. construction paper glued together which meant a lot of pressing and counting to make them stick.

then the option to attach with duct tape turned a lot of preschool humans into preschool alligators.

there was a lot of talk on how to walk up the stairs together with all of our long alligator tails. I was the alligator vet on site to repair any tips or tears. I didn’t get a lot of business!

“I can’t believe I’m bigger than a baby alligator-in real life!”

g is for {national} gummy worm day

july 16 = national gummy worm day…no better time to learn worm facts, get messy with sticky paint, play in the dirt, taste test gummy worms and gently respect the lives of real worms. our play days are set up much like preschool: when friends arrive they can go where they want and after about a half hour (or as soon as things have “turned” to what seems like an “unconstructive flow”), we go to circle time. then we carry on with snack time and a group activity of some sort and playing outside.

one job was cutting or ripping the red fabric to later stuff in a leg of pantyhose to make our own worm.

ripping fabric has proven to be a most sought after activity over the years. starting with snips made along an edge, then two people pulling them apart makes for cooperation in action.

i bought (or rescued, as some friends said after one little girl said, wait. wait. are these bait?), night crawlers at a gas station.

as i thought of what rules we could come up with, it seemed that these two were adequate: be gentle and keep them close to their dirt.

and maybe that’s true for children too: be gentle and keep them close to what sustains them.

my favorite fact that i learned this week: the longest worm ever found/recorded in the world was 22 feet long (!!!!!).

a big brother and then some more preschoolers counted out 22 of our 12″ floor tiles. a piece of tape acted as worm and we spent the morning with our own 22 foot worm.

there were also play dough worms spanning in length from one inch-the full 36 inch length of a yard stick i taped to the table.

and after i forgot to buy my intended fake worms from the fishing section at walmart, and determined to still make worm prints, i hot glued gummy worms on blocks. these worms were the sour ones, so they had a coating of sugar on them. it might be that that helped them not disintegrate…because they didn’t. they held up and made prints showing the segments and all!

as friends arrived, they had the chance to predict which gummy worm they would like best. we would have a taste test later at circle time (where no one HAD to try anything they didn’t want to, of course). after the taste test, i marked with green if yes, s/he liked it and red if no, s/he did not like it or did not taste it. then i asked them if they would move their name tag, if after tasting they ended up liking another better. no one switched. i was surprised and must have said something to that effect because i remember one friend’s reply: ms. kristin, if we know what we like then we like it no matter what else. i’m still smiling thinking of that.

and then we moved outside to eat more worms along with pretzels they could crawl through and veggie sticks made with spinach (which are like leaves that worms like to eat).

and we ended the day with special surprise: mr matt, his kids and dog stopped by to visit!

and as i’ve experienced so often, my job offers me moments of grace and i offer it to you:


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c is for {national sugar} cookie day


today was the first of four summer “play days” at preschool. these days are for last year’s preschool friends, giving us another chance to be together as a 2014-1015 school family. the tricky thing is that they were from different classes, so the first thing we did was figure out who was from what class (red, purple, green and orange…the two blue friends are my kids who were at their own schools last year). these friends had seen each other’s photos all year long on our picture boards and i had fun watching them together.

today, july 8, is national sugar cookie day (who knew!)

first we had work time inside: doing what we do during preschool, plus playing on a skateboard….that was new and had me think it might be a good thing to have more often! we also made cookies out of play dough, snipped yarn to be sprinkles, mixed glue and food coloring in pastry bags for our cookie project, all with a generous amount of giggling.

after circle time we went outside and wrote a recipe for sugar cookies, one of my favorite things to listen to.

next came the flour, kleenex and baseball bats. we loosely twisted the kleenex around a small pile of flour to use as balls. there was also a complete free for all with throwing flour at each other. i was too busy getting doused with flour to take pictures so some after shots will have to do:

we stayed outside and decorated mini sugar cookies, 12 shades of frosting, two kinds of sprinkles and a vague boundary on how many cookies to use. some made extras to take home, some didn’t eat any at all.

we finished our day inside with water drinks, clean up, and getting all the pillows and cushions we could find for song and story time…it was a sweet play day indeed.

 next week: national gummy worm day!

 k is for kindergarten round up


tonight, april 21, is kindergarten round up for usd 373. this means that our public school bound kindergartners are invited to pre-enroll for the 2015-2016 school year at their elementary schools. our home school and church school friends do not have the meetings tonight. but no matter where you are going or if you are going, we talked about the transition from preschool to kindergarten.

i liked this movie’s use of actual kindergarten children’s voices. our preschoolers noticed that the kindergarten school had the same blocks and art supplies as our preschool.

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we looked at the upcoming calendar month cards and discussed that preschool would end in may. then no preschool in june. no preschool in july. and in august friends will either come back to preschool or go to kindergarten. we used our picture chart photos to make two groups:

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a book we’re using this week is owen, by kevin henkes.

i wasn’t sure i’d  be able to find our preschool copy, so i took screen shots of a read aloud video and we took a “picture walk” through the book on my computer. here are a few favorite pages:

“owen loved his blankie. he named it “fuzzy.” he always had it with him since he was a baby. his neighbor was nosy and she told his parents that she thought he was too old for his blankie and they should pretend there was a blanket fairy and take it away. that’s why the parents look nervous.”

“when owen found out about the fake blanket fairy, he hid fuzzy in his pajama pants!! his mom and dad were so surprised their eyes popped big.”

“the mom and dad were so worried that he wanted his blankie even though he was going to kindergarten that they just told him NO- you can’t have it. he cried and then the dad felt sad and then the mom’s tail shot up because she got a good idea: she cut the blanket into tiny pieces.”

“now owen could have a little fuzzy with him anytime. he could hide it in his backpack or his pocket when he went to school.”

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i acted like owen’s mom: got a preschool blanket…and cut it apart. now everyone has their own little fuzzy.

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remember: life, love, laughter…what priceless gifts to give to our children. -p dryer


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