I’m excited to announce that I’m finally publishing my FUNetic Farm (Animal Alphabet). This is a phonics-based Early Literacy Curriculum. You can find it in my store on TeachersPayTeachers.com – YAY! It’s been a huge project but it’s finally starting to roll out!
FUNetic Farm is the animal alphabet that children love to sound, sign, sing, spell and eventually read! It is a multi-sensory method that uses fun visuals, lively music, kinesthetic movement, American Sign Language (fingerspelling), manipulatives and FUN!
These FUNetic Farm animal puppets (a – z) will be available on teachers pay teachers next week.
I’ve been developing and tweaking this program for the past seven years. My preschool students LOVE it and we use it every day in my classroom. Now, mid-year, my preschoolers know all of the sounds of the letters and are starting to do word building.
I have a few products up now and lots more ready to go.
This 1st letter, sound matching game is called “pin-it.” The game is “self-correcting” – answers are on the back.
This is a sorting game (called “Sort-It”). Students sort the phonics pictures under the appropriate letter (according to the first letter sound).
Also available from FUNetic Farm: Flashcards, Wall Chart and activities ideas, 26 Animal Alphabet phonics songs, Music demonstration videos, Phonics Activity Sheets, Bingo, Card games, Puppets for Early Literacy and more!
Why play Holiday Bingo the old fashioned way when you can play it with SOUND EFFECTS! My students love listening to the fun and funny holiday sound effects and finding the corresponding pictures on their bingo cards! There are 30 unique playing cards and 44 holiday sound effects! Many people commented on how much they enjoyed playing our Halloween Sound Effects Bingo with their students and with their families so we knew we had to do one for Christmas! This game is for everyone! We’ve played Holiday Sounds Bingo (Christmas Bingo with SOUND EFFECTS) with children age 4 up through adults and everyone has had a great time! Besides being lots of fun, this game also builds skills in auditory and visual processing and memory. It makes a great game for a class party or a family gathering.
During the month of December we study “Children of Many Lands” and “Winter Holidays Around the World.” The children love it. First I teach them the names of the continents and we sing our continents song.
I introduce them to our Montessori Puzzle Map of the World and show them an activity where they can color their own continents map (to make it match the puzzle map). My preschoolers get really excited about this activity.
We also have a set of little dolls that fit inside a “world.” The children are fascinated to learn about children from all around the world. We learn songs and we learn about different holiday traditions and eat some of the food from different countries.
Just before our winter break we have a special Christmas program with the parents. The children sing the songs they’ve learned and then we play a game show “Are You Smarter than a Preschooler?” This is a fun way for the children to share what they’ve learned about winter holiday traditions from around the world. Obviously we can’t learn about ALL countries and customs (not enough weeks in December to do that). We learn about Christmas in America, Germany, China, Russia, Mexico and Australia. We also learn a little about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Last week we learned about Germany. My students were facinated to learn that Gingerbread and Christmas trees originated in Germany. They were also interested to learn that in Germany they call Santa Clause, Kris Kringle. The children enjoyed making gingerbread Kris Kringle cookies to decorate and eat.
My preschoolers were also amazed to learn that Australian children sometimes celebrate Christmas at the beach because December is a summer month in Australia.
This week we are learning about Mexico and China. Next week we’ll learn about Russia.
There are several GREAT websites out there with ideas for teaching Christmas around the world or Winter Holidays around the world. It’s amazing to see all of the projects you can find on the internet, to help you teach your students about children from all over the world. Art projects, music and food projects are a great way to help students to connect with children of other lands and cultures!
Do you have any great ideas for teaching about children from other countries and cultures?
This Christmas Count-Down Chain is an excellent excuse to get your preschool and kindergarten students to practice counting to 20 over and over again! First they count up to twenty or twenty five strips of paper that they need to make the chain (one link for every day until Christmas). Then, as they are making the chain, they put glue on one end of each strip, curve it into a link, connect it to the chain and count to 10 as they hold it in place (this ensures that the links hold together AND gives them more counting practice). As they construct the chain, they count and recount to see if they have enough links on their chain. As you can see, they get lots of practical counting experience with this activity (the counting is not forced, just encouraged in a fun way). Once a student has the right number of links, we tape a real candy cane over the picture of the candy cane.
I also use this activity to teach my students about patterns and I encourage them to make a pattern with their red and green links.
When the chains are completed, students take them home to share with their families. This gives mom and dad a chance to be involved in the “count down to Christmas.” Everyday students remove a link of the chain (and everyday they get more counting practice). On Christmas day they will remove the last link and that means they get to eat the candy cane! It’s fun to see how excited my kids get about their Count-Down to Christmas Chains (and candy canes)!
Preparation: Copy one “Count-Down to Christmas Candy Cane Page” for each student (there are two to a page). This page can be printed in color on white card stock or you can print it on red card stock (with black ink). Cut 1 inch x 8.5 inch strips of red and green paper. Students will use these to make their “count-down chains.” Each student needs one strip of paper for every remaining day until Christmas. We usually do ours on December 5th so that students can practice counting to 20. The first link of the chain is glued directly to the candy cane page (centered at the bottom) so that students can build the chain from there.
This week we took our preschool students on a little nature walk. The children each carried a little brown bag with the label “Treasures from My Nature Walk” and their name written on the front.
It was a perfect Fall activity – simple, but perfect and the kids loved it! They ran around in the crisp Autumn air comparing their ”treasures” to those of their friends. They filled their bags with beautiful Fall leaves of various colors, shapes and sizes.
At recess we created a class art project, with some of the leaves we had collected.
The next day the children created their own leaf collages and/or “leaf people,” using the leaves from their own bag of treasures. At the end of the day each had a beautiful leaf picture, as well as a bag of “treasures” to take home and share with their families. Sometimes the simplest of pleasures can bring the most joy!
When I was a kid my mom bought a “Halloween Sounds” record (yes, I know the “record” part dates me). This year I wanted to create a Halloween activity, with sound effects, that my preschool kids and my own big kids could enjoy. For me Halloween isn’t about creepy and scary, it’s just about fun so I kept the sound effects light hearted and silly. My husband worked his special recording engineer magic on it and POOOOF! Here it is, my “Halloween Bingo AND Halloween Sound Effects” game.
I wanted to see how different age groups enjoyed the game so first I played it with my preschoolers. They did amazingly well and had a great time. Next I played with my husband and teenagers (they liked it too – YAY)! After that I played it with my good friend’s class of first graders. They too had a lot of fun. Their cute giggles at the different Halloween sound effects felt like a big “thumbs up!” I’m so glad they enjoyed it. Thanks, Lindsey (The Teacher Wife) for letting me come and play with your awesome first graders!
Next week we’ll be playing “Spook Alley” for our Halloween party. This is always a class favorite but this year we’ll play it with sound effects. Happy Halloween!!!
My New Blog
Hi! I’m Teresa Starr. Welcome to my new blog! Like you, I LOVE teaching and I LOVE helping children discover and learn!!! I’ve been teaching Early Childhood Learners for over 20 years. I’ve taught preschool, first grade, second grade and homeschool. I currently own and operate a private preschool called, “Little Starr Preschool.”
I’m excited to put my ideas in writing and share them with you. I’m also excited to have you share your ideas with me. I hope you’ll join me on my blogging journey. Blogging is a new thing for me so I appreciate your patience as I figure out how to put this together.
About Me: I am married to my best friend! He is an audio/video producer for his day job. He is also an amazing guitarist and musician. We enjoy working together to create Early Childhood curriculum. I always like to include music and other multi-sensorial elements to my lesson plans so I’m very grateful that my husband has the expertise to help me produce my projects.
My husband and I have five AMAZING children! We enjoy doing lots of things together (singing, hiking, running, playing games, talking, laughing and making memories)! This year my daughter has started teaching preschool with me so that’s one more thing we enjoy doing together – teaching our cute little preschool friends!
I’m currently working on a phonics based, Early Childhood literacy program. This program uses music, movement, manipulatives, and even a little ASL. I’ve been developing and using this program for several years, with my own preschool students, with great success, so I’m excited to share it.
I also have a couple of other projects (math and science) in the works but I’ll write more about them as they become ready.
Besides sharing my projects with you, I also want to share with you the day-to-day goings on at Little Starr Preschool! Please check back again soon!