I attended to a 4-year university to obtain my degree in Early Childhood Education from 2004-07. I had received a bachelors in print journalism in 1999. There was a lot of great information given to me, and I respected all of my professors (even the wacky ones). My goal in anything I do is to walk away with something and put it to practice. I had this one professor who was tough, expected a lot, didn't teach to a test, and gave extremely lengthy assignments. I loved her. I participated in her classes and she even made sure I wrapped up a conversation when she was being observed. She was one of the best. Most students despised her -hated how she expected so much and how she didn't spoon feed us the answers that would be on the test. They thought how dare she ask us to do so much. I tried explaining when I got my first degree all classes were like hers and I usually one got graded on 3 tests and a paper. But they didn't care.
One of her assignments was to create teacher-made products. I had her for two classes -- Social Studies curriculum and Language Arts curriculum during the same semester. She required five teacher made projects for each class. Okay, that doesn't sound so bad. Her requirement was that each project had to take four hours to make. And she said she could tell if it didn't. They needed to be laminated (if they could be laminated) and have a container. This was also the semester we got engaged and decided to plan a wedding, not to mention all the work in her class and my other classes. It was a good thing my future husband lived an hour away or I would never have gotten the As in both her classes.
What I learned for this is how to make quality projects, how long they take to make and the benefits children gain from using them. You can't always find what you need in a teacher store. You just have to make it sometimes.
With all that said, I wanted to share a parent-made project I did for my little 13-month old.
I found die-cuts at a teacher store with bears in canoes. I also had blue star die cuts already. This is a simple matching game.
1. Tape (I use double sized tape) or glue die-cuts to poster board.
2. Laminate or use contact paper to protect the poster.
3. Laminate individual die-cut pieces.
4. Place velcro on the poster board on the shapes and also on individual pieces.
5. I used packaging tape to tape it to the wall.
**Be warned if you do this with 1-year-olds they will bend the shapes no matter how well they are laminated. It's good to have extras ready to replace.**
Variations: You can cut out your own shapes on colored paper. For older kids you can match letters, numbers, number problems, or word families on the shapes just to name a few. So many ideas out there.
Teacher tip: You can use permanent marker on lamination, which I recommend if you are using it more than once or with several kids. To remove permanent maker for lamination use hairspray or rubbing alcohol and wipe off.