Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ cheesy pasta w/zucchini, bread, fruit
Tuesday ~  scrambled eggs, english muffins, bacon, fruit
Wednesday ~ BBQ chicken quesadilla, guacamole, refried beans
Thursday ~ hot dogs, chips, pickles, fruit
Friday ~ dinner on the go...

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Name recognition activities...

Preschool will be starting just around the corner.  I have been working in my classroom decorating and preparing for my new group of 3 year olds.  There are so many things we focus on throughout the year but a major one is name recognition.  A few may come in knowing how to spell their first name but not most of them.  So this is something we work on everyday.  

Each child has a name tag on their cubby.  This helps them see their name each time they hang up their backpack or put work in their cubby.  Hopefully they begin to learn what it looks like.  I have also created these block letter name plates for each child to color the first week of school.  They will hang in the classroom and be another reference point we can use throughout the year. 


We start out by focusing on the first letter of their name and lead up to whole name activities later on. One easy thing to do is just draw the letter on a piece of paper.  Then have them place things along the lines of the letter.  We like incorporating this into the themes we do each week.  Here are a variety of examples:
dot markers...dot all along the line of the letter or use dot marker letter worksheets like these.  
stamps...using a small stamp, sponge or spool, follow along the line, stamping one right after another.  We like to use thread spools in paint during the winter to look like snowflakes.  

stickers...place stickers, such as stars or other small object, along the line of the letter.  Peeling off the sticker is great for fine motor also!
small objects...use cotton balls, pompoms, buttons or other small items and place them along the letter lines.
markers...have the child trace the line using a marker or other writing utensil.  You could also place the paper in a page protector and have the child use a dry erase marker.  This enables them to practice several times in a row.

Name reveals are another fun way to learn the letters of their name.  Use tape to create a letter and then have the child paint over it, remove the tape to see the letter.  You could also use a white crayon to write their name on white paper.  Have them water color paint all over the paper to find the letters in their name.  

At circle time we talk about the month and what letter it starts with.  This is a good opportunity to ask if anyone's name starts with that letter.  We also play games using their first letters.  I might say, "if your name starts with an M", then give them a directive to complete.  I use this same technique for lining up to go to recess.  It is fun to see them not only begin to recognize their letters but those of their friends as well!

Another fun game for circle time is to put letters on the floor using tape, then call out a letter and have the child jump on that letter.

Preschoolers LOVE sensory bins!  Fill up a bin with rice, beans, cotton balls, etc. and then hide letters in the bin.  Have the children dig in the bin and pull out a letter.  If it is not the first letter of their name have them put it back and try again. 

Whether it is seeing the letter on a project, hearing the letter or seeing it on a sign or book, there are never too many ways to incorporate letter recognition into your day to day!  Especially if you turn it into a game or a craft, they won't even realize they are learning!!! 


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ fish tacos, guac & chips, refried beans
Tuesday ~ popcorn shrimp, mac & cheese, sauteed zucchini
Wednesday ~ pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, green beans, bread
Thursday ~ sausage cups, scrambled eggs, fruit
Friday ~ fried chicken, green beans, rice, biscuits

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


12 Days of School

Little Bit was so excited to start school today.  She was so chatty last night, just thinking out loud about everything, that I could hardly get her to settle down for bed.  Luckily she had a wonderful first day and loves her teacher!

Tonight she was telling us all about her day and was still very excited....which I love!  School is definitely on the brain.  She even made up a song about it to the 12 days of Christmas tune.  I just had to share!  ;)

On the first day of first grade my teacher gave to me,
an apple in a tree.
On the second day of 2nd grade my teacher gave to me,
2 homework sheets.
On the third day of 3rd grade my teacher gave to me,
3 books to read.
On the fourth day of 4th grade my teacher gave to me,
4 colored pencils.
On the fifth day of 5th grade my teacher gave to me,
5 highlighters.
On the sixth day of 6th grade my teacher gave to me,
6 erasers.
On the seventh day of 7th grade my teacher gave to me,
7 notebooks.
On the eighth day of 8th grade my teacher gave to me,
8 art pieces.
On the ninth day of 9th grade my teacher gave to me,
9 math problems.
On the tenth day of 10th grade my teacher gave to me,
10 titan tickets.
On the eleventh day of 11th grade my teacher gave to me,
11 stickers.
On the twelfth day of 12th grade my teacher gave to me,
12 recesses. 

Too cute...love my girl!


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ cheesy pasta w/zucchini, bread, fruit
Tuesday ~  crock pot pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday ~ pizza, salad, fruit
Thursday ~ sloppy joes, tater tots, fruit
Friday ~ leftovers

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Back to school...drop zone

This is back to school week for us.  Little Bit starts 2nd grade on Wednesday!  School supplies are labeled and the backpack is loaded up.  Do you have a specific place for backpacks in your home?  One thing that helps us function smoothly before and after school is our mudroom drop zone.  This is our entry off the garage that we use almost 100% of the time to enter and exit our house.  I just love this bench.  It is a great catchall area whether we are coming or going.  

Little Bit and the hubs have their bags hanging on the hooks.  We also hang our coats here during cooler weather.  I usually set my purse on the bench and there is still plenty of room to sit and put on shoes.
Speaking of shoes, Little Bit takes hers off as soon as she walks in the door.  They are also the last thing she puts on before we head out the door.  So it makes sense for us to keep her shoes by the door.  They previously were all over the floor and would get lost under the bench.  I recently put them in this basket and so far so good!

We also have a basket for library books.  We keep both public and school library books in the basket.  This way we always know where they are when it's time to return them. 

So when Little Bit gets home from school, she can kick off her shoes, unload her backpack and then go grab a snack.  Having everything right by the door makes our school days run so much more smoothly. 

Do you have any tricks to stay organized during the school year?


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ teriyaki beef steak, green beans, tater tots
Tuesday ~ fish sticks, mac & cheese, grapes
Wednesday ~biscuits & gravy casserole, scrambled eggs, fruit
Thursday ~ chicken salad lettuce wraps, chips
Friday ~ mickey pancakes, bacon, fruit

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Back to school books...

Getting ready to start school or even going back to school can stir up all kinds of emotions in children.  Reading books with your kids about beginning school, making friends, and being separated from loved ones is a wonderful opportunity to talk about their feelings.  There are so many books out there that cover these topics but here are a few of our favorites.  From funny, and even ridiculous to quite serious these books are wonderful resources to get your child's year off to a great start!

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney...The Llama llama books are some of my favorites!  This adorable rhyming story discusses how young children might feel on the first few days of school.

Foxy by Emma Dodd...Dog's Colorful Day is a favorite of ours by Dodd so I was excited to read this cute story about starting school.  A magical fox grants some wishes and helps little Emily get ready for her first day of school.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate...This book is cute as it shows both sides of getting ready for school; the teacher hurrying to get her room ready and the students as they prepare for their first day.

Kevin Goes to School by Liesbet Slegers..At first Kevin is unsure of school and doesn't want his mom to leave him, but soon he makes a new friend and begins to enjoy himself.

The Wheels on the School Bus by Mary-Alice Moore...Who doesn't love The Wheels on the Bus?!  The teachers get involved in this cute and unique take on the traditional song.

Off to First Grade by Louise Borden...Your child will be sure to find someone to identify with as the students in this story deal with the excitement, nerves and feelings of anticipation that go along with starting first grade.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn...This heartwarming book is a children's classic that helps parents and children at times of separation.  Such a great read before starting school!

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg...Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school.  She imagines the worst but in the end there is a surprise twist that makes for a delightful ending!

I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child...Charlie is the best big brother to Lola as he helps her realize that maybe she is ready for school after all.

Check out my other articles on back to school...
Getting ready for kindergarten
Dressed and ready
Teacher gifts
Homework area


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Tuesday ~ cheesy bacon wrapped chicken, salad, bread
Wednesday ~ steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread
Thursday ~ chicken salad lettuce wraps, chips
Friday ~ beef tacos, refried beans, chips & guac, fruit

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.