Welcome to Paula's Primary Classroom! This blog is where I share ideas for teaching and learning with families, friends and other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Back into the Swing of Things #Kinderfriends blog hop

By now you are probably back to school and settling in for a new academic year - at least if you are in the United States.  It's a crazy time of year, with so many things to do, so many things to get ready, and it seems like barely a moment to breathe.  You've probably put student names on 20 different sets of things: locker tags, desk tags, folders, notebooks and more. I'm willing to bet you've already set up student routines and expectations, and are figuring out what ever new system your school has in place this year - there's always something!  You've met the new staff, and you're probably really ready for a nap.  Welcome to the back to school season!

This month the #KinderFriends thought we'd help you start your year with some tips to help you get back into the swing of things, tried and true methods we can share, one teacher to another. Maybe you have an amazing trick or tip you can share too - please leave your best ideas in the comments section below, because if it works for you, it might just help me out too!

One of the things I've learned to do with my students, is to start the complex and difficult subjects as soon as possible, and as simply as possible.  When I taught first grade, learning to count mixed coins was a doozy of a feat for the kiddos, and trying to do it in the 3 week window our math curriculum allowed for it was near impossible.  My solution?  I made it part of our calendar time, and taught it all year long.  Early in the year that meant we learned to count just pennies, then just nickels, and then put them together.  Throughout the year we took more and more baby steps in learning to count money, until the kiddos were experts.  I did the same thing with other concepts that challenged my students, transforming the biggest, toughest concepts into daily 1-3 minute lessons.

I've taken that same concept - breaking difficult concepts down into bite-sized pieces - and applied it to another student challenge: sounding out.  At the beginning of the year I found my students often had difficulty writing anything, because they were learning how to form letters and which letters made which sounds, so the prospect of writing even a complete sentence was overwhelming for many.  I broke the process down, and have my kiddos work on just a few words that all have the same initial letter.  The result?  Successful kiddos! 

Graphing daily with my students is another great way to routinely practice a variety of math skills.  I have a huge selection of graphing activities available in my TeachersPayTeachers store, but this one is designed for back to school season:

I hope this tip helps you to have an amazing school year!  If you are interested in checking out my back to school resources, I'm discounting them 20% from now until Thursday - just search #KinderFriends on TeachersPayTeachers to see all the great back to school resources from #Kinderfriends! 

Thank you for stopping by!  To continue the #KinderFriends blog hop, click here and head over to 1stGradeFireworks for more tips!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September $75 Gift Card Giveaway!

Labor Day has come and gone, and by now I think almost everyone is back in school.  It feels wonderful to back, but overwhelming too.  There are so many things to do, lessons to prepare, items to put children's names on, things to grade, things...!  Wouldn't it be nice if you could just have a couple of activities that don't need prepping? Or maybe you'd really like to enhance your science curriculum this year, but time got away from you. What ever the reason, sometimes it's nice to have another teacher help you out by creating just what you need.  Good news!  TeachersPayTeachers is a global marketplace, staffed with teachers just like you, who totally get what you do every day - and who've created millions of amazing resources that are ready to download and use!  Even better news! You can enter here for the chance to win a $75 TeachersPayTeachers gift card!



Prize: $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

Co-hosts: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), 

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter.  Giveaway ends 9/13/16 and is open worldwide.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog?  Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck everyone! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Are You Rocking?

This morning I woke up at 4:30, thinking about making finger puppets.  Sure, I know, most people don't wake up early on Sunday morning for anything so silly, but... I did.  I guess I must be an early childhood teacher!

It's super easy to make!  All you need is one blue pipe cleaner, a few scraps of paper, a marker, scissors and tape - and a little imagination of course! 

I started by shaping the pipe cleaner, from the tail.  A small spiral and then a straight part makes the tail, then the rest of the pipe cleaner was twisted around my finger and then up. I cut out paper scraps to make a face and shoes, and used the marker to add details for the eyes.
Are you rocking? Pete the cat finger puppet craft from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Finally, flip everything over, and use tape to attach the head and shoes to the back of your pipe cleaner.  If any tape shows from the front, you can trim it off.
Are you rocking? Pete the cat finger puppet craft from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Ta-da! Guess who's going to be rocking along when we read our Pete the Cat books next time? Uh-huh, every body, because it's all good!