Monday, October 4, 2010

Let's Move to the Music!

Kristine (Pre-K):  I was looking on the blog for some music and movement you have any?
Blogoni Sandwich:  Nope, sure don't.
Casey:  But we can add some!
Ask, and you shall receive my friends!

Music and Movement was my favorite time in the day because it incorporates two arts that are quickly being removed from schools:  music + dance = some brilliantly creative young minds.  The great thing about music and movement is that it is soooo flexible!  You can incorporate ANY academic subject matter into this time of the day AND teach arts that are no longer taught in schools after kindergarten.

Let's start with Music!  What are some fun ways we can play with music? 
  • Make musical instruments (I started explaining how to make each instrument, but couldn't remember exactly how to make a kazoo... so I googled "homemade kazoo" and discovered Expert Village which is a You Tube "How To" channel.  So enjoy all of these videos and become best buds with Annie Brunson who will teach you how to make some super cool instruments!)
    • Drums:  use coffee cans as the drum, and pencils for drum sticks 
    • Guitars:  empty tissue boxes with rubber bands wrapped around them length-wise also work 
    • Kazoo
    • Tamborine, you can also use coke can tabs instead of jingle bells 
    • Rain Stick 
    • Maracas, you can also use 20 oz. coke bottles.  Experiment with rice, beans, beads, coke tabs, etc. to make different sounds.
    • Oboes... this one is super cool!
  • Teach about Tempo: you don't necessarily have to use fun sing-alongs like the Hokey Pokey during each of your M&M sessions.  Teach your students about songs without words!  Experiment with different beats and tempos.  During one class you can talk about upbeat and fast tempos by maybe playing a fast-paced jazz number, then for the next class, pick a slower melody, such as a classical lullaby. 
    • To emphasize the tempo in a song, pace your movements accordingly.  Have your students move freely with the music.  Use sharp movements for staccato, and smooth, flowing movements for legato. 
  • Teach about Mood:  Teach your students how music can be an expression of moods.  You can further emphasize moods by using colors, illustrations and facial expressions.  Have them concentrate on moving their FACES during these lessons.  You may also continue to teach moods in a center using paint colors.  Having students paint what they are feeling, or paint quickly/slowly with the tempo, or having them only use blues/purples for sad songs (for example). 
    • If you are a musician, play for your students!  Using a violin, I taught my students about tempo, staccato (choppy), legato (smooth), forte (loud) and piano (soft), and  mood by playing the same song at different paces and by subtly changing notes to make a "happy" song "sad."
  • Types of Music:  Teach your students about different types of music and dance.  Have a country themed week and teach your students the box step, or how to square dance.  Teach about blues and jazz which is so relevant to Louisiana culture.  Teach about rap and hip hop and rock and contemporary and classical... just please be sure that only POSITIVE and AGE-APPROPRIATE songs are played in your classrooms.
The possibilities are ENDLESS!  Music has been around since forever and is ever-evolving... there is TOO MUCH to choose from!  Be sure to teach students to love music and who knows?  Maybe one of your students may become a world-famous musician one day!
Now this is called Music and Movement... so let's define movement.  According to the, movement is "the act or an instance of moving; a change in place or position."  So let's play with this definition...  what are all of the different ways we can move?
  • Movement can be fast... or slooooooow.  Try moving at different speeds.
  • Movement can be HIGH... waving hands up in the air, or low crawling on hands and knees
  • Movement can take the form of many things.  Can you move like a frog?  Can you move like a baby?  Can you move like a flag?  Can you move like a snake?
  • Movement can be BIG... jumping up and down, or small like blinking our eyes.
  • Movement can be few... (tapping our feet) or many........ (wiggling our entire bodies)
Do not get stuck in only creating a hyper-active dance/music activity for your students during your M&M time of the day.
Your Music and Movement time can make you always remember that this job is so much FUN!!!  Let your 4-year-old self re-surface... dance, sing, act goofy and shake it!  Are you ready??? Let's ROCK OUT! 
Here are some fun songs and activities that you can do for your Music and Movement section of the day starting with my absolute personal favorite...
  • "Who let the Letters Out?"  To the tune of "Who let the Dogs Out?"  By Dr. Jean
    • Who let the A out?  /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
    • When you make the sound, do a movement!  
      • For /a/, move your arms like the mouth of an alligator, 
      • do a movement that matches your sound/letter cards in your classroom, 
      • or have your students think of something that starts with /a/ and you can create your own dance! 
  • "Letter Aerobics" also by Dr. Jean
    • Your body moves to the shape of the letter depending on if the letter goes 
      • high like a lowercase 'b' (hands in the air), 
      • low like a lowercase 'j' (touch your toes) 
      • or stays in the middle like a lowercase 'a' (hands on your hips).
    • If you don't have the Dr. Jean CD, just sing the regular alphabet song that you have known for 20+ years, but sing L, M, N, O, P at the same pace as the other letters...
      • Instead of singing like this...
        • A  B  C  D  E  F  G...
        • H  I  J  K  LMNOP...
        • Q  R  S...
        • T  U  V...
        • W  X
        • Y and Z...
      • Sing like this...
        • A  B  C  D  E  F  G...
        • H  I  J  K  L  M  N...
        • O  P  Q...
        • R  S  T...
        • U  V  W...
        • X  Y  Z...
        • (Sing it out loud, it really does work with the melody)
    • "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes"
      • Always a favorite with the kids... sing it normal once, then SPEED UP THE TEMPO... the slooooooowwwww it doooowwwwnnnn.
    • "The Hokey Pokey"
      • Once your students learn this all-time fav, then let them suggest parts of the body to throw into the Hokey Pokey!
    • "Today is Sunday" by Dr. Jean.  Now here is an awesome work out for you!
      • Sunday chicken... hands up in the air
      • Monday peanut butter... hands on head and move head to the left (peanut), then the right (butter)
      • Tuesday snap beans... hands on shoulders and move them up and down
      • Wednesday sooooup... hands on belly, and move belly in a circle
      • Thursday ice cream... hands on hips, move side to side
      • Friday hot dogs... hands on knees and bob up and down
      • Saturday pizza... hands on toes and bob up and down
        • There is also a book called Today is Monday in Louisiana by Johnette Downing that uses Louisiana cuisine instead of the above listed foods.
        • Ohhh and I just found a video and song on You Tube!!!
    • Ok, so I just googled Johnette Downing, and she has her songs and books on You Tube and this is so much fun!  My Aunt Came Back 
    • Any song like "Tooty Ta" by Dr. Jean where you do "Thumbs out, elbows in, bottom out, tongue out" and then you try to sing it all silly.  Cracks everyone up.  It's a hoot.
    • "Number Rock" by Greg and Steve.  So as much as I love Dr. Jean songs, I equally love Greg and Steve!  (My students and I took a field trip to see Greg and Steve and our class was selected to rock out on stage with them!  I was 7 months pregnant and was bouncing around like crazy with my kids.  Serious awesomeness.)
Since this turned into a Dr. Jean love fest, here is a list of Dr. Jean Songs.  Some of them have links to short snippets of them so you can hear.

How do you teach Music and Movement in your classroom??? Please comment below or e-mail me at


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ideas for Teaching Letters

Amanda (Pre-K):  "I am having a difficult time getting students to learn the new letter of the week...they get caught up on the letter that was taught the week prior. I've heard that teaching more than one letter a week is better because it doesn't let the kids just mimic the letter or what I say that week, they actually learn the letters. What did you use to help them learn letters?"
My solution?  Keep track of last week's letter on the board... Put the "Letter of the Week"  really big, then to the left of it (smaller) have "Last Week's Letter" and then to the right have "Next Week's Letter" and you can reference those as well... you can teach past present and future with that too!

I always did 1 letter each week, but never stop referencing the other letters.  Even when you are doing a read-aloud.  How many times can you say and show the Letter of the Week throughout the week?  Love the letter, WEAR the letter, and if you can't afford this super-awesome chalkboard tee, then a sentence-strip crown with the Letter of the Week makes you just as cool.  But seriously, I want this shirt.

Index card + Duct tape = EXIT LETTER!  Have an exit letter, and post it on the door frame.  Stand at the front of the line when they are all lined up and looking at you, and say, "When you exit today, I want you to show some love to the letter 'D'.  What is our letter of the week?"  "D!!!"  "Alright, everyone put your pointer finger in the air, let's air-draw the letter D... now remember, when we leave, show your love to what letter?"  "D"  "Awesome, class... now let's go!!!"  (Then you show your love by slapping the letter D and saying D!!!)

All of that talking took like 15 seconds, and you just said "D" 4 times... so they aren't going to say "F" when they slap it, they'll be saying "D".  And here's the thing... at this point, some of them may not understand the concept of LETTERS, and that there are 26 of them... they may not get that yet... in fact, most probably won't get it.    So, then they are stuck on the routine of saying "D" for an entire week, so it would be really easy come next Monday morning that they show "D" some love, instead of the letter "E".  However, once they actually understand that there are 26 letters and they all look different, and they each have a different sound, and when you put them together they make words, then BAM!  They will start remembering the letter shapes and they'll all of a sudden know half of them before you know it!

Now when introducing the letter of the week, my entire language arts and math lessons (which were back to back) were dedicated to that letter.  Here are some things that we did every Monday...
1.  Introduced the letter and everyone drew it in the air together. "The letter 'D' has 1 straight line, and 1 biiigggg belly that is the curved line."

2.  Read the story of the letter "D"  (use lots of alliteration)

3.  Made the letter "D" on the floor using yarn, then selected students to lie down on the yarn to make "The biggest letter D in the entire world" and took a picture for our alphabet book (used this in the slideshow at the end of the year culmination and everyone loved it!)

4.  On chart paper, had a few sentences written out using at least 1 "D" per student (15 students = 15 letter Ds).  We read once sentence at a time (pointing from left to right/top to bottom... teaching directionality).  Called students up one at a time to find 1 letter "D" and trace it.  Everyone celebrated when the student found the letter "D".  To differentiate, some of the letters can be in the middle or end of words for students who are more advanced.  Students absolutely LOVE to see their names in the sentences you write... so make Diane, Dave, and Donny's day great by writing them into a sentence :-)

4.5  Then we counted the number of letter Ds we found as part of our math lesson.

5.  On the board I had as many pictures of objects that start with that letter and I wrote each of the words under the picture (they were on my white board held up by magnets) and the letter of the week was written in another color, and then the rest of the word in black... ex dandelion.

6.  Any students whose names start with the letter of the week can wear the letter crown... a sentence strip with that letter on it.

7.  Math:  Make a pattern with the letter D... DdDdDdDd... DDdDDdDDdDDd... get it?

8.  I spy... have students find hidden Ds around the room... when they get better at this, have them find objects that start with the letter D... if you want, go on A LETTER ADVENTURE and give your kids magnifying glasses and take them outside where you have hidden some letters.

9.  Science:  Compare and contrast the letter D to another letter of the alphabet. 

Art:  Photocopy the outline of the capital and lowercase D.  Use different objects to glue inside the letter... ex. cheerios, feathers, scraps of construction paper, toothpicks, yarn, whatever you can find around the classroom... and then hang them up at the end of the day and reference them all week. 

Math:  Sorting... big box of all sorts of letters, have to sort "D", "Not D"

Reading:  Give each student a little paper book about the letter D and have students circle all of the letter Ds that they can find.  Then they can take the book home and add it to their libraries.

Listening center:  listen to the story of the letter D.

Writing:  2 guesses to what you do here.  You can do it on paper, or you can use chalk outside.

Fine motor skill development:  make the letter D out of play dough.

Now, here's the trick... squeeze all of that into a 15 minute lesson and you're golden!  Just kidding, but pick and choose which ideas you like and incorporate as many as you can into a 20 minute lesson.  Throw in a rendition of "Who Let the Letters Out" by Dr. Jean and your students will learn more than just the shapes of letters!  Try to use the same sequence of activities each Monday (or whatever day you use) as you introduce your Letter of the Week so that students get used to your letter routine.  The flow of the introduction of the new letter lesson will get quicker and quicker with each repetition.

Please share your AWESOME letter activities by posting a comment below!  Thanks!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Creating an Effective Behavior Chart

One key to establishing good behavior from your students is to create an effective behavior chart that is both convenient to use (for you) and easy to understand (for the students).  It is important for your students to know that by meeting the behavioral expectations that you have set for them everyone in the classroom will be able to learn.  If they are causing a distraction by not following the rules, then they are keeping the rest of the class from learning.

Just some things to consider:

Location: Place the behavior chart in a location that is easy to get to (you do not want to have to step over children and climb over your pocket chart stand when you have to move a child's name down the chart)

Ease of Use:  If it takes you more than .2 seconds to move a child's name down the chart then you may need to reevaluate your system. Put it within the reach of your students because for some students, it is more effective if they move their name down the chart.

Effectiveness:  If your student's reaction to having his/her name move down the chart is "Eh, no biggie," then maybe you need to reexamine the effectiveness of your behavior system.  First move down should be a BIG DEAL... they should fear the warning...!  COMMUNICATE your expectations and how they lead to success.

Age-appropriate and timely consequences:  Consequences need to be immediate and should not be held to a later time... i.e. No Recess when recess is several hours later.  If a student displays inappropriate behavior during center time and continues to do so after a verbal warning, then the student needs to be removed from centers and may participate when he/she adjusts his/her behavior.

Parent Participation:  Parents should know what type of behavior chart you are using, the consequences that follow inappropriate behavior, your expectations of student behavior, and if their children are not meeting those expectations.

Behavior Chart:  Fail
My first year, I used this behavior chart as my "Keys to Success."  I thought it was just so clever using the weather to gauge behavior.  Sunny day meant "you're awesome...keep doin' what you're doin', kids!"  Partly cloudy meant "you're pushing my buttons so I'm giving you a warning".  Cloudy day meant that you got to sit against the wall during recess and Rainy Day warranted a call home to Mommy (or Big Brother for one kid... it was more effective to threaten to call Big Brother).  I also had an opportunity for students to move UP to the star for SUPER AWESOME behavior.

Here was the problem... ok there were multiple problems. First, there were just too many steps.  My "partly cloudy" warning was just "eh, no biggie" so students quickly moved to "No recess".  However, recess was at the end of the day, so when that was canceled, may as well go all out!  I met with each parent at the gate to discuss behavior, so a call home was no different than the daily.  Then, what happens when a child gets put on "rainy day" and it's only 8:25 a.m.?  Well, then you're just stuck with a kid who is all ready in deep doo doo so, why stop now?

Most importantly, "cloudy day" was a major FAIL!  At this age, students need immediate consequences.  If a student got in trouble at 8:25, then the consequence needs to come at 8:25:06... not several hours later at recess.  There also shouldn't be a "warning" step on the visual behavior chart... that step should be given verbally, and then there should be an immediate consequence if the verbal warning doesn't work.  Students need to be able to respond to verbal cues and if they can't do that, then they need to face the consequences.

Behavior Chart Ranking (out of 5 stars... 5 being best).

**  Location:  In the corner of the room, about 10 steps from my seat on the carpet and above bookshelves.

**  Ease of Use:  My push pins always fell out and then I would have to get on my hands and knees and move book cases so my students wouldn't step on the push pins and have to go get a tetanus shot or something.

*  Effectiveness:  I did not do a good job of communicating my expectations and how they related to success in the classroom, and to my sanity, and to a positive learning environment, yadda yadda yadda.

*  Age-appropriate and Timely Consequences:  Most of the kids whose names I moved on a daily basis reached "cloudy day" HOURS before recess.

***  Parent Participation:   I spoke to the parents every day at pick up about their child's behavior.  Parents were unfamiliar with how the chart was used in class, which meant that the students were a little bit hazy on it as well.

(Note:  This chart became more effective mid-year.  IT IS OK TO CHANGE WHAT IS ALREADY NOT WORKING... YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT TO NEXT YEAR TO CHANGE ANYTHING!  Just take the time to re-evaluate, re-explain, re-focus on behaviors and expectations!)

Behavior Chart:  Success!
My second year, I created a much more effective behavior chart.  OR did I just do a better job explaining and using the behavior chart that made it so effective?  Probably a lot of both.

Everyone started off on green.  With one step out of line, they were given a simple, quiet verbal warning.  If they did not straighten up, their name moved to yellow, which normally meant removal from the activity and were given the choice to rejoin the class when they had changed the behavior.  If moved to red, which only happened twice, they were removed from the activity but did not get the choice to join back in.

At the end of the day...each child was given a rectangular slip of construction paper that corresponded with their behavior that day.  They were to hold that paper above their heads when I called their names one-by-one to meet their parents.  I immediately spoke to the parents if their child had either a yellow or red slip.  (A call home for either color would be just as effective.  As a mom now, I like to know if my kid stepped out of line AT ALL... not only if they made it all the way down the chart.)

***** Location:  Behind my head when sitting on the carpet with my students, within arm's reach... also within students' arms reach when they were at the board.  (Ignore my face in that picture, and just look at the proximity of that super-awesome behavior chart on my board.  Also ignore the fact that my students are all-up in my face... their parents threw me a baby shower that day... super awesome, I know.)

***** Ease of Use:  Magnets attached the names onto my dry-erase board.  Super easy to move and make a new one when a new student was added.

*****  Effectiveness:  I only had to move 1 kid EVER to red... and he only moved twice, I believe.  My students FEARED their name getting moved NOT because of the consequences, but because they knew I was disappointed and their parents would be too (I spoke to each parent daily at the pick up gate about their child's behavior, and some parents even had similar behavior charts that they used in their classroom).   

*****  Age-Appropriate and Timely Consequences:  If a student failed to follow the rules or directions, he/she was given ONE verbal warning.  After that, his/her name was moved to "yellow" and he/she was removed from whatever super-awesome activity we were doing.  When I had a second to speak to the student alone, and he/she had changed his/her attitude, he/she was given the choice to come have fun with the class or sit alone.  The student always chose to come have fun with the class.  

*****  Parent Participation:  Parents were in an out of my classroom volunteering on a bi-monthly basis.  They saw me use the chart, they saw me reference classroom rules, procedures and expectations.  Some parents even made their own home-version of the behavior chart to keep behavior consistent at home and at school.  EVERY DAY parents knew how their child's behavior was that day because of the little slips of construction paper.  I did not start off the year giving these sheets of paper, but several parents expressed interest in knowing how their children were behaving. 

Most often, the child just needs some time to step back, observe the class, and refocus on how the other children are behaving.  Pump up your energy and excitement so Mr. Attitude sees that it is way cooler to participate in classroom activities than it is to sit alone... in which case, he needs to change his behavior!

Please share with me your Behavior Chart BEST PRACTICES by commenting below or e-mailing me at and I will share them with everyone for you!  If you send me pictures, maybe there can be a whole post with pictures of different effective behavior charts!!!

Happy teaching, friends!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Exposure, not Mastery...

So often we focus on making significant academic gains in the classroom.  While subject matter content is the focus in most grade levels, in Pre-K your big goals should include school readiness in all aspects of P.L.E.A.S.E. and should be executed by establishing a positive learning environment and classroom culture... create a good first impression of what school is all about!  

This is the year where your students are LEARNING HOW TO LEARN!*  What is learning? What does a student look like?  How does a student act at school?   What are goals and expectations and how can I (your student) achieve them?

EXPOSE your students to the world of academics, but there is no need to drill for MASTERY.  Patterns, the alphabet, sounds and numbers are all skills that are re-introduced in kindergarten.  It is MORE important for your students to understand the concepts behind what knowing these skills means.  For example, by the end of the year, it is more important that your student understands that letters make sounds, sounds make words, words make sentences, etc. than it is for a student to be able to recognize all 26 letters.  

So what should you teach?  It is definitely important to consult your state standards, but I am going to give a brief overview of some things your students should be able to do by the end of the year (I'm sure I have forgotten some, so please feel free to add more in the comments section).

By the end of the year, your students should be able to...

Gross:  jump, skip, run, stand on one foot, hop on one foot, throw, catch, balance
Fine:  hold a pencil; write or draw symbols, shapes, lines, curves, stick figures and some letters; use scissors; use eye droppers and tweezers to pick up objects, string beads, tie knots

Answer open-ended questions; know how to answer who, what, when, where, why, how questions; follow multi-step directions; describe objects with simple and complex characteristics;  engage in active conversation (respond with more than one or two-word answers); tell stories in sequence

Have a good understanding of different emotions and how they can be represented by facial expressions, music, colors, tempo, pictures, etc.; understand what emotions they should be feeling for different situations; be able to control anger, fear, sadness (minimal tantrums or fits), be more independent!

Reading Awareness:  directionality of reading (left-right, top-bottom);  knows that a space indicates a separate word, punctuation means the end of a sentence and understands the differences in punctuation marks; letters make sounds, sounds make words, words make sentences, sentences make thoughts, stories, etc.
Reading Comprehension:  sequence story; retell short story; know main idea of story; ask questions about the story; answer closed and open-ended questions with answers relevant to story; predict what comes next; illustrate the story (it may be a few squiggly lines but student can describe what the picture is and how it relates to story)
Letters:  recognize at least some letters
Math:  recognize colors, recognize shapes (square, rectangle, circle, oval, star, triangle;) finish simple patterns;  can put together a simple puzzle, understands the concept of counting, understand opposites of measurement:  big/little, few/many, tall/small, long/short; understand directional terms (in front, behind, on top, under, side); recognize and discuss differences and similarities between objects

As far as the other curricular areas (art, music, dance, science, social studies) go, EXPOSE your students to AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!  These early years you have a little bit more flexibility to add some of the FUN stuff into your curriculum!  Read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" during a literacy lesson to teach the students about the life cycle of a butterfly!  Use music to teach about colors... the blues to teach about blue, mellow music to teach yellow, up beat music to teach red, etc. 

Share, encourage others, be model citizens, problem solve with peers, engage with peers, willingly participate in activities, show sympathy, help others, know and follow routines and procedures in the classroom, use manners, be polite, listen and follow directions, understand the time and place to display certain behaviors (i.e. running and using a loud voice is for the playground), stay engaged in lessons for 20-30 minutes at a time without losing focus (this is for the END of the year...)

So what should you focus on NOW at the beginning of the year?  Procedures... routines... expectations... creating model citizens!  You can do all of these things by slipping in academic information.
For example:  A lesson on SHARING (and squares):
Teacher:  (Holding a box) Look what I found today!  A box!  I wonder what is inside?  (Pull out a shape from the box).  A SQUARE!!!  Look at my discovery, kids!  A square!  Say it with me, SQUARE!  I LOVE this square!  It is my FAVORITE shape in the entire world.  It looks like the side of my box!  I love to play with it!  Would anyone like to play with it with me?
Students raise hands
Teacher:  Sally,  will you come SHARE my SQUARE with me?
Hand Sally the square.
Teacher:  Did you see how I SHARED my square with Sally?  Say SHARE with me... SHARE.  Sharing is what we have to do when we have one toy and we all want to play with it.  
"Sally, may I please play with the square?"
Sally hands you the square.
"Thank you for SHARING the SQUARE, Sally."
(Then you can talk about the different ways to share... 1. taking turns, 2. playing with the object together).  
Sally, can you please share the square with another student?

(Then you can break the students up into groups and let them share an object and come up with ways to play with it... how many things can a SQUARE be?)

SMALL GROUP (teacher facilitates):  4 students in a group and 3 crayons and 1 square to trace.  Tell the students that they each have to trace a square onto their papers. (Model tracing the square for them). Let the students figure out that they will have to share their crayons  and square so all students can trace the square.  Once they figure it out, praise them on their exemplary SHARING skills!
Easy, cheesy lesson, I know, but if you get excited, THE STUDENTS GET EXCITED!  They will LOVE TO LEARN if you show them that LEARNING IS FUN!  Get your students READY for SCHOOL by teaching them how to LEARN and what learning LOOKS like. 

So remember that while you are EXPOSING your students to academic curriculum, EXPOSING them to the concepts of language arts and math, EXPOSING them to a positive learning environment, EXPOSING them to school... they will MASTER what it takes to be a MODEL STUDENT AND CITIZEN of our beloved planet :-) and then they will learn and be so smart and be astrophysicists and cure disease and be president  and CEO of the world and be awesome TEACHERS one day... GREAT WORK, ECE TEACHERS!  Our world just got better because of you!

* I apologize for going CAPS happy in some places.  I get really excited about things and can only express my excitement through CAPS LOCK and exclamation points!!!

Please feel free to post any comments or questions below!!! <- See what I mean about the exclamation points?  I would be even more excited if you really post stuff!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Wizard of ECE

What education blog would be complete without a clever acronym?  I am really quite smug about my brilliance in creating this acronym, so please don't rain on my parade by saying you don't like it or something.  

Pre-K P.L.E.A.S.E. (Physical, Linguistic, Emotional, Academic, & Social Education) was my little way of reminding myself about all the different areas that needed to be included in my Pre-Kindergarten classroom on a daily basis.  By keeping gross motor skills, language, emotional and social development equal to academic learning, students will get a well-balanced education that is more age-appropriate, rather than if you focus primarily on academics. 

A little about me: 

1)  BIO:  I am a graduate of Louisiana State University and majored in communications.  I taught Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten in an inner-city school in Los Angeles, California and have a Masters degree from Loyola Marymount University in Elementary Education (Pre-K - 6th grade).  I am currently a stay-at-home mom to 2 boys and I run my own wall art business.  I am also a Learning Team Leader for Teach for America South Louisiana corps members in early childhood classrooms (which is why I was inspired to write this blog). 

2)  I am not an expert on education, early childhood, or psychology, nor will I ever claim to be.  Theories on education and educational practices are ever-evolving and there is no way that I could ever keep up with the times.  I want this blog to be used as a resource for you to help create an inspiring and high-achieving learning environment for your little ones.

3)  I am not a revolutionary.  I firmly believe that it is not necessary to even TRY to reinvent the wheel.  I don't try, I don't think you should try, and I anyone who claims to have reinvented the wheel was at least inspired by a similar-looking wheel.  All of my tips of the trade have been tested in an early childhood classroom and worked for me, so they will work for everyone... NOT.  Take my ideas and run with them if you find something you like, tweak them for your own unique teaching-style, classroom, school and students, and reflect on their effectiveness in your classroom.  If they work for you, share your new accomplishments with your fellow teachers because sharing is a skill we teach our students and we should do it too.

4)  I'm not a wizard... just in case you were wondering.