Sunday, April 21, 2013

Printable Magazine Letters...

There's something that I absolutely love about cutting up old magazines... or perhaps just cutting paper of any type. I find it relaxing,  even meditative in some ways. As a child, I had a thing for cutting paper... making a mess, using the entire roll of tape for one project etc. In high school, I had a shoebox full of colorful images that I had carefully snipped out of the pages of my Teen Beat and Bop magazines that I used to make colorful collages. One day, my mother inadvertently threw them all away one day while I was at school!! I was furious!  I continued collecting magazine snippets throughout college, and had an entire wall of my dorm room practically wallpapered with my favorite images. Even in adulthood, I still find cutting up old magazines strangely relaxing, mind-numbingly different from the rush of my normal life...

In my classroom, Letter Learning Activities are one of my favorite things to do with old magazines! There's something about the random letters from magazines that makes me smile - its whimsy, wonderful... color, crazy, fun! The mess that went along with bringing magazine activities into my classroom made me cringe and we couldn't always find the letters we wanted with the magazines we had available at the time. I literally had boxes of letters, pictures, words and other paper bits at home - so I was inspired to create my popular printable magazine letters! Here are some of my fun letter sets for printing, cutting and pasting:



Printable Magazine Letters available in my TpT or TeacherNotebook shops!



Here's a recent alphabet hunt my students worked on:



Download the Magazine Letter Alphabet Hunt template FREEBIE here.  I'm constantly coming up with new ideas for my letters! I'd love to hear your ideas...


p.s. here's a FREEBIE black and white magazine letter sheet - perfect for making photocopies!

B&W Magazine Letter FREEBIE




Saturday, April 20, 2013

spring, stuck & super busy...

Lately, it's been difficult to find time to post anything new! I'm doing so many things right now, it's nearly impossible to keep up. As my first semester teaching at a nearby college winds down, spring has sprung in preschool and my own toddler seems to have a touch of spring fever!

During the last couple of weeks in my prek classroom, we focused on the emergence of spring, trees and the funny books "Stuck" by Oliver Jeffers. I came across "Stuck" at a local discount store and for a few dollars, it seemed like a cute story. After reading it to my own child, I realized it was more than just cute, I LOVED it! I held my breath that my prek students would love it as much as I did...
Such a silly story!
Late that Saturday night, I furiously created storytelling props and a mini-book based on the story, along with a few simple cut-and-paste activities and an original game - just in time for our return from spring break! Up in a Tree - an early math and literacy unit was born! Check out my free printable mini-book based on the story!



Early Literacy & Math Mini-Unit

Luckily, my students also thought this smart story was laughably funny - even those with severe expressive and receptive language delays thought it was great! Here are some of the thing we did over the last couple of weeks:


Storytelling w/ props on the white board.

With the storytelling props, we practiced oral storytelling, ordering events, naming objects, listening to oral directions w/ 2+ parts, picking items based on attributes/functions, describing & sorting.


Up in a Tree Game - Early Literacy, Math & Social Skills
Close up of game pieces...
We played the game a few different ways, first we only used the object cards & dice for counting practice. Then we introduced the 'special' cards which require the children to follow the corresponding direction: lose a turn, put a card back or share a card with a friend. Adding the special cards made the game take considerably longer & greatly increased the difficulty - the 'share' card was VERY difficult for the children to deal with!

Cut & Paste... funny things in a tree.




The cut and paste worksheet worked well. It took longer than I had anticipated due to the quantity of pieces for coloring, cutting & gluing. We completed it in a couple of mini-sessions with the kids. We even used it for a barrier activity for a couple of students working on following oral directions.
FREE mini-book based on the story.
The mini book was a huge hit! We assembled the books for the students on the first day that we read this story and sent it home with a note telling families about our new book. I received great feedback from families about the mini-book - both the families and children enjoyed reading it together, the kids liked being able to share this silly story with their parents (even without the oral expressive language needed to communicate lots of strange details) and the parents enjoyed being able to talk with their child about school activities.

Unrelated to 'Stuck' activities, I introduced a new letter learning activity for my VERY active preKs. I'm not sure what I call it really - perhaps "Letter Stomp" or "ABC Jump" would be an accurate description...



It's really just ABC's on the floor made out of blue painter's tape. So far we've used them to 'jump names' (i.e. jump on the letters to spell name), match letter magnets to the floor letters, match lowercase letter magnets with uppercase floor letter and line up small items along the lines of the letters to 'make' them... we're still adding the rest of the alphabet and it's still evolving.