Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tower of Babel Brownies

I do my best to read the Bible with our daughter daily.  Sometimes I fall short of what I desire and we only get to read 3-4 nights a week.  Every morning we read our devotions and this is becoming a habit and a beautiful part of our morning routine as we snuggle in bed together.  I often wonder, however, if she is really understanding the stories we read.  So many of the words are beyond her.  I try to use language that is easier for her to understand, but I still feel I fall short in getting the message across.  My hope is that these readings will at least familiarize her with the people in the Bible, but most important, to Jesus.  I also fear that she gets the wrong message when she hears how often God punished people who disobeyed ~ specifically in the Old Testament stories.  I do not want her foundational understanding of God to be: Obey=Good and God accepts you; Disobey=Bad and God is mad at you. 

I am using the best children's Bible's available (and we probably own seven children's Bibles!) and I cross-reference them and chose the one that explains the story in the most appropriate manner for her age: BTW ~ she is three and a half.  I also love printable mini-books from Christian Preschool Printables

Ironically, at this point in this blog entry, I went to put our daughter to bed.  My husband and I read with her and then I reread the Bible story of Abraham with her.  She remembered Abraham and Sarah's son's name!  I guess she is listening! :)

Today, we talked about the Tower of Babel.  This is a hard concept to grasp for a preschooler.  While they can understand "a tall building" it is much harder to explain people feeling proud of themselves.  Language is also a hard concept if they only know English.  I printed the minibook from Christian Preschool Printables and after we read the story in her Bible we read the minibook.  Then we baked some brownies!  I told her that the brownies were like the bricks that the people made.  Once the brownies were cooked I cut them into "bricks" and we built a brownie tower.  Then we had fun knocking it down and eating them! 

I would love to hear about any Christian resources for Preschoolers that you have found to be of value!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Organizing PreSchool Packs to Save Time & Money!

One of the best things in world is the ability for us to share our awesome materials with the world!  I admit, however, that I am a Pin-aholic, blog-aholic, TpT-aholic and a Teachers Notebook-aholic.  What does this mean?  Well, it means that I see so many incredible resources that I spend a lot of time and money printing , laminating, and organizing these materials.  I prefer to store them in a manner that affords me the luxury of using them multiple times.  The best method I have found is utilzing paper protectors and laminating things that are more suitable for lamination.  For example, I store all of the songs, visual discrimation, and magnet pages, grid pages, and coutning pages in page protectors.  When our daughter uses them I let her use a dry erase marker, dry erase crayons, or we place them on a cookie tray and she uses her magnets. 
Magnet pages are stored in sheet protectors and then used in a cookie sheet with magets.
Grid Games and Counting Mats are also stored in sheet protectors so they can be reused.
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Prewriting practice pages and Same or Different pages are also stored in sheet protectors.  She uses a dry erase crayon to "write" or circle the same/different picture.
Other items, such as games and puzzles, get laminated and I store all the small pieces in a CLOSEABLE self-adhesive CD sleeve. 

Couting Mats that call for the child to place a certain number of items depending on the numeral shown are laminated. The counters are stored in a self-adhesive CD holder and the numerals all have velcro.

Why do I use CLOSEABLE CD sleeves?  Because I place everything for a month or theme in a HANGING binder :)  All of these binders are then placed in order by month in a file drawer! 
I also use the self-adhesive CD holders to store miscellaneous items like vocabulary cards and small puzzle cards.
Lastly, I use resealable 6x9 envelopes to store larger puzzle pieces and larger cards that won't fit in the CD holder. 
I hope some of these ideas help you!  I would love to hear about some of the ways you store your Tot Packs and PreK Packs :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

DIY Name Recognition Puzzle

Hey everyone!  It has been such a long time since I have posted.  We have moved into a new home and I am now a SAHM for our 3 and a half year old firecracker.  She started preschool in September, and I am so thankful that it is going MUCH smoother than we anticipated.  She was having awful separation anxiety this summer after our move and I thought for sure she was going to go bonkers when I tried to leave her at school.  I worked on it for weeks with her: we role played that she was going to school and I was the teacher (pretty easy to play a teacher when you are one ~ LOL) and then she would pretend to be the mommy and I would cry and beg her not to leave and she would reassure me :)  We also read books about school every day and we also "read" a photo book I created of her classroom (thankfully her teacher allowed me to come in ahead of time and take pictures of the classroom).  The first day was tough, but not outrageous ~ just natural.  The second day there were less tears.  The first Monday, she cried again.  Since then she has only cried once!  Thank God!  Prayers and practice both paid off :)

So, one of the many skills they are working on is name recognition.  I have also been working hard with her on recognizing the numerals 1-10.  She recognizes most of them, but not with mastery.  She knows her letters much better than her numerals.  Since I have been practicing numerals with her we have been doing many number order puzzles included in the awesome PreK Packs by the incredible ladies at 2TeachingMommies and TotallyTots as well as a number of other great resources.  The hard part about these puzzles is they don't stay in place.  I did Velcro with one set, but it was a bit bulky and more cumbersome than I wanted.  Since we use magnets for so many of our resources I decided to simply print the puzzles onto magnet paper!  Tonight, I created a Name Puzzle for Isabella with her picture and name.

It was really very easy!  First, I opened a new Word doc.  I changed the orientation to landscape and set the margins to minimal.  I inserted a photo of Isabella and centered it and made it as wide as could fit the page.

Next, I created a Text Box using the Draw Your Own Text Box selection and covered the entire picture.  I made sure there was no shading/fill or border color.

Now I was able to add a Table inside the text box.  I made the table with 8 columns and 2 rows.  I adjusted the table so that the bottom boxes were small just for the letters of her name.  Depending on the background colors of your photo, you may or may not want to add shading to the cells.  I made my shading a light gray and used black.  I found a font that didn't have the funny "a" like this one :)

Finally, I printed it onto the magnetic paper, trimmed all the borders, cut the columns and it is now laying on a cookie sheet for her to play with in the morning!  From now on, all of our puzzles will be printed in magnetic paper.