Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hallway Displays Part 2 - Jungle

Continuing the hallway displays from my previous post, our next theme was Jungle.  After cutting a LOT of green jungle leaves, I changed our winter/Candyland tree into a jungle tree.  As we did art projects for our Jungle theme, the surrounding area was filled in with many jungle animals.  Our gingerbread house was transformed into a jungle tiki hut.  

  I removed Santa and the chimney, as well as the gumdrops.  Then I covered the roof in fringed paper, put leaves on the windows and door awning.  I replaced the candy cane poles with tiki torches.  I created the tiki torches by covering styrofoam cups with cheetah print duct tape.  Inside the cups, I glued red, yellow and orange tissue paper, fluffing it up like flames.  I then attached the cups to my brown posts (covered wrapping paper tubes).  Crystal made us a new door sign to replace our "Santa's Candy Factory" sign.  

  Our herd of elephants: Each elephant was made by painting a paper plate gray, adding google eyes, a trunk, and ears decorated with pink tissue paper.

  We then did a writing activity titled How Can You Help Get Rid of Elephant's Hiccups? after reading the book Hiccups for Elephant. Their writings were put on the elephant's body.  The body was then attached to the head they made, completing our elephant.  

  To complete this part of the display, we added tigers, chameleons, and footprint lions.

  A close up of our footprint lion.  Use the child's footprint as the base for the lion, then add tail, face and mane.  Our background was done with green and yellow chalk.

  Our herd of footprint giraffes.

  A closeup of one of our footprint giraffes.  You need two footprints.  I used the same foot twice.  Then using the same paint color, I painted leg, ears and a neck.  After they dried, I then added the brown spots, tail, and horns.  I used black for the nose and eye.  I used chalk for the grass and sky.  I had to create the color paint I used by adding yellow to orange paint until I had the shade I wanted.  The lion was done with the same paint, but I added even more yellow.

  I hope you enjoyed our jungle hallway display.  We still have our Enchanted Garden hallway display to share, as well as our Jungle classroom. 

  It's almost the start of a new school year.  Crystal and I have already been working in our classroom, getting it set up for a new year. We are excited to meet our new little ones!!  I hope this year is as much fun as last year was.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kohl's Cares

If you have, teach or are studying to teach young children, it's important to have books for them.  Great things happen when we give children a love for books. READ READ READ!  You can add to your book collection at Kohl's for only $5 each.  Every few months, they offer a different set of books and stuffed animals through Kohl's Cares.  The books are hard covered books by popular children's authors.  I have gotten some great books this way.  All proceeds go to charity.  Currently, they are selling Mercer Mayer books.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hallway Displays Part 1

  This past year, to go with our Tree for All Seasons, we based the rest of our hallway display on the current tree theme.  I'd like to share those pictures with you.  As I posted, our tree started out as a Fall tree, and we had filled it with Fall themed art projects.  Each child had made one of everything, so some of the squirrels, acorns and Fall leaves were on the bottom, as if they had fallen or climbed out of the tree.  Some were displayed as if they were falling.  We also added our class turkey at Thanksgiving time.  Each tail feather was decorated as a family project by the student and parents.  This is an annual tradition for Preschool at our school.  

    For Christmas time, we decided to add a gingerbread house to our display.  "Santa's Candy Factory" was one of my favorite accomplishments this year.  The children painted the gumdrops used on the gingerbread house. We also added a Reindeer stable.  The reindeer were colored by the children, as were the stockings hanging on the stable.  I searched Pinterest and Google for inspiration, and then we made our version of each.

  When we returned from Christmas break, we turned our Reindeer Stable into the "Relaxation Station for the Reindeer Nation."  The children made cups of cocoa, using fingerprints to make "marshmallows".  We used this activity to test their ability to count to ten.  The students also did a writing activity about 3 ways to relax after Christmas

  Surrounding our tree, we went with the Candyland theme we had based our tree on.  We added footprint penguins and giant lollipops.  The children also did a writing based on the story "The Mitten".  

  Next time, I will show our hallway displays for our Jungle theme.  I hope you enjoyed our displays for Fall, Christmas, and Winter.  


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tree For All Seasons

  When Fall was approaching, I decided I wanted to make a Fall tree for our hallway display.  Crystal and I painted white bulletin board paper with brown finger paint.  We rubbed the paint all over the paper with our hands.  We also used a brush on parts of it.  We loved how it turned out because it was textured and random, much like the bark of a real tree.  We then cut a trunk and branches from the painted paper.  After mounting it on the wall in the hallway, it was decorated with various Fall themed projects.  As the children made the art projects throughout the two weeks we were learning about Fall, the art was added to the tree and surrounding area.  The children loved seeing their projects on display. We put leaves, acorns, squirrels, and owls on our tree.

  For Christmas time, we replaced our Fall decorations with child made angel and dove ornaments, gingerbread men, and Christmas cookies (bell, tree and star shapes).  

  After Christmas, we turned our tree into a Winter/Candyland tree.  We kept the cookies and gingerbread men.  We added peppermints, snowflakes and snow.

  When we began our unit on Jungle, we turned our Candyland tree into a jungle tree.  Our tree was home to many jungle animals: parrots, toucans, monkeys and tree frogs.

  Finally, for Spring, we had an Enchanted Garden theme, so our tree was decorated with our parrots, ladybugs, flowers and giant butterflies.

  Our children loved seeing our tree evolve and change as the year went on.  It made making the work involved in making the tree worth it, as we were able to use it almost the entire school year. I hope these pictures inspire you to create your own Tree for All Seasons.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Paint Your Way Through Pre-K

  It's summer time and school is out.  Crystal and I are already planning for the upcoming school year, and I am excited to see our theme come to life.  I am hoping it will be lots of fun, but I will hold off on writing about it until school starts in August.

  Until then, I thought I would flashback to my favorites from last year for the next few weeks.  We had a wonderful time bringing a new curriculum to life.  Our school system adopted the Pearson O.W.L (Opening the World of Learning) Preschool curriculum.  We were not familiar with the curriculum, so we just adapted as we went along.  We taught the units of the curriculum, but also interjected holidays and other subjects within it.  

  Our classroom theme for the year was "Paint Your Way Through Pre-K".  To start out our year, I made a big banner for the hallway outside of our classroom.  I painted the words on it, turning each "o", "g" and "a" into a paint palette and the sticks of the letters into paintbrushes.  I also splatter painted all over the banner to add color. The sock monkeys were added for cuteness.

  Throughout the year, the children had several different experiences with painting.  They painted with many different painting tools, as well as many different paints.  We used tempera paint, fingerpaint, watercolors, paint dotters and tempera blocks. We tried out metallic, glitter, textured and pearlized paints.  Their first paintings were marble paintings.  They had fun rolling the marbles around on their paper through the paint.  They also painted with textured rollers and bright colors at the beginning of the school year.  

  We did several foot print and hand print paintings.  They painted regularly at the easel in the Art Center.

   Painting our way through Pre-K was just the start of our creative adventure last year.  I look forward to sharing more of what we created!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

My First Post

  Welcome to C+C Preschool Factory.  This is my first post on my first blog.  My name is Christa.  I am a married mother of three sons, Nic, Zac and Xander.  They are 20, 12, and 3.  I have worked with young children as long as I can remember.  I started out babysitting as many young girls do.  When I was a senior in high school, I began working part time at a nursery school.  I started out working after school with three year olds.  After graduation, I was offered a full time position. I spent a summer teaching three and four year olds. When the fall session started I was assigned to working with two year olds.  However, neither of the two  teachers hired to care for the infants worked out.  Each time they were unavailable, I would sub in their room.  Finally the parents requested I be put in the infant room on a permanent basis.  I LOVED working with the infants.  I used my spare time doing art projects to brighten up my room.  Then other teachers started asking me for ideas, and I realized I enjoyed helping others with their art projects also. Eventually, I was made head teacher for infant - three year olds.  I held that position until I resigned to become a nanny for a former student and his brothers. Two years later, I moved to Louisiana from my home state of Connecticut to join the rest of my family.

  When my oldest child was three, I decided to enroll at a technical college to study child care.  I was able to have my son with me at the on-site day care, which was also the child care classes on site lab.  I graduated with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and Development.  I was their second graduate from the Associate Degree program, and the first with all A's. This led to my being hired as the teacher for their day care, but I only stayed for one summer.  I left to work for the school system as a paraprofessional in EvenStart taking care of infants, which was my first love.  Unfortunately, the EvenStart I worked for was moved to four different locations in two years, and the teacher I worked with decided to leave to work with four year olds. So I chose to resign to stay home with my second son, who was nine months old at the time. When Zac was old enough to go to preschool, I went back to the same school I had worked at when I was first hired by the school system.  I have been back at work now since February 2005.  We moved into a newly built school, I moved to a new classroom, and have been in that classroom since August 2006.  I have had four different teachers pass through this classroom.

  I am currently about to start my third year working with a wonderful teacher, Crystal. We met many years ago when she was student teaching at the college I attended.  Fifteen years later, she is still as awesome of a teacher as she was when she was a new teacher.  She inspires me every day.  We share the same joy of teaching.  We both love our jobs and the children we teach.  I have had more fun with her in the last two years than all the years previous put together. I feel we compliment each other perfectly. We can finish each other's sentences, know what each other is thinking, and have never had a cross word with each other.  This makes for a wonderful working environment.  We are also blessed to have gotten a new principal this past year who has given us the opportunity to let our creative juices flow, and has supported us every step of the way.  

   My blog's name was inspired by our two names and our love of 80s and 90s music. It's a play on C+C Music Factory  - a dance music group, best known for their hits Gonna Make You Sweat and Things That Make You Go Hmmmm. I'm always quoting songs when something in a conversation makes me think of a lyric.  I do it so much, Crystal does the same thing now.  

  This blog is going to be a place for me to share the wonderful things we do in Preschool.  My hope is it will inspire and give ideas to other preschool teachers and paraprofessionals.  I encourage you to look at working with young children as a positive experience, even during the hard times.  I hope you enjoy it!