Saturday, September 22, 2012

Harvest Time!

So my new route home from work just happens go right by my favorite thrift store.. I raided the seasonal section  one day after school last week... I was excited with glee as I entered the store and saw racks with all cute-sy fall-y things.. I picked up these scarecrows for a dollar!! ..and pumpkins/mini wooden crates (pictured below). 
We are beginning are harvest unit and visiting a pumpkin patch at the end of October. The pretend center is a fall farmer's market.  Students can pretend to shop for harvest foods and seed packets  in the Apple Market and have pies and apple juice in the Apple Cafe. The pretend foods are plastic, felt, and crochet. Since we are also learning about textures this week I thought it would be fun to reinforce those texture words (soft, bumpy, hard, etc. ) with the foods. 

In college, one of our projects was to make a prop box.  My prop box was a grocery store..I knew one day these items would come in handy! 
The vocabulary is from: and
This activity is in our math center for next week.  Students draw out an apple and color in the corresponding number on the paper. I have activity similar to this in ABC center and students have done so well at it. The free download for the activity is from
This game is also in our math center for next week.  Students count and match the pom poms "apples" to the dots on the apple tree. 
Another math game... this can be a one or two person game. A student rolls the dice...counts the dots..places the corresponding number of acorns on the mat.  I bought some plastic acorns at hobby lobby this weekend.. btw hobby lobby is having 40% off all fall decor/craft items! The game board is free from  There are also many other cute gameboards on her blog.
I love these mini pocket charts from's too bad they are out of them..I should have bought three more. I made this matching fall math game on photoshop. 
These vocab cards pictured in our ABC center are available for free from
I was putting the vocab for our next unit into the pocket charts during our last center rotation Friday...One of my students started copying the new words in our writing center and drawing the pictures.. I was so excited for her I took a photo! I love having the vocab in every center..I am also trying to incorporate paper and pencils in many idea my fellow pre-k teachers/co-workers introduced me to.  
This is an activity in our ABC center. Students draw out a popsicle stick with letter stickers on it...they can say the letter and find the letter on the sheet..then color it in.. I'd really like dot markers for this game. 
Wikki Sticks are so awesome!!  Wikki Sticks alphabet cards cost a I made some on construction paper and laminated them. The students can bend, curve, and form the letters. The students found out that wikki sticks are "sticky" ..another one of our texture words!! 
I finally found a use for picnic scrapbook paper that i've been hoarding for  ten years!  I made these cards with the same vocab and pictures from the math center. This is a harvest "matching game" and I picked up the apple basket from a garage sale..
Science center - Pumpkin basket for books (Goodwill find!) and baskets for vocab cards/pencils/notecards
My first day of fall project!  I made these life cycle posters (for science center) this weekend with free printable cards from (click under Botany)
I love fall!!


This week we've started our unit on textures...with the overall theme still being "farm."  We read the book "Stuck in the Mud" and other mud themed books and felt slimy textures (soap, gak slime) ..then students finger painted a muddy pig. As they were painting, I tried to capture the words they used to describe what they felt..we then discussed reviewed our describing and texture words.  
Science center this week -  We have been collecting nature items and talking about other texture words such as bumpy, smooth, hard, soft..etc.  I had one student bring in some snake skin..that kids thought that was pretty cool..then that led into a discussion about animal textures..scales, fur..feathers..rough, soft.."  I made some texture cards out of scrap cardboard for students to feel  (crumpled tinfoil - bumpy, tinfoil - smooth, cotton - soft, corrugated cardboard - bumpy, lace - rough, felt/fleece - soft, sand - rough).  
Science center activity -  At the beginning of our texture unit students learned the words hard and soft. They felt the textures, said the words, and placed items in sorting rings in our share square group time.  I then replaced the sorting rings with bowls and a tray and it is now in our science center as an activity.  It has been a very popular tray so far! 
The bowls were 2 for $1 in the Target dollar aisle.. they are a new item so they should still be available.. I also bought some cute scarecrow bowls!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rainbow Bread!

For our Farm unit we have been discussing what farms and farm animals supply. We made a circle map and brainstormed all the things that cows gave us..butter, cheese, milk, beef, ice cream etc. We talked about the transportation of milk from cows, to trucks, to stores, to homes/school.  We have also been learning color words. I found this activity on pinterest and I have been wanting to try it out. It was a huge it and the kids ate every bit of their toasted creation!
I used flavored creamer but you can use whatever you have. I chose to use a muffin tin because it's less likely to spill than small bowls.  We used clean/never used small watercolor brushes, food coloring, and white bread. This was an example that I painted.. I couldn't grab my camera fast enough as a I was juggling twenty pieces of toast, a painting station, and two toasters!
One drop of food coloring is all it took to make edible paint!
And of course we read "It Looked Like Spilled Milk!" We also read the story "There's a Goat in the Garden" was about a bee who who although was the smallest of the creatures, he got the goat out of the garden. We added honey to our butter as a tribute and spread it on our rainbow toast!

Positional Words

I made this activity from a mix of google images and then laminated. I used tape to put them on the board but one could also use felt and make a felt board activity out of it.  We sing "Old MacDonald had a truck..e-i-e-i-o..and on his truck he had a cow..etc"  The kids loved it and I wrote the word "on" on the board and every time we got to the word in the song I pointed to it on the board. Next week we are going to try the word "beside" ..You could replace the truck with a tree, barn, silo, etc...and continue with "under," "inside"...

Homemade Books!

I got this book idea from, Mrs. Hale, a pre-k teacher I worked with last year. I used a basic three pronged folder and page plastic protector sheets.  We have read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See" and  we have read our own version daily. It is now in our reading center. The students can read the book themselves and are identifying their names and classmates names. The kids smiled and giggled when it was their turn. "Pre-K, Pre-K what do you see? I see (student's name) looking at me" 
I made this book from a free printable from  It goes along with the positional word we've been learning, "on." 
This homemade book was left to me by a previous teacher. Students guess the animal in the barn.  I have included beg. sounds and rhyming also....


Farm theme has been so much fun so far! We are in week one..with two more weeks of this theme.  For an art project the students made their own interpretation of farm animals. We read farm books including, "On the Farm" and "The Big Red Barn." I pre-cut barns out of construction paper and then the students drew their sleeping farm animals inside their barn. They chose to enhance their animals with cotton, yarn, and feathers that I supplied in plastic shoe boxes on the table. Raffia "hay" was included.  I love how their interpretations turned out! 
"Horse and chickens!" 
"Sheep, horse, pig, and scarecrow!"
The "owl" is so creative!
This is our newly opened science center. We are growing corn seeds in the window..some are already sprouting as of this week! 

The science center for farm theme includes chicken "sound" eggs.  (taped plastic eggs filled with rice, cotton, beans, beads, etc) We held a "share square" on the carpet and I introduced/modeled the new science activities and tools. They learned the terms: tweezers, tongs, magnifying glass, and safety goggles. 
This tray activity is called "Chicken Feather Sorting."  We've been talking about colors this week, so I grabbed a bunch of leftover feathers from our barn projects and the colored milk pails from last weeks sensory center, and put this activity together.  The mini pails are actually from the mini desserts at Logan's Roadhouse! I found the trays last year in Target's summer aisle. I love using the trays because the activity is already set up, the students just take it off the shelf to the table, do the activity, and back to the shelf..
Corn seed counting/one to one correspondence. Ice cube trays are so handy!
The kids loved this fine motor activity! I bought mini corn cobs at southern agriculture and students could pick off the corn kernels with tweezers! The shoe box really helped with keeping the corn kernels off the floor.  We can use the corn kernels for other activities and the cob for a painting project!  It took one week for the kids to pick off one mini corn kernel.

Welcome to our "Down Home Breakfast Cafe!"  The cute eggs and bacon were made by my mother in law!  The cow napkins are actually bandannas.  The cafe also serves up a variety of boxed cereals, milk, butter, juices, donuts, and muffins. The breakfast cafe idea came from my great co-teachers! 
I also incorporated some English/Spanish food/family/farm books.

I purchased the the mixer, blender, toaster, and teapot at a garage sale..all as a set for for under five dollars! The cute berries were made by my mother in law too!
Reading center complete with a Mrs. Wishy Washy tub with animal puppets and scrub brushes inside. The students and I have been singing the "Wishy Washer Woman" song: (with hand motions!)

"Way down in the valley where nobody the wishy washer woman washin' her clothes.
She goes ooh ahh..ooh ahh. And that's how the wishy washer woman washes her clothes.

Way down in the valley where nobody the wishy washer woman blowin' her nose.
She goes achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo! And that's how the wishy washer woman blows her nose!"

Farm and color picture books and an easel that is soon to house an interactive laminated barn scene.

This is a vocab./letter match tray activity for ABC center..I found the cards at
Students dig through corn kernels to find scrabble letters and match them to vocab. words. This idea is from   
Letter matching with clothespins and cards for free from
This math tray activity is free from

Farm sensory tub..the oatmeal idea is from my next door pre-k teachers. I would have never thought of oatmeal!  The tub includes tractors ( I didn't have any farm type tractors, so I used construction tractors), garden tools, plastic baggies to fill and dump, a silo, and plastic farm animals (grocery store purchase). 
This tracing activity is in our writing center. I laminated the printables so students could use the dry erase markers. The cards are from
Farm animal stencils are also included in the writing center.
This has nothing to do with farm but this is an update photo of our drop off station.  Students are responsible for getting their folder out of their backpack and placing it in the owl tub. I check and sign the folders and place them in their mailboxes. Any artwork or journal papers they complete..they are responsible for putting them in their mailboxes. They are also responsible for taking their folders out at the end of the day. I purchased the mailbox unit for $5 at a garage was an ugly fake wood paneling I painted it bright teal to match the room!