Dental Health Literacy Ideas…

Hi everyone!  It’s been a LONG time, and I’ve missed you!  I know around this time every year it seems like I start to blog on this poor little neglected blog.  Life as a mom of four littles gets pretty crazy sometimes!  Well I’ve been working on updating some of my old units and I’m excited to say that I recently updated my Dental Health unit!


This unit is full of activities to keep your kiddos engaged.  I always love to introduce a theme/topic to my students with a book.  The emergent reader included in this pack focuses upon the sight words will and get.  The repetitive text is perfect for beginning readers!


My students also absolutely love the read the room/vocabulary activities.  The words can also be used at the writing center–I just love seeing the look on my kiddos faces when they are writing words and sentences independently!


Another thing we have been focusing upon in my class is ending sounds.  The activities in this unit are perfect for small group instruction as well as independent literacy centers.


Sequencing is an important activity that we work on all school year and we are beginning to transition to story comprehension and our writing.


We are always working on syllabication and these clip cards are the perfect thing for reviewing this skill.  I also love how my kiddos are using clothespins to strengthen their fine motor skills :).


That is all for now, but I will post more math activities this week and I guarantee–you are going to love them!  If you would like to check out my unit on TpT you can check it out here.

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Ocean Theme Ideas and Links

I thought that I would share some of the activities that we completed this summer in my special education preschool classroom.  This summer the theme was Ocean.  The students had a blast learning about various ocean animals, and I also integrated basic skills such as letters, counting, shape recognition and color recognition into this theme.  Below is a compilation of activities, ideas and links to share with you.  Enjoy!

C is for Crab:

  • We made paper plate crabs (see picture below) and reviewed the color red.

  • We completed the Letter C worksheet from First-School.  Students used crayons to practice rainbow writing the upper and lower case letters, then they colored, cut and glued the objects that started with the letter c their papers.  You can find the worksheet here.
  • We also read the Crab poem from the poem book “Commotion in the Ocean”

  • We also later read Eric Carle’s book, “A House for Hermit Crab” and discussed how our crabs and the Hermit crab were the same (they both have claws, etc).

J is for Jellyfish:

  • Students traced the letter J and talked about things that begin with the letter J.  We used this worksheet, that you can find here for the letter J.
  • Students water colored paper plates and then we later added tissue paper strips to make the tentacles for our jellyfish.

S is for Seahorse:

  • We watercolored sea horse clip-art that I found from The Mailbox’s Ocean Themed book.

This book retails for $7.00 from The Mailbox and is full of great ideas.

  • Students colored seahorses and rainbow traced the letter s.  We used this worksheet from Lee Hansen.
  • We also read Eric Carle’s book Mr. Seahorse. We talked about how daddy seahorses are special.

T is for Turtle:

  • We painted paper plates green and had green construction paper shapes for students to glue to make the body parts.  We used the following shapes–large circle for the head, large triangle for the tail and 4 small rectangles for the legs.  After students painted their plates their were asked to identify shapes and glue them to their plates (i.e. “find the circle and glue this to the top of your plate”).  We also used a lot of positional words during this activity (i.e. on top of, bottom, side, etc).
  • We completed this letter T tracing activity.
  • We also completed a variety of activities that day related to the color green.

Here are some other great ocean theme pages to check out:

The Virtual Vine’s Ocean Theme

Pre-Kinder’s Ocean Unit

I’ll keep posting ideas as I load the pictures to my computer from summer school.  Thanks for looking!


Author Studies

This summer is going by so quickly!  As I sit and think about next year, there is one thing that I VERY excited about doing …it is an author study every month!  When I previously taught first grade we would do an author study every month, which I absolutely loved.  I would have a bulletin board in our classroom library featuring a monthly author and we would learn about the author, read and compare the stories and complete various projects related to the books.  I would absolutely love it when my little readers would go to the library weekly and request books written by specific authors like Tomie dePaola, Kevin Henkes and Jan Brett.

So as I’m compiling all of my resources, I thought that I would share some of the WONDERFUL resources that I’m finding on the internet with all of you as well.  Just click on the links to go to the pages with the information.

  1. Lesson ideas for using author studies to promote literacy within the classroom.
  2. Kindergarten Author Study Ideas
  3. Pro Teacher Author Study discussion

I would love to hear if any of you complete author studies within your classrooms.  Also, come back and check in the fall for other author study posts.


Make Your Own Big Books for the Classroom

Well recently I’ve been working on making some big books to use in the classroom.  I use big books in a variety of ways, but I especially like to create books that are interactive for students.  Honestly, it can be a little difficult at times to find books that are age appropriate as well for my students.  So–making your own big books is a way to get your little guys more engaged in the reading activities that go on within your classroom.

Here are some ways that I like to use my big books:

Circle Time Songs

We sing a whole variety of songs in my preschool and kindergarten classes.  I love having big books to accompany the songs because it not only builds vocabulary for students, but it also helps students to learn that print carries meaning.   Below is a lit of a few song books that we use for Circle Time:

  • Color Song
  • Octopus
  • 10 Best Friends
  • 5 Little Ducks
  • Letter Sound Song (Apple Apple A a a song)

I also especially love to make Big Books to accompany some of my favorite cd’s.

Shari Sloane’s Website is a wonderful resource for making big books to accompany music cd’s.  Check out her page here for more resources and printables:  Shari Sloane’s Jack Hartmann Page

Here are some pictures of one of the Jack Hartmann big books that I made:

I also attached velcro to the pictures so students can match the picture with the words.

Books for Read Alouds

It can be difficult at times to find books that are not too ‘wordy’ for my students to read aloud during the story time portion of the day.  So I often use die-cuts or clip-art to create my own thematic books to corresponds with whatever themes are learning within the classroom.  Here is an example of a book that I made with die-cuts to go with our upcoming Insect theme.  The idea and text is from

I added velcro to the laminated pieces in order to make the book interactive for students:

Resources for Making Your Own Big Books

Counting rhymes make excellent books for students.  You can often easily find die-cuts, clip art or notepads to match the objects that you are using for your books.  This is an excellent source for finding various poetry that would be appropriate for any early elementary classroom: Can Teach Songs and Poems.

Kinder Friends has a great page on their site for many ideas for making your own resources.  I use this page a lot for ideas and there are also free downloadable resources here as well:  Kinder Friends Big Book Idea Page

Here is one of the books that I own that has instructions for making your own books.  If you are interested, click on the picture for ordering information.

As always, feel free to add any comments or resources to this posting!  I’ll post some pictures and ideas for big book storage too in the next week,  so keep checking!


What a Great Time to Learn About the Weather!

Recently we have been fortunate enough to have quite a bit of rain storms here in Central California.  So, this presented the perfect opportunity for us to learn a little bit more about the weather.

We read this wonderful book about Rain by Robert Kalan:

This book is a great book to read to preschoolers because it has a simple, repetitive text that is great for building vocabulary.  We did a simple project with this book for a bulletin board.  Here is a picture:

Here is another picture that is more of a close-up of the activity:

For this activity we first ready the story and then had house, car and flower die-cuts.  All of these items were featured within the story.  Next students chose a die-cut and an adult helped them to complete the sentence in the sentence frame.  Here is a copy of the sentence frame:  rain writing prompt.  After students glued their die-cuts to their papers, then they dipped their fingers in blue paint and created the rain drops.  You could also easily differentiate this activity where the child could brainstorm, write and draw other items that they may see outside.

We also read some wonderful books about clouds!

Both of these stories are fantastic for preschool aged children.  Both stories are very similar, but we decided to do some painting and a project related to the book, It Looked Like Spilt Milk.  In this book it shows many simple pictures and has the following frame, “It looked like a ___, but it wasn’t a ___” and at the end of the story it tells the reader that they were all clouds.  Here is a picture of the activity that we completed for this story:

For this activity, students used white paint to draw a picture of an object.  Next an adult helped them to finish the writing prompt, which can be seen here:  spilt milk writing prompt.  Students fill in the word for the item that they painted and at the end of the second sentence they write the letters to spell cloud.  For example, the prompt says, “It looked like a ___, but it was really a c l o u d.”  In case you are interested here is the titled that I used for the lettering on the windows:  It Looked Like Spilt Milk By Charles Shaw bboard.

Here is another activity that we did:

Students cut out umbrellas and then we stapled the mini-book titled “Rain” to the outside.  Both the pattern for the umbrella and the Rain books were from the Mailbox.

Here are some links to some other great links to check out  if you will be teaching a weather theme in your classroom:

1.  Rain Theme from Pratt’s Educational Resources

2. Teaching Heart’s Weather Theme

Feel free to share your great weather ideas as well!