Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

11 FREE simple ways to learn in the natural world

With Earth Day fast approaching, and spring drawing us outdoors, this seems the perfect time to celebrate the natural world around us.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate all that nature has to offer.
11 FREE, simple ways to learn in the natural world, from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

1.  Stomp in puddles.

2.  No puddles?  Play with iceOr mud.

3.  Collect leaves and sort them by size, shape, color, or...?

4.  Collect natural materials outside, and use them to make mandalas.

5.  Sort natural items into things that are seeds, and things that are not.  You might find some surprises!

6.  Create temporary art.

7.  Make a tic tac toe board with sticks, and use rocks & leaves as playing pieces. Find sticks that look like letters.

8.  Lay in the grass and look at clouds.

9.  Look closely at the world around you.  Take a magnifying glass and a notebook, and see what you can observe about the critters and world around you.

10.  Play in the dirt.   Plant things.  Watch them grow.

11.  Take your inside learning outdoors.  Read books under a tree, practice patterns on the playground (up/down, left/right),

count everything,

look for shapes,

play I Spy, write your spelling words in chalk, or paint them with water on the sidewalk, practice numbers with hopscotch.
 Most importantly, think outside the box that is your classroom, put your neck out, and explore. 
Wishing you a glorious time outside!
xo Paula

Friday, April 6, 2018

$100 Gift Card Giveaway!

It's that time again - I'm participating in an awesome $100 TeachersPayTeachers gift card giveaway!  I don't know about you, but my shopping cart has 3 things in it right now, and my wish list is so long it's almost embarrassing - 95 things!  How fun would it be to just go splurge and get lots of those amazing resources right away?!  One lucky winner will get to do just that - enter our giveaway and it might just be you!

Prize: $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)


Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 4/13/18 and is open worldwide.
Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Can You Name This Children's Book?

Can you name the book this quote is from?  It's a lovely children's book by a popular author, fun to use when you're teaching about animals, or as a lead up to Mothers' Day.  Scroll down to see the title...

It's Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle!  How do YOU like to use this one with your students?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Insanely easy math fun that will make your children beg to learn!

 As I walked by the Target Dollar Spot this week, I spotted this little treasure!  200 mini erasers for $3 - and it's packaged in a divided container! 

This is a perfect math activity for our little ones to enjoy this spring.  Think of all the math they can learn as they play:  counting, sorting, graphing, patterning, 1-1 correspondence... there are so many possibilities.
I came up with a few more too - how could you use these for a Venn Diagram?  It's easy enough to make your own blank diagram - simply trace around a large bowl twice, overlapping the two circles as you do.  Can your child sort eggs/things with blue/eggs with blue?  How about bunnies/pink things/pink bunnies?

It would be easy to graph these too: have your child take a handful, and sort them.  Then line them up, and compare the rows of erasers.  What are there the most of?  The fewest?  How many more bunnies than carrots?

Have a slightly older child?  Can they add 3 bunnies and 6 eggs?  Two carrots with blue edges, and 4 carrots with yellow edges?  Can they use the erasers to answer a word problem: If I had 7 eggs, but gave 3 away, how many eggs would be left?

If your child has mastered addition and subtraction, try having them work on early multiplication skills by making a grid with the erasers.  How many is 3 rows of 5?  Can they show 12 erasers in rows and columns?  Can they do it another way?

I'm looking forward to sharing my new eraser collection with the kiddos!  How would you use it?!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

These Awesome Tangrams Will Make Your Students LOVE math!

You're probably familiar with tangrams, the Chinese puzzle made with 7 shapes that form a square - and any number of other things.  They're fun for all ages, simple enough for a child to use, and complex enough to challenge adults: truly a puzzle for children ages 3 - 103.
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!
When I first introduce anything to my students, I like to allow them plenty of time to explore and discover on their own.  This is something I was urged to do way back in teacher training, and 25 years teaching has reinforced.  It's amazing what students will come up with when you let them explore and play!
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!

Next I display a big tangram shape.  I ask students to tell me what they notice.  This is when I usually hear the names of the shapes, some words about size, and there's almost always someone who refers to the "diamond" shape, which is just the square turned onto a corner.  Being a tiny bit silly (who me?) I ask the children what my name is - Ms. Paula.  I then strike various silly poses and ask again - and each time my name is still the same.  It's the same with the square - turn it any which way you like, it's still a square!

Another great word and concept that comes up at this time is parallel.  For most of the children I've taught, that's a new word.  We look around the room for things that are parallel: the sides of our desks, the lines in the ceiling tiles, bookshelves, and more.  Although this is a brief mini lesson, only lasting a minute or so, I carry it over into the rest of the week by noticing or asking children to notice parallel lines around the school.  Pretty soon they have that concept firmly in place.

The next thing I like to do is to hide my tangram, and provide each child with their own tangram and ask then to make me a square.  I bet you can picture which child in your class will be a smarty and hold up the small square!
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!
I challenge them to make a square, and it doesn't take long for someone to use 2 equal sized triangles to do it.  The tangram set includes 2 small triangles and 2 big triangles, so there's more than 1 way to do it - I love telling my students to keep trying and look for another way, it's just the sort of challenge they're eager to figure out!

It's very rare to have a student use all 7 pieces to make a square, in fact, most adults I've met can't figure it out.  I give the children a few minutes to try, and when I sense they're ready, I begin to give them clues.  I show them how to use the 2 big triangles to make half of the square - it's helpful to define the space where the rest of the pieces will go.

These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!
A few minutes later I add the square,
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!
then the medium triangle. 
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!
Eventually all the children get it.
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!

That's my introduction to tangrams - next comes the part I like the best!  I show students pictures that can be made with tangrams, and challenge them to try to make them.  You can find hundreds of tangram puzzle shapes with a quick internet search, or for simplicity, I have a variety of these puzzles available in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!
It's ideal to have both the puzzle and the answer key available, because many students will be challenged to simply rotate and match the shapes, while others will relish the challenge of figuring it all out.  I put them back to back in a page protector, so students can easily flip and check.
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!
Don't have tangrams in your classroom yet, and don't have a budget for them?  No problem!  Download this free print
out, and either cut them ahead of time, or have students cut out their own.  It will save you a lot of confusion if you print them on different colored paper, so students don't mix up their pieces with a neighbor!  5-6 colors is enough - just use what you have available.
These Awesome Tangrams will make your students love math!

I hope you and your students enjoy exploring tangrams together! 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Can You Name This Children's Book?

Who doesn't love children's books?  Chances are good that if you are here on my blog, you share my love for awesome picture books.  After a short hiatus for the holidays, I'm back with my regular Monday series, Can You Name This Children's Book?  Here's this weeks' clue:
Can You Name This Children's Book?  Children's literature series from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
So who knows which book this quote comes from - and yes, the picture is a clue!  Once you think you've got the answer, scroll down to see...

... It's Eric Carle's 10 Little Rubber Ducks.  Stop back by each Monday for another installment, or follow my blog and be in the know.  Have an awesome day everyone!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Can you name this children's book?

Can you name this children's book?  "One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry." - from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Can you hear the music?  Do you want to continue the song / text?  "Hat berry, shoe berry, in my canoe berry."

Need another hint?  This one is by Bruce Degen - it's Jamberry, of course!  To hear the song, check out this youtube video