Monday, January 25, 2010

Room arrangement

I am going back to school to finish my ECE. I have already taken most of the classes needed but am about 6 classes shy of having that degree. I started last Tuesday but signed up late so had already missed 2 classes, and I have been trying to make that up. One of the books we are working out of is an awesome book! I will give you the name in my next post. It is about room arrangement. I have always had 'learning areas' in my room, but have always thought something missing. I re-arrange my room sometimes monthly trying to find the 'perfect' way. I think I have stumbled upon it with the help of this book. So far I have changed 2 areas, the book area and the science area. I will post the book area first and then I will post the science area in a bit. Our teachers exampl of what NOT to do, was put the the reading area next to a doorway and to have it open...becuase then it is too noisy and traffic will distract. Hmm....Mine is open and next to the door. My room is small. I thought about moving the reading area somewhere else, but I love how much light comes in at this spot. This is where we used to do circle time and never really thought it that bad of a spot....until now. Try not to look at the mess....but wow! What a difference!
Just adding curtains and a few plants transformed this little area into a haven! The children LOVED it! All morning they hung out in there and read!!

I also added some new pillows. The board you see in the background has the childrens pictures, their names and birthdates, and pictures of their homes. (Some haven't brought in pictures.) I covered it with plexi glass so it wouldn't get ruined. Our little 9 month old Campbell loves to go look at her parents. The other day she was kissing her dad!!!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

flour, light table, stamps, boxes, blocks, paint, and.....these amazing coffee filters.

My niece, Charolette, came to play today. I love when my nieces come to play!! She loved the flour table..then the sink...then the flour table. She went home a little pasty :)
These pieces of paper are the scraps leftover from cutting out small, medium, and large circles for the snowmen. One child painted hers and the other painted on the inside....

Ooops, Wesley spilt the biggie, just use it off the table!

I set out snowmen stamps, stamp pads, paper, and pencils. COOL! RIGHT? I saw these in the catalog You can't fill them with water or super small stuff (like glitter which, if you shake it, comes out) But the kids helped us with ideas of what to put in here. We have pom poms, glitter (don't do that one) pasta, buttons, sequins, and this cool white beaded stuff I got through They are at conference every year and I load up. We needed a quiet place...hmmmm...ooooh!!! I still had the box that the block shelf came in. It fits perfectly! A nice quiet place for one or two. Yeay!This is how our Art goes....Korina had a great idea with some of the packing pieces that were still hanging around (I never through anything's good and bad :) ) She wanted to cut them up into shapes and have the kids do shape prints. I knew what would happen, but I forget that she hasn't learned all that yet. So quinn gets busy...oh so busy. I am pretty sure he is drive''n those little shapes all over town onto his paper. After Quinn is done Korina says, "Well, they just painted big blobs, but they had fun!" I raise my eyebrows and nod yes, and realize she does know. :) My thrifty lil boy....he finishes on one side and turns it over to use the other side. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these coffee filters!!! I got them through and will buy them again and again! They come in 3 sizes. These ones are the middle size...yes, they come bigger!! Korina set them out with bubbles on top, hoping to get some bubble prints as they fell onto the filter. It really didn't work, but it made a different working space. Dylan filled up his whole filter!

Some other ideas we have been using with these are using pipettes and liquid watercolor to make ty-dy-like designs. AND, one of my favorite so far is having them draw on them with markers and then using water and a paintbrush and having them run the paintbrush over their drawings to create a watercolor effect.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snowball Fight!

We started out with cheese graters and soap. Yes, I have 8 cheese graters....wouldn't want to leave anyone out :) I use Dove for sensitive skin, and let the children grade away. I first let them know that the graters are sharp and demonstrate how to use them and how NOT to grade your fingers. A few of them took this job very serioiusly and grated the whole bar of soap...and yes there is more if they need it. Some just grated a litte...."What do we do when we are done??"Would you like me to wrap you in Toilet paper? Yeah! So we wrapped everyone up in toilet paper and they thought they were soooo strong being able to rip out of their capture.Dacia stopped by for a visit and got to help out....The Mighty Quinn....As they started to break out of their wrap, the natural thing is to throw it....we didn't have to say a word! Up in the air, on your head, and pretty soon we showed them how to roll it up to make a snowball. This was the best snowball fight I've ever had. It's warm, soft, and doesn't hurt when blindsided!It lasted for a good 40 minutes and Korina (My assistant) did not want to stop. "We should do this everyday Annie!"
We then gathered up big piles full of 'snow' and took it over to our buckets full of shaved soap. We added some warm water and stirred around and around. In the Lisa Murphy book, she calls it 'clean mud'. It is always a good indoor crazy activity! The kids love it and it's fairly cheap and easy to clean up! Just don't dispose of it down your will go into the garbage. We will leave it out a few days though....when it dries out a little, just add some more water.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy New Year!!

My New Years Resolution.......To Blog Again!
It has been awhile. One of the big changes for me in 2009 was to move from 8 children by myself to 12 children with someone helping me. At first I thought it would be hard, then I thought it would be easier with someone else around, and then I thought it would be hard again. It has ended up being a great decision and I love Korina who is our Assistant. It does get a little hectic sometimes, especially when the rainy days keep us inside, but we have figured out ways to seperate and conquer! My space is not huge, matter of fact it is pretty small, but we divide it into areas of play that give the children their 'own' space if they wish. Some days I just take the older kids to the kitchen table and give them a 'special' assignment to work on.
Another special thing we added to the mix.....babies! By mid February we will have 3 of them under 1! I am now trying to figure out how to safely block the front area off so we can still have preschool stuff out for the others. Right now we just block with boxes.

Before Christmas I asked all the kids (all of them celebrate Christmas) what they wanted for the playroom from Santa. I told them Santa was coming to preschool this year and we needed to give him a list. One of the boys said he would like to have a GOOD set of know the kind where you can build things because they all go together. (I felt one has ever complained about the blocks before, but it was true, most the blocks I had were mismatched and hand made) So this is the block set that came and the shelving unit that goes with it. Yes it was spendy, but very worth every cent. I got them through The other items they wanted were new baby dolls, books, puzzles, cars...lot's of cool cars, flashlights, and an outside playhouse. I didn't get the playhouse, but we will have one built outside in the spring. The kids were so excited to come back from break and see all the new stuff!!We started off our first week with Ice, water, snow....I was trying to hold off with the snow until it actually snowed...and am still waiting! We did a white collage. We had White string, cotton balls, buttons, feathers, tissue paper, and stickers. They love the new flashlights...we are working on NOT shining in the face! :)Next day we painted on tinfoil with blues, purples, and white.....Here is Campbell enjoying her new friend Leigh! They are 3 months apart and will be great friends!! Oh my gosh....Quinn turned 3!!! I can't believe it!then we made snowmen...While I hung with the babies Korina observed this project. She talked about small, medium, large....and big, bigger, biggest....We set out popsicle sticks, poms, buttons, cotton balls, black felt hats, Q-tips, red straws cut up, and glue. Here are a few of the different snow men. Very Cute!They are very into the bottom of the fort lately....Here is Lexi coming out to say Hi for a sec.Dylan, Sam, and Bryan were all on the phone talking to family members :)