Thursday, December 20, 2012

Run! Run! As Fast as you can! You can't catch me! I'm the Gingerbread Man!

This week we finished up reading different versions of the Gingerbread Man! We took turns retelling the story with some pictures on the flannel board.

JTT Reading the story with the book
Check out the Venn Diagrams we did comparing two versions of the story.

And here are some other pictures of the fun we had this week! When we saw it was snowing on Tuesday, we ran outside to take some pictures in the snow. On Thursday when Mr. Rich stopped by, we got to wear his silly singing and dancing hat. Have a fabulous and fun 2 week break!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Helping Children Deal with Tragedy

In light of the events of today, please visit Miss Erin's blog here
to check out some links that can help parents talk to young children when tragedy hits. 

There are some other links here:

This article gives some specific examples of what you can say to children when they ask about what happened or why the adults are sad:

One of the most important things is to limit what young children see on the TV. It is hard for young children to understand what they see and hear and we don't know how they rationalize it in their heads. 

Also, though we want to share information with kids, make sure what you share is developmentally appropriate. Your children of different ages may need to be told different things. You may want to warn older siblings to watch what they say to younger siblings. 

My thoughts and prayers are with all those touched by today's tragedy. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you and your families.

Below is a message Dr. Torres sent today to all our parents and staff:

Dear U-46 Colleagues and Community,

As I'm processing the shocking news about a shooting in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, I was struck with a phrase I heard from a reporter, "this sort of thing doesn't happen in our town, in towns like these." My heart is aching for the 

I have informed the Governor’s Office that our flags will be lowered to half-mast in all of our buildings in U-46 effective immediately. The Governor’s Office granted permission pending a statewide order to lower all flags across the State of Illinois.

These kinds of events can remind us of trauma that we have experienced in our own life. If you an employee of School District U-46, please check your email for information on how you can access help through the Employee Assistance Program. If you are a community member receiving this message, please access counseling as needed from community social service organizations or your faith community.

My prayers are with the victims and their families, who will not have a normal holiday season this year.

Respectfully and with a very heavy heart,

Dr. José M. Torres

Puppet Pals Storytelling App

We had a lot of fun with a new iPad app Puppet Pals HD this week!

It is a free app (clink on the link above for information), however, if you upgrade for $2.99 you can take pictures of people and they can be puppets in the story as well! We thought that was a lot of fun!

We took pictures of each of the kids and therapists and the kids took turns creating their own stories. It can be hard coming up with a plot line all on your own, it is something that we are having fun practicing!

Miss Stephanie's Example (even though she dislikes hearing her voice!)

We also started playing with the Toca Boca apps. We made clothes for some characters and then took pictures with them in the Toca Tailor app!

Gingerbread Man Baking

We have been reading various versions of The Gingerbread Man over the last couple weeks. Our House Area has new baking supplies added and we have been having fun "baking" during Work Time every day. We have even been bringing the playdough over to the House Area and rolling and cutting out Gingerbread Men! And girls! 

One day we sat together and used the supplies to "bake" Gingerbread Men.

Adding ingredients to a bowl and stirring them. 

Rolling out the dough 

Using a cookie cutter to cut out a shape

Putting the tray in the oven and then waiting.

Using hot pads to take the tray out of the oven.

Using a spatula to move the cookies to the cooling racks.

Trying to catch our delicious Gingerbread Men as he ran away!

In the Science Area (messy table) we have corn meal and oats so we can pretend to bake and stir. Flour is far too messy and gets in the air! But corn meal works well!

You can see other pictures of some of our activities below:

We had our Gingerbread House Family Activity on Wednesday night in the gym. We had a BLAST decorating our Gingerbread Houses. Check out some of our creations below!

Here is a fun song about the Gingerbread Man:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Reading Pete the Cat and Singing

One day during Reading Time, several of us wanted to be videotaped reading our favorite book, Pete the Cat. We love to read Pete the Cat every day! We have talked about it before here, here and here. It is a great book for colors, rhythm, cause and effect, and vocabulary!

Rereading favorite books can get old for the adults, but it helps young children develop important skills! They begin to understand the relationship of the pictures to the text, they develop better comprehension of the story, they begin to "retell" the story themselves, and they enjoy it! It is, however, important to expose your child to new books as well. If your child always wants to read the same book, you can do first/then. "FIRST we will read this new book. THEN we will read Pete the Cat" (or whatever the favorite book is!).

Enjoy our videos! 






 JTT wanted to be different and he sang Old MacDonald instead!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Signing Time Halloween Signs

Check out the Signing Time video with Halloween signs here:

We use the third sign for Halloween around here!

The Very Busy Spider Day

Today to celebrate Halloween, we had a special celebration at school. We rotated around the school, participating in activities to go along with the book The Very Busy Spider  by Eric Carle.

Here is how you sign spider:

You can watch the story here:

You can see our pictures below!

What we did:
-Watched the story on the Smartboard
-Sang "Old MacDonald" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider"
-Did an obstacle course in the gym
-Made a spider snack with an apple
-Played Pin the Leg on the Spider
-Made a spider craft

Watch the Itsy Bitsy Spider here:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything-Smartboard and Story

We have been enjoying reading the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything over the last few weeks.

We each took a turn using the Smartboard to retell the story! It is so neat! We each took a turn wearing the microphone and moving the pieces around the Smartboard while telling the story. We are still a little shy while using the microphone since it is the first time this year, but we will warm up to it!









Miss Stephanie telling the story on the Smartboard

You can click on the pictures below to see signs that go along with our story!

You can see our post with the embedded videos here from last here!

Here are Miss Erin and Miss Stephanie reading the story:

Here is the performance at school last year:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Firefighter Visit, Safety Tips, and Fire Sign Language

Today we had a visit from the local firefighters.

Some important things we learned:

 If there is a fire or smoke, you should “get low and go”. (crawl outside)

Fire is hot and can hurt you, you shouldn’t go near it.

If there is a fire, you need to get OUT of the house. No going back for dogs, cats, pets, or toys.

You should have a meeting place to go outside if there is a fire.

Kids should not play with fire.

The smoke detector will make a loud nose if there is smoke, you should go outside. (Today-take some time to show your children the smoke detectors. Make sure they are working!)

Firemen are NOT scary even when they are dressed up! Firemen are nice even when they look scary (like in the pictures below)!

Click on this picture to see important signs about fire safety!

Other pictures of us walking around the fire truck:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our Friend the Bat

In the Pumpkin Patch post from last week, we gave you a sneak peak at our friend the bat! Here you can check our a slideshow with pictures of exploring the bat. We also read some books about bats.

We learned that different kinds of bats eat different things. Some of the things include:
-blood (just vampire bats)

We learned that bats sleep hanging upside down by their feet. 

We learned that bats are usually awake at night and sleep during the day.

We learned that mommy bats carry their baby bats around until they learn to fly.

When we explored the bat, we used a magnifying glass to see it up close. We thought the feet were really cute!

Now the bat sits in our classroom in a glass mason jar that doesn't get opened and the jar keeps the bat safe from poking fingers. Don't worry, the bat is dead!

Click here to see pictures in sign language of how to sign bat.

You can watch the YouTube Video of the book Stellaluna right here (about a little bat).

Pumpkin Carving

Last week when we went to the pumpkin patch at Ms. Stephanie's house, we picked one of the big pumpkins that had a hole made in it by a squirrel. We brought it back to school and the next day we carved it! We used the hole the squirrel made and turned it into a triangle eye!

Each of us helped carve the pumpkin and pull out the yucky insides! All of us did it, even if we were a little grossed out at first. Then we all talked about and decided on the shapes for the face.

It was fun and now the jack-o-lantern watches us from the bookshelf!

Sign for Pumpkin is here:

Our slideshow: 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch

We had a blast today visiting Miss Stephanie's pumpkin patch!

We got to walk around in the (muddy) field, pick a little pumpkin, sit on the old tractor and pretend to drive, look at the pumpkins on the hay wagon, watch Ms. Stephanie drive the John Deere, and see inside the barn. We were bummed to learn that there are no animals in the barn!

We are so excited that we get to bring a pumpkin home!

In the afternoon we went back and we were able to play in the leaves because they were dry! We also found a run away dog and were really happy to be able to return him to his owner who is a neighbor. 

Check out our pictures!

We also had a really exciting afternoon because we saw a bat! Here is one picture for now...we will share more later! Ms. Stephanie's friend found it (dead) in her fireplace and we got to explore it with the magnifying glasses!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pretend Play and More Bubble Wrap Fun

We had another busy week this week! Some of the things you will see in this slideshow:

-Pretending during Work Time
-Play Dough
-Enjoying the sensory experience of jumping on bubble wrap-Miss Stephanie jumped too!
-Pretend Play

We have had so much fun with the bubble wrap! You should try at home!

Some of the words we have been talking about this week:
-jack-o-lantern (a pumpkin with a face!)

This weekend you can talk about trees and leaves at home! Try going outside collecting different types of leaves and talk about how they are the same and different!

The most exciting news this week? We got our project funded! We will be getting a classroom iPad in the next couple days! Miss Stephanie has already picked out and bought apps to use as communication tools, speech practice, and listening activities. We are so grateful to all the people that donated to help us get this tool just for us!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Classroom Fun and Bubble Wrap Fun!

Check out some of what we did this week!

You will see that we have bubble wrap in the science area this week. Why bubble wrap!?! Well, first, because Miss Stephanie LOVES bubble wrap. But second, because it is a great fine motor activity. We have been practicing popping the bubbles with just our 3 fingers instead of our whole hand. It helps us develop strength and dexterity in our fingers! You can read about some other fine motor activities to do at home here!

What else you will see in this video:
-playing in the centers
-matching letters of the alphabet
-drawing on the Smartboard
-making patterns

I hope you have enjoyed the Deaf Awareness Week information! You can see them here as well! Feel free to share with your friends!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pete the Cat-Rocking My School Shoes

Today we had a new visitor in our classroom!

Pete the Cat came to visit! We came in this morning and Pete the Cat was sitting right there on Miss Stephanie's chair! Not only did he visit us, but he brought us a new book! Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. We got to read it during Circle Time!

In our class, we LOVE Pete the Cat. We love Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes and Pete the Cat Rocking His School Shoes. We thought Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons was hilarious today! He found out he has a belly button! Miss Stephanie even told us that there is a new book coming out at the end of September! Pete the Cat Saves Christmas! We are so excited for it!

Miss Stephanie even just ordered a bunch of Pete the Cat books from Scholastic because we tend to love our Pete the Cat books to death around here!

Last year, Miss Erin and Miss Stephanie recorded Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes and did a post about it here. We have another Pete the Cat post here

Here is our NEW Pete the Cat video:

You can also see some of our favorite videos with Eric Litwin, the author himself, reading the stories:

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes

  Pete the Cat Rocking In My School Shoes

AND you can download Eric Litwin reading the stories right here on the Harper Collins website. It can also help you learn how to sing the songs! Four Groovy Buttons has quite the beat! You can learn it on this site. 

Fun in the Class and Smartboard Team Work

Sorry this post is a little late! But here are our photos from last week! Here is some of what you will see in the video:
-making patterns with unifix cubes
-Sorting hot and cold weather clothes on the SmartBoard
-Playing during work time
-Helping Mr. Rich our audiologist set up equipment
-A video of H, J, and G working on the Smartboard together!

Check out our photos from last week!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Important Links

Make sure to check out some important links on the "Links for Parents" section to the right. 

You can find: 
-U-46 Lunch menus to see what we will have for snack (breakfast) and/or lunch each day
-U-46 calendar
-Link to place Scholastic orders online with our class activation code (Don't forget, for every online order, you get a $5 for a free book and we get $3 for a free classroom book!)

You will also find some other great resources to browse at your leisure!

First Two Days of School

We had a FABULOUS first two days of school. It was great to see new faces and reunite with returning ones. 

Some of the things we did over the last two days:
-draw our faces
-learn about the different areas of the room
-meet our speech teacher Ms. Kate
-the M-F kids met the auditory teacher, Ms. Bridget, and counselor, Ms. Dana
-played outside on Friday

Some of the things we will do next week:
-Learn more about the different parts of the room
-Start our therapies
-make handprints and write our name and draw a picture of ourselves to save and see how it compares to the end of the year

Check out our slideshow of some pictures from the last 2 days!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to School 2012

Welcome Back and Welcome To Independence Center for Early Learning!

I am excited to begin another school year working with you and your family as part of your child's team. I use this blog as an opportunity to share with you what happens in our classroom. I will post weekly slideshows so you can see what we are up to. You can also share the address with your family members so they can see what your child is up to in preschool! In addition to the pictures, I will often post videos of songs and stories that relate to our unit. I often also post "homework" that you can do with your child that relates to our classroom theme. This gives you a chance to talk to your child about what he/she is doing in the classroom. This is great for developing language skills and making connections.

In addition to my posts, I also have links on the right side of the page. These are great resources for you. Some are websites for kids and others are resources for parents.

I look forward to sharing your child's preschool experience with you this year!

Sometimes the slideshow doesn't appear right away. If that happens, you can hit the F5 button on your keyboard and wait a few minutes. It should appear shortly. If you experience any difficulty, let me know!

Open House is Tuesday, August 28th 3:00-5:00. 
The first day of school is Thursday, August 30th!

**You can check out the district calendar on the right under "Links for Parents"

Monday, May 21, 2012

End of the Year Sing

Last Tuesday we had our annual all school End of the Year Sing. The kids did a fantastic job performing for all of the families that came to visit us. The gym was packed! We know some family members were not able to make it to the sing, so we hope you enjoy watching the videos on here.

AM Class

PM Class