Sunday, September 26, 2010

Biscuits, Butter and Bees

'Bee' week has been super fun. Our MWF classes learned about bees and honey, how grass turns into butter and we baked biscuits on Friday.

Next time you make biscuits include your child in the process. The baking mix biscuits could not be easier. Biscuit mix and milk...not your grandma's biscuits but hey it's all about the process not the product. We did not roll them out but just dropped them on the cookie sheet with a large cookie scoop. Easy, breezy, lemon squeezy. The children loved them with their homemade butter and honey. Cooking with children teaches them to follow directions and uses reading and math skills.

So next time you bake biscuits with your child, you can sing our 'Biscuit Song' (tune-C is for Cookie)

B is for biscuit-that's good enough for me.
B is for butter-that's good enough for me.
B is for biscuit-that's good enough for me
And we'll add some honey from the bumblebee!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Love School!

We are doing a new reading readiness activity this year. We will be introducing and practicing some sight word reading. Sight words or Dolch words are words commonly used in reading and writing. Often these words are not able to be sounded out phonetically. This list was compiled by Dr. Edward Dolch in the late 1940's. The most common lists are made up of 22o sight words from pre-primer level through third grade.

We tell the children that they are reading all the time. We read our helper chart and many are able to read not only their name but their friend's names, too.

The children will soon discover that the items labeled in our room have a relationship. The window is labeled with the word 'window'.

Our word book and alphabet book have words and picture clues for the children to read.

Our primary focus is reading readiness. We want the children to develop the concept and understanding of reading. Will they memorize the pages sent home? Sure. More importantly they will feel like they are reading and develop a love for reading and confidence in their reading skills.

We started out with 'I love my school.' and built on the 'I love my...' sentence. What can you do at home? Add pages. You and your child can sit at your home computer and write 'I love my Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Susie, bicycle' and on and on and on. If you are really into it add picture clues.

For a complete list of sight words by grade level go to


I always enjoy starting off the school year with our apple unit. We learn the parts of the apple which provides vocabulary words like core, peel and skin.

We listed all the things you can make with apples. We tasted different apples and compared their taste. We graphed our favorite way to eat apples (choices were apple, apple pie, apple juice and applesauce). We also charted if we liked or did not like the applesauce we made in class. All things you can discuss with your child.
What can you do at home?

When you are at the grocery store with your child (and if you have time), stop in the produce area and look at all the different varieties of apples.

Visit a local apple orchard to pick apples.
Make a recipe using apples. My favorite go to recipe site is There were some good apple bread recipes.

Make applesauce. The children love this activity. I am often asked for my 'recipe'. There really is no recipe. I peel and thinly slice the apples and the children chop them with plastic knives and dump them in the crockpot. We slow cook all day. We add sugar and cinnamon to taste and they love it. I know they love it because they made it.

It's apple picking time!

Art vs. Crafts

We offer a lot of creative art opportunities in our classroom. Paint, markers, crayons, scissors and glue are available for the children to freely express themselves artistically.

We also create theme related crafts. Crafts are different from art. When we make a craft with the children, we work on many different skills. Listening and following teacher directions is one of our primary goals.

The children have a model to follow and are given specific directions how to glue and where to place pieces. We use color and shape words and talk about spatial relationships (above, below, between, inside, etc.) It is all about listening and following teacher directions.

The bears are student pieces crafted by the TTh classes during our 'Bear' unit.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Goin' On A Bear Hunt!

Our TTh class is having fun with bears. We learned about brown bears, polar bears and panda bears. We learned bears have fur, what they eat and baby bears are called cubs. We also created bear crafts.

We read Eric Carle's classic books-Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?

We also read Michael Rosen's 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt'. This classic children's story is a great book for young children because of the repetition. I read the story first and the children 'helped' me read. After the first reading, we stood up and acted out the bear hunt. Great fun.

Want to do more at home? Dig out your Eric Carle books. If you don't have the 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' book it is available at your local library. While you are at the library, check out some books on bears! A quick YouTube search shows lots of 'Going on a Bear Hunt' sing-a-longs. Preview because some are way better than others. Have fun with your child!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Truck Stop and more

Time to start planning for next weekend! After soccer games and errands, there is a lot going on in central Illinois. I hope the weather is as cooperative next weekend as it was this weekend. It was gorgeous!

If your child loves trucks, put The Truck Stop on your 'to do' list. This event is sponsored by the Junior League of Peoria. There will be fifty vehicles for children to discover and lots of food and fun for you and your family. The Truck Stop will be held Saturday, September 18th from 10 a.m. -3 p.m in Northwoods parking lot. Cost is $5 per person. For additional information go to

Oktoberfest starts Friday, September 17th on the Peoria riverfront. For the lineup of performers and activities, go to

If you want to see some gi-normous pumpkins and taste all things pumpkin head over to Morton. From Wednesday, September 15th - Saturday, September 18th the 44th Annual Pumpkin Festival-food,carnival rides, craft show and more. Check out for more information.

Why drive hours when you can play around in Peoria?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Love School!

Creative writing is a big part of our program. Our first story was "I Love School." The children dicate and I record, type up and send home for you and your child to read together. Yes, read together. You will notice in our first activity the word 'love' is in bold, underlined and repeated throughout the story. Picture clues are added for easy reading. Reading or memorizing-it doesn't matter. We are introducing the concept of reading and the written word.

What can you do at home?
***Put the stories in a three ring binder for your child to 'read'. You might also consider either laminating the paper or picking up the clear three ring binder sleeves at an office supply store.

***Have your child design and color a cover for the story book.

*** Have your child dictate additional information or continue the class story.

***After a holiday, special event or vacation, have your child tell you what they remember and what they did. Highlight repetitive words that occur in his/her story.

***Keep it light and keep it fun!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Meet Your Heroes/Art Rod

Metamora will have lots for you and your family to do this weekend. On Saturday, September 11th the Metamora Business Association will be presenting 'Meet Your Heroes.' This annual events honors our local men and women who work in fire, police, EMS and the armed forces. The MYH will be held on the Metamora Square from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. Food, fun and a raffle with proceeds benefiting the Metamora Fire Department.

If you miss out on the Meet Your Heroes, cruise to square on Sunday (9/12) for the Art Rod Festival. Art Rod will be from
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Local artist, Greg Depauw's Art Rod Foundation raises funds to provide art supplies to under served school districts. There will be music, art, children's activities, food and of course some really cool cars.

For more information go to

See you on the square. It is happening in Metamora!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

School Journal

We are going to be starting school in less than a week! You and your child might want to create a journal (you could also do this activity with older children).

A journal will help your child develop reading and writing skills. It would also be a great place to save art projects. You could get a journal or pick up a 3 ring note book and some loose leaf paper.

Here are some ideas to get you started-
What did you wear to school? What did your teacher wear? Did you have a job today? Tell me about your job. What did you learn today? Who did you play with? Tell me about the centers. What did you have for snack? Did you sing? What was the story? What did you like most/least about your day? Did you play outside?

Make this a fun experience for your child. If you get short answers, don't worry. Try to write down what your child says without correcting or editing. This will make for more fun filled and cherished memories down the road.

Add the crafts and artwork that comes home. Have your child tell you about their work and describe how it was created.

Not only are you creating a treasured keepsake for you and your child, your child is also working on a variety of skills.
Communication-by talking about his/her day you are working on communicating organized thoughts, vocabulary and speech skills.
Writing & Reading-writing and creating a story about ME will introduce and reinforce skills. If we are working on Letter B, your child will talk about and write about Letter B in their journal.
Arts & Crafts-after time spent on the refrigerator arts and crafts can be put in the journal.
Miscellaneous-A journal will help your child's memory by recalling events and activities of the day. It will also help your child's awareness of others (what did your teacher wear?). Dictating events of the day will help your child organize their thoughts (first we...)

A preschool and elementary school journal would be a great keepsake to put out at high school graduation! HAVE FUN!