Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Kitchen is My Classroom

The Heart of the Home.  

The kitchen has been known to be the "heart of the home,"
 and now it is where Sweet Pea and I will have much of our Mother Goose Time (MGT).

The heart beats and pumps life throughout the body, 
and it is here that I will be teaching, learning, and growing with my little girl.

The Kitchen is my Classroom.  

The top freezer part of my fridge houses the Thematic map.  I can quickly look and see what we are covering that week. 

The buffet is a work in progress.  I am working on organizing it to house all the manipulative we use (like puffs, chenille stems, shells, ect) and extra stuff inside, but the top of it is home to all things MGT.  Since Sweet Pea is just a Tot, I am only going to give her one tray a day.   Right now, it has the new nuts and bolts manipulatives on it that she played today with daddy. 

Heart melting...

 I am TRYING to restrain myself from buying other stuff when I know I have things around my home that will work.  This is a struggle friends.  So I wanted one of those 10 drawer tower things... love it...
but I have these drawers that are perfect! (You can find them at Walmart or Hobby Lobby and use that wonderful 40% off coupon)
  I organized them by Monday-Friday and with the last drawer, I made it to house all the daily things I need such as my lesson plan book, music CD's and calendar number.
It's set up practically and functionally, which is more important than pretty.  I have no idea where I would put one of those towers anyway. See.... isn't it pretty... it even has a top shelf...

I don't need it.... I don't need it...
Moving on....

So, my drawers.... perfect size!  I would suggest that whatever you use needs to be at least 8.5x11, so that it can hold a regular sheet of paper. I placed all the materials I need for all the activities in the drawer for that day, and placed our Daily Topic Question on top. See all that stuff in the picture on the right? That all fits in the drawer under the Daily Question!  Mary Poppin drawers I'm telling ya!
This is what the drawers labeled Monday- Friday look like. 

Here's a look at the "For the Record" 6th drawer:

All things that are needed for Circle Time, the lesson plan books, and CD's are easily accessible in this drawer,

Ont the opposite wall from the buffet with all things MGT, is Sweet Pea's little table and area.
My wonderful husband built her little table and painted the top with chalkboard paint.  My neighbor, who is a pediatrician, moved offices and gave us the little chairs! Sweet Pea loves them! The white tower is something I inherited while teaching, and it has 2 shelves, which Sweet Pea keeps her everyday art supplies.  She colors, plays with play dough , and even builds towers here.  Starting Monday, we will do much of our MGT activites at this little table.

Oh, and her art work... it's just a piece of twine with 3 pushpins holding it.  MGT sent some little clothespin clips for preschools to make a daily helper list (each kid has a clip and their chore changes each day), but I just used them to house her masterpieces. :)

This is the backside of the kitchen sink and dishwasher!  I really went all around my house wondering where the best place would be to do circle time when all of a sudden, I saw all this unused white space! Perfect for our calendar, topic (daily question) poster, and world map!
This might change in September with the new yearly Circle Time items, but I will still keep it really simple for Sweet Pea.

View from the kitchen sink.  Buffet on left, Sweet Pea's area on right.

View from next to the buffet.

This is a starting point.  The thing to remember when setting up any classroom or learning space is to do what works best for you and your students! Functionality > Pretty. In fact, in my opinion the beauty is in the functionality.  Classrooms are a work in progress- they are a living space that bends to the needs of the child and the teacher.  Our classroom might move to another area in the house next year, or next month, but for now, for Science Lab, I can't think of a better place than the 
Heart of my Home, 
the Kitchen.

And Breakfast Area.

Whatever.... :)

Have a great time setting up your space! I'd love to see pictures in the comments or links to your space wherever you teach! 


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fiesta Birthday: Maraca Making

I don't know where the time went, but Sweet Pea turns 2 on Friday.... tomorrow.  Time is so precious, so fleeting.  I only get 16 more years.  It's not enough time.  So, I am going to relish each and every moment I can... well try to at least.  

We are hosting a little FIESTA themed birthday party for Sweet Pea on Saturday, and this past week, I have worked on her decorations and favors a little bit each day.  As I was looking at my to-do list, I realized there were things Sweet Pea could help with and making maracas was perfect!

I found these directions on Pinterest...where else?!  Perfect activity for kids to decorate at the birthday party, and a perfect thing for Sweet Pea to help create.

Break out the rice sensory bin, be sure to include all the farm creatures to add as an element of distraction :)  

Let your little one scoop some rice into the cups.  Great coordination and fine motor skills. 

Let your tot take control. "Momma I can." Look at that face! It just reads "Look at what I can do!"

Fill how ever many cups you need.  We did 25.

Hot glue another cup on top while your tot plays  with the animals and people in the rice sensory bin, and wrap some fun washi tape around the hot glue (not pictured).

Keep going until you have all your basic maracas made. 

Now all these shakers need is the touch of a child's artwork.  We will break out the permanent markers and crayons this Saturday, and I will take pics and post the finished ones in this post.

Have fun building memories making maracas! (love that alliteration!)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mother Goose Time: Christmas in July

Holy Moly!!! Am I excited to share this with y'all today!!!  I am REALLY excited to share it with Sweet Pea, but we are going to wait until August for me to show her... 
You should feel VERY SPECIAL! :)

So what is it?

A monthly box filled with daily activities based on a theme for that particular month.  This box that I purchased is for August and it is SCIENCE LAB
(As a former 6 year Science teacher, I am absolutely stoked! You can check out my Science Label for ideas to use with older kids.)

Why did I buy this when I am a former teacher and could probably make lesson plans myself?

Time my friends...Time.  Time is priceless and a hot commodity around here, so anything that can save me a little time, and help me plan fun and engaging experiences with my girl are what I am all about.  Plus, I don't know about you, but do you ever try to get something planned and before you know it, you've been on the internet seeing a million awesome ideas! Unfortunately you're not sure which one you want to commit to, and then all of a sudden, you see you have just wasted 2 hours of that precious time, and you have nothing to show for it?!?!  
I hope it's not just me.

I met the Fed Ex guy at his truck... yes my girl was napping and I didn't want him knocking or ringing the bell... but I also could not wait to get my hands on this box!

It's totally ok if you "oooooooh" and "ahhhhh" when you open the box... I might have jumped around like it was Christmas.  I think it was the teacher in me coming out.

When you open the box, you will find your Getting Started Kit (Circle Time/Calendar pieces), your Teacher Toolbag (manipulatives, teacher guide, planning journal and so much more). I ordered the Little Goose Supplement for my little girl since she will have JUST turned 2 when we start
 Mother Goose Time.

There is also a Circle Time bag with the items you see below to help with beginning and closing the day.  There are even SONGS!  I would love to sing something other than The Itsy Bitsy Spider!  We sing that at least 20 times a day... minimum.  Tell me I am not the only one.  

Okay y'all... these manipulatives are SPOT ON.  From just a Science Teacher standpoint, I am so impressed!  Sweet Pea gets her own set of plastic beakers!  AND they use the METRIC system of measurement!  Seriously, that is one hard thing to teach American kids who ONLY see the Customary System, and when they start Science...wham! Only Metrics.  So I am so excited to see that these are Metric, and yes we will be using these again and again and again...

See those red and blue things? Giant plastic screws my friends.  Sweet Pea will be in my makeup in no time screwing all the lids off my foundation after practicing with these awesome manipulatives.  And y'all... this is just 2 items.  Within the entire box, each day just about comes with something for you to add to your stash of kid supplies!

It even comes with a book!  This is a Biography PRESCHOOL book! BIOGRAPHY y'all!!!  
For kids and TODDLERS!  
(I know this post has a lot of caps, but guys I am so excited!)
Not only that, the way this book is set up is absolutely stunning. The pictures are great, and the writers totally understand that this is for kids from 2 year old-6 year old.  That is a WIDE reading range my friends, but it is no problem for the Mother Goose Team!
  When the authors wrote the book, they made some words BOLD so that with a toddler you can just read the bold face type and the book makes just as much sense as if you read it word for word! See the picture below to get a full understanding of what I am talking about. 

So when I read this to Sweet Pea, I would say, "Isaac Newton loved learning, and especially loved going to school."  This book grows with the child... GENIUS!

So that's all I have for today.  Stay tuned, especially in August as Sweet Pea and I share our Adventures in the Science Lab with Mother Goose Time.

Until then, I will be making, decorating, and creating all things FIESTA themed for Sweet Pea's 2nd Birthday.  

Hope to see you back here! Oh, and if you have a Tot/Preschooler at home, I HIGHLY encourage you to take a look at Mother Goose Time

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere!

There is nothing like watching the world through the eyes of a child.  I am in complete awe that God has chosen me to be a mother to this little girl.  Watching her grow, learn, and experience life, is one of the biggest blessings I have had in my life.

I recently bought this at my local Walmart for no rhyme or reason except to see Sweet Pea play with it.  It was the best $20 I spent in a long time I think! She gasped, squealed, and said "Whoa, Momma!"

Why?  Check out this face :)

She ran, chased, reached, and did her very best to catch all the bubbles. Most fun workout ever! 


That picture with the bubble over her eye... I love it!  And look at all that sweat in her hair... she definitely got her sweatiness from her daddy.  It takes me forever to break a sweat, but she and her daddy break one in no time. 

In love with the bubbles.  

So this might not be technically Tot School, but here are somethings that she learned /experienced:
- a hard core workout running outside trying to catch the bubbles
- wind or blown air creates bubbles
- you can see through bubbles (transparent)
- they don't last long at all
- gentleness is key when playing with bubbles
-they are magical

Every time we go outside now she asks for the bubbles.  We now have bubble wands (Dollar Tree) to make our own big bubbles and I just love hearing her say, 
"Whoa, Momma!"

Isn't that what learning is all about?  The Whoa and Wow moments.

Hoping you and your little one get to have some "Whoa, Momma" moments this week! 

This post has been linked to 1+1+1=1

Friday, July 8, 2016

Getting Ready for a FIESTA: Invitations

Pinterest made me do it.  Do any of your sentences start out that way too? Well, Pinterest is helping me plan my little Sweet Pea's 2nd birthday... we are having an all out Fiesta before we Siesta!

So you have to start with cute invites for a party and I found this image on Pinterest...

I love the little fringe on the top and bottom right.  Super cute, right? and totally says Fiesta!
So I made some... not entirely as cute as the above pictures, but I love them and am proud of them... plus I used a sewing machine to sew on paper, and it cost me NADA since I had everything on hand! All you need is carstock, a printer, tissue paper, and a sewing machine with thread.  Here's how I made these:

 The front of the finished invitation.  I printed 2 invitations on 1 piece of 8.5x11 white carstock, and then trimmed them down to fit in an envelope I already had.
 The back of the invitation.  It was just too plain without the little fringe.  Yes, there is such a thing as too much fringe in my opinion, but not on these :)
 So here is how to attach the fringe.  Get some tissue paper colors you like- I used pink, orange, yellow, and blue to match the donkey pinata I found at Hobby Lobby.  One strip was about an inch wide, and the other was about 3 inches.  I did not do any specific measurements... no rulers on this one.
 Use a paper clip to keep the tissue paper in place.  Do you see what plagues me?! And I didn't even notice it until I started putting the invites into envelopes.... I didn't have the number 2 placed in the top of the invitation. Ugh.... that's what happens when you have an idea, change it, but forgot you already made some before the change...I digress....
 Borrow your BFF's sewing machine for over a year and then take it out of storage to make these invites.  I guess you could use glue, but I seriously think it would take longer and not look as good.  Maybe if you used a glue runner...definitely not white school glue.  Anyway, I used matching pink thread because that was what was in my machine. Praise the Lord!  I didn't know what I was going to do if I had to re-thread that bobbin. YouTube it, I guess.
 I even back-stitched at the top and bottom.  It just adds a little more security.  Then use your scissors, make little snips down the sides, and ruffle them up with your fingers.  So cute! And nothing says FIESTA like FRINGE!

 The finished product... I'm totally digging these :)

 Hope this helps you have a HAPPY FIESTA!