Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wow! It doesn't seem like another year has almost passed...what a fantastic, blessed, exciting, changing, crazy, fun, new, spontaneous, challenging, stressful, adventurous, but overall AWESOME 2013! There have been so many fantastic things that happened for me in 2013. I am in school, have a FANTASTIC job that I love where I get to do what I love everyday, have met and made several new friends,... have some of the best co-workers, bosses, and teachers anyone could ever ask for, and an amazing group of kiddos. I have moved, transitioned church homes, and left many things that I was involved in behind...but it has all been absolutely AMAZING!! It truly has been one of the best years of my life...and I can't help but think 2014 could be even more blessed and amazing! Take a moment today to reflect on how blessed your life is and all of those moments that just went "right" in this year. 
Also check out my TpT store to take advantage of the 20% off and all the other freebies! 
 Happy 2014 to you all!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Catching up over the holiday break!

As I have had the last week or so off and will have a few more days in the coming week I have been trying to catch up with some things and start some projects that have been on my "future wish-list" for quite sometime. 

The first thing I wanted to do was knock out several weeks worth of lesson plans so that's where I started.  I got that all done and realized I had some good ides for activities but couldn't find the right kind of resources/printables.  Then I remembered something that's been on my to-do list...figure out how to make my own resources that could be posted on the popular site TeachersPayTeachers.com.  I logged on to my account and started reading...there are forums and blogs that give lots of great tips on getting started and all that fun stuff.  After some research and LOTS of downloading of different things I was able to start making my own activities that could then be posted to my store and will be available for others to download.  The first things that I have made were fairly simple...and things will start to increase in quality and I gain more practice and knowledge on what I'm doing.  So I posted some of those things as FREE on my store, but you can also post things for sale.  So, if I can make a little extra money here and there off the things that I will already be doing in my classroom...why not!!!

I will share some of the things I have created below.

Please go visit my store!

There are others so go check it out if you are interested!

I still have a list of things I want to create before I got back to work and I also want to get some more things created before I start back up with classes.  Once classes start...I don't have as much time as I'd like to work on these side projects. 

Other than trying to get these things done over my break...I have also enjoyed the time off to rejuvenate...as well as get that little spark of inspiration and excitement back.  I think once I go back to work after this break I will be ready for another AWESOME semester for me and for my precious friends in Green 1B!

I hope you all enjoy the holiday season with your family, friends, and loved ones!  And don't forget the real reason for the season!

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I'm still here! Reggio Influence/Classroom Set-Up

Wow!  Things have been very busy and my poor blog has not been kept up the way I had wanted it to.  I told myself that I wanted to post at least twice a month if not weekly - but that has definitely not been a priority on my list of to-do's.  There have been many exciting things going on.  Summer has ended, school is back in session, college classes have started, and thing are in full swing!

As we ended the summer season it was time to get back into a more formal routine at the center I work at.  Summer is a little more relaxed and so we needed to jump back on the wagon and get on to some more structured and intentional planning on my part.  Getting into the grove and figuring out a plan for how I wanted to structure my experiences that I plan for my kiddos took me a few weeks of trial and error but I think I have finally figured it out! I have developed a method that works well for me and my classroom.  I started a weekly plan for myself as well as an overall plan that was already in place.  Here is an example of my weekly lesson plan format.

 Something else that has been a focus of mine that last few weeks is the appearance of my room.  I want my classroom to have a pleasing appearance and so I've been trying to make a few changes that will help make things look a little less cluttered and crowded but still functional for the kids.  I am also focusing on the Reggio inspired influence in my classroom.  There are many things that are taken into account when planning the set-up of your room, which is something that I already had done.  I just wanted to make minor changes to the organization of the items on shelves, and the way things were displayed on the walls.  Those minor changes can make a HUGE difference in the functionality of a space.  Here are some pictures to show how my spaces are arranged.

The following pictures are of our science/math manipulatives area.  Here I have focused on how things are displayed on the shelves and the overall layout of the space.  Using as many baskets or natural looking containers as I could helps give that Reggio inspired influence that I love.

Adding real pictures of animals helps children to make the connection so that when we visit the zoo later this month they can point out these different animals!

Here I have focused on the way things are arranged on the shelves.  The way things are set out entices the children to want to come and explore.

I also used the same focus when it came to the Block area.  This is a very high traffic and popular area so the organization is key to maintaining this area.  The materials are there but the shelves don't look as cluttered as they once did.

Having the unit blocks stacked neatly and each having their own space as well as utilizing the tops of the selves helps with organization.  Also making sure things are in baskets ties in that Reggio touch.

Props and extra materials to add to block building.

Musical instruments and smaller hollow blocks.

The space as a whole which doubles as our Circle Time area.
Housekeeping is another area that we include in our centers.  Here are some pics of how we have ours set up.

This dresser hold all of our dramatic play clothing.

This shelf hold some misc. items as well as the baby dolls and accessories.

Kitchen appliances and a table rounds out the dramatic play/housekeeping area.

Our art/writing area doubles as our eating space so organization and placement is extremely important.

This self holds art materials that are accessible to children throughout the day.  We try to keep the essentials here with some added variety.

Window and drapes add a homey touch as well as more space for art and writing materials.

Our writing area

A wall to display art work.

Child sized sinks for handwashing.
There are a few last things that we have included in our classroom - here they are!

This is a planter where we have a vine growing.  Adds a natural touch to the space.

This was a parent participation activity to help make a natural alphabet display for our classroom.

This area by the children's cubbies holds artwork from the day.  They can pick it up before they leave and leaves more space in the child's cubby for their personal belongings.

This is our Safe Place which offers the child a place to go if they need to calm down or just want a few minutes of alone time.

Well...this is just a little of what I have done to help make my space somewhat more appealing to the eye but still very functional for day-to-day living that we do in this space with our children.  I hope that this finds you some inspiration if you also have an early childhood classroom.

Well...I need to get off and get to my homework!

Happy Blogging!!