Friday, December 20, 2013

Run! Run! As Fast As You Can!

We enjoyed our last day before winter break by baking!

We made gingerbread men in our classroom!

We followed a recipe to mix up the dough to make sugar cookies. Then we rolled and cut them out and then popped them in the oven!


When we went to the oven to take them out, they were gone! They had run away!

We had to run around the school and see if we could find them. Miss Bonnie told us she saw them running down the hall and when we got back to our classroom, there they were!

The T/TH kids had to leave to go home and got to bring their new gingerbread friends home. In the afternoon, everyone else decorated them! They were yummy!

Here is a cute YouTube video of the Gingerbread Man story/song to watch at home!  

Here are children at a school for the Deaf acting out the story!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gingerbread Night 2013

We had a great Gingerbread House Family Night this week. We got our own graham crackers, milk carton (for the house) and candy to decorate the house anyway we wanted! We were very creative and we had fun seeing our friends and working together with our families!

Here are some pictures from our night:

The other day we talked about why the Gingerbread Man doesn't want to cross the river by himself. We wondered what would happen if he went in the water. We had a few guesses, and then we tried it out ourselves. We each took a cookie and put it in the water and talked about what happened!

See what we had to say:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

End of the Year Sing

As promised, I videotaped our sing today so even those who couldn't make it can see what a great job the kids did!

We did:
Slippery Fish
Un Pulpito (Slippery Fish in Spanish)
ABC Disco
Spanish ABCs
One Small Voice

The kids did a fabulous job even performing in a gym full of people!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bug Hunt

This afternoon we went out in the field around the school to hunt for bugs.

We found:
-a little flying gnat type bug on a leaf
-a teeny spider
-a huge (by my standards) spider

JTT found the spider after VERY carefully looking in a hole. Though I have a very difficult time around spiders (EEEK!) I put on my big girl boots and helped him catch it. He ran away scared and left me alone!

We also had a blast blowing dandelions! 

Waiting for Butterflies

Our caterpillars have now each turned to a chrysalis!

At the end of last week our caterpillars finished eating and eating. Then they crawled to the top of the cups, hung upside down in a J shape, and their bodies began to change. We learned after they are changed it is called a "chrysalis". Although, in the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, the caterpillar builds a cocoon, we learned that butterflies change into chrysalides (the proper plural form of the word).

Moths build cocoons around themselves. A butterfly caterpillar's body changes and hardens and it is called a chrysalis. After they had changed for 24 hours, Miss Stephanie carefully lifted them out and hung the disks they are hanging from to the side of the butterfly garden. Now we wait about a week for our butterflies to come out!

Check out Miss Erin signing the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Monday, April 29, 2013

Surprise Police Visit

We had a surprise visit last week!

One day during work time, someone knocked on our door, and it was the Bartlett police!

Miss Stephanie had tweeted to them about getting stickers for us. They gave us a surprise visit with police badge stickers!

The sign for "Police"

Planting Seeds and Bulbs

We started exploring the stages of how a plant grows!

We planted two types of plants: lima bean seeds and gladiola bulbs.

We talked about the things plants need to grow: sun and water. We talked about how we could help the plants with those things. We have been giving them water with the spray bottle. And we put them in the window for sun!

We are excited to see what starts to happen with the plants and roots from the things we planted!

Do you have any plants at home? The U-46 Give Me Five Facebook shared this idea for growing seeds!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Being the Mailman

This week we decided to support the US Postal Services.

We have been talking about Community Helpers and this week we focused on mailmen. Each student wrote a letter to his/her parents. We talked about the different vocabulary words such as: letter, envelope, and stamp.  We practiced writing the word "Dear" at the top of the letter.

One afternoon we took a walking fieldtrip to the neighborhood mailbox.We had a lot of fun talking about the process: drop letter in mailbox, mailman picks it up, mailman brings it to the post office, mailman brings to your house.

I am trying out a new slideshow website. Let me know how it works for you!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Puzzle Teamwork

We worked together one afternoon to put together a puzzle as a group! We did a great job working with each other!

Shaving Cream Fun!

We have had some fun with shaving cream a few times in the last few weeks!

Shaving cream is a great activity with kids because they get a great sensory experience! We practiced writing names, writing letters, writing shapes, and just having fun!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dance Party Friday

We thought a great way to celebrate the last day before winter break was to have a Wii Dance Party with Miss Erin's class! We also had visitors from the Teacher Mentor Program! They enjoyed getting out of their office to dance with us!

We learned that you can hook a Wii up to a Smartboard and were so excited to try it! We ended up having trouble with the sound and will need to work on that. BUT we did discover Wii Just Dance Disney videos on YouTube! We had a lot of fun all dancing along following the movements. This is definitely going to be our new indoor recess activity!

Have a great spring break!


 We also had another dance party in the afternoon right at the end of the day!

Some of our favorite videos are here if you want to dance along!  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reading and "Interpreting"

Today my students were reading books for the Pearson Foundation Read For My School campaign.

On their own they decided to take turns "reading" and "signing". They said "I will sign"! To me it seems like they are taking turns "interpreting" for one another, but we don't really use that word much at this age.There are three different clips on the video. Check out their facial expressions! That is apparently how I look when I read to them! The last clip makes me laugh because clearly that is how he thinks I look when I sign!

We love the We Give Books site because it is just like reading a "regular" book. It doesn't read to you, so kids get the opportunity to "read" by making up a story based on the pictures. This is a great skill to have!

P.S. Don't forget to read books for the campaign this week so we can earn books for our school!

We Give Books is a fabulous website that we love for reading children's books for free online. You just create an account and can read as many books as you want! They are having a campaign now teamed with LeapPad called Read For My School. Every book you read on the site between now and April 5th will be counted! A school needs at least 25 books read to start earning books.

We started reading today and had a blast! 

What can you do?
Step 1: Login or create a free account, make sure to pick our school as the school you want to donate to!
Step 2: Start reading!
Step 3: Share with others if you want!

You can sort books by age or by genre. You can also put in search terms of favorite themes!

Make sure that you enter your school's state and select the correct school name and city on the registration page so that we can track the number of books that your school reads and earns.
Once the reading begins on March 19, read a book to begin giving books to your school. You can always check the number of books that your school has read and earned by visiting your user profile on We Give Books. 

There is never a limit to the number of books that an individual can read, or re-read on Participants are encouraged to read as many books as they'd like from our free online library of children's books.
We will make every attempt to deliver books by the end of the current school year.
We Give Books is an online initiative of the Pearson Foundationn that combines the joy of reading with the power of helping others. We Give Books helps some of the world's best and most inspiring literacy organizations spread the word about their work while providing free books to the young people these organizations support.

We Give Books offers families and educators an easy and engaging way to encourage children to become motivated readers and lifelong givers.

For more information or questions about Read for My School and We Give Books, please contact us at

Sunday, March 17, 2013

10,000 Hours to Reading Success

Jen from Teach Mentor Texts, who read to us on World Read Aloud Day, posted an amazing post on her blog about how much time we as teachers and parents spend reading every day with kids. It is incredibly well written and powerful and I wanted to share with you all!

And I Would Read 10,000 Hours Post

I suggest reading it and then coming back here....

...Now that you are back:

The gist of it:
-It takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master something
-If we want kids to master reading, they will need 10,000 hours of practice.
-If a child reads for 20 minutes a day, it would take 82.2 years to become a master. 82.2 years?!?! 
-If we hope for mastery in 10 years, that would mean kids need 164.4 minutes a day (2.75 hours) of reading practice. 

Is your child getting that? 

In our full day class, we have about 30 minutes of "book" time every day where the kids read independently, they read with one another, they read to us, or we read to them. It all depends on what they choose that day. We also read at least 2 books at about 10-15 minutes each. So in class we have about 50-60 minutes of reading each day. If a child chooses the library or listening center during Work Time (centers) then they would have more time. Also, if they don't go outside, the kids get another 10-15 minutes of reading at the end of lunch. We also do literacy activities with letters and sounds and I think that time counts with young kids. So, let's say they get about 75 minutes a day of reading at school. That would mean they need another 90 minutes a day at home. That is an hour and a half. 

The T/Th students get about 15 minutes a day. When they choose the library during work time or we do a literacy activity that day, they get more. But for the sake of numbers, they need 150 more minutes every day! That is 2 and a half hours!

Is your child getting enough reading time at home every day?
What can you do to help that? 
What can I do to help you?

It is important to remember in Early Childhood that reading can include your child looking at the pictures in a book independently, sharing with a sibling or friend, making up a story about pictures in book, hearing a story read aloud by an adult, talking about letters that he/she sees in the environment, making up rhyming words, or even talking about letters and the sounds they make. 

Take a few minutes to think about how much time your child spends every day on reading activities. How much is it? Is it close to 90 minutes? If not, think about what else you can do. Let me know if I can help.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Going on a Treasure Hunt

Another favorite song that we have been singing throughout our Pirate Unit is "Going on a Treasure Hunt" by Jack Hartmann. It is like "Going on a Bear Hunt" only we are looking for treasure. You will have to watch the whole song to find out if we find it or not!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

World Read Aloud Day

Wednesday, March 6 was World Read Aloud Day. To celebrate, Jen from Teach Mentor Texts came to visit our class and read us a story. Jen is a hearing itinerant in our district. This year instead of being a hearing itinerant, she is working for the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative Office and Teacher Mentor Program. Jen is amazing, smart, and has limitless energy. She is also a National Board Certified teacher! Her blog is a fabulous place to  learn about books for kids of all ages!

She posted about WRAD day on her blog here.

You can see Jen talking to us about the story here:

And then she read the story! Miss Erin participated as her puppeteer! Miss Stephanie recorded the story. Jen knows sign, so Stephanie got to take a break!

During the afternoon, we got to together to read another dragon story. This time Miss Erin read the book and Miss Stephanie signed it. We had fun talking about dragons on World Read Aloud Day.

Did you do anything for WRAD?

Miss Erin also posted about it here.

What Do Pirates Say?

We have had some other pirate fun this week!

One of our favorite activities during work time was listening to things pirates say on the Smartboard. Miss Stephanie recorded herself saying "pirate phrases" and it helped us think of things to say during play. Towards the end of the week we each took a turn saying a pirate phrase. Now if we want to listen to pirate phrases, we can hear our own words!

Other things you will see in the video:
-drawing treasure maps (We each made a treasure map and they are available during pirate play)
 -pretending to be pirates going on a treasure hunt
-practicing pirate phrases
Questions to ask your child:
-What do you use a map for?
-What does a pirate say?
-How do pirates get treasure?

The Silly Pirate Song

We have been enjoying singing some pirate songs to go along with our Pirate theme! One of our favorite songs is The Silly Pirate Song! We decided we needed to make our own version. We all took turns taking pictures for the song so you can sing and sign along with us!

Jack Hartmaan is the singer of the Silly Pirate Song and you can see him on his YouTube video here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ahoy! I see me some pirate vocabulary!

Ahoy mateys! We began our pirate unit this week!

We have spent the last week turning our classroom into an adventurous pirate ship! We have been  enjoying going on a swashbuckling adventure to find treasure!

In our pirate ship we have:
-a boat we made
-a pirate flag with a Jolly Roger on it (skull and cross bones)
-telescopes (made out of paper towel tubes)
-gold doubloons
-a treasure chest
-eye patches

Here are some of our vocabulary words from this week:

Here are a few pictures from our class:

You can check out a cute video on youtube here:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Up, Tall, and High AND Building

 Last week we read the book Up, Tall, and High several times. 

This book won the 2013 Theodor S. Geisel Award.

Do you know who Theodore S. Geisel is?

Dr. Seuss!

Back to THIS book....
The book is about some birds who show off being up, down, high, low, tall and small. As we read the book, we each had some toy animals in our hands. We practiced moving them around to match the words in the story. And we practiced saying and using all the words!

Also, after the Up, Tall, and High pictures, you will notice that we did a building activity later in the week!

Check it out:

Singing Pete the Cat

One day recently, as we were cleaning up from the centers and moving to the Circle Time rug, the kids spontaneously started singing Pete the Cat. I quickly grabbed my camera and got part of their spontaneous rendition on camera!

Click here to see the video of Miss Erin and me reading and signing it!

Valentine's Day

Yes, this post is a little late!

But we did have a great day on Valentine's Day!

We all brought valentine cards for our friends. Many of us worked really hard at home to practice writing our own names and our friends name. To pass them out, we sat in a circle. We each looked at our valentine's and practiced reading and saying our friends' names. Then we passed them out and practiced saying "thank you" each time! We were SO SO SO excited about this. It was more exciting even than getting presents!

You can see the sign for Valentine's Day here.

Valentine's Day signs from Signing Time here! We use the sign for "Valentine's Day" like the Signing Saavy one above.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What do we know about penguins?

During two of the small groups today we did a Smartboard activity reviewing what we know about penguins.

The Smartboard had a picture of an egg, baby, penguin eating, and group of penguins to help us categorize what we said. 

We came up with as many facts about penguins that we know off the top of our heads. Then we looked at some of our non-fiction books and the pictures helped us think of other facts. 

We were very excited to print off copies of this and bring home to share with our families!

Snowmen at Night in Sign Language

Because it is winter and last week we had QUITE a bit of snow, we thought Snowmen at Night would be another great story to share with our students.

What do YOU think snowmen do at night!?!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus in Sign

We love the Pigeon books because we love to yell, "No!" at the book when the pigeon asks to drive the bus! Here you can see Miss Erin and Miss Stephanie reading about that silly Pigeon!

Llama Llama Red Pajama in Sign

Another favorite in our class is Llama Llama Red Pajama. We had a Red Pajama day last year and you can read the post here.

Here is the story:

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons Story in Sign

Back by popular demand!

More YouTube videos!

Though Miss Stephanie and Miss Erin get a little embarrassed about reading and signing for the video camera, we know our students love these videos!

For other posts about how much we love Pete the Cat, click here!

Presenting....Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Counting Fish

We did a counting activity this week with penguin numbers and little blocks. We pretended the blocks were fish. We counted out blocks and then fed them to our penguins!

You can check out this penguin counting song on youtube here:

Stay tuned!
Miss Erin and I videotaped some new stories this week. They will be posted to our YouTube Channel soon!

Also, if you aren't following me me on other social media yet, check it out!

Friday, January 25, 2013

What do we know about Penguins?

Do you want to know how to sign Penguin? We know how!

You can see it on "Signing Savvy" here:
You can see JTT signing it here!

What do we know about penguins? The M-F kids talk about some of the things they know here:
Here is a cute video from YouTube if you want to sing a penguin song with your child!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

All About Social Media

In December I went to a technology presentation with Miss Erin and we left even MORE excited about technology than we already are! We saw Chip Donohue from the TEC Center and he was awesome!

Since then I have created:
a School Facebook page as a place to share links, information, posts, and to have a group where all of my parents can get to know one another

and a professional Twitter account as a another place to share great resources, articles, and talk about being an early childhood teacher

In addition, I am involved in the U-46 Give Me Five birth to 5 initiative and we have some super awesome social media sites! Give Me Five partners with families, child-care providers, schools and the community to ensure that all children are prepared for learning in kindergarten.


Come visit me at all of these sites!

Penguins and Letters

This week we started learning about penguins. We have had a lot of fun looking at some really neat YouTube videos. We also have some great books about penguins. We learned what sounds a penguin makes, how they walk, and what they eat.

In the following slideshow, you will see pictures we drew of penguins. Then you will see us making penguin sounds and walking like a penguin!

We also did a letters activity this week with a penguin paper. We rolled some dice that had letters on them. Then we had to find that letter on our paper and use the BINGO dotter to mark it off! Some of us used capital letters and some of us used lower case letters.

Our favorite video of what a penguin sounds like. We thought it sounded like a donkey!

This one made us laugh!

 What 500,000 penguins sounds like! We thought they sounded like birds!

 We also loved this cute penguin being tickled!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Playing Teacher with Ling Sound Check

Almost every preschool student plays teacher at one point or another! Today during Work Time, some of us decided to play teacher and practice the Ling Sound Check!

In the second video, you will even notice that one of them practices doing the "silence" and the student being the student catches on right away!

I posted about the Ling Sound Check here last year. You can print off your own copy at home!

We use the Ling Sound check every day at Circle Time to make sure all of our hearing equipment is working properly.

More resources:
Ling Sound Check Flashcards from Cochlear
Some notes about the Ling Sounds from an SLP blog

Notes from Cochlear:

What is the Ling 6 sound test?
The Ling-6 sound test was developed as a quick and easy test that parents and professionals can use to check their child has access to the minimal amount of sounds required to hear, understand and learn speech. 

The test checks that your child can hear the sounds (detection) and in time, identify what the sound are (identification) across the different speech frequencies. 

The test checks that your child’s entire auditory system is working correctly – from the sound processor microphone to their brain

Why These Six Sounds?  
The Ling-6 sounds are the particular sounds that occur at particular speech 
frequencies or pitches. For example: 

m  /m/ is a very low frequency sound and if your child cannot hear this sound it is likely they will not have sufficient low frequency information to develop speech with normal prosody (tune) and without vowel errors.  

oo  /oo/ – [u] has low frequency information. 

ee  /ee/ – [i] has some low frequency information and some high frequency information. 

ah  /ah/ – [a] is at the centre of the speech range. 

sh  /sh/ is in the moderately high frequency speech range. 

s  /s/ is in the very high frequency speech range.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Slideshow

Over Christmas break, I was lucky enough to be able to go to California with my husband, parents, and even my sister (who came from Egypt) to visit my grandparents.

One day we visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and it was a GREAT experience. It is about 45 minutes from the San Diego Zoo and set up more like a Wild Life Preserve (it used to be called the San Diego Wild Life Park). It was really neat to see the animals in a really life like habitat. It was REALLY spread out and included a lot of walking, but also a lot of neat animals!

One of the neatest experiences was looking out over a huge area and seeing giraffes, rhinos, and antelope roaming free together. The second neatest was the Cheetah Run. Once a day they do a Cheetah Run where EVERYONE gathers around and watches a cheetah run full speed! We didn't realize how early people start gathering, so we are pretty far back. I found another video on youtube so you can see it better!

We have watched the slideshow several times this week! The kids love the animals!

Here it is:

Close up of cheetah run: