Monthly Archives: March 2009

light play

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I’ve always wanted a light table for my classroom – something where the children can experiment with color and view the x-rays I bought my class this year.  I’m always open to new ideas when it comes to math and science and I’ve always thought that a light table would be a great learning tool.  One main reason I don’t have one is because they aren’t cheap are way too expensive!  I know it can’t take that much money to build some of the things these school supply stores try to sell to us!  I mean, come on – over $400 for a light table and over $200 for a tabletop light box?!  You have got to be kidding me!

So I had the idea to make my own portable light box to use in my class.  The only problem:  I have no idea how to go about doing this.  I don’t even know someone who would have a clue how to do this.  So, I’m at a loss!  By the way, if anyone has a clue how to do this or knows of someone who’s actually made a portable light box (kinda like this) let me know!  It would be ideal if I didn’t have to plug it in  (I only have two outlets in my entire room and they are not located in good spots).  I don’t have a lot of money am virtually penniless due to the fact that I teach preschool – but if it only costs a little – I will try to make it!

I’ve also seen that some teachers use overhead projectors.  I like this idea too.  I’ve often wondered if this is in place of a light table (because they are less expensive) or do they use it along with a light table?  I will have to look into seeing if I can locate a used or unwanted overhead projector as this can be another option for me.  I am certainly open to any suggestions you might have.  If I over think it – I start to wonder if I even need a light table because life in my classroom has been going along just fine without one for years – so why spend the time or money?  Does it really make that much of a difference?  I dunno – I’ve never had one.

I would like to hear from those of you who have one – how do you utilize it in your class and would you recommend it for other classrooms?  Thanks, in advance, for all you have to say!

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sunshine

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I think the best thing you can say to a child is, “I love you.”  I make a point to say this everyday in my class.  And the children tell me the same.  We even read books and sings songs that remind each other of how much love there is between us.  Right now one of their favorite songs to request is “You Are My Sunshine”.  There are actually times where they just break out – all by themselves – and start singing this song without us having to initiate.  It’s pretty cool.  Just as cool as the times you get group hugs from the class while they all tell you they love you.  I love you too guys.

Below is an incredibly lovely version of “You Are My Sunshine” sung by the very talented Elizabeth Mitchell.  I love her childrens music – so very simple it reminds you of an earlier time…I highly recommend it for any child in your life!

letting go

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Having taught for 7 years now, I’ve learned to let go and let the children do what they need to do.  Experiment with how they do things – even if they do something I hadn’t wanted or intended them to do.  As long as they treat items respectfully and follow the rules in our room – I’ve learned to let them learn, play, and explore how they need to – so they can get the most out of an activity.  This was a hard lesson for me to learn (and in some ways I’m still learning it).  I think it’s hard for a lot of teachers.  That’s understandable.  It’s the most important lesson (or one of the most important lessons) that a teacher can learn.  I’m glad for the most part I’ve learned it – it makes teaching easier – and learning more enjoyable for the children.

Ms. Bennet has not learned this lesson yet.  She is a first year teacher…she is learning.  I’ve mentioned it to her a few times – but you can’t force someone to learn something they are not ready to learn.  But I can see that very slowly she is starting to learn it – she is starting to understand.  I don’t think it will fully happen for a long while still – but she is starting.  And I’m glad.

Children are stubborn – and good at ignoring you.  If they want to do something a certain way – they will – regaurdless of what you say.  Within reason, of course.  And I’ve found that if the teacher is very clear about her rules for the class and the general boundaries of the activity (no paint on the carpet for example) the children will be respectful and won’t push too hard.  And in the end everyone will be happy.  I like a happy class – it just makes for more sucessful learners – and I like my children to be successful…

discoveries

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There was a two year old at work today I was watching from across the playground – he seemed to have discovered his shadow for the first time today.  He was playing in the sunlight with a toy near a wall when he looked up and caught sight of his shadow.  I don’t think he knew what it was at first.  He noticed how it moved when he moved and stopped when he stopped.  He froze and stared at it for a moment – then moved very slowly looking intently at his shadow the entire time.  Then he froze and stared again.  Then he made a few sudden quick movements – it was almost like he wanted to catch his shadow off guard and move too fast for it to copy him!  So cute.  He kept doing this for a good 10 mins before he got bored and started walking away.

He walked down the wall and passed by a glass door.  I saw him glance quickly at the door as he walked by.  About 3 or 4 feet passed the door his expression changed to one of surprise and he turned around and went back to the door and stared.  At first I didn’t know why.  Then I saw him moving and looking intently again – that is when I realized:  he had discovered his reflection!  I almost laughed out loud!  He got a kick out of watching his reflection as he moved and made faces!  Once again this kept him occupied for a good 10 mins before he walked off to go play on the playground!

I love watching children make new discoveries…when their young, life’s one big adventure!

bookworms

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I was watching my book area today.  I took note of 4 different children “reading” a book outloud and after reading each page they would turn it around and show their audience the pictures.  They turned the page and repeated the process.  Over and over.  Book after book.  It was cute.

They must have been reading to some imaginary person because not one child was listening to the readers.  Of course, even if someone had been listening I don’t know that they would have been able to hear or understand the reader they had chosen due to the fact that all four were reading out loud at the same time.

But that doesn’t matter.  They were having fun.  They were taking pleasure in the simple act of reading and that’s all that matters in the end.

oh happy day!

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Progress reports are done at last!  It takes a long time to observe the children, see what they know, and then write it down and make comments to parents – but now it’s all done and tomorrow they can all go home!  Yay!  Finally!  (insert sigh of relief here)

Today we made giraffes.  I wouldn’t really call it art – more of a fine motor exercise.  I die cut a giraffe for each child out of yellow paper then I gave them light and dark brown paper and a hole punch.  They then punched out dots to glue onto their giraffe.  They all enjoyed the process – some had a hard time with punching out the dots; others had a hard time picking the dots up off the table – but they all turned out cute!

We also started making lion masks today.  Ms. Bennet and I cut the center out of a paper plate.  Then we let them put a bunch of glue on the paper plate ring.  After that they put on some crinkly shredded yellow and brown paper to make a mane (this paper was used as hay when we had a farm in our playhouse and I saved it to use for this project).  Tomorrow I will let them cut out ears for their lion and they can help staple them on.  I will enjoy watching them play with their masks and pretend to be lions!  I’m sure they’ll look adorable!

They love playing with our green playdough!  Our blue and yellow playdough turned into green weeks ago.  Usually I put out plastic knives, sicssors, cookie cutters, and rolling pins with the playdough – but lately I’ve just been putting out playdough to see what they do with it.  A first, they weren’t so sure.  But today I was proud to see them trying to make the letters in their names!  A few spelled thier names completely!  All my children (except one) know their names – but some had trouble figuring out how to make the letters with playdough.  It was nice to see them making the attpemt without me having to prompt them!  I love my class!  I don’t think they would have tried this earlier in the  year – it appears my babies are growing up!

staying focused

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I’m already pondering Mother’s Day.  Yes, I know – this early!  I actually woke up in a slight panic this morning because I have no plans on what my children will make for Mother’s Day – silly, isn’t it?  My goal this year was to be prepared in advance for all the holidays and big events in our school year – and so far so good.  But looming in the not so distant future is Mother’s Day.  I like to make something that the mother’s can keep for years to come – and if I can use a hand print that’s always a plus.  I’ve done pot holders, tiles, and jean pockets (with magnets on the back) all with hand prints in the past.  Nice keepsakes.  I have no idea for this year.

And if worrying about Mother’s Day wasn’t bad enough – it just brings up thoughts of Father’s Day – which is always way harder for me!  Especially considering that all my children don’t have a father present in their lives.  So, for now I’m going to put these things on the back burner until I manage to deal with more pressing issues – such as getting my progress reports out to the parents.  I would ideally like to put them all out on Monday – but looks like this time I will just have to send them home as I get them done.

I really don’t like writing comments on each child’s progress report – they all start to sound the same after awhile.  It’s even harder with those few children who are way behind the others.  I know the parents must be at home thinking, “Why is that teacher not doing her job?!” and then they go and complain to Ms. Lezze-Faire and she gets on me about worksheets again.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Let’s not take into consideration that the child doesn’t show up to school most of the time and when they do it’s practically lunch.  It will still somehow be my fault.  Or at least that’s how I feel.  But we’ll see how it goes.  Right now, I need to refocus on working on those progress reports.