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Growing in Pre K


Pink, pink, pink!

Posted by Eilis on January 30, 2013 at 8:10 PM

 Does your class enjoy Pinkalicious as much as mine does?  I am putting together a presentation for the Houston Area Association for the Education of Young Children next week.  The topic is activities to follow up the read aloud.  These are some of the activities I use with  Pinkalicious:

I purchased a couple of sets of these adorable cupcakes at the Target Dollar Spot recently.  A package of six cost $3.00.  The muffin tins are from the Dollar Tree.


I use them introduce addition.  We add the number of cupcakes in one pan to the number in the other pan.  The pink cupcakes are also a prop with my "Pinkalicious" puppet.

    I made her out of a puppet from Oriental Trading.

       and added a skirt and tiara from Dollar Tree.  The skirt was too long, so I doubled it before hand stitching it to the puppet.  I used a couple of stiches to attach the tiara to the puppet's head as well.  I may add wings some day...

And here are some props that go along with the puppet:

  Dollar Tree pink tinted star glasses for the kids to wear!  (They can literally see the world through rose tinted glasses....)

   Dollar Tree pink flowers for Pinkalicious to blend into....

  and plastic green foods.  (The apple and bell pepper came from Dollar Tree.  The peas and pepper were in our play food.)

I use the props along with the read aloud, and then put them in the puppet center for the kids to use.  There is also a "Peter" puppet in the set of puppets from Oriental Trading.  We use him "as is."

Do you have a great activity that you do with Pinkalicious?  If so, please comment.

And....I am very grateful to have my laptop up and running again!  I hope to get the Valentine Exchange list out this weekend.  The response was wonderful as usual.  Sorry, the exchange is now closed.  


Rhyming Pumpkins

Posted by Eilis on September 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Do your students love the book Rhyming Dust Bunnies as much as mine do?  My class just can't get enough of them.  

So...I was inspired to create a similar story about two pumpkins who like to rhyme.  Each page has pictures and words so the kids can "read" it to themselves almost immediately.


You can download this free printable HERE.


Your comments REALLY DO MEAN A LOT  TO ME.



Posted by Eilis on August 27, 2012 at 8:25 PM

It's the second week of the school year and I am anxious to begin some "directional art,"  but the scissors skills just aren't there yet.  Today, after reading Corduroy, one of my very favorite children's books, it came to me.  

I knew we could glue some brown and green circles and rectangles and come up with our own adorable bears.  (When I went to Amazon for a picture of the Corduroy book, I couldn't believe the great price of this hardcover book and plush animal boxed set.  I don't want to type it here since prices can change, but click on the picture if you are interested.)


I used my one inch circle punch to cut the 7 circles for the paws, ears,  and face.

I used my 2 1/2 inch circle punch to cut the head. 

The arms are a brown rectangle about 1 x 5 inches.

One green rectangle is about 3 inches x 2 3/4 inches.  Two are 1 1/2 inch squares.  The shoulder straps are 1 1/2 inches long.  (I just cut them free hand.)  Each bear needs one button and two small google eyes.  I finished the face with a a black marker.  (The bear in the photo has not been glued yet.)

Here are a couple of pictures I took while putting the pieces together:

Homeschool Creations has some free printables to go along with Corduroy HERE.

I'd love to hear your "Bear Theme" ideas.

Lots and Lots of Brown Bear

Posted by Eilis on August 25, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Yesterday, I uploaded a free Brown Bear emergent reader to my Teachers Notebook Shop.

I just love using Brown Bear, Brown Bear activities at the beginning of the school year.


Now, I have uploaded many more Brown Bear themed printables.  The entire package is $2.  Here's a sample of what is included:





You will need your own colored buttons for the Button Sort.

The Black and White emergent reader is included in this set, but it is also still free to print at my Teachers Notebook Shop.


Just click on any of the printable photos to go to my shop.


Brown Bear's Friends

Posted by Eilis on August 24, 2012 at 7:50 PM has reached 500 Facebook Likes!  THANK YOU!

To celebrate, I have added a free printable emergent reader to my Teacher's Notebook Shop.  This little book is a perfect companion to the wonderful book

Brown Bear, Brown Bear.                             

I find having students color the animals is a great beginning of the year activity.  I just had to make this version when I saw KPM Doodles' cute clipart.


Just click on either picture to visit my Teachers Notebook shop and download it for free.  IF YOU DOWNLOAD THIS,

please, pretty please either leave a comment here or make my Teachers Notebook shop one of your favorites and/or Like GrowinginPreK on Facebook.




Germs Are Not for Sharing

Posted by Eilis on August 23, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Today was our fourth day of school.  I used my favorite back to school science lesson (with a few improvements).  We read the book Germs Are Not for Sharing.

Then we did the apple slice and germ experiment.

 I used those cool scienctific looking clear plastic water bottles this year.  The neck on them is almost as wide as it was on the glass jars that I used in the past.  I wrote clean (with a happy face) and dirty (with a sad face) right on the bottles with a permanent marker.  Then I sliced up an apple into ten small pieces. (I have ten kids and knew they would love each getting a turn.)  I had the kids each drop one slice using their clean hands into the jar labeled "clean."  For extra good measure, I had the kids rub their hands with hand sanitizer just before doing our experiment.  Then, when we came in from the playground, I repeated everything for the "dirty" jar. (Well...I did not repeat the hand sanitizer...)  I noticed a difference in the apples before I even left this afternoon!  We will be observing our "germs" over the next couple of weeks.  

Hey Diddle Diddle Printables

Posted by Eilis on August 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM

I have added a set of printables for the nursery rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle to my Teacher's Notebook Shop. The wonderful clipart is from

[email protected]

The set costs one dollar and includes a printable 8 x 11 book, pocket chart strips, puzzles, and both color and b/w versions of the emergent reader.



AND this cute little emergent reader is FREE to print at my Teachers Notebook Shop:  It could also be prnted on cardstock and used as sequencing cards.

If you stop by Teachers Notebook to pick up the freebie, I would love some positive feedback.



We're Having Fun in Pre-K

Posted by Eilis on July 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

I have been looking for a book to read to my students at the beginning of the school year.  I wanted something fun and simple that would touch on classroom routines and expectations in Pre-K.  I never found exactly what I wanted, so I made my own.  I used adorable clipart from KPM Doodles.

If you print this book, please leave some comment love - thanks


A few of the pages are shown above.  You can print the book HERE.

Here is another version of the book using the word PRESCHOOL instead of Pre-K.


It's Going to be a Dinosaur Week

Posted by Eilis on April 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I haven't done a "Dinosaur" theme in several years.  I have found and/or created some new materials to freshen up what I had.

I found that I could create my own bingo cards on Sparklebox.  I chose to make the cards with easy sight words that my class is working on right now.  The possiblilities are endless though:  numbers, color words, student names, etc.  Unfortunately the print seemed to be set up for slightly longer paper.  I probably could have reset something, but was in a hurry, so....I chose the purple dinosaur design.  It didn't really matter that a little of his right side was cut off.  His head is intact :).  I also find it is easier to have all the cards printed in the same design so the kids don't care which one they are handed.

I will be reading If the Dinosaurs Came Back (a favorite since my own kids were four years old!)

and having the kids complete and illustrate pages to a class book innovation.

You can print the page I created here.

I have also printed a great emergent reader that I found on Hubbard's Cupboard.

Yes Day!

Posted by Eilis on April 21, 2012 at 10:15 AM

We are really enjoying Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  In this fun book, there is a special day each year when the answer to every question is yes!.

 Each time we read the book, the kids wish we really had such a day.  This led to us deciding that we should make our own version of the book.  Each child came up with a question and illustrated their question.  We had everything from "Can we eat chocolate Easter eggs for dinner?" to "Can I have a million bucks?"  Our class book is a new favorite in the book center.

Cooling Down in January

Posted by Eilis on January 4, 2012 at 10:55 PM

$9.99 igloo tent from IKEA - Two kids at a time go in to read winter books.

                                                                                      Our coffee filter snowflakes 

Warning:  this song is very catchy.  I heard it over and over all day today.....


I printed these adorable calendar pieces (ABC pattern) at  They are a free download in her Teachers Notebook store.

Thanks to a hand-me-down dry erase board, I finally have the vertical writing area that I have wanted ever since I attended a Write Out of the Box fine motor skills workshop.


Posted by Eilis on December 14, 2011 at 7:40 AM

Several of these ideas came from my wonderful teaching partner, Catherine.  She credits Barbara for the "My Gift for Jesus" idea.



The Legend of the Candy Cane  ties some Christian symbols to the candy cane.

You can print this mini-book at



The kids sequenced the words.  I added the real candy canes just before they took them home.  This could also be done with candy cane stickers.

 We also did some beaded candy cane ornaments from a kit.


I printed, laminated, and added magnets to these adorable Nativity pieces from Activity Village.

You can print your own here:

Merry Christmas!


December Fun - on and off the lesson plan

Posted by Eilis on November 30, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Anna Dewdney really puts her finger on how hard it is for preschoolers to wait for Christmas in Llama Llama Holiday Drama! Follow the link and scroll down to see a video of her reading the entire book.

A wise preschool teacher once told me that she put a Christmas tree in the dramatic play center for the kids to decorate and undecorate to their hearts content since the Christmas tree at home is usually "hands off."

The kids love this activity!

When I saw this picture, I had to laught at the poor Grinch in the upper corner.  Is he pouting?  Is all the Pre-K Christmas spirit just too much for him?

I usually do the gingerbread graphing activity in a pocket chart.  This year I decided to add it to our Big Math Journal.  You can print the words here:

We made Christmas cards for senior citizens today.  Older students will be delivering them when they sing Christmas Carols.  Someone asked if she could glue on an extra die-cut gingerbread man left over from making the emergent readers.  I told her no, because I only had a couple.  I suggested that she could trace around it and draw on candy buttons if she wanted to.  Well, that ended up being the most popular activity of the day.  Funny how we spend so much time planning and the biggest successes are often unplanned!

In another great moment of spontanity, today one student brought in a lizard his older brother had caught in their backyard.

We re-read one of our favorites, A Color of His Own, in honor of our visitor.

Getting back to December....

How great is this?!  A group of creative bloggers is linking a different kid craft for each day of December until Christmas! 


Peace, Love, & Joy!


Gingerbread Man Emergent Reader

Posted by Eilis on November 30, 2011 at 1:10 AM

This is always one of my favorite literacy activities.  I originally found it here:  I contacted the original author  Kim Lengning who has graciously allowed me to attach my version here.  I am extra excited this year because my school now has the die-cut gingerbread man that is just perfect for this project.

I work with a small group of kids since the tearing needs to be closely supervised.  Each book requires six gingerbread men.  The crunch, crunch, crunch page uses scraps left over from the previous pages.

Here are the printable pages:

Bible Stories

Posted by Eilis on November 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Did you know that there are easy readers of Bible stories?  I just discovered them at my local Christian bookstore.  My kids are really enjoying this one while we are studying the story of Baby Moses:


They tie in to the stories and pictures in the Beginner's Bible:

but there are more pictures and the writing is structured for beginning readers.  I find they are great for read alouds.  There were only a couple at the Christian bookstore that I went to.  I checked Amazon and found many more:



Making Healthy Food Choices

Posted by Eilis on November 2, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Our theme this week is "food" and we are trying to teach the kids about the importance of choosing healthy foods.  A read aloud that I find helpful for introducing this theme is The Berenstein Bears and Too Much Junk Food.  


Here are some printable cards to sort in a pocket chart:

We also read this version of Stone Soup 

and made our own in a crock pot.  We started with three clean river stones and chicken broth.  We added cans of vegetables that the kids brought from home  If you want people to come from all over the building to see what smells so good....add chopped onions.

Favorite Read Aloud Linky Party

Posted by Eilis on October 28, 2011 at 7:40 AM


Swimming into Second Grade is hosting a Favorite Read Alouds Party.

My current favorite read alouds are 

  and  by Mo Willems.

My Pre-K kids really relate to the situations in these great stories.  The use of real photographs mixed with cartoon type illustrations is very appealing.  Since we also love the Pigeon books by the same author, we were tickled to discover a picture of Pigeon on one of the pages!  I think the fact that the main character is older in the second book than the first is also very clever for young audiences.

I haven't purchased Knuffle Bunny Free yet....but it is definitely on my wish list.

The pumpkin project (revisited)

Posted by Eilis on October 14, 2011 at 7:05 PM

I have been getting lots of questions about the pumpkin seeds growing inside the pumpkin.  We started the pumpkin project for this year today.  I sure hope it is as successful as it was last year.  Anyway, my first post may not have made it clear that we only opened up the pumpkin, added a little soil and water, and watched the seeds (which were already inside the pumpkin) grow.  The pumpkin we used was intended for making pumpkin pie.  I am not sure how well a big pumpkin would do.  Here is a picture of today's "before" soil:

We left all the "guts" and seeds as they were (except the few that came out with the lid).

Here is last year's plant when it sprouted:

You can find pictures of the full grown plant growing outside our window here:

And as I mentioned previously, I LOVE to read the book Pumpkin Jack to my students several times while we observe the pumpkin life cycle.

Kiwi Crate Craft Kits

This year's scarecrow

Posted by Eilis on October 13, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Our school has a fun tradition of each class making a scarecrow to stand in front of the school for our Fall Festival.  This year my class chose to make one of our favorite book characters:


Don't Let the Pigeon

Posted by Eilis on October 1, 2011 at 5:10 PM


My latest favorite project!  We read several of the Mo Willems Pigeon books and thought of our own vehicles.  I traced the basic shapes (head, neck, and body) on blue and (eye) white construction paper.  The kids cut them out, glued them down and added wings and legs and eye ball.  Here's the printable:'t%20let%20the%20pigeon.pdf.  I drew a speech bubble before making copies.