Saturday, August 18, 2012

Using a Livescribe Computer Pen with Your Preschoolers!


Today I am going to post some videos about using a Livescribe pen in your preschool classroom.
You can learn more about this computer pen HERE
 The pen I will be using in the videos is a PULSE pen.  There are other ones available

Today's blog is just to show you how you can incorporate a computer pen into a preschool classroom.
I think I have 3 videos that will show you just a few things you can do with this pen.
They are very simple things that can be left at a table with the pen during centers or used during a group activity.  

The first video is a little bit about the pen and then centers around what you can do with a Community Helpers Theme.  Enjoy!
(please keep in mind that I am filming/talking and demonstrating all at once  LOL)
There may be a couple times I mess up a little....oh well..I am not perfect! :o)


This next video shows a variety of games to make with the Livescribe Pen

The Last video is just a simple ABC File Folder game
It was the first thing I made with the computer pen.

Well....that concludes this blog.  Hopefully you got some ideas to use in your classroom this year.  It's pretty easy to bring a little technology into your room and it is so simple for the kids.

Oh yeah...another thing this pen is good for is to record the kids for Speech.  This lets you replay it later and really listen.  You can also jot notes down on the paper to remind yourself of their speech needs.  Also good to write out IEP goals or any other lesson plans you may have and put them right into your computer!

Definitely check it out.  I admit I have NO clue what all it can do...but I know that it is a great learning tool!

Catch ya next time!   

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I have been getting some things for school this year and have found a few neat, fairly cheap, things to use with preschoolers.  Whether you are buying supplies for your classroom, homeschooling, or just to have at your house...I will list a few places and items I have found to be fun and educational at the same time.

Remember:   PLAY can be a very handy learning tool!

One of my favorite places to search for fun manipulatives and neat toys is  

 Here are a few things I got the other day:

Acrylic Leaves & Pumpkins
These were in the fall/Thanksgiving area.
Each bag was $4.00
There are about 40 leaves in a bag.
16 Pumpkins in a bag (they are fatter)
They also had acorns which had about 25.
(I didn't get those cuz by then I had spent too much money!  LOL)
Each piece measures about 1 1/2 inch across.

These will make great counting/sorting/patterning tools during our fall/leaves theme.
Also great to hide in your sand table in sand, real leaves from outside, dried corn.

Small Square Containers
These came in a pack of 8 for $2.00
(I split half and half with a friend)

Great for keeping dice contained during a game with preschoolers.  Instead of having your dice bounce all over the place, they shake the container and when placed on table, see what the dice read.

Milkshake Straws
 There are at least 40 - 50 straws for only $1.80
These are big straws!  You could probably fit 3 regular straws in one.
These would be great to use with Play-Doh to make some neat things:
You can cut them to different sizes and have them sort by size or color.

You could also let them cut them into one or two inch pieces and string necklaces with them, maybe adding some wooden beads in between.

Another place I just bought some things:
My nephew just turned 2 and is really into pretend play with costumes.  They have some cute/cheap hats I got for him.  Here are a few:
Pirate Felt Hat  -  $3.99

Pirate Mask  - $0.99 (Sturdy Foam)
Engineer's Hat  -  $2.99
Chef's Hat  -  $1.99
Fireman's Hat  -  $1.29
They have lots of party items and make sure to check out their CLEARANCE section.....never know what you might find!

Checkout Educator's Outlet  -  This place always has a sale and lots of times they have 50% off of their clearance stuff!  Here are some of the examples of savings I have gotten over the years:

Lacing Buttons  
Normal price $15.00  Clearance  $7.98  I paid  $3.00
There are a lot of buttons in here and lacing strings.

Teddy Bear Bingo
Normal Price $15.00   Clearance $8.98   I paid  $4.00
Lots of bears to use in the game or just as manipulatives to count/sort/pattern

Floor Puzzles
Normal Price  $12.97    Clearance  $4.98   I paid  $2.49 ea.
They have these puzzles for lots of themes ( I have about 7 of them)
That is just a sampling of their products.  Make sure to check back often to get a great deal!

Also check out Discount School Supply!   They have many sales too and sometimes you can save quite a bit during their "Dollar Days" sales.  You never know what they will offer during these sales, but here are a couple things I got last time:

Rainbow Dance Ribbons (6 in a pack)
Normal Price $33.95    Their price  $9.95     Dollar Day Price   $3.00
These are great to use during music or gross motor time.  Kids love them.
Colored Bean Bags (pack of 12 nylon bags)
Normal Price $17.00     Their Price  $12.95   Dollar Days Price  $2.00

These are all just a few samples of some neat things you can find.
Keep checking places and looking for those sales.  It really doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to get some fun things to use with your kids!

Always check your stores like: Dollar Tree, Dollar General, & Family Dollar Stores.....Have had some GREAT finds in these places too!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Happy Halloween!
With the start of the school year almost upon no time at all it will be fall time and with that brings Halloween!  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  So many fun things to do.  Here is a pic of my son, years ago, with a few of his little friends out in the yard.  These ghosts were so easy to make and he loved going outside everyday to visit them :o)

To make them, I just stuffed some newspaper into plastic grocery bags.  Then stuck a short dowel rod into the bag.  Used some tape to tape the bag around the stick.  Cut some cheap white sheets I had bought at Goodwill in half.  Drew some faces and tied a white shoestring around their neck. Put them in the ground and tie their hands together.  Very simple...but cute!

You can also decorate your house and add little trick-or-treaters to your yard.   Make the ghost head like the ones shown above.  Use an old pair of your child's jeans and stuff with newspaper.  Attach the waist to the rod on the ghost.  Add an old pair of their shoes.  My son actually named this little friend (I can't remember the name) and he would run out and say "hi" every day after preschool.  I miss those days!  Wish he was little again.

There are so many good Halloween books!
Here are a few we really like:
Big Pumpkin  -  Erica Silverman
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat  -  Lucille Colandro
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything - Linda Williams
I Like Pumpkins  -  Jerry Smath
Halloween Howl  -  Norman Bridwell  (Clifford Books)
Go Away, Big Green Monster  -  Ed Emberley
Scaredy-Cat Splat!  -  Rob Scotton

Halloween Activities 
There are so many art/crafts/ activities that I am just going to list everything here!

Give them a paper plate and have them color or paint it green.
Hang a picture of the monster close by and let them cut out colors and shapes to match the monster's face on the book.  You can tape a large craft stick to it for them to use as a mask.

Silly Shape Monsters
 Have some different shapes drawn on colored paper for them to cut out.
Let them use markers and scrap pieces of paper to add hair and other features to their monsters. 

Pop -Up Ghosts
Have each child cut out a ghost shape and tape it to a craft stick.
Use a black or orange cup or paint your own.  Add some fun Halloween stickers.
Carefully cut a slit in the bottom of your cup to place the stick down through.
Show kids how to pop the ghost up and say, "BOO!"  

Mystery Halloween Paintings
Before the children get there for the day, take a white crayon or a candle and draw secret pictures onto white paper.  Later, during centers, let them watercolor with some Halloween colors like purple, black and orange.  When they paint over the wax, the water will resist the wax and move away from the wax.....leaving a mystery picture for them to reveal.

Bat File Folder Game
Make a file folder game like the one above.  Glue on pictures of some mosquitoes, caves, moon, etc.
Cut out 4 bat shapes.  Laminate the folder and bats.  Attach 4 shoestrings to the folder as shown.
Have child move the bat along its string and eat the bugs.  Count each bug as it eats it.  Once they make it to their cave, have them find the correct number that matches how many bugs they ate and place it on the right cave.

Peek-a-Boo Ghost

Have some printout pictures of a boy and a girl.  Have the child tell you if they are a boy or girl.  Have them color the person (You may need to cut it out).  Also have a cut-out of each child's head.  Glue the person and their head onto black paper.  Have them cut out a ghost shape and use a black marker to trace around the inside edge.  Glue just the top part over the person so they can flip the ghost up and say BOO!

Paint a green face shape or cut from construction paper.  Look through magazines and find the facial features you want.  Cut orange hair strips and crinkle them. Add the black witch's hat.

 Paper Plate Lacing Web
Color a small paper plate black.  Use a hole punch around the plate. Tie a plastic spider to the string and tie that end to the plate.  Keep lacing the string until you have created a wed for your spider.  You can undo it and lace it all again.

 Bat Mask
Have children color a bat mask with black, gray, or purple crayons.  You might have to cut the bat shape out or can let them try.  An adult should cut out the eyes so the child can see through.  We used glue and let them pick a glitter color to decorate around the eyes.  You can attach a string where it shows dots, but we like to use large craft sticks because a lot of kids do not like the strings.

 Haunted House
Have kids color a printout of a haunted house.  Lots of our kids could cut their own house out and an adult cut open the windows and door.  Have them glue onto a black piece of paper.  Glue their picture inside the door and let them add monster stickers or draw their own monsters in the windows.  Add a moon and Boo! 

Can you match the skeleton puzzle?
Buy some cardboard decorations you see in the store.  Or print two skeletons off your computer.
Leave one whole and cut the other one into puzzle pieces.  I laminated mine so they don't rip as easily.
Lay one on the table and see of the child can make a matching skeleton with his pieces.

 Pumpkin Numbers
Place a set of cards, numbered 1 -10 on a pile.  Have some kind of Halloween counters available.  I used little Jack-o-Lanterns that snap onto white string lights.  Have the draw a card, say the number and place that many pumpkins onto their number strip until they match that number.

 Halloween Lacing Cards
You can find different lacing cards for holidays or you can just print out your own pictures and laminate.
Use a hole punch around the edges and let the kids lace away!

  Candy Corn Hands
Paint student's hand with the colors shown above and press onto paper.  These would make a cute border around a bulletin board for fall or Halloween.

 Mr. Pumpkin Head
This is played like Mr. Potato Head.
Have a laminated pumpkin  at a table and a supply of laminated facial features and maybe hats and things.
Let the children create funny pumpkin people using the pieces.

  Halloween Wreath
You can use cut out pumpkins and ghosts or foam shapes, etc.  Have child arrange their pumpkins and ghosts in a pattern and then glue their pattern onto a paper plate which you have cut the whole center out of.
Cute decoration for them to display on their door at home.

 Cardboard Halloween Puzzle
I bought one of those printed cardboard decorations for your windows and doors.  I glued it onto a thicker piece of cardboard to make it more sturdy.  Then I cut out the puzzle shapes.  I used a file folder and traced each piece so the kids had something to match the pieces to.  I drew just a couple of the features of the puzzle to get them started.  Have them put the puzzle together on the file folder grid.

 Make Your own Halloween Find-It
 I filled a clear plastic bottle about half to 3/4 the way full with oatmeal.  You can use sand, rice, corn.....whatever you want.  Then I added googly eyes, orange poms (pumpkins) little Halloween erasers, spider rings, ghost shapes, etc.
Let the children move it around and shake it and see how many items they can find.  Keep a list of how many of each thing you have and maybe they can check them off as they find them.

 Sand Table
Use and assortment of Halloween toys, rings, erasers, googly eyes, etc to place in your sand table for the kids to find and sort into groups.  They can also pattern with these.

Use things like cookie trays, Halloween candy molds, and stamps in your Play-doh or use stamps to create pictures and stamp patterns .

 Pumpkin Toss
 Use plastic pumpkins and an assortment of rubber bats, mice, and spiders.
Try to stand back and toss as many items as you can into the pumpkins.
Who gets the most? 

Marble Roll a Web! 
This picture is from

Lay a piece of black paper in a shallow cardboard lid.   Squirt a couple drops of white paint on outer edges.
Place 4 -5 marbles in the lid and gently move the lid around and make the marbles roll through the paint and create a web.  Once dry, cut out a web shape and tie a white string down with a plastic spider attached.

Cookie Cutter Collage 
Use cookie cutters to dip into paint and press onto paper to create a neat Halloween collage.

 Rice Crispy Spider
Create this creepy treat with Rice Crispies and shape into a spider shape.  Add some purple tinted coconut to his back to make him hairy.  Add candies for his facial features. Enjoy!

 More Ideas (Without Pics)
1.  Print out pieces to use with the story "There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Bat"
You can use them with a flannel board or just let kids re-tell the story with them

2.  Use foam pieces or wallpaper to cut out the pieces of the book,
"There Was an Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything".
Use on flannel or to retell. 
The kids could also make their own to take home and retell to parents. 

3.  Color some glue with orange paint.  Draw a pumpkin shape onto wax paper.  Let child fill in the shape with the glue.  While it is wet, add small black construction paper eyes and mouth.  Then you can sprinkle orange colored sand over your pumpkin.  Once dry you can use hole punch  and make a pumpkin necklace.

I could go on and on with more Halloween things, but I hope this is enough to get your started on some ideas!
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


With the start of school it seems the best time for APPLES!!  Soon it will be time to harvest apples, visit an apple orchard, make some apple pie, or drink some apple cider with some donuts!  Yum!  Sounds good to me :o)

Here are a bunch of ideas to help you with your APPLE THEME at school!

The Biggest Apple Ever -  Steven Kroll
Apples  -  Gail Gibbons
Ten Apples Up on Top  -  Theo Lesieg
Apples, Apples Everywhere!  -  Robin Koontz (visiting an apple orchard)
The Life Cycle of an Apple Tree  -  Linda Tagliaferro
Max's Apples  -  Penguin Group (Max & Ruby Book)
Apple Farmer Annie  -  Monica Wellington
The Apple Pie Tree  -  Zoe Hall
Apples  -  Jacqueline Farmer
Ten Red Apples  -  Pat Hutchins

1.  Have some discussions about apples.  First ask...."What do you know about apples?"
    Write down their responses....even if they are silly.  At the end of the week/theme you can go back over 
  these and see if all their responses are correct. 
    Example:  If someone had said at the beginning that apples grow on a vine on the ground.  The kids would now know that they do not grow on a vine....they grow on trees.

2. Have a basket of apples ready to use.  Pick one child to come up and make a group of three apples.  Have another child come up and place ONE apple by itself.

Ask the children how many apples they think they would have if they put those two groups together.

 Have another child come slide them together and count.  Was the class right?
     Now have another child come up and put two apples back into the basket.  How many do they have left?
     Keep adding and subtracting apples until all students have had a turn.

3. Make up some silly sentences on the board or on sentence strips.  Read a sentence and then have a child come up and find the word "apple" in that sentence.  You can have them circle it or give them an apple picture to place on top of the word.

4.  Apple Tasting / Graphing
   Slice up green, yellow and red apples.  Give each child a red apple slice and have them eat it.  Continue with the yellow and green.  When they are done, ask them one at a time to come up and pick the color of marker that matches their favorite apple.  Have a picture of a red, yellow and green apple at the top of a graph.  Let them use the marker to write their name under their favorite color.
  Talk about the graph and which color had the most, least, equal number.  Display the graph in the hallway for others to see.


This is a laminated one that we use in the classroom, but each child can make their own to take home.

Start by giving them an apple cut out of tag board or card stock.
Next have them color their apple and help use a hole punch around outside.
Glue on a worm picture and add a piece of green yarn or we used thin green ribbon. Wrap a piece of Scotch Tape around one end to make it easier to put through holes.

Apple Crowns / Patterning
Have a supply of die-cut red, yellow and green apples.
Give each child a sentence strip and have them use the apples to make patterns.
Once they have the pattern they like best, let them glue the pieces on.
These can be worn throughout the week to celebrate APPLES!

Apple Rubbings
Save the outside part from your die-cut apples (or the part you cut the apple from)
Layer about 4 of them together and tape them down to a table.
Next lay a piece of paper over the stencil and use red, green & yellow (doesn't show up as well) crayons.
Take the paper off of crayons and lay the crayon on its side to rub over the stencil.  Let them do as many apples as they would like on their page to make a collage of apple rubbings.

Ten Apples Up on Top!

After reading this book, you can let your students make their own class book about it.
Give each student a piece of paper and a picture of themselves (or you can have them draw their head)
Give them an apple stamp (or apple pictures or you can use their thumbprints and add stems later)
and let them stamp what apples they would like on top of their head.
 You can display separately on a bulletin board or laminate and put together as a class book...or just send home


1.  Play the game...Hi- Ho! Cherry-O  (I know it is cherries, but the kids think they are apples LOL)
 My game is really old so the board inside sags in the middle, making our trees lean too much.
I have found it much easier for this game and many others (like Go Fish) to stand the trees (or cards)
in a small clump of Play-doh!  The trees don't fall and much easier to keep your apples on it.

2. Verbal Directionality   Use one of the trees from the game above or any other tree or picture of a tree.
   Working with one child at a time, give them an apple picture or a red pom and have them listen to the word you give them and then place the "apple" in the correct spot.  Keep a record of how they do at the beginning of the year and re-do at the end of the year to track their progress.
 Some words to use:  beside, above, behind, in, under, on top, on, off, away, around, in front, beneath, etc

3.  Name Writing  Place a set of name cards at the table that have each child's name and picture on them.
  Supply them with some laminated apple nameplates and wipe-off markers.  Let them find their name and practice writing it.  When they are done have them use a tissue to wipe their marker off for the next student.

4.  Apple Numbers File Folder Game:   Make a file folder game.  Glue a big tree inside the folder.  Add a little envelope in one corner.  Make apple cards with Numbers & place in envelope.  Make a little apple basket and staple it on so that it is sort of rounded out to put things in.  You can use red poms or apple pics in the basket.  Children will draw a card out of the envelope and place it on the tree trunk.  Then they will take that number of "apples" from the basket and place on their tree.  Or you can put all the poms on the tree to begin with and let them take that many of each time and fill their basket.

5.  Life Cycle Sequencing  
    Have students follow your directions and draw pictures in 4 boxes, depicting the life cycle changes of an apple tree.
First box:  Draw a bare tree in winter.    Second Box:  Draw the tree again, but add pink blossoms and green leaves.     Third Box:  Draw tree trunk and light green apples.  Fill in darker green leaves.   Fourth Box:  Draw trunk and red apples.  Fill in green leaves.
 (I realize my boxes are a little screwy LOL  - just now drew them)

After they are done drawing, have them cut boxes apart and use to sequence and tell the life cycle. 

6.  Applesauce in your sand table 
     Add applesauce to your sand and water table.  Put some red, green and yellow poms in it.  Add spoons and maybe some tweezers to pick poms out and sort into containers.  You can also give the kids some small plastic jars with lids and let them pretend they work in an applesauce factory. 

7.  Apple Toss Game:
 Use a small apple basket or container.  If you can find plastic apple ornaments (shown in pic), these work great.  If not, you can use rolled up red, green and yellow socks as apples.  Sit your basket on the floor and take about 8 - 10 steps back and make a line on the floor with masking tape.  The child takes the apples one at a time and stands behind the line and tries to throw as many apples into the basket as they can.  When they have thrown all the apples, have them count the total they got into the basket.  See who can get the highest number.

 8. Apple Relay:
    Divide students into two groups.  Give each child an apple.  When it is their turn to go for their group, they must hold the apple under their chin, WITH NO HANDS.  Have them walk with it under their chin down to their team's apple basket and try to lean over and drop it into the basket without using any hands.  If it doesn't go in...leave it on the floor then go sit down and the next team mate goes.  When all players have gone, check the baskets to determine a winning team.

9.  Matching Numbers with Apple Seeds:

    You can use the apple number cards from your file folder game or just write a number on some cards and turn over in a pile.  Give child a sheet of paper, red/green/yellow markers.   Turn over the top card and say the #.  Let them choose a color to draw an apple.  Use the brown marker to add that matching # of seeds to the center of their apple. Write the number beside the apple.  They can do as many cards as will fit on their paper.  Have them write their name at the top of the page.  Display these in the hallway or around the room.

Apple Song
 Way up high in the apple tree  (point up)
Two red apples smiled at me  (point to your smile)
I shook that tree as hard as I could  (pretend to shake a tre)
Down came the apples  (falling fingers)
Mmmm...were they cood!  (Rub your tummy) 

Have You Ever Seen an Apple? 
(sung to Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?)

Have you ever seen an apple,
an apple, an apple?
Have you ever seen an apple
That grows on a tree?

A red one, a yellow one,
A green one, a golden one.
Have you ever seen an apple
That grows on a tree?

To end your week,  have an apple picnic! 
 Lay a sheet or big tablecloth over your circle time rug or area.
Have foods all made from apples for the kids to taste.  Such as:
applesauce (which I tell how to make in an earlier post in July/snacks), apple cider,
apple juice, apple pie, apple cake, apple strudel, etc.

 Let the kids eat while you read a couple of the apple books you didn't get to during the week or  watch  a
movie about picking apples at an orchard  Here: Apple Farm Video 

                 Have FUN!