How to make, organize, and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)
Calendar time.  What a hot topic!  Everyone does it their own way.  A linear calendar is basically a calendar cut apart and glued together in one long line. 
I am linking up with the amazing Dee Dee for another Peek at my Week!  I am super excited for this week!  It is our last week of our Birthday Theme and we are going to have a birthday party for Super Bear (our class mascot).  The students will be planning the party.  Students will vote on what kind of party it will be.  I am crossing my fingers that it will be a pajama party!  They will also vote on what kind of food we will have and what games we will play.  All week students will be creating birthday cards for Super Bear and all the party decorations.  Students will even create invitations and invite a stuffed animal to the party!  Check back this weekend to see pictures of the party!

Name writing is a skill that we work on all year long.  Students come in my classroom at so many different levels.  Some students are scribbling and some are writing their whole first name.  I use Name Dot Its to build students name writing skills and letter formation because I can easily differentiate they activity so all students are challenged!  
For students who are just learning the names of their letters in their name, they use dot markers for this activity.  Students dot the letters in their name with the matching color dot marker.
 For students who already know the names of the letters in their name, they trace the letter with the matching color to work on letter formation.
I also have students working on their last names too!  Students can work at all different levels doing the same activity.  We will use this activity all year long.
 Another variation of this activity is to use magnet bingo counters.  Students cover the letters in their name with the matching color counter and use a magnet wand to clear their board.  
And now my plans for the week!
Here are the products I will be using this week!
Have a great week!  Don't forget to check and see what other teachers are teaching this week!

Teach your students how to solve problems using visual supports and techniques in your early childhood classroom. Teaching social skills (aka character education) is just as important as teaching letters.

Problem solving is hard for preschool students (all students really) so to support my little friends we are doing a problem solving unit.  
Week 2 of our Birthday Theme was super fun!  This week our focus was cakes and cupcakes!  Yummy.  I am linking up with Doddle Bugs Teaching to share with you my 5 for Friday (Saturday).  If you missed what we did for week 1 click HERE!
Most of these activities are included in the my Birthday Math and Literacy Centers and Birthday Dramatic Play.
1.  Math Activities!  
My students LOVE dot it markers so I created a math game using dot markers.  Students rolled a die and made the corresponding number of sprinkles (dots) on their cupcake.  Some students rolled a die with numbers 1, 2, 3, and some students rolled a die with numbers 1-6.
During small group, students created a page for our newest class book How Many Candles are on the Cake?  Students decorated their cake with markers.  Then they added their favorite number of candles to their birthday cake.  This book will be a great addition to our class library!
 The Candle Counting Game was introduced last week.  It will remain in the discovery center for the rest of the theme.  Students played the game during center time again this week and during arrival time on Friday.
2.  Literacy Activities!  
I created this yummy cupcake letter match game for the library center.  Students played it over and over all week!  We are focusing on just the uppercase letters right now in my class.  I want students to have a strong understanding of all the capital letters before we move to lowercase.  
 Students created birthday cards for the pretend center (aka dramatic play center) in small group and in the library center this week.  I put out paper numbers 1-5 in the library center and "happy birthday" word strips for students to glue to their cards.
 Here they are working intensely on their cards.  
3.  Balloons!
All parties need balloons.  In the art center students could create balloons.  First, they had to cut out a circle, square, or oval balloon.  Then they could color it with markers, crayons, or paint.  I also had out a tray of collage materials they could add.  The last step was to add the ribbon!  They turned out super cute!
I put the balloons all over the pretend center to decorate for all the parties!  
4.  Icing Cakes!
Not all my students have had the opportunity to ice a cake with frosting so we did it in art!  To make the "icing", we mixed glue and paint together.  It makes the paint sticky and shiny just like frosting!  Now the for the fun part!  Students could "ice" (paint) their "cake" (paper cut into small squares) using spatulas!
 It was great fine motor work too!  Students had to move, twist, and spread their spatula many different ways to "ice" their "cake".
5.  Candles!
We created BIG candles on butcher paper in the hallway!  It was a fun way to practice making straight, long, lines.  
One student wanted to "light" the candle by making small dots so we did!  It was in my plans but I love that it was her idea to do it!  It makes activities more meaningful when the students can take charge of their learning.  Students pretended to blow out the candles at the end.  It was tons of fun!  A great way to end the week.
Be sure to check out Doddle Bugs Teaching to see what other teachers are up to this week!

All kids LOVE their birthday!  The first study/theme we are doing in my class this year is BIRTHDAY!  I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my 5 for Friday!
Most of these activities are included in the my Birthday Math and Literacy Centers and Birthday Dramatic Play.
1.  Building background knowledge!  During circle we read Platypus and the Birthday Party.  In the book, Platypus and his friend have a pretend birthday party for their stuffed animal.  Our pretend center has changed to a birthday party for this theme so the students will be having pretend birthday parties just like the characters in the book!    On day one when we read book, we focused on who is at the party (characters in the book).  Each student got a card to write and draw about someone they could pretend for our pretend birthday parties.  On day two we focused on what they did and props they used to get ready for the party (events in the story).  Each student got another card to write and draw a prop we would need to have pretend birthday parties.  This helped me see what background knowledge they have about parties and get them involved in setting up the pretend center right from the start.  Here is the web we made!
2.  Making props!  I am BIG on having the students make as may props for the pretend center as possible!  One student told me we needed a banner for our party.  During arrival time, students created a banner using paint and butcher paper.
Another student put on their card that we needed paper chains to decorate the party.  In the art center, students cut paper strips to create the paper chains.
For my 3 year olds, cutting a 5 inch line is too hard so they made confetti for the party.  I wanted ALL students to be able to help make and create props.
I gathered SOME of the props they put on their cards and here is what our pretend center looks like now!  Don't you just love all the student made props!  The more they do and create to set up the center, the more invested they become!  This theme will last 4 weeks and each week I will add more props to extend their play!
Look at the students having a BLAST at their pretend party!  Don't you just love how everyone has a birthday hat including the baby.  One student is giving each person ice cream and the other is giving each person a big cookie.
3.  Parent Letter!  I also sent home a parent note introducing our study.  In the note, I asked for parents to donate any left over party supplies they had at their house.  Student brought in all kinds of party supplies.  Some of the supplies went into the center and some I kept for later.  I always start with the amount of props in pretend.  By slowly adding new props each week, students learn how to use the props in their pretend play appropriately! 
4.  Writing and Drawing Invitations!  In my library center, I created a place for supplies to create invitations.  I had pre-folded paper for the cards, example invitations, "What Cards Need" poster, "You're Invited" strips, and birthday words.  So inviting right?  The invitations they created, I laminated and put in pretend for students to use when they invite their friends to their pretend parties.
5.  Birthday Playdoh!  My new manipulative for this week was Birthday Playdoh!  It is just home made playdoh, with no color added, and real SPRINKLES!  This was a HUGE hit this week!  Someone brought in candles and the red firework thing so I added it to the playdoh basket for students to use.
 They made cupcakes, cakes, and cookies!
I also made playdoh mats!  These mats are just for fun to build fine motor strength.
You can purchase them from my TPT store!
Be sure to check out what other teachers are doing this week over at Doddle Bugs Teaching!  I always find great ideas!  I know you will too.
Have a great week!

Cover Up and Add It Up are fun counting and addition games I use in my classroom all year long! 
Here is everything that is included!
 My classroom set of boards were old and worn out.  I created new boards that are bright and colorful!  The boards don't have a theme so you can use them during ANY theme/study in your classroom!  
I LOVE making things that I can use for more than one theme.  What I do is use a manipulative to match the theme were are learning about.  At the beginning of this year, Pete the Cat left us buttons to us to play the game with.  I have used cotton balls during a winter theme, candles during a birthday theme, and rocks during a camping theme.
Included are boards with 10 spaces.  You will find a red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and a pink board.  Want to make the game more challenging?  Simply glue 2 boards together to make a board with 20 spaces!
There are MANY ways you can differentiate this game simply by using different dice!
Have one group use a color dice and the players add ONE object to their board.  It will help your youngest learner begin to develop 1:1 correspondence.
Have another group use a dice with dots up to the number 3.  This group can continue to build one to one correspondence with objects up to 3.
Have the highest group use a dice with dots up to the number 6 to help them build one to one correspondence up to 6. 
Here are MORE ways you can differentiate so that students at every level can learn and be successful!
Add It Up can be played on the same boards!   Here are the directions (included) to play Add It Up using dice with dots....
and using dice with numbers.
Want to change it up? Simply print, copy, and play!  Students can use bingo dot markers or stickers to cover their boards!  The best part is they can take their boards home and their families can see what they are learning and doing at school! There is a Cover board with 10 spaces and another with 20 spaces.
There is an Add It Up board with 10 spaces and another with 20 spaces.
To increase students math skills,  I use Take Home Bags in my classroom.  Students LOVE them and I hope parents love them too!  It is a fun way to strengthen the home school connection.  It shows their parents what they are doing at school and how they are doing.  A parent can see their child’s skill level when they play the game with them.  Students have fun “teaching” their family how to play the game.  I always practice playing the game at school a bunch BEFORE I send the bag home.  I want to make sure the student knows how to play the game so they can be successful at home with their family.  I include both game boards and 2 different dice.  I want parents to see that I differentiate in my classroom so all students can learn!
What to Include in the Bag:
•Cover Up Boards
•Directions (pick the one you need)
I found my bags at a dollar store.  You can also use any bags or backpacks you have on hand in your classroom
As if you were not excited enough about Cover Up and Add It Up, here is a preview of everything included!
 Have a fun day!

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