Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Welcome to my classroom

Well, this is my first post. I can't believe I'm a blogger! I hope to share my ideas with many people, but if it turns out I'm just talking to myself, then at the very least all my ideas are organized in one place.
I thought I'd start out by showing you around my classroom. Maybe you'll see something you can use in your own. First up is our helper board -- better known as "Hoppin' Helpers." (I have a thing for frogs. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement. I'm OBSESSED!)
The jobs included are:
  • Snack Helper
  • Calendar and Weather Helpers
  • Garbage Helpers
  • Light Helper
  • Frogger (see below)
  • Center Chooser (can choose any activity they wish to put at one of the tables for center time)
  • Name Shape Collector (we set out shapes with a child's name on each one and that shows them where to sit for snacks and lunch)
  • Door Holders
  • Floor Detective (gets to pick up an odd toy here and there that was missed during clean-up time)
  • Line-up Announcer (gets to yell "Line up Pre-K!" on the playground)
  • Teacher Helpers (for getting supplies and helping with making copies)
  • Caboose (gets to be last in line and say "Choo Choo" before we leave the room)
  • All Star (see below)
  • Book Shelf Organizer
  • Substitutes
Every week the kids (whose names are on frogs) get a new job. I started out buying a pack of frogs from a school-supply store, but now I make them myself. The job pictures are printed out from a greeting card program I own. Notice I said "gets to" a lot in the descriptions of the jobs. Yes, children love being the caboose (instead of just being last in line) and they love being floor detective to pick up that one toy! They really take their jobs seriously!

Frogger: Whenever we leave the classroom, the frogger gets to move the frog to one of the lily pads, depending on where we are going.
The choices are the park, a walk, the playground, and a field trip. I left one lily pad blank in case we go somewhere other than those four places. And because it's laminated, I can use a dry erase marker and just wipe it off when we get back! The frog is just a picture I colored and attached to a clothespin. There is another frog on the flip side so it can be used on the left.

All Star: Our All Star is our special student of the week. They are allowed to bring in games or toys from home to share with the class. They can also bring in pictures for our bulletin board.
For the second round of All Stars, we send cards home that the kids fill out with the help of their parents. These include "My favorite thing about Pre-K," "My pets or favorite animals," "Something about me the class doesn't know," and "When I grow up I want to be..." The kids can color, write, cut out pictures from magazines, or use real photos. Then we share them during circle time and hang them on the bulletin board for the week.

Next up is our Star Students board. When we catch someone doing something nice for a friend or teacher, or doing an extra great job listening and following the rules, they get a star on the star chart, which is a small dry erase board.
Once they get eight stars, they can pick something from our treat bucket. It could be a pencil, small toy, sticker, tattoo, or small candy. We even put in happy meal toys that parents donate! Once the child picks their prize, their eight stars are erased and they start over again. The best thing about that is no one can tell who gets the most stars. Someone who only has 1 could have just started over. So it's a great way to cut back on competitiveness.

And the last thing I want to show you is our birthday display.
I bought a pack of sea creatures from a school-supply store and wrote the kids' names and birthdays on them. Then I made some seaweed and a sandy bottom and applied them to blue paper. It's our own sea of birthdays!

I think I will end here. I've been working on this post for two days! In the days to come, I hope to share lots of art projects and other Pre-k actitivies with anyone who's willing to listen read. Thanks for stopping by!

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