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Thursday, January 10, 2019

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Arctic Fox Active Learning Preschool Activity

Did you know that an active learning, full-body preschool activity also prepares your child to read? See how this fun winter-themed arctic animal preschool activity also counts as a reading lesson below!



I just took an online course through ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) called Active Learning in Early Childhood.  This course explores how movement and active learning can be used to improve learning in reading, science, math, and other subjects! (Keep reading for more details on that!) I seriously loved it! I used my new knowledge from it to design this activity--you can do this activity with one child at home, or a whole group for an Arctic Animals Theme or Winter Unit Study! I did it with my preschoolers at home.

First, show a picture (or use a stuffed animal) of an arctic fox like the one below.



 Ask what it is. Talk about its characteristics. Let your preschoolers touch some ice cubes to get an idea of how cold the arctic is. Share a few of these arctic fox fun facts:

* Small ears on arctic foxes prevent the loss of a lot of body heat.
* White fur lets arctic foxes camouflage in the snow and ice easily.
* Arctic foxes are only about 12 inches tall.
* Arctic foxes can survive blizzards in temperatures 50 degrees below zero!
* Arctic foxes use their furry tail like a blanket!
* Arctic foxes dig dens, sometimes right in a snow bank!
* Arctic foxes eat mice, fish, birds, and "leftovers" when polar bears finish their food!
* Arctic foxes have great balance--their tail helps with this!
* Like dogs and cats, arctic foxes can make a raspy bark, a scream-like howl, nips, and other sounds.

Explain that today we are doing an Arctic Fox Challenge! 

Everyone will pretend to be an arctic fox and travel the Arctic Fox Challenge!

For the Arctic Fox Challenge, set up three stations:

1- A row of chairs {the fox burrow} to crawl through because arctic foxes are great burrowers! You can even throw a blanket over them and pretend it's a snow bank!


2- A series of pillows to jump on. Jump from one pillow to the next without touching the floor because arctic foxes have great balance and sometimes jump to catch their food! Count the pillows as you jump on them!

3- A blanket {the tundra} to "bear walk" across because the arctic fox is following a bear to eat its leftover dinner.



When you're done, regroup and talk about everyone's favorite parts! Would you like to live in the arctic?

One very exciting thing that I learned from the Active Learning in Early Childhood course from CCEI was activities that require the coordination of both sides of the brain actually prepare children's brains to read! Reading requires constant, quick communication between both halves of the brain, so activities like crawling and bear-walking are not only good for gross-motor coordination, but also really great for preparing the brain to read! There have even been cases where crawling has been used as a therapy to help teach older "struggling readers" to read!

I used these concepts, as well as simple science and math (arctic habitat and counting) to create this arctic fox themed activity! I hope you love it! 

And next time you find yourself crawling around on the floor with your preschoolers, remind yourself that that is a fantastic pre-reading activity!

 I loved the Active Learning in Early Childhood (CCEI122) course I took online with ChildCare Education Institute and I highly recommend it for parents and preschool teachers alike! It introduced active learning, the body/kinesthetic intelligence, types of learning, sensory activities, discussed how active learning plays a role in brain development and cognitive skills, cooperative learning, and gave specific suggestions  for active learning activities in every typical preschool subject (language arts, math, science, music, social studies, and more!). 

The course also included several reflective questions, intermittent multiple choice questions, and an 11-question final. After passing the multiple choice questions and final, you receive a printable certificate of completion and one CEU hour! 

You can click HERE to read my review of using CCEI for professional development. It is all online, and I am happily recommending them! (Keep checking back for more details about specific courses I am taking with them!)

What percentage of your day would you say is active? Do you have an arctic theme or unit coming up? I love to hear from you!! Feel free to send me an email and let me know what you're up to! Or leave a comment!

This post is sponsored by the ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI). Like always, my opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I  love to use myself!


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




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Saturday, January 5, 2019

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Arctic Animals Preschool Activities Theme

This Arctic Animals Preschool Theme has everything preschoolers love about the frigid north polar region, including arctic animal science, marine science, letter-learning activities, math fun, and more!



We are starting out our year with an Arctic Animals theme!

Of course, we've done this before, so I'm gathering up all our arctic animal preschool activities, and putting them here! 

I'm not including any penguin activities in this collection, partly because they live in the antarctic (not arctic) and partly because you can find them all HERE!

I'll be adding some more in soon--I have some new projects planned already! (We'll also be doing some of our "old" favorites too--the polar bear STEM exploration is fantastic!!)

Let me know your favorites!

Arctic Animals Preschool Theme


Arctic Animals Science

 

Reindeer Toothpaste (Note: This was originally published as a Christmas activity, but since reindeer {also known as caribou} live in the arctic year-round, it seems appropriate to include it in this Arctic Animals Theme!)

Arctic Animals Math

**Polar Bear Preschool Packet below has 6 math activities in it!!**
**Awesome Arctic Animals Packet below has 2 math activities in it!!**
** More coming soon!!**


Arctic Animals Letter Learning & Literacy

  




Arctic Animals Arts & Crafts

 


More Arctic Animal Fun

 




I hope you have a fantastic time with your Arctic Animals theme! Let me know if you have a favorite activity I should include!!

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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2019 Homeschool STEM Conference--Online...Call for Experts!!

The homeschool STEM Conference--Online is coming up, and I still have room for a few more speakers, sponsors, and vendors!


This is the first conference of its kind--a place for homeschooling parents to find practical advice and encouragement in teaching STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math)!

Because it is all online, THIS conference has none of the hassle of traditional conferences:
* no worries about parking or transportation
* no arranging childcare
* no flights or hotels needed!

What you WILL get is AMAZING:

* classes from experts, teachers, professionals, and homeschoolers! These classes are hosted on Teachable, and you get lifetime access--watch them during the conference and again as often as you want! Watch the sessions on any device you want!
* access to a conference group in Facebook with "live" giveaways, freebies, drawings, and more! "Meet" other homeschoolers who care about STEM!
* access to a "vendor's hall" (also a group in Facebook) where you can find STEM products, tools, games, and more that are perfect for homeschoolers!
* a "swag bag" with freebies and coupons worth over $100!! (hint: that's more than the cost of the ticket!)

Early-bird Registration will begin at the end of January. Regular Registration will begin on February 15th.

The Homeschool STEM Conference--Online will be "live" March 7-9!! 

Are you a STEM expert? Do you have a STEM product that homeschoolers would love? If so, you should join us! There are still spaces for speakers, vendors, and sponsors! Contact Carla at preschoolpackets@gmail.com for more details. Also, please read the information below:





Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Monday, December 31, 2018

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January Preschool Themes: Mitten Matching Activity

If you're working on your January preschool themes, you will love this free mitten matching activity! It is perfect to go with the book The Mitten, a winter theme, or even a discussion on winter clothes!



This set contains 12 adorable mittens! I suggest printing them on cardstock, cutting them diagonally (on the thin black line), and laminating them. Then you can use the mittens for a ton of activities!

Here are a few ideas:

1- Scatter one side of each mitten across a table and let your preschoolers math the other side to each mitten.

2- Glue one side of each mitten down to a file folder and put the other halves in an envelope. Let your preschoolers pull the pieces of out of the envelope and find their match on the folder.

3- Print the mittens on "two pages per page" setting so they are half size and let your preschoolers glue the matches onto sheets of paper.

4- Print two sets of mittens and play matching games like "Memory" or "Old Maid."


I'd love to see pictures of you playing and learning! Feel free to tag me on Facebook (Preschool Powol Packets) or Instagram (Preschool_Powol_Packets) or send me an email or leave a comment!





Please pin this post so your friends can get the same activity for free too! (Please do NOT pin or share the actual pdf...linking to this post lets me make more resources for you!)

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Friday, December 28, 2018

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Reindeer Action Rhyme Song

Do I have a fun rhyme for kids that goes with an arctic theme, music, brain-building, preparing for reading and math, and can be done with one preschooler or a group? Why yes, yes I do!


I recently took an online course through ChildCare Education Institute called Building Literacy Through Nursery Rhymes and Children's Poetry.  This intermediate-level course explores how to prepare your preschoolers' brains to read, and I used that information to create this activity! (Keep reading for more details on that!) You can do this activity lesson with one child at home, or a whole group for circle time, music, or language time! I did it with my preschoolers at home.

First, show a picture of a reindeer (you can use the one above!) and ask what it is. Talk about how reindeer (also called caribou) live around the north pole, mostly in Canada, Alaska, and Russia. Use a globe if you have one. What do you think they eat?  [Grasses and leaves in the summer; in the winter they scrape snow away from the ground with their hooves and eat lichens (aka reindeer moss) under the snow.] Discuss any other reindeer fun facts below.

Reindeer can run very quickly! Let's all do a quick "reindeer run" around the room! (Get up and run in a circle!)


Nice reindeer running! I also have "reindeer bells" for a song today! Give your preschoolers a reindeer bell (a jingle bell with fabric threaded through to make a handle to ring), and let them ring it for a minute.

Then teach the REINDEER BELLS song!

Reindeer Bells


by Carla at Preschool Powol Packets

Sing to the tune of Jingle Bells

Reindeer bells, reindeer bells, reindeer on the "Go!"
Oh what fun it is to run with a reindeer in the snow--oh!


After you teach the song, show the kids how they can ring the bells with the beat as they sing. After singing it a couple times while ringing bells to the beat (or attempting!), stand up and run like  reindeer while you sing!


Reindeer Fun Facts:


* Reindeer are the only deer to have both the males and females grow antlers every year!

* Reindeer can run about 20 mph for a long time and sprint up to 50 mph!

* Reindeer can eat 12 pounds of food in a day!

* Reindeer noses warm up cold air before it gets to their lungs.

* Some reindeer species have knees that make clicking sounds. Some experts think this helps herds stay close to each other during a blizzard.

* A reindeer's sense of smell is better than its sense of sight or hearing.




Did you know that a poetry lesson like this has TONS of developmental benefits? Here are a few of them:

* strengthens gross motor skills

* strengthens fine motor skills in the hands, mouth and throat

* trains the brain to hear rhymes

* trains the brain to prepare to read

* strengthens relationships between you and your child

* and more!

Songs are one of the most interactive forms of poetry!


I loved learning about poetry and nursery rhymes for young children through the course I took online with ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI)--Literature 102. It introduced poetry and nursery rhymes, taught why they are important for young children, explained different ways of playing with them, and taught some poetry basics (like cinquains, haiku, limericks, voice, speaker, rhythm, meter, rhyme, and more). 

The course also included several reflective questions, intermittent multiple choice questions, and an 11-question final. After passing the multiple choice questions and final, you receive a printable certificate of completion and two CEU hours! 

You can click HERE to read my review of using CCEI for professional development. It is all online, and I am happily recommending them! (Keep checking back for more details about specific courses I am taking with them!)

Do you have a favorite action rhyme? Do you have an arctic theme or unit coming up? I love to hear from you!! Feel free to send me an email and let me know what you're up to! Or leave a comment!

This post is sponsored by the ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI). Like always, my opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I  love to use myself!


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Saturday, December 22, 2018

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CCEI Review

Have you ever wanted to take a class to learn more about teaching young children? Or are you an early childhood educator who needs professional development? If the answer to either of these questions is "Yes!" you will want to learn more about ChildCare Education Institute.



I remember one time when I was getting ready to renew my teaching license I needed to find 15 credit hours of professional development before I could submit my license renewal. The first place I went was the internet...I wanted to find a class that I could take online.

ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI)


ChildCare Education Institute, or CCEI, provides over 150 courses in English and Spanish that are all online! These nationally accredited and high-quality classes include a huge array of topics, from topics like Active Learning in Early Childhood, Poetry & Nursery Rhymes for Young Children, Trouble-Free Transitions, Positive Guidance 3: The Terrific Two's and Robotics for Early Childhood! And they add 30 hours of course content per year! There are courses and certifications for teachers, directors, daycare providers, Head-Start leaders, After-School teachers, and anyone who has an interest in teaching young children...even homeschooling parents would love many of their courses! 

I always wonder if online schools are accredited, so I looked up their credentials for you. ;) They have several accreditations and authorizations:
    * CCEI is a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard Comprehensive training provider,
    * CCEI is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commision (DEAC), and 
    * CCEI is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). 

They have courses that will meet CDA requirements for licensing, Head Start, Director, and Early Childhood Credentials. They also have articulation programs that will articulate courses you take with them into BA and AA degree programs from several universities! You can also get IACET CEU's for no additional cost!

They have already graduated over 12,000 early childhood professionals with CDA's and other certificate programs. Courses and certification programs at CCEI are all online and available day or night...and more than 4.4 million course hours have been completed by thousands of CCEI alumni!

CCEI is set up so that you can either buy an annual individual or center-based training subscription and take unlimited courses for the year or simply pay for the courses you are interested in. I'll be highlighting a few courses in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to watch for those!

The courses are easy to find and navigate. Once you log in to the system there are options on the left hand side of the screen to find courses and certifications, access current courses and certifications, and obtain certificates of course completions for IACET CEU credits earned. 




The courses themselves are structured with "slides" that you navigate through with "next" and "back" buttons. 


There are occasional reflective questions that you type an answer for, multiple choice questions that you must answer correctly to continue, and videos. At the end of the course is a final that you must pass with at least 70% correct to get the completion certificate.

You can stop at any point during the course and the system saves the last slide you were on so you can easily pick up again where you left off. The final needs to be completed in one sitting, but you can retake it if it times out while you go and get a snack. ;)

After you pass a course, you get a downloadable, printable certificate like this one:


My experience with ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) has been extremely positive, and I am very happy to recommend them to anyone looking for super convenient, online professional development courses and certifications designed for early childhood educators.

Be sure to watch for my discussion about their courses on Literacy Through Nursery Rhymes & Poetry, Active Learning in Early Childhood, and Age Appropriate Activities for Infants & Toddlers!

This post is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. All opinions are mine--you know I only share resources and products I think you will love!



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!








Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Saturday, December 1, 2018

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Angel Christmas Ornament * kid-made *

These angel Christmas ornaments are perfect for preschoolers and older kids!


I am excited to share them with you as part of the kid-made Christmas celebration at Mama Miss!  My kids (4 to 10 years old) made them all by themselves and my 2- year old had a great time making one with me!  The best part was that each child took the supplies and personalized each angel themselves!

The supplies are super simple!

You just need pretty artificial flowers (we used gold, silver, and white flowers from Walmart), peg clothespins, paint (we used white and gold), glitter, fuzzy sticks (gold and/or silver), and a hot glue gun!


My kids love using hot glue guns! We usually use the "cold temperature" ones, but they're very careful with them both. Make sure your kids have enough supervision to be safe while they work! 


We read Jesus' Christmas Party to go with our angel Christmas ornaments. The book is adorable and hilarious!  It introduces the nativity story from the inn-keepers' perspective... can you imagine what he thought of a choir of angels?!

To get your kids started making their angels, simply set out the supplies and let your kids design their own angels!


I like to give as few directions as necessary, so that the kids get to work through the design and engineering process as they create. This actually includes elements of science, technology, engineering, and art! If you found a way to include math you would have all the elements of a STEM or STEAM project! 




They each came out a little different and absolutely stunning! And, of course, finding them in the tree all season is one of the best parts! 









Do you love making ornaments at Christmastime? Let me know if you try our angel Christmas ornaments!

And be sure to check out these other kid-made ornaments from the series:

Clay Mitten Ornaments
Test Tube Snow Globe Ornaments
Cat Christmas Ornaments



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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7 STEM Books for Kids

Are you looking for STEM books that encourage and inspire STEM learning and play? My son is *extremely* picky about what books he is willing to read, and I sometimes struggle finding books that we both love. 




The books in this little collection are gold. Hands down. My son is willing (and even excited!) to look at and read them, and I absolutely love them. Every one of them! I have already been recommending them to friends, so I figured I should put them all on one page, and share them with you!

These books all meet all three of the following criteria:

1- Encourage STEM thinking: My kids want to experiment, tinker, explore, build, and create after we read them.

2- My kids enjoy them. This is incredibly important because if they don't want to read them, it doesn't matter how much they support STEM concepts. On the other hand, since ALL of my kids enjoy them, they are motivated and inspired by them too. My kids are 0-11 years old.

3- I love them. These 7 books are books that I am happy to open up and read to my kids over and over and over and...  Yeah, you know what I mean.  ;)  I have also used these books in community classes I've taught and and preschool co-ops.

So, what are they?! Here you go (in no particular order)...

STEM Books:

(images are Amazon affiliate links)

1- Zoey & Sassafras Unicorns & Germs: 


I adore this book soooo much! It is the first chapter book my son read from cover to cover by himself. It reviews the scientific method in action, teaches science reasoning, and introduces a gigantic unicorn. It also made my kids want to make yogurt from scratch and grow bacteria in petri dishes. Yep. True story! If you're lucky, I'll have time to write up how those projects went! The book's reading level is around 2nd grade, but my preschoolers were happy to listen to it as a read-aloud. My 11-year old read it on her own in about an hour.

2- Genius LEGO Inventions With Bricks You Already Have


This book is incredible. It is a step-by-step guide to making robots, moving toys, gadgets, games, and loads of other really cool LEGO creations (like a fully functional crane or a drummer that actually drums)! My kids followed some of the instructions and then were inspired to come up with their own projects too! I will admit that we did not actually have all the pieces needed for all the projects...but that wasn't hard to fix! The 40 creations are divided into 5 chapters: Marvelous Moving Robots, Terrific Mechanical Toys, Curious Contraptions, Invent and Imagine, and Construct and Compete Buildable Games. This book and a bucket of LEGO keeps my kids busy for more than an hour. Not even exaggerating.

3- The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague


This is another book that I am so in love with, mostly because it champions causes that have been dear to me for many years (racism and sexism in science) while simply celebrating someone who dared to defy the status quo of her time. I will admit that it did not make my kids love math, but it did spark a boat and submarine obsession that lasted several weeks. My kids were designing ships out of everything from aluminum foil and paper to clay and water bottle lids!

4- The Most Magnificent Thing


This book is perfect for preschoolers, but it also appeals to older kids who have ideas that don't always work out exactly the way they imagine the first time. I really love the emotions on the main character's face as she works through the design process over and over and over...and still doesn't get it right! I think every child and adult who has wanted to quit because they were getting tired of tweaking their design will relate to the main character and see themselves in her story. 

5- Vroom Vroom Garbage Truck


STEM for preschoolers and toddlers looks a lot different than it does for older kids. This book may not seem like a STEM book at first glance, but it has motivated inquiry-based exploration in my younger kids for three months straight. They are also slightly obsessed with garbage trucks now! Since this book arrived my girls have wanted to learn about garbage trucks, design their own garbage trucks and trash cans, learn about recycling, and find as many ways to make the sounds in the book as possible! (How many ways can you make a "click" sound? Let me tell you...there are a lot!) I also made a garbage truck sensory bin that was a huge hit.  (Did I mention they bring this book to me about 5 times a day??) And, just in case you wonder, my infant also loves this book!

6- Iggy Peck, Architect


This kid loves to build so much, that you will want to stop reading in the middle of it, pull out of a set of craft sticks, and let your own kids get to work! Seriously, though, his love for building is outrageous and contagious! And it makes a wonderful read-aloud for all ages!

7- Awesome Dawson


This is another one that you read with your kids and they immediately want to go build things...this time, with supplies from the recycle bin! (which I am happy to encourage!) My kids also appreciate how he feels about chores and the fact that he is, indeed, a superhero!

Do you have favorite STEM book? I always love new ideas! Feel free to email me or leave a comment!



Disclosure: We were provided review copies of Zoey & Sassafras, The Girl With a Mind for Math, Genius LEGO Inventions, and Vroom Vroom, but I love them so much I decided to write this article too! Like everything else, I only recommend things I absolutely adore!

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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