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Idea Gallery

Things that Go

Jennifer Hawkes from Kelsey Pharr shared a link to a site with 35 activities for
things that go. The activities can be found by following the link below.


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Read for the Record

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Javonie Wilcox from Orchard Villa Elementary shared this science lab on the five senses.

Last week my class completed our first science lab. We used our 5 senses to discover fruits and vegetables.  We  recorded our findings on a chart and categorized items as sweet, sour, or spicy tasting. After the lab was over  my students had to draw a picture of the food item they enjoyed eating the most in their science journals. The students had a great time and so did I..

five senses science lab

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Diana Chica from Claude Pepper Elementary suggested this classroom game:

I was playing a Hello Kitty game (similar to Doggy Doggy where's your bone?) with my niece and nephew this weekend that was a lot of fun. The game was meant to be played inside a house but I created my own version for inside the classroom. You can use any toy and just print, cut and laminate the cards I made. 

Below is the game just in case you would want to share it or put it on the website. Teachers can make their own adaptations based on their classroom and students. 

Hide and Seek game (to print)

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What do you see here? A brand new block area shelf unit....?

pre-k shelf in block area

NOPE! Think again! This is one of the old brown wooden block area shelves. Lorie Machado Tarrio from Miami Heights Elementary gave it new life with a fresh coat of paint. Looks great!

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Marian Tejada and Lissette Orantes at Claude Pepper shared this idea for saving resources as well as your Shared Reading books:

Go green!! During shared reading,  when the students are being the authors, instead of using different sentence strips, laminate them!!  If you laminate the sentence strips, you can use a dry erase marke to write the children’s version. You can either use scotch tape or sticky tack to put the strips on the pages. Then recycle the strips!

"" "" ""

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Mrs. Conchita de la Campa, Pre-K Special Education teacher in a Self Contained Autism Spectrum Disorder program at Bent Tree Elementary, Miami, Florida developed these easy and inexpensive individual activities for students in her classroom to use at the Individual Work Area.  These activities take into consideration children’s interests, IEP goals, and developmentally appropriate practices for young children.  She shares them with you!

Download .pdf here

activity for matching colored clips with colored cups

Lots of image files available for download for classroom labeling. Thanks to Claudia Monsalve and Tara Basan for hundreds of great images! These downloads will also have a permanent home in the Teacher Handbook, appendices H, I, K, and M. the files are large and make take a minute or two to download.

Classroom Label Photos
(Appendices H&I)

sensory toy

Sensory and Busy Box Toy Photo Labels (Appendices I&K&M)

work system task

Photos for Independent Work Tasks (Appendix M)

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Last week we read the BELL book “When Robins Sing,” and this week we expanded the concepts of seeds into a math activity. Using two different colored kinds of seeds/beans, the kids made their own patterns. They also counted the beans and sorted them into groups by size and color.

Girl making a pattern of large and small beans boy making pattern with large and small beans

Stephanie Rad Quintana, M.S.Ed.
PreK SPED Teacher
Air Base Elementary

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I used to find Shared Reading the most difficult time of the day because of my students limited expressive/receptive language. "Writing" their own version of the story is nearly impossible. And just getting them to relate and have fun with the books while learning book concepts was challenging.

So this is what I decided to do...I scan, print, cut, and laminate some pages and images from the book. I also laminate some typed cards, with words that correspond to the pictures. For example, "beaver" and the title of the book seen here:

matching the title card to the title on the cover of the bookcover of book with matching title card

word card matched to the same word in the text of the bookmatching thepicture card to the same word in the picture on the pag e

Each student gets a picture(s) and/or word(s), the quantity depends on their abilities, and matches it as we read aloud. It makes Shared Reading a truly interactive experience for all the students despite their diverse abilities. It also helps them focus on just a few new vocabulary words a day. Since my students enjoy matching and are often good at it, I find this helps keep those that are typically not that interested in stories engaged. I try to make two sets for each book so they can practice on the small version of the books during other times of the day, independently or with adult assistance.

Tara Basan    M.S.Ed
Pre-Kindergarten Special Education Teacher
Gulfstream Elementary School
Miami, Florida
(305) 235-6811

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colorful construction paper tree on wall of classroom


From Peggy Cabrera at Skyway Elementary

Here is a picture of our Reading Tree. When a parent reads a book at home to their child they fill out one of the green leaves I provide each week with the name of the book and the child's name. When the child brings it in to school we clap in the circle when they tell us who read the book to them at home and put it on the tree.

At the end of the year we give out certificates for each child who contributed to the reading tree. We ask the parents to do this home activity to help with vocabulary etc., an easy home learning activity.


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From Diane Koehnk at Morningside Elementary

My children are making their own books for The Hungry Caterpillar for "Read for the Record Day", October 8, 2009.  We will make the little and big caterpillar into puppets.  For the cocoon we will wrap a cloth around the big caterpillar.  We are decorating the pages with glitter, tissue paper, real leaves, paint, yarn etc...    And of couse our butterfly will be beautiful. We are also going to plant milk weed seeds to take home. Hopefully we will to watch a caterpillar turn into a cacoon and watch the butterfly emerge.

Download a zipped folder of all the Boardmaker files to create the book here (you must have the Boardmaker software to open and print these files).

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From Ayna Molina at Airbase Elementary...

I have two students who love our Wheels on the Bus Board and are non-verbal soooo… I decided to make them their own boards to take home.  They are about the size of a regular sheet of paper.   Here are the Board maker docs for them and pictures of how they turned out.

front of bus songboardback of bus songboard with symbols 

Wheels on the Bus board

Wheels on the Bus song symbols

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Ideas for "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" - Read for the Record Day - October 8, thanks to Cathy Zoldak from Gratigny Elementary!

download the icons hereShared Reading/Storytime/Large Group: I found these icons to print (click on picture to the left to download), laminate, and use with flannelboard for sequencing and retelling of story after repeated readings. Send home with each child (with the book, rotate nights) in a Ziploc bag so children can "read" the story to their parents by retelling it.

Art Area: Cut out large simple butterfly shape for easel painting.

SGT/WT: Provide simple butterfly shapes and paint. Intro lesson with the book and talk about how the butterfly's wings are the same design on each wing (symmetry). Paint on one half of butterfly and then show them how to fold paper to make the same design on each wing (if they wish). After they dry, hang them paint side down from ceiling so they can look up and see them "flying." In House Area, have pretend apple, pears, etc. in cooking activities. Send home info to parents about Butterfly World in West Palm Beach! Snacktime: eating apples, pears, etc. Counting sets to five: i.e., one apple, two pears, etc. in the story. Use eye droppers (fine motor!) and children "drop" different colored food coloring onto coffee filters (it's really fun to watch the color spread)...then use clothes pin to pinch it in the middle to make butterlfy (or pipe cleaners in the middle or however the children want to creatively represent!) Hang from ceiling! They turn out beautifully!

Book Area: Science books about butterflies/caterpillarsVisit butterfly garden (our school has one!). Take binoculars or pretend binoculars (toilet paper tubes glued together!) Punch holes and string yard so they can wear around their necks. :)

LGT: There is a game called "Elefun" (about 19 bucks): (you can see it at amazon.com)...that "shoots up" vinyl butterflies from elephants trunk and they float in the air and the children catch them with nets (four come with the game...can get extra ones at dollar store or Target summer clearance...) Make butterfly "wings" by giving each child colored crepe paper streamers to hold and sway in the air as they dance to classical music...

OT: same as above but the streamers fly in the wind!

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Idea from Stephanie Rad Quintana from Airbase Elementary:

This is a home communication board I made for one of my students last year.  The board is very simple. I made it because J. would go home on the bus and his mom was DESPERATE to communicate with him about his day at school. He takes the board home with him and his mom can sort of “guide” the conversation. I made some pictures to put on it, but sometimes I would just draw a picture. In the last section, I would write something, maybe to prompt his mom to ask him a specific question. This board REALLY helped with the “What did you do in school today?" "Nothing” situation…


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screenshot from the website video
Lissette Gil and Dolores Mendoza want to share this link to a cute video and song for how to stay safe while shopping in the crowds of the holiday season. ENJOY!

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construction paper tree with leaves on door of classroomThis is our LEAP Giving Tree.  I have it posted on our door with cutouts sticky-tacked on the I labeled with items we need in the classroom.  As Roni suggested in the beginning of the year, we have low-priced to high priced items and we added on volunteering opportunities as well.  The cut-outs are holiday themed and the parents see our tree and take one off as they please, when they come to drop off their child.  We change the items on a monthly basis depending on what we need: copy paper, juice, cookies, bubbles, playdough, velcro, a volunteer to cut out laminated pictures, a volunteer to clean classroom toys, etc.  This idea has been very helpful for our class this year!  One of the parents volunteered to make our "Giving Tree" - Bryan Slattery, and the parents have been really involved in make our class even better this year! close up of leaves of the giving tree labeled with needed classroom items

Miss Ame Travieso
Pre-k SPED Teacher / LEAP Redondo Elementary School

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Deanna DeCario from South Miami impressed our visitors from Georgia with her excellent implementation of curriculum and her high student expectations. One thing we all loved when we observed her class was one of her greeting time songs. Here are the words. Do it as a chant or make up your own tune:

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday - clap
Wednesday, Thursday - snap, snap, snap
Friday - hop
Saturday - stop
Turn around and spin like a top.
Seven days in the week you see,
Now we'll sit so quietly.

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Dawn Peralta from Madie Ives Elementary has created an extensive list of children's books for parents to use to support the concepts being taught in Shared Reading, as well as a cover letter to send to parents at the beginning of the year. Links to this document will also be found in Teacher Handbook, Appendix S (currirulum, BELL) and Y (family involvement).

Shared Reading Book List by Dawn Peralta

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Kristi Perez from E.W.F. Stirrup Elementary writes: "Our students this year are really into numbers and counting objects so we created an outdoor activity with the dice with numerals and with the hula hoops. The children took turns rolling their dice, identifying the number independently or with the help of their friends and placing the corresponding number of hoops on the floor. The children then hopped over each hoop as they counted their hops. They truly enjoyed guessing if they were going to hop over many hoops or just a few."

children rolling large foam dice outside girl getting the hula hoops girl jumping through the hula hoops

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Susan Ramsey from Gulfstream Elementary (Reverse Mainstream) offers this testimonial to the Pre-K Tech Team regarding the power of picture support during Shared Reading and Phonological Awareness activities:

monkey symbol attached to poster next to monkey pictureJust a note to let you know how much I appreciate what I learned last summer with you about designing and using visuals to support our literacy program. Children who were usually inattentive started participating more; some could not wait to match their picture cards to the matching picture on the letter or rhyme poster.

The pictures helped me to prompt more language for students, expand on concepts better (ie. classifications, not the same, the same), and describe more characteristics when cuing a child to look at their picture card for certain details.

expanding file folder with picture symbols filed alphabeticallyIt was great having all the picture scans for the posters available (Pre-K SPED teachers may contact Sheila or Tina about acquiring and using these materials). Susana Cardona, the best para in the world, printed them, cut them, laminated them and adhered Velcro pieces to the posters and corresponding pictures. She also set up a filing system with envelopes of support pictures,  the scans and photos from magazines. big book with matching pisture symbols display stored in an envelope inside the back cover

Downloading the pre-made story boards has been great (see all story downloads here), and your suggestion of giving them to certain children to hold and use has optimized our Shared Reading Time. We were able to a have more interesting and interactive learning experiences. Thank you. Thank you.


symbols for rhyming words pouch with toys beginning with J