The NYC region is the ancestral home of the Canarsie, Lanape, and Wappinger peoples. Today and every day, it is important to learn about and honor Native history and celebrate Native heroes - past and present - with your kids.
Here are seven beautiful children’s books written by and about Indigenous people. Many of these books are illustrated by Indigenous artists as well. Enjoy!
Special thanks to Debbie Reese's comprehensive blog about American Indian portrayal in children's books, which is an excellent resource. Debbie is Nambé Pueblo.
No, we’re not knitting away our sadness or sculpting our fears - at least not today. We are feeling some more feelings, assisted by one of our favorite craft projects: the emotions face!
LOVE these things! Use them a million ways:
And many more. But before you can use them, we need to make them....
Get Ready to Craft!
If you're making several faces, I say skip the cardboard in favor of cheap paper plates. We love to have the kids each make their own Emotions Face, so our execution doesn’t need to be highly durable so much as highly do-able in repetition.
Ok.... it's also because more pliable materials reduce scissor fatigue - or whatever it’s called when you’ve been cutting out so many things, or cutting such hard-to-cut things, that the shape of the scissor handle becomes permanently imprinted around the base of your thumb….
Instead, I prefer a material that can be bent and cut, and have holes punched in it, with relative ease.
Cardboard does not meet this standard for me, so grab some cheap plain paper plates from your local pizzeria (or order them). Bonus: they are already face shaped, which saves time cutting out a lot of blank face circles!
Our hole punchers can’t reach more than an inch or two beyond the border of the face. So unless you have a very fancy long-necked hole punching device, you’ll need to fold the face in order to punch holes in it to attach the features.
Make A Face!
Paper Plate Edition...
We often skip the tears/cheeks as I feel they can be more hassle than useful (plenty of ways to show sad without actual crying), but some people like them. If you want to use the cheeks/tears, glue them back-to-back. Then thread a needle with thread or skinny yarn through the top of the cheek/tear pair.
Alternative: If you’re willing to eventually lose/squash some of the facial features when they are not attached, to sacrifice a little precision in the manipulating of the features, and to invite Mr Potato Head style feature-swapping, you could ditch all the hole punching and fasteners and just use velcro dots to attach all the features.
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Today we’re feeling our feelings, kiddos! Social-emotional learning (SEL) is one of the most important parts of early childhood education, in the classroom and at home.
An Ode to the Old School, and the enduring awesomeness of the Clunky Overhead Projector
BUT (you knew there was a “but” coming)... the neurological hard-wiring of the human brain has not evolved at the same rate as our technology. Its place in a classroom with children under 10 is, in my opinion, questionable. Technology is far more prevalent and sophisticated than it was 50 or 100 years ago, but the cognitive learning process of the 2017 kid remains essentially the same as 1967 kid or the 1917 kid.
So today, we look backwards to go forwards! We bring some 1917 and 1967 technology back into the classroom…
This week Google celebrates its 19th birthday, and the every-day-is-National-Something-Day calendar notes that it’s National Ancestor Day. So the eternal (and eternally divisive) question of using technology as a teacher, in a way that our early education predecessors could not, floats to the top of my mind.
This week: tech anxiety in planning. Next week: tech in the classroom.
“I don’t know how anyone taught preschool before Pinterest and Amazon and Google!” Every time I say this (and it’s…not entirely infrequent), I feel torn: lucky to have so many resources available, but also…kinda embarrassed.
Ack! What if questioning #teacherlife before Pinterest implies that I’m just lazy, or worse, unimaginative? Ack! Do fewer trips to the library mean I’m not living up to our foreteachers? (is foreteachers even a word?! It is now.) Ack! Am I letting someone else come up with ideas for me! Is my teacher brain shriveling?!
Happy Wednesday! Today is International Positive Thinking Day! So today’s resource focuses on Positive Thinking and the Growth Mindset.
If you’re not yet familiar with the Growth Mindset, it’s a way of thinking - backed up by scientific research - to develop perseverance and resilience in the face of difficulty, and it opens up doors to new successful and quantifiable strategies for teachers and parents, in fact for anyone who is with a child when that child encounters something difficult.
It's back to school time, and that means any day now it will be... Fire Drill Time 😱
I don’t know about you, but every year I dread subjecting my preschoolers to the blaring alarms and bright flashing lights. I know that it’s important for their safety, but it can be scary and overwhelming for a little person.
One year my co-teacher and I felt that it would be helpful to create a fun, upbeat fire drill song, and we noticed that the students LOVED its sing-songy playful tune and were actually excited for fire drills!
The children enjoyed both singing the words and then silently mouthing the words to practice being quiet for the drill.
Click Below to learn the best Fire Drill Song for preschoolers!
CLICK HERE to request the FREE printable PDF of the fire safety poster pictured! (8.5'x11', no watermark) (we're still working on our email automation, but we'll get you the printable PDF file very promptly!)
Happy Wednesday again! Caroline here with our go-to books as a basis for lessons full of creative play. Many of these are deservedly well-loved classics. They are my favorites because each one is so rich with possibility, in different ways for different age groups. At this point, I can't pass up an opportunity to explore with these books and I ONLY read them out loud to kids when I know we will have time to create our own imaginary worlds right afterwards 😍
They work well in small settings too, if you’re looking for some fun parent-child or family time activity.
A great book for those very young and/or just beginning to grasp the concept of cooperative intentional dramatic play, use it as a jumping off point for a conversation about pretending, giving each child the opportunity to demonstrate for the class how to pretend that he/she is something else, or inviting the children as a group to pretend they are something - show me how a horse runs! Don’t forget to shake your horse tail!
Pardon the 80s-tastic graphic, but Heart to Heart really is one of my favorite community-building activities for my class! It can be used for almost any age group and takes no more than twenty minutes. It works particularly well during a meeting time when students can communicate directly with each other, using kind and complimentary words.
I recommend setting a time in your schedule to do this once a week. I usually end with this activity every Friday. We think it's a beautiful way to start the weekend.
Happy Wednesday! Danielle here. This is a list of my top five Material Must-Haves in any early childhood classroom. These materials make my life so much easier and ultimately save my class and school money.
Note: we do not receive any commission for these recommendations, they’re just products we love, and links to places we found them at a good value.
Reusable Dry Erase Pockets
These are the best! Forget having to laminate EVERYTHING your students use, just slip a sheet of paper in one of these and they’re ready to go. Organize them by student or by topic, just slide the new sheets in front of the old (or use double-sided). Sturdier than a sheet protector, more portable and versatile than a dry-erase board.
In addition to student use, I like to pin them up (with the grommet at the top) to use for erasable class signs like "There are __ days until Thanksgiving!" I also use them in place of a folder sometimes, to store sheets or activity-prep materials together, easily see what's inside, and label it without using up a post-it every time I change the contents. Also sold (sometimes more cheaply) as shop tickets.
Bitty City Players offers theater and science enrichment through after-school programs, in-school workshops, and events for ages 1-10 in NYC.
Learn more about the organization and our team here.