A Journal of Self Expression for Preschoolers

This entry was inspired by my own need to want to clear my head by any means necessary, which happened to be in the form of an art journal. I had never done one before now but after accidentally coming across one on Pinterest, I couldn’t help but wonder if this could be a way for my preschoolers to start a journal without worrying about who can write. All preschoolers can draw or at least scribble with crayons, paints, and markers making an art journal something of a treasure for years to come. I have been looking for a way to have my little preschoolers express themselves with a theme instead of just random dots or shapes. I wanted them to hear my question and answer in their own way. Art journals have been key to that form of self expression for my students. Teachers please hear me when I say you do not have to spend a fortune for this to take place in your classroom. I took 1 piece of construction paper with 4 pieces of plain white paper. Folded both the construction paper and white paper in half then cut down the seam. Put white paper in between construction paper, stapled together, and VIOLA……. an art journal was born:)

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Please note that I am not the world’s best artist but the front can be whatever you would like…….

I explained to the children about what art journals are and how people use them. I also showed them my first art page so they could get the idea of what this little book could be about. Each week (I like to do them on Fridays) I give the children a theme and allow their imaginations to go wild. This week was HAPPINESS (what makes each child happy)…….

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While the kids were working I asked them about their journal page… one preschooler told me that rain/ puddles made him happy while another student drew a sun because the rays of sun made her happy. I did not make them share their journals with the class because even the best artists liked their privacy. A very fun way to help those little ones become creative and accomplish self-expression.

Note: I will be sharing my art journal pages on my health blog www.aprilsgettingfit.wordpress.com if you are interested in seeing what example I had shown my class.

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Do You Have The Alphabet Blues???

Does teaching the alphabet got you suffering from alphabet blues? You thought it would be easier to teach letters/sounds to preschoolers. This was one problem I had early on when I first began to teach preschool. I quickly realized that most children learn better through repetition and movements, so after opening up my own preschool I started researching the teaching options I now had available to me. I debated whether to have alphabet flashcards or to hang them in my classroom. Sticking to my thought of movement when hunting for the teaching aids I needed; I quickly found a wonderful website called www.prekinders.com and fell in love with their alphabet flashcards. Not only were they realistic but also had easy movements (that could be used in a circle time) to go along with them.

Letter with pic card example of picture with sound:action

Flashcard Warning: There was a lot of cutting and pasting that went along with this activity……..

I cut out each alphabet card and action then glued them to card stock (which is very sturdy in case you do not have access to a laminating machine) then I laminated each card for extra durability. At circle time I presented first the alphabet letter and picture then I showed the action of that letter. The kids loved the movement which in turn caused them to pay attention for the next card. (you can find these free printables at http://www.prekinders.com/teaching-the-alphabet-part-1/ courtesy of prekinders.com)

*****Help My Child Does Not Get That Each Letter Has A Sound*****

If the above statement is what you have begun to notice then it is ok and most children have this problem, I will tell you how to start linking the alphabet letter to their proper sound. This also helps when you introduce reading to the child because it will be easier for them to grasp sounding out the word. I teach letter sounds right along with the alphabet to incorporate this mindset early on in the beginning of my school year. As I mentioned before, preschool children learn better with movements, so games is an extremely good way for each child to participate and move around without causing disruption in your circle time. I found some BINGO camping flashcards that had the word for each picture on them. A great tool to use when linking letter to sound!!! I also wrote what the first letter of each picture started with on paper and cut them into small squares. I ask the children to look at the first picture on the paper. I tell them that the picture is a mushroom, what does the letter m say. Some kids will say “mmmm” but if no reply I tell them that “m says mmmmm” showing them how my lips look while saying the sound. Then I ask them to find the letter m on the little squares of paper I have given them. Some will ask what m looks like, this is where those wonderful words come in handy on those bingo papers, so I ask them to look at the mushroom and I point to the m. I love those bingo cards;)

bingo card letters with sounds

Unfortunately I do not remember where I printed these off but found the same ones at www.nwf.org also free to print off. Here is the quick link to the BINGO cards http://www.nwf.org/kids/family-fun/outdoor-activities/camping-bingo.aspx

Also if you are looking for some more free printables check out http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/56045/free-printable-flashcards they have 12 sets of different flashcard printables that I fell in love with…..

I hope this has helped anyone struggling with the alphabet blues:) If you have a wonderful circle time method or game please let me know by commenting below.