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Growing in Pre K


Preparing for Christmas

Posted by Eilis on December 7, 2012 at 11:25 PM

I love sharing the Christmas story with my young learners this time each year.  This week they illustrated their gifts for Baby Jesus:


and created these simple Nativities.

The printables for both activities are included in The First Christmas Printables at my Teachers Notebook Shop.

We also enjoyed some more visits from our elf, Mario.


And.... The Gingerbread Exchange Has been wonderful.  I have been very touched by the notes and emails I have received from so many delightful teachers.  Many classes from one school in Ennis, TX signed up.  It was tricky to put them all on separate lists (especially since Texas is already heavily represented in the exchange).  This picture of all the gingerbread men that they received (combined from all the lists) is AMAZING!  I hope they won't mind me posting it here.  Can you find one you sent out?


The Elf Adventure

Posted by Eilis on December 4, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Our elf arrived yesterday.  The package was very cold because it came from the North Pole.

 (This activity is helping me to feel like it is almost Christmas.  It is still hot here and doesn't feel at all like December....)

The kids are very excited and voted on the name Mario.  ( least he didn't get named Angry Bird....)  I went to the Elf on the Shelf site and registered our little friend.  I scrolled down to custom so that the word family wouldn't appear on our adoption certificate.  Here's a picture of Mario's first nightly adventure.  Who knows...maybe it will generate a little interest in this pocket chart which has been collecting dust in my classroom for three years.  It was hanging there when I moved in, and I keep thinking we will use it one of these days....Maybe the hiding place was too good...The kids NEVER found him!  They are usually a very observant bunch, but I guess the elf was just too clever... So calm searching was starting to turn into a frenzy...I helped them out before they started to dump out Legos, etc.  This is supposed to be helping with classroom  management as Christmas approaches....

He left us an elf report binder, so of course we filled in our first elf report.

I think he might show up somewhere much more obvious tomorrow...

Wait...did he change the number of days until Christmas? !

I have added  a couple more items to my Elf printables.  I have uploaded them as the FREE preview so that everyone can enjoy them.  One is a sheet for asking the elf a question (to answer during the night).  

The other is a printable to use if you would like to start a You've Been Elf-ed adventure at your school:

How fun to leave some holiday pencils, stickers, or whatever you please to a neighboring class. There are two pages.  One is for your own class when your elf leaves you a treat with enough to share.  The other is for the other classes to explain the game.  I suggest including extra copies so the fun will be carried on until winter break (or until all the classes have been elf-ed).

Looking for more elf ideas?  This is a very inspiring list and many of the items could be adapted for a classroom.

We also went on our sight word gingerbread man hunt today.  It is a FREE PRINTABLE at my Teachers Notebook Shop.

We read    and then brought our clipboards, sheets, and pencils to the library to search.  It was one of those amazing teaching times when everyone is focused, on-task, and happy.  I could not believe how much they enjoyed the hunt and how well their lists of "sight words" turned out.  A few finished early and were happy to help the others find challenging gingerbread men.  Once five or six kids had finished, I turned the paper over on their clipboards and told them to draw.  Again, this was amaziningly engaging.  Some days are just awesome....

    Look there's one....

I am looking forward to trying the number hunt in a different location at school.

AND LOTS of gingerbread mail arrived after school this afternoon.  My class is going to love opening the mail.  I think I will hold some back so we can open two or three each day.  


An Elf is Visiting our Classroom

Posted by Eilis on December 2, 2012 at 4:05 PM

I purchased one of those cute little Elf on Shelf sets to use in my classroom this year.


 THEN... I discovered just how many adorable ideas and printables there are for classroom elf activities on teacher blogs via Pinterest.  Here's one great  Link Up:  

Here's my take on it using Kate Hadfield's adorable art and keeping the concepts very simple for four and five-year-olds.  I stayed away from writing letters to Santa and put emphasis on the elf looking for good classroom behavior.



 My little printable set is one dollar at my Teachers Notebook shop (I need to fund my clipart and license expenses...), but I will email it FREE to the three best comments on this post 

FEATURING GREAT IDEAS FOR ELF VISITS in an EARLY CHILDHOOD CLASSROOM.  I will choose the best three tomorrow (Monday, December 3, 2012) night.

So...get your creative minds working (quickly) or you can always purchase it for one dollar :).

Update:  Sorry - the free offer is over...but please follow this link for updates on our

ELF ADVENTURES.  There are two FREE elf printables there.

Candy Cane Numbers

Posted by Eilis on December 1, 2012 at 10:35 AM

It's December!  I am supposed to be outside putting up decorations....but I had to add this new FREE printable first!  

Merry Christmas!

Click on the picture to take you to my Teachers Notebook Shop to download it FREE.  (Please follow my shop too.)

It is part of my Sweet Stuff Numbers 1-20 Printables which is $1.50 and includes an I have who has game,


a gingerbread number hunt,


and three December worksheets (patterning, addition with pictures, and cut and paste missing number).

The First Christmas Printables

Posted by Eilis on November 23, 2012 at 10:15 PM

I am very excited because I have purchased a license from Kate Hadfield Designs which allows me to offer her wonderful graphics in items for my Teachers Notebook Shop.  I discovered Kate's beautiful art while searching for some great Nativity clipart.  Let me just say that I have found it!   This printable set is $2.00.


The advent calendar can be printed for individual students to cut and paste each of the first 25 days in December.  If you prefer to do the Advent Calendar as a class activity, you might want to print the numbers on a magnetic sheet and attach the blank calendar to a Dollar Store cookie sheet.


   For the gift printable, each student illustrates his/her gift for the baby Jesus and you add a piece of wrapping paper (taped on the top only)

   and a bow.  The "Help the Shepherd find his sheep" game is similar to the candy corn game I made in October.  It is a fun way for kids to 

   practice putting numbers in order AND deciding whether they need a particular number or should return it to the bag.





Posted by Eilis on December 14, 2011 at 7:40 AM

Several of these ideas came from my wonderful teaching partner, Catherine.  She credits Barbara for the "My Gift for Jesus" idea.



The Legend of the Candy Cane  ties some Christian symbols to the candy cane.

You can print this mini-book at



The kids sequenced the words.  I added the real candy canes just before they took them home.  This could also be done with candy cane stickers.

 We also did some beaded candy cane ornaments from a kit.


I printed, laminated, and added magnets to these adorable Nativity pieces from Activity Village.

You can print your own here:

Merry Christmas!


More December Fun

Posted by Eilis on December 8, 2011 at 9:40 PM

We are really enjoying the Pre-K Gingerbread Man Exchange.  This photo shows gingerbread men from List 1 and List 2 since I put another Pre-K class from my school on list 2.  The kids are getting a nice introduction to Geography as we plot the gingerbread men by state.

About sixty Pre-K classes participated in the exchange this year.  Many have suggested a Valentine exchange.  I will organize one in January to take place in February 2012.  Please join this site and/or like the Facebook page if you want to be notified when we start the Pre-K Valentine Exchange!


Remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season....

Here is an art project we did this week: