Archive for February, 2009

Circle Time Supports

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

It is busy around here ..but… thought I would stop and write for a few minutes.*I have been working on tangible samples of Circle Time Supports – Wow it is large.  It looks great and fits just where I want it.  I have already posted pics over at www.Resource4Preschool.com …. check it out.  I will update you when I finally get the samples placed on Ebay.  I am not certain if I will offer very many samples – it is not time consuming to make one set – but to create 10 or more might be daunting with the schedule I have around here.  Anyway …. Keep on the look out for the Circle Time Supports samples.*Well….. On my way out ….. Those who know me understand (this time it is for my son’s MRI)*Have a Great Day

Routine for your Day Care …. Options

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

How do you begin your day in the classroom?  As the children trickle in, do they have free playtime? Center orientated table work? Library time?  No matter what the routine is …. The key is to have a routine.  Children flourish when kept busy and directed.  Of course, this does not mean that every moment must be planned down to the last minute detail.  Children, just like adults, need and want choices.  As caretakers of our youth, parents and teachers alike should provide optional choices – not for every activity, but every now and then.

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 Circle Time ushers in the day with a natural routine and usually entails a ‘Welcome’ song or rhyme; Calendar sequencing; day placement; weather discussion; emotions of the morning; Days of the week and anything else that you find useful and able to squeeze into this very limited amount of ‘attention span’.

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 At some time during the day, even in a ‘learn through play’ environment, shapes, letters, colors and numbers will become a necessary topic of discussion.

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 Inclusion of popular rhymes and songs can be incorporated in via interactive play, songs, dances and reading.  Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Little Boy Blue, Hey Diddle Diddle and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary are only a few of the not to be forgotten nursery rhymes.

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 Creating ‘hands-on’ art projects, not only inspire the little ones and give much needed tactile and visual experiences – but also keep the parents happy and content with new refrigerator décor.  Art is not just about watercolors, paper and glue … but can incorporate science, math and reading –  just about everything. Projects can be as simple as coloring sheets, lunch bag puppets, scrap paper tear & paste art and even creating a very personalized book.  Anything that can be shown proudly by the little hands that made it qualifies as a piece of invaluable fine art. 

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 What centers do you provide for your students?  Do you have enough room for a dramatic play center; art easel; construction area;  sand box; library; water table; block area; writing center and play dough area?  Of course you do.  Whether you are in a large based center or in a home environment, you have room.  Isn’t that why plastic shoebox size and larger containers were created?  They provide convenience with storage and come in many sizes.  A few Legos in one – you have a block area; some cookie cutters, mat and clay doh in another – you have a dough center and paper, pencil, markers and crayons in another provides a basic writing center (add a ruler, protractor and some stamps and washable ink pads for an expandable center).  These containers also make it easy to restrict the choices given for the student(s).  Only pull out the centers you want available that day.  Switching the centers on a regular basis will make the ‘old’ always seem new!

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 Thanks for stopping by …. Sign up and add your suggestions and comments (keep it on topic and appropriate – please).

Circle Time Supports

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

What does every classroom or preschool / kindergarten area need?  No matter the style of instruction – most teachers / providers / parents want their students to know / be aware of the months, days, seasons, sounds, alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, zero through 100 counting and weather & weather appropriate clothing.  While this is admirable and possible with all of the resources available and easily ordered via on-line … it can also be inconvenient and expensive.

 How much room do you have to post these great resources?  Even in a standardized class room – wall space is extremely limited – let alone in a home daycare environment where you work and live. Many of the charts available for attendance, 100 day counting, daily schedules, weather, calendar, etc…. measures a whopping 2 feet by 1.5 feet each or requires the length of a 12 foot wall for display.  

How much money do you have to spare for the privilege of purchasing these tools?  Some have more than others …. But everyone still needs to be budget aware in these economically challenged times.  Our dollars can only stretch so far.  There are some fantastic wall pieces available that range from very simple to absolutely gorgeous and most of the times the price reflects the simplicity or extravagance of the item.  It is so easy to spend $200 on wall décor and still be missing pieces.  

 Okay, I know this sounds like the beginning of a sales pitch …. And maybe it is … a little.  But in reality this is what I kept thinking as I looked through the local teacher resource store, the countless catalogs that arrived like clock work every season and the infinite number of on-line sites.  Eyes glazed over by the endless array of tools that are literally at my fingertips ….. Then my gaze slips away from the awe inspiring pieces to the PRICE …. OUCH!  Do not misunderstand where I am coming from …. The pieces are certainly valuable and if laminated will endure a long period of time … or at least the school year.  So if you have the room, the dollars and the ability to laminate (or use contact style paper) / Time –  You, your students and classroom will be set!  But if, like so many, you are short on any or all of these it translates into ‘No more day dreaming’ and time for viable alternative. I stopped dreaming and -‘just thinking’ and came up with the ultimate resource. 

This is the new set that I have been hinting at for the past couple of weeks.  I will be offering tangible samples over at Ebay  ( http://myworld.ebay.com/narcissasummer ) off and on but this set will be added to Peanut Butter Crunch ( http://www.resource4preschool.com ) first part of March.  The set alone is worth the monthly rate ….. but you get everything…. The PEWE items, the curriculum, the décor …… everything in the membership (all in PDF printable access). 

Circle Time Supports is just that …. Everything has been designed to fit on  File Folder size backgrounds – I use colorful folders.  They look great on the wall, take up very little space – and can even be removed and stored in a file cabinet until needed next.  The pieces also cost pennies on the dollar if you make them yourself compared to purchasing the larger more intrusive ‘store bought’ sets.  I will try to give a decent description but will add photos later – since a picture is suppose to be worth a thousand words (or more in this situation).  

First – The Calendar Set fits onto a folder …. It includes scenes that depict the four seasons on the top; placement for the month; 6 rows down to accommodate the 31 days of a month when needed (31 does not need to share space with another date); the calendar pieces measure approximately 1.25 inches by 1.25 inches (not small – yet not huge); Well over 200 calendar piece / set options – and each set only requires 1 sheet of cardstock for the entire month – convenient for creating your own sequencing pattern; A days of the week area that lists the days with spaces to indicate ‘Today is’, ‘Yesterday was’ and ‘Tomorrow will be’; ‘The Season  is’ spot; ‘Today’s Weather is’ location that will accommodate 2 descriptive words / pictures and finally ‘I should wear’ area to place the weather appropriate attire on the little boy.  The Calendar set includes all the pieces needed to complete this center for circle time (or anytime). 

Second – Who needs room for the Letter or Number  or Color or Shape of the Week, Day or Month?  You do and I do ….. without taking up a large amount of space.  The folder sized center incorporates a compact yet very visually pleasing combination of all 4 with added bonus items.  The Letter of the….has space for a card with upper and lower case letter and a coordinating beginning sound picture.  Also added in this space are 3 areas for additional picture to word matching for the letter.  The section is bordered with the alphabet in large case print; The Shape of the ….. has spaces for the shape card and the matching word card.  The Color of the …. Has spaces for the color photo card, the word card and a color matching picture; The Number of the ….. includes spaces for the number in numeric and word form.  It also has a number line for 0 – 10, another area with 1 – 10  (highlighted to discuss odd and even numbers), and an area with numbers 1 – 50  (highlighted with counting by 5’s in yellow and counting by 10’s in a deeper orange).  This is not all that is located on this center – Coordinating pictures that pair this set with the calendar set has been added not just for aesthetics but to spark discussions.  One picture has many children playing and doing lots of different activities … and it is a cloudy yet bright sunny day.  While the other is located near the mountains at night with a city scene in the distance enjoying a nice starlit sky and fire works.  Also, there is a section for creating a shape sequence.  All of the necessary pieces to complete this set has been included.  The set comes with a permanent ‘week’ label on each of the four areas – but labels for day and month have also been added for your convenience – just use hook and loop tape to make the areas very interchangeable. 

This is not all – but would certainly accommodate most expectations for a basic circle time.  But I did not stop with the basics …. I wanted everything – Don’t you? If it fits your budget? 

Next – another center that fits a folder background includes the soooo popular theme – One Hundred Days of School .  Simply use a dry erase type of marker to mark off the numbers – working your way up to the big 100.  The background for this area is the same coordinating night sky with moon and stars … and fireworks near the large 100.  This area will work for the person that teaches 5 days a week and only marks off the actual days in school or for the person that counts all seven days of the week – your choice!  Below this activity is the ‘How Do I Feel Today’ Graph.  It is color coordinated with the color wheel and is bright and cheerful.  Pictures and words line the left side giving the students the choice of ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘tired’, ‘mad’, ‘silly’ and ‘curious’.  Using the same dry erase marker – X  the box that each student indicates.  Room for 20 of the same emotion has been incorporated onto this graph to accommodate even the larger classroom full of students.    Finally – a discussion can follow the graphing, not only for ‘feelings’, but also for a basic math necessity.  It then will easily wipe away for the next school day if the center has been laminated. (test the marker to your choice of laminate – just to be sure it will wipe away easily – if the marker does not meet your needs – then I suggest using a wax based crayon / pencil on the laminated surface). 

Fourth – This fits a full size folder as well and includes two centers that need to be posted to keep any daycare center or preschool / kindergarten classroom in smooth running order.  Each center includes young children from the previously used playground picture doing what they do best ….. playing.  The ‘Hop to It’ Responsibility chart shows a little girl playing hopscotch around a pond with a frog watching from a lily pad.  Scattered through out the hopping stones are various classroom chores.  Included are – plants, papers, pets, door, mail, lights, line leader, supplies, lunch, flag, snacks, floor and trash.  If this chart does not accommodate your entire needs or too many options – included on PBC is a blank Hop to It chart that you can print and complete.  Coordinating tags and frog pieces have been added for you to write the students names on for adding to the chart.  The other center is actually the ‘On the Ball Center Assignments’ chart.  Two small children are passing the ball.  The chart features blank areas for center cards to be placed with additional ‘ball’ card pieces for the students’ names to be added.  Center cards have been added and the chart can hold 6 center assignment areas.  Both charts are very colorful and will brighten any room. 

And Finally – 2 Half sized Folder charts – each match the rest of the set and require the minimal of space.  The first is the ‘Ready for Fun’ Attendance chart.  The boy is flying kites at the park on a cloudy day.  The kites (add each student name onto a kite) can easily be stored at the bottom of the chart using hook and loop tape.  As the students arrive or leave they can move the kite into the sky to indicate that they are present and relocate it to the bottom of the chart when they leave.  Convenient for verifying classroom count (for the teacher) and teaching responsibility for oneself (for the student).    The ‘Today’s Schedule’  allows the instructor to mark in a ‘digital’ based time, a traditional ‘clock’ based time and add the coordinating activity scheduled for that allotted space.  Room for 11 activities on this chart provides ample communication space of how the day will transition.  After lamination – using a dry erase marker / wax pencil allows for a change in routine without ruining the chart.  In addition, a variety of activity mini cards have been included for your convenience. 

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Okay ….. this is what has kept me pretty busy for the last few weeks.  This set will be added in early March and you will see some completed sets on Ebay sometime in the next month.  It is always recommended to laminate and once completed dress the set with hook and loop tape.  I will be adding some pictures of the set on www.resource4preschool.com so you can actually see what I have gone on and on about.  It really does cover many aspects of circle time and then some …. All in a very small area. 

 I would like to thank you for reading this because I know that your time is precious …. just like our children.

Have a Great Weekend,

Narcissa        

Art Supplies

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

If you are home schooling, teaching via day care or an instructor in a school system – supplying the classroom with basic materials for hands-on learning is a necessity.  I know that when I began Peanut Butter Crunch years ago (it took me over a year just to complete the initial submission for the site which is a fraction of what is on the site now) – I began with the homeschool / private care provider in mind.  Individuals usually do not begin with an abundance of resources – money or otherwise – but still want the same or better educational value that the larger institutions are providing. 

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So with that in mind, I created basic theme sets that needed very little beyond the very basic art supplies.  Crayons, markers, glue, paper, salt / glitter, scissors, etc…. things that most households have on hand with little ones around.  I also felt it pertinent to make it affordable – especially in today’s economic environment.  I know – because I have been repetitively told – that the value for PBC is incredibly higher than what little I am asking for monthly memberships – but I also know ink / toner and printer cost money too ….. and if you need more than one item because you teach 5 or 15 students – the price of resources can nickel and dime you to death or at least bankrupt your savings account.  After experiencing what one small resource book costs – let alone 50 – I decided that everyone that works with early childhood education leveled students needed a very affordable / convenient tool to assist in teaching our children.  Peanut Butter Crunch was ‘born’.

 

In addition to curriculum, I thought it would be nice to add some suggestions here at Legend of Learning for the daycare / private provider …. so for starters …..

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In this installment to Legend of Learning – I thought I would create a list (not completely comprehensive – but a good start) for the ‘basic’ art supplies needed in your home school / daycare area.

Crayons

Markers (thick & thin)

GluePaste

Paper (lined, construction, cardstock, shiny, wrapping, heavy ‘butcher’  style ….. too many to list)

Colored Tissue

Chalk

Tape (packing, duct, masking, clear, etc….)

Food Coloring

Tempera Paint

Water Colors

Brushes (different sizes)

Swabs

Paper / Styro (not as earth friendly) – Plates, Cups, Bowls

Lunch Bags

Stamps / Stickers

Rubber & Sponge Stampers

Washable Ink Pads

Straws

Toothpicks

Glitter

Sequins

Buttons

Felt

Scrap material

Contact Paper

Wiggly Eyes

Grommets

Brads

Paper Clips

Feathers

Pipe Cleaners

Doilies (paper)

Stapler

Staples

Hole Punch (various designs too)

Rubber Bands

Index Cards (various sizes)

Eyedroppers

Colored Pencils

Spray bottles

Craft Sticks – all sizes – mini, Popsicle and tongue depressors

Old magazines and catalogs

Sand (colored too)

Pebbles / Rocks

Shells

Cotton balls

Pom Pom style balls

Egg Cartons

Foam Peanuts (the starch based packaging ones are biodegradable and stick together with a little dab of water)

Paper baking cups

Paper towels

Poster board

Streamers

Yarn, Thread, String

Ribbon & Lace

Smocks or large old t-shirts / button up shirts

Bubbles

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As you can see – the list can be quite extensive – but adding items to the area is easier to manage if you add items only as you need them and keep the leftovers for later projects.