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Welcome to The Crazy Pre-K Classroom! Please enjoy your stay, explore my posts and join for more to come! Blessings, Christine

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About Me

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Round Rock, Texas, United States
I am a wife, a mother to 2 boys, and a Christian Kindergarten Teacher. Besides spending time with my family, I enjoy sewing, scrapbooking, quilting and creating innovative, hands on lessons for my students.

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Why teach Pre-K?

Because, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phillipians 4:13

Because, I love it and am called to it!

For my children and my husband!

Because I am me!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Can Children with severe food allergies go to Pre-K ? YES!

Food allergies have become an every year, every class occurance in Pre-K over the past few years. We have all seen children with peanut or milk allergies, maybe a latex allergy here or there, but I would like to tell you about a little girl in my class who is anaphalactically allergic to 5 of the big 8! My Pre-K team and I have been able to keep her safe, with her parents permission I am sharing her story with you in hopes that you don't give up on Pre-K for your child because of food allergies. Any school worth attending will do everything necessary to accomodate your child no matter how severe the allergies are.

My student is a 4 year old sweet, loving and intelligent child. She makes me laugh everyday and I can't imagine my class without her. She is deathly allergic to: milk, eggs, gluten, latex, all nuts and wheat. I know you are asking yourself what does this little girl eat? I will get to that, but first let me explain the safeguards my team and I put into place before school started. To give you some background I myself have a latex allergy so the classroom was already virtually latex free, that was the one we had to worry about the least starting off the year.

We started with a lengthy parent/teacher conference where pictures of her reactions were given, food lists were prepared and testing from the Doctors were studied. I believe my open communication with the parents has played a huge part in the success we are having with this child. Also my allergy and my confidence gave the parents some anxiety relief before school started.

1. Our cubbies are located inside the classroom which would allow allergens from home to come into the classroom everyday, so instead I line the hallway outside of my room with Ikea buckets (1.99 each) and each of them has a nametag. On one side of my hallway shelf is the one bucket that belongs to the little girl and on the other side are the other 13 buckets. Apon arrival the students place everything from home in these buckets and nothing enters the classroom.

2. From there each child wipes their face and hands with a baby wipe. Not only has this helped with allergens but my students have not been sick nearly as much as students in other classrooms.

3. At first I placed her at a table with one other child as a precaution not knowing how she would react to the classroom environment, every morning I wiped down this table and her chair just in case anyone had touched it.

4. No food signs and allergy signs were placed at the door. No one is allowed to enter our classroom except my class and I. This ensures no unwanted allergens are in the room. I keep my lunch on the shelf in the hall and I decided to give up cream in my tea, this was an extra precaution that I am not sure was necessary, however this is another persons child and I didn't want to take any chances.

5. Once she was accustomed to the environment and not having any reactions I moved her to a regular table just like everyone else, she was thrilled! (with the parents permission of course)

6.The school provides a snack that should be safe for her such as fruit or vegetables for the entire class. She brings her own snack to avoid any issues with cross contamination. We wash hands and clean tables immediatly after snack.

7. In the lunchroom she sits at a desk and chair that is cleaned by a lunchroom teammate or her Mother before we enter the lunchroom. This desk is pushed up to the end of our table so that she can still feel like she is part of the group. I wash my hands and open her food before touching any allergens.

8. We immediatly wash hands after lunch and her Mother graciously provides safe cupcakes and snacks for the class on special occasions, and they taste great! I know they are probably very expensive for her to make but there is no cost on the safety of a child.

9. I carry an epipen and have been through epipen training as well as carrying benadryl. At the fisrt sign of a reaction I administer benadryl, so far only 2 times the whole year, and we do not truly know if they were reactions or if she just got a blotch on her skin from running around etc. With all of her allergies it is not a matter of what causes it but when it will occur. We may never know what sets off her allergies since she is allergic to so many things. One day her grandmother accidentally poured regular milk into her cereal. She took one very small bite and she immediatly had a reaction the required an epipen to control. Her Mother has kept excellent photo records of what her reactions look like and when I saw those pictures  I swore I would do everything I could to keep her safe.

10. It took lots of calling around and research but I was able to ensure that some toys we had were indeed latex free. The Mom was able to make us safe playdough, provide safe sensory bucket foods (organic popcorn kernels, dried peas, a certain rice and certain noodles.) and we have exchanged cell phone numbers for quick questions and emergencies.

The first day of school I had a lesson on food allergies and explained to the children all about our friend who has these allergies. I posted pictures of the foods that she is allergic to with a red cross out sign. The children rallied around her and wanted to protect her, I even had a few children ask their parents to only pack them safe food for lunch so that they could sit by her. If only we loved like children!

None of these accomodations affect the other childrens learning or cause issues in the classroom. It is all about the attitude of the school and teacher. I had people say, "oh she won't last a month, she will have too many reactions and they will pull her out"

Well, we have proved them wrong! The parent teacher relationship has made all of the difference in keeping her safe, constant communication is the key. Never assuming anything is safe without calling a manufacturer also helps.  She is happy, healthy and loves coming to school, she knows I love her and will keep her safe.

It is my hope that this post gives teachers ways to help children with allergies and parents hope that there are teachers out there that care enough about children to teach them no matter what they have to do, a little extra work is outweighed by the love the children give and the appreciation of the parents.

Till next time,
Christine

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why Play I have/who has? And how to play this educational game.

I have/Who has is a game I use in my classroom daily to build strength in the order of the alphabet and numbers. I have also used this to reinforce number words, sight words, color words and other key concepts for young children. I find it amazing how quickly the children catch onto this game and are able to translate it to other concepts without missing a beat. My Pre-K class of 14 can now order 1-30 in under 2 minutes. That is a feat when it comes to pre-k kids, they just love this game, and most can now tell me the numbers that are missing and number order which is essential for math skills in school.

How to play: Either purchase a set of cards or make your own, the following image is given as an example and is from my TpT unit for St. Patricks Day. I try to include one of these sets in each of my math and literacy unit.

Pass out the cards as evenly as possible for your group, have your students place the cards in order from lowest number to highest. When I first start each child gets one card, then when they understand the game i give them multiple cards.

Student one (who has the first card) says, "I have one, who has 2", there are no other words allowed in the game.
Student 2 quickly chimes in saying, "I have 2, who has 3" and so on until you get to the last card and that child gets to shout the end.

Once the children start getting good at the game I start setting a timer to see how long it takes them and then we set goals to beat. Remember this is pre-k so it may take you a few tries before they are able to do a timed round.

I like to do this in my reading groups leveled to match each group. With my highest group I use sight words, with my lowest group i use the alphabet.

I cannot express how much this simple game has helped the learning in my classroom, I would recommend it to any teacher, even middle schoolers could have fun with this, maybe for history dates or something. I just love it and I know you will to.

Here are some links to my units that include I have/ Who has cards, please see the description for specific details on each set. Have fun learning! Christine

Shamrock Shenanigans!
Spring is in the Air!
Arctic Freeze Math and Literacy Unit
Valentines I have/who has (5 diff sets)

Shamrock Shenanigans!

St. Patricks Day is right around the corner so in planning mode i created a mini-unit for my class. It is titled Shamrock Shenanigans and included you will find I have/who has to 100 and the alphabet. Skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's and 10's to 100 and 4 worksheets for practice and assessment. Please check it out on TpT by clicking the following link:
Shamrock Shenanigans!





Spring is in the air!






My newest TpT Unit is titled "Spring is in the air!" Included you will find Number/number word matching, sight word snails with number of letter sort mats, color words, simple addition, patterns, counting, matching to number word, worksheets for beginning blends, a predictable spring vocabulary reader, fill in the missing number worksheets and so much more! Please check out this unit on TpT or Teachers Notebook and kick off your spring with fun learning activities! The Extension activities that are included with this unit are posted on this sight as well.

View this unit by clicking on the link below:
Spring is in the Air! TpT Unit

Thank you for visiting, please join and visit often for great ideas in Pre-k!
Christine

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jump into spring with these Classroom Ideas!

Spring is almost here and it is time to start planning those fun activities that we all love when the blanket of winter lifts and the sunshine of spring arrives. The following ideas are from my new TpT unit named "Spring is in the Air!"

Spring Math and Literacy Unit
Extension Ideas

Sensory Play: Use the snail cards or number cards in a pot of dirt, have the children find the words, brush them off and then record them on paper. Allow them to have small plastic shovels, gardening gloves and a small empty watering can for pretend play.

Silk Flower Colors and Counting: Have some silk flowers on a table, all different colors, have the children match the flowers to the color word card. Have them draw the flower in the correct color crayon and then write the color next to it. Large construction paper works well for this center. Then have them count the number of petals on the flower and write the number next to the word. You could also count and pattern with these flowers using your dirt to stand them up.

Write the room Colors: Place the color word cards around the room; give each child a blank piece of paper on a clip board and a small pail with markers. Have the children go around the room and use the markers to write the correct color word.

Simple Addition: Create a spring scene on the board with construction paper grass or grass border. Print off several of the blank pieces from this unit of use other spring items you may have. Cut out a plus sign and an equal sign big enough for the board lesson. Demonstrate basic addition using the pieces you printed off. Assess by having the students complete the simple addition worksheet in this packet.

Skip Counting and What comes in the middle: Use your number cards to teach skip counting by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s and 10’s. Place the numbers on the board in order with every other one missing, have the students tell you what number is missing. Assess by having the children complete the missing number worksheet in this packet.

Exploration Learning: Go outside and collect things that are common to spring, give each child a bag to collect in. When you return to the classroom have the students go through their bag and name what they collected. Glue each item separately onto construction paper and either write what it is for the children or have them write what they found. Then give them a blank sheet of white construction paper and have them draw the environment they observed outside. Have them dictate sentences to you and write them on the paper with the date.

Seed Discovery: Purchase different packages of seeds from the home/garden store. Compare and contrast the seeds on a Venn Diagram. Give each child a piece of construction paper pre-labeled with the seeds names. Have them glue the correct seed above the name. You could also do some categorizing if you were to buy some vegetable/ fruit/ flower seeds and sort by type. Plant a few and discuss the growing cycle of plants.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Congratulations Teacher Tam!

Teacher Tam is the winner of this month's TpT unit giveaway. She has won my Woodland Winter Math and Literacy Unit. This unit is filled with ideas for math and literacy centers as well as printables and a shared reader. Check it out on TpT at Woodland Winter Unit

Sunday, February 12, 2012

75+ ways to learn with legos!

I have just posted my newest TpT unit titled "75+ ways to learn with legos". This 140 page unit includes 18 pages of activities as well as over 100 pages of resources to go with! I love teaching with legos and have had great success especially with my boys on teaching concepts not only in Math but in Literacy, Listening, Visual Discrimination and many other areas. Each and every activity is geared toward  the pre-k to 2nd grade classroom. Please check it out!




These pictures are just a few of the many resources in this unit. please take a minute to open the preview file on TpT to see many more resources.

Enjoy!
Christine

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who helped me raise $139.00 in honor of my former principle. This money will mean so much to our school. I appreciate everyone who contributed!

Remember: Only 3 days left until I giveaway my Winter Woodland Unit! Visit the Giveaway page for more details, Good Luck!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Monthly Giveaway only 4 days left!

Be sure to enter my monthly giveaway! This month is my Winter Woodland Literacy Unit. Visit my giveaway page for more details. Good Luck!

Visit the link above to see more of this great unit!
Till next time,
Christine

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

10 fun educational things to do with legos!

Today was the 100th day of school and my class counted 100 legos, which got me thinking of all the great learning activites we could do with them:

1. Count: today we counted to 100, I passed out 10 sticks of 10 leggos, then we counted by ones to 100 and by 10's to 100.
2. Stack while counting: We stacked our legos while counting by 10's, once our tower was build we compared ourselves and common classroom objects to the height of the tower. Had I thought this out earlier I would have had a recording sheet with the items we compared.
3. Patterns: We then took our legos apart and created a few types of patterns by color and by size of legos.
4. Addition: you can add the legos themselves in groups or you can add the dots on different sizes of legos.
5. Non-Standard Measurement: Tomorrow I am going to give each child 10 legos stacks and a recording sheet. I will instruct them to measure and record how many rows of leggos long each object is. We will then also count them by 10's once we come back as a group and compare the answers each child has.
6. Make your own stacks: put a pile of legos in the middle of each table, give the children a number and have them build you a stack with that many legos, can do this with patterns too.
7. How many legos tall is your teacher: have the children build a long line of legos and then have them count how long you are (this one works best with the big duplo legos)
8. Can you make shapes with legos: place a pile of legos on the table and instruct the children to set the legos out in certain shapes, you may wish to use shape mats to help with this.
9. Can you make letters and numbers with legos: set out a pile of legos and have the children make you certain letters/numbers in whatever way they want, either by stacking or by putting end to end.
10. Build, Build, Build: children learn so much spacially, mathematically and physically by building with legos, every classroom should have a neverending supply! Free build or assigned build doesn't matter they are learning, cooperative building with partners or groups is also fun!

And for those reluctant children who don't "like" legos, build something completely awesome in front of them and watch their eyes light up, works everytime!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Top Ten Fun Classroom Activities for rainy days!

10. Playdough(with ABC, number, word or name mats)
9. Wiki Sticks (with ABC, number, word or name mats)
8. Shaving Cream (in a bag or all over!)( draw letters or numbers in sharpie on a ziplock before filling with the shaving cream, get out as much air as possible and have the kids trace over your writing with their fingers, can also be done with hair gel, finger paing and glitter glue)
7. Finger Paint (or any type of painting for that matter)
6. Dancing (with scarves or without, there are some great kids Cd's out there with fun movement music)
5. Stamping and free art
4. lego competitions (who can build a lego guy fastest, who can build the tallest tower without falling over etc.)
3. Big book shared reading with creative activity to follow (for example, Eric Carle's Very Hungry Catterpillar could be followed with a rainbow, tissue paper catterpillar gluing activity)
2. Tent reading ( I keep extra bed flat sheets in my room and bring the pillows and stuffed animals form the library to create a tent area to read to the kids and for them also to enjoy some quiet reading)
1. MAKE GOOP (mix liquid starch with equal parts of white glue and water, mix until forms, mix alot! add food coloring to add color)

These are me top 10 rainy day activities that take little or no planning, I have all of these in my classroom along with the Lakeshore movement mats which i place around the room and make partners. I give each set of children 30 seconds at each mat and then move them to the next. One of the best purchases i ever made for my classroom. They have mats with push ups, sit ups, crab walks, hop on one foot. They are fun and the picture on the mat shows the children what to do. I suppose if you were good at drawing oyu could draw a set yourself and laminate for years of use.

Good luck staying sane in oyur classroom this winter, in Texas we have been lucky so far but the forcast says more rain than usual in March and April, so I guess I will be doing many of these activities then.

Till next time,
Christine

p.s. don't forget I am having a charity sale in my store for my school, our beloved principal passed away this last year and in her memory I am donating all of my proceeds this week in her name to our school.My Teachers pay teachers Store

p.s. only 10 days left until my 2nd giveaway here at The crazy pre-k classroom, don't forget to visit the giveaway page for details, once you enter your name will be in every drawing this year!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reading Group Organization Cont.


In a desperate attempt to store reading book packets I used binder rings and caribeeners to attach these two file pocket charts to my cabinets. My school requires everything to be packed away every week so I needed something that was functional and easy to pack away. These are working great. Each child has a pocket and the 4 signs have a different animal with the child's names for that group.

I then have the classes seat work divided into file boxes be animal group. After their reading group is finished one student is assigned to get their file box and take it to the table for the group to work on quietly while I work with the next group.
Our rotations are as follows:
Work with teacher
Work on seat work
Work on writing
Read to self
Each rotation is about 15 minutes with a movement break of one minute in between. This is working so well for me this year. I hope these ideas can help with your reading groups.

Till next time,
Christine

Valentines Day Decor-Fruits of the Spirit

I have a shelf outside of my classroom for lunchboxes and sign in sheets. I decided for Valentines day to put a bulletin board set on the wall above with mavelous tape. Each of the hearts has one f the fruits of the spirits on it (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faith and self-control from Galations in the Bible) if you are a secular school you could put the name of your students on the hearts instead. I think this set is from Carson Dellosa.
Also on my table is a cereal box covered with board paper and labeled love notes. There are markers and paper hearts there for the parents to write their kiddos a little love note. Then I read a few each day in class until Valentines Day. 

Popcorn Sight Word Bulletin Board



I have this awkward bump out in the back of my classroom that I never know what to do with. Untill recently i was not allowed to leave anything up over the weekend so this spot was always blank. So I decided to create a board that could be built upon week after week with the sight words we are learning. So far these are the ones everyone knows and hopefully next week I will add a fet more. I will also add a Popcorn sight word title to the suedo board in the morning after I cut some letters with my cricut tonight.

You can find these sight words and much more in my popcorn Word Work Unit onTpT

Vocabulary Word Building Literacy Center


I just happened to have this stand alone chart that I have not used in quite a while. I thought how neat would it be to have a stand up center where the children are moving around while learning. So I placed a bucket of plastic letters and my vocabulary cards in the chart. I gave the children instructions, at first they just wanted to create rows of letters but since we have been working on this for a few weeks they finally have the hang of it and are enjoying it. Most of my TpT units have vocabulary cards like this that are used for read the room but this is also a great alternative. This week I am testing to see if the children can build the words and then record them on a piece of paper. So far so good. You can find these specific vocabulary cards in my Arctic Freeze unit, visit my TpT store via the link below to view.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Thank you so much to scipi at www.gofigurewithscipi.blogspot.com for nominating my blog for the Liebster Award. The Leibster award is intended to get new blogs with less than 200 followers the recognition they deserve. I encourage you to visit Go Figure with Scipi and the following blogs that I am nominating for this award.

The purpose of the Liebster Blog Award is to assist up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers to get the attention they deserve. As with any award, there is a bit of ritual involved. Therefore, in order to accept the award, I must do the following:



· Thank the Liebster Blog Award presenter(s) on my blog and post a link back to their blog.

· Copy and paste the award on my blog. (see award on lower right hand side of blog)

· Pick my five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award, and then become a new follower.

· Encourage the five blogs chosen to follow my blog, and then to pass it on to five more deserving blogs.


Here are my five nominations

Caitlin at www.kindergartensmiles.blogspot.com
www.firsgradejournal.blogspot.com
www.mrslindsayskids.blogspot.com
www.thecandyapple.blogspot.com
www.teaching-with-style.blogspot.com

Please follow my blog and visit me often for great teaching ideas and TpT Units!
Till next time,
Christine