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Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K Back to School
Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Phonics Games

Phonics Games
Phonics Games
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Graphics by: MareeTrueLove.
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Calendar Math for Primary Grades

Calendar Math for Primary Grades
Primary Calendar for the Year
Small Group Literacy Activities in Pre-K

Small Group Literacy Activities in Pre-K

Small group rotations is one of my favorite times of the day!  It is the time of our day for explicit instruction in literacy and math with students... YES, even in pre-k!  The best part is, with the careful planning for hands on activities and games, students grow and thrive while playing!

Small group literacy includes activities that focus on name recognition, phonological awareness, letters and sounds, writing  and prereading skills!

Note:  This post contains affaliate links to products I love using in the classroom!

Most children come into pre-k at the age of 4.  There is nothing more important to them as themselves!  That also makes their names important to them so this is the perfect introduction to letters and sounds! Not only are they interested in their own names, but soon they become interested in their new friends' names as well! 

Bottle Cap Letters are a FREE resource in my store!  It is an easy way to personalize each child's name with mats and letters.  I also trace each letter with with glue and let it dry to add a tactile experience with letter tracing!  Start saving your water bottle caps and encourage your students and families to help out too.

Picture Name Cards are perfect from little learners. Once children learn their symbols and the symbols for their friends, they recognize the names and the possibilities are endless: salt trays, playdough names, writing their name, stamps, stringing letter beads and just about any letter manipulative is ideal for name practice!

Letter stamps are perfect for name practice.  At the beginning of the year, we stamp the letters into playdough.  As the year goes on, we move onto stamping with inkpads and paper.  Either way, it works on letter discrimination and the kids love it and collaborate throughout the activity! That's a win-win!

Am I the only one who collects magnet letters?  I have the traditional ones for the beginning of the year, but then we add in letters with faces, animal printed letters, bottle cap letters and pretty much any letters I can find!  I do this for two reasons... 1- Novelty is key in pre-k!  If I can keep their attention and interest, they are more likely to learn! 2- Letters always look different in the world around us!  There are so many fonts that children need exposure to in a variety of print.  Magnetic letters help them recognize letters in a variety of forms.

Check out this post on The Name Book!  It was so much fun to make it and honestly, it is a book my kids race to get to ALL YEAR LONG!  Why? Because it is a book that EVERY CHILD CAN READ!

I introduce letters and sounds simutaneously.  I have read the book, No More Letter of the Week, and with that we work on letters and sounds in all that we do... like morning message, introducing stories, names, games, hands on activities and Poems with Rebus Pictures, 

Alphabet Letter Mats provide fun and fine motor practice with the most bag for your dollar!  The materials can be inexpensively changed out to include playdough, pom poms, gems, and mini erasers to name a few.  Just about any small manipulative can be used on Alphabet Letter Mats!

I love finding materials that can be introduced during small group instruction but then moved to other areas to integrate literacy during center time!  These Alphabet Blocks are perfect for letter and name practice and are the perfect stacking addition to the block center after they have been introduced.

Interactice Alphabet Activities are always fun as the letters are interchangable for what we need to target during a given lesson.  We have used them as file folder activities with velcro and as magnetic pieces on the cookie tine.  When we are done with small group, I then add them on our classroom door (which is magnetic) or the dry erase board so students can play with them a center time.  They love playing teacher with these!

Shaving cream is perfect for small group time.  It can get messy real quick so supervision is advised!  I started putting it out on tables, but soon figured out the trays keep the shaving cream contained and make for easy clean up! Our rule is "pointing finger only".  They love this sensory activity!  Gel bags are a great substitute if you have any friends who don't like touching messy things!

Commercial and teacher made Alphabet Puzzles are great once children start recognizing some letters.  I add a letter at a time at a time into pencil boxes for easy storage and organization.  This is perfect for my kiddos as it doesn't overwhelm them.  Alphabet Puzzles comes with three puzzles for each letter so I have three different pencil boxes to keep each set stored separately.  Clear as mud?

Phonological Awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate units of language such as sounds,  syllables.  These activities are oral and the written print does not come into play.  In most the the activities we use, I include pictures for student interest and engagement.  These pictures are NOT needed to practice these skills.

Swingables are introduced during small group and include a "swinging" componant that reveals the answer.  The Compound Word Swingables are used to self check syllable addition with compound words.

Alphabet Swingables start with two pictures that begin with the same sound and students need to identify the beginning sound/letter and then self check.  These are fun to introduce during small group and then move to centers or an independent or partner activity.

Teacher Task Cards for Phonological Awareness are an auditory activity where chldren listen to the teacher's prompt and then answer.  Again, pictures are added for our visual learners, but it is an auditory activity.  These cards include counting words in a sentence, counting syllables, syllable blending, syllabledeletion and rhyming words.  They are a go to after we have practiced during whole group but they group needs additional practice or I need to assess.  

Writing as a skill includes name writing, letter formation, beginning sounds, storytelling and stringing letters together to make words. We introduce these activities during small group and integrate them with authentic writing activities.

Magic Boards provide a medium that allows me to scaffold writing for young writers.  Some children need to trace as they develop their fine motor muscles as they trace letters or their name before writing independently!  This helps them with a model and then provides the confidence when the sheet is removed! When they are ready to write independently, this will still be a go to activity!

Write the Room with Pictures is ideal for young learners as it provides choice and movement all while practiving letters, sounds and writing.  Sudents can "read" the words with the help of picture clues on the words hanging around the room.  The matching pictures on the recording sheets allow children to "read" back what they have written!

Authenic writing, such as thank you notes for our Donors Choose sponsors or making cards for holidays or birthdays, has the most meaning for our friends!  This is REAL writing, just like the adults in their lives do.  This is meaningful work!

Journal writing also has to be real and meaningful to beginning writers.  I encourage students to draw a picture, tell me about it and then label the picture.  We start journal writing after Christmas vacation at the beginning of the second half of the year.  In order to give their best, students need to have a say in what they are writing and drawing about.  When they are ready, students will begin to string those sounds together to make words...and then sentences!  It might not happen this year, but we are laying the foundation for all that is to come.

Sight words can be one of those controversial topics in pre-kindergarten.  In the county I teach in, we introduce 15 sight words to help in preparation for kindergarten.  Many students will master these and excited to learn more, and some children are not ready and this is merely for exposure,

Sight Words For Pre-K is a FREE download that contains fifteen word cards, a parent note and an assessment that can be used.  I print several sets of these cards and use them with differnt activities such as salt trays or magic board writing.  The trays are from the Target Dollar Section and came with lacing beads in them.

Sight Words Activities for Pre-K come in Winter and Spring Editions.  They include sight word mats, word building cards and write the room cards. 

All the activities can be enhanced with a variety of manipulatives as with the Alpahbet activities.  Bottle cap letters can me made and color coded for easy organization! 

These Write the Room cards can also be used as a word building activity with alphabet manipulatives.  Alphabet Cookies are a new favorite in our room!

Small group activities have been a game changer for instruction in our pre-k room.  It is a time that allows me to specifically target skills while differentiating between groups. The small group setting allows students to better concentrate and practice the skills introduced in whole group lessons.

Make sure to pin this post for easy reference for small group literacy planning
 and follow me on Pinterest for more classroom ideas!

Happy Teaching!
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Mrs. Wathen
The Name Book

The Name Book

Back to school learning begins with student names. After all,  what is more important to them than their own name? Be sure to stay with us until the end of this post for a free download to make this book!

We start this project with a little fine motor practice at the art table.  Students learn how to hold scissors and cut on a line.  We then take cutting a step further and students learn to snip the  strips of paper they just cut.

Glue sponges are next on the list of early lessons.  Glue sponges are a life saver in my pre-k classroom!  You can google glue sponges for your pick of how to videos and posts. Students then put one piece of paper at a time on the glue sponges, tap it lightly and add it to their letter that has been written on a quarter sheet of construction paper prior to the activity.

We, as in my para or I, then take the letter after it dries and cut around the letter leaving a small border of the colored construction paper.  We add the letter to the sentence frame and laminate the pages along with a cover and back page. I also added a picture name tag so my students have a little extra help reading the names at the beginning of the year! You can read more about picture name tags when you are done HERE.

If you have are still hanging here be sure to grab this FREE download so you can make your own Name Book HERE. I have added another cover option that has the title, The Name Book. I think next year that is what I will go with!

Be sure to pin this post for easy reference to this freebie! You can follow me on Social Media too!  Check out the links at the top of this post!

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Mrs. Wathen
My Pre-K Classroom

My Pre-K Classroom

Wecome to my Pre-K Cottage!  I teach pre-k in a public elementary school in a portable classroom aka cottage.  With that being said, we prefer cozy over small and we love our space!

Our classroom is set up in centers, with several areas having dual purposes! Our cottage was origionally set up as an elementary classroom, so you will see some not so typical pre-k furniture, and we have made it work. Each center has a center sign above it and we teach the center names at the beginning of the year to help students identify which center they would like to explore. You can read more about our the ins and outs of our centers here.

The circle area is the main hub of the classroom.  It is where LOTS of learning and playing take place! We start off with morning meeting to connect with each other and our day, come visit again for story time and all things literacy, music and movement activities take place here and our math and science circle wrap up our day here! This area also serves as the library center during small group rotations and the block area during center time!

The art center is located near the sink for easy clean up. We have two 45 minute center times-one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  We preselect activities to be used during these times and have the materials ready and waiting for the children.  In an ideal world, we would have low, open shelving that the children could access and use materials of choice, but we rotate  materials frequently. We are super excited to add the art easel to our art area this year!

The dramatic play/pretend area is a favorite of both girls and boys!  We start the year with home living for two weeks and then introduce a new set up.  We continue to rotate two weeks of home living with two weeks of a dramatic play theme throughout the year.  This keeps their interest high as it provides additional opportunities to extend learning and build new vocabulary.

The math center includes an assortment of manipulatives along with puzzles and games.  We are lucky enough to have a manipulative shelf here that is ideal for pre-k.  The key to this is labeling the bins and the shelves to foster indepencdence in this area. We use picture and work labels as the children use the picture to help identify each manipulative as they make connections to the print. My teacher hack is to use the adhesive pocket labels found several times a year in the Target dollar spot so labels can be easily changed out.

The science center is a work in progress.  We are continually working to build the materials and I often turn to Donors Choose to make this happen.  This is definately a perk to teaching pre-k in a public school. The materials are changed out weekly and it is dedinately a well loved center now.

All things reading and writing can be found in the alphabet center. Some of our favorite activities include magic writng boards, alphabet fishing and several kids of letter manipulatives like bottle cap letters that can be used for name building and thematic word cards. The light table and the puppet theater also work well here and truth be told, our room is small and it was the only corner left!

The block area doubles with our circle time area to give plenty of room to spread out and create! This area includes the transitional wooden blocks, Legos, Magna Tiles, Melissa and Doug Small Wooden Blocks and Little People.  I reorganized my block area this year and added bins for easy storage and clean up with the large wooden blocks.  Labels still need to be added but that is on my to do list for now! Additional materials are exchanged in and out every few weeks to compliment a theme, add a STEM project or to create additional interest.  Children LOVE novelty and are excited to play and create when new items are added.

The library area also shares our circle time area which sounds crazy when you know blocks are also stationed there!  The library area is typically used during our small group rotations.  If they want to visit during centers, they are more than welcome of course! I have a collection of board books that are favorite stories for pre-k friends.  We then rotate in and our themed books and other favorite stories.  A collection of alphabet books can be found here along with a class set of name books. A chart with our weekly poem is also housed here.

Our students sometimes spend more ours a day in our classrooms that they do awake at home.  It is my hope that I have created a joyful atmosphere in my classroom that fosters a love of learning in my students as they explore and create in pre-k!

I would love you to follow The Resourceful Apple on Facebook to stay connected with alll going on here in my pre-k class!

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Mrs. Wathen
Tieks and TpT Back to School Giveaway

Tieks and TpT Back to School Giveaway

Happy Back to School Season! 
It’s that frantic yet exciting time of the year again! 
Getting your classroom ready, organizing a million papers, 
and preparing for a new group of kiddos to love on for the year. 

 As teacher-authors, we are so grateful that you allow us to be a part of your classrooms 
and lives and want to give you a big virtual hug in the form of a giveaway. 
We know that teachers can use a little bit of extra love this time of year, 
and I have teamed up with some amazing teacher-authors to show one lucky teacher 
LOTS of love with a pair of the brightest and most comfy teacher shoes ever, a pair of Tieks
AND a $150 gift card to Teachers Pay Teacher to use to keep your sanity in the upcoming year!

 You can enter the giveaway up to 41 times!!! 
I'm not kidding! Enter now in the Rafflecopter below! 
Best of luck! Prize: $200.00 Tieks Gift Card and $150 TPT Gift Card Entry: 

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter! 
The giveaway runs August 4th-August 12th. 
The winner will be announced and contacted on August 13th. 

A special thanks to A Library and Garden for organizing this AWESOMENESS!

Make sure you follow me on Facebook so you don't miss any updates and fun.  You can even leave your favorite Tieks color in the comments on Facebook under this Giveaway!

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Mrs. Wathen

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