Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dolch Sight Word Cards

Available HERE. Includes:

All 220 Dolch sightword cards
Levels are color coded for ease of level identification when using differentiated instruction. I used ROYGBIV for the basis,
·         Red- Pre-k/Pre-primer
·         Orange – Kindergarten/Primer
·         Green – 1st
·         Blue – 2nd
·         Violet – 3rd
These cards can be used as flash cards, word walls, for fly swatter “Word Swat,” hunt and find, alphabetization, sentence creation, etc.

The sightword cards in pre-writing print
Cut out, laminate to be come dry-erasable, hole punch, place onto a carbineer clip, and children can practice by level or a specific group of words the teacher determines.

BINGO cards
6 BINGO cards for each sightword level are included, covering all words, for small group instruction.
Two sets can also be printed out, one set made into individual cards, and used as a matching center activity, Go Fish game, I Have Who Has, etc.

Word List
Color-coded and black/white.

Tags: Dolch, flashcards, pre-writing, cards, pre-primer, preprimer, primer, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, complete, list, emergent, reading, lanugage, literacy, early, read, vocabulary, spelling, center, sentence, word, words, sentences, building, language, 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Transportation Collage w/Template

Little Stars Learning

This is an art/craft collage that I created for my preschoolers to do along with their TRANSPORTATION theme/unit. We do a 4-week unit covering air, water, land and rails. Each week the children created one section to go along with that week's focus. 

It is sized to fit on 18 inch by 12 inch sketch pad paper I got at WalMart in the school supply section. It's also available at the craft stores. It is at Amazon for $11.60 with free Prime shipping. The lowest price I found on-line is at Discount Office Supply for $5.78 + tax + shipping.

I  printed out the template pieces onto cardstock and cut them out:

I provided a choice of colored construction paper for the children to choose from, asking them to pick a new color for each item. They got to choose how many portholes on the ship, 2 or 3 little wheels on the train, front and/or back headlights on the car. They traced them and cut them out with teacher-assist scissors with me. then I helped them position the main components before they glued them down.

FYI - the completed car on the picture above is missing the square window on the door, template piece in the upper right corner.

Fine Motor tracing, cut, paste/glue, placement
Math shapes including trapezoid/half-circle/dome, comparison of small/medium/large in shapes
Art  color choice and composition
Science  discussing elements in relation to their actual function in life

Tags: transportation, theme, unit, boat, ship, plane, airplane, train, ship, boat, sailboat, template, collage, color, shapes, math, art, craft, cut, paste, glue, tracing, kids, kid, child, child's, daycare, childcare, care, preschool, kindergarten, first, grade, second

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

3D Handprint Spiders and Webs

It seems as if we just can't do anything simple around here anymore! So in our fine new tradition, we created these AMAZING spider webs and handprint spiders.

First, we took the paper plates I had recently bought for another craft, and cut in around the edge. The paper plate had neatly spaced fold lines that we used as a guide and cut in the depth of the first lip of the plate.

The children then chose the yarn they wished to use. I tied a knot into one end and placed it under a cut. The children were instructed to pick a slot on the opposite side of the plate, anywhere on the other half.

I helped them string it across into the slot they picked [2 1/2-3 year-olds], pulled it taught, and asked them which slot, to the left or right of the one the string was currently through, they wished to come back up through.

We brought it up and again they picked a slot on the other side, with encouragement to pick an open one.

We made tried to hit every slot at least once, but the randomness is what gives it it's great texture and movement.

We then traced their handprints with a white pencil, a white crayon would also work, overlapping the palms of both hands to form the body.

These we cut out, added google eyes, and I folded the fingers down from the body and up about a 1/2 inch from the bottom to make the spiders stand up on the web.

The children chose how to face their webs, marking the TOP of it. Then they chose where to place their spider on their webs and which direction they would face.

Where the feet met yarn, we added a good dollop of glue and placed that foot on top. If it wouldn't stick and I needed it to for stability, I added a clothespin while it dried.

I added string, and we hung them in the play area. The children LOVE them and are very proud of these.

A very fun, tactile, and multi-skill craft.

Fine Motor tracing, cutting, gluing, lacing, sorting and placing google eyes
Sensory yarn, cut edges of plate, smoothness of plate
Math directional placement, lines, diagonal, intersection, perpendicular, 2/4/8, same, different, symmetry, opposite, half, logic/reasoning 
Art creative expression, lines, symmetry, tracing, cutting, lacing, gluing, placement
Tags: theme, unit, fall, autumn, Halloween, spider, craft, art, preschool, daycare, child, care, childcare, yarn, paper, plate, cut, paste, glue, scissors, handprint, hand, print, lacing, fine motor, 3D

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Freebie

For my followers, here's a little Halloween freebie...

I have my students use green clothes pins for the beginning sound, red for the ending sound, and blue for the number. They can be made self-correcting by adding the appropriate color dots onto the back side. Any other type of counter/marker, even dry erase markers if laminated, can be used. 

Be sure to go over the words with them first. For instance, I used SKULL rather than skeleton, since it was just the head.

The graphics go along with my new Halloween Haunt Count counting file folder game where the children put the appropriate skull number or number word onto the window. It is packaged with a jack-o-lantern face matching game with 32 face cards and game board. The cards can also be used for games of Concentration or Go Fish, working shape recognition and vocabulary. There is also a spider color/counting mini-book. Notice that the webs all match the number as well with that many sides. All for $1.00 on TPT.

I also just put up a cute Batty Numbers file folder game where the children will put the number and number word wings on the goofy little bat with same number of dots on his belly. I purposefully put the first page 0-6 so that younger children could work the lower numbers separate from the higher numbers. Even younger preschoolers can accomplish this with a word wall to reference for the number words.

I also included a pre-writing Bb bat worksheet and an upper and lowercase alphabet worksheet. All for $1.00 on TPT.

Graphics custom created and under full copyright. Customization available.
Spanish versions available upon request.
Tags: printable, card, Halloween, bat, haunted, house, vampire, ghost, werewolf,  letters, alphabet, writing, worksheet, reading, phonics, counting, number, numbers, word, words, center, theme, unit, math, language, arts, file, folder, game, file folder game, matching, concentration, go fish, pumpkin, witch, bat, mummy, pre-writing, digraphs, letter, sound, frankenstein, skull, skeleton, free, preschool, daycare, child, care, kid, kids, children

Friday, October 19, 2012

Portrait Color & Write

I made up these coloring and writing pages to begin their reading and writing experience. Everything is more meaningful if it is personal. They LOVED them! They colored one today to take home and another is laminated to be used here as a self-selected activity with dry erase markers.
Name blocked on purpose.
To make, I simply used my picture editing software to increase the brightness and contrast until I got an outline image. I saved it as a JPEG, added it to my word processing program, and added the lines and text. A light gray font color could be used instead of the dotted.

Original Image
Even though their cognitive abilities may be advanced and capable of beginning to read, their fine motor ability is more developmentally in line with their age. I have no expectation of them being able to write legible script anytime soon. I am not a fan at all of "worksheets," but this is intended to be a meaningful COLORING SHEET for self-selected practice that they can CHOOSE to work:
  • Tracing
  • Staying on a line
  • Letter formation
  • Left-right convention
  • Beginning sight words
  • Fine motor muscle development
  • Tripod grasp
Tags: preschool, pre-k, homeschool, homeschooling, writing, fine motor, tripod grasp, sight words, worksheet

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Little Old Lady Flannel Board

One of our favorite books of all time for Halloween, a very fun interactive story. The children love doing all the movements.

Here's the FREE flannel board set we use along with the book, and as a self-selected activity for story sequencing with our ordinal count number cards. 

Tags: Halloween, fall, autumn, unit, theme, holiday, printable, kids, kid, children's, book, little old lady who was not afraid of anything, little, old, lady, afraid, anything, flannel, board, sequencing, story, daycare, childcare, care, preschool, free, scarecrow, pumpkin, jack-o-lantern, felt, theme, unit

Friday, October 12, 2012

Columbus Day Handprint Ships

Yeah, I know, everyone is doing them. But I still had to post, because look at the AMAZING scissor control on this 2 1/2 year old!! She cut all of her own sails, then insisted on cutting some more.
So here is our version...
In the morning,

  • We started by painting the top 1/3 of our paper with a good dollop of white paint. 
  • Then the dark blue was added to the bottom and the children were instructed to begin painting from the bottom up and to cover all the white space.
We discussed light, dark, shades and mixing.
Yep, that's mine, and yep, I blobbed my brown and heard about it!

We let that dry and in the afternoon, 
  • The children chose which hand(s) to paint brown and stamp and did so
We let those dry over night and the next day they,
  • Cut sails out of white paper and glued those onto their masts
  • Pulled apart and glued on cotton balls for clouds

This one got tired of cutting, so tore the paper instead. Still fine motor!

I think they did great for 2 1/2-3!!

Since they are early preschoolers, and I wanted this to be more of a process rather than product piece, we didn't do fancy anything with names, labels, crosses on the sails, etc. If they were older and more adept at cutting, I may have had them cut red strips to add as crosses, and if writing, I would have had them choose which ship(s) they had on there and write the name on the side of the ship(s) and possibly added a Columbus Day label. Maybe in a couple of years.

Here are two more sneak peeks at our new art studio, in addition to the first pic above. Post to come once all the finishing touches are completed. It's so bright and sunny and wonderful to have all our supplies readily at hand at all times.

Follow Connie -'s board Columbus Day Theme on Pinterest.
Tags: hand, print, handprint, columbus, day, columbus day, art, craft, history, paint, painting, cut, paste, fine motor, studio, space, room, theme unit, preschool, daycare, care, child, childcare, child care

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Flesh Tone Play Dough Tutorial

  • Non-Toxic
  • Refrigerate for extended use, up to 6 months  
  • Airtight container needed           
We have been having a BLAST with our Pumpkin Pie Play Dough, and have made a dozen colors with our play dough recipe, but no flesh tone ones! As we enter into the Thanksgiving and holiday season, we usually enter into additional discussions about multicultural aspects to our national and world population, and to our own multicultural histories.

Since I was experimenting, and figured most of you would want to have more than one shade, I made only quarter batches and the recipes to match. If you want a larger batch, you can double, triple or quadruple the instructions, or follow the directions for the basic play dough recipe and simply quadruple the color changes.

Our play dough recipe is based upon Koolaid to provide the scent and color, I began with that. However, the store is not currently carrying the true red cherry. I found the watermelon-cherry contained a lot of blue that made the ratio off. However, it did provide a nice pinky peach flesh tone. 

While what was suppose to be brown, equal parts yellow/red/blue came out more of a gray/blue, after I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of yellow, we can use that for sick or elderly people and discuss why they lack color and may look blue [lack of movement/circulation/blood flow/oxygen in their systems]. I couldn't see any hope for creating brown out of the Koolaid without knowing the ratio of colors within them.

KOOLAID RECIPE-Pinky Peach Color
3/4 C Flour
1/8 C Salt
3/8 teaspoon Yellow Koolaid
1/4 teaspoon Red Koolaid
1/8 teaspoon Blue Koolaid
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/4 C Boiling water
2 t Canola/vegetable oil

Stir to combine well, when cool enough, kneed with hands to smooth and elastic consistency. 

So, I moved on to liquid food coloring. Surprisingly, this was not for sale in my grocery store. I looked because I thought I may run out, and really, I can't ever have too much miscellaneous stuff on hand. I went with the standard ratio for TAN, which came out a good flesh-toned color. I then tried BROWN and it came out very similar, only SLIGHTLY browner and darker. Then I tripled the amount of color for BROWN to see if I could get it darker. Again, I seemed to have too much blue in it, even though I knew the ratio to be correct, so added in some more yellow and red. It went from bluish to greenish, but there are a lot of olive skinned people out there, so I felt pretty happy about that one. It looks brown on its own, it just looks olive next to the other brown ones. I also added in a few drops of peppermint or almond extract to make it smell yummy.

3/4 C Flour
1/8 C Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/4 C Boiling water
2 teaspoons Canola/vegetable oil
Food Coloring [color combinations below]
4 drops of clear extract: peppermint, almond, lemon, strawberry, etc.

Stir to combine well, when cool enough, kneed with hands to smooth and elastic consistency. 


TAN: 3 drops yellow, 2 drops red, 1 drop blue
BROWN [darker tan]: 3 drops EACH yellow, red, blue
OLIVE/BROWN: 10 drops yellow, 8 drops red, 6 drops blue

So then I moved on to the spices. I have made a cinnamon salt dough every Christmas to make ornaments for gifts, smells DIVINE on the tree, but never play dough. While in the spice cabinet, I decided we needed some red-tinged Native Americans and maybe some copper skinned Hispanics. The spices seemed to absorb the water more, so I had to up that amount for these.

5/8 C Flour
1/8 C Spice
1/8 C Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/4 C + 2 teaspoons Boiling Water
2 teaspoons Canola/vegetable oil

Stir to combine well, when cool enough, kneed with hands to smooth and elastic consistency. 

*Some children may have skin sensitivity to some spices, 
including chili pepper and cinnamon. 
Watch out for that!

The cocoa came out a rich dark brown, the cinnamon a slightly lighter brown, the chili powder ended up more for freckly sunburned red-heads rather than Native Americans, which works, and the taco seasoning came out pretty good for those with a more red/orange cast to their complexion. 

My mind continued to race, and I contemplated food!! 
One time use only! 
Whirling up some animal crackers in my Magic Bullet and using them for a tan, or graham crackers. 1/8 C Applesauce for some of the liquid, 1/8 C peanut butter for some of the dry and reduce the liquid by a teaspoon, ketchup/mustard & blue food coloring in the TAN ratio above, dark balsamic vinegar or salad dressing in place of the liquid, brown sugar in the spice recipe, molasses in place of some liquid and reduce the dry some, pumpkin puree, BBQ sauce, terriyaki sauce...

But I'm out of time. Japanese festival to get to with the family. Those will have to wait for another day...


  • It is SUPER IMPORTANT to mix wet and dry colorants with their counterparts before adding to the other. It's not that they won't be incorporated and color, but it will take a TON of kneeding on your part to get the color consistent throughout. 
  • The result should have the consistency of...PLAY DOH! Seriously, if you make this a few times you'll just begin to KNOW when it is perfect. The recipe is pretty fool proof if followed exactly, but once you start messing around with it, then some tweeking may be needed. It should be soft, squishy, not sticky, not crumbly. It should easily roll into a smooth ball, and when that ball is flattened, the edges should stay smooth and not crumble or separate. If too sticky, add a little more flour and if too dry, add a little more water, and kneed it in WELL before adding any more. 
  • If you want to tweek the color of a finished batch using Koolaid, mix together the ratio of colors you want, add just enough water to liquify and kneed into play dough a little at a time until satisfied. If necessary, add additional flour as needed.
  • If you want to tweek the color of a finished batch using liquid colors, mix the colors together first and kneed into the playdough, add additional flour as needed.
  • I just use the 1/4 C measuring cup rather than my liquid measuring cup for the water. The recipe comes out fine and it's just easier for me.
  • For a blush color, stick a toothpick into red food coloring and swirl into the water to just tinge it to your desired tone, or use just an 1/8 teaspoon of red Koolaid.
For Tags: play, dough, play doh, flesh, tone, tones, koolaid, spice, home made, home, made, no cook, sensory, mat, multicultural, skin, brown, tan, peach, play dough, flesh tone play dough, flesh tone play doh, playdoh, making, craft, art, tutorial, daycare, care, child, preschool, kindergarten, lesson, smell, scent, color, coloring, theme, unit

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Red Rover Tag with a Teaching Twist

The preschoolers 2 1/2-3, started playing RED ROVER with me this morning. Another simple game that has AMAZING learning potential. [Skills listed at end of post.] I came up with this about 8 years ago. We play it differently, more like tag...less aggressive, no intentional contact between children, with a LOT OF FUN AND LEARNING!!

I usually get tired of the game long before they do and it is a great tool for reinforcing learning concepts, some very subtle, that the children are unaware they are even learning, but I do.

Usually we have bigger kids for the younger ones to learn this game from, but that hasn't been the case for a while. Plus, you really need a GROUP, i.e. three or more children who are old enough, to play. So this was all new to this bunch of kiddos.

They line up and I call out misc. things like, "
RED ROVER, RED ROVER, send people wearing GREEN right over!" and the children all have to run around me and back to the line while I try to tag them. Some of the call outs I used today: girls, boys, who ever has brown hair, someone who's name starts with an H/A/G, who is 3, who has their jacket zipped up.

For the green, Miss A had to look to the leaves on a flower on her jacket and Miss H to a few sequins on her shirt. It was a good lesson in attention to detail. I just kept giving them hints until they found it. Then they ran.
Often, they WANT to be tagged. I'll scoop them up and whirl them around before letting them run off squealing and giggling. 

The children have to be old enough to be able to have some deductive reasoning and observation skills before they can play in relation to the call outs. In a mixed age group, the younger ones just run with the big kids. However, they are still learning. They learn to:
  • wait until I say OVER to run 
  • to run back to the starting point 
  • to go around me left to right [they always go around me left to right to work that convention!]
  • to elude me 
  • to evaluate space so as not to get run over by the bigger ones 
  • gross motor/coordinated movement 
Sample call outs for early preschoolers.
  • color on outfit 
  • type of shoe such as sandal or tennis shoe 
  • zipped or unzipped jacket 
  • have buttons on their clothes 
  • have something in their hair [barrettes, ties] 
  • color of hair 
  • boy/girl 
  • first letter of name 
  • like [ice cream, cookies, candy, pizza] 
  • have a pet named [Otis] 
  • are [age] 
  • short hair/long hair 


 As the children get older, I increase the level of difficulty of the call outs. 

  • advanced colors such as gold, turquoise on clothing 
  • ending letter of [first or last] name 
  • whose first name has [4] letters 
  • [first or last] name that rhymes with [sad] 
  • [first or last] name that starts with same letter as [cat] 
  • has a mother/father named [Steve] 
  • is the same age as [6-1] 
  • has [brown] eyes 
  • whose favorite color is [purple] 
  • who lives in a [white] house 
  • whose mommy drives a [red] car 
  • who is the [oldest/only/youngest] child in their family 
  • who has [two sisters] 
Yep! The grass SO needs cut!


I also call out some random "thinking" questions such as "RED ROVER, RED ROVER send people with TWO BELLY BUTTONS right OVER!" three ears, no brain, two left feet, etc. You can just see the little minds working furiously, most likely contemplating such things as counting their own belly button(s), wondering if the person next to them has two, if ANYONE has two, is it POSSIBLE to have two? Half the time someone will just run for the heck of it and I have to send them back and we have the discussion. If no one runs, then we still discuss.

I also call out easy ones such as people who like ICE CREAM. Of course everyone runs! But then I will also call out something like, people who like BROCCOLI. Again, you can see their little minds working furiously over such questions as, DO I like broccoli? Kinda. Do I like it enough to qualify to run? Hmmmmm. So they begin to quantify their level of liking to assess if, in their own mind, it qualifies. Some pretty advanced thinking for little ones, and self contemplation, courtesy of a very simple, fun game.

We will also do the same thing, only I will call out animals. "RED ROVER, RED ROVER, send BUNNIES right OVER!" and they all hop over and around me, again trying to elude me, and I'm the same animal, or a predator, for example sheep and wolf. We establish that prior to call out. In advanced play, I will occasionally call out an animal good at camoflouge and say that I can't see them, they blend into the grass. This usually gets a lot of giggles. Especially when I say, "I hope they don't get on me [grab me, pull my hand, etc.], because I can't see them! Their camoflouge is TOO GOOD!" Yep, you can image what happens after that!

I try to make certain that the children get an equal amount of runs in, and that no one is left waiting for more than two turns. But I also want them to learn to be patient and wait until they KNOW their run is legitimate to them. I AM wearing the color green. I DO have two sisters, My dad's name IS Steve. I DO have a dog named Otis. I LOVE broccoli!

This is kind of our outside group circle time. We will begin to do this when we first go outside every day, varying the skill sets and questions, increasing the difficult or tailoring it to specific themes and lesson objectives.

Social: listening, patience, focus, cooperation, following directions, truthfulness, ability to discuss and defend choices and decisions
Math: numbers, counting, logic/reasoning, deduction, shapes, math concepts, sizes
Literacy:  left/right convention [the direction they go around me, always!], letters, sounds, vocabulary
Science: anatomy, deduction
Art: colors, shapes
Gross Motor: sense of space as they try to either elude me or get tagged in a running group, coordinated movement, direction
Identity: sense of self, sense of body, likes/dislikes, personal information, conviction, self-confidence
Multicultural: understanding and acceptance of differences between themselves and their friends
Tags: recess, tag, red rover, red, rover, learning, teaching, kid, kids, group, play, social, emotional, body, skill, children, boy, girl, run, running, following directions, logic, reasoning, deductive reasoning, gross motor, game, preschool, child, care, childcare, daycare, outdoor, outside

Monday, October 1, 2012

Autumn/Fall Items w/FREEBIE

A great pre-writing worksheet for children to work following a curve and practicing letter formation on the word PUMPKIN.

New File Folder Game just added to TPT!

At it's core, a simple color matching game. For children with more advanced skills, also included is shapes, counting 1-12, shape words, color words, and number words. The shirt manipulatives can be divided in half for additional game play opportunities. For older students, math facts equal to the button quantities can be added.

I purposefully placed similar colors together to work observation skills and logic/reasoning. 

Tags: free, printable, pumpkin, halloween, fall, autumn, coloring, crayon, drawing, writing, fine motor, fine, motor, pencil, kids, child, children's, child's, preschool, daycare, care, kindergarten, math, shapes, colors, center, reading, sight, words, sight words, number, color, shape, word, matching, scarecrow, file, folder, game, file folder game,