Friday, July 6, 2018

Space Library

You guys! I am so excited to share with you my classroom library! Last year I did a Circus theme (which you can find here) but this year, I have taken down all the red and yellow, and am doing a SPACE theme, in cool colors. I am not quite finished with my room yet, but the library is complete! I am in love with it! This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading, and I did receive free goodies.

Here is what I used:
Large Green Pillow

One of my favorite centers in my classroom is my library. I am almost certain it is my favorite because of the bathtub that anchors it. This is the bathtub that was in my mom’s classroom, when I was in kindergarten. I have filled it with green and purple pillows, and a rocket ship. The bathtub is draped in a calming Canopy, with hidden planets on the inside. Can you just imagine laying in the bathtub on soft pillows and viewing planets hanging while you are reading your favorite book?

I love all the little details in this library. From the Clear Classroom Book Organizers with labels, to the bulletin board that will house our writing prompts through the year, to the Inflatable Green Flocked Chair  to the fun Space Shuttle Inflatable for Children in the bathtub.

In my library, I have a book shelf that holds ten book boxes of the ten most recent and upcoming themes we are learning about in the classroom. It also doubles as a nap mat holder!

On my bulletin board, we are keeping half of our writing prompts up year-round. I bought some two-pronged file folders, and cut them in half and stapled them to the bulletin board. Then I added this place holder onto the prongs. They are waiting to be filled with Pre-K writing! 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Linear Calendar

If you are in my Facebook Group “The PreK Spot” (if you aren’t, why not?!), you might have heard the buzz about Linear Calendars. I read about it for about a year before I finally gave in and jumped in with both feet to see what the buzz was about. I did the calendar for half a year, and I will never go back!

How to Make One:
First let’s talk about how I made my linear calendar. I have created it two ways.  When I first tried the linear calendar, I tried one week at a time. I just wanted to see how I liked it. I bought a Weather Pocket chart from Oriental Trading (you can get it here) You could buy 5 of the pocket charts and line them up, but it would be about $90. It is a little more expensive, but more sturdy. I have had a couple linear calendars, and this is by far my favorite.

Or you can use adhesive pocket labels. (You can get there here, but I got mine at the Target Dollar Spot)

I printed out the first page of my Linear Calendar kit! You can buy the bundle here, but the January File is FREE.  I can’t remember exactly how many pages I printed out, I think 11. You could fit about three on each page. Once I printed the pages out, I lined them up side by side and taped them down.

Then I unpeeled the adhesives and placed them on each line. It was so easy to do.

Then the first time I put the cards in the linear calendar, I did it myself. But the next few times I let the kids do it.

The Why:
I have heard the research that Calendar is not DAP. But I could not let go. I do so much during calendar time. (I actually wrote an article at Oriental Trading HERE about what all I do during calendar time) Looking back at to what my students were learning during calendar, had more to do with the numbers, as opposed to the actual calendar. Even when I taught kinder, they struggled with learning the months of the year, and the days of the week. So why was I focusing so much on the calendar? I needed to focus on the numbers. These are the four skills that I felt I needed to focus on.
·      Left to Right Progression:
I wanted to make sure the kids knew that we started on the left and moved to the right. This leads into the next item.
·      Numeracy
I needed my students to see that the numbers got small to big. It also helps them see that numbers are in in a row. I think when we looked at a square calendar, it was confusing at first. When they look at it the numbers and the breaks in the calendar don’t match our 100s chart.
·      Patterning Skills
This is a nonnegotiable skill in Calendar, be it traditional or linear calendars. Patterns are something that need to be introduced, even if not mastered. Just by exposing students to patterns, they pick up on it faster. Our date cards have AB, ABC, and ABB patterns on them.

·      Vocabulary
There were some big words that I wanted to make sure my kids were exposed to. Again, I am not trying to make sure they reach mastery, but I want to introduce them to the words. In PreK they wont necessarily make sense of words like: month, year, weekend. But by introducing it, they might begin to understand.

The How:
        So, when we do calendar, it isn’t much different than what I did when I taught with the traditional calendar. (and in this picture, I still have my traditional calendar up!)
        When we start the month out, I lay all the month date pieces out on the floor. Each student gets a card. We start with the number 1, the student with that number goes and puts it in the calendar. We identify the pattern. I will cover the day we are on. We read the numbers, then we read the pattern. After we decide on the date, we then mark home/school. We count how many days we have been at home, and how many days we have been in school.
        At the end of the year, I added big days (spring break, last day of school, party days). We then would count up to how many days until XYZ.

The Good Stuff:
        Now to the best part. I might have bought an extra set of Adhesive Pockets at Target last night. I’m giving away 62 pockets and my linear calendar bundle! Enter below! Giveaway ends at midnight 7/6.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Space Themed Classroom

You guys! I am SO EXCITED to share with you my classroom!! I have been working so hard on my classroom makeover. Last year I had a circus theme, which you can find here. I loved my room from last year, but this year I wanted a calmer environment. So, I decided to go with calm cool colors, and add a bit of space to my room. I work with Oriental Trading, so most of my supplies come from there! 

What I Needed:
Large Green Pillow

The main area of my classroom is my carpet where we do all our whole group learning. My rocking chair for me to sit, and then the Blocks Abound Carpet for my students to sit crisscross applesauce. This is my main teaching station.

This is my focus wall. I used the Fadeless ® Art Purple Paper Roll and bordered it with Purple Dots on Chalkboard Bulletin Board Border layered on Black Scalloped Border. All my bulletin boards are black, except for this one. When kiddos come into our classroom, I want their eyes to be drawn to this board. This is where we have our calendar, Number of the Day, Focus wall and our 8 Classroom  Expectations. On the door I have created a felt wall, using Styrofoam and felt. I have put DIY Jumbo Alphabet Letter to make an anchor chart. During the week, we will add words that begin with our focus letter. I also used Bright Color Hanging Fans to add just a pop of color in the corner of the bulletin board.
On my calendar wall we use the Number of the Day and Focus Wall from my Teacher's Pay Teachers store. Alphabet Line is here.

Next to my easel is my art center. Officer Hoffer specially made the picnic table. In the four cubes, we have construction paper, Letter Stamps, crayon bags, and notebooks for each kiddo. I also have Crayola Paint, paint cups, and paint brushes out so we can paint on the first day! This is one of my kiddos favorite center!

In the corner of my room, opposite of my teacher desk, is where we have small group! I have the All About Numbers Pocket Chart behind the desk. I also have another bulletin board with Purple Dots on Chalkboard Bulletin Board Border layered on purple border. Again, I used Bright Color Hanging Fans to add the bulletin board just a POP! Space Shape bulletin board is here.

Keep going around my room, is my library. I love the planets hanging over the bathtub, how calming will that be! The bulletin board is where my student's monthly writing will hang, the file is here.

Backed up against the bathtub, is my dramatic play area! I just love Melissa & Doug’s stuff for this area! It is made to last, especially with small children!  I love their Kitchen Accessory Set and their Pots & Pans set.

In the middle of my room is my free choice centers. I have Bristle Blocks, Patten Blocks, and Stacking Cubes. A large part of my day is in free play. I love watching my kids use engineering skills to build structures using different manipulitives. They also love using puzzles. You can see upclose how I manage my puzzle storage here. You can get the center labels here.

My desk is my favorite area. On the left I hang up all the love notes that I get throughout the year. The right is where my color posters hang, and the far right is my Word Wall. You can read more about that here