Spending a Fortune in Teaching Materials… Why???

In my life I have not always had a good stable income stream coming through my door, in fact most days were spent wondering how we would get bread or gas money. During those hard times I had to get creative for my kids because sadly preschool was not in the budget for my little family. At the time I had no idea that those struggles and “thinking outside of the box” would help me in my preschool career. Now being a preschool teacher money is still tight but no where near what it was 10 years ago, making my budget stretch now is a lot easier with some tips I picked up along the way…….

DO NOT SPEND A FORTUNE IN SCANDALOUS TEACHING AIDS!!!!

The above statement is my warning for all new preschool teachers or stay at home moms. The kids do not care how extravagant a lesson is, they only remember the lesson itself. So learn how your child(ren) learn best and incorporate anything around your house or the closest dollar store. This year my preschoolers learn best through movement so I use a lot of games to bring that connection between the activity and the child(ren). Here are my two favorite games and GUESS WHAT??? I only spent one dollar for them (which I will explain at the end of my examples).

Count the Sticker Game:

This game does not have the best name and really I do not rock when it comes to naming a game but they are pretty fun regardless of the name factor;) This week I used 8 stickers with small cards each displaying numbers 1-8. Note: the teacher will decide how many stickers to put down and what numbers to lay down as well then ask the child how many stickers there are and find the right number. I started with laying down 4 stickers and underneath the stickers put numbers 4,2,7 down, then I asked the child to count the stickers and find the number 4. If child has some problems finding the number I always point to the number and allow child to hand it to me. This also helps the child to not feel so stressed if they ever struggle with finding the correct number. Remember— you (as an adult) experience stress over new challenges and kids are no different….

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Roll That Dice Game:

This game’s objective is counting in groups and if you are talking about numbers 1-5 then this game is a must have on your lesson plan. Each child will take a turn rolling the dice, whatever side it ends up on the teacher will ask the child to count each dot, after child has counted each dot then the teacher will ask “How many dots are there?” and give the child time to reinforce the number to the pattern of dots they see.

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The only thing I purchased for these games was the dice that I purchased at the dollar store a few weeks ago, the white cards I had in my classroom (but if you need them they also can be purchased at the dollar store) and the stickers were donated by a parent sometime ago. Feel free to change the stickers to anything you have in your home.. at times I used cotton balls, spoons, and sometimes crayons. Also with crayons you can incorporate the colors in the same lesson. For preschoolers killing two birds with one stone is a great time saver…..meaning if I can do two lessons at once and have more time preparing for something else then it is a great day in my classroom.

I hope this helps others who struggle with the everyday challenge of no money for teaching aids. Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by my preschool blog;)

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.