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I am a first grade teacher who has rediscovered a love for firsties this year. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and even second over the past 16 years. I have been married for 17 years to my wonderful husband and have been blessed with 2 very active boys.

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
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
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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
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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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Our Full Day Pre-K Schedule

Our Full Day Pre-K Schedule


Our full day in pre-k is busy, engaging and full of fun! The key is alternating the quieter activities with ones that involve more movement as well as teacher directed activities and student choice.


Daily Schedule

Here is a quick peek at our daily schedule!  
Keep reading and there will be a FREE EDITABLE version just for you!

      
   
Arrival and Greetings

Being that we are a state funded pre-k program, parents need to sign each child in and out as they pull up in the car line outside our classroom!  I love the daily connection we have with parents!  As children arrive, they are greeted as they enter the room, unpack their folder and water bottle and then settle in and eat breakfast.


Morning Circle Time

Morning Meeting is a great way to start your day as it brings us together, fosters a sense of community and learning is optimal as children are attentive and ready to start the day!  We always start out with a "Good Morning" song as we make connections with each other.  We incorporate a weekly calendar as young children always want to know how many more school days/home days they have and then move onto our morning message.  This is the perfect time to sneak in a little mini lesson with a quick game or activity before we move onto small groups. Click HERE to find out How to Make the Most of Morning Meeting.


Small Groups

Children learn though play.  Small groups are a fun way to integrate learning though games, activities and exploration all while integrating specific content based on standards.  In our classroom, we have 20 children so we have decided to have five groups with four children each.  We have found over the years that four in a group work well for games. You can read more about Math small group ideas HERE.


Gross Motor Play

At this point, my pre-kinders have been hard at work (and play) for an hour so physical movement is NEEDED!  The majority of the time, this means recess!  This means off to the playground we go.  Once a week, we head to the courts for tricycles, scooters and gross motor play!  In the case of rain, extreme heat (over 95 degrees) or extreme cold (under 50 degrees in Florida), we Go Noodle!


Literacy Circle

Back in the room, my kids are ready to learn during our Literacy Circle Time with stories and poems.  We work on a poem a week which is on a large chart with rebus pictures.  This helps my students focus and follow along.  We work on concepts of print, phonics and phonological awareness.  The poem is laminated which allows for the children to interact with it with a dry erase marker during the lesson.  It often comes back out during centers with pointers as the kids play teacher!


Morning Center Time

Center time is all about CHOICE!  Students LOVE the independence they are given during this time to choose what interests them.  We have 45 minutes for centers in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon.  This is also MY favorite time as bonds are made here with them as they love talking and sharing about EVERYTHING!  You can read more about the Ins and Outs of Centers HERE.


Transitional Times and Lunch

Before lunch is a quick story time and/or time for finger plays.  We send students to the restroom and to wash hands before lunch. We eat lunch in the cafeteria and my para stays with the class.  After lunch, we have music, songs and some movement.  I love the Go Noodle and the Yoga songs before rest time.


Afternoon Center Time

After rest time, or cognitive break as our county calls it, we head back to centers for more fun and interaction.  This is a great time to focus on skills and pull a child for a few minutes two for some one on one time!  Believe it or not, students LOVE this and as we are working, a crowd soon gathers asking, "When is it my turn?"! I love their desire to learn as well as their willingness to stop playing to spend a few minutes with me!


Math Circle

Math Circle is a whole group math time that wraps up our day!  We use the Smart Board for YouTube songs.  Jack Hartman is a favorite in our room!  The Story Bots website is AMAZING, free to teachers and can be personalized with student names!  We then follow up with a game or activity to build on a skill we are working on or for spiral review.  I am excited that we have printed and prepped Math Activities for the Year.  It will make planning so much EASIER!


Thanks for hanging in with me to the end of our pre-k day. 
If you would like a FREE  EDITABLE copy of our Daily Schedule, click HERE!



Be sure to follow The Resourceful Apple on Facebook for what's going on in our pre-k community!
Be on the lookout for Facebook Friday LIVE with The Resourceful Apple coming in August!




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Mrs. Wathen
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Kindness Matters

Kindness Matters


Kindness can be characterized by a concern towards others and a pleasant disposition.  It seems simple and yet we are witnesses in a broken world full of self absorbed, hurtful  people in the midst of the "rest" of us. It is up to US to make a difference in the LIVES of our CHILDREN!


What then, my friends, can we do to make a difference?  Look around and listen... I mean really listen to conversations, social media posts and yes, even to our youngest students as they play.  Then ask yourself, "What can I do to promote kindness in my classroom and in my school?"


First and foremost, we NEED to make connections with our students and we need to provide opportunities for them to make connections with each other. From the minute they walk into the door this needs to happen.

Greetings are a great way to connect with your students.  It can be a simple "Good Morning", a high five or a fun handshake.  My students LOVE that they have a choice how they want to be greeted!  If I get busy in the morning, my students will come and greet me!  It is something they look forward to and NEED.  They know I am there for them.

I make connections when I put their blanket on each one of them at nap time. Yes, they could put it up themselves, but it lets them know I care.

I encourage connections with my students during story time, centers, recess and any other time the opportunity arises.  We sing greeting songs that use their names, incorporate "Turn and Talk" for the students to engage with a partner, and plan class games during recess all while building relationships.


Children role play all the time.  This is a great way to have students take a active role in providing examples and non-examples.  We use this strategy a LOT at the beginning of the year when introducing class and school rules.   It is a powerful strategy to use to help children work through problem solving strategies throughout the year.

In pre-k, I love to hang out in the dramatic play center with them as role playing is an everyday occurrence.  This provides the opportunity to role play WITH them.  Its a win-win!


Children NEED problem solving strategies and sometimes just KIND words that do not always come natural to them.  Perhaps someone pushes in line.  Instead of yelling to the teacher, "HE PUSHED ME" in their loudest voice, we MODEL ways to problem solve.  "I feel _____ when you ____." and then offer a solution.  " If you _____, then I ______."   For example, I feel SAD, when you PUSH ME.  If you BACK UP, then I will have my space." We use this frame for a visual reminder to help us identify the problem and to offer a solution.


We also model manners throughout the day.  It is more than please and thank you.  It is also learning how to compliment our classmates, even when they may not be our best friend.  We need to model these conversations so they will become hopefully become part of our students conversations.



There are amazing children's books that provide storylines about showing kindness, having good manners, emotions and about making a difference. I am including some of my favorite books below and have attached Amazon links for you as sometimes it is difficult to find the book you are looking for.  (These are affiliate links.)

The Feeling Book by Todd Parr is hands down one of our favorites.  
His colorful illustrations and simple text is perfect for my pre-kindergarteners.




So many children come do not know how to express that they feel.
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that often comes out in tantrums with little ones.  
They can certainly relate to Sophie in When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry
and it can lead to great discussions in class.


Our children want to have friends and get along.  This book, Talk and Work it Out  is amazing as it showcases situations our students can relate to.There is a whole series of these books called, Learning to Get Along.



There are so many great books to choose from on this topic.  Be sure to check out your local library and book store too!



Children notice everything! Let's work hard at being the role model they deserve.  That includes leaving our personal lives at home, being PRESENT in the classroom ALL DAY and making an effort to show KINDNESS to students, teachers and staff at the school. 

After nap one day, one of my students said, "Here comes the trash man." as the custodian was unlocking the door to come into our room at the end of the day. After he left, we talked about how his job title is "custodian" and he is so important at the school.  He keeps our classroom nice and clean and without him, we would be sitting in a room full of trash unable to learn or play.  It hit home for them.  So next week, I have a little gift for our custodian and I am encouraging my kids to draw a picture or finish the sentence, I am thankful for you because _______"  to show him how thankful we are for him.
In the spirit of spreading kindness, I am sharing these KINDNESS MATTERS printables as my gift to you! Just head on over to my TpT store and you can grab these for FREE!


You can also pin this post so you for easy reference!



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Mrs. Wathen
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