I have no idea what took me so long to learn about this idea! Apparently I have been living in a cave somewhere – but now I have been shown the light! Recently I have learned about the different ways file folder games can be used in the classroom! This is something I would really like to bring into my classroom over the summer and into next school year. They don’t take up much room but can be used for so many different curriculum areas.
There’s only one small hitch – the teacher who was presenting this workshop said the only way you can really get a wide range of different file folder games and activities is to buy CD Roms from various websites and she said they can cost upwards of $50! I don’t really have the money to spend at this point in time. So, my question for you teachers out there is: Do you know of any websites where I can get file folder game and activity printables for free? If not, do you know the best website to perhaps purchase a CD Rom from that services the preschool/kindergarten grade level? Or perhaps you have ideas for homemade games? Any info would be greatly appreciated!
That’s what we were today! Pure awesomeness! Today was our graduation – and we blew everyone away! Great reviews from everyone we talked to afterwards! They loved our performance of our songs! People actually cheered when we were done! I was shocked! I was also extremely proud of my children! They were fantastic! And soooo adorable! They all sang – and they sang together! And none of them shouted – they actually sang! It was pure awesomeness! Really – no lie. Just a great, happy day! Absolutely perfect. They made me so proud I almost cried! I love them – they’re the best – I’ll soooo miss them when they leave me! But for now, I’m reveling in their awesomeness…
…or as close to perfect as a group of 4 year olds can get! Today we practiced our graduation songs in the church sanctuary up on the stage. My class did great! I was super proud of them – and I know they’ll do even better for our actual performance next Wednesday! We have one more practice on Tuesday. The other teachers complimented us on using our nice singing voices and not screaming. They also said that they we very well behaved and knew their songs well. It was very nice to hear! We have been learning our songs slowly over the course of a month and the children are excited to be so close to performing them for their parents!
Back in the classroom we made dinosaur skeletons for art. I cut out a dinosaur shape and then laid out 3 different pastas for them to glue on as dinosaur bones. All the children really enjoyed this project – and some actually came out looking like skeletons! I had a few pictures out on the art table of dinosaur skeletons for inspiration – the children thought that was really cool – and I actually had 4 or 5 ask me why I didn’t buy real bones at the store instead of noodles! I thought that comment was adorable! 🙂 Maybe next time kids…
Today we had our End of the Year Picnic! This is basically our class and one other class (the 3 year old class where my students for next year come from) gathering out on the grass on blankets and eating sack lunches. It’s extremely simple – yet something I look forward to each year! The other teacher and I got together a couple years ago and decided to make this a tradition! We invite the parents to join us – my class had 4 parents come and the other class had about 6 parents come. We thought this was a good turn out seeing as we only gave them a week’s notice! 🙂 After our lunch we let the children run around and play on the grass – a rare, but intensely enjoyed treat!
Before the picnic my class got to enjoy another fun tradition I always do at the end of the year – confetti! I love confetti – and so do the children! What I do is cut up construction paper into small confetti size squares – enough so that each child can have two handfuls. After each child has taken their two handfuls we do a countdown and the children get to throw it up in the air! Then they gather up some more off the floor and continue throwing it up all while laughing, giggling, shrieking, clapping, and jumping from excitement! Every year the children get a kick out of doing this and every year I get tons of joy out of watching them! This will keep their attention for quite some time – it’s really amazing! Of course, this all takes place inside our classroom and at the end of it all the children get to pick up all the little pieces of confetti scattered across the floor – and I’ve never had a child complain about doing this (maybe it’s because I warn them before if they want to have all the fun they have to help clean up the mess).
It was a fun-filled, joyful day. Next Wednesday we will have our graduation and sing our songs to the parents. Then school will be officially “out” for the summer. We don’t get summers off – we are open year round and most of my children should still attend at least part time so I will still see them – but I will miss the ones who leave and I wish them the best.
We finished punching holes and tying yarn onto our snouts and we are ready for the children to wear them tomorrow as they play! They are excited and we can’t wait to see how they choose to act out being dinosaurs!
Our science area has also been a big hit during this unit. I have two fossil replicas, three dino egg replicas, four footprint replicas, as well as a raptor claw and a t-rex tooth replica for the children to examine. All these items I found on eBay for under $20 (with shipping) – I’ve been buying then for the past few months knowing I eventually wanted to do a dinosaur unit! I felt that sometimes dinosaurs can come across as a bit abstract to pre-k children so I thought it would help to have something they could actually pick up and manipulate. Along side those items I have three books about dinosaurs for the children too look through. The books aren’t for pre-k (probably more reference books for high school or middle school) but they each have TONS of dinosaur era pictures. The children love to look through them and compare the pictures to the items on the science table!
Today we did the Dino Pokey by Mrs. Jones! The children loved it and we spent at least 20 mins singing it over and over again! Sometimes it still surprises me how something this simple can entertain a group of children for so long!
Yesterday and today we worked on making dinosaur snouts. We learned Wednesday that dinosaurs had scales on their skin and so we used starch to glue our “scales” (read: colored tissue paper squares) onto our snouts. We used white paper cups to make our snout. The opening of the cup is large enough to fit over the children’s nose and mouth. We cut out the botton of each cup then on each side we cut a triangle shape out so it essentially looks like an open mouth. The children were super excited when I said I’d punch a hole on each side and use yarn to tie them around each child’s head so that they could wear them to pretend to be dinosaurs! They actually squealed with joy! So we might be pretending to be dinosaurs either tomorrow or Monday! Good times.
I’m also planning on using a die cut of a Stegosaurus I have at work to make counting mats to use with my dinosaur counters. I’ll write a number between 1 and 20 on each dinosaur then let the children pick one and count out that many manipulative’s. Some of my children are still having a hard time recognizing numbers while others have a hard time with the concept that they should only pick up one dinosaur counter for each number when they count. So, this will be a good way to work on that. They can also sort and/or pattern the counters if the choose.
So we continue to have fun while learning with dinosaurs!
Today was a great day! It felt like our classroom was running like a well oiled machine. The children are independent and confident enough to get through most of their centers without needing tons of help. They are able to resolve their disputes without constant tattling…a very nice feeling. Sometimes they need help finding the right words…but that’s natural. They are happy and engaged…you can see it in their faces. I like knowing this…it means I’ve done my job.
They are really enjoying our dinosaur theme. We still have our jungle in the playhouse area…but now it’s a dinosaur habitat! I put these inflatable dinosaurs in the playhouse/jungle area. I bought them on clearance 50% off at the beginning of the school year and I’m glad I finally have an excuse to use them! Despite the so-so reviews of them not working, mine seem to be doing fine! There is one that must have a tiny leak because at the end of the day about 1/3 of the air was out. But I don’t mind adding a little air each day – it’s a small price to pay for the children having sooo much fun with them!
I’ve also added some small dinos to our playdough – and the children have been having a blast using them to make footprints and landscapes with the playdough! Some of the kids even put a couple of them in a ball of playdough and pretended that they were hatching from eggs! Too cute! There are dinosaur rubbing plates to use with the crayons as well – a new experience for most of my class – but they’re starting to understand how to do it correctly! 🙂 Our oatmeal table now houses these skeleton dinosaurs as well as some brushes and scoops so the children can bury and them and then excavate the bones. I love these dinosaurs and the children seem to as well!
Right now, we seem to be working in perfect harmony with each other – an engaged, happy class! Let’s hope it continues! 🙂