He definitely has self-confidence

March 29, 2012 at 5:50 am (The Preschool Files)

We were out on the playground when he came up to me.

“Ms. Amber! That’s my hat up there. (he points to the roof of the playhouse.) Don’t forget it when my mom gets here!”

Kiddo, that’s your hat. You wanted to bring it out, so it is your responsibility.

Another boy says “I don’t have a hat.”

Kiddo’s response? “That’s because you aren’t cute in a hat – I’m cute in a hat!”


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Behavior Management Chart

January 14, 2012 at 7:09 am (The Preschool Files)

My class was already familiar with the traffic light system for behavior management when I started working with them. So my system is really only a tweak of that. I took some black posterboard and glued four foam squares to it – from top to bottom: green, yellow, orange, red. Then I wrote each child’s name on a clothespin.


The kids start each day with¬† their pins on green. I try to use a “three strikes” approach with them – remind them of the rule they are forgetting and say “that’s 1; if I have to get on to you for that 3 times, we have to move your name.” That works well for things that don’t pose a risk for injury – dangerous behaviors only get one warning.


At the end of each day, everyone who stays on green gets to pick a prize from the treasure box. Yes, that’s just a box of candy. With most of the class getting to pick something everyday, candy is the cheapest option for me. A $4 bag of candy looks like it may last me a couple months (if I can stay out of it myself!)

But candy isn’t the only reward system in my classroom. After all, everybody has a bad day now and then and may wind up on yellow.¬† So I keep track of the red lights throughout the week (and those have been very rare). Everyone who stays off of red all week long gets to bring one toy from home on Friday for show and tell. Everyone gets a chance on Friday morning to show and tell, and if we have a good morning Friday (stay off orange and red), they get to play with those toys Friday afternoon.

The system seems to be working pretty well for us.

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Cake Recipe

January 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm (The Preschool Files)


This is exactly what one little girl in my class told me I needed to do to bake a cake. She was playing with the dishes in the dramatic play area while she talked and was “showing” me how to do it. I would try it myself, but I can’t find “burnt” on my oven. Hmm.

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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree

January 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm (The Preschool Files)


My class is in love with the book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.” And I have been wanting to make some file folder games for the classroom anyway. So here is the newest addition to our shelves.

When you aren’t the most artistic person in the world, it helps to have some imaginative kids to work with.

Start with an open file folder. Cut a rectangle from brown felt for the tree trunk and some triangles from green felt for the leaves of the coconut tree. I used craft glue to put
it together in the folder.

Now you could just write your letters on felt and cut them out, but we had some foam alphabet stickers and I thought they were cute, so I stuck those to felt and then cut around them. Your letters can go in a ziplock bag or an envelope that can be attached to the back of the folder.

Easy peasy!

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I have the same effect on myself at times

November 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm (The Preschool Files)

We were sitting at the table with our worksheet this morning. It was one of those “circle the letter each picture starts with” pages. And we were working it together. So I was doing a lot of “what’s this? What does this start with? Which one is that letter?”

We were almost to the end when she just couldn’t take it anymore. “Ms Amber, you talking is making me want to throw up!”

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Southern Born and Raised

November 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm (The Preschool Files)

I was reading Scat the Cat to my class today. We had just gotten to the part where Scat turned red and his friends laughed at him. One little boy said that it wasn’t nice of them to laugh at poor Scat. Another boy piped up with “bless his heart!” Only in the South.

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They rhyme!

June 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm (The Preschool Files)

“Ms Amber! My popsicle rhymes with the table!”


I look, and I realize that he meant to say that they matched. They were both blue.

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talk about your tight schedules

May 21, 2011 at 9:49 am (The Preschool Files)

I was talking to one of the little girls in my class the other day. Her mom is expecting again and getting pretty close to her due date. The little girl was telling me how she was going to get to help take care of the new baby and she sounded so excited. I told her she was going to be a great big sister.

One of the boys in the class heard that and asked “whose sister is she?”

Her mommy is going to have a baby. Remember when your mommy had your little brother?

“Yeah…when mommy had my brother, he came out 29 minutes late.”

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Friday Favorites: Recipe for Fun

March 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm (The Preschool Files)

This Wednesday was the birthday of one of the all-time great authors: Dr. Seuss. So my class had Dr. Seuss week this week.

On Thursday, we read Bartholomew and the Oobleck. In my lesson planning, I had done an internet search for activities that would tie in with Dr. Seuss books, and I had found a recipe for Oobleck. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that what was known online as “oobleck” was the “slime” that my mother had made for me to play in when I was a child. Who knew?

It’s a simple recipe: 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water, and whatever color food coloring you want to use. We used green for 2 reasons: that’s what color Dr. Seuss’s oobleck was, and that’s what color my mother always made ours.

Most of the kids had a blast, although there were the odd couple who just aren’t that into messy stuff.

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Words to Live By

March 4, 2011 at 5:57 am (The Preschool Files)

A boy came up to me on the playground. He grabbed my hand and said “let’s do this.” He proceeded to shake my hand while saying:

Shake my hand; Be my friend; Don’t eat out of the garbage can!

Where did you learn that, buddy?

“My mommy taught it to me.”

I’m curious as to why the line about eating from the garbage can was deemed necessary, but I have to admit, it was cute. And those are some valuable life lessons there.

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