You've Got Mail!

Hello again!

Are your students....or you, bored with the same classroom centers? Here's a simple and very inexpensive way to  mix things up in the classroom.

The post office learning center will provide your students with tons of opportunities to develop important skills and of course.......fun!!!

You would need are a moving box about ($1.50 if you buy it new) - the size will depend on the space available you have in your classroom, blue paint  and making tape (which you may already have in the classroom), and the accessories: small mailing boxes (FREE!), tote bags and aprons ($1.00 at Dollar Tree), envelopes, pencils, clipboards and child-appropriate junk mail.

Secure the bottom of the box with masking tape. With an extra  piece of cardboard give the round shape at the top and secure with tape. Cut a small slot at the top of the box for the outgoing mail, and one at the bottom. When everything is secured, paint the box - you may want to do two coats of paint to cover the box's print, if any.






When the box is completely dry, you now can go ahead and decorate your mailbox. I used a cut out of an eagle out of black construction paper. Your mailbox is ready!!!

Now, the fun part.......accessories! My small mailing boxes are numbered because my students are practicing one-to-one correspondence and this will help them visualize and have a better understanding of numeral identification. You can also include old post cards or blank index cards to make their own postcards.



I purchased two simple aprons at the Dollar Tree gardening section, they had some sort of sticker on the front but I was able to remove it completely, and drew the same eagle i used on the box. I also found these cute tote bags, a dollar too!, and traced the eagle on them.



Special thanks to our model Gigi, the President of the Troublesome Three's Association which took some time out of her busy agenda to do this photo shoot. She is modeling the apron and the tote bag....adorable!

Hope this idea would be something that you can implement in your classroom. This fabulous new learning center will help my students develop their early literacy and writing skills, learn new vocabulary, social skills and lots of math skills!

See you next time!

Janice
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Are you hungry? Pizza: Pepperoni, Pineapples and Peppers!

Hi friends!

How pizza sounds for dinner tonight? Good, isn't it? Well, this pizza is not necessarily for dinner - but for the classroom.

These delicious pizzas are indented for pretend play with math integration. Language development can be enhanced by adding some "creative ingredients" with "creative names". Math skills can be incorporated by practicing one-to-one correspondence, number identification, sequence, color and shape recognition, and other math skills.



Pizza tutorial:
Take two pieces of tan colored felt for the crust. Trace a circle and sew it all the way around (you may also choose not to sew it and make it flat). These ones are 10 inches diameter and slightly stuffed - for more realism.



Once it is completely sewn, make a 2 inch cut on one of the felts and turn it inside-out. You may want to stuff it to give it the feel of a real pizza crust, or not.



Take one red piece of felt, the sauce, and cut it about an inch less than the crust. The white felt would be the cheese and it would be about half an inch smaller than the sauce.

I personally will be hot gluing the red felt, the sauce, onto the crust (to cover the stitching and to focus on the ingredients.). You can be as creative as you wish with the ingredients. I made pepperoni, green peppers, black olives, and pineapples. I may include jalapenos, due to my classroom demographics and cultural diversity!



There is no fun without a menu! Here's the menu I have created for my activity:



Because I teach an English and Spanish classes, here's some menus that's go along with my pizzas. To increase the level of difficulty with this activity, you can write the name of the ingredients instead of providing the picture. 

Hope you try this activity in your classroom or with your own children!  Let me know how it turned out!


Be well!

Janice
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Our Many Roles

Hi friends:


We all have busy lives, but teachers have extra busy lives. I have two beautiful daughters, Janelle who is 11 and Gigi, who is the President of the Troublesome Three's Association. They both are smart, wonderful and very good girls....well, most of the times. Besides being a teacher, I am a mom, a wife, a personal GPS, a short-order cook, a nurse, a psychologist, a mentor for new teachers and a newsletter editor, yes, and I still manage six hours of sleep every night!




I am the Newsletter Editor for the San Diego Association for the Education of the Young Child, SDAEYC. The Vision of SDAEYC is to be an inclusive professional organization committed to effective advocacy for children, families and the communities that support them. The Mission of SDAEYC is to provide a professional membership organization committed to promoting optimal life experiences for all children from birth to 8 years. Our latest edition was published yesterday and it was about Organic Education.


I can describe organic education as simple and natural education in which children are not imposed to certain activities that are not age appropriate and do not offer any learning benefits. for young children. Nowadays, young children are exposed and required to do worksheets, have notebooks, and follow a strict routine in the classroom. Do not get me wrong, routines are extremely important, and children thrive when know what is expected in their daily activities- I an referring to the inability to be flexible and dedicate a little extra time addressing and acknowledging the child's interests and needs. Playing is an extremely important part of the child's day and learning experiences. They develop critical thinking skills, socio-emotional skills, and learn important life skills among other skills they need to know.


Children learn best through play and from their peers and environment. It is our responsibility to provide an engaging learning environment in which we promote exploration, independence, collaboration as well as independent play and reinforcement of mastered skills.


In our newsletter you can find great ideas for your classroom, children's books reviews, teacher's workshops and training and grants and awards available for early childhood education educators who live in the San Diego County.


Check out our website and out latest newsletter edition:

http://www.sandiegoaeyc.org



If you live in San Diego County and would like to become a member or a newsletter contributor, you can contact me at: sdaeycnewsletter@gmail.com or through the website.


Do you incorporate organic education into your daily routine?


See you soon!

Janice

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Best Portfolio Ever!

Hello friends!

Have you spent long hours figuring out how to store your students' work in an organized and budget-friendly way?!?! Well, so did I, until now!

I have found a way to store their work, classify it, presented to parents, and very economic. 

Here's my tutorial.

All you need is a three-fastener folder (I purchased this one at Office Depot during the back to school sale last year, only 3 cents each! You may also need a ruler to measure the construction papers.Large construction papers (18x12) and a hole puncher, that's it! 
You may want to measure the papers, to have the same length and look uniform. Once you have your materials ready, place the construction paper horizontally and fold the bottom - about 3-4 inches.

 Once your papers are folded at the bottom, fold them in half (to form a booklet). Put all of the open sides together and hole-punch them.


 Place them on the folder, how many pages you'd need.

Now comes the fun part! I labeled my pockets according to the areas I need to show evidence for, as well what I will show the parents during conferences.

These pockets can also serve to show evidence of standards, or for end-of-the-year keepsake for the child and the family. One of my assistant teachers is using this portfolio to show the child's writing progress - she is collecting one writing piece per month - at the end of the school year, the child will have 9 writing pieces showing growth and progress!

In this portfolio, you can store about 6-7 pages, which makes 12-14 pockets. The papers will be secured and readily accessible. This can be a project your room parent or volunteers can help you with.

Hope you enjoy this tutorial and be able to implement it in your classroom!

Be well,
Janice


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Awesome New Pre-K Curriculum

Good morning fellow teachers,


I am so excited!!! This is my very first post on my very first blog, I guess I can be consider a blogger know! :)


I recently attended a training on an awesome curriculum called Frog Street Pre-K. It is a comprehensive, research-based program that integrates instruction across developmental domains and early learning disciplines. The program is engaging for both teachers, and children, and is easy to implement. The cornerstones of the program are: an extensive integration of theme, disciplines, and domains; special attention to social-emotional development; many levels and support of differentiated instruction; and a joyful approach to learning.

The best part of this curriculum is that will minimize the teachers' prep time - because it has everything planned for the teacher, even the letters and weekly notes that we send home are already made. By minimizing the teacher's prep time, it enables the teacher to dedicate more time to teach....duh! that is what we do, isn't it?!

I am not a marketing prep for this company, well if they need me they know where to find me...hint! hint! but it is amazing. The teacher's guide details what you need for each specific lesson. It highlights and provides samples of daily schedule, morning and closing circle time. It even let's the teacher know to send a note home for the paper towel rolls we will need next week.....so helpful!

What I like the most about this curriculum is the ability, the teachers will have know to give parents access to the curriculum website to be able to see the books we have been reading in class and read it at home as well. The school I am teaching at is located in a low-income area of Southern California and not all of our students have books at home. This feature will continue to develop that love for books and increase their literacy skills.

On another note, please take a look at some activities I have been doing in the classroom. Alternatives to the "w" word, I don't even like to say it!
Last week, we were introducing the letter Qq to the students they used playdough to trace the upper and lower case letters. They had a lot of fun! A tip for you, I'd suggest to do the letter you are practicing that week on one side of the mat and the next week's letter on the other side - and only laminate once!
I will keep you posted about how this new teachers' jewel is working out for us!

Be Well!
Janice




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