Tuesday, January 8, 2013

X is for Xylophone?

X is for xylophone irks me to no end. Picking out Word Wall letters is a tedious task for me. The font needs to be just right, there needs to be both the capital and lower case for each letter, the pictures have to correspond nicely, and it needs to show how to write the letter. I was so happy when I splurged on Word Wall letters at the Parent Teacher Store because it had everything I was looking for. Until I got to Xx :(

XYLOPHONE!!!!??? Ugh! Xx does not make the /z/ sound!!!! Well, not when we are teaching 3 and 4 year olds how to read! I would have been OK with x-ray.... not xylophone. 

This week we are learning about the letter Xx: identification, letter sound, and writing. I like to teach X as it stands for the sound /ks/. 

fox, box, ox, exit, excited, six, tax!!!

Download the  Xx booklet  I made. A short coloring book and writing exercise.

  Making X with yarn and glue!

Monday, January 7, 2013


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aDOORable: December

Check out my December door: A Snowman!! Next year we decided he needs a big, red scarf :)
Hmmmm... What shall my January door be? 

Happy Holidays!

Long time no talk! As you know, the holiday seasons is hectic for teachers. Well, it has been especially hectic being a teacher AND a co-founder. We had a blast organizing Holiday Concerts, parties, etc.! Over the break, our school grew with the addition of 3 new students! Check out some of the fun we had preparing for the holiday:

Beautiful Menorahs made with scrapbook paper. We enjoyed learning about the holidays we celebrate in the community.

 A Christmas countdown! Place a cotton ball on Santa's beard to see how many days are left!

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch! No Christmas celebration is complete without the Grinch coming by to stop all the fun! Luckily, all the students at The Sara Marie School taught the Grinch about love and the true meaning of Christmas. We played Grinch games, had Grinch decorations, and ate a Who-Feast!

Our elf, Strawberry visited our school everyday to make sure the students were showing Holiday spirit and kindness. Everyone made The Nice List!..... except the teachers.... OOPS! ;)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Oh, Halloween. A day dedicated to kids running around with bulky costumes while consuming mass amounts of candy and desserts. Sounds like a teacher or parent's worst nightmare. Not for me! My outlook on Halloween? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Despite how zonked I am right now, I had an extremely enjoyable day! Life is too short, kids won't be kids for long..... let's have fun! 

I take my Halloween costumes VERY seriously. I won't settle for a simple witch, clown, or ghost. I always think outside the box and come up with costume ideas that are meaningful to our class. Last year in 2011 when I taught Kindergarten, I dressed up as a pretzel. The kids knew how much I love pretzels and bringing me pretzels during snack time became a daily competition among the students.

This year, I dressed up as a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a common theme in our Pre-K room. We have a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom behavior chart, we read the book a lot, and always watch this fun YouTube video:

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Morning Meeting

We are in the midst of Hurricane Sandy. I am sitting here waiting for the power to go out so I figured I would blog while there was still time.

Before we begin, I want to thank a former co-worker and very best friend, Ellen. She is the inspiration for my Morning Meeting board. I spent many hours in her Pre-K room as a novice teacher and always loved her set-up. When it comes to education- why reinvent the wheel? If it works, steal it from your teacher friends!

A. Calendar Bags & Balloons. This is so much fun! Each bag is filled with fun stuff for the month. Calendar numbers, birthdays, holidays, etc. Each month we take down the bag and peek inside. The kiddos nearly screamed with delight when I pulled out the pumpkin calendar numbers for October. Can you guess what November will be? The balloons above have months on them and contain candles that have student names and birth dates on them. It wasn't planned, but don't the balloons and bags together resemble a hot air balloon? :) *The floating pumpkin is just a decoration hanging from our ceiling

B. Calendar. The calendar plays a large role in our room. We count the letters in October, count the days in silly voices, talk about the days of the week, and so much more. Ask any student in my class what Ms. Francis's favorite day of the week is and they will respond "FRIDAYYYYY!!!" F is for Friday AND Francis :)

 C. Bear Helpers. The kiddos LOVE helping out and having a special job each day. Each bear has a student's name on it. When I choose a student to receive a job, I sign their name to them in ASL. At this point in the year, most of them are able to identify their names in sign.We also take the time to recognize beginning and ending letters in each student's name. We also love finding the letter of the week in their names. 

D. The Weather Bear & Weather Wheel. How cute is this little guy? Before we dress him, the Weather Helper uses the Kindle to discover the weather for the day. I believe the app is AccuWeather. It's great because it displays a large image of the weather for the students to see. For example, if it is raining, the Kindle screen displays water droplets. The Weather Helper moves the weather wheel and then dresses the bear. 

E. Daily Schedule. I created the schedule on my own using Word. The schedule is a great tool for my young students as it gives them a visual reminder about what we are doing and how many more activities to go before mom or dad comes to pick them up. We remove the activity once we complete it. Click here for a copy of the schedule I created.

F. One Hundred Hands. Morning meeting wouldn't be complete without a manicure! Not for me, but for our paper hands ;) Each day we paint one finger to represent a day in school. I believe we are up to 33 days. Once we reach 100 fingers we will celebrate the 100th day of school! This is a great visual to help students get ready to skip count. After we count the fingers, we also count how many hands are up. I have an assortment of nail polish colors for the Calendar Helper to choose. Lately red has been the winner. The student chooses the color and I paint the "finger nail".

G. Morning Meeting Storage. I wasn't going to include this, but now that I think about it, it's one of the most important parts of Morning Meeting. This bin holds CDs, pointers, stickers, markers and other "teacher tools" essential to Morning Meeting. I suggest having a bin with several drawers to organize your meeting. These drawers were donated to all the teachers by family from my class :)

Hope you enjoyed looking at my Morning Meeting area and are inspired to steal some ideas!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Doing Science: Foaming Pumpkin

"EWWWWWWWWWWWW" "It looks like barf" "It stinks!!!" "COOOOOOOL!" "I want a turn!" 

You know it's a successful science lesson when you hear any of the above comments. On Friday, we mixed baking soda and vinegar to make foam come out of a pumpkin's mouth.

  • First, we carved the pumpkin. We took turns removing the "gunk and seeds" from inside the pumpkin. Then, we voted on the shape of the eyes, nose, and mouth:

  • Second, we took turns adding baking soda to a cup:

  • Next, we placed the cup inside the pumpkin and poured the vinegar:

  • Finally, we watched it foam!!!! My favorite quote was, "The pumpkin is puking!!!!"

I was hoping for more foaming action, but the kids still had fun! I hear that if you add dish soap to the mixture it will bubble more. Has anyone tried it?