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Growing in Pre K


First Day Printable

Posted by Eilis on August 19, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Here are a couple of free printables to use on the first day of school.  One is for Pre-K, the other is for preschool. Click on the picture you want to print.  The clipart is from KPMDoodles.

Have a great school year!


Hey Diddle Diddle Printables

Posted by Eilis on August 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM

I have added a set of printables for the nursery rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle to my Teacher's Notebook Shop. The wonderful clipart is from

[email protected]

The set costs one dollar and includes a printable 8 x 11 book, pocket chart strips, puzzles, and both color and b/w versions of the emergent reader.



AND this cute little emergent reader is FREE to print at my Teachers Notebook Shop:  It could also be prnted on cardstock and used as sequencing cards.

If you stop by Teachers Notebook to pick up the freebie, I would love some positive feedback.



New ABC Centers

Posted by Eilis on August 2, 2012 at 11:25 AM

I am working on turning some great "pins" into some actual ABC center activities.  I just love this idea where the kids match upper and lowercase letters on the wheels of cars.  I changed the activity a little by purchasing cute car cutouts, adding alphabet stickers to the wheels, and cutting off one wheel.  The kids will be putting the correct lowercase wheel on the car with the corresponding uppercase wheel.  (Another option would be to cut the cars in half.)

I found the cars at my local teacher supply store, but they have them at Amazon.

I also made an alphabet stamping printable.  I have seen this on many different teacher blogs (including THIS one), but decided to make several printables to use and share them here.  There are both upper and lowercase versions.


Letter Stamping 1                                         Letter Stamping 2

Letter Stamping 3                                         Letter Stamping 4

Letter Stamping 5                                         Letter Stamping 6

Here are some stamps at Amazon:


And here is my favorite new ABC center:

I just put some colorful letter beads (one of each letter of the alphabet) and rice in an empty water bottle.  I will have the kids color in these alphabet letters as they find the beads.  Pretty tricky letter practice....

You can print the Alphabet Sheet HERE.  The printable is two pages (one uppercase and the other lowercase).

As always...if you print anything from here, I would love a comment or a Facebook Like.


We're Having Fun in Pre-K

Posted by Eilis on July 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

I have been looking for a book to read to my students at the beginning of the school year.  I wanted something fun and simple that would touch on classroom routines and expectations in Pre-K.  I never found exactly what I wanted, so I made my own.  I used adorable clipart from KPM Doodles.

If you print this book, please leave some comment love - thanks


A few of the pages are shown above.  You can print the book HERE.

Here is another version of the book using the word PRESCHOOL instead of Pre-K.


More Number Puzzles

Posted by Eilis on June 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.  I am finally catching up on things.  What do you think of GrowinginPreK's new look?  I have been playing with it for the last couple of days, but thought it was time to put some new printables up.  The fire engine number puzzle has been one of the most popular printables on this website.  I made a few more incorporating photos of real animals. I like to print these on cardstock, laminate, and then cut  using a paper cutter.

You can print them here:

Shark Puzzle

Alligator Puzzle

Zebra Puzzle

Please be sweet and leave a comment if you use these.



Posted by Eilis on June 9, 2012 at 10:20 AM

I attended a very inspiring training at Region 4 in Houston this week.  Maria Gonzales and Diana Morales from Aldine I.S.D. presented "Little Hands Investigating Science."  They teach at a Pre-K only campus that has 600 or more students - imagine!  Their campus has a permanent science room  which they visit to teach science lessons and rotate the students through science centers.  They shared many great hands-on activities that we could bring back to our classrooms.  There were many great make and takes.

One was this print and cut out car.  We attached a large paper clip to the car and used a magnetic wand behind the cardstock "road" to manipulate the car on the track.  Fun and easy!

They also shared this sentence strip magnetic activity.  Four items are taped to a sentence strip.  Note the inexpensive magnetic wand!  They just attached an adhesive magnetic dot to a tongue depressor. They send these items home with their students to share  what they have learned about magnets. (The magnet is attracted to some of the items, but not others). They emphasized telling students not to touch anything electronic with the magnets.  I would only send these magnets home if I could speak directly to the parents first.  It would make an excellent activity for an open house night.

These activities inspired me to creat a an interactive emergent reader about magnets.  You can print it HERE.  I laminate each page and then tape (the top only) of a snack size plastic bag  with the appropriate item in it.  I attach one magnetic wand to the book using a short string.  On each page the kids can test whether the item is attracted to the magnet.  If it is, the bag will lift up as the magnet is held over it. (The bag pictured is a sandwich size bag with the top half cut off).

I took this picture before laminating, binding, and attaching the magnet because I find that the lamination doesn't photograph well.  

I would love to hear your comments!!

Ocean Theme

Posted by Eilis on May 3, 2012 at 7:05 PM

It's May!  The end of the school year is quickly approaching.  I love to end the year with all things ocean.  This year I created some printable calendar pieces (ABC Pattern) using adorable clipart from KPM Doodles.  

You can print them HERE.

Here's this year's ocean wall (so far).

I found the Rainbow Fish pattern at DTLK.  

I found the hermit crab pattern at the Best Kids Book Site.

There are more ocean theme ideas on GrowinginPreK's Ocean Page.

Here are a few Ocean themed books that I love to include in this unit:


It's Going to be a Dinosaur Week

Posted by Eilis on April 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I haven't done a "Dinosaur" theme in several years.  I have found and/or created some new materials to freshen up what I had.

I found that I could create my own bingo cards on Sparklebox.  I chose to make the cards with easy sight words that my class is working on right now.  The possiblilities are endless though:  numbers, color words, student names, etc.  Unfortunately the print seemed to be set up for slightly longer paper.  I probably could have reset something, but was in a hurry, so....I chose the purple dinosaur design.  It didn't really matter that a little of his right side was cut off.  His head is intact :).  I also find it is easier to have all the cards printed in the same design so the kids don't care which one they are handed.

I will be reading If the Dinosaurs Came Back (a favorite since my own kids were four years old!)

and having the kids complete and illustrate pages to a class book innovation.

You can print the page I created here.

I have also printed a great emergent reader that I found on Hubbard's Cupboard.

Gingerbread Man Emergent Reader

Posted by Eilis on November 30, 2011 at 1:10 AM

This is always one of my favorite literacy activities.  I originally found it here:  I contacted the original author  Kim Lengning who has graciously allowed me to attach my version here.  I am extra excited this year because my school now has the die-cut gingerbread man that is just perfect for this project.

I work with a small group of kids since the tearing needs to be closely supervised.  Each book requires six gingerbread men.  The crunch, crunch, crunch page uses scraps left over from the previous pages.

Here are the printable pages:

Making Healthy Food Choices

Posted by Eilis on November 2, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Our theme this week is "food" and we are trying to teach the kids about the importance of choosing healthy foods.  A read aloud that I find helpful for introducing this theme is The Berenstein Bears and Too Much Junk Food.  


Here are some printable cards to sort in a pocket chart:

We also read this version of Stone Soup 

and made our own in a crock pot.  We started with three clean river stones and chicken broth.  We added cans of vegetables that the kids brought from home  If you want people to come from all over the building to see what smells so good....add chopped onions.

A Color of His Own

Posted by Eilis on September 2, 2011 at 11:40 PM

This week the kids really enjoyed A Color of His Own.  I wanted to come up with an extension activity for this sweet story of a chameleon who is tired of changing colors to match his environment.  This is what I came up with.  The kids enjoyed it so much that several did extra pages so they could take some home (since I was keeping their first ones for a class book).

Here's the printable:

The clipart is from

Look what my teaching partner did with this idea:

Great first day in Pre-K Printable

Posted by Eilis on August 13, 2011 at 5:15 PM

I print these (two to a sheet) and add student names to send home on the first day of school.

Alphabets licensed from


Links to more pocket chart printables

Posted by Eilis on July 16, 2011 at 10:07 AM

I have come across two links to great printables for those small pocket charts.  I already posted these links on the GrowinginPreK Facebook Page, but I wanted to make sure that everyone knew about them: and

Please click the "Like" button on GrowinginPreK on Facebook since that is normally where I post things like this when I come across them.  That way, they will show up on your Facebook news feed.

Roll the Number Game

Posted by Eilis on July 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM

This is a simple version of the dice games I love on kindergarten and first grade blogs.  You will need one die with either dots or numbers on it.  Each player will need a copy of this game board and six manipulatives.  I am going to give them six bottle caps with the numbers one to six on them.  First each player will place the correct numbered bottle cap in the appropriate number column.  Then, players take turns rolling the die.  The player will remove the number that he/she rolled.  If the player no longer has that number, he/she will not remove any number during that turn.
Print it here: 

Literacy Beginnings Chapter Twelve

Posted by Eilis on July 11, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I feel very fortunate to be blogging about Chapter 12: Using Shared Reading to Support Emergent Readers. Shared reading is really one of my favorite activities in Pre-K. Ask anyone I work with, my walls are always covered in songs or poems either written on chart paper or displayed in pocket charts. Reading (and often singing) these materials together as a class is a fun part of our daily routine.

(The Fire Truck pocket chart text was printed from

I love  Fountas and Pinnell’s wording: “shared reading offers groups of children some aspects of the lap story. All can see the art and the text, which is enlarged, and they benefit from the high support of unison reading. The experience provides a pleasurable model of reading and builds a sense of community.” Yes! In a nut shell, “children interact with and examine the text as you read instead of just listening to the story and looking at pictures.”

I believe that shared reading allows each child to pick up skills needed for reading at his own pace without any pressure. It naturally meets the diverse needs in a Pre-K classroom where one child is being introduced to letters for the first time and another child is starting to read words. While a large group of kids may be following along on the same text at the same time, one may be noticing that one word starts with the same letter as his name, one may grasping the idea that text flows from left to right, and another may be blending a c-v-c word. They are engaged at their own level and enjoying the comfort of participating with the group.

Last March (rodeo time in Texas), our morning shared reading was a song written on chart paper: “There is a state, It’s the Lone Star State, and Texas is its name-o, T-E-X-A-S, T-E-X-A-S, T-E-X-A-S and Texas is its name-0.” The kids loved singing it together so much that they begged for opportunities to sing it alone while I pointed to the words on the chart.

I have created a pocket chart poem of the familiar “See You Later Alligator” rhyme to illustrate the authors’ guidelines for a shared reading.

- The print should be very simple and easy to see.

- The print should be large enough for the whole group to see easily.

- There should be clear spaces between words and between lines.

- There should be a limited number of lines on a page. …You can sometimes add a picture at the end of a line to help readers remember the words (but don’t leave out the word).

- There should be simple punctuation marks that the children can notice and use.

- Illustrations should be clear and simple and illustrate the meaning of the text.

Here are the first four lines of “See You Later Alligator.” I created this printable to fit in one of the pocket charts available at Target this time of year for yes- one dollar.

But wait, while you are there- buy two the same color. While the authors suggest starting with four lines, they also mention adding more lines later. So, this printable is designed for adding lines as the school year progresses. I use self-stick Velcro to attach two of these dollar pocket charts to create one long one. I plan to add one more line each week until we get to the complete poem. The beauty of this process is that you can incorporate as many lines as you feel comfortable with in your classroom. I think reading this poem at the close of each school day will also build classroom community

7/14 UPDATE:  Thank you for the great response!  I have now added the alligator printables to the the Printables page:

(I will no longer be emailing the pdf).

Comments are still welcome.  Likes on Facebook are also appreciated.

If you would like a copy of the printable, it will cost you… no, it won’t cost money, but it will cost you a comment. I will email a copy of this pdf printable to everyone who posts a comment to this post related to “Shared Reading.” Please share a thought about this chapter or something that has worked in your classroom. I will be able to locate your email address as long as you have become a “member” of this site (also free). (You will be asked for your email address if you post a comment and are not a member of the site, but I will not be able to access your email address.)

Okay, now I sound like a late night commercial, but if this deal is not good enough… I will also include a pdf for you to print as a book for your classroom. My kids love to have books like this that they can read independently in the book center.   This could also be a book that you read during closing circle each day. I suggest printing the pages and putting them in clear page protectors in a binder or three-prong folder.

Years later, I still remember a wonderful college reading professor telling us about Marie Clay’s observations in using big books with children who had previously had no experience with books. I decided right then, that big books would be a major part of my classroom. The authors also pointed out that while many children’s books are being published in big book size, the ones that work best for shared reading are the ones with less text on each page. This gives the kids a better opportunity to “notice visual signposts.” I really like the big book of Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward because it has few words per page and the kids can really follow along.

This is a link to the regular sized version so you can peek at a page:

I was delighted when Scholastic Book Orders made a variety of big books available for a reasonable price (whether dollars or points) at back to school time last fall. I hope they will keep it up! Some of the very best big books are also the teacher-made ones.

I like going to teacher workshops where you take something free home and use it in your classroom.  I also love teacher websites and blogs with free printables. So…here are two simple shared readings texts that I have created to fit the Target dollar pocket charts. I suggest printing them on cardstock and then trimming them to fit.


Click below to print them:

(These files are supposed to print in landscape orientation.  For some reason when I print it straight from this website, it prints in portrait, so the print is too small.  If I "save file as" and then print, it prints correctly.  You may need to do this as well.)

The pictures are from Discovery Education Clipart. The simple black on white print and the illustrations at the end of each line are intended to facilitate shared reading in a Pre-K or Kindergarten setting. You can start with three or four lines and add more as your class seems ready.

In using these printables, please keep some other points the authors made in mind:

• Be sure that all the children can clearly see the print.

• Point using a long, thin stick, not your finger. (This one made me smile because once in a while I try to rush and use my finger .  In a minute, one of the kids always brings me my pointer).

• Keep the momentum going.

• Keep sessions short, gradually lengthening the sessions slightly as children’s attention span increase.

In Figure 12.2 Steps for Shared Reading of Poems, there was one suggestion that I had not been doing previously:

Step 3 Teach children the poem, song or rhyme first (in absence of print) so that they can say it together. I will try this when I introduce “See You Later Alligator” this year. I have always introduced a poem with the written version, but I will try saying it without the written text first and see how this goes. I think this will be especially relevant at the beginning of the year since the kids won’t be used to seeing a teacher point at written text yet.

Before I close, the authors also discussed using shared reading with an action poem. I was thinking that I had always kept action poems and shared reading poems separate. I just realized that I do mix them. One example is our Native American Thanksgiving Prayer with hand motions:


I guess the students and I can walk and chew gum at the same time after all…

I hope you and your class enjoy the “Lunch” and “I can be” free printables. I really hope you will post a comment about Shared Reading in your classroom so I can email you the two free printables related to “See you later alligator.”

I look forward to hearing thoughts and ideas from all the wonderful teachers who are following along on this book study!

Vanessa will be covering Chapters 13 and 14 on Friday:



Patterning with Color Words

Posted by Eilis on July 5, 2011 at 10:35 PM

These printable patterning activities have a literacy twist.  The kids will be looking at color words (in color ink) while they are working on patterning.  I cut one inch squares of craft foam to use with them.  Other possibilities would be construction paper squares, buttons, or pom poms.  

There are four different sheets to print:

My Year in Pre-K Printable Book

Posted by Eilis on June 15, 2011 at 5:00 PM

I have been meaning to "refresh" the book I make with my students, and today was finally the day.  Here it is:  There are some extra pages at the end in case your school year begins or ends before or after mine.  There is also a second cover with the word "Preschool."  Please let me know if you print this book by either commenting here or clicking "like" on Facebook.  Also, please let me know if there is another adaptation of the cover or one of the pages that you would like.

You can dowload the My Own Topher  font free here:

Finger Counting Printables

Posted by Eilis on June 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM

I have added some counting printables to the Math Center page.  

Math Tubs

Posted by Eilis on July 29, 2010 at 12:56 PM

I am putting some math tubs together.  The first one is frog counting.  It can be found in Math Center and in Printables.  I have also added a new dice game in which players add flowers to their game cards.

Math Ideas

Posted by Eilis on July 27, 2010 at 10:59 AM

I have added two new printables to the Math Center page.  One is Pumpkin Counting the other is a dice graphing game for shapes.  Check them out.:)

Also, I am very excited about a new project.  I am making a big math journal for our class to do together.  I got the idea from Kathryn at  I don't think my Pre-K students are ready for individual math journals, but I do think they will love learning about math concepts in this way.  My first question is:  Do we have more boys or girls in our class?  I plan to have the kids help me count, represent the numbers with pictures of boys on one side and girls on the other side. Then, once we have decided, we will show the answer with a less than or greater than sign in the middle.  I plan to leave this big book out so kids can look back at what we have done.  In case you can't tell, I am very excited about trying this!