Sunday, November 29, 2009

I am the queen of Craigslist, I love yard sales, and am on a first name basis with the local consignment sellers. This is the only way I could have gotten all the materials I needed for the school. I have to admit that I have a disease for good deals because I CAN'T STOP!! But it is so much fun!

As you know, classroom furniture is ridiculously expensive, so I had to get creative. Here is some of the furniture I've gotten for my classroom:

Quite possibly my favorite is my art table. I needed a table that would fit 6-8 kids and couldn't afford to buy something full price. After searching for children's furniture online for a while - I was looking for a cheap train table - I had an epiphany. Children's tables are just regular tables with shorter legs... duh. I decided to look for just a nice "all wood" table, and I found a really cute kitchen table on Craigslist for $25. It didn't come with any chairs. Then, I went to Home Depot and they cut the legs off for me for free (to 20 inches table top height), and I just added some pads to the feet


Now I needed some chairs, but since I was short on space I opted to use stools. These little stools were only $9.00 each at IKEA. My mother in law was kind enough to pick them up for me so I didn't have to pay shipping. Now that I think about it... I didn't pay her anything. Oops. Sorry. :P

Another great buy was my TV stand. Yes... TV stand. I'm not playing Barney for the kids or anything -we're more of a Blues Clues house anyway :). I use it to store toys. TV stands, although soon to be extinct, are perfect for storing toys. They are low to the ground, have deep shelves, and can handle heavy loads (namely my kids' 5 billion toys!). I use two TV stands in my room, one I've had since college (yes, it is that old), and the other I got at Goodwill for $30. It was missing the doors which is why it was so cheap, and also why it was so perfect. I didn't want the doors.

Cubbies are also fairly expensive. I just got some of the cubicles made by Closet Maid, and turned them on their side. They make perfect cubbies for toys or for storing students' things. I found mine for sale at Target, but you can also find them at Wal-mart and AC Moore.
(Tip: AC Moore always has coupons on their web site)

I also found the cutest mirror on Craigslist. It's a child's full length mirror - shatterproof - soooo adorable. And I can't find a way to get it up on my classroom wall because of the chair rail. Double oops!

Do you have any good ideas for classroom storage and furniture? Please share!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hammering Board

A lot of early childhood education books advise teachers to allow children the opportunity to work their motor skills by hammering nails into wooden boards. While I agree with this in theory, giving my son access to a weapon and free reign to beat the tar out of a bunch of nails in a board is a little beyond my comfort zone. And I certainly don't want to be responsible for the damage one of my students might inflict on themselves or my home using one of these boards. So when I came across this idea, I thought it was a winner. I would still advise that children are supervised when using the hammering board, and I wouldn't give it to children under the age of three, but that's your call. As you can see from the picture below, this was a real "hit" with my son. (He-he).

What you'll need:

  • Three fabric bolts (You can get these for free at any fabric store, but make sure they are the kind that are completely enclosed)
  • Duct tape
  • 2 inch golf tees (natural wood)
  • Hammering tool (plastic hammer, or a wooden/rubber mallet)
  • Container for holding the tees (Dollar store)

Directions: This is too simple!
  1. Duct tape the three bolts together, by wrapping the tape around each end.
  2. Use the container to hold the excess tees.
  3. Show the child how to position the tea and hit it, and let them go at it.

We used a plastic hammer, but I would think a small rubber mallet would be ideal. For the life of me I could not find a single wooden or rubber mallet ANYWHERE! If I find one, I'll let you know. Also, we used white tees, but the paint chipped off everywhere so plain wooden ones would probably be a better bet. Happy Hammering :).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dressing Boards

These boards are a great way for little ones to work on their hand-eye coordination skills. They're usually for children 2 and up who are learning to dress themselves, but even my 13 month old enjoyed working the zipper frame.

These are pretty expensive new, and really easy to make, so it just makes sense to do it yourself. Dollar store wooden frames work great! I used one of my daughters sweaters, but the other two I got for really cheap at a consignment store.

What you'll need:

  • 5X7 wood frames
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Infant clothing - 3 or 6 months - with zippers, buttons and/or snaps
  • Chip clips or clothespins
  • Staple gun and staples (approx 1/4 inch)

  1. Remove the glass and backing from the frames.
  2. Using the pliers, carefully remove the metal tabs from the frames.
  3. Fit the clothing over the frames and lay them button side down.
  4. Bunch up the excess clothing in the back, and secure it with chip clips or clothes pins. (Don't pull to tight or the buttons will be difficult to manipulate)
  5. Staple the clothing onto the frame leaving at least and 1 to 1 1/2 inches between staples.
  6. Remove the chip clips and fold the excess material so it lays flat. Staple it to the frame using the spaces between the first set of staples.

Here are the ones I made. Next I need to figure out how to make a lacing frame. They just don't seem to make bustiers for infants. ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sebastian's Stories

My son, Sebastian, has been really into making up stories lately so I thought we should try to take it to the next level. We've been working together writing little books. Sebastian dictates the story (with a little support from me) I write it out for him in book form, then he draws pictures to go along with each page of the book. It's been a lot of fun, and I am really amazed by what he can do. Here are the two books he's written so far. They are so cute, I just had to share.

Joey-o Got Lost
There was a boy named Joey-o
Joey-o got lost in a big cave in the woods.
Rocks fell down and covered the opening to the cave. It was really dark and Joey-o was very scared.
Then a big, friendly gorilla punched a hole in the top of the cave to let Joey-o out.
He saw the bright lights, and heard the loud engine, of the help helicopter going super-fast.
The help helicopter lowered the hook into the cave.
Joey-o grabbed onto the hook and it pulled him out of the cave.
And the help helicopter flew him back home.

Marley the Space Alien
Marley was from Saturn. He wanted to look at the stars so he shot a flying telescope up into the sky.
The telescope got really old and started falling out of space.
Marley got into a rocket, and shot out into space toward Jupiter to stop the telescope from falling.
But he wasn't fast enough and he telescope fell onto Jupiter.
It crashed into a house and broke.
Then Marley got into a better rocket, went to Jupiter, got the telescope, and took it home.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Here goes!

I thought I would start this blog with a list of books I am currently reading or want to read, as well as some books I recommend on preschool education. Just because I've read or want to read certain books doesn't mean that I subscribe to any particular philosophy. I am trying to expose myself to as many different methods as possible to inform my work as a teacher.

No need to tell me I have no life.. I already know :)

Have read (Recommended):

Currently reading:

Want to read: