Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kindergarten Screening

An article from the Chicago Tribune...tutoring preschoolers???,0,3146773.story

The Deep Blue Sea

The deep blue is sea is crowded.  Our MWF classes have been very enthusiastic about tracing, coloring and cutting sea creatures for our bulletin board.  I love it!  Every time they use scissors and cut out shapes, they get better and better.  A few of the ocean stencils have some pretty tricky curves! If your child looks closely they could probably find their fish in our sea!

We had a lot of fun at our Super Summer Seashore Safari!  I am thinking warm and sunny thoughts on a grey winter weekend. See you Monday or Tuesday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sand Bottles-How To...

Do you want to make sand bottles for a family reunion, vacation Bible school, Sunday school, scouts or birthday party?  They are fun and easy to make but last year I was shocked at the cost of colored sand. 

This year, I found a cheaper alternative to buying colored sand.  I bought  fine children's play sand and three jars of dry tempera at the School House in Peoria.   I put sand, a couple scoops of dry tempera and some glitter in a plastic container.  The glitter really adds some bling to the sand. I shook and mixed the sand until I had the color I wanted. With the three primary colors, I was able to achieve all the colors of the rainbow.  They turned out so pretty!  Best of all it was way cheaper!!!

I used Parmesan cheese containers because the wide mouth makes it easy for the children to scoop the sand out with a spoon into a funnel.   

We bought little glass bottles with corks at a craft store.  In case your child tries to take the cork out, we did super glue it.  If you are on a budget, you can always save bottles with narrow openings or use small jars.

I did a quick search and found you can color sand with food coloring.  This seems to be a little more time consuming because you wet the sand and then it has to dry. The dry tempera is way easier.  If you're interested...

The kids did a great job and it is a super souvenir from their Super Summer Seashore Safari!

Sand Bottles

Sand Bottles

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Aloha! Hawaii conjures up images of sandy beaches, volcanoes, sunshine and floral leis.  Our MWF classes are lacing leis for our Super Summer Seashore Safari.  We have taken apart hundreds of old silk flowers. The children use a large tapestry needle and yarn to create their own leis.  They lace a flower and then a straw (we also use pasta).

Want to keep the summer shining at your house?  You can make your own leis with cupcake liners.  Check out for directions. Buy a pineapple or some tropical fruit for snacks.  Have you been to Hawaii?  Get out your photos to show your children.  Find your Hawaiian name at

For photos of our 'beach' check out lasts year blogs-

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Our TTH class has had some fun with dogs and the book,
Go, Dog. Go!   Today we created the boy dog and girl dog from the book.  When we work on a craft, we have a finished product for the children to see, give verbal directions plus I have pieces and do the craft along with the children.  If your child's dog does not look perfect please don't worry, panic or have them tested :-)  We still have a lot of growing to do this year and next year! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feed the Shark!

I have been feeling really sick lately.  It is a common winter illness...cabin fever!  Do you  feel it at your house?  We are feeling it at school.  Next week we will have our annual Super Summer Seashore Safari for the Letter S.  It is a fun way to break up the monotony of our central Illinois winter blues (blahs?).  If your child is coming home talking about feeding a shark rest assured he's plastic.  It is a fun way to have the children count.  Counting is more than just reciting numbers.  We have lots of activities where the children count out items. The children roll the dice, count out the fish and feed the shark.  They love it!  Next week should be fun, fun, fun! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Our bulletin boards always create a lot of interest for our students. We do not use the pre-cut and staple variety.  We use recycled gift bag tissue, grocery bags, streamers, construction paper and a little imagination.

 This past month the children have been tracing, coloring and cutting dinosaurs.  The art center has stencils that coordinate with the theme and the kids do the rest.  They trace, color and cut. 

This provides an excellent opportunity for tracing and some pretty detailed cutting.  All the dinosaurs you see are by our MWF classes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

P is for Pajama Party and Pancakes!

I have never seen parents so happy when we opened the door on Friday!  Not even after a two week Christmas break. Despite the 'Storm-zilla' of 2011, the MWF classes were able to have their pajama party on Friday.  We crammed a lot into one day and had loads of fun.

A lot of the activities we do year to year are the same.  I am always on the look out for new ideas and this year we graphed Froot Loops and looked for breakfast foods in grocery ads.

For the Froot Loop activity, each child was given a napkin and some Froot Loops.  The children are very accustomed to sorting but for this lesson we asked them to line the cereal in rows.   They could easily see which had the most/greatest, were equal or had the fewest/least.  After they created their Froot Loop graph, they could eat the Froot Loops.  YES! Super easy activity to do at home.  You could also use a box of conversation hearts for Valentines' Day.

I wrote Breakfast Foods on large chart paper.  When I write words on charts, I ask the children "What does breakfast begin with?"  "What does food begin with?"  Constantly introducing and practicing those beginning sounds.   The children spread out on the floor with scissors and grocery ads.  We talked about what we eat for breakfast.  The children cut the pictures (scissor use!!!) and then glued them on the chart paper. We even had one kiddo find coffee and say, "Grownups have coffee for breakfast."  Yes, we do!

Good times!  Ask your child what kind of Letter P pajamas I had....Pac-man!  Have a good weekend everyone and enjoy the Super Bowl tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Digging Out

After we all dig out of our driveways, we are going to be desperate for something to do.  On Friday and Saturday, you and your family can head downtown to the Peoria Civic Center.  The 48th Annual Mid-West Truck Show will be held in the Exhibit Hall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m on Friday and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m on Saturday.  Best of all---it's FREE!  We like free.

On Saturday, MTHS is hosting their JazzFest.  This would be a great opportunity for aspiring musicians to see a live performance. It would also be a good intro to our upcoming music unit in March!  Concert is at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.  For more info-

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You Melt Our Hearts!

Do you have a box of old crayons?  This might be a fun project for a snow day!  It will require close adult supervision because of the hot wax. Old crayons make great new crayons. This would be a good project for a wide variety of age groups.  I have always made recycled crayons in muffin tins but after a little search on the Internet I found out crafters use candy molds and cookie cutters, too. The photos show your child's Valentine card (shhh...keep it a secret, please!)  I used my Tupperware Popsicle mold and attached a return address label to the stick.  Because of the layered colors, these were a little time consuming but they were great fun to create plus the molds cleaned up nicely!

Also, check out the Crayola website for some fun FREE coloring pages.  There are pages with Disney fairies and princesses, Pixar Cars, Mickey Mouse, mosaics and much more!

Here were the best how to's for making recycled crayons-

Stay warm and stay sane!

Snow Day

Snow out the window falls down white and soft
I smile when I see that school's been called off!

Enjoy the day with your children!