Saturday, 16 September 2017

Halloween Mazes, Tangles, and Paths

I'm very excited that Halloween is just around the corner. I'm very bad at finding costumes, but I still love it!

Here's a fun resource that's on sale in my TPT store.

This resource contains 77 mazes (C and B&W) in different difficulty levels. I created both C and B&W versions, to better suit your needs. I printed the color mazes and paths without the name on the top right corner for the hallway. I laminated them and stuck them on the wall with some blue tack. While waiting to wash their hands, the kids can do something fun. So far, these have kept them busy.

Apart from candy corn, lollipops, and chocolate bars, the cute characters can go looking for apples and bananas.

Please download the preview for more information. :)

Friday, 15 September 2017

Why Oobleck is Awesome...

Have you ever made oobleck? If you haven’t, you should give it a try. It is AMAZING! I’m not joking…it will keep your kids busy for a long time and it will provide them with lots of learning opportunities. Even as an adult you might get hooked on it.

But first, here’s why oobleck is amazing:
  • it helps kids with fine-motor skill problems by providing them with hours of hands-on play;
  • it helps children develop scientific skills, such as measuring, observing and predicting;
  • it is sure to get children’s attention and keep them focused on one thing;
  • by involving the kids in the process of making oobleck, you teach them basic things about cooking, mixing ingredients, and being independent;
  • it teaches children about solids and liquids – depending on how much pressure you apply to oobleck, it changes between these two states of matter;
  • you might already have the ingredient(s) in your kitchen!
Before you prepare it, make sure you have a wet cloth to wipe surfaces with. Then you’ll need a large bowl to prepare it in and small plates for every child or a very large box (sensory table) for all of them. I suggest placing a table cloth on the floor to cover everything, so you’ll be able to enjoy playing with oobleck, rather than worrying about the mess.

The recipe is very easy to follow:
  • 2 parts corn starch (or corn flour)
  • 1 part water
  • Food colouring (optional)
We used 2 cups of corn starch and 1 cup of water to make oobleck for 5 children.

Tools and things you can use to make the experience more fun:
  • Measuring cups
  • Spoons and forks – try to take some on a spoon, then pour it in your hand;
  • Plastic knives – try to cut oobleck with a plastic knife, then hit it with the side of the knife or a spoon;
  • Small pots - you can even try boiling some oobleck or putting it in the freezer (let the kids predict what will happen to it)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Toothpicks – poke it and see what happens
  • Sieve
  • Scoopers
  • Tweezers 
I hope I’ve convinced you to try it! Have fun!

A big thanks to my friend Iulian for allowing me to use his photos.

Monday, 28 August 2017

A Helpful Class Management Trick – The Noise Meter

There are certain times when kids should use a calm voice, in order to be able to let others concentrate on activities. Sometimes we divide the group into two smaller groups and while half of them are playing freely, the others might have a teacher-led activity. And if you are a kindergarten or primary school teacher, you probably know that telling the kids not to talk too loud every five minutes doesn’t really work.

That’s why I have created this noise meter. We use bunny voices while eating, bear voices outdoors (and sometimes at the gym), bird voices during playtime, and fish voices when we take a nap. Before an activity starts, the teacher’s helper can place the clothes peg on the corresponding picture.

You just need to print and laminate the resource, then use a clothespin or a laminated arrow to indicate the noise level the kids should use.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

A Fun Musical Vocabulary Game from Super Simple Learning

I know I haven't mentioned Super Simple Songs in a very long time, but I assure you it's not because I've forgotten about them. As I've said before, they are lifesavers!

The first couple of weeks at kindergarten can be hectic and well, let's face it, a bit crazy. The good thing is that they are so busy that time seems to fly by. But what helps our kids remember the transitions and get used to the new routines are the Super Simple Songs. Everything we do is accompanied by a song (my colleague Nea is not a fan, but she's great for tolerating me): cleaning up, lining up, making a circle before starting our morning routine, going back from the park to the kindergarten, etc..

And now I want to share with you something that we've played for the very first time as a musical game: "What's Inside the Mystery Bag?". It's the game proposed by Super Simple, but a bit simplified. We have children who don't speak a word of English right now, so we are starting with basic vocabulary.

What I do is take some toys (puzzle piece, ball, wooden monkey, plastic bird, dice, block, plastic food) and put them in a basket (the kids shouldn't see the basket after the game has started). When explaining the rules of the game, I name all objects. Then, the kids shut their eyes while I take an object from the basket and place it in the bag. We sing this song (replacing the word box with bag) and then the kids take turns guessing what's inside. If they have no idea, they are given easy clues. With older kids who understand English and have been in our group for a longer time, we played the same game but with wooden letters and shapes.

I don't know why or how, but whenever we have the morning circle and two-three kids arrive crying, they stop immediately and join us when we play the game.

Here's why this is such a great game:
  • it keeps kids entertained;
  • it is easy to prepare and explain;
  • it's a game that kids are able to play without an adult after 2-3 times;
  • you can choose any objects, so it can focus on vocabulary related to your themes;
  • it's easy to adapt it and find a suitable version for your kids;
  • it can be played in large groups too, because all kids enjoy singing the song;
  • kids practice taking turns and waiting;
  • kids are very eager to come to the front and try to guess. 

For more ideas on how to play this game, check the Super Simple Learning website

Have a sunny week!

First Day of Kindergarten - Tips on How to Deal with the Separation

Now that the school year has started, I’m sure that most of you teachers have a couple of kids who are going through a rough patch adapting to the daily routines and separating from their parents in the morning. And that’s totally normal, especially for children who have just started kindergarten, or who have moved from a different one.

I can’t help but be empathetic towards the little ones, who suddenly find themselves in a totally new environment, with no friends around (not yet) and with their parents gone. But making this transition a smooth one will help them enjoy being in kindergarten in no time.

I’ve been working as a kindergarten teacher for seven years, and every beginning of the year seems the same. But now I have less activities planned for the first week, so I can focus more on making the kids feel welcomed and comfortable playing with their new colleagues. But what we have always been trying to do is have an adaptation period for new children. Depending on the child’s individual traits and her age, it might take longer to get used to this big change.

That’s why how this adaptation period goes depends on each child and the parents. At the beginning, the parents can spend some time playing with their child in the daycare to visit the place and get used to it. After that, when the child officially starts kindergarten, she can have short days to explore the environment on her own. The time spent by the child alone in the daycare can be then gradually extended, day by day.

Getting parents ready for this process is also very important. What we usually do is send some tips before kindergarten starts. Although the child might have previously been in a kindergarten, this change can still be tough. I know that it’s terribly hard to leave your kid in tears every morning, but here’s some things that parents could do to get over these hard moments faster:

· If you say you’ll leave, do just that

But before you leave, explain to your child why that is. Ensure her that you will come back when work is over, and that you’ll be able to spend more time together in the evening.

· Acknowledge your child’s feelings

Acknowledging your child’s feelings helps kids see we empathize with them. They will understand that we care about their feelings, and that how they feel is important.

· Don’t sneak out

Sneaking out of the room when your kid isn’t looking never works. It makes matters worse, because when he notices you are gone, he will go through strong emotions, and his fear of abandonment will just be fueled by the event.

· Keep calm, and go to work/leave

Reassure your child that she’s in good hands, and that the teacher will help her and comfort her until the parents will pick her up in the afternoon. If you trust leaving your child with the teacher, your little one will feel that and trust him/her too.

Before you go, hug your kid, say you love him, and then leave the teacher with him. Keeping your calm and not seeming scared or sad helps the child overcome her sadness. I know that’s not an easy thing to do, especially when your child is screaming at you not to leave. It is a hard thing to do, but putting a smile on your face will definitely help.

I hope that all these will help you make this process easier for your little ones. If you have any other tips, please leave them in your comments. :)

Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll have an amazing school year!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Freebie Alert! :)

Hello, y'all! I hope your school year has started well; we've already had two weeks with the kids, so we had a chance to practice new routines and socialize with our friends.

Sorry for the long break, I was on holiday and then just lazy about getting back to work. But here's a freebie to say sorry: Animal Puzzles (Number Recognition). They provide a fun and engaging activity for those who need to work on number recognition and counting.

Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions for new resources! I'd be happy to get to work on something useful.
Just click on the image to download the freebie from my TPT store