These stamps are fun and super versatile, and best of all- they're free!
You will need:
Exacto Knife/Razor Blade
Brown marker (optional)
An adult needs to prepare the stamp in advance by cutting 2 nicks at the opposite sides of the same end of the cork (doesn't make sense? Check the photos below). Now provide the kids with the paint, paper and corks and show them how to "press and lift"- Press the cork in to the pint and lift, press the cork onto the paper and lift.
You can use the brown marker once the paint is dry to draw stems. I like to use this technique on the cover of my cards and then place a photo of the kids in their apple costumes inside the card.
I love having books in my library that are in some way produced by the kids in the class. For this one, I didn't have a lot of time to put it together because Rosh Hashanah was only a week and a half after school started so I relied heavily on my computer.
You will need:
Photos of the kids
Markers pr a good graphics program :)
Simply make a cover- I titled mine "Shanah Tova My Friends" and glue one photo per page, writing "Shanah Tova _________" on the corresponding pages. Staple the pages together and place in your library.
Little ones particularly love seeing the photos of themselves and it's a great way to reinforce the kids' names.
These mats are fun for the kids to make, easy to clean, and beautiful for the table.
You will need:
Red/Green/Yellow construction paper
Clear contact paper (I like the colorations brand because it's super clear)
Ripped/cut up tissue paper squares
Cut a large apple shape from the center of the sheet of construction paper, being careful not to cut the frame.
Mount the paper onto a sheet of contact paper and trim the edges. Have the kids fill in the apple with the tissue paper. You can combine this with a lesson on the various colors that apples come in or just allow free expression and use all colors.
Finally, cover the exposed side with a second sheet of contact paper and trim that.
You now have a honey mat that will wipe clean.
As we all get ready to send out our Shanah Tova cards- here's a cute way to tell mom and dad we love them!
You will need:
1-2 Red Poster boards
1 Brown poster board
1 green poster board
Thick rubber band
Cut the red posters into a basic apple shape. The second poster board would be for a double sided costume- completely unnecessary but can look cuter. Then, cut long strips from the brown poster- about 2-3 inches thick. Use the green poster to make the leaves- use your creativity. you may want the leaves to sit on a brown crown (stem). Finally, use the stapler and rubber band to make an adjustable back to the crown. Click here
I like to have the kids decorate the front of a card either by stamping real apples, or creating an apple stamp using cork. Then on the inside, I would put in a Rosh Hashanah message, and sign it "Love, the Apple of your eye"
Have a happy Sweet New Year!
This activity is always a favorite among kids because the way the pennies appear to shine themselves without seeing the dirt going anywhere appears to be magical!
You will need:
A few dull pennies
Simply place the pennies in the bowl and then pour just enough vinegar to cover the pennies. Watch as the pennies shine themselves over the course of approximately 5 minutes. The reflection of the light in the photos does the pennies an injustice- it was pretty incredible to see how nicely the pennies shone after a few short minutes.
As both Mom and preschool teacher, I've found that placemats are invaluable! They teach children boundaries and make keeping one's food on the plate much easier! For years, I would have my kids (students) just decorate a piece of construction paper with their favorite foods either from magazines, or printed from the computer, depending on the age group and the length of my to-do list that year. Then, one year at a new school, I was informed that placemats were done with the child's first initial and then laminated. At first I resisted the idea, I wanted children to make it personal-add their picture, have an opinion. Then I noticed how quickly each child was able to learn his/her first initial, and thought "ok, there's more merit to this than I originally thought, but I still like the freedom of expression". So I decided to marry the 2 ideas- and this is what I came up with!
You will need:
Sheets of construction paper
Pictures/print outs of food
Each child's initial printed clearly
Have each child decorate his/her placemat using the food pictures provided. Then, have them glue their initial onto the center. Once dry, laminate. You now have a placemat to use through the year (sometimes only half the year) that will promote literacy and allow the children to learn each other's initials!
If you're not too great with faces, or if you're teaching kids who will be together for the first time, this is a great tool to help the kids recognize each other's faces. And even if they do know each other, this book is fun and a great play on Eric Carle's "Brown Bear".
You will need:
Decorating materials of your choice
Photos of each child
Labels and markers or a computer and printer
Single hole punch
First punch a hole in the same spot of each sheet of cardboard. Next, decorate the sheets with paint or other flat collage materials. I like a simple background for the photos, so I painted the sheets in primary colors. For the cover, because there's no photo and just text, I used colored tape to wrap around creating colored stripes. Next, print labels or write the title, and the text for each page. Finally, place each child's photo onto his/her page and insert the ring through the sheets with the cover at the top of the stack.
Before I begin, I want to let you all know that while I actually won't be working in a preschool classroom this year (I'm going back to school to continue my higher education! yay!) I will do my best to post 4-5 times a week, so please feel free to email me with any questions or ideas you might have...
Ok- so every classroom need that great Tzedakah box for circle time every day. This repurposed Tzedakah box made from an old oatmeal container is one of my favorites, because it's large enough for kids to always see, and easy enough to hold with both hands. It also has the simple empty to refill process aka the cap just comes on and off...
What you'll need:
Oatmeal Container or similar cardboard/plastic cylindrical container
tissue paper squares
*I prefer actual mod podge as opposed to just mixing glue and water because nothing will give you that same glossy finish, or hold up quite as well, but glue and water is a pretty good substitute when necessary.
Use the paintbrush to coat the canister with mod podge. Quickly apply the tissue paper squares until the entire surface is covered. Add a second coat of mod podge and then set aside to dry. Now take the lid of the container and use the razor to cut a fairly generous slit for coins and folded bills to fit through. Coat this with Mod podge, then tissue paper squares, then more mod podge. Once dry, you may want to add more layers of tissue paper depending on how opaque you want the Tzedakah box to be. Once you're completely done, you may want to decorate it further using glitter glue to write Tzedakah, or glitter...
Have fun with it! And remember to give tzedakah! :)
Hachai- one of my favorite picture book publishing companies, has released a new book about saving and then spending money right in time for the new school year. Dollars and Sense
by Tehilla Deutsch and illustrated by Glenn Zimmer follows a young boy's journey through earning his first $5, and deciding how to spend it.
"While Mrs. Markowitz was away, young Eli Katz fed her fish and brought in her mail. Now he’s earned five dollars of his very own!After giving tzedaka, how will Eli decide to spend his cash?
Drinks, snacks, toys… no matter what he buys, Eli senses that there’s something more satisfying and long-lasting to be found.
When a friend needs a very important favor, clever Eli Katz suddenly realizes how to obtain the one thing that will last him forever.
A great story about dollars, sense, generosity… and the kind of good that money can do!"
This book is a great way to introduce the concept of Tzedakah (Charity) in your classroom as well as at home, and I particularly like the fact that we are able to watch Eli earn the money that he's about to spend.
Other great books to pair with Dollars and Sense when teaching about Tzedakah or money include The Very Best Place for a Penny by Dina Rosenfeld, and Quarters and Dimes, and Nickels and Pennies by Baila Olidort.
As we get ready for school to begin (depending on where you are you may have already begun), it's that time of year again. We look around our classrooms, and try to decide if we can change the layout to make learning/playing more effective. Or perhaps you're in a new room altogether that requires you to set it up from square one.
Either way, here are some tips to help you better understand where furniture and decor should be.
1. Never place anything that you want the children to see higher than your eye level- MAX! Ideally, everything should be at their relative eye level, but since we don't all have spaces that allow for that- you certainly don't want an alphabet train for example, to be hanging only 6 inches from the ceiling.
2. When placing centers, try to do so logically- don't put the library next to the dramatic play area, because the library is a quiet place, and the dramatic play should be loud and well, dramatic.
3. Try not to have too many hard angles close together. Try to make sure that there is a wide berth for children to walk behind chairs and get to whatever supplies might be against the wall- this particularly applies to your art center. often times, we have so much that we want to squeeze in to an area, that we forget that there are going to be children who will need to maneuver around said furniture hourly- if not more often.
4. Avoid sharp corners that stick out. If you're just buying furniture- try to buy the furniture with the rounded corners- otherwise, make sure that the piece of furniture is prominent enough for a child to notice it when he/she would be walking- this is the safest and most effective way of avoiding bumps into the corners.
5. When you set up your circle time space- make sure it has the least amount of distractions possible to encourage children's minds to stay with you.
6. Label everything! I'm sure you've heard this before, and it's true. Children learn almost everything from their environment, and our jobs as teachers is to provide that appropriate environment to the children, and to guide their learning by making as much as possible available to them. Like Helen Keller, children are learning that everything has a name and a purpose- and those labels really do help them understand that.
7. Place tables and chairs where you will most often use them. If possible, have extra tables and chairs for the less frequently needed times so that you don't need to disrupt the kids' structure by making big changes.
8. Give the children ownership of their classroom by labeling cubbies, chairs, placemats- anything that applies before school starts. This way, when they arrive, you are giving them the message that they belong here.
Have any other ideas to share? Post them below in the comments!