Fill your classroom with opportunities to write!

I am a huge fan of inviting young children to write all throughout the day. In order to get my students writing all through out the day, I have to fill my classroom with opportunities to write.

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

When I use the word “writing,” I am referring to anything that invites a young child to pick up a crayon, marker, pencil, or even their finger to write. draw, or make marks with…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

To encourage writing all around the classroom, I am constantly looking for ways to provide different writing experiences. We keep a set of small clipboards on the back of this book shelf…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

On most days, the boards are filled with blank sheets of white paper but on some days, I design a game or provide a drawing prompt on the boards. The above writing prompt was set out on a day we were making both real and pretend pizzas for taking pizza orders. On the photo below, each child was invited to complete a friendship quilt by asking each of their friends to color in a square on the quilt.

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

My students love charts, order forms, and other prompts for writing. There is no right way or wrong way of using the writing prompts. They are simply provided to encourage the children to make their marks…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

But of course, providing blank sheets of paper for writing and drawing is a must do! My students love to take their clipboards all around the classroom throughout the day. Getting young children to want to write needs to be meaningful and fun!!!

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

Most of my students (ages 3 to 5) are not reading yet, but they are still able to make their marks, write most letter symbols, and almost all of the children can print their name. In the mornings, my students always sign-in on our sign-in board. We change up the sign-in sheet periodically throughout the school year, but the morning routine is always the same…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

The children are always invited to write at our math table. Well actually, I didn’t invite them – the children just insisted that I keep paper and pencil at the math table so I have been happy to follow their interest…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

Anywhere I can find an opportunity to slip in writing and drawing tools or processes, I will do so…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

Any type of materials we can use to promote writing and drawing, I will use…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

And any place I can set up for drawing, I will find a way…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

Whether we are inside or outside…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

Or in our outdoor classroom…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

We always want to provide opportunities to write…

Fill Your Classroom with Opportunities to Write by Teach Preschool

Links to Grow On

Ten Tips for Keeping a Journal in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Five Tips for Taking Journals Outside by Teach Preschool

Pizza Toss Drawing Game by Teach Preschool

By | April 11th, 2016|Categories: Drawing, Language Arts|Tags: , , , |7 Comments

The weather helper in preschool

Every morning after the children come to preschool, we settle into our morning group time and talk about the weather. It’s been interesting how much learning, growth, and development I have seen stem from this simple process of documenting and talking about the weather.

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

Miss Abby and I both take similar approaches to documenting the weather each day. Miss Abby has the younger students while I work with the PreK students so you will see from the photos that the children are at various stages of development in their ability to draw symbols, hold a writing tool, and share their ideas with us.

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

Each day, our weather helper of the day is asked to draw their weather picture on our small clip board.  Some of our students begin the year with lots of “scribbles” but to the child, every scribble has a story to tell.

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

Sometimes, the child goes over to the window to draw on his or her weather chart. We find going to the window and touching the window helps the children to recognize what the weather is like that day more fully (cold, hot, sunny, cloudy, and so on). Going to the window also inspires more conversation and we can ask questions like “What do you see?” “How does the window feel to your hand?” “Did you need a coat on today?” And so on…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

And some children may already know what they want to draw so they stay in the helper chair and get to work…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

We then ask the children to tell us about their drawing and they will tell us things like “It is cloudy” or “It is sunny and rainy.”  There is no right or wrong answer and we don’t challenge their weather stories, we simply document the words that the children use on their paper.

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

And then we share and sing about the weather with the whole group using some of the weather words the child has chosen to share with us that day. One of the greatest things about all of this is that I have never had the children question or be critical about each other’s drawings. The children seem to accept their difference in drawing styles easily. Now they may challenge each other on what the weather is like. One child may say it is sunny and warm when there is snow on the ground and the others will challenge this but the children still stay more focused on discussing the weather. Of course, we as teachers also treat each drawing as it is a prize possession because each one really is.

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

After singing about our weather, we place the weather chart on our weather board so we can continue with our weather pattern throughout the week. On some days, we go back and review the weather and on other days, we move on to our next thing. It all depends on where the conversation leads us and the interests of the children.

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

As the year progresses, we begin seeing changes in the children’s drawings. Lines for raindrops often start to show up…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

And circles with lines for sunshines start to be added to their drawings…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

The drawings gradually become less scribble and more defined…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

And by the end of the year, many of our older students are turning their weather chart into full weather stories with people and symbols. The children will begin to tell us stories such as “It’s sunny and cloudy and this is me and my friends playing outside.”…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

We print the weather words that the children give us on the weather chart and sometimes will even print out the full story. We always add the child’s initials and date the document as well. All weather charts are saved and put into the child’s portfolio to give parents at the end of the school year. It is a wonderful collection of drawings that are meaningful and demonstrate progress, understanding, and skills throughout the school year…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

I posted a brief note about the weather helper on my Instagram awhile back and one of the comments was that her student’s wouldn’t be able to sit still and wait for the child to draw the weather. So I thought I would also share how we manage this process.

  • First, it is important to note that we do not have a long, set routine of other things we do in the morning circle. Our weather is the most important part of our morning routine and then we move onto our story and other activities for the day.
  • Second, on some days, this process goes by very quickly – only taking a couple of minutes – and on other days, it can take longer (especially as the children get older).
  • Third, I’ve been doing this for four years now and every year it just keeps getting more intriguing to me. I started out making it a quick routine but over time, I realized that it had the potential to be so much more so we always take our time to really explore, talk about, and investigate the weather through this process.
  • Fouth, I find that as the children document their weather symbols and stories, they become more interested in the weather and the process is so much more meaningful. I will never use a preprinted weather symbol again – not because it is wrong to do so – but because once you fully embrace a process similar to this and see the results, it’s a game-changer on what works the best.

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

Finally, as the children become more interested in this process and want to draw more elaborate weather stories, I have had to come up with a few short routines we can do to keep the children from getting bored while we wait. Some days we need these routines and other days we don’t. We do things like pass around our letter board for the children to talk about and trace with their finger…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

Or we use the time to have conversations about other things we are or will be exploring that week…

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

And there are some days when the weather is so interesting, we all just stop and join our helper at the window and everyone discusses the weather together while our helper continues to draw.

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

I hope I haven’t lost you on this rather lengthy post but I wanted to do my own documenting of our weather helper process as it is a process I have really grown to love and believe in. I’ve seen children feel so accomplished, build confidence, and build new skills with this short morning routine and it just gets me all excited!

The Weather Helper by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

What will the weather be today? by Teach Preschool

Graphing the Weather by Teach Preschool

Weather Word Wall Art by Teach Preschool

Cloud in a Jar by Teach Preschool

Exploring Raindrops and Clouds by Teach Preschool

By | April 2nd, 2016|Categories: Circle Time, Drawing|Tags: , , |19 Comments

A portrait of bear

The children were invited to draw and frame a portrait of their bears as a very nice way to celebrate the first day of spring with their bears…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

The portrait center was open all throughout the morning so the children could stop by anytime to draw a portrait (no appointment was necessary)…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

After drawing the bear, the children could add a beautiful handcrafted construction paper frame to their drawing…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

Drawing a bear portrait gave the children a chance to really look their bears over and talk about what they liked best about their bears…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

Not everyone chose to draw a portrait for their bear but for those who did, the portraits were of such high artistic quality that they needed hung up in the bear art gallery…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

I think it is about time to wrap up my story about our Bear Wake Up Party so let me leave you with a few more highlights of how the children chose to spend their time with the bears. Some of the children chose to read our class book with their bears…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

Some of the children wanted to read their journals to their bears…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

Most of the bears took time to eat a big breakfast of pancakes at the feeding station…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

And the children enjoyed a special treat during snack to celebrate spring and for taking such good care of their bears…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

Only some of the children chose to take their bears outside for play…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

But all of the children took time to play with their bears in some way because as we all know, every good bear learns best through play…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

And because our students are incredible bear keepers, every bear received lots of hugs and attention all throughout the day…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

Now that our bear checklists were completed, the bears are ready to go to their new home with the children and hopefully sleep in a soft, cozy, warm bed for the night…

A portrait for bear by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Wake up Bear by Teach Preschool

Tucking our bears in for a long winter’s nap by Teach Preschool

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

Bears need exercise too! By Teach Preschool

Time to Hibernate by Teach Preschool

By | March 31st, 2016|Categories: Drawing, Spring|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Map game and drawing in preschool

As we continued our exploration of maps, the children were invited to explore this simple DIY table top map and drawing game.

Tabletop Maps by Teach Preschool

Like with most games I make for the children to explore, the process is very open ended. Even if I have an objective in mind, the children often take the idea and change it to make sense to them. For set up, I used tape on a large sheet of paper to map out roads then set out cards with simple maps of the roads for the children to take their cars and follow the maps from one end of the map to the other.

Tabletop Maps by Teach Preschool

It didn’t take long before the children began drawing their own mini-maps or directions for the cars to follow.

Tabletop Maps by Teach Preschool

And soon the children began adding details to our large group road map such as houses and trees. After all, it is more interesting to drive from one side of town to the other if you have someone you wish to visit or a little scenery to look at along the way.

Tabletop Maps by Teach Preschool

By the end of the morning, our city map was filled with houses and mini-maps giving us all kinds of directions to travel from one place to another.

Tabletop Maps by Teach Preschool

It reminded us of our book we read earlier that morning about all kinds of maps.

Tabletop Maps by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Simple Exploration of Maps

More Maps in Preschool

Neighborhood Under Construction

T is for Treasure Maps on Preschool Daze

 

By | March 8th, 2015|Categories: Creative Art, Drawing, Games|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Yarn drawings in preschool

Towards the middle to end of our school year, I like to introduce different kinds of drawing and easel paint starters. I wait until later in the school year so that the children spend the first part of their school year exploring the drawing and painting process without too much prompting from me. This is one example of a simple yarn drawing prompt the children explored…

Yarn Drawings by Teach Preschool

The most important part, in my mind, of using a drawing prompt is to first have a reason behind the prompt. In this case, we had read the book titled “Extra Yarn” by Mac Barnett and then talked about different ways we can use yarn…

Yarn Drawings by Teach Preschool

The reading of our book and the discussion on yarn gives the children context as to why the yarn is on their paper. when using a drawing prompt, I glue the prompt on the paper ahead of time so the focus stays on the drawing process rather than on gluing or designing with yarn. We saved the gluing and designing with yarn for another time…

Yarn Drawings by Teach Preschool

Each child chose a yarn prompt from the table to draw on. They could integrate the drawing prompt anyway they wished in their drawing…

Yarn Drawings by Teach Preschool

Sometimes, the children may have an idea of what they want to draw and other times, the children just begin drawing and are surprised by the results. And other times, the children just use the drawing prompt as a starting point for creating designs and color…

Yarn Drawings by Teach Preschool

There is no right or wrong to drawing with a drawing prompt. It is simply a way to invite children to explore the drawing process beyond what they would normally do…

Yarn Drawings by Teach Preschool

I always have extra drawing prompts on hand because some children will want to draw more than one and sometimes a child will get started and then realize something they could do that is different and want to start again…

Yarn Drawings by Teach Preschool

The photos you are viewing today are from my prekindergarten class but I also explore drawing prompts with my threes and fours. I am hoping to share more of our drawing prompts and easel starters as I have the time…

Yarn Drawings by Teach Preschool

But to see some of the past posts on ways we promote different types of drawing you can see the links below…

Sunny day cube drawings from Teach Preschool

A Sunny Day Drawing Cube

Still life flower drawings by Teach Preschool

Still Life Flower Drawings

Rainy Day Chalk Drawings

 Rainy Day Chalk Drawings

Available on Amazon

By | June 8th, 2014|Categories: Drawing|Tags: , |1 Comment

Mini-plexiglass easels for the preschool classroom

Window markers and dry-erase crayons are a new addition to my classroom this year. I purchased them in part to use on my large plexiglass easel thoughout the school year but I also wanted to provide some unique opportunities for individual writing and drawing…

I often use sign holders for displaying my Teach Preschool posters when I go to conferences or community events. I had several clear Plexiglass sign holders stashed away so I figured I might as well put them to good use…

Normally, you stand the sign holders up on the base but for drawing on them, I tipped the Plexiglass signs back which made a nice easel-like surface…

When I put out crayons for Wy to use, he usually gives a quick scribble then is ready to move on to something else. The combination of new writing tools and a new writing surface has peeked Wy’s interest in the drawing process a little more effectively…

The window crayon does wipe off of the Plexiglass easel with a paper towel but I found that if the paper towel is slightly damp, it wipes off much easier. I am going to play around with different materials to see if any of them work better than another for wiping off the markings without having to get them damp…

For the beginning of the school year, I will set the easels out on the table as an alternative way to explore the drawing process. Eventually, I will add other dimensions of play and exploration using these little Plexiglass easels but for now, I want the children to just explore the easels, the markers, and the process…

Don’t forget that Friday is the last day you can enter to win the Give-Away sponsored by National School Supply.

And if you have a minute – I would love it if you would take the time to vote for Teach Preschool over at Parent’s Magazine!

More colorful rainbow fun in preschool

Today the prekindergarten class created these colorful rainbows…

They began by drawing lines with markers…

The canvas they used was two sheets of paper towels cut into the shape of a rainbow…

The teacher put a sheet of wax paper under each paper towel rainbow shape so the rainbows could easily be picked up and set aside to dry after they were finished…

After the children finished drawing the lines of their rainbows – then they sprayed the lines with water from a small water bottle…

The children had a tendency to want to hold the water bottle right on top of the paper towel – so the teacher had to remind them to hold the water bottle up a bit. But this was to no avail – they really liked spraying the water as close to the rainbow as they could get:)

As the water landed on the paper towel – the colors of the rainbow began to spread out creating a tie dye effect…

This was a terrific activity and the children just couldn’t wait until they could take a turn to make their own rainbow!

See more rainbow ideas here and be sure to add your preschool rainbow idea to the Rainbow Linky!

Rainbow books available on Amazon…

     

  

By | March 17th, 2011|Categories: Drawing|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Add the picture after you frame it up in preschool

Today, the kindergarten class tried out our new window markers….

Only we didn’t use them on the windows  – instead we used them on the glass cover of a picture frame…

In some of the picture frames, we inserted pre-drawn shapes like circles or dots or even a house and the children drew over the shapes on the glass…

In other frames we left the white paper background blank so the children could just draw freely…

I thought trying the picture frames would be a nice twist to the use of window markers and learned a few things along the way…

Like it is easier to clean the glass frames if you use a baby wipe or a slightly damp paper towel. If you get it too wet it runs all over the place…

And if you buy too cheap of frames like I did, the glass starts to slide around a bit but that really didn’t keep us from enjoying the process. I got my frames at target for $1.

The children liked having a variety of backgrounds in the frames to use as a starter drawing…

Both boys and girls equally participated and took their time with their drawings…

The crayon version of the window markers gets all over your hands after a bit of heavy coloring but washes off easily with soap and water…

The children liked that you could prop up your frame for display after they finished coloring…

The colors were bright and vibrant and the children had a really good time with this idea…

I purchased the window markers, window crayons, and the frames all from Target….

To see how these actually work on windows – check out this post by The Artful Parent!

By | January 25th, 2011|Categories: Drawing|Tags: , |21 Comments