How to Create Highly Effective Transitions

Transitions can be one of the most challenging parts of the teaching day.  One of my best tips is to shift how you look at transitions.  Clearly, transitions are the changing times between main activities and group times.   It is often transport time and preparation time. When you view it from this perspective – it […]

Procedures: Learning to Use Glue

Teaching young children how to use glue can be as simple as a song and strong visual instructions.   Just click on the image to download a copy of this song.  My co-teacher, Patty, has a wonderful additional line I have never heard – “It is strong!”   The children love it!  We make a […]

Reggio: Scissor Storage!

 I love this simple but highly effective why to store and display scissors – in a brick!  Who knew! This photo was taken in one of my colleague’s classroom.  So cool.  It looks so natural and provides a clear place for children to reach for a pair of scissors!  

Arrival Stones!

This is a wonderful idea from Andrea Revel, a grade one teacher from Calgary Alberta.  Thank you Andrea for sharing it! On the first day of school, Andrea reads the book “Everybody Has a Rock.”  Each child blindly selects a pebble from the basket (she collected these from the Pacific Ocean). Andrea tells the children that […]

Patty’s Room: Writing Materials

There is are so many meaningful opportunities for Patty’s Pre-k children to write.  Here are a few: Color sorted markers and colored pencils.  The writing center materials.  I love the two choices – fat pencil or golf pencil.  These are both developmentally appropriate.  And providing tape!  So important!   More writing center materials- a tray […]

Patty’s Room: The Art Center

First, a big thank-you to Patty and her co-teacher Jenni for sharing their amazing classrooms!! Hold on tight!  This is a massive post!  But it will be worth every visual morsel.  First, I am going to share most of the items in Patty’s Art Center.  Then, following the materials, I have posted a few of […]

Patty’s Room: Practical Life

Today I am bringing a series of photos of Patty Eaton’s classroom – an amazing early childhood educator/expert in my area.  It is a blend of Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Constructivism.  It is wonderful! Patty has agreed to co-teach an eWorkshop with me online – – -and it will happen next month!  Woot!  Stay tuned […]

DIY Clipboards

I don’t know about you but I love having a clipboard for every child in my class but holy moly that can get expensive! Well, I ran into someone  (Stacy)  who came up with a DIY version and I couldn’t wait to share the goodness! WHAT YOU WILL NEED: bulldog clips or binder clips (the […]

Reggio Inspired: Birthday Traditions

In these Reggio inspired classrooms – each room develops its own birthday tradition.  Here is one classroom’s documentation on how the traditions are formed:  A peek at birthday traditions:  IDEA 1:  I adore this idea!  Notice in the first photo there are empty hoops hanging.  On the child’s birthday they decorate and fill their hoop.  […]

Reggio Inspired: Color

Woot!  Day two of my sneak peek into a local Reggio inspired preschool, Rosa Parks. The quality of classroom environment in this school is off the charts. Today I am going to share a few of their color ideas.  Simple canvas boards with color collections.  I love all the texture.  A close up of the […]

Mystery Readers!

At Back to School Night – I always have a Mystery Reader Sign-up.  This is one of those ideas that if you aren’t doing it – you should start this year!  A Mystery Reader is a surprise visit from a family member (moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, etc).  They bring a favorite picture book […]

Family Reflections

Family Reflections is a process I developed to get honest and helpful feedback from families.   In my experience, parents often will tell me of an suggestion or issue in the classroom on a form that I might not otherwise hear.  I think this is because a form is easy and quick! While I send home […]

DIY White Boards – so CHEAP!

I was so surprised this week when I asked my colleagues if they knew about how to make super easy and cheap white boards out of white panelboards. They did not know! So I thought some of you may not know! Here’s the scoop: Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot (lumber store) and locate the […]

Celebrating New Siblings

I know most of you probably do something like this or even something more elaborate.  But I think it is always fun to share ideas.  Here is what I do — I would love to hear about what you do!   Cole is becoming a brother for the first time tomorrow so we made him a […]

Book Buddies!

Every year I go to a local book fair at Holland Hall School.  I load up on the best stuffed animals and books for a very reasonable price.  I use them to make book buddies.  This year while piling up my stuffed animals – I had a great idea.  Why not buy tote bags and […]

Collaborative Groups

I have been playing with my color groups and providing more collaborative opportunities.  There is this transition after winter break that begs for more collaborative work.  The children are ready for the rich experiences of negotiation, problem solving, compromise and all the rich, juicy stuff of working with others!! Each week I try to provide […]

Grandparents Day

Okay – I know I have been on Pinterest too much when I am thinking “hand held white board messages.”  But honestly, it was a grand idea for Grandparent’s day.  What I loved about it was that those children who did not have grandparents still had a cute photo opt that we could send home.  […]

Easy Teacher/ Volunteer Gift

This is one of my favorite gifts to make for a teacher or people in a group (like Sunday School, Book Club, etc).  When I began making these in 2005, the only good mug available was at Starbucks.   It is still one of the best quality mugs.  But you can find lovely mugs at Target […]

Art Center & the Benefits of the Arts

I saw this for the first time in a preschool in San Francisco.  It was an arts integrated preschool and was so filled with creative opportunities for young children.  They had an art center that held a variety of materials for making art. It a free choice center in my classroom. Things I have put […]

Motivation Magic!

Good Morning!  Einstein, my sweet cat, says “Happy Sunday!”  Of course, everyday is the sabbath for Einstein.  😉 I have a trick to keeping the classroom tidy and clean.  It works wonders!  I use two strategies – procedures and group tally marks. PROCEDURE STRATEGY: Clear procedures save hours of struggle in the classroom.  It is […]

Preparing For My Week

Happy Sunday!  How is your Sunday going?  I love Sundays! I don’t know about you – but Sunday is a critical day in preparing for my school week.  Here is my Sunday essentials: WEEK OF MEALS:  I plan, shop, and cook my entire week of breakfast and lunches!  This week I am making pumpkin spice […]

Come Ride the Shoe Tying Train!

I am so excited about this idea! It is working wonders to get children motivated to learn how to tie their shoes.  I found a pair of shoes at the thrift store that I put wheels from a toy truck on. When a child learns how to tie shoes, they can demonstrate on my shoe. […]

A Simple Gift

When my latest intern’s last day was near, I wanted to do something special.  Stephanie is one of those people who really adores the children.   For real.   I just knew she would be like me and want something that had the touch of the children.   I also wanted it to endure – so it couldn’t […]

Make Your Own Easy Peasy Birthday Cape!

I had this brilliant idea this summer and it worked!  Woot!  (Don’t you love it when an great idea really works out?) I went to Target and purchased the cheap tea towels (4 or 6 towels for $3.99).  I purchased enough for every student in my class.   I dyed them with Rit Dye in the […]

Kindergarten Art Show!

Every year, I like to end the school year with a special gathering for the families.  This year I decided to put together an art show to showcase our work.  Each student painted a self-portrait on a canvas.  We put out the tiki watercolors, the painted paper fish, a classbook of story plays, a few […]

End of the Year Kid Interview

I found this interview several years back and love capturing the children’s responses.  Some of the things they say are priceless.  It makes a great glimpse into the way they were thinking at this age.  I put it in their class photo albums. Examples of their responses: What would be the best thing someone could […]

Birthday Fairy Dust!

Birthdays in the kindergarten are a very big deal!  It is those small details that make this day special.  Here are some photos of what I have done and a few things from other classrooms. Birthday Banner for birthday child.  I will post later in the week on how to make this simple banner. Detail […]