Pete the Cat is my best friend!

I LOVE Pete the Cat! I first discovered the original Pete book during a Kindergarten inservice. I bought it at our book fair, and it was such a hit in my classroom (along with several other teachers who borrowed it), that we now have 3 Pete books. I downloaded all the free songs that accompany the books, and they are so catchy and cool. You can listen to the songs by following the previous link.

These books engage EVERYone (so far!) and are a great way to talk about coping skills, review concepts of print, colors, counting, and school activities.

I never worry when Pete the Cat is around, because “it’s all good.” :)

Start your Pete collection here. Pete also appears fantastically on Youtube, singing Wheels on the Bus.

 

 

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Transition Tactics

Transition is a tricky classroom process, and I’ve used many transition strategies – carrying pictures to a basket at the next station, checking individual visual schedules, using a group schedule. My favorite transition method follows. I made new cards for this year because our last sets were well-loved!

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I used Pyramid PECs images to create these transition cards. You can use Boardmaker, google images, or actual pictures.These pictures are 2″ by 2″.

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I made three sets of these little cards – one for me and two for my amazing assistants.

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I also made 3″ cards that correspond to each shape. I put these on the tables in our classroom with clear tape (we have four tables). Here are the other shapes I used:

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My assistants and I each carry a set of cards so we can easily show the children the appropriate picture. For example, if a puzzle center is set up on the “star table,” whoever is running that center will approach the child, present the star picture, and say “Time for star table.”  Image

I also added some picture cards for group activities – snack, circle time, playground, and bathroom.

I find this system flexible for most students, and most organized for teachers and assistants. The children love labeling and looking at the pictures, and the pictures are a significant aid for students who experience difficulty during transitions.

This is working for me and mine. Happy transitioning! :)

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The Amazing Ipad

I love our Ipad. It has opened a world of opportunity for my students. I am planning many more ways to use it to facilitate communication and create motivation in learning for my students.

Here is a good collection of ideas for using the Ipad in your classroom – I love the idea for creating an online portfolio for preschoolers!

Karen from Prekinders has a good list of preschool apps also.

Here are my top apps:

Match It Up 1 (also 2 & 3) – Visually clear matching app. Great for practicing matching colors, shapes, objects, and associated items. Also works on point and drag skills, scanning a field of 9 or less before making a choice, and provides a reinforcing graphic and sound effect at the end.

Interactive ABCs I primarily use this as a reinforcing activity, or for children still learning to select, drag, and manipulate items. Interactive ABC’s is an engaging app that progresses through the alphabet. Each letter is accompanied by a graphic and effect (for example, at “A” the child presses an apple to see bites disappear, with an accompanying sound effect). On the main screen there is tiny “a b c” graphic that, when pressed, plays the alphabet song while highlighting each letter as it is sung. I discovered handy little reinforcer after using this app for months – who knew? 

Toddler Counting Don’t let the name deceive you! This is a great counting app for Preschool practice in associating number to object and determining quantity. 1 – 12 objects appear on the screen, and the child touches each object to see the corresponding number appear, and hear the number stated. Great for pointing, scanning a field, and completing a task independently. Plus the number practice.

The Ipad is amazing, and I’m thankful to have access to this fantastic world of learning! 

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Teacher’s Best Friend

This is one of the best things I own. When I bought my laminator I couldn’t BELIEVE I hadn’t done it sooner. All that time waiting for the laminator to be available, be reloaded, etc., etc….so nice to turn this on and immediately have a fantastic teaching item converted to indestruction. It really saves a lot of time, especially considering you rarely have to remake those items. If I want it to last, it goes through this little wizard.

At 16 cents per sheet, (if you buy 100 sheets) it’s a worthwhile investment.

Hint – Buy the bigger sheets, don’t bother with the small ones. It’s easier to cut the sheet in strips and reuse the little parts than to try to fit things perfectly into the smaller laminating sheets.

Happy lamination! :)

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Free, Easy, Sort-by-Color Activity

I saw an idea involving paint chips on pinterest recently – here.

I started thinking about paint chips. They are free. Colorful. Durable. Hmm….

So I went into Home Depot and pulled an arrangement of Martha Stewart chips. I am a little wary of M.S. things, because I prefer to avoid being shown up as a sub-par homemaker. However, her paint chips are vibrant, and they come in Preschool colors!

I’m working on a Preschool/K packet to teach colors, and decided the paint chips may as well join me on this journey. I took my bright, tough cards - Image

And my leaf punch (I got this from Michaels years ago, actually it is the only punch I own which must be a major M.S. flaw).

ImageTa da! Look at my cute, colorful leaves! So now my kids can sort by color, and use fine motor skills to pick up the tiny leaves. I use the party serving trays from the dollar store for sorting activities.

ImageThough I will admit I got this one (my favorite) at Party City. This tray is great because it is so straightforward, and gives visual distinction to the choices.

I can see many other ideas for paint chips emerging in the future, what a great resource!

P.S. I apologize for the blurry photos, it’s my Ipod.

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Refrigerator Stories: Great PreK – K Reading Curriculum

I LOVE this set of reading books. It’s designed for Kindergarten students, but worked great with my PreK children last year for concepts of print, picture identification, and attending in a group.

We read one story per week every day, then did individual little books with each child (the children had to color and “read” the book with an adult’s help). My kids LOVED this, and it’s so great to have the books to send home so Mom and Dad can help practice with something the children are familiar with.

The other nice thing is there’s one book for each week of the year that follows popular themes. You can make all the group posters and student books at once, then pull out whatever you need for that week. One less project to prepare each week!

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