Welcome!

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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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dental Health Month

We  all know that February is Dental health month and as I sit here eating ice cream with candy topping I am reminded that I need to start planning for some dental health activities. Here is what I have come up with.

1. Soak a hardboiled egg in cocacola and have the students brush the stain off, remind them of how important it is to brush everyday or else they get stained.

2. Use floss to create art, dip in glue and shape as you wish.

3. Get a supply of toothbrushes and let the children paint with them. If you tilt the toothbrush with bristles up towards the paper and run your finger through the bristles you get a splatter effect and the kids love it.

4. Create a tooth pattern. Outline with glue and glitter, don't shake off the excess. Allow to dry. Place the tooth on a tray and have the children brush it off.

5. Use teeth patterns to create a read the room activity and staple a few together to create a book that the children can record their words in.

My TpT unit on dental health has all of these ideas and more with a full size "A Trip to the Dentist" reader with tracing vocabulary and all of the teeth patterns, click the link below to check it out.
A-Visit-to-the-Dentist-Shared-Reader-activities-printables





Monday, January 30, 2012

The best Christian School in Round Rock, Tx!

Round Rock Christian Academy is having an open house tomorrow (January 31st) at 10:00 am and 7:00 pm. Please come see how great this school is. Take it from a Mom that has a child with 6 learning disabilities and is on or above level in every subject because of this school. The teachers, administrators and families love children and want to seal their hearts for eternity in Christ. If you cannot make the open house please make an appointment for a tour. You won't be disappointed! (preschool-12th grades)

Round Rock Christian Academy
301 N. Lake Creek Dr.
Round Rock TX 78681
(in the Central Baptist Church buildings accross the street from Round Rock high School)
Round Rock Christian Academy Website

Valentines Day Math and Literacy Ideas

This year for Valentines day my department has decided to have a teddy bear picnic and have a box outside our classrooms for notes from Parents, Teachers and other loved ones. I wanted to incorporate the Valentines theme into my lessons for the week and here are some of the ideas I have come up with:

1. Put words on hearts and hang around the room at eye level. Give children hearts stapled together for a read the room exercise and a cute take home book. (literacy)

2. Divide heart doillies in half, quarters, thirds, etc. and talk about part to the whole. Give each child one cut up and have them glue back together on a sheet of construction paper. (math)

3. Use heart die cuts to count, label with a number or number word: count forwards, backwords or skip count. Match the number to their words.(math) You can find these ready made in my TpT unit:
Valentines Math and Literacy Unit

4. Give each child a blank sheet of paper and a set of markers. Direct the students to draw Valentines objects in specific colors. (Listening)

5.  Play I have/Who has with Valentines themed cards (math or literacy) You can find these ready made in my TpT Unit:
Valentines I have/Who has Unit

6. Make pattern necklaces with red/white and pink pony beads, use tweezers to pick them up for a sorting game (math/basic skills)


7. Use valentines confetti to glue shapes, letters or numbers on paper. Give the students a guide line if necessary.

8.  Create sight word hearts and candies, have the students match them and then record on a piece of paper. (literacy)

9. Create a book with 5 sheets of construction paper folded in half and stapled. Label the sheets from 1-10. Have the children either stick Valentines stickers on each page or draw the correct amount of hearts. (math)

10. The dollar store carries valentines garland, use it to measure items in your environment. You can also cut it to give each child a 12 inch piece and create a recording sheet so they can measure on their own. (math)

Till next time,
Christine

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sensory Discovery

I had a breakthrough today, an answer to prayer truly in my classroom. I have been struggling with how to help a child get through the Reading Group rotations that have been going so well for the rest of my class. This little one could not stay in his area or stay quiet enough for others to stay focused. At times I have had to have him removed. I thought I had tried everything, giving him books, papers, drawing binder, and all sorts of other activities. Today I asked him to sit next to me, which he has to do everytime, but this time I held his hand, just that simple thing made a world of difference. I held his hand while instructing my reading group and he sat quiet and was engaged in the process. Tomorrow I am going to try this during his own reading group as well to see if he focus' a little better.

Just a little sensory trick that maybe you could use for one of your little ones, so simple yet so effective!
Till Next Time,
Christine

Monday, January 23, 2012

Math and Literacy Center Ideas With a Winter Theme

This week my class is talking all about winter, here are some ideas you could use in your classroom:

1. Winter Garb Day: Have the children come in with all of their winter dressings, make a graph with a picture of each on the bottom. Fill in a square or have the children write their name on the graph. Count how many of each item you have, which do you have the most, least etc.?

2. Discuss the concept of pairs with mittens and gloves, things that go together, bring in some summer items and see if the children can distinguish between which belongs and which doesn't.

3. Hide small plastic winter animals in a large mitten, have the children feel and guess then pull the animal out anf tell you the name, discuss beginnig and ending sounds, whatever literacy concept your class is working on.

4. Hang signs around the room with a designated amount of each item on them, have the children read the room, counting and writing the number of each item they saw.

5. Make vocabulary cards  with winter clothing or winter animals and cut the word away from the picture, play a matching game or memory.

6. Print out the free printable on this sight of the polar bear and decorate with white paint mixed with silver glitter, you can also stamp this printable with letters or numbers and play bingo where you call out the one you want them to find and they mark it with bingo daubers or color.

7. Work on the colors of the season: white, gray, black- place these words around the room with pictures of common winter items that are this color, have the children tell you the words several times a day for the week.

8. Spray the table with shaving cream(snow) and have the children draw you letters and numbers with their fingers, then allow them some time to play.

9. Fold four sheets of white paper together and staple at the fold making a book. On each page write a different winter item, have the children draw that item and trace your word. They can decorate the front cover with fingerprint cardinals and fingerpring snowman.

10. Draw letters and numbers, whatever you wish on black paper with white chalk. You could make a book with black paper just the same as number 9 and use white chalk to draw snow.

Enjoy your winter activities with oyur pre-kers!
Till next time,
Christine
P.S. Find more winter ideas in my TpT Store, click the link below to visit!
My TpT Store

Sunday, January 15, 2012

ABC Letter Finds and Word Work Ideas!

     Here I have created a set of 26 ABC worksheets to go with my Scrabble Spelling Unit on TpT. I will post several of these for free on the freebies page for you to download and print out. More ideas are included below the pictures for your Word Work station. You can get the entire set by clicking the link below which will redirect you to my TpT store. Enjoy!
ABC Letter Find Unit



Each of these worksheets can be used for visual discrimination assessment, letter knowledge and following directions. I always do the first couple as a group and then once the class gets the hang of them I allow them to be done on thier own. I can then take a few minutes to work with those that need some extra practice on letters. In my word work center I have scrabble tiles that I have gathered from old games at garage sales etc. The class can use them to build the sample words on the worksheet, can be challenged to make other words that have the key letter and can record the words on a sheet of notebook paper.

For other word work centers I have unafix cubes with letters on each side for word building, letter tiles, blend tiles, a pocket chart with 5 sleeves that are just the right size for these tiles, predicatable readers and vocabulary cards. I make sure to include vocabulary cards for our weekly theme and sight words. This is a stand up center that sits on top of a small bookcase, you can see pictures of it on the reading groups page in the directory to the right.

I have a tray with notebook paper and pencils for the class to record their words. This has been especially good to help make brain connections with the words and to improve handwriting. Using manipulatives of just about any kind is my favorite way to get small children to make brain connections with the concept of my teaching. I often tell parents "I am not worried about the paper looking perfect, I am concerned with the understanding of the concept."

Wiki Sticks with letter mats, playdough letter and word mats, theme related words and writing sheets, theme related readers that include writing and activities all can be used for Word Work and can be implemented rather easily. When i need 15-20 minutes to owrk with Reading groups these Word Work centers help kep the others learning, then I rotate my class through read to self, writing, work and the reading group itself. The system is great and keeps my class working quietly and learning throughout the entire day.

Till next time,
Christine




CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to Caitlin Clabby at Kindergartensmiles for winning my first giveaway! Caitlin will recieve the full unit All Star Spelling from my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Thank you to everyone who entered, remember you are now automatically entered for the rest of the year, check back often to see if you've won, make sure I have your email to send you your prize!

If you missed this giveaway you are not out of luck, I am giving away a unit every month this year! Go to the giveaway page for details on how to join the giveaway! One enrty puts you in every drawing this year! Giveaway winners are announced on the 15th of each month!

Till Next Time,
Christine

Visit Caitlin at her blog!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Giveaway is tomorrow!!!!

Don't forget to join my giveaway for a free TpT unit! All Star Spelling will be given to one lucky winner and announced on this board in the morning!

All Star Spelling

Click on this link to see a full description and details about this Unit. You can also visit the giveawy page for more details, entering is simple:

Join this site
Visit the link above and download one of my freebies
Rate the freebie and leave me a comment to let me know you want in!

That's it! Till next time,
Christine

Friday, January 13, 2012

10 Reasons to choose an Academic Based Pre-Kindergarten Program for your 4 year old child.

      I have met many people who do not believe children who are 4 can or should be taught academically to read well and fluently. If you met me 7 years ago you would find a person who agreed, but I have to say over my last few years of teaching my mind has been changed. The Pre-K program I work for used to be play based and then very decidedly went academic based. A huge change for the better of our children, here are 10 reasons why children need an academic pre-Kindergarten program.

1. Don't let your local public school tell you that your child needs to know nothing when they get to kindergarten, most children are loosing invaluable learning time if teaching is postponed till they are five. Developmentally children should know their letters, sounds, numbers and some words before they go to formal school. Plus, those who attend an academic pre-kindergarten ar more likely to be given a chance in the gifted and talented program in the public schools becasue they are ahead of the curve.
2. Your new teacher may assume there is something wrong learning wise with your child if they are not showing proper development at the start of kindergarten, your child may be forced into unecessary testing and possibly labeled with a learning disability without having the chance to learn in the first place.
3. Four year olds need structure before formal school, they need to learn how to sit still for a few minutes, listen to their teacher, follow rules etc. All of these waste precious Kindergarten learning time when a teacher has to focus on children who don't have the proper idea of expected behavior.
4. Socialization skills must be taught, not left to the child. Modeling behavior for children is essential to growing up with proper social skills and self esteem.
5. Not all "play" is equal. Children learn tons from playing but can learn even more when the play is strategically planned by a knowledgable Early Childhood Educator who knows what developmental milestones should be met and what areas will need to be worked on.
6. Kindergarten is no longer playtime, in most areas kindergarten now has the content first grade used to have which means your child goes into a classroom a year behind without an academic prekindergarten.
7. A love for learning is a learned behavior. Showing your child at this young age that learning is a priority to your family will not only increase their long term school success but will encourage your child to enjoy school not loath it.
8. Giving your child a head start in school by making sure part of their day is spent on academics ensures better readers, writers and learners.
9. Young children (before the age of six) learn faster, easier and retain more information than children at  any other age. After the age if six the neurons in the brain are set and children with learning issues such as dyslexia and dysgraphia don't do as well in "resetting" their thinking to correct the problem. It is crucial for parents to understand that as soon as a teacher sees a learning issue the child should get immediate help, wasted time at this age can cause devestating learning issues later in life that can be helped before six. Early intervention is the key if any learning issues are suspected.
10. The brain is like any other organ, if you don't feed it, it doesn't work! Giving your child a literacy and math based program will only help feed the brain not hinder their childhood.

     Done with love and care an academic pre-kindergarten program is the way to go. I am not talking hard core, sit at your desk and don't move type schooling here. Just a program that offers more than a Mother's Day Out where playing is often the only thing going on. My school has a great balance of academics and strategically planned play, where manipulatives and toys are used towards learning goals and for assessment. We go from 8:20-1:30 five days a week and in everyday the children work through the following activities:

Tabletop Centers (sensory buckets, wiki sticks with mats, magnetic letters with boards, counting trays, etc.)
Bible Lesson (We are a Christian Private Pre-K-12 School)
Reading Group (15 minutes of leveled reading instruction)
Math Group (15 minute of leveled math instruction)
Handwriting
Language and Literacy
Gym/Music or Spanish (depending on the day, and yes, most of them know more Spanish than I do!)
2-30 minute recesses
Play based centers (45 minutes of play in the library, blocks, kitchen, science or art center with specific activities planned)
Snack and Lunch

     We have a very full day with little time to spare, we don't waste any learning minutes that are not necessary unless there is an emergency etc. We are very much a school and not a daycare, when you choose a so called academic daycare you are most likely getting underpaid, nondegreed teachers who have no idea what they are doing. So make sure to do your research and ask lots of questions. Tour several schools even if you think you already know where you are going to send your child. Research the background of the school and it's teachers, talk to present and past parents. Ask for references, there is no better test of a school than the satisfaction of the families it has served.

     I cannot tell you how much improvement we have seen in behavior, happiness, affection and Parental satisfaction. So take it from a teacher who has taught both,  a balanced academic program is the way to go!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ONLY 5 DAYS LEFT!

Make sure to join the giveaway for the All Star Spelling Unit! One lucky winner this month announced right here on the 15th! Visit the giveaway page for more details!

Till next time,
Christine

Arctic Animal 1-10 book!

O.K. all I found myself with some nervous energy tonight and made a book to go with my Arctic Freeze Unit. It is super cute and works on number writing and number word writing. There are also 5 worksheets and 5 center ideas, have fun!


Photos to come, uploader is not working right now, sorry! Same graphics as the Arctic freeze unit blog post

Arctic Animal 1-10 book

Monday, January 9, 2012

Arctic Freeze: Literacy, Number Words, Sight Words and Vocabulary Unit

Last night I posted what I think is my best unit yet for TpT! Scrappindoodles.com had the cutest Arctic Animal graphics and I just couldn't resist buying them to make this unit. I just love creating worksheets and readers with their graphics. Check out some of what is included in this Winter themed Unit focusing on Arctic Animals, there are 95 pages of fun!


Vocabulary cards for flash cards, read the room and literacy centers.

Shared full page size reader with easy to understand sentences about the animals of the Arctic and Eskimos.

Rhyming practice sheets for critical thinking and rhyming ability assessment.

ABC and 1-30 ice for number/letter practice, word work and matching numbers to their words.

Number word igloos 1-30 for a combined literacy and math center and group instruction.

I have /Who has ice for ABC's, 1-20 and sight words.

Book to be printed for each child and colored, words are provided on a seperate sheet for them to cut and paste into the book following the given sentence. As shown in the next picture.

Coloring/Sentence Building example sheet.

Compare and Contrast page between the Arctic and our environment.

To see everything else that is included in this unit please see the full description and preview file on Teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Cropingchristine

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Popcorn Letters, Sight words and such! Differentiated instruction

This week I added a new game to my centers. I created this unit becasue I couldn't find exactly what I needed to reach all of my students in the same game. I don't want my younger students to feel as if they are missing out because they are not on the same reading level. So, my unit includes popcorn with letters, vowels, CVC/CCVC/CVCC words and the dolche pre-primer, primer and first grade lists. That is approximatly 350 popcorn pieces that can reach everyone of your students.

 

Letter Popcorn

Initial and Final Blend Popcorn

Short Vowel Word and Sight Word Popcorn


Letter to parents explaining unit.


Word Work Sheet, there is also a similar page for reading the room.


Cut and Glue the correct sight word into the sentence. 


Cut and paste the words in the correct order and find the correct punctuation.


This unit has everything I needed to meet all of my students needs.  My class ranges from just 4 to 5 1/2 years old. There are huge developmental differences among them. I need letters for some and challenging sentences for others. I hope you can use this in your classroom as well to meet all of your students where they are.

Till next time,
Christine

find this unit on teacherspayteachers.com

Quiet Center Ideas

So, we have all been there, trying to teach a small group while the rest of the class is causing noise and disruption. I have found that the following procedures and ideas have worked for me. Quiet centers that can be done alone, quickly set up and quickly put away.


Wiki Sticks with mats

Pop beads in a bag

Lacing beads with plastic needles and yarn (patterns)

Lego Minifugures, especially popular with the boys, I take them apart after each playtime.

Lacing ABC's, great with sight word cards.

Number stencils, paper, stamp markers


I also use peg boards, rhyming trains, hexabits, bug patterns, magnetic dolls, stencils, sewing cards, patterning beads, classification cards, sequencing cards and file folder games. Anything i think they can play quietly on thier own I will try in my two towers. The kids are really enjoying the variety and most are not choosing the same center over and over as I had expected to have to address. I think this system is encouraging even more concepts than I had planned, making for more learning and less wasted minutes.

Writing Center Ideas and Organization

The small orange table houses my writing center. To begin I have my dry erase boards with markers and erasers. I then added thin line markers, colored pencils and the pencil sharpener. there is a file holder attached to the side of the drawer cart that you cannot see that holds construction paper, coloring sheets and dry erase practice books. Since the table is so small I have the students take the supplies to the nearest table that is reserved for the writing center during our rotations.

I will be rotating different supplies in and out of the writing center each week. My students love tape and staples, while i would normally reserve these for the art center I find that the children write more when they have access to these tools. Crayons, dot painters and q-tips with paint are also frequent fliers in my writing center. The children know that writing needs to take place and art is for another time.

Till next time,
Christine

p.s. don't forget to join and enter the giveaway

Reading Group Centers: Organization ideas, procedures and practicality!

I finally have pictures of my new reading group setup. I have completly rearranged my classroom for the second half of the year in order to put my new system into place. Because my school requires I put everything into cabinets at the end of the week (we share our classrooms with the church) my system had to be portable and storage friendly. I purchased 2 towers with 10 drawers each. Everything else I already owned.

Picture 1.: The back corner of my room houses the two towers, they are filled with quiet centers such as letter and number stencils, wiki sticks with ABC mats, pop beads, stringing beads and more.



Picture 2: Closeup of same area


Picture 3: Early reader buckets, classification center, word work tiles, Popcorn words (Unit found on TpT) and a bucket with the students handwriting workbooks.


 Picture 4: Classification center with letter and word tiles for word work. This is a standing center that allows movement and keeps ctudents from having to sit for long periods of time.


So far this center system is working great, we are rotating between a orksheet station, read to self station and this quiet center station. My classroom was so calm when I put this in place this week, everyone was occupied and engaged. We move every 15 minutes. I mde sure to teach how to use each area and practice a few times. The students were very good about not dumping the drawers and placing everything back where it belonged.

Till Next Time,
Christine

p.s. don't forget to join the giveaway!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Winter Wear Predictable Text Reader



Hello All, Last night I posted my newest unit to TpT all about the garb we wear in the winter. Super cute graphics from scrappindoodles make this book and sight word kit adorable. Be sure to check it out, the unit is 20% off until Wednesday. Make sure to download the freebie for this unit.

p.s. don't forget to enter my monthly giveaway, visit the giveaway page for details!

Till next time,
Christine

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A special thank you to all of the wonderful teachers out there!

Do you know what you are when you spend your vacation working?
Do you know what you are when you spend your own money on work?
Do you know what you are when a child that is not your own looks up at you and says "I love you?"

YOU ARE A TEACHER WHO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR CHILDREN!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU  to all of you who spend your love, time and money on others precious children! My life and both of my children's lives have been impacted by teachers like you!

With many blessings for a wonderful 2012!
Christine

Reading group center organization, cont.


Well, I have finally put together the two towers I purchased for my learning centers and quiet play centers. I am using these as stations during my reading group time. I also saw at Mardel's that they hung a small file pocket chart off the side so I purchased those too. The pocket chart on the quiet center tower will be filled with fun worksheets and coloring sheets and the one on the learning centers tower will be filled with assessments and learning papers that the children can choose to complete. I am sooooooo excited to put this in my classroom tomorrow!


I purchased these book bags to put in the drawers, I suppose a ziploc would do the trick but these seem a bit more sturdy. I will use these to hold all of the counters and small pieces that go with each center.


In my quiet play center drawers I have several of these Melissa and Doug magnetic dolls. My class loves these and I found the boy set of three different sets on clearance at Sam's Club after Christmas, what a steal at $15 (normally $45)! Yippy!


I plan on filling the other drawers with memory, pop beads, leggos and the like. They will also have the choice of books and drawing materials. I cannot wait to get this system gonig this week!

Please post any suggestions, comments or questions you may have about getting organized for Reading groups. This is my favorite time of year, to see those little eyes shine as they realize they have read their first word and can read!!!!

Till next time,
Christine
p.s. don't forget to sign up for the monthly giveaway!