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