Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is having a fun winter break and is enjoying themselves with family and friends! As you spend time relaxing and surfing the Internet, don't forget to check out our classroom proposal.

See you next year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gingerbread Man Family Activity

On Thursday night (before the ice hit), we had our Gingerbread Man Family Activity. We had a lot of fun and the families that came listened to the story of the Gingerbread Man, decorated ornaments together, socialized, and ate yummy treats. I hope that your ornaments stay safe and don't get eaten by any sneaky foxes! Have a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable winter break!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You can't catch me!

Last week (sorry for the late post!) we participated in a smelling activity. We also got to do some tasting! We each had a list of the ingredients used to make Gingerbread Men. Miss Stephanie passed around the ingredients one by one and we checked in a box if we could smell it or not. We also got to taste most of them. Some of the ingredients had a smell, but not much of a taste, like flour. Some had a really good smell but not a very good taste, like cinnamon. Miss Stephanie forgot her camera when the Monday/Wednesday/Friday class did it, so there are some pictures of them participating in other activities!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gingerbread Man

Sorry this blog post didn't happen over the weekend. Miss Stephanie said it was Monday morning before she knew it!

Here are several videos from our Gingerbread Man fun last week. Our pretend play area turned into a bakery and we spent a lot of time mixing, rolling, and cooking gingerbread men! We also made gingerbread men in the discovery zone. You will also see that Mr. Rich visited us in the morning class and we all were very interested in what an audiologist does! This is a long slideshow because we had a lot of fun telling Miss Stephanie on video what we were doing!

P.S. Don't forget to tell Miss Stephanie if you are coming to the family activity night on Thursday, December 18!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


There is an updated Family of the Week schedule in the Important Documents column for those who are new to my class.

The December family project/activity information is available here. Please make sure to turn in those recipes by December 3!

Scholastic orders are also due by December 3-either on paper or you can order online.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Enjoy a few days off, eat some yummy meals, and have fun at those Black Friday sales!

P.S. M-F families....don't forget to check out the Inde Therapy kids blog (link on the right too) and see what we are doing in the Motor Room and Fine Motor Group every week!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Work Time

This week we talked a lot about foods and food groups, however, Miss Stephanie did not do a very good job taking pictures of those activities! She did take pictures of us working in the centers and also some videos so you can see a little of what we do during work time. She also wanted to remind you that next week there is no school for Parent-Teacher conferences and Thanksgiving break. She wanted to make sure to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

You may remember signing a permission form for at the beginning of the school year. is a nonprofit website where public school teachers (like me!) submit proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become a reality when concerned individuals choose projects to fund. Donors who complete project funding or give more than $100 receive photos and personal thank-you notes from the kids they helped.

I want my students to have as many great learning opportunities as possible, but sometimes the items I want are a little out of my price range! To address this issue, I turned to You have seen the firefighter, police officer, mail carrier and doctor costumes in our pretend play area. Those were items I received through people funding a proposal at! I also recently received a video camera that was funded through and I look forward to taping our school day to share with you!

My newest project proposal, Little Ones Need A Place To Sit, is now posted at! Check it out at:

Take a look! This is a proposal for a large learning rug for our Circle Time. Also, please consider forwarding this link to friends and family who might be interested in making a donation to this wonderful wsebsite. Lots of companies and individuals make donations to charities every year, why not this one? The donations are all tax-deductible!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Apple Week

Here are pictures from our learning this week. We painted with apples, made apple trees with our arms, and counted apples on trees with M&Ms and Trix and then put apples on those trees with our fingerprints.

Don't forget to click on the calendar and sign onto Google Calendar to see what is coming up!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Picture Day Order Forms Update

On the Picture Day order forms, it states that they are due, Tuesday, November 11. We don't have school that day! They will be due Thursday, November 13.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dates This Week

It is a busy week at Independence School!
We have several important dates coming up this week:

Picture Day for M-F and T/Th is Tuesday November 4
Picture Day for M/W/F is Wednesday November 5

The Jaxco Fundraiser is due Thursday, November 6
(You can use the magazine sent home or go to the Jaxco website , register, and shop! You know I like anything I can do online!)

The Independence T-shirt order forms are due Friday, November 7 (I can't wait to see everyone sportin' some Independence wear!)

In addition, you may have noticed the new calendar on the right side of the page. I am going to be using this calendar to help keep you informed of important events. I will always send them home in a newsletter or note, but this way you have them all in one place. You can register for a free Google account to view the calendar.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Farewell to the Castle

On Friday, we celebrated the end of our castle unit and Halloween. First, some people brought treats to pass out to their friends and we trick-or-treated in our room. Then we went trick-or-treating in the school. We got fun treats from the people who work in our school. After that, we attended the Pumpkin Ball. First, we sat to listen to the story of "The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything" that Miss Erin read and Miss Stephanie put the pieces on the flannel board. After that, we were able to make crowns, eat snacks and dance! We had a lot of fun participating in all of the activities and we loved having our families there to join us!

This week, we went on a treasure hunt. During work time, someone came in our room and mysteriously left a clue. We followed that clue and it led us to 8 other clues all around the school. We had to "read" the clues to figure out where to find the next one. For example, one had a picture of "girl, toilet paper, toilet, and paper towels" and we figured out we had to go to the girl's bathroom! The last clue showed us a picture of "Circle Time" and when we got back there, we found a fairy had left us treasure on our spots!

Enjoy pictures from our other fun this week. We played with "Mr. Pumpkin Head", put our hands in pumpkin goop, and made sand castles in the Creation Station!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Come One, Come All to the Pumpkin Ball

Just a reminder that our Pumpkin Ball is taking place this Friday (Halloween). Families are invited to attend at 11:00 for the am class and 2:30 for the pm classes. T/Th families are invited to come at 2:00 for trick-or-treating in the school. Kids are invited to wear their costumes to school (please no masks) and I will be dressed up to fit in with our castle theme, tiara and all! If you are brave, parents are also invited to dress up! Don't forget to RSVP!

Independence Spirit Wear

Don't forget to look at the yellow Independence Wear order forms! We are so excited about our school mascot.....

that we decided we need to sport some Independence Wear! T-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts and zip up hoodies are available. Kids will love to sport their school spirit clothing and staff are super excited to as well!

In addition, we will be using the t-shirt sales as a fundraiser for our new beautiful mural in the commons. A mom of one of our students has been doing a fantastic job making our commons child-friendly and welcoming. It is still a work in progress, but the kids are thrilled to come in and find the new animals that have been added. There are ducklings hiding throughout the mural and my very favorite is the duckling "standing" on the shelf (look all the way to the left on the second picture).
Make sure to send in those forms! And parents can sport Independence Spirit Wear too!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cash 4 Classrooms

Ever the bargain hunter, I am always searching for ways to save money and earn money for our classroom. This website, Cash for Classrooms, allows anybody to purchase gift cards, with a percentage of the total purchase being donated to a specified classroom. I have registed for an account on the site and I have already earned money by purchasing gift cards for stores I regulary visit such as Jewel, Target, Staples, and gas stations. I figure if I am spending money there anyway, I might as well earn money from doing it! You can purchase gift cards for stores you visit regularly or you can purchase gift cards as gifts. If you pay $25, you receive a $25 gift card. They donate a percentage of your purchase to our classroom. All you need to do is visit the site and sign up for an account!

Go to:
Click on: Parents sign in
Click on: Create your customer account
Fill your shopping cart with gift cards you would like to purchase
Click on: proceed to checkout
Choose the classroom you would like to support:
City: Bartlett
State: IL
Click on: Continue
Click the circle next to: Stephanie Atwell's Preschool
Click on: Continue
Select your shipping method
Click on: Continue Order
Fill out your checking account information
(credit cards are not accepted because the charge for running credit cards would eleminate the profit donated to the classrooms)
Click on: Place Order

I love this site because we can earn money while shopping at the places we shop at every week! Thanks for supporting our classroom!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkins and Castles

(edited at 10:00 on 10/25)

At the end of this week we took a walking fieldtrip to Miss Stephanie's nearby pumpkin patch. We walked through the "jungle" path to get there and had funny discussions about the types of animals we might see. The only animals we ended up seeing were squirrels! When we got there, we saw LOTS of pumpkins! First we looked in the barn and saw pumpkins on the hay wagon. We all got to sit on the hay wagon in the middle of the pumpkins. Miss Stephanie told us there used to be hundreds of pumpkins on there, but most of them were sold. Then we got to sit on the John Deere tractor and pretend we were pulling the hay wagon! After that, we looked at the pumpkins sitting outside the barn and took a picture there too. Then we ran into the pumpkin patch and saw pumpkins still growing on vines. We learned that after the vines start growing yellow flowers start blooming. Underneath the flowers little green fruit starts forming. Even though it kind of looks like watermelon, we learned that the little green fruit turns into BIG orange pumpkins! After we were done exploring the pumpkin patch, we were each allowed to find one pumpkin to bring back. We learned NOT to carry them by the stem, because then it can break. We carried our pumpkins like babies (from underneath).

When we got back to school, we painted our pumpkins! Some of us painted our pumpkins all one color. Others of us put all the colors onto every part of our pumpkin! Others painted their pumpkins and then painted faces on them. We are excited to let them dry over the weekend and then bring them home Monday and Tuesday!

We had a lot of fun at the pumpkin patch! We hope you enjoy our pictures. The slideshow is long, so feel free to skip to the portion that contains your child's class!

Although the pumpkin patch was a blast, we also had a lot of fun this week continuing our castle theme. Check out our newsletter for specific details of the activities we participated in.

One of the activities we really enjoyed this week was the book "We're Going on a Dragon Hunt". Check out Miss Erin's blog to download a copy of the book. She created the book and shared it with us so we could make our own copy. We had a lot of fun guessing who was under the flap and then reading it on our own during work time.

At the computer center this week, we had a couple of fun castle themed online games. Click on the links below to play at home.

Snap Dragon-Same/Different Game

Hatch-Matching Game

Here are pictures of the rest of our fun this week!
(Turn on your sound, this is a fun song!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Borders Halloween Event

I get e-mail updates from Borders and they are having a Halloween Event for kids this Saturday. Here is the link for more information. Sounds like fun!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Visit to Chuck E. Cheese

On Friday evening, a couple of us in Miss Stephanie's morning class met up to go to Chuck E. Cheese. We even invited Miss Stephanie to come! And where Miss Stephanie is, so is her camera. We had a lot of fun playing the games and running around with each other. Thank you to Anthony's mom for arranging this get together! We hope to enjoy more play dates outside of school throughout the year!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fun in the Castle

This week we continued to have a lot of fun with our castle theme. We had 2 noble steeds added to our pretend play area along with a very cool Brave Knight costume. There was a lot of role playing throughout the week with these additions. Here are some pictures of the fun we had this week:

This week we also got messy in shaving cream. We had to move the shaving cream around with our hands in order to find pictures taped to the table. Miss Stephanie said, "Find the Pretty Princess" and "Find the Castle". After we found all of the pictures, then she said things like, "Find the one who lives in a stable" and "Find the one who is married to the king". After that, we practiced writing our names in the shaving cream and also writing the letter of the week (E and e). Everyone had fun! Even our friends who were a little unsure about getting messy ended up diving right in!

Here are some videos of castle fun this week. You can see some of us looking at pictures in the books to get an idea of how to build a castle. You can also see some of us playing with the knight action figures!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chicago Special Parent Magazine

Our building technology person (Miss Erin) sends out a site of the week. Some are for teachers and some are for parents. I will put the relevant sites in the "Links for Parents" section on the right. For last week she said:
Chicago Parent magazine has now come out with Chicago Special Parent. It's tricky to find a hard copy, but you can read it all online! In addition to the articles, the Special Parent website has some great resource pages. You can visit the site at:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

We are full swing into our October Castle theme. We spent the week learning about who lives in a castle, painting castle walls for the pretend play area, dressing up as royalty, building castles with blocks and boxes (thank you Emily's mom), and playing with castle action figures. Click on the blue link to view the "Pretty Princess, Pretty Princess, What do you See?" book we have been reading this week. We added the sign language, but thank you to Miss Erin for making the book and sharing it with Miss Stephanie. Many of us have asked Miss Stephanie to bring the book home, but she told us our parents could print a copy from the class blog over the weekend. Miss Stephanie would love to hear if you download or print a copy of the book!

Enjoy the pictures of our Castle fun.

P.S. If you haven't noticed, Miss Stephanie LOVES to take pictures, so please be patient as some of her slideshows are a bit long!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our ABC Book

Last week we had a lot of fun taking pictures of ourselves making the letters of the alphabet for an ABC book. We took turns picking letters out of a jar. Then we got to pick which friends would help us make that letter. We laughed a lot as we touched heads, grabbed onto each other's feet and bent our bodies to make the curvy letters! This week we are reading the book in class! You can click on the blue link to download a copy of "Our ABC Book" so you can have a copy to share with your child at home every day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fun in the Classroom

Here are pictures of fun and learning this week. You will notice many pictures of our "Counting Words" activity. We used M&Ms to count the number of words in sentences. It helped work on 1:1 correspondence, counting, understanding that sentences are made up of individual words, sentence structure, and memory. It also included eating the props and that was yummy! Miss Stephanie said a sentence such as "The dog is brown" and we had to put M&Ms in line-one for each word. Then we read back the sentence while pointing one by one to the "words". We figured out if we had the right number, too many, or too few. Some of us even started making up our own sentences. This is a fun activity you can do at home with cheerios, candy, or crackers to make eating a snack a learning experience!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Star in Our Midst

Check out this link to see Paige from the M/W/F class and her family on an ABC7 Special Segment. It is called "Mom Space" and it is about moms who use Internet networking sites for a variety of purposes. They are in the middle of the segment and you can see Paige riding around!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Read Aloud Handbook

Last night at Curriculum Night I mentioned my very favorite book about the importance of reading. The title is The Read-Aloud Handbook. It is written by Jim Trelease. It is currently in its 6th edition. I love this book because it is written by a dad and it is an easy read; it is not like a text book at all. However, it is very inspirational about reading and gives great hands on ideas for parents and teachers. As I mentioned last night, some of the points they talk about are the correlation between reading to your child at a young age and high SAT scores in high school. Another point is the importance of dads reading to their children. (I saw several moms elbowing dads when I said that and I swear no one paid me to say it!)

Here is the link to the listing for it, however, I do believe it is available at most book stores. If you do decide to purchase it and read it, I would LOVE feedback on what you think.
Here is the link to Jim Trelease's webpage

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Scholastic Book Orders

Scholastic book club order forms will be coming home this week. The orders are due next week, Tuesday, October 7. It seems as if the September orders just came in, however, because we started school so late, September was pushed back a bit. In the future, the order forms will be sent home at the beginning of the month so that books can go home early in the month so you can read about upcoming holidays and seasons. For example the October books will be in by the 14th and you will have 2 weeks to read fun Halloween and fall books! Of course the forms available online too!

Here is the link to order from the Scholastic book orders online:
User Name: MissStephanieInde
Password: MissStephanieInde

Planting Daffodil Bulbs

As you probably remember, we were supposed to plant daffodil bulbs at back-to-school night, however, the weather did not cooperate. This week we took advantage of the beautiful weather and planted the bulbs in front of our school. We had fun moving the mulch out of the way and digging the holes. Miss Stephanie had to help with a lot of the digging because that dirt was not easy to move! We even learned from Miss Sandy that you have to make sure the pointy side is up when you put the bulb in the ground. Now are are anxiously awaiting some flowers even though Miss Stephanie keeps telling us that we won't see any until after winter comes and all the snow is finished. Bummer! Well, we had fun anyway, even if we have to wait a long time to see some flowers!

Fish Discussions

This week the T/Th class and the M-F class analyzed the graphs we made during fish voting. (The M/W/F class did it the week before but we forgot to take pictures.) We talked about most and least and what that means on a graph.

Classroom Fun

Here are some pictures of the fun we had during work time and some of our activities this week!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Our Class Fish

We have 4 friends in our classroom that stay there all weekend. They are our class fish. This week we had a naming contest! First, we came up with ideas for names. Some of the ideas we thought of included Superman, Spiderman, and Thomas. Miss Stephanie said we already know people with those names and we should think of some original names. Then we came up with some new names. After that, we got to vote on our favorite names.

The choices were...
Rosy Barb:
Orange Juice
Tiger Barbs (2):
Algae Eater:
We all voted by putting a post-it above the name we liked the best. We found out our winners today!

The winners are....

Rosy Barb:
Orange Juice

Tiger Barbs:


Algae Eater :

Second Week of School

Check out the newsletter we sent home that has all of the fun activities we participated in this week. Here are some pictures of the fun activities we did and our creativity during work time (centers).

Monday, September 15, 2008


Just a reminder...

Scholastic book orders are due by Wednesday this week. You can fill out the order forms I brought on the home visits or place orders online (see post below for instructions). If we get $200 in classroom orders, I will receive a huge bonus of 6,000 points which can buy us a big ticket item for our classroom or 500 books! Thanks for your orders!

Here is the link to order from the Scholastic book orders online:
User Name: MissStephanieInde
Password: MissStephanieInde

Saturday, September 13, 2008

First Week

Here are pictures from our first week of school!

Hits and Comments

Miss Stephanie said she is excited about all of the hits to our classroom blog! Look at the hit counter on the right and you can see how many times people view our page. You can also click on the world map and see where people are viewing our blog from. Miss Stephanie's sister is living in Africa right now, so that is who the red dot in Morocco is from, but it looks like someone in Europe is looking at our blog too! How fun!

Also, feel free to comment on the posts. If you enjoyed looking at the pictures with your family, leave us a comment and let us know!Or if you thought one picture was really funny, leave a comment and let us know that! You can post anonymously or you can create a Blogger ID and post with your name. If you post anonymously, just make sure you sign it so we know who is leaving fun comments!

Happy Blogging and stay dry on this rainy weekend!

Independence Guinea Pigs

Independence has two new friends this year. We have two guinea pigs named Reese's and Snickers! This week we got to go visit our new friends. We even got to pet them! All of us were very excited about meeting and petting our new friends. Before we met them, we made guesses about who the new friends Miss Stephanie told us about could be. Some of us guessed polar bears (we were really wrong!) but some of us guessed hamsters and that was really close! We can't wait to keep seeing our school pets grow and get to know them throughout the year. They like to eat yummy fresh vegetabables and we thought that was funny to see the radishes, lettuce and cucumbers in their cage!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Day of Preschool for MWF kids

We had a great first day of school today! We learned about all of the fun things in our classroom, drew pictures of ourselves, sang, and played in the beautiful weather outside! Miss Stephanie loves taking pictures and she said she would share them with you tonight!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My first day of preschool

We had so much fun our first day of school! Our teacher, Miss Stephanie, took pictures all day because she knew our moms and dads would want to see them tonight. She told us that she would put them on the computer as soon as she put us on the bus! It was the first day for us kids that come to school every day and us kids that come to school only Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our friends that come M/W/F will have their first day tomorrow! We learned about the classroom, drew pictures of ourselves, made placemats, and even got to play outside! On top of all that we got to feed our classroom fish! They were swimming around like crazy! Mr. Rich (the audiologist) came in the morning to help us with our hearing aids and FM systems so we took pictures with him too! We hope you enjoy the pictures of us!

Pictures from the morning class:

Pictures from the T/Th afternoon class:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to School Night

Thank you to all of the families that joined us at Back to School Night tonight. Although the weather did not cooperate (so we could not plant bulbs), we had a lot of fun checking out the classroom, meeting new friends, voting on a mascot, and eating a tasty summer treat. I enjoyed catching up with students and families I have not seen since the summer, seeing those of you again that I met on home visits and I also enjoyed meeting those of you that I did not get a chance to meet on the home visits. I was also excited to hear that many of you are interested in being part of our TOTS Parent Group. They love to have new members! Below are pictures from the festivities tonight. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Scholastic Book Orders

Just a reminder...

Here is the link to order from the Scholastic book orders online:

User Name: MissStephanieInde
Password: MissStephanieInde

You can place your order online and use a credit card!

You can also fill out the hard copies I gave you on our home visits and write a check to Scholastic if you prefer to do it that way.

Orders are due by September 17. Just remember, if all of my classes get a total of $200 in orders, I will get 6,000 bonus points! That means 500 new books or a big item for the classroom!

Click here for step by step screen shot instructions for placing orders online:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back To School Night

It is that time of year again! Summer is winding down and it is time to start planning back to school celebrations!

Our Back to School Night at Independence will be:

Thursday, September 4, from 6:30-7:30

At our Back to School Night we will be:

-meeting the teacher (me!)
-seeing the classroom
-planting daffodil bulbs
-eating ice cream and socializing
-voting on a school mascot

Read about the Daffodil Principle here:

I look forward to seeing you there!

The first day of school will be:

M-F and T/Th class:
Tuesday, September 9

M/W/F class:
Wednesday, September 10