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Growing in Pre K


Let's All Help Moore, OK

Posted by Eilis on May 22, 2013 at 3:30 PM


I donated my "Playing With Words" printables to this great effort.  For a donation of twenty dollars or more, you will receive an amazing amount of products donated by many talented teachers.  Check it out!  (Your printer will be VERY busy this summer.....)




Playing With Words

Posted by Eilis on February 4, 2013 at 11:00 PM

I have finally finished my Playing With Words Printable set.

 It includes a pocket chart activity based on substituting beginning sounds:

CVC picture/word cards.  Students clip a clothespin by the word that matches the picture:

A set of rhyming mittens to match:

and an I have, who has game that combines CVC words with cute clipart pictures:

I used adorable clipart from several sources to complete this set.

The complete set is just $2 at my Teachers Notebook Shop during the month of February.  The price will go up in March.

AND you can download the complete mitten matching see for FREE by downloading the PREVIEW (I included the entire rhyming mitten matching set in the sample.)  Just click on an of the pictures to go to my Teachers Notebook Shop.


Preparing for Christmas

Posted by Eilis on December 7, 2012 at 11:25 PM

I love sharing the Christmas story with my young learners this time each year.  This week they illustrated their gifts for Baby Jesus:


and created these simple Nativities.

The printables for both activities are included in The First Christmas Printables at my Teachers Notebook Shop.

We also enjoyed some more visits from our elf, Mario.


And.... The Gingerbread Exchange Has been wonderful.  I have been very touched by the notes and emails I have received from so many delightful teachers.  Many classes from one school in Ennis, TX signed up.  It was tricky to put them all on separate lists (especially since Texas is already heavily represented in the exchange).  This picture of all the gingerbread men that they received (combined from all the lists) is AMAZING!  I hope they won't mind me posting it here.  Can you find one you sent out?


The Elf Adventure

Posted by Eilis on December 4, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Our elf arrived yesterday.  The package was very cold because it came from the North Pole.

 (This activity is helping me to feel like it is almost Christmas.  It is still hot here and doesn't feel at all like December....)

The kids are very excited and voted on the name Mario.  ( least he didn't get named Angry Bird....)  I went to the Elf on the Shelf site and registered our little friend.  I scrolled down to custom so that the word family wouldn't appear on our adoption certificate.  Here's a picture of Mario's first nightly adventure.  Who knows...maybe it will generate a little interest in this pocket chart which has been collecting dust in my classroom for three years.  It was hanging there when I moved in, and I keep thinking we will use it one of these days....Maybe the hiding place was too good...The kids NEVER found him!  They are usually a very observant bunch, but I guess the elf was just too clever... So calm searching was starting to turn into a frenzy...I helped them out before they started to dump out Legos, etc.  This is supposed to be helping with classroom  management as Christmas approaches....

He left us an elf report binder, so of course we filled in our first elf report.

I think he might show up somewhere much more obvious tomorrow...

Wait...did he change the number of days until Christmas? !

I have added  a couple more items to my Elf printables.  I have uploaded them as the FREE preview so that everyone can enjoy them.  One is a sheet for asking the elf a question (to answer during the night).  

The other is a printable to use if you would like to start a You've Been Elf-ed adventure at your school:

How fun to leave some holiday pencils, stickers, or whatever you please to a neighboring class. There are two pages.  One is for your own class when your elf leaves you a treat with enough to share.  The other is for the other classes to explain the game.  I suggest including extra copies so the fun will be carried on until winter break (or until all the classes have been elf-ed).

Looking for more elf ideas?  This is a very inspiring list and many of the items could be adapted for a classroom.

We also went on our sight word gingerbread man hunt today.  It is a FREE PRINTABLE at my Teachers Notebook Shop.

We read    and then brought our clipboards, sheets, and pencils to the library to search.  It was one of those amazing teaching times when everyone is focused, on-task, and happy.  I could not believe how much they enjoyed the hunt and how well their lists of "sight words" turned out.  A few finished early and were happy to help the others find challenging gingerbread men.  Once five or six kids had finished, I turned the paper over on their clipboards and told them to draw.  Again, this was amaziningly engaging.  Some days are just awesome....

    Look there's one....

I am looking forward to trying the number hunt in a different location at school.

AND LOTS of gingerbread mail arrived after school this afternoon.  My class is going to love opening the mail.  I think I will hold some back so we can open two or three each day.  


An Elf is Visiting our Classroom

Posted by Eilis on December 2, 2012 at 4:05 PM

I purchased one of those cute little Elf on Shelf sets to use in my classroom this year.


 THEN... I discovered just how many adorable ideas and printables there are for classroom elf activities on teacher blogs via Pinterest.  Here's one great  Link Up:  

Here's my take on it using Kate Hadfield's adorable art and keeping the concepts very simple for four and five-year-olds.  I stayed away from writing letters to Santa and put emphasis on the elf looking for good classroom behavior.



 My little printable set is one dollar at my Teachers Notebook shop (I need to fund my clipart and license expenses...), but I will email it FREE to the three best comments on this post 

FEATURING GREAT IDEAS FOR ELF VISITS in an EARLY CHILDHOOD CLASSROOM.  I will choose the best three tomorrow (Monday, December 3, 2012) night.

So...get your creative minds working (quickly) or you can always purchase it for one dollar :).

Update:  Sorry - the free offer is over...but please follow this link for updates on our

ELF ADVENTURES.  There are two FREE elf printables there.

This Pre-K Class is Headed to Space

Posted by Eilis on November 24, 2012 at 8:00 PM

I have been using the same themes for years now.  Thanks to the great ideas I find on other teacher's blogs, I have new and improved activities each year.  However, this year I am stepping out of my comfort zone and adding a new theme!  I went to a wonderful Preschool Summer Institute at Region 4 in Houston last summer.  We all went home with lots of great teaching ideas AND materials.  We were each given a Lakeshore astronaut costume and several space related items from Lakeshore.   So...when, while planning the year's themes with my team , we noticed that we have an "extra" week between Thanksgiving and December this year....  I decided that we had to do a space theme so I could use my cool new stuff.  ( I also have access to a second uniform since a friend who attended with me was willing to share hers as long as I share mine another week.)

But .. as the week approached, I got concerned.  I knew I could make a rocket out of a wardrobe box for dramatic play....but frankly I wanted something quick, inexpensive, and educational.  Then....I saw it....on PInterest of course.  Check out this amazing International Space Station at The Very Busy Kindergarten.  I barely got through cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  All I could think about was how to turn my classroom into a space station.  I had been worried about what the other kids would do while two dressed up as astronauts and had all the fun.  Then I saw those experiment boxes made from cardboard boxes, dishwashing gloves, and clear wrap.  I already have an "Is it magnetic ?" center that I haven't put out yet this year.  I also have some space looking linking pieces from Oriental Trading that usually collect dust at the back of the cabinet.  I was planning to use free cardboard boxes.....but then I saw these gray boxes intended to store photos.  They were sturdy and the just had "the look" I wanted. experiment boxes were not free ($7 each at Garden Ridge) plus about a dollar for the dishwashing gloves...but the good news is that I WILL use them to store my space stuff until next year....

I also splurged on a Solar System map for our Tag Readers 

I added head phones to each one and then two kids could easily use the mat at once:

Here's the link to my space board on Pinterest if you are interested.  I found some free printables photos of planets at Montessori Mom and phases of the moon also at Montessori Mom.  I used my home laminator to turn those free printables into sturdy materials for my students to handle.

    and of course the 10 cent laminating sheets from Amazon....


Now (drum roll please) on to the space station (or shuttle depending on imaginations)  that I made from a science board.  I turned my Little Tykes kitchen around so that just the white side was showing.  I decorated the poster board with Solar System posters from the local Teacher Supply store and added sheets of paper that had been run through our printer each time it tried to align because we had inserted a new ink cartridge. ( didn't really need to align all those times...but it thought it did and now I am glad I didn't throw away all the paper it wasted...).  Guess how I made the "switches?"  I cut strips of black adhesive foam sheets and folded them in half, letting about half of that stick together and using the other two quarters of adhesive to stick on my science board.  Not bad for a total of 99 cents...  I got really lucky on the chairs.  I had purchased them at Marshall's last year for independent reading places.  I had not brought them to my small classroom yet this year, so these students have not seen them and they are for all intents and purposes.....astronaut seats.

The silver on the seat is one of the Lakeshore astronaut uniforms.  Here's a student wearing one:

Here are some pictures of my progress on the experiment boxes:


This one is constellation cards with holes in them.  The student shines a flashlight in the box to see the constellation through the holes.  (One of the Lakeshore items that I was given last summer...)  I had to add a piece of black cloth for the student to work under to make it easier for kids to see the constellations in a small area.

The lower shelf shows some space themed easy readers for the kids to enjoy. 

I put some flour and baby oil in a plastic container as moon sand or fairy sand.  It does have an interesting soft texture and smells great.  I added this assortment of tiny astronauts: 

I am limiting this experiment to one student at a time since he/she will need to wash hands after playing.

Lucky again... my normal sensory tub and the gray closets behind have that "Space Station" look...

Here's a picture of me assembling the experiment which involves building with the Oriental Trading pieces:

Here it is in use with the cellophane taped over it:

After cutting two holes for the dishwashing gloves, I hot glued the gloves to the outside of the holes.

We also made constellations:

I demonstrated the Big Dipper, but let the kids be creative on their own constellations.

Everyone cooperated on a floor puzzle:


Since I found a bag of golf practice balls at the Target Dollar Spot, each child will take home his/her own pipe cleaner model of revolve/rotate.


I found this idea HERE.

Here's a link to my Space Printables ( $1.50) at My Teachers Notebook Shop.

The printables include the following:

Sight words on planets for a pocket chart game.



Class Book.

There is also an emergent reader about space:

and this Race to Trace Dice Game.  I found some ten sided dice at the Teacher Supply store.  If you don't have these, students will need the option of rolling one or two dice each time so they can get a one.

Lots and lots of educational space fun!

The First Christmas Printables

Posted by Eilis on November 23, 2012 at 10:15 PM

I am very excited because I have purchased a license from Kate Hadfield Designs which allows me to offer her wonderful graphics in items for my Teachers Notebook Shop.  I discovered Kate's beautiful art while searching for some great Nativity clipart.  Let me just say that I have found it!   This printable set is $2.00.


The advent calendar can be printed for individual students to cut and paste each of the first 25 days in December.  If you prefer to do the Advent Calendar as a class activity, you might want to print the numbers on a magnetic sheet and attach the blank calendar to a Dollar Store cookie sheet.


   For the gift printable, each student illustrates his/her gift for the baby Jesus and you add a piece of wrapping paper (taped on the top only)

   and a bow.  The "Help the Shepherd find his sheep" game is similar to the candy corn game I made in October.  It is a fun way for kids to 

   practice putting numbers in order AND deciding whether they need a particular number or should return it to the bag.




Thanksgiving Printables

Posted by Eilis on November 2, 2012 at 9:25 PM

The Gingerbread Exchange is off to a great start!  In one day, we already have over fifty classes participating.  I love hearing from so many of you who read this blog, but are usually very quiet.  I am so excited about how many of you are looking forward to the exchange because your students and families enjoyed it last year.

I just purchased some adorable Thanksgiving clipart from Creative Clips (the same artist who did the cute monster under the bed graphics).  I created a printable little book to share with my own class.  It does include the words God and church, because I teach in a Christian school.  It is available FREE at my Teachers Notebook Shop.  I am trying to decide whether to add some religious printables for the upcoming Christmas season, so if you want more of these types of printables....please comment here to let me know.


This little book is part of a bigger Thanksgiving Printable which is also available at my Teachers Notebook Shop for $1.50.  Here's a peek:




Also included, is a printable where students count the correct number of turkey feathers to match the number on the turkey.  I have included printable feathers, but it will be much more fun if you add your own feathers.



I Put the Monsters to Bed

Posted by Eilis on October 15, 2012 at 9:30 PM

I got some great ideas for my Monsters Printable file from Debi, Robin, and Amanda who commented on my last post.  They were looking for opposites, beginning sounds, and counting (on the bed/in the closet).  I have sent the file to them for their thoughts.

There are also some "eyeless" monster mats for counting and/or adding with your own google eyes.  


The 89 page file is two dollars at My Teachers Notebook Shop.

(Do you love the plastic container?!  I bought that about a month ago at the Target Dollar Spot.)

Here's a little FREEBIE emergent reader for your kids to color.

I just love the monster clipart that I purchased at Creative Clips and the free font from Hello Literacy.

Well, I am off to our class field trip to a farm/pumpkin patch tomorrow.  Wish us luck!


Who Loves Pizza?

Posted by Eilis on September 22, 2012 at 9:55 AM

I do!

Here's a new FREE printable that you can download at my Teachers Notebook Shop.  It is a bingo game to practice recognizing the numbers 1-15.  If you happen to have a 1/2 inch circle paper punch, it will be perfect for cutting out the "pepperoni" pieces. You could also just use the 1/2 inch punch on red construction paper.

Click on any of the pictures.  If you download this game, please make my shop one of your favorites.


I also added an alphabet version of this game.  There are several different sets of calling cards to use depending on the skill you want to practice.  There are uppercase, lowercase, and then color and black and white beginning sounds cards.

The set also includes a whole pizza/half pizza sorting activity (for a pocket chart or big math journal) and a printable book that counts the toppings on a pizza.  My students love it when I put these pages in page protectors in a binder and leave them in the book center.  The printable is two dollars and Teachers Notebook now accepts credit cards in addition to Paypal.





If you haven't seen some of my old posts on pizza, you can find them HERE and HERE.


Five Little Owls

Posted by Eilis on September 14, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Take away stories like the "The 5 Little Owls" are such a great way to introduce children to the concept of subtraction.  They are having so much fun that they don't realize they are learning.  That's my favorite kind of teaching.... so I have made a printable emergent reader of the 5 Little Owls.  Included in the printable is a Five Frame math mat so each student can manipulate their own five owls as they listen to the story.  There is also a roll and cover dice game and a pocket chart song.  The set is one dollar at my Teachers Notebook Shop.  I try to offer my printables at very reasonable prices, and your purchases allow me to purchase the clipart I use.  This clipart came from Cherry Clipart.




And here is a FREE PRINTABLE puzzle:

  Just click on any of the pictures to go to my

Teachers Notebook Shop.  


Pumpkin Life Cycle

Posted by Eilis on September 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM

A couple of years ago I added a little soil to a pumpkin pie pumpkin, it sprouted, and lots of you found this website/blog through Pinterest.  Here's the original photo:

  and here are links to that project:

The Original Pumpkin Post


The Pumpkin Project Revisited


So...I am very excited to offer this Pumpkin Life Cycle FREE PRINTABLE.

Just click on the picture or HERE to download it free at my Teachers Notebook Shop.

And....if you need more pumpkin life cycle printables...and who doesn't?....for one dollar you can download the same cards in black and white, some pocket chart strips to go with them, label cards, and BOTH color and black and white emergent readers in my Teachers Notebook Shop.


Here are some links to wonderful pumpkin life cycle books:





Posted by Eilis on September 10, 2012 at 12:35 AM

We do the "My Family" theme early in the school year.  I have the kids bring in a photo of their families and we graph how many people there are in our families.  Drawing our families can be challenging this early in the school year.  I thought it would be fun to give them stick figures to color to represent the members of their families.  I could not find exactly the clipart I had in mind, so I created my own.  I am pretty pleased with myself right now, since my previous experience with making clipart is limited to the sun I recently made for the weather unit.  I'm definitely keeping my day job, but had a lot of fun creating this.  There are two options for mom, two options for dad, two options in three sizes for sisters, two options in three sizes for brothers and a baby with and without a bow. (Yes, I was probably following a minivan when this idea popped into my head....)



I wrote a silly little song about families to the tune of the Addams Family.  I find that kids like anything sung to that tune....

 What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies do Best  and other books in that series go well with this theme.

I would love to hear YOUR ideas.  So....I will send this file to the first three people who post a great family theme teaching idea here.

Otherwise, it's just a dollar at my Teachers Notebook shop.  Just click on any of the pictures of the printables to take you to my shop.


Here's the link that Stacey included in her comment:

Going on a Picnic

Posted by Eilis on September 8, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Remember how fun it was to play "I'm going on a picnic, and I'm going to bring a..."  Little did we know that we were working on our auditory memories when we used to recite all the things that people before us had named.  I have created a set of printables (including an 8x11 color emergent reader) based on the traditional game. I print the emergent reader and put the pages in page protectors in a binder.  After reading it aloud with the class a few times, children are anxious to choose it in the book center and read it to themselves.

 Clicking on any of these pictures will bring you my Teacher's Notebook shop where the 25 page file is two dollars.




Posted by Eilis on September 4, 2012 at 11:10 PM

Weather is a theme that I have been wanting to do more with in my classroom.  I found some good weather songs on CanTeach and added some clipart from KPM Doodles and my own "creations."  Yes, I made the "sun" myself....

The printable is available to download free by clicking on this picture:

Then, I made a set of weather themed activities.  The set is available at my Teachers Notebook Shop for $1.50.  

This file is 48 pages long!  And, I will send it free to the first three people who leave a comment here WITH A GREAT WEATHER THEME IDEA that works in a preschool or Pre-K classroom.  



Posted by Eilis on August 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM

I wanted to show off this welcome bulletin board outside my classroom.  I am a BIG believer in covering bulletin boards in the kids' own art, but obviously I could not do that for the first day of school.  The school had hung these new bulletin boards outside our classrooms over the summer, and mine was covered in owls - yeah!  So....I looked on Teachers Notebook and found this adorable owl welcome banner to print, cut, and hang. Here's the link to the shop where I found it.  I downloaded the black and white ones for FREE here.

And here are some of my beginning of the year Fine Motor Tubs.  The kids do these for a few minutes as they arrive and unpack in the morning.

 These are those foam cubes that the Dollar Tree carries.The goal is to use the chopsticks to build towers.  I have had the "training" chopsticks since my own kids were little.  I believe we got them when we ate Chinese/Japanese food at a restaurant.

  Most of these spinning tops came from the birthday party section at the grocery store.


I have wanted to do this  marble and bath mat activity that I saw on for a long time.  I saw the little ducks on clearance at Target this summer and knew it was time to stop thinking about it.  

Ice Cream Activities

Posted by Eilis on August 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

I am very excited about an ice cream themed set of printables that I have posted on my new Teachers Notebook store.  The clipart is from

KPM Doodles. The set includes a class book cover, a black and white class book page, a color class book page, a pocket chart graph question, a number 1-10 puzzle, a pocket chart for shared reading, a set of color word matching cards, and the numbered ice cream cones pictured below. The set is available HERE The ice cream bowls and spoons pictured came from the Dollar Tree.  The "sprinkles" to count are tiny pom poms.