Welcome to my Blog!

Greetings and welcome to my page. My name is Rebbecca, I am a mom of two and a preschool teacher in southwestern Virginia. I have had the blessing of working in a Reggio Emilia inspired center for nearly 10 years, with the Greenies (my students) for 7 of the last 10 years. Our emergent curriculum and play based learning approach has changed the way I think about working with children. I am looking forward to sharing my inspirations, reflections and stories with you. So glad you're here!

“If you are a dreamer,come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teacher Created Materials- Part One

Teachers are possibly the best resources to each other. We know what works, we know what our students need and we know how to make the best stuff for low to no cost! I am always inspired by others and by pure necessity. Because I have so many fun things I want to share I thought I would break this blog up in to a few parts. Today I want to share some of my favorite materials created for group discussion time (or circle time as we fondly call it.)

"Story Sticks"

A student and I created these today. We used these during circle time to create stories together. I used wooden sticks and markers. There are 4 colors, blue for characters, orange for time, green for setting, and yellow for what happened. I created 5 of each color, front and back for a good variety. The children picked one of each color and we worked as a group to flesh out the story by asking questions: What was the witches name? How did she get to space? How did she fall in the hole? How did she get back out? It was an excellent activity!

Additional ideas for your sticks:
Character- Princess, mouse, fairy, giant...
Setting: Jungle, island, castle, school...
Time- Yesterday, long long ago, in the future...
What happened- had three wishes, disappeared, found a magic stone...

The Mystery Can!

Another favorite activity. Place a random object in the can and let the kids feel it without looking then let them all have a guess at what it could be. I used an old coffee can and some colorful scrapbooking paper to cover it.

 Song Box

Evey classroom should have one of these. We use an index card holder or a recipe box to hold our cards. There is an image the corresponds with the songs (Sally the Camel, Twinkle Twinkle and Itsy Bitsy Spider are featured here) and the song or fingerplay words printed on the back (and laminated so they will last!) I have also seen some classrooms use objects to represent the songs/fingerplays such as a small plastic farmer for Old MacDonald or a bus for The Wheels on the Bus. This is perfect for circle time or any time! 

Need a Turn, Had a Turn

A wonderful way to make sure everyone has had a turn. I use this when the children are taking turns for doing class jobs- feeding fish, turn out the lights, picking a song from the song box, or any other job that we need to keep track of. I actually have three of these sets for various purposes in our classroom.

Other things I may use for circle time:

Wooden clothes pins- write your students names on the side and then use them to clip on the sides of charts or graphs showing preference or to hang up art and keep track of who it belongs to.

Hand drawn expression cards- used to discuss how we are feeling today- sad, happy, frustrated. Also fun to pick a song and then sing it with the chosen emotion- Happy Birthday sung with a sad expression is very funny! 

These are just a few of my favorite ones, I will be sharing my writing center materials in the next entry. I would love to hear your ideas!

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