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!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Learning Genie is Coming to San Diego!!!

Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to learn more about the most efficient way to collect your students' data for your assessments!

Learning Genie helps thousands of educators and administrators in California to complete DRDP2015 efficiently and authentically. To learn more about us, please visit

Date: Friday, October 14th, 2016
Location: 620 W Madison Ave, El Cajon ca 92020 - Conference Room A

Hopefully we can meet there!

Learning Centers Blog Hop Series: Science Center

Hi there!

I'm here one more time bringing you the blog hop series with the collaboration of wonderful bloggers who will be sharing with you their Science Learning Center.

The science center looks like an open invitation to become a scientist. It changes with the seasons and appeals to the students' interests. This center is all about exploration, investigation, and meaningful hands-on experiences that involve the senses.

After an apple-tasting activity, the students graphed their favorite apples.

An engaging science center in early childhood should be open, inviting, innovative, and one that promotes critical thinking in young learners. This center is important because develops early thinking, fosters children's curiosity, and develops scientific inquiry. In this learning center, young children learn to explore, make observations, engage in investigations, compare and classify living and non-living things, and think of questions they want to learn more about.

The students record their observation of a plant after learning 
about their life cycle and what it needs to grow.

Science is everywhere, therefore the materials need to promote science in early childhood are endless. At the moment in my science area we have: a fish, pinecones, rocks, twigs, leaves and insects for exploration. We also have kinesthetic sand with a variety of tools for investigation. Our science center even extends to our playground where we plat seeds and take care of our new garden and make observations of plants and nature. 

We also have a variety of puzzles, science book,s and magazines along with clipboards and paper to record observations. Measuring tools, safety goggles and masks are also available to the little scientists. 

Regularly, we have an experiment available for children to continue fostering their curiosity. We have had magnets and a variety of materials to test out, sink and float materials, ramps and cars to explore speed and cause and effect, and life cycle activities.

Exploring a variety of materials with magnets.

Taking care of a living thing.

The role of the teacher in the science center is to encourage children to produce questions. The teacher should promote critical thinking and scientific inquiry to promote science discoveries in the classroom and wherever they go.

The students learned about recycling and how it helps the Earth. 
Before hand, we placed recyclable materials around our school 
campus and did a recycling walk. The students worked together to collect recyclable materials. Once in the classroom, we sorted our 
findings into plastic, paper, and aluminum.

Want to know more about science in early childhood? Hope on over to PreK Tweets to learn more!

Keep learning!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Learning Centers Blog Hop Series: Math & Manipulatives


I just finished my first quarter and 7th week of school! I can't believe today I'm starting my 2-week fall break. Back to school came and went.

The kiddos have settled in, they have mastered the classroom routines and expectations, and they have developed their preferences and favorites materials to use and play during learning centers. The math and manipulative area is definitely the busiest center in my classroom!

Let me show you more about what happens in here with my Blog Hop Learning Centers Blog Hop!!!

The photos above show the most popular materials in the math and manipulatives center. An affective and inviting center should have materials to problem solve, ones that provide opportunities to interact with peer, and materials that spark imagination!

I consider that materials needed for this area are: pegs, puzzles, games and activities with numbers and shapes, magnetic tiles, nuts and bolts, games and activities for patterning and sorting, activity boards to practice with buttons, zippers, and snaps, linking materials, lacing and beading, Mr. Potato Head, abacus, books, and photos of the children in action.

The conducive environment for this center should have one main goal, which I consider it to be fine motor skills development.

In early childhood math and manipulatives center should invite children to play and explore, should promote critical thinking and introduce mathematical concepts and conversations that are apply on a daily basis.

This center provides a strong foundation in the areas of counting, sorting, probability, algebraic concepts, story problems, measurements, and mathematical operations among other math areas. 

The teachers' role in this learning center is to provide manipulative activity to help children gain confidence and feel more comfortable about math. Even though manipulative materials are intended to be used independently with little guidance, the teacher should facilitate its interaction. It should be within close proximity to take advantages of learning moments, to ask the right questions and the right moment and promote critical thinking in relation to math concepts. 

Did you like what you saw? Head on over to our next blogger to learn more!

Keep learning!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

9 Tips for Effective Individualized Lesson Plans


Students learn best when lessons match their interests and individual abilities. Individualized lesson plans and instruction are critical to reach each one of our students. We do not learn all the same way, and should not teach the same way.

I am sharing with you the 9 tips I use in my classroom for effective lesson planning individualization.

Through observation is when I identify my students' interests, areas of strengths , and areas they need to work on. Besides academics I also observe for social-emotional development in my students. In my classroom I am currently working on initiating peer interactions and self-regulation.

Once I've done my observations I start developing my students' specific goals in divergent areas. I begin to create goals for math, language and literacy, physical development, and our primary focus for this year: ELD and social-emotional development.

It is very important to maintain confidentiality at all times. I always post my weekly lesson plan on the parents' board - but my individualized goals and lesson plan is only for my team's eyes. 

You've done observations, you have gotten to get to know your students, now you can identify which teaching strategies would be most effective for your students.

 I' always flexible when creating my individualized lesson plans. I can intend to apply a specific strategy for this specific student, therefore in may not work.  This happens sometimes, although the observation done initially could minimize it.

Provide engaging activities for the students. Young children learn through play, therefore planning fun, engaging games and activities would attract children to join them and explore.

When lesson planning balance teacher-directed and student-directed activities and discussions. Take turns with your young learners and allow them to initiate learning activities.

Provide a variety of activities and materials to work on those specific goals. Variety can be allowed in different ways. Try different times of the day, different learning materials, different teaching strategies, etc.

This tip is the one I consider the most important: teach and adapt!
Now that you have taken all of these tips and best practices into consideration, it's time for the best part: TEACH! Be aware that you must be willing to adapt. The lesson plan you've spent all weekend in creating did not work? that's ok! You must do a self-evaluation on your teaching and adapt to the student and the circumstances.
Grab this lesson plan format HERE!

This is a lesson plan sample with indidualizations. The blue means accommodations and individualized activities I will be offering and teaching to my students. Please note, I offer individualized activities for my below level, above level, and for my English Language Learners.

I truly hope these tips can help you provide your students with an individualized instruction to maximize their unique potential.

Keep learning!

This blog post was created in collaboration with Learning Genie.