Saturday, August 27, 2016

Winner, Winners, Chicken Dinner!

Thank you to all who entered my $10 TPT Gift Card Giveaway!  Technology and I were not good friends during this time :(  I ended up using RandomPicker to choose the winner.  Congratulations to Miss Karen!  I will email you your TPT Gift Card today.  :)
But, as a huge thank you to all the other participants for being so patient I would like to give you anything from my TPT store valued at $5 or less.  Just email me your choice at ragan808@gmail.com.  Thank you and have a great day!!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

TPT Gift Card Try #2!

Let's try this again!  
Yesterday, I tried to have a give away for a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers card, but the link was not working properly SO LET"S TRY THIS THING AGAIN!!!  
Hopefully, my Rafflecopter widget will work this time, but if not leave a message in the comments section with your email address.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Win a TPT Gift Card!

By now I am sure you have hear the news that Teachers Pay Teachers is having a special one day only sale on Monday, August 22nd!
Just enter the promo ONEDAY to receive 28% off everything in my store!
PLUS, I have a $10 TPT Gift Card to give away!
Enter below for a chance to win.



 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Learning Centers Blog Hop: Art Center!

This is the second installment of PreK Partner's Learning Centers Blog Hop Series.  This week's topic is the Art Center in a pre-k classroom.   Having an art center in the pre-k classroom, at first glance, may seem more like play rather than a real learning experience.  But, actually when children participate in art play they are developing social/emotional, language, cognitive, and fine motor skills.
Today was the first day of school, so I kind of have to laugh when I look at these pictures of my art center.  It looks so clean and organized!  We will see how long that lasts...  ;)  I am trying something new this year by putting pretty much every and all messy materials out for my littles to play with during center time.  In the past, I kept the shaving cream, playdough, and paint put up and would randomly get them out at different times.

I have a big shelf where all creative materials are in view and at an arms length from my little Picassos.  While I might limit the number of students in the art center, I will let them decide which medium they would like to create with.  The door and whiteboard will be used to display the art projects.

 In this photo, the shaving cream and playdough, along with the tools are at the bottom.  The drying rack is next to the shelf.  I have plastic mats that slip onto the shelves of the rack (not included in the photo).  Before I purchased the mats, I had laminated large pieces of construction paper and laid them on the racks.  They were wiped down easily and kept paint from dripping onto papers below or on the floor.

These photos show the different types of regular and craft scissors available, twine, yarn, ric rac, and washi tape I picked up recently at Target's Dollar Spot.  I also have a variety of hole punches I have acquired from Michael's and Hobby Lobby when they are 50% off.
  I have smocks and different size trays available, depending on the project.

 The trays I use and love the most are the small black trays that have been saved from individual frozen meals.  If you ask your fellow teachers to save their trays from lunch, you can collect several in no time flat.  They are the perfect size for little artists to keep stickers, pompoms, tissue paper, sequins, and whatever else available for collage work.
On top of the shelf are bingo dot markers, regular scissors, and caddies that can be taken to the tables.
I have also acquired a ton of paint, glitter, cookie cutters and a hodge podge of extra art supplies through the year that I keep stored in cabinets.  I will rotate the extras to be available on the shelves throughout the school year, since I don't have enough room to have everything out.
Art centers help increase creativity, collaboration, help students gain self-confidence, feel pride in their work, and experience success where the process is more important than the product.  Art experiences also develop visual perception/visual thinking, develop spatial concepts, help preschoolers learn about properties of materials and experiment with cause and effect, such as color mixing.
Projects and materials in the art center should be open-ended to encourage creativity where there is no "right or wrong".  There is a plethora of both fiction and non-fiction books available to tie into the art center.  Some of my favorites include:


The role of the teacher in the art center is to encourage and praise the process, point out the details, give guidance and encouragement.  Often preschool students have sensory issues and present as tactile defensive.  The teacher's role in this case is to not force textures and projects, such as finger paint, but rather start slow and let the student experience paint/playdough/shaving cream through a baggie first and move to just touching with the tips of fingers.  Hopefully, with enough exposure and experience this will lesson.

Now see what the art center is like in our next classroom of this blog hop!
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day  :)
 


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Block Centers and a Freebie!

Hey there!  I've been invited to participate in Pre-K Partner's Learning Centers Blog Hop Series! The series will run through November and will highlight unique learning center ideas...the first topic we will talk about is the blocks center!
It's funny how with each group of students the block center varies in popularity during free choice time.  I've had students who go absolutely crazy over, can't get enough of building with blocks to students who have zero interest and never choose the block center on their own.  These are the students who need extra prodding.  This is where the teacher plays an important role.
For the reluctant student, I feel it is important for an adult {teacher or para} to just be present at the block center during free play time.  Most pre-k students like to be anywhere the teacher is in the room.  There is a higher likelihood your students will want to visit the block center if you are there.  I  start simple, like showing students how to build ramps and then use toy cars to roll down the ramp.  You can expand that to have students experiment with building different types of ramps, coming up with their own designs, and then conduct races to see whose ramp design made the car go the fastest. {Bonus:  It throws in an introduction to early STEM exposure}.  Other things I have done if I cannot be in the block center is to pair a very enthusiastic block builder with a reluctant student and also to take advantage of using older students in the school to come play with us during center time.  We have pre-k through 5th grade in the building.  The older students love the pre-k students and often request to come to my room after they have earned a reward from their teacher.  Just a thought of mine....I feel it is my role to especially get girls interested in blocks.  It's not always this way, but typically boys are drawn to the block center.  Books are another great way to motivate and engage little ones with block play.
This is a fantastic book to do just that!
Along with these to display or have available in a basket in your block center is a great way incorporate literature into play.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to set up my classroom yet so I do not have any photos to share at this time.  I plan to share later.  This is what my wood block set looks like.
I also have a vast array of other types of building materials.  Here are a few photos of my little ones in action last year.
 Magna Tiles are a HUGE hit in my classroom!
 I will cut the examples from the boxes and slip them into the tubs to give some examples and ideas to my little learners.
I also try to incorporate block play into my themes.  Here these sweet boys are making a leprechaun trap on St. Patrick's Day!  :)

Before I unleash my students into my block center {or any center, for that matter} we go over rules, expectations and role play some scenarios.   I have a freebie for you.  Click on the picture to download!
It is a question and answer social story on the right and wrong ways to play with blocks.  I hope you can use it in your class! 
Now, hop on over to Teaching With Preschoolers to find out about her block centers!