Perfect child made gift I can do in my classroom with students! How to make Christmas stained glass pictures.

Every year in December students make Christmas gifts for their parents. This year I decided to make stained glass window pictures! The first thing I had to do was go to my favorite store, The Dollar Tree to purchase a frame for each student. For this project I am used 5 X 7 size frames.  In my art cabinet pulled out acrylic paint, paint brushes, black Sharpies, plastic cupcake tray, and a dry erase marker.
 Do ever have those kids that get to the blocks center and don't know what to build? "I Can" anchor charts and books helps give students ideas of what they can build. Easy way to embed STEM activities to your classroom.

Blocks is one of my favorite centers and always a favorite for my students.  The blocks center is such an important center in preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten classrooms.  The kids LOVE it and A TON of learning can take place there!

WHOOO! The BIG classroom reveal!  I made some new additions to my rainbow classroom this year and kept all my fun makeover items from last year too!  When I was taking the pictures for this post I thought of a few more things I want to update. It is always a work in progress!  I am always adding new activities, taking out the old, putting up new student work, taking down the old, and organizing.  
strategies to make fire drills less stressful and scary for kids in your early childhood classroom

Fire drills can be terrifying for preschoolers and many children.   It is loud and students are everywhere. I created a book (aka social story) about fire drills to help make fire drills not so scary.  The book has simple text and illustrations.  It explains why we have fire drills, what is will sound like, what they will do, and what will be happening around them.  Here are a few pages from the book.

WHOO! Portfolio & Assessments made EASY has been updated! SO much has been added to this.   You now have tons more student portfolio covers to choose from, all the dividers have been updated with cute clip art, new skills have been added, progress reports (4 to choose from), and more charts so you can create a NO PREP  assessment binder!  It is now a whopping 285 pages!
Make assessments & portfolios easy and manageable! Just print, assess, record, and file! Perfect for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten.

Question of the day in my preschool classroom. Tips and tricks to implement it in the classroom and WHAT students are learning.

Question of the day is a fun way to get kids learning RIGHT when they get into the classroom each morning. It is a great classroom management technique to get the school day on track right from the start.
Sensory table ideas - sensory filler list, sensory tools list plus how to make it meaningful play in your early childhood classroom

"Play is often talked about as if it was a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning." Mr. Rogers. I LOVE this quote and it really speaks to how important play is.  As teachers it is our job to set up the environment, question, and take students' play to the next level!

Green and red choice behavior management techniques (posters, songs, individual choice boards, class books, and children's books to support) perfect for preschool, pre-k, and kindergaten
Teaching students to make good choices is HARD!  Students need to learn how to make good choices just like they need to learn their letters and numbers. 

Social development directly affects ALL other areas of learning.  One of my main goals for students is to be happy, confident learners who can solve problems and work collaboratively with others. 

Being able to make good choices when they are alone and interacting with others is a BIG part of that. 
This post contains affiliate links.
Happy summer!  I am so excited to share with you a makeover of one of my top selling products Grocery Store.  I have had this on  my to do list for some time.  Once I got going I went crazy!  It got so big I divided into two products.  Now I have Grocery Store Dramatic Play and Food Math and Literacy Centers.  For those of you who messaged me and only wanted the center activities, here you go!  If you have purchased Grocery Store BEFORE today, I uploaded BOTH Food Centers and Grocery Store Dramatic Play in the file for you!
Let me show you all the additions I have made to Grocery Store Dramatic Play
Now what did I make over?  I added MORE classroom photographs so you can see my Grocery Store in action.  I am a visual learner so I LOVE looking at other teachers' classrooms and on Pinterest to get new ideas because I can SEE it!  I hope the extra photos give you inspiration to make your grocery store come to life in your classroom.
Originally, I took photographs of food containers to make the labels.  Those are still in there because some of you have told me you liked the real pictures rather than clip art.  I made NEW cute and adorable labels with fun clip art.  There are more labels than you would need!  You can organize your grocery store to best fit your classroom and your students.  
Signs!  I had MANY people request a blank set of signs so students could write the words on them! Wish granted!
each 
Roles (who students pretend to be) for the grocery store are cashier, clerk, and shopper.  Sometimes is it hard to think about ALL the things each role can do.  I have a solution...a cheat sheet!  I made a teacher cheat sheet that breaks down what each role can do.  I find that if you give students MANY options, the play lasts longer, more props are used, students are more creative, more peer interactions and conversations occur!  The best part is I observe LESS challenging behaviors!  WHHHOO!  There are so many different things for students to do, they are not fighting over props as much.
I couldn't share all about the grocery store without sharing about my favorite thing the produce section!  I have these great marker boxes I keep for all my dramatic play fun and I added a scale and produce bags to create the produce section.  Students created the veggies and fruits using paper, pipe cleaners, and pom poms!  I LOVE when students can use their imagination during play. You don't have to always use the perfect plastic food in the dramatic play center.
My new product (drum roll please) Food Math and Literacy Centers full of fun, hands on games and activities and games!  Why do worksheets when you can play games and have fun?
Literacy Fun!  You will find fun, hands on games and activities to practice letter identification, syllables, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing.  You can see Lunch Syllables below which is my favorite literacy game in the pack.
 Food vocabulary word cards!  We use in my classroom for so many different games and activities. Students build the words with magnet letters, stamp the words in play dough, write the words on chalk boards, clap the syllables, and sort the words by number of letters, beginning sound, or number of syllables. I use the upper case word cards with my younger students who are just learning their letters and the lower case with my pre-k students who are more familiar with their letters.
Math Fun! I made many FUN math games and activities to practice one to one correspondence, counting, addition, number identification, shapes, sorting, and patterns.  My students last year LOVED Find and Trace Games. They had no idea that they were also building fine motor when they erased their boards! Look how inviting Food Shape Find and Trace looks.  Students pick a card, find the shape on their board, ad trace it with a dry ease marker.
To celebrate the make over, Grocery Store Dramatic Play and Food Math and Literacy Centers are 50% off until midnight on Tuesday!  Any new product I post is always 50% off for the first 24 hours so be sure to follow me to save!
A big thanks to the hosts of TPT Seller Challenge (Sparkling in SecondTeach Create Motivate, Peppy Zest Teacherista, & Third in Hollywood)  to get me motivated to do a make over!  I can't wait to see what they have in store for us next week.
How to change  your dramatic play center into an aquarium (awesome classroom photos, tips, and ideas)

Dramatic Play is a center that can get boring so spice it up by transforming it into an Aquarium! The kids LOVED this theme and so did the teachers!  It was something new, different, and involved ocean animals.  Kids LOVE ocean animals.  Change the center into something that they are interested and excited to learn and you will see a higher level of play! You can get Aquarium Dramatic Play from my TPT store by clicking HERE.  Check out our Aquarium!
Writing letters - 26 different ways to write letters. Make letter writing (and handwriting) fun and interactive for your preschool, pre-k, & kindergarten students.

Letter formation and handwriting can be fun and interactive! You will find 26 different ways to make letters without doing a worksheet.  
By providing students with materials they can create or write letters with, they will want and be excited to make letters!  Isn't that what wee really want...kids to be excited about letters?
FREE end of the year lists plus more End of the year teacher and students HACKS to make the end of the year and back to school less easy! Perfect for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten.

Make the end of the year count for your students and yourself. I'm sharing my favorite end of the year teacher hacks with you! Use the time you have the last few weeks to prep and make back to school easier and less stressful for you! Help your students transition by reflecting on the school year, celebrate everything they have done, accomplished, and learned! Now let's get started.

Oh and don't forget to grab your FREE set of End of the Year Lists later in the post!

This post contains affiliate links.

The last unit of the year has to be fun, engaging, and something students are interested in. Ocean (pirates too) was the perfect theme!  Students were learning and having fun!  I am linking up with Kindergarten Dragons to show you a spotlight of my ocean centers.
Pirate Flag Count
 Ocean Animals Ten Frame Play Dough Mats
 Fish Bump -1
Just a note, I also had Fish Bump Counting out in the center for my younger students.
Ocean Spin & Graph
 Make a Pirate Map
Ocean Animal Research
 Pirate Letter and Sound Match
 Clam Rhyme  
Ocean Animals ABC Order 
Students hid the letters all over the center first and found them.  Then they put the letters in ABC order  This was also a great way to make sure students found all the hidden letters.
Ocean Writing Paper & Ocean Word Cards
Click on the cover and you can go grab your Shark Color by Letter!
Look at ALL the math center activities that are included.
Look at ALL the literacy center activities that are included. 
If you would like to purchase Ocean Math and Literacy Centers for your classroom click the cover.
Be sure to go check out Kindergarten Dragoons to check out other teachers Spotlights!








Ocean!  What a fun theme for students and teachers.  Fun themes that students are interested in are super important to calm the craziness that can occur at the end of the year. The last month of school was all about the ocean in my classroom!
To begin the theme each day for table time and/or small group, students created an ocean animal craft.  Students came in excited each morning asking what animal they would be making that day.  These crafts were also a fun way to strengthen fine motor muscles!  Students were tracing, cutting, painting, and/or gluing to create the craft which all strengthens those little hand and wrist muscles.  
I'll start with my favorite ocean animal craft...
Seahorses!  This craft was too detailed for my preschool students to cut out so the teachers cut the seahorses out for them.  Students glued tissue paper to the seahorses.
Sea Turtles!  Students cut out the legs, head, and shell and glued their turtle together.  Then they tore various shades of green paper to create a design on the shell.
Sea Stars!  Students traced and cut out the star pattern.  Then sponge painted it to create a fun texture. 
Jellyfish!  Students traced and cut out the jellyfish body.  Then cut streamers and ribbon for the tentacles.  Many students were asking questions about jellyfish during this craft. One student had the idea to look in a book to see if they could find answers to their questions!  They discovered jellyfish have no eyes.  Students decided that since real jellyfish did not have eyes that they should not make eyes on their jellyfish!
What are we going to do with all these amazing ocean animal crafts?  Make a ocean mural!  First I covered the wall with blue paper.  Students painted twisty coral, sea weed, and sand on the paper.
The next day, students cut black paper rocks and glued it to the mural.  Look at the den they made for the octopus to hide in!  The entire time they were cutting the rocks and making the den they were having an intense talk about octopuses!  That morning we read a non-fiction book about octopuses. It was a proud teacher moment!  
Students also made crabs,
fish,
 octopus, and 
a hammerhead shark!
Drum roll please...our amazing ocean mural!  They were so proud of all themselves!  Students were bringing their parents over to the mural at drop off and pick up to show them their ocean animals.  Most also shared what had learned about the animal too!  
Go grab Ocean Animals: Just the Crafts from my TPT store by clicking on the cover!  It includes directions for each animal and all the patterns!
Take the ocean theme all over your classroom.  


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