Craft recipes every preschool teacher should know

Each photo below will take you to a great craft recipe that you will want to hang onto!

Mama Jenn: Colored Rice

Delicious Ambiguity: Sensory Bottles

Crunchy and Green: Salt Art

Preschool-What Fun We Have: Flour Finger Paint

Centers and Circle Time: Pastel Colored Rice

Pink and Green Mama: Cornstarch Sidewalk Paint

Quirky Mamma: Bubble Art

Delicious Ambiguity: Rainbow Science

A Handmade Childhood: Egg Tempera Paint

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds: Rainbow Milk Painting

Not Just Cute: Shave Cream Paint

Too Busy for TV: Home Made Fingerpaint

Frugal Family Fun Blog: Bubbles

By | April 16th, 2010|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , |0 Comments

Preschoolers can serve their own snack

Building independent doers and thinkers is one of the goals of early childhood education. Snack time is a terrific time to let children learn to do things all by themselves.

We always start off by washing our hands!

Setting the table

Have the children get into the practice of washing hands first and while they are washing hands, set out napkins and cups at one end of a table or on a low shelf. Have the children go and get their own napkin and cup then sit at the snack table.

These children have  had lots of practice standing in line and waiting for their turn to pick up a cup and napkin all by themselves.

“Open your napkin big and wide so I can put a (cracker) inside!”

Once the children sit at the table, they open their napkin big and wide and set their cup on the table.  In some classrooms, the children then wait for all of their friends to be seated. The teacher then uses the familiar finger play:

Open-Shut them

Open-Shut them

Open-Shut them and give a little clap!

Open-Shut them

Open-Shut them

Open-Shut them and lay them in your lap!

This gets all the children to quiet down and helps to start off snack at a moderately low noise level. This also allows the teacher to demonstrate any serving skills the children will need to know and to demonstrate talking with each other using a soft conversational tone rather then shouting to be heard.

Self – Serve Snack!

The teacher then sets the snack on the table with the appropriate serving utensils and allows the children to serve their own snack. The children then pass the serving dishes to their neighbor. These children have become extremely proficient in manipulating the various types of serving tools. It takes practice to do this well but it doesn’t take long before the students will amaze you with their abilities.

I can pour all by myself!

The children are also able to pour their own juice. The teachers fill a pitcher only a quarter of the way full so that the pitcher isn’t too heavy for the children to manage. As needed, the teachers refill the pitcher with more juice.  What you don’t see in the photo is the full pitcher of juice sitting on the counter that the teacher uses to refill the student pitchers.

Time to eat up!

Once the children have served themselves, they are allowed to go right on into eating their snack.

Teacher’s role model manners and conversational tone at the snack table!

The teachers then sit with the children to role model good manners at the table and to promote polite conversations between the children. The children are much more successful in having a positive snack time experience when the teachers join them rather then run around the classroom doing other things during snack time.

Once snack time is over, the children throw away their own trash and join the teacher on the carpet for a few minutes of after snack story time and singing.

Check out this fun little snack time song!

Available on Amazon

A collection of little bird ideas for preschool

I am fixing this so please check back – the links do work but I have to update pictures!

These are some darling ideas I found online for birds activities you can do with your preschoolers!

Preschool Playbook


My Montessori Journey



Little Illuminations

Little Fingers that Play

Every Thing Except the Grill

Click on each picture to see the Blog Post!

By | April 12th, 2010|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , |0 Comments

Wonderful collection of flower activities for your preschoolers

A fantastic collection of flower ideas for your preschool classroom! Click on each picture to see the blog post!

Frugal Family Fun Blog

Katies Nesting Spot


Frugal Family Fun Blog

Little Fingers Big Dreams

Mommy Moments

Giggles Galore

The Artful Parent

Learning and Teaching with Preschoolers

Teaching Twos

Teaching Twos

Superheroes and Princesses

Briargrove Elementary Art Page

Frugal Family Fun Blog

No Time for Flashcards

No Time For Flashcards

Makes and Takes

Mama Jenn

Little Fingers that Play

Roots and Wings Co

No Time for Flashcards

PreK-Preschool Ideas from Noey

PreK-Preschool Ideas from Noey

Preschool Daze

Preschool Playbook

DIY Preschool

Foxy Toy Box

Frugal Family Fun


Teach Mama

Just Playin' Around

Preschool Playbook

Preschool Playbook

Thrifty Craft Mama




By | April 12th, 2010|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , |3 Comments

A collection of earth day ideas for preschool

Here is an excellent collection of earth day activities you may want to check out! Click on each picture to see the blog post!

For the love of art

My Montessori Journey

My Montessori Journey

Preschool Daze

My Montessori Journey

No Time for Flashcards

Brick by Brick

By | April 12th, 2010|Categories: Special Occasions|Tags: , |0 Comments

Deborah’s new CD and the IAEYC conference

I have been preparing for the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC) conference that will be held this weekend in downtown Indianapolis.

I will be presenting on:

Friday, April 9th, – 3:15 to 4:30 pm.

I will also be at a presenters booth on:

Friday, April 9th – Booth #114  – Time: 9:00-11:00 am

Saturday, April 10th – Booth #118 – Time: 12:30-2:30

I will be presenting a session on simple music for the preschool classroom. Most of the music and finger plays, but not all, will be ones I have written. I am a strong advocate for using music in the preschool classroom. Music paves the way for so many aspects in the learning environment from classroom management, entertainment, to education.

To prepare for this occasion, I completed my first children’s CD and it finally arrived in the mail today. What fun to open it all up and see all that work nicely set before me.

Click here to learn how you can purchase a copy of my new CD!

By | April 8th, 2010|Categories: Around the Classroom|Tags: , |6 Comments

Teaching preschoolers expectations

There are three key elements that teachers should include in the process of setting boundaries and expectations for young children…

Setting expectations in the preschool classroom

Explain, Rehearse, and Reinforce

These are not my words but the words of K. R. Victor. According to Victor (2001):

“Once you have created the plan you must teach it to your students.
When teaching the plan, keep in mind three things: Explain, rehearse, and reinforce.
Explain, simply put, means to create a lesson plan that teaches the rules” (p.25).

Victor’s words reflect my own views of guiding young children to meet expectations only I have used a little bit different terminology.

Let’s take a minute to look at Victor’s ideas…

Setting expectations in the preschool classroom

Helping children understand expectations should be a part of the planning process in the early childhood classroom. Young children need boundaries and guidelines that are age appropriate, reasonable, flexible, and understandable. Guidelines and boundaries are based on teacher expectations as well. In order for children to understand teacher expectations, the teacher needs to include time for teaching expectations in the planning process.

Setting expectations in the preschool classroom

Even for the youngest preschooler, there can be an assumption that the child should already know better. For example, when a preschooler throws a napkin on the floor rather than in the trash, an adult might think that this child just doesn’t care or isn’t a good listener. Instead throwing the napkin in the trash needs to be looked as an expectation to be learned.

It is important to get into the practice of explaining expectations. Children need to be taught what is expected in simple, meaningful, and understandable terms. Just as we plan our lessons to teach the ABC’s or 123″s, we need to devise a plan for teaching expectations rather than just assuming the children should get the idea.

For example: I once had a group of children who would not lay on their cot without kicking their feet in the air. This got to be something that was funny to them and going around cot to cot was simply not effective. As soon as I got one set of feet out of the air, another set of feet popped up. It was like playing the gopher game!

So I decided to plan a lesson on laying down on the cot.  My assistant and I took out a kid’s cot and while my assistant gave me simple directions, I laid down on the cot and put my feet down. When my assistant would turn away – I dramatically kicked my feet up in the air. All the children laughed and then my assistant turned around and acted all surprised. She then explained to me why it was very important to keep my feet down and told me how she would be so proud of me if I could remember this rule.  So when she turned her back again, I  snuggled in with a blanket and bear and went to sleep. My assistant turned around again and gave me huge props for being such a big helper and good listener.  The children loved this little play:)

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

After explaining an expectation to the child, the next step in the process is to rehearse the expectation. The child or children must then practice what was just explained.

For example: The teacher explains how to throw a napkin in the trash; then demonstrates how to throw a napkin in the trash; then lets the child take a turn throwing the napkin in the trash.  This allow the teacher to evaluate the child’s understanding of the expectation.

In the cot example above, my assistant and I had each of the children come and show us how to lay down on the cot all snuggly. We made a huge deal out of everyone as they eagerly showed us they understood the expectation.

Setting Expectations in the Preschool Classroom

Once an expectation has been explained and rehearsed, now the expectation can be reinforced. To reinforce an expectation, the teacher can…

Remind the child: “Don’t forget to throw that napkin in the trash can!”
Redirect the child: “Should we put the napkin in the trash can or just leave it on the floor?”
Praise the child: “I noticed you threw the napkin in the trash can all by yourself! That was awesome!”

In the cot example, we carried our message into naptime through a positive and praiseworthy approach. The children found it more appealing to show us how they could keep those legs down. We reinforced the positive results by stating over and over, “you look so peaceful and cuddly on your cot” or “I am so proud of how you remember exactly what to do.

Setting expectations in preschool

Back to Planning
When you see that an expectation is just not being met then this is sign to start back at the planning stage.

Perhaps time has gone by and the expectation has not been reinforced effectively or perhaps the child just wasn’t developmentally ready to grasp the expectation. It could be that the expectation was simply not age appropriate. Regardless of the reason, when a child is not demonstrating an understanding of an expectation, then it is time to start the process all over again: Explain, Rehearse, Reinforce!

Victor, K. R. (2001) Identifying effective behavior management in the early childhood classroom. B.R.E. Practical Bible College.

Capturing the attention of preschoolers

There are lots of techniques teachers use to capture the attention of preschoolers.

Walk Over
When needing to get the attention of only one child or a small group of children playing together, it is always more effective just to walk over, bend down close and speak warmly to them.  What doesn’t work well? Yelling across the room. Kids learn to tune this out pretty quickly.

Eye Contact
I always say if you don’t have eye contact then you really don’t have the child’s attention. If I need the children to stop and listen to my words for a few seconds, I will use a creative technique to get their attention first (which will be described below) and then pause to get eye contact.  I might say, “Eyes on me so I can see you listening” and then wait again for just a second.

Waiting too long
I don’t want to exasperate the situation by waiting too long for every student to stop and put their eyes on me. Waiting too long is like putting out fires. The minute you get one set of eyes, you will lose another. So go with the majority of eyes on you and move onto what it is you needed in the first place.

The child that just wont look at me
For this child, I often will walk over while talking to all the other children and gently take his or her hand and have them walk with me while I continue talking to everyone else. I avoid shouting or coming down on the child in front of everyone else. No need for humiliation and the truth is, shouting or harshness really isn’t all that effective – it just creates stress and stress leads to a unhappy learning environment.

The observant child
Have you ever watched an adult lecture a child and just by observing you start to feel uncomfortable?  When you decided to come down on one child, the rest of the children may very well feel like they are being punished too. Children are sensitive to your body language, tone of voice, and choice of words whether or not they are target of your frustration.  I had one little girl tell me, “I don’t like preschool…. my teacher yells at Nathan…”

It is better and more effective to walk over, make eye contact, and gently address concerns with a child or small group of children personally than to punish the entire class by making a loud scene.

Here are some great suggestions from my fans on Facebook!
I recently posted a request for suggestions on Facebook and here are some of the responses that I found to be extremely creative.

Jess Mueller: When I taught preschool we did clap imitations. I would clap a rhythm and that was their clue to quiet down and clap the rhythm after me. I kept clapping different rhythms until everyone caught on and was participating.
Brienna Parker:”I turn off the lights and say…If you can hear my voice touch your head, If you can hear my voice touch you shoulders” ect It is a great game and it gets their attention. I do this all while lowering my voice. If I am outside, I will go to 3 or 4 children tell them to tell their friends that I am going to play a game and to com on over and I start doing that but much faster, those kids that came laugh and the kids that did not hear them laughing in a group and they come over, so much fun!!
Adriana Escobar:

claps and lights works for me too, but I would use them when they’r getting out of control… usually I would say: “1-2-3 eyes on me” (then they will turn at me and blink their eyes) to get their attention…. it works just fine!
Sue Alva: I

do “open, shut them, open, shut them, give a little clap, clap, clap, open, shut them, open, shut them, put them in your lap, lap, lap” my kids all know that means it is time to be quiet and listen.
Carol Martin Black: I bought a soft flower at the dollar store for a $1.00 and it is about two ft long. I call it my ‘quiet flower’ and whenever I need the childrens attention or I need to talk to them I hold up that flower. I ask them what does this mean and they tell me it’s time to listen or time to be quiet. Works great and I don’t have to fuss at them the whole time.
Alicia Bayer: “Raise your hand if you’re listening to me.” The kids quickly notice each other raising their hands and quiet down to figure out what’s going on.
March 23 at 11:58am ·  · Report
Jen German: I hold up my hand and count down from five, folding fingers down as I go. The kids catch on and start counting down with me, and when we get to one, the one finger goes over our lips in a shhhhh. So, 5,4,3,2,1,shhhh. By then (hopefully) all eyes are on me. I stole that from my son’s kindergarten teacher 8 years ago 🙂
Kelli Gillim Wood: We sing “Can you be as quiet as a mouse, mouse, mouse?” as loud as we can then repeat it over and over singing softer and softer until everyone is listening. We also squish down to mouse size too. It is not a slam dunk everytime but 2’s and 3’s seem to like it.
Tanya Sims: I use a call back- I say peanut butter and the students say jelly… and we do it a couple of times if we need too
Marcy McKee Emanuelli: My lead teacher uses “criss cross applesauce” to sit inidan style and “make a bubble” (with your cheeks) to stop talking.
Diana Davis Pratte: I have used wind chimes and moved them to get the kids attention. I have also used a xylophone and when that sound was made they were to freeze for directions. I also made up the song” Time to Listen” – Time to Listen, Time to Listen. Right now, Right now. Ears are open, Ears are open. Mouth is quiet (sh) mouth is quiet (sh).
Kim Robbie Lyons: T

o get the whole class’ attention, I say “catch a bubble in 5-4-3-2-1” and the kids catch a ‘bubble’ — puffing their cheeks out.
To get an individual child’s attention, I sing while spell their name — ex. C-H-L-O-E spells Chloe, etc. I just find a tune that matches up with the amount of letters in their name.
Soha Saad Abdelkader:

SIMON SAYS:put ur hands up, shake ur hands, eyes on the teacher, now its my turn to talk & ur turn to listen
Merrili Nou: I whisper and go to one or two of the children, telling them that i need to tell the class something. usually the one or two children stopwhat they are doing, causing the other children to also stop and listen. 🙂
Erin Eller Jones: I would sing (to the tune of if you’re happy and you know it) if you can hear my voice, clap your hands, if you can hear my voice clap your hand, if you can hear me it’s time for listening, if you can hear my voice clap your hands.
Linda Blankenship Cardenas: I use 123 all eyes on me, or if you can hear me clap 2 times, etc. Holding up my hand is called the quiet sign, and when they see it, they are supposed to raise their hand too, until everyone catches on and gets quiet.
Jamie Kinney Beastrom: I hit the lights ~ off means there is a direction to follow or an important message. they freeze and hands hit the air, they can’t move until the lights go back on! works really well for us

Tom Hobson: I just beat a drum. I use the drum for transitions so they know it means to pay attention.
Rahma Dona: Just like teacher Tom but Tamborine i use its quite effective*)
Tom Hobson: I use the drum at parent meetings too. Last year a parent made t-shirts of a cartoon Teacher Tom beating a drum and saying, “Stand up children!” It was so bizarre when the kids and their parents were wearing the shirts at school.

Sharon Gear: we sing ‘are you listening’ and it’s amazing how fast they all stop to listen….

Beryana Evridawati: I’ll clap n if it doesn’t work, I’ll call they name one by one..

Dewi Susanti Siahaan: Speak with low voice, almost whisper, if you think you can make your voice can be heard by only two or three students it is OK. trust me it works.
By | April 3rd, 2010|Categories: Professional Development|Tags: |2 Comments