I found a new book for back to school... The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing!   How exciting is this a book about all the feelings and emotions a child has the night before the first day of PRESCHOOL.  It is on my lesson plans for the first day of school.  I am beyond excited to share this book for Book Talk Tuesday!
It begins with a little boy named Billy reading a book in bed with his dad the night before preschool.  There are rhyming words in the text too!
The kids dream all about preschool but the boy can't go to sleep.  He is worried.  What a great feeling to talk about!  So many kids (and teachers) have worries about things that are new.
He goes to school and was "feeling shy" hiding behind his mom and he meet his teacher.
The kids sang songs and played dress up.  Then Billy watches the other kids play, without joining in just like so many of our kids do the first week of school.
 His teacher cheers him up and Billy makes a dinosaur picture.  The kids have snack and go outside.  Then comes nap...Billy can't sleep because he left his teddy at home.  Oh no!  His friend shares her bunny with him!  That makes him feel better and he falls asleep with a smile on his face.  After nap the kids play games.  Moms and dads arrive and the school day was over.  He walks out the door saying "I'll be back.  Preschool is FUN!"
 Don't be worry kindergarten teachers and 1st grade teachers there is a book for your grade too!  I read this book at the end of the year to my pre-k friends to help ease the transition to kindergarten.  This series also has books about the night before various holidays!  My favorite holiday book is The Night Before Valentine's Day!

Want to find more great books for school?  Check out Miss Jump's Class to find more amazing books!
Thanks so much for reading to the end!  Here is the GIVEAWAY!
My favorite product in my store...Preschool &Kindergarten Portfolio & Skills Assessments made EASY!  It was A TON of work but totally worth it.  It turned out AMAZING, if I do say so myself!  Here it is.  I should call this my SUMMER MADE IT because it has taken me all summer (and many summers before it)!  EVERYTHING you need is included (except for the binders).

How to make letter sensory bottles and FREE letter hunt printables. Perfect for toddlers, preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten.

Make learning about letters FUN again!  I Spy Letters is an engaging book with simple text.  Students find various letters of the alphabet on each page.  I love listening to the students conversations when they read this book.  I hear students using positional words to talk about where the letter is on the page, they discuss the sounds the letters make, and describe what the letters look like.
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How to make student chalkboards for your classroom (they are easy and cheap to make too) Just perfect for my preschoolers!

Student chalkboards..yes please. They are super easy to make too (and cheap). I made individual chalk boards for students to use in the classroom and I love the way they turned out!  The students are going to have so much fun using them for literacy and math activities.

My letter and number playdoh mats turned out so cute that I decided to make a matching set of Super Star Play Dough Shape Mats!  Playdoh shape mats are a fun way for students practice shape identification and build fine motor strength at the same time!  Students roll the playdoh into snakes to form the shapes.  For added fun, students can trace the shape word with a dry erase marker.  Our class mascot is the super star and I am going to these shape mats in my art center and for arrival and small group at the beginning of the year.  You could also put them in a literacy center, Daily 5 word work center, playdoh center, or math center.
All I need to do when I get back to school is print, laminate, and cut!
On each mat is a shape and the shape word.  I kept the super star kids and star border!
I am going to create a Shape Playdoh Book with the playdoh mats.  All I need to do is bind the pages together with book rings to create my Shape Book and use the cover (slide 1) for the book cover.  I am excited to make playdoh books for this year.  You can never have enough books!
Shapes included are square, rectangle, oval, circle, triangle, star, heart, rhombus, trapezoid, pentagon, and hexagon, octagon.
It does take some small group and/or one on one instruction to teach the kids how to make playdoh snakes.  But once they get it, they go crazy making snakes!  With my pre-k kids, I will have them trace the shape word with a dry erase marker to add some literacy!

If you like everything matching like me, you want all the playdoh mat sets!  I made a Super Star Play Dough Bundle:  Learn your Letters, Shapes, & Numbers!  Purchasing the bundle is a 20% savings over buying them individually. PLEASE NOTE: This is a discounted, BUNDLED pack of my three Super Star Playdoh Mats!  Included in this bundle is my Super Star Play Dough Shape MatsSuper Star Letter Playdoh Mats, and Super Star Number Playdoh Mats! 

Every year my number one goal is to to establish a positive relationship with the students in my class and for them to get to know each other.  Is it so important to start building a caring classroom community on day 1 when the students walk in the door.  I created a new item with all of my favorite all about me activities titled All About Me:  Back to School Activities, Class Books, Posters, and Mini Book

My first class book every year is ALL ABOUT US!  Each student has their own page that is all about them.  It includes pictures of them and their families, their favorite things, what they like to do, and the sentence “I am special because -----” (students fill in the blank).  This is the most loved and read book in my classroom!  Everyday during read around the room, there is a group of students huddled around this book.  It is a great way for the kids to get to know each other and build a strong, caring classroom community!  I send their All About Me project home on the first day or you can send it home at open house.  I ask each student what their favorite color is and I attach their favorite color cardstock to the instructions page.  I use card stock for their pages because it stronger.  I use the 12X12 size paper or you can use 8X11.  As each child brings it back, I have  them share it during our morning meeting.  This way we only share a few a day.  Then I laminate the pages and the cover (included).  Cut, bind it (I use book rings), and the book is complete!
Here is the cover I made for our book this school year!

Every year we read Brown Bear Brown Bear in the fist few weeks of school.  As a get to know you and follow up activity we create a class book with the same pattern text!  Because it is a pattern text from a familiar book, the students can easily memorize the text pattern.  It is a great book to help teach students their friends names!  Included is a cover.  Just print and laminate.  I use card stock to create the pages and cover so the pages are more durable.  For the student pages, have each child draws a self portrait on their page.  Some years I have a lot of scribblers so I also glue each students photograph to their page as well.  It is your choice, you can write the students names on the line or you can have your students write their names.  It will depend on the level of your students.  It is fun to include yourself, other teachers, assistants, principals, therapists, and/or a nurse in your class book!  The last page of the book is “we see everyone looking at us!”.  You can have each child draw a small self portrait on that page you can glue a class photo on the page.  Here is a picture of the cover and a students page!

Here is the preview of All About Me:  Back to School Activities, Class Books, Posters, and Mini Book!  If you follow my store, you can get 50% all new items posted to my store for the first 24 hours!  This item will be 50% until July 16.  Get yours now.

 I LOVE sensory bottles!  They are so relaxing for kids and teachers too.  I wanted to make some new color sensory bottles but I wanted to add literacy.  How fun would it be to add the color word IN the bottle?  With the words inside, they could be used for so many color word & letter activities.  They are super simple to make too!  I collected Gatorade bottles.  It has a wide mouth and is a heavier plastic.  But any bottle will work.  Here is how you can make them.

Here are some highlights of our Butterfly & Insect Study related to math and fine motor...a cute bulletin board too!  If you want to read about our science and literacy activities for our Butterfly & Insect Study click HERE!
In the blocks center, I added small rocks, fake leaves, and fake flowers for students to use.  Here is a sample of some of their butterfly homes they build!  Love them! 
Math - On my math shelf I have many things.  Each time we start a new study I always change my manipulative to keep it interesting.   I added pom poms because they are like caterpillars if you put them together.   You can see the new insect & butterfly puzzles that support the study the the bottom shelf. 
On the top of the shelf is a coloring game, Color and Roll.  My kids LOVE coloring games this year.  There are two levels.  Level 1, students roll a dice, count the number of dots on the dice, and color the corresponding number.  Level 2, students roll two dice, count the number of dots to add the numbers together, and color the sum.
We did a lot of pattern activities during this study.  Caterpillars are great for creating patterns!  Students loved making pattern caterpillars with the pom pom manipulatives.  One activity they loved was Coffee Filter Butterflies.  First, they made a pattern with cubes.  Then they colored the pattern on the coffee filter.  We used pipe cleaners to create the body.  They turned out super cute! 
Pattern Name Caterpillars & Bulletin Board:  There was a little prep work for me.  I coped the circle page on various colored paper and cut small rectangles for legs and used pipe cleaners for the antennas.  I did this as an arrival activity so I only had 6 students max at my table.  Students used cubes to create their pattern, cut out the matching colored circles, and create a pattern then glued it together to make a caterpillar.  Then they added legs, eyes, and antennas.  To add a literacy component, I had the students use each circle for a letter in their name.  Students wrote their names in uppercase  or lowercase depending on their level.  I created a bulletin board of the students caterpillars as you can see.
To build fine motor strength and develop counting skills I created Caterpillar Playdoh Mats for numbers 1-20.  Students had to make a certain number of leaves in the tree for the hungry caterpillar to eat by rolling balls with playdoh!  I also put out insect counters to manipulate with the playdoh. 
The students noticed and talked about how the caterpillars made silk webs to craw on.  In art we created caterpillar web paintings. We used the lid of copy paper boxes as out tray.  Students used tongs to place paint covered marbles in their box lids.  Students moved the box around to make the marble roll around.  I love marble painting because the students have to use their upper arm and shoulder muscles to move the box and their hands to get the marbles out of the paint with tongs.  It was a ton of fun!
 Do you want to try some of the activities we did?  You can!  All of the activities above plus MANY more are included Life Cycle of a Butterfly!

Our last study of the school year was butterflies and insects! We observed caterpillars turn into butterflies.  It doesn't matter how many times I do this study, I am always just as excited as the kids to watch them change into butterflies!  After we let the butterflies go, the students wanted to continue learning about other insects so we did.  The students lead the learning in my class.  I can teach them the skills they need when we study any topic.  The things we study are the things my students are interested in so they are more invested in their learning!
I kept the caterpillars/butterflies in my discovery center for students to observe and journal.  Below is a picture of my discovery center.
During any science study I always have quality non-fiction books for students to use for research.  I always keep a student created book of the journals students have created.  Students look through the science journals to look at the pictures and words others drew to show their thinking then compare it to their own thinking.
Do you love the label on the butterfly books?  One of my kiddos told me it needed a label so kids would know where to put the books back.
I try to have mostly student created materials on my walls.  During small group, students created the Life Cycle of a Butterfly Poster and the Parts of a Butterfly Poster.  They used the vocabulary cards to help to copy the words.  When it is something they create, they use it more, talk about it more, and reference it more!  
We used this tally chart to track how many days a butterfly is in each stage of it's life.  
When the butterflies were set free, we began to focus our learning on ALL types of insects.  Here how I changed the discovery center.  The book box changed from only butterflies to all insects.  Students created poster on the parts of other insects.  
Is it an Insect?  We created this poster during circle time.  It was a way for me to assess if students knew the characteristics of an insect. It was fun to hear the students share why it was or wasn't an insect.  Sometimes a debate occurred.  Students had strong opinions.  It was a great discussion!   
To end our study, I had each student draw and write on a post-it note one thing they learned.  As each shared what they learned, we did a cheer as they added their idea to the chart!  I love to celebrate students' ideas and thoughts!
To get students up and moving, we played letter or sight word musical chairs using the life cycle letter or word cards.  I simply put a white board, dry erase marker, and an eraser at each chair.  On each dry erase board put a letter card or a word card in the corner.  We played the music and the students danced around the tables/desks.  When music stopped, the students sat a chair they are near.  They wrote the letter or word as many times as they can in the time you give them.  Then they erased their boards and did it again.  My students LOVE this game!  I divided my students by ability for this game. One table had sight words and one table had letters.  The students ASK to play this game!
Check out my post to see what we did for math, fine motor, and the cute bulletin board I created for our Butterfly Study click HERE!  It all wouldn't fit in one post!

 Do you want to try some of the activities we did?  You can!  All of the activities above plus MANY more are included Life Cycle of a Butterfly!

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Book Talk Tuesday & FREEBIE!  Be sure to check out Mrs. Jump's class to find MANY great books!
LOVE LOVE LOVE Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney!  It teaches about sharing.  It gives students an opportunity to see what happens when you share and when you don't share.  Teaching social skills using children's literature is something I do A LOT of in my classroom.  Teaching preschoolers to work together and play with others is something we work on and practice all year long!
 It book begins with Llama playing with his toys when a new friend comes over to play.  Both kids have a special stuffed animal they LOVE!
 Llama watches the Gnu girl play with his toys and he doesn't like it very much.
 Llama decides that his stuffed animal Fuzzy Llama wants to play.  
 Then the Gnu girl takes Fuzzy Llama! Llama and the Gnu girl pull and tug on Fuzzy Llama until the arm falls off.  Llama runs to tell his mom and she fixes it and puts it on the stairs until Llama is ready to share.
At first the two can't are not playing together.  Llama has an idea they both can play...making a cake!
Finally, Llama wants to have more fun so he decides to share Fuzzy Llama!
 The book ends by the girl leaving and Llama wanting to share again!

How many times does this situation occur in your classroom?  This book gives you the story and pictures to talk through the problem, talk about how each person is feeling (the characters faces are wonderful), and what the characters could do instead.

After I read this book, I do a follow up small group activity to have the students practice sharing.  I usually do an art activity.  For example, if the activity is a collage with 9 students, I will put out 5 glue sticks, 5 markers, 5 paint brushes, and 5 baskets of collage materials.  I only put out a few of each item so the students are forced to wait, share, and take turns with teachers there to give support and language to students who need extra support and cues.  

There are other GREAT books in this series!  Llama Llama Red Pajama teaches about having tantrums at bedtime and what you can do instead.  Llama Llama Misses Mama teaches about missing someone and what you can do when you miss someone.  Llama Llama and the Bully Goat teaches about bullying and what to do when someone is mean to you.  Llama Llama Mad at Mama teaches about the feeling mad and what to do when you feel mad.

Happy Reading!
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