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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Photo Ornaments

Hello there!

We're done with Thanksgiving and Black Friday.....that means....Christmas season has official started!

When my high schooler was in third grade she came home with a similar ornament. I just LOVED IT! It was so unique and special I just fell in love with it. 7 years later, it still hangs on my Christmas tree every single year. My goal is to have our Christmas tree decorated only with dozens and dozens of these ornaments with pictures of family members and special memories of our family.....one day!


Here are the details to create these ornaments for your students or for your family.

The first thing you need to do is find out the size of the ornaments you will be using. The ones I use are clear plastic 2.5" diameter. I purchased these ones at Michael's for less than $10.


The next step is to take the photos you'd want and print them on transparency paper. If you don't have any on hand - you can send your documents to any office supplies store and have them done for you. This is a very inexpensive way to complete this project.

When your document is uploaded, select the Transparency option on the paper type box. 

This is what I do and they double-check my order is accurate!


Once your document is printed, you will cut them out. I personally like to use the 2.5" circle puncher. I place the hole-punch and I turn it upside down to make sure it will cut right along the border of the photo.


Remove the top part of the ornament. Once the photo is cut, roll it and insert it in the ornament. It just pops open once you let go of it. I also add some fake snow to complement the winter-y feel. Give it its final touches with a cute ribbon  - I use the same ribbon to hang it from the tree as well.


And this is how you create a photo ornament.


Here are three different size template to download and create your photo ornaments.


Keep learning!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Teacher

Hello PKP fans!

Today I'd like to talk to you about the things I REALLY wish I knew before becoming a teacher. There has been a discussion on social media about the college courses we must take to complete our degrees, and things that are not even mentioned!


Well, I came up with the top 10 things that totally caught me out off-guard!

Number 1: I'd live in the future. Teaching young learners required teacher to be proactive - and I get that, what's hard is to sometimes missing the moment because I'm thinking about what could happen if child A is using a scissor but I know he likes to cut clothing and child B is wearing a beautiful birthday dress grandma made for her - and they are sitting next to each other.

Number 2: I'd ditch the lesson plan. I'm sure this has happened to most of us. We'd spend hours during the weekend planning this awesome activity. Everything is prepped and ready for the morning.....and.....the students are just not interest.

Number 3: I'd make 100 decisions per hour. Yep, 100 decisions per hour on average. I must think about what kind of fidget would work best for him, at the same time it should be distracting for the rest of the class. My seating arrangement. Forecast for the week - to prepare indoor activities for when we can't have recess outside. The phone ringing for the 8th time during my lesson, a parent who has requested a meeting at the last minute, a child who becomes easily distracted, and more and more decisions on what to do.

Number 4: 7am-3pm Ha! I KNEW I'd have to work from home to be able to meet deadlines, have conferences ready on time, prepare lesson plans and its activities, and everything that has been thrown at me....but I wasn't expecting it'd be so much time. On a regular week I'd spend over 15 hours working from home. On a special week like the week before winter break or end-of-school-year that time can easily doubled!

Number 5: I'd have teachers besties! This is the best support a teacher can have. No one would understand your struggle and victories like your teacher bestie! Beside collaboration and exchanging ideas and teaching strategies, my bestie is there to listen to me and to offer her unconditional support! 

Number 6: I'd fall in love with Pinterest. I gotta say, Pinterest is a lifesaver. I see Pinterest as a world-wide platform where teachers from around the world "get together" and share their ideas, knowledge and activities with other teachers, empowering each other to best version our ourselves!

Number 7: School Staff Support. As a teacher sometimes we feel alone in our classrooms - but it doesn't have to be that way. Open your classroom door and get to know your school staff. I'm sure at one point they have felt just like you. Secretaries and custodians are important as well. They will support you in other areas.

Number 8: Teachers spend so much of their own money, is not even funny! I was well aware teachers spend money in things for their classrooms - but I didn't imagine I'd be so much. I can say I easily spent around a quarter of my salary in things for my classroom. Good thing I have an extremely supportive husband who doesn't mind and supports my career!

Number 9: Strong bonding with your students. After just a few weeks a teacher begins to develops relationships and bond with the students. I just didn't know it could be so strong. We see them grow, we see them succeed, we see them in their aha! moments, and we see imagine them as productive society members and the many ways they can make their unique contributions to our society!

Number 10: Plan A, B, and C. When any of these plans don't work....DON'T WORRY, the alphabet has 23 other letters to try out! I have learned to not be discouraged and keep trying. 

Share with us what you'd wish you knew 
before becoming a teacher!

Keep learning!




Saturday, November 12, 2016

Learning Centers Blog Hop Series: Computer & Technology

Hello there!

Our learning center for this week is Computer and Technology. I am well aware of the many opinions of electronics usage in young children. BUT, the reality is that young children are being constantly exposed to technology and a variety of screen time: television, tablets and iPads, cellphones, electronic games, and many more.
It is my goal to use the classroom screen-time as 
interactive and educational as possible!



My Computer and Tech learning center is simple. The computers are located in a quiet area of my classroom - away from the noisy and busiest learning centers like the dramatic play and blocks centers.


These are the educational websites we use in the classroom:

Besides computers, we have an iPad, an iPod touch, a listening center, and some awesome Boogie Boards - which I obtained through Donor's Choose!

Our, Big Day PreK Curriculum also have a feature that allows parents to read at home some of the books we read in the classroom. We play these books in the classroom as well.




Technology plays an important part in our early learners' education. The use and mastery of technology is NOT our ultimate goal in the classroom. We promote the appropriate use of technology in the classroom. Our main goal is to expand, enrich, implement, individualize, differentiate, and extend our learning experiences. 

If any learning center needs the teacher's support I'd would say is this one! Technology must be interactive - with the technological equipment and with a human being! In this learning center, my role is to sit next to my students and engage them in conversations, promote critical thinking, and interact with them and the program they are working on. Those 15 minutes of screen time they have daily in my classroom are about enriching and integrating activities that support the learning happening during that day.

Hop on to PreK Tweets to learn more!



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Learning Centers Blog Hop Series: Dramatic Play

Hello there!

One more learning center to explore! Our blog hop has been an inspiration for many and we are honored to be a source of inspiration for many teachers out there.

Isn't dramatic play THE most popular and anticipated center of all times?? I think it is! But old are the days in which there was the kitchen with the pots and pans, plates and cups, and a few baby dolls. Dramatic play in early childhood has transformed into magical places where little learners let their imagination run wild and transform into anything they'd like to be!


At this time of year, my dramatic play area has turned into a Pumpkin Patch. We have a variety of real pumpkins to explore and pretend play with.




This is a photo of the center in action. Our fall leaves are everywhere - even inside the refrigerator! The indian corn may be inside the cash register....who knows! What I know is that my children are engaged, they are practicing social skills, they are solving issues and problems with peers, they are using their imagination, and they are socializing with one another.




We have a variety of real pumpkins in our pumpkin patch. we also have plastic and foam pumpkins, Indian corn, gourds, pie pans, spatulas, rolling pins, small serving plates, aprons for our little bakers, and a cash register in which you can pay for your pies!


We have a variety of multicultural posters showing how different people around the world celebrate this season, typical foods and traditions.


I consider my role in this learning center to provide the children the experience. The experiences of knowing what is like carve a pumpkin and explore its insides, to expose them to a language-rich environment and use those "big words" into our daily conversations.

Keep learning!

Hop on over to the wonderful Lola at PreK Tweets to learn more about her dramatic play center!



Keep learning!