Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chocolate Playdough

I've enjoyed several different seasonal playdoughs this year, including pumpkin spice and gingerbread. I found a recipe for chocolate playdough and thought I'd try it out for Valentine's Day. It smelled so delightful!

Stirring it in the pan. Looks good enough to eat! (I'm sure several of my kiddos tried!) 

Making chocolates

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Mess = Chocolate Fun

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dresser Conversion

This was once an old dresser. We removed the top three drawers, did some sanding, painted the inside, and added some hooks for hanging. Leaving the bottom drawer helps, as it triples the amount of dress-up clothes that fit. 
Happy playing, little ones!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What They Do Best is Play

I was taking a lot of deep breaths. For some reason, every wiggle and question and holler was getting to me. Some days are like that. I tried to remind myself that I loved my job, but I just wasn't believing it. We were trying to do a big book lesson on the rug. Then we were transitioning and walking in a line. Next was guided reading groups and our center rotation.

An hour later we started free choice. Being allowed an hour of free choice play is the reason I keep my job. It's the reason I work at my school and not another.

They all chose their center, and then I sat down for a minute, nerves ready to jump. I looked out at my children READY to think, "Boy, are they crazy today!" That's when I noticed that they weren't. I saw two children making puppets out of paper bags. Three more were diligently putting highlighter tape on the words in a book. I noticed one child was making roads and another was building a tower. Two of them were very concentrated on copying all of their friend's names. Another was stacking pop cubes by colors and counting which one had the most. One was writing a book about how much she loved her family. Three more had opened a beauty shop with salon chairs they made themselves.

They weren't switching centers left and right. They weren't hollering at each other or pouting. They were playing. They had chosen what they wanted to play. Is it always that calm? Of course not, but it is by far the easiest time of the day.

I thought about that quote I read all the time, "Play is the work of childhood." 

Of course they were antsy in reading groups. They are five. Of course they were wiggly on the rug. They are five. Of course they were loud in line. They are five.  

Their job should be to play. They won't waste time. They'll write and read and imagine and build and measure and count and create. They'll do it without being asked... because it is their instinct to play.

Oh, Lovely Mud!

Joy Cowley's classic Mrs. Wishy Washy is a yearly favorite and is a perfect story for re-telling. Our chocolate playdough made perfect mud, and a couple of girls loved reading the story over and over while acting out the scenes from this beloved story. 

"Oh lovely mud!" said the cow, and she jumped in it. 

Along came Mrs. Wishy Washy. "In the tub you go!" 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Who Needs Technology?

Technology: Grand Central Station Set Up

My mom kept telling me, "When I taught preschool, the technology center was the most popular one we set up all year!" So, around February, when we were studying a bit of communication, I finally started pulling out my broken laptops, telephones, cameras, and even an old printer. "Who knows?" I thought, "Perhaps they'll become journalists!"

Two weeks later I called my mom up, "Well", I said, "you were right about that technology center being popular. Everyone wants to go there" She seemed pleased as punch, but I went on to explain that it wasn't exactly how she had described it.

You see, after the initial excitement, my students had very little notice of my broken equipment. They had, however, someone developed a great interest in paper and markers... something that they didn't seem to realize has always been available. I couldn't pass by without cocking my head in amazement, chuckling to myself, and snapping a couple of more pictures. It went on like this for at least a couple of weeks.

See here for yourself:
Using the white boards- ignoring the telephones

The old laptop is closed up for a writing surface. 

The printer provides another flat spot for writing.

Using the printer as a fax machine. "Look! I'm sending an e-mail!"