Monday, December 8, 2014

FUN with Learning Centers!

I just LOVE block play in my classroom.  The conversations, team work, cooperation, planning, and engineering that happen while having so much fun is such a satisfying way to watch children learn.  We take it a step farther with some environmental print, and some days even writing about what we built or played during block time.  These blocks are also a great way for children to make connections to what they do in their lives, and remember stories to write about.
I asked each child to tell me a favorite store.  I found a picture on Google images, printed it out, and taped it onto a block. It was really easy to do- but if you want to try this and want it to be even easier, HERE are the pictures that I used, so you can try them in your classroom! First I tried sticking the pictures on the blocks with clear contact paper, but that didn't stick well.  I used clear packing tape, and that has worked really well.  The pictures are protected and have stayed on the blocks.

My boys LOVE their police officers and their farms. 

To go along with these fabulous stores, restaurants, and places, we needed some people.  I made cardstock paperdolls of each child. They stand up really well using a big binder clip.  We use these in the beginning of the year for learning names, for attendance, and for beginning graphing.  Now we are using them for block play.  They last pretty well. I just made some new ones.  I didn't laminate them. I probably should have, but if someone bends, I just print out a new copy.  I'd love to print out a new me when I find a wrinkle, but... it doesn't quite work the same.

I always try to let the leader of the day do something extra special for me.  They love to help so much.  So, I let the leader of the day take my picture for this paperdoll. It was a big mistake  fun for him to do.   I had to laugh when they played library the other day.  I also had a picture of our librarian.  She was with the kids in the library they built, and I was WAY in the other corner of the rug "back in the classroom" until I picked them up. They love to play with the Special Area teachers- and (gasp) the PRINCIPAL!

I put some guided reading books out with this center, too- so they can read at the is that for sneaking in more reading!
my library blocks

These cuties made a mall! (With a barn on the top floor, I am noticing...)

Here is another fun learning center idea- Playing School!
I have three bins that I switch out during the week.  Even changing the items in the bin a little bit makes it new for the kids.  Sometimes I add red pens, clipboards, rekenreks, ten frames, dry erase boards...Anything that you use as a teacher is just perfect!  These are my bins this week:

 Sight Words/Letter Bin
(large magnetic sight words, a slinky to stretch words, magnetic letters, pointers, vowel chart, and some sentence strip questions)

 Reading Bin
(reading strategy beanie babies, big books, pointers, sentence strips to read, reading phones, word finders, and the class library on the rug)

 Math Bin
(magnetic shapes for patterns, graphing, word problems, magnetic numbers, flash cards, color word and picture magnets, shapes, magnetic squares for patterns

Sometimes I pair the children up in their groups, and other times I let them just figure things out. 
 (I love  how the third sentence is upside down... I'm sure they are probably practicing some concepts about print "find the mistake thing"  right?! )

 I really did  love how he went right over to teach his "class" the rules.  Good boy!

 The girls were so serious.  My boy with 2 listening phones up to his ears... not so much...  The teacher looks annoyed. 

 They even took the babies to school!

Thank you so much for stopping by and seeing some of our centers for the week! Have a wonderful week!


  1. Environmental print has a special place in my ♥ - it's magical when learning transfers to the world around us. It's a huge lightbulb moment. Thanks for the reminder and the! Have a wonderful day, Jen

  2. Hi Carolyn,

    As is usual when reading your blog I found an idea that I love! I am definitely stealing your idea of adding photos to the blocks - thanks so much for sharing. :)

    Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!

  3. What a fabulous idea to tape the pictures to the blocks!! I love the little people, too. I always love to listen to them when they play school. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your blocks are phenomenal!! What a fun way to incorporate print into blocks. You just sneak learning into everything, don't ya?! ;)

    Kindergarten Teacher at the Wheel

  5. I made these blocks with my preschool class today, I used photos of places around our town (from Google) and the kids absolutely loved it. The sense of community it built when they could find places they'd been, where they shopped, where they had swimming lessons etc, was so good.
    Thanks for a fabulous idea!

  6. I don't see a way to contact you, so I am hoping you get this. I am a trainer for a non-profit called Smart Beginnings. Our mission is to raise the quality of preschool education in our state. I want to ask permission to use a photo of your environmental print blocks in a PowerPoint presentation for teacher training. I will credit your site. Please respond to

  7. We Are provide Big Data course Online duration flexible. From online classroom to fast-track & one-to-one classroom Big Data training is provided during weekdays and weekends to the attendees. Our modern lab is equipped with latest technologies helping students avail a successful Big Data training and certification from us Big Data topics covered are Big Data Overview, Use Cases, Data Analytics Process, Data Preparation, Tools for Data Preparation, Hands on Exercise : Using SQL and NoSql DB's, Hands on Exercise : Usage of Tools, Data Analysis Introduction, Classification,


Search This Blog