Thursday, May 22, 2014

May Preschool

May preschool is so much fun!  We review all of what we've learned throughout the year - and that's A LOT!  We practice our reading, writing, drawing, singing, math, puzzles and have an all around good time.  I do a one-on-one assessment with each child to figure out what they know and what we'll be working on together next.  Find review activities and the assessment to do with your kids at home or school here.  We had a fantastic year of learning and I look forward to seeing most of these kids in Preschool B in August.  Happy Summer everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tot School Friends

We had a great last day of tot school.  It's the last day of tot school that I'll be doing and we had so much fun talking all about friends!  It was lovely weather, we ate popcorn, sang songs, and played outside for most of the day!  It was a fantastic year of learning and I've loved every minute of it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tot School Pets

We had a great day learning about pets in tot school. Everyone loved the stuffed animals and the masks that we played with.  We talked about how to treat animals kindly. We practiced the songs we'd be singing for our end of year celebration, played puzzles, reviewed all our letters and played outside in the snow.  Can you believe that it snowed?  May is crazy like that in Colorado. What a great day of school!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Are You Ready?

We were given the fantastic opportunity to review the new "Are You Ready?" series of assessment games from Lakeshore.  We picked "Are You Ready for First Grade?" because it fit our current needs.  This game is a fantastic way to get a quick glimpse of what didn't sink in or what I accidentally forgot to teach CJ during the Kindergarten year.   It's set up like a game show and for each grade level you get 6 different games that let your child earn pretend cash for each math and language question answered correctly.  CJ and EMan LOVE money and were giddy with excitement as they learned the rules to the game.  In fact, before starting the game I overheard CJ say, "EMan, let's finish the laundry fast so we can play the earning money game!"  The put away their laundry in record time. 
We had a great time playing this game.  Each game has a set of 33 cards that you set up on the game board.  Your "contestant" gets to pick a card and if they answer it correctly they get the amount of money listed on the card.  This inspired CJ to pick the highest valued cards right off the bat.
If they get an answer incorrect you make note of the card number to reference later.  I'd highly suggest pulling out their journal or writing book to use for this game.  There are a few cards that specify to write something: such as their name, the alphabet or an answer. 
 We finished the first game quite quickly and CJ wanted to move onto the second game and earn more money right away!  There is only enough money to get all of one game's answers correct, then the money must be recycled for the next game.  There are, however, certificates for what they've won at the end.  The best part is that you get to fill in the reward to something that fits your family.
After you've played one or all six games you head to the game site here and start the Post Game Assessment on the right hand side.  Lakeshore makes it easy for you to type in the number cards that were incorrect.  The website then identifies Skills to Develop with a short description of what that skill encompasses.  It also provides free printable activities and additional Lakeshore products that target that skill.  I took pictures of my computer through this process, but they turned out terrible and unhelpful.  Just trust me that it's awesome to get immediate feedback and a few work pages to go over with your kid(s).  It's a perfect homeschool companion.   
Now we'll be ready for 1st grade for sure!  Will you?  We're giving away our set and would love to see it go to a family who will love it like we did.  Scroll down and enter to win today!

This great game is available in levels K-5.  To get $10 off any Are You Ready? Game Show(R), enter code 9141 at checkout or click here for a store coupon!  Expires 7/31/14.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Preschool Mother's Day

We had a fantastic time in preschool talking about Mother's Day.  We enjoyed working on our Mother's Day art project for most of the morning.  They turned out so cute!  We ate snack surrounding the tomato plants that have now taken over my kitchen table since we've got a bit of a cold snap going on outside.  Snow in May?  You've gotta love Colorado to be able to endure this crazy weather.  
We're also working on letter Q this week in our beginning reader series.  Be sure to enter to win the beginning reader books by Saturday night!  We have a great 2 weeks of preschool review coming up as we prepare for our end of year celebration and summer!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mother's Day - A Tot School Project

We had absolute fun this week in tot school talking all about mothers for Mother's Day.  I have to start of with this awesome project we did.  If you don't have a Mother's Day idea yet you can simply do this!  We did a practice run in our notebooks before completing our final art on canvas. I used my Silhouette cutting machine to do the vinyl lettering on the canvas boards that says "Thumbody Loves You!"  It turned out really cute.  Then I used a permanent marker to draw some stems and leaves and let the kids loose with the large ink pads.  I think their little flower gardens turned out great!  (I'm sorry if I've just spoiled the surprise for mothers of my students!) 
We had a lot of fun playing with the baby dolls, dress ups, doctor kit and tool kits doing all the things moms do.  We ended our day outside enjoying the fresh spring air.  We had a fantastic day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Q is for Quilts

We had so much fun today with our Q is for Quilts theme!  We've now officially learned all 26 letters of the alphabet!  We had tons of fun reading a story about a boy who makes his own quilt.  Then we followed the directions and made our very own quilts.  They aren't quite big enough to cover preschooler's bodies but they are big enough to snuggle with and both my boys went to bed with theirs tonight :).  We used a square template, drew the squares onto the fabric and then cut them out.  Cutting out fabric is quite difficult so they each cut between 1-4 of their 9 squares by themselves.  I then sewed them together on the sewing maching. 
 After the quilts were done they got to color on them with fabric markers (if you iron the drawings before washing them it will help them stay more permanently).  We also worked on our Q the Queen Bee art from the Amazing Action Alphabet Activity books, super fun!  We did our reading lessons all snuggled up in our quilts today and ended the day "resting" while we waited for moms to come.  We had a blast!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Beginning Reader Mini Books Giveaway!

We've been working the past few weeks on our pre-reading books.  It's an important stage of reading development to be able to memorize text patterns and learn the skills that pre-reading texts provide practice in.  Be sure to check out my post about pre-reading books to familiarize yourself with the concept and skills we can be working on. 
Throughout the year we've been working on our repertoire of decodable texts.  I strongly believe that we can teach young children the alphabet in a manner where it is usable to them immediately, rather than just learning the names and sounds of symbols that don't have a purpose.  Each week as we focus on a new letter we add it to the letters we already know and work on sounding-out or decoding words with those letters.    
A decodable text in preschool is a text that utilizes only short vowels and single consonant sounds (think of CVC or consonant-vowel-consonant words like "cat").  We don't try to tackle tough phonics like digraphs (think of "th" or "sh") or soft sounds (think of "g" in giraffe).  Reading is a skill that requires a lot of practice and it's easier to practice something you are being successful at.  By the 3rd week of preschool we know the letters M, T and A and can decode or sound-out the words "at" and "am" and "mat".  That is literally success right out the gate!
I have been partnering with Esther from The Amazing Action Alphabet since I started teaching preschool.  The products she provides are excellent and follow this same philosophy that we can teach our young learners with great success.  She has a set of Beginning Reader Mini Books that are just perfect for our young readers.  The first page covers some of the basics of reading which helps every teacher or mom that has never taught reading before be successful. Then each 8.5 x 11 page has a book, intended to be copied, cut and stapled together.  Each book builds upon the previous ones as we learn to blend sounds together to read words.  The pictures are black and white and perfect for coloring.  Since they are paper books I LOVE having the kids circle any sight words they come across (I think there are a total of 6 sight words they learn to memorize).

Even if you don't win the books you can still get a great deal! I just heard back from Esther at Amazing Action Alphabet and she wants to offer a 20% discount code to readers of Little Adventures Preschool.  Just enter 11131971 at checkout! 
I  love how the second page of each book has a word list.  In the beginning of our reading lesson we write the words from the word list one at a time on the white board and practice sounding them out.  We draw pictures where it's helpful and we act things out (like "zip") to practice the words.  Then we head to the reading table where I have a big copy of the book.  I simply copied each little page to fit on a 8.5x11 by itself and put it in sheet protectors.  That way we have a giant shared reading version of the book to reference while each child has their own child size version in front of them.  We do a picture walk through the book and talk about what the pictures are showing us about the story.  Then we take turns reading pages through the story.  It works great and the kids are being successful!
I know that each of you would love to be successful in teaching reading in your home or school, right? Well, now is your chance!  Check out the Rafflecopter below and enter to win one of two copies of the Beginning Reader Mini Books from the Amazing Action Alphabet!  And don't forget to grab your discounted materials with coupon code 11131971 at checkout!  All of her products are simply amazing!

Saturday, May 3, 2014


I was so thrilled when a greatly respected teacher and mentor sent me a message earlier this year.  Her name is Gwen Vann.  She was the most excellent Kindergarten teacher I'd ever met.  I remember at a baby shower thrown for CJ by my colleagues at the elementary school Gwen gifted me a book of nursery rhymes and instructed me to make sure that my new little man knew them before coming to kindergarten.  What wise instructions she had to share.  I remember feeling quite sad that she would be retiring before CJ would enter the doors of kindergarten. She was the type of teacher I knew I could trust with my most prized possession and teach him with the enthusiasm for life and learning that I shared.

Upon retiring, which is a difficult decision for those with teaching in their soul, Gwen had a desire to continue helping in the educational world.  Teacher2Teacher Educators Consignment Sale was born out of that desire.
I taught in the public schools for 4 years before resigning to stay at home, raise a family, and eventually find that homeschooling suited our needs.  In those 4 years the amount of books, supplies, manipulatives and classroom items that I purchased out of pocket was surprising.  Now, 5 years later, the items that have been in storage from teaching 1st grade are starting to be pulled out and used in our homeschool.  Having a set of 6 of everything isn't logical anymore.  There are materials that may only take us a day or week to learn from, and then what?  Storage again?  As a homeschooler there are numerous learning tools that are fantastic to have for a short time, but our kids are growing and will soon be onto the next stage of development requiring a different set of manipulatives.  I am so thrilled about the Denver Teacher2Teacher Educators Consignment Sale August 1-3, 2014.  It will give me a chance as a homeschooler to sell items taking up storage to other homeschoolers and teachers that will love them like we loved them.  It will also give me a chance to purchase items that we're now developmentally ready for but certainly don't need to purchase brand new.  It's a win-win situation that I'm totally excited about!  So, if you're in Colorado and have a need to sell or buy teacher stuff I hope you'll join me at the Teacher2Teacher Educators Consignment Sale!  Be sure to "Like" their FaceBook page to help get the word out!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Zoo Animals - Day 2

On our second day of learning the letter Z and all about Zoo animals we had another fantastic reading lesson.  This time everyone got a copy of a zoo book called I Love You, Zoo Borns.  This is a fantastic reader for this group because it contains many of the sight words (the, to) and simple words (is, in) that we already know how to read.  We used highlighter tape to mark all the words that we could read on our own on each page.  This is a FANTASTIC activity to do at home with your young reader.  Give them the opportunity to search young reader books for words they know.  It will help them to identify sight words and take charge of their reading.  Plus, they have so much fun with it!
We also did handprint animals to celebrate zoo animals today.  We painted our hands to represent lions, monkeys, zebras and peacocks.  The kids got to pick which animals they wanted to do and then I supplied the appropriate colors of paint and paint brushes.  It was so much fun!