Theme Layout

Boxed or Wide or Framed

Theme Translation

Display Featured Slider


Featured Slider Styles

Display Grid Slider

Grid Slider Styles

Display Trending Posts

Display Author Bio

Display Instagram Footer

Search This Blog

Powered by Blogger.


About Me

My photo
I am a first grade teacher who has rediscovered a love for firsties this year. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and even second over the past 16 years. I have been married for 17 years to my wonderful husband and have been blessed with 2 very active boys.

Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K Back to School
Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Phonics Games

Phonics Games
Phonics Games
Image Map
Blog Design by:
Graphics by: MareeTrueLove.
Widget by:Gabby Barba

Calendar Math for Primary Grades

Calendar Math for Primary Grades
Primary Calendar for the Year

Is Pre-K the New Kindergarten?

Is Pre-K the new kindergarten?
I am here to tell you YES!

With the rigor of new state and national standards being at an all time high, we have watched grade level standards trickle down a grade level or two.  There is more pressure put on these sweet kids, less recess and movement and play is often unheard of in the primary classrooms.

So how do we, in good conscience, teach these mandated standards while using developmentally appropriate practices? Here are 5 TOP ways to keep pre-k fun and engaging instead of frustrating children with standards that are not developmentally appropriate. 


I integrate fine motor skills in the sensory table, literacy center, math table, blocks, art and even the dramatic play area.  The trick is to look for fun ways to develop these little muscles while working on a task. For instance, instead of just counting manipulatives during small group math as we practice counting from 1-20, I give each student tweezers and they need to squeeze the tweezers as they pick up each pom pom as they count and fill their bucket.  


Pre-Kinders LOVE play-dough! You can pretty much make any skill appeal to them if you add a tub of play-dough.  When you make your own and add scented oils or flavoring, engagement is at an all time HIGH!  Some fun, engaging activities include cookie cutters, rolling play-dough, stamping and play-dough mats.  Skills such as alphabet, number and sight word recognition lend themselves well. Students also categorize cut shapes, work on fine motor skills and have conversations all while they think they are "just playing".


Children learn by doing.  There are so many skills that can be taught by integrating art.  During a recent weather unit, I had planned on making wind socks with my students during art.  At the same time, we were working on measurement in math.  Students had to measure the colored streamers so they were each 1 foot long.  I used a ruler to measure a piece of colored tape for each student and put it on the table.  Pre-Kinders had to measure the streamers against the tape by matching up one end and cutting at the other. They didn't even realize they were practicing this important measurement skill!


Pre-Kinders love games! Games are invaluable in my classroom as they provide an outlet for skill practice in a fun and engaging way.  Students enjoy structured activities.  My paraprofessional or I are usually at the table to work on the skill as we introduce the game and kids love going to a "teacher" center.  Games also teach social skills like talking turns, playing fairly and even "you can't win them all"! Board games have been replaced by video games in so many homes so this is a great opportunity to engage kids! 

There are conflicting views about worksheets in pre-kindergarten and the bottom line is you need to know you class and their learning styles.  That being said, if I find a "worksheet" type of activity that enhances our curriculum and will be engaging for my kids, I slip it into a pocket sleeve, add dry erase markers and erasers and leave it at a center for practice.  These are great practice for fine motor activities that also practice previously introduced skills.  Children will have the rest of their school careers to complete more worksheets than they could imagine, so PLEASE, minimize worksheets and provide meaningful experiences for your pre-kinders.

So the bottom line is we probably have NO CONTROL over the standards we need to teach, BUT we do have control over HOW WE TEACH.  Yes, standards such as reading sight words moved from first grade down to kindergarten years ago and now are finding a home in our pre-kindergarten rooms.  Our job is to choose to use developmentally appropriate practices to introduce these skills and the children who are ready will internalize them and then we will need to supplement for the others and help move these children from where they are.   Isn't that what we already do anyways?

post signature
Mrs. Wathen
Share :

How to bring GOD back in the classroom

The greatest lessons I learned this week were taught to me by God loving children!

Let me back up a little bit and give you some background and I hope you will stay with me.  I am a Christian who LOVES my Lord and Savior! I was blessed with parents who know God and brought me from birth in the Catholic church. I attended Catholic school from kindergarten through twelfth grade with the last four years being at an all girl Catholic high school, and I am beyond thankful.

That being said, my faith is still growing and I attend a Christian church now and love where my faith has taken me.  I am, however, a public school teacher and at times it saddens me that I can't share the fact that Jesus loves them with my students.

Today, our voices are stifled in public schools, but GOD is not. Here are 5 ways I have learned to bring GOD back into the classroom.

We, as believers in Christ, need to lead as Christ lead us.  He came to this earth to give us the perfect example of how we can live our lives. So now its our turn to teach, model and love these children that have been entrusted to us.  Yes, that also includes the not so easy to love child...You know the one-the child that pushes every limit and gets under your skin.  He/she needs our LOVE the MOST!

So friends, this year my paraprofessional and I have prayer specifically for our students.  We have been intentional with our prayer and we schedule who we are praying for.  There are days and even weeks that we are more consistent than others, but the good news is God hears our prayers! So yes, we may not be able to pray with our students, but we can certainly pray FOR our students!

My youngest son  sent me a selfie on Friday to ask if his shirt matched his shorts. This was the shirt he received at church two years ago when he was baptized.  It even says NEW CREATION on the back. My first thought was concern that he would be called out on it in middle school.  (Middle school kids can be so mean!) But isn't that what we are called to do? Imagine if the Holy Spirit used Zach or even the message on his shirt to speak to someone.  That is exactly what we are called to do and I am so thankful that my son has the conviction to do it! #proudmama

And yes friend, this sweet little pre-kinder friend taught me a HUGE lesson on Friday too! I was so touched by his honest answer when asked why he loved his mom.  I am sure his mama was having a proud moment too! Children don't know to sensor their conversations to leave God out of public school and their is such power in this innocence!  The Holy Spirit moved me to share his story, our story, our Savior's story with all who are willing to listen.

I believe the most powerful lessons we can teach our kids in the classroom are classified as "character education" but know this: we are planting a seed in these sweet, little children that will grow when tended to.  So PRAISE GOD- against such things there is no law!

post signature
Mrs. Wathen
Share :

Teacher Appreciation and Currently

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Are you feeling appreciated?
Do you feel the LOVE?

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their HUGE SALE
 on May 3rd and 4th with 28% off in most stores!
I am so excited to join in as a SELLER and a BUYER because
who doesn't LOVE a deal?

So you can click on the apple icon or HERE to check out my TpT store! 
Don't forget the code CELEBRATE!
I am also linking up with Farley's FINAL Currently!

YES, you read that right!
To be honest, I haven't linked up in a while...
It was such a fun way to get immersed into the blogging community
and connect with others that I am sad to see it go!
So as we celebrate Teacher Appreciation this week,
let's take the time to celebrate with each other
and be thankful for the little people we are honored to teach!

post signature
Mrs. Wathen
Share :

Follow @georgialoustudios