Monday, December 23, 2013

Jumping Right into Learning

Holiday break time!!! Which means some time to catch up on blog posts that have been racing around in my head.

Here's the first one! We have a VERY active group of kids and lots of kinesthetic learners. After realizing that most of our kids just weren't going to get anything by sitting down at tables during group time I decided it was time to get them up and moving. 

And that is how "Letter Jump" was created. The idea is wonderfully simple and so easily executed. The hardest task was finding a font that didn't use that little hook over top of the lower case A. 

Step one print out whichever letters you're focusing on, for this lesson we used A, B and C. In our school we always try and present the children with both the upper case and lower case letters at the same time. I simply created a word document and printed the letters as large as I could, one letter for each sheet of paper. You should have a set of letters for each child.

At the school I used painters tape and simply taped the letters onto the carpet in our gross motor room. When the kids came into my group I helped them get situated behind their group of letters. We began with the letters in order, I called out the letters and had the kids jump onto the correct letter. Then I began calling out the letters randomly.

The beauty of this project is that it's so easy to adapt for different learning levels. With our more advanced students I started with the letters, quickly switched to sounds and then eventually called out words that started with each letter. To help alleviate frustration with our less advanced kids I had an extra set of letters that I would hold up each time I called out a letter so the kids could match the letter I was holding with the letter to jump onto. 

The kids had so much fun with this activity and I just love when we can make learning fun!

Monday, November 25, 2013

We spent a week on hibernation and had a great time with the kids. I just wanted to make a quick post about the hibernation song we made up around the lunch table. Here it is:

Hibernation (tune of "Are You Sleeping?")
Hibernation, Hibernation
Get my food, eat it too
Now it's time to sleep tight
Now it's time to sleep tight
All winter long, all winter long

I hope this is something you can incorporate into your own curriculum. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Image from BBC

Sunday, November 17, 2013


This was my first year at a center that celebrates Halloween. I was so excited to get to dress up and have fun with this holiday. I was assigned games for that week and after some dollar store perusing I came up with this awesome glow in the dark ghost ring toss game. I didn't have a blog at the time so I didn't even think to take pictures of the process, but it was super easy. 

Items to buy:
1 piece of foam board (like poster board but much thicker)
1 package of glow stick bracelets

Items to have on hand:
Pencil or pen
Exacto knife
Some kind of clear tape (I used packing tape)

Cut out the general shape of a ghost from your foam board. This doesn't need to be exact. Connect 2 of your bracelets together (these will be one eye). Place them in the area you want your eyes to be and trace around the inside of the circle. Grab 2 more bracelets and add them to the circle you already have, this will be your mouth. Place your mouth circle where you want it and trace around the inside. Use your Exacto knife to cut out your holes. Connect all the necessary pieces to make both your eyes. Then just tape them around the holes you made. Use 3-4 sticks to make individual rings for tossing. We leaned our ghost up against a stack of blocks and this worked just fine and gave it a nice angle for tossing. The rings are light enough that it won't get knocked down when the kids toss them. This is an excellent gross motor activity and the kids had a great time playing in the dark. 


I've decided to start a blog to share some of my ideas for teaching. I'm a preschool teacher in Connecticut at what I like to call a cooperative teaching center. Basically what that means is that we have one "class" and 4 teachers. Our kids interact as a complete unit through most of their day. In the hour before lunch we break into small learning groups where the children are instructed in a more traditional setting. What I love about this is that most of their day is spent in playful exploration but we still get to spend structured time with each child where we can focus on their individual needs. Through this blog I will share ideas that I have created on my own, links to ideas, blogs and sites that I love or have inspired me and projects I've created or altered to meet the needs of our classroom and kids. I hope you enjoy and come back to see what's new!