Mona Lisa and American Gothic

You're asking who our classroom weather girl is???  Mona Lisa has that job!  I love using famous artwork in my classroom.  The kids are always really excited to tell me when they see Mona Lisa, or another painting we have hanging up, somewhere other than preschool.
Here are more of her weather props.  She also has a rain cap, cup of hot cocoa, mittens, and a winter hat.
American Gothic is back to school in September!
Don't they look excited about it....
And it just so happened, that I just so happened upon the American Gothic house this summer.

I used my mother's Silhouette Cameo to cut out all the props.  The frames are from Ikea.  I use these to attach the props to the artwork.  Stay tuned for American Gothic October!

Goodbye obstacle course, hello letter!

Start at the Star makes learning to write a whole lot easier!  In general, most beginning writers are still learning to recognize letters and numbers.  So throwing arrows, lines, and numbers (that they may not understand or recognize yet) into a now disguised letter, doesn't exactly make things easy for them.
There are 3 levels of Start at the Star to help your early learner(s) learn to write!

The Green Rug

So I have this green rug, a cheap green rug, a hand-me-down to my sister who handed it down to me, cheap green rug.  Last year I used it underneath the preschool project table to protect my carpet.  Now I have a laminate floor under the project tables, so it was time to figure out what to do with the hand-me-down of a hand-me-down cheap green rug.  First I got to take it outside and scrub the glue, paint, Play-doh, etc, 
out of it.  
Now to figure out what to use it for exactly.  I really need a proper rug time rug, and don't want to spend the $$$ on one, so I tried to figure how I could divide up this green rug so the children would have much needed designated spaces to sit in.  Well it was duct tape to the rescue!!  I love all the fun duct tape I see at almost every store I go to!  I divided my 5x7 rug into sections using a sharpie and a measuring tape, and then I applied the duct tape to the rug. 
 My kids had the job of walking along the tape to press it down into the carpet.  Once duct tape is pressed well into carpet it is there to stay, even with little fingers
picking at it!
 It was fun and easy.  I spent $6 on the duct tape and I have lots left over.  Plus the lovely green rug was free, but they can also be found cheap at home improvement centers, and I bet you don't have to scrub paint, glue, and Play-doh out of one purchased there!

Bookworm Treat Header!

Introducing the Bookworm Treat Header:
and it's a "free-bee"!
It's so easy!
Print (preferably on colored card stock)
Cut (along the dashed lines)
Fold (along the solid line)
Attach (staple to a little bag of gummy worms)
Enjoy!

Start at the Star Level 1


Welcome to Start at the Star (SATS) Level 1early writing.  An introduction to the lowercase letters- by far the most frequent letters children will encounter in reading and writing! 
SATS teaches children to write by simply giving them a place to start.  Letting young children see the letters they are learning, by keeping as many extra lines, arrows and numbers out of the way.  “Start at the Star”- easy to remember, and learning to write becomes so much easier when you simply know where to start!
*** SATS Level 1 Includes ***
Worksheets for all the lowercase letters:
     
Children will see an example of the letter, and trace the letter by starting at the star.  Next they will color a picture (that has the letter as it’s first letter sound), see the picture's word written out, & trace that word.  They will also get familiar with the shape of the letter by filling a dot filled letter with bingo markers (see picture below), stickers (see picture above), stamps, Q-tip paint dots, fingerprints, etc.
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Writing practice cards for lowercase letters:
These are great size (quarter paper) for teacher demonstration and extra practice!  Shown above laminated, to wipe and reuse!
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Dot filled letter cards:
I recommend laminating these quarter paper sized cards.  Get ready to improve those fine motor skills as well!  All sorts of small items can be used with these, such as:
Pony Beads....Pom Poms....

Watercolor Drops....Play-doh Balls....

 rocks....etc!!!
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Lowercase Letter Mats:
These half paper sized mats should also be laminated for use.  These mats will help the children continue to grasp the shape of the letter by allowing their brain to register a 3D letter.  Examples below show the mats used with Play-doh, Wikki Stix, and small beads (colored rice would work great too).

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Lowercase Flashcards:
Perfect for standard flashcard use, or punch holes in the corners and put them on a ring.  Start with just a few and work up to the whole set.
And last but not least, the whole Start at the Star alphabet on one worksheet!  You have the choice of everything on one side, or a two sided worksheet with more space and therefore bigger letters!

Enjoy!

But wait! There's more....

Start at the Star Level 2
&
Start at the Start Level 3!

Start at the Star Level 2

Welcome to Best Day Ever’s 
Start at the Star (SATS) Level 2Early Writing: 
After becoming familiar with the lowercase letters in level 1, it is now time to add the uppercase letters.  In this level of Start at the Star, children will learn to recognize upper and lowercase letters as the same letter, become more familiar with the letter shapes, and gain experience writing each letter.
Start at the Star teaches children to write by simply giving them a place to start. Letting young children see the letters they are learning, by keeping as many extra lines, arrows and numbers out of the way. “Start at the Star”- easy to remember, and learning to write becomes so much easier when you simply know where to start!
*** SATS Level 2 Includes***
Worksheets for all 26 letters:
      

Children will see an example of the uppercase and lowercase letter, trace the uppercase and lowercase letter by starting at the star.  Next they will match the uppercase and lowercase letter by tracing the correct path to the same letter.  Lastly they will see the both the uppercase and lowercase letter as the first letter in the same word, and color the picture.

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Writing practice cards:
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Dot filled letter cards:
(see SATS Level 1 for more ideas)
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Letter flashcards/memory game:

 These cards have double lines along the bottom edge, that way the children will know top from bottom!
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Letter mats:
(see SATS Level 1 for more ideas)
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Worksheets with all the uppercase and lowercase letters:
for one page...
or front and back...
Enjoy!

But wait! There's more:

Start at the Star Level 3

Welcome to Best Day Ever’s
Start at the Star (SATS) Level 3, Early Writing:  
Learning to write the letters onto manuscript lines. The three spaces created by the manuscript lines (top,middle, bottom), are taught with the example of the three parts of the plant (the flower, stem, and roots).
Start at the Star: Teaching children to write by simply giving them a place to start.  Letting them see the letters they are learning, by keeping as many extra lines, arrows and numbers out of the way. “Start at the Star”- easy to remember, and learning to write becomes so much easier when you simply know where to start!
***SATS Level 3 Includes***
Worksheets for all letters:
Children will see an example of the letter in the manuscript lines, next to the flower guide, see whether the letter belongs in the flower (top), stem (middle), and/or root (bottom) spaces.  Then trace the letters by
starting at the star.  Lastly they will find the bubbles (located around the boarder) with the correct upper or lowercase letter and fill in the bubbles with bingo markers, stickers, stamps, Q-tip paint dots, fingerprints, crayons, markers, etc. There are 3 correct letters on each side.
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Manuscript line teaching sheets:
without letters
These are perfect for teacher instruction when laminated!

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Manuscript line letter mats for all letters:
Laminate and use a marker to trace, or use Playdoh, Wikki Stix, etc.
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All the letters in one worksheet:
one side
two sides
       
Enjoy!