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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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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Guest Blogger: Toni from teacherlingo.com

Hello Everyone, Please welcome my first guest blogger, Toni from teacherlingo.com. She has written a great article for us on integrating movement into our letter recognition lessons! Enjoy! Christine Making Letters Move Author Bio: Today’s guest post comes from Toni, an elementary school teacher with a specialty in differentiated instruction and designing hands-on lessons that incorporate the multiple intelligences. You can often find Toni writing for TeacherLingo.com, where teachers can buy and sell their original lesson plans, worksheets, and more. She is married to a middle school math teacher and is a mom to a mystery loving 7 year old sweetie-girl and a quirky little light saber toting 3 year old. Have you ever made cookies with a preschool aged child? They want to feel, taste, and smell each ingredient before placing it in the mixing bowl. Young children use all of their senses when exploring a new object! This is important to remember when introducing children to their letters and corresponding sounds. Young learners must be given opportunities to explore each letter in a variety of ways. The alphabet is most often explored through the use of language using poetry, nursery rhymes and stories that focus on a specific letter. Try creating some silly alliteration sentences with your students and have some fun reciting tongue twisters together as well. You can follow up these readings by asking your students to find the focus letter using a magnifying glass, removable highlighting tape or Wiki Stix. Logical and mathematical explorations provide students with the chance to focus on the parts of letters. They should have opportunities to assemble and disassemble the parts of each letter. Students can also sort letters by their attributes using large Venn diagrams made form hula hoops. To help them begin to really visualize the letters try playing a guessing game for a few minutes each day where you describe a letter and give students the opportunity to guess what it is. Linking each letter of the alphabet to an action allows students to experience the alphabet with their whole bodies. Try creating a letter workout for your class. Assign each letter a specific exercise and have your students perform each action as they recite the alphabet each day. They will rotate their ankles, balance on one foot, clap and dance as they move through the alphabet. You can also challenge little learners to make letters with their bodies in groups of two or three. During outdoor time games like hopscotch and jump rope can also be adapted to reinforce the letters and their sounds. Music is always a hit with the preschool learner. Provide a range of alphabet themed music for your students to sing along and dance to. You can also lead them in songs, chants and nursery rhymes to help them remember their letters and sounds. Allow them to make up some funny alphabet songs too! To make the alphabet personal, create an alphabet book for each student. Write their name on the front and allow them to bring in pictures of items from home or magazine pictures of things they are interested in to place in their book. By filling each child’s alphabet book with things that have personal meaning they are more likely to remember each letter and the sound associated with the items they chose. Interpersonal activities give students the opportunity to practice their letters with their classmates. Give groups of students a bag of toys or pictures to sort by their beginning letter. You can also hide letters around the room and send teams of students to hunt for the letters and match them with their sounds. Children are drawn to nature, so bring the natural world indoors and connect it with the alphabet. Take your students on a nature hike and gather natural items like acorns, berries and cones. The children can then help you set up a nature alphabet table to display their findings sorted by their beginning letter. Of course, no alphabet activity list would be complete without mentioning multi-sensory activities. If you have the space your classroom you can set up a sensory center and allow students to choose how they would like to practice their letters. The sensory center can be stocked with things like sandpaper, shaving cream, play dough, aluminum foil, pipe cleaners, puffy paint, and sand. These messier sensory activities can be placed in a zip-lock bag and sealed for less mess. Preschool is such a wondrous time, and if you make learning letters fun and exciting and you will soon have a classroom full of proud alphabet experts.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sentences and Sight words!

Hello All, Today our curriculum (Handwriting without tears get set for school Pre-K) called for sentence building. Each child was supposed to dictate a sentence and we were to count the number of words in the sentence. This is a simple activity that would only take a few minutes had I not put my own spin on it. I decided to turn this into a sentence building, sight word, graphing activity! WHEW! Literacy and numbers in the same lesson, I love double duty lessons!
We started by choosing a picture from a bucket. Each child took a turn and made up a sentence. We counted the number of words after I wrote the sentence on the large graph paper. Once our sentences were finished we identified and found each of our sight words. We circled each sight word and counted how many times we had used each word. I wrote the word and number on the right hand side of the sentence sheet.
Once we finished counting each sight word we made a bar graph to compare how many times we used each word. The children helped me decide which word we used the most, which 2 were tied for least and which 3 were a tie at 2x each. This was so much fun, the class realy enjoyed learning about making a bar graph and I do feel that this activity strengthened their recognition of this weeks sight words.
We also made the hibernating sorting graph from my newest TpT unit. The kids really liked the color pictures and have a good understanding of hibernating, relocating and adapting. This is turning out to be a great week! And now for a funny.........
This is my son Collin, he is 4, he did not want to eat his dinner so instead of fighting it he just decided to go to sleep! This is how he fell asleep and started snoring at our kitchen table. Haha, so cute! Have a blessed rest of your wek! Till next time, Christine

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our day in the dark! Hibernation/Nocturnal Animals Study

Hello All, I just wanted to share with you some great activities our department did this past week for Nocturnal animals and hibernation. We had so much fun exploring how animals live at night. We spent an entire day with no lights on, the kids brought small flashlights and one Mom donated finger flashlights (which are totally awesome, this was the first time I had ever seen them!). My class spent time discovering new animals that are nocturnal that we didn't already know about, like scorpions! My favorite part of the week though was our letter and number hunts. I hung the #'s 1-20 in my classroom and gave each child a clipboard with a recording sheet on it. They were instructed to roam the room with their flashlights and find each number. Once they found a number they were to color in the box that had the same number. We did the same with letters in my collegues room. The class had so much fun with this! I was surprised at how it kept their attention. They found all 26 letters and all 20 numbers without complaint or stopping. Here are a few pics of the fun! (sorry they are a little dark since we didn't have the lights on)
You can find these recording sheets and other nocturnal activities here on tpt: Nocturnal Unit
Here is a great owl craft that my room Mom prepared for us, the kids had so much fun "flying" these owls around the room!
This week we will focus more on hibernation. I have just listed a new unit full of activities and worksheets to go along with our theme, check it out here: Hibernation Unit Iwill be posting more hibernation/nocturnal activities throughout the week so check back often and follow me! Enjoy, Christine

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

5 Minute Literacy: my newest unit and a giveaway!

So, in an effort to make life easier on myself I started jotting down and copying short literacy ideas to send home to my kiddos parents. I had a few struggling students that I wasn't ready to put in books but I wanted them to practice letters and literacy skills in a meaninful way.They have enjoyed this so much that I decided to type it all out on cute cards and make a unit for Teachers Pay Teachers. I fugure, like myself, there must be some other teachers with students like mine who are not ready for true reading groups but would benefit from some practice at home. The great thing about these activities is that they also do double duty when you use them in your classroom during small groups. 5 Minute Literacy
5 Minute Literacy has 22 different cards with an easy, fun activity for parents to do with their children. Each card is labeled with a number so you can use the included log to track which student has done which activity. (this also means you can print them out in cute color on cardstock because the parents will give them back to you, hopefully:))
For increased letter work have your students complete the 30 letter finds which include a visual discrimination letter find for each letter of the aplhabet, a vowel/consonant letter find and a letter/number find.
The last section of 5 Munite Literacy is 9 minicenters. All you will need is 9 baggies to put the pieces in and you have easy to transport, fun centers. These centers cover uppercase/lowercase matching, rhyming, CVC words, missing letters and more.
What I like best about this packet though is the way it opens some parents eyes. They come in and say "they knew this, but not this" or "I see we have to work on this, any ideas?" I think this is a good way to get the parents involved in their child's reading. The kiddos are so excited, they ask me "what is our homework today?" and it builds their self-esteem. Escpecially for those who are a little behind or that struggle with their letters. NOW... for the giveaway! I will give this away to one follower who leaves a comment on how they build small spurts of literacy into their day. Don't forget to leave your email address so I can send one lucky winner the file! Blessings, Christine

Friday, October 12, 2012

Linky Party Giveaway Winner!

Hello Everyone, Thank you to everyone who linked up and visited my first linky party. All of the fall freebies were fantastic! I said I would giveaway my Pumpkin Patch Math and Literacy Unit to one lucky linker, drum roll please...... THE WINNER IS: Shuna Patterson @ Pocket Full of Kinders! Congratulations Shuna! Have a blessed weekend! Christine

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall Freebie Linky Party!

Hello All, I am trying my hand at my first linky party! YEAH! Since fall is my favorite season I thought I would highlight it with links to fall themed freebies for our fellow teachers. Please link directly to your free item description on your blog or directly to your free item on TpT! To participate link up and please take a moment to place my linky party button with a short comment on your blog. I would sure appreciate you following me here at the crazy pre-k classroom and in my store on TpT. Here is my freebie for you: Corn themed mini unit
I will be choosing a linky party participant at the end of the linky party (Oct. 13) to recieve my Fun in the Pumpkin Patch Math and Literacy Unit
Have fun exploring some free fall fun! Link up below! You won't regret it! Till next time, Christine

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Study: Corn Mini Unit Freebie!

After having a super fun week with my kiddos studying corn I decided to put everything we did down on paper and give it away for free! It all started with a pesky common core objective involving measurement but turned out to be so much more! My teacher freind Bev Fleming and I decided that our Autumn theme would be best served by studying fall veggies, which eventually lead us to corn. We decided to create a cornstalk that would "grow" all week long. I made a base out of wood and used an old lightbulb holder to place pvc pipe in. I bought 4 couplers to attach the pvc pipe together as it grew. Here is a picture of our cornstalk on day 3. It grew from 1 foot all the way to 9 feet, with 5 ears of corn on it.
(this is my little boy, Collin) I used butcher paper and green paint to decorate the pvc pipe in sections so it could be easily assembled each day. I attached the paper with hot glue. For the ears of corn I glued 2 pieces cut into corn shape leaving a hole large enough to stuff it with pillow fluff. I then attached 2 green husk leaves. I attached the ears of corn to the stalk with clear packing tape.
I created a workbook for our kiddos to use each day when we measured ourselves next to the cornstalk. On each page is a sentence that the children filled in the height (standard measurement) and # of ears on the stalk (counting.) There is also a box of describing words for them to discuss and circle (vocabulary building). My favorite part of the page though is where the children draw themselves in relation to the stalk on each given day (non-standard measurment). It was so interesting to see who truly understood the concept of size and who didn't. We also took some time to taste several foods made from corn and then graphed our favorites. I also created a worksheet for us to cut and label the different parts of an ear of corn. All of the activities and printables we used are available for free on TpT. Use the link below to download your copy! Enjoy! Christine Corn Themed Mini-Unit

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

10 Letter and Sound recognition strategies for little ones!

Letter name and Sound recognition is one of the key objectives of Pre-k and K instruction. We spend a majority of our day working on letters, including letters in every activity and talking about letters (and numbers for that fact!) Here are some strategies I use to help my little kiddos remember those letter and sounds! 1. I seperate my letters and sounds: When I want the children to focus on sounds I only use the sound, I say "this letter says a,a,a holding up or pointing to the letter a. this gives the child one thing to focus on versus trying to connect the letter name and the sound. 2. I follow my sound instruction with a practice sheet or activity: This helps the children solidify the letter sounds they have just worked on. 3. I only work on a few letters at a time: Overwhelming the kiddos with all 26 sounds at one time does not help them learn, breaking up the alphabet into small chunks helps the children to concentrate on the important letters first and then onto the next set when finished. 4. I teach with letter manipulatives: Whether I am teaching the sound or the letter name I use letter magnets, letter tiles or letter printouts to help my kinesthetic and visual students learn. 5. I have the children write the letter on the board: When I am teaching the letter name and formation I allow each student to come up to the board and practice the correct strokes before trying on their own. 6. I follow my letter name instruction with tracing practice: To solidify the proper strokes for a letter I follow my instruction with a worksheet or cutting activity that practices the given letter. 7. I play sound and letter name bingo: I use the same cards for both sound and letter names, however I do not mix them both in one game. I try to play one or the other 2-3 times per week for a few minutes. The brain starts to make the connections without direct instruction to connect the sound with the letter name. 8. I work in small groups depending on ability: I break my kiddos into groups of 4 and work on letters depending on where they are. For instance right now I have a group that is solely working on letter sound identification, another group decoding CVC words and a third group blending, reading CVC words and working on sight words. 9. I keep sight words seperate from sound/letter name instruction: I have found that sight words can confuse some kiddos who do not have a good handle on letters. I make sure to work with these kiddos on mastering letters before introducing sight words. I do introduce sight words to any kiddos who need it through small groups. 10. Read, Read, Read: I believe reading to my kiddos either through books or pocket chart stories helps children connect the sound with the letter. I hope you find these strategies helpful in your persuit of teaching young brains, remember to keep it light, fun and with as much movement as possible. Combining visual, audio and kinesthetic learning strategies will imporve the outcome of your kiddos year! Till next time, Christine