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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Shoes- Telling Left and Right

With my boys they thankfully can now put on their velcro shoes by themselves. YAY!! But, my youngest still have trouble knowing which foot is which. I saw this on pinterst somewhere and put it to work in our house.

It's been working wonders. I found the perfect sized sticker and cut it in half. Now, I just wonder how long they will stick. :) At least I have more stickers as backup.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cute Flowers for Drawing Names

When I first began teaching I made this little flower pot. On each flower I wrote the students name. Then I realized with kids leaving and new ones coming, it got a little tedious. So as you can tell from this picture I numbered each flower. Plus, I was able to keep it from year to year. :)
Now, whenever I needed to choose a student at random, I pulled a flower from the pot. Plus it makes a cute little desk decoration.
Directions: 1 small flower pot, green popsicle sticks, and a variety of fun foam colors, scissors and hot glue gun.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Super Sprayer

During the "olden days" of overhead projectors in the classroom you needed a wet paper towel or something to wipe it clean. I reluctantly gave up my projector for newer technology in my classroom, but I still use Vis-a-vis markers on many laminated things. (Especially my 100s behavior chart).

So to keep my classroom fun and entertaining, I had the "Super Sprayer". This was so fun for the kids, it became one of my classroom chores for them. I bought a simple spray water bottle and decorated it with, eyes, hair and a cape... TADAAA a "super sprayer".

Ok- this picture is of the one I have had for at least 8 years so it has been rather "loved". At one point it did have sequins hot glued around the cape, but like I said, this has been used for MANY years. When I return back to the classroom in a few years my beloved super sprayer will get a much needed facelift.

 I hope this might give you some inspiration for your classroom. Well worth the few minutes it takes to make this.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Behavior Management with a 100s Chart

There are a ZILLION uses for a 100s chart. I'm not sure how I came up with this little idea, but it is WONDERFUL!!!
For some reason when I was a new teacher I bought a 100s chart... for 4th graders. Needless to say it sat in my bulletin board box for ages. Then when I taught 3rd we used it for multiplication, but until then it sat empty.

I had a revelation.... use it for behavior! I'm one of those teachers that the kids never know what to expect from me. You know those times when you really have to "go" so you take 2 mins to literally run down the hall to the restroom. Then when you come back you know they were acting up. Sometimes I would find out who was talking and sign their folders. Other times when I would ask who was talking and if anyone fessed up, I would reward them for being honest.

This is where the chart comes in. For each time I caught the kids doing anything good, being helpful, etc I would have them "sign the hundreds chart". The kids would take a vis-a-vis marker and sign their initials on one square (of a laminated hundreds chart). Then when the chart was full I would lay it on the floor and drop counting chips onto it. If a chip fell on their name, they would get some kind of prize.

Hint- The first time I did this, we filled it out going 1-100 in order. But when I first dropped the chips they realized that most of the chips fell toward the center, so you may want to try hard to get the edges. So then they began filling the squares in wherever they wanted. So I rolled with it.

This was an easy and fast way to promote good behavior. I highly suggest trying this!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shoe Tying in a Jiffy

I ran across this website where you can teach your child to tie their shoes in 5 mins. I was skeptical, since after 5 MONTHS we are still trying. It's a little tricky.

Teach Your Child To Tie Shoes In 5 Minutes
I did figure it out myself. When I tried to teach it to my 5 year old, he said it was too hard and wanted to do it the old way. So after months and many battles of trying to get him to do it (the "typical" way), he did it all by himself. I guess I just had to show him a different way he didn't like to make him do it on his own. Go figure!

Letter S - Sun/Star, Silver, #11

Our Thematic Unit for Letter S - Our topic is the sun & stars.

Other skills we are covering: the color silver, number 11, -ick chunk, adding, subtracting, patterns, comparing contrasting, cutting, writing basic numbers and letters, vocab, and the list goes on and on. Since we were learning silver, I threw in silverware and we even practiced setting the table. (I was on a roll!)

Normally, I start off with the letter and the theme, but this time I began with silver because I was in more of a crafty mood. We made a silver collage. I found all kinds of silver crafty goodness and let them glue it down. (Tin foil, cupcake wrappers, glitter, paperclips, etc).

Then  we went onto the number 11. We made the number 11 with tin foil. After it was glued down, I reviewed tally marks and roman numerals with them. It is not in this picture, but I wrote that on their #11 page below.

To expand on the number 11 and tie it into our Stars and letter S theme, I drew a letter S and added 11 dots on it. They then added 11 silver sticker stars to the letter S. (See, I tied in the color silver again and also began teaching them about "constellations"). Some days I am amazed about what I can tie together. Others days it is a complete flop. :)

If you would like to purchase my Sun & Stars Thematic Unit click here. It is 39 pages and includes the above ideas for lessons with many printables.

To go with this unit as an extra, I also have a sun powerpoint that I showed my boys. It has some really neat real life pictures of the sun. Sun Powerpoint. It is higher level since I made it for my 3rd graders, but my PreK and K boys loved it.

Slide from the power point lesson.
As a FREEBIE to my blog readers, if you purchase the thematic unit from either TPT or TN, email me at cityteachergoescountry@hotmail.com and I will send you the sun powerpoint for FREE!

Above is a picture of some of the things we made while doing "mommy preschool". I have a posterboard with paperclips poked through it. Each week they can easily change out their display papers.

Here is one more picture of an activity we did. I found a few items with unique shapes. I did a science experiment about the sun with them. I laid the items out on a purple sheet of construction paper out in the direct sun all day. I showed them how the sun fades colors. Then my youngest matched the item with it's shape left from the sun.

Friday, July 12, 2013

I Feel So Country!

With our garden in full swing this summer, I was actually prepared this year for our "crop". I have all the canning supplies now and also have narrowed it down to our 2 favorite dill recipes. This year I am trying 2 different spicy pickle recipes too. (But they have to sit a  little longer before I try them, so I don't know if they are good yet). I have a whole cubby full of pickles and my garden is still producing. Last year when I made pickles I thought, why would people do this when they can just buy them at the store. I guess I've had a change of heart. Plus I found people like them as gifts.  Who knew!??!
This is where I REALLY feel Laura Ingalls. I planted pumpkin seeds left over from last year. I never guessed it would work this year since they hadn't in years past. Well, yep they are doing well. I had small little pumpkin seeds and regular sized ones. The small pumpkins the boys have been using as decorations because I have no idea what to do with them. So pumpkins decorations in July. :)  Then the big ones became ripe. I picked one and it sat on my counter for a few days and I pondered what to do with it. Carve it?? That is all I've ever done before.My 3 yr old would see it and ask for pumpkin bread. I've NEVER made it before, but he put 2 and 2 together about zucchinis from the garden and making zucchini bread, so he asked for pumpkin bread. Let me also say, last fall was also the first time I made pumpkin anything (with the canned stuff).
Since I can't let me sweetie down, I sat down and googled what to do with a real pumpkin. Thank goodness for the internet and blogs with pictures!!
In case you want to know, it is EASY.
1. Cut your pumpkin into 4 big chunks (like cutting a melon). I used an electric knife.
2. Scoop out the seeds and guts with a spoon.
3. Lay it on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for at least an hour.
4. Scoop out the flesh part (kinda like a baked sweet potato).
5. Put in a blender or food processor and add a tiny bit of water.
6. Freeze 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups in a ziplock bag. This makes it easier later when making things, it is already measured for you.

I baked my pumpkin and made my own puree for pumpkin bread. It had pinned a pumpkin bread recipe and it came with an icing recipe too. SO GOOD!!! Here is the pumpkin bread recipe link I used. I suggest trying it.
Pumpkin bread from scratch and buttercream icing.
So now I know how to make pumpkin bread from scratch. Once again, this is NOT how I normally cook. I am so proud of myself. Since I pureed 2 pumpkins worth, I have the pureee saved in my freezer. I can't wait to try out more.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Numberline Freebie

I thought I would add another freebie for you if you are checking out my blog as a thank you. I am giving you the link to my TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers) store, TN (Teachers Notebook) store, and the dropbox downloadable link. Don't worry, each way is FREE. You can choose from the one where you have an account. Happy counting!
Counting by 2s is in police cars, counting by 10s is police cars, and counting 1s (1-10) is ambulances.
You can cut them into horizontal strips and tape them to make a long numberline.

Tractors Thematic Unit - Letter T

My boys LOVE tractors! My oldest son's first words were 1) dada 2) momma 3) tractor. Yes, his 3rd word was tractor.
When doing preschool lessons with them, of course I wanted letter T to be tractor. I searched high and low and found very little... lots of farms stuff, but not tractors. So I hoped to create my own unit. Then I ran into the problem of finding clipart. There was nothing I wanted because it was all farm related (animals, silo, etc). I wanted different kinds of tractors.
Browsing through clipart artists on TPT (Teacher's Pay Teachers) I found Aisne. I contacted her with what I was looking for and she created a clipart package for me. I was beyond thrilled!! If you haven't seen her work, check her out. Aisne's Creations. She has some amazing real life animal artwork too.

So I'm proudly introducing my tractors thematic unit. As of right now, it is ONE of a kind. :) This is like my other thematic units. This one is 44 pages that includes the typical patterning, adding, subtraction, what is different, etc. BUT, I also included 2 file folder games and a few worksheets and activities on short vowels.

Tractor Unit on TPT

Tractors Unit on TN
If you have a little tractor lover, then this is for you! It is one of a kind.

Below are a few pictures of my boys learning in action.

Playing with Play Doh and making different tire markings.
You can also use paint on the tires instead of play doh, and do tire painting tracks, but tempra paint is not something I do. It is too messy for me and I don't like the thought of paint all over their tractors. But if messy is the way you teach, then go with it!! I applaud you! I'm too much of a neat freak. :)

Making an ABAB pattern with tractors
Tractor sorting was by tractors with front end loaders & without and then "special" tractors (because I only know "combine" as a real name) and then tractor implements (hay balers, and whatever that other thing is). Remember I am a transplanted city girl, still learning all the country lingo.

"-ing word making game" - I originally made it for file folder, but I am cheap and out of folders, so I just used a large sheet of construction paper and folded it in half.
Making a rectangle with the tractor pieces. Notice the camouflage tractor shirt. That is his favorite.
Another making words activity.

The below is a tractor art I made up as I went using shapes. I took "Totally Tots" letter T idea and ran with it as far as shapes are concerned to reinforce our shape learning.
I got the above Letter T tractor craft from Totally Tots. Isn't that adorable!! Check out her blog too for some great ideas.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Magic Tree House Series

My 5 year old is into the Magic Tree House series. (That makes this teacher mama smile). I pulled all my books out of the attic from my teaching days. Since I was reading them anyway with my son, I figured I would use my time wisely and go ahead and make Guided Reading lesson plans and activities with these stories so that I would have them "ready" for when I went back to teaching.

I will be making more lessons for these novels. But they take time. :) I have teacher lessons and activities for each chapter. Plus a different skill for each chapter too.

I also made graphic organizers that can go with ANY Magic Tree House book. These are for sale at my TPT store or at Teachers Notebook, depending on where you like to do your shopping.

A tye- dyeing 4th of July

For the 4th, we left our little rural town and headed to the big city. I put both my boys down for a nap under the watchful eye of their grandparents. This left me at least 90 mins of time with NO kids. My car followed it's homing device and I ended up in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby. After entering I paused between the shopping carts and hand held baskets. I had no need for anything and I wanted to "just look around", so I chose the shopping cart. :)
I ended up with quite the cart full (don't tell the hubby). While looking I remembered a shirt I saw on pinterest. So I stood in the tye dye aisle searching pinterest on my phone for the project. Unfortunately, they were out of the items on the directions, so I improvised.
I bought these 2 paints instead.

They were 2.99 each. SEI Tumble Dye Paints.

My project turned out better than the directions I read online. Theirs required lots of time to soak and sit. Mine was do in no time!!

Step 1: Damped the white t-shirt
Step 2: Put 2 rubberbands around the shirt dividing it into 1/3s.
Step 3: These paints you just spray on where you want the color.
Step 4: Let dry in the sun. (In a TX summer, mine were dry in 30 mins).
Step 5: Put in the dryer for 20 mins.

This is great because I wanted them to wear them to the fireworks party later that evening.

This is how my children pose when I ask to take their pictures. Oh well, I wanted the pic of the shirt anyway. :) Happy tye-dying!