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Ms. Janet Otto, Preschool


Posted on Jan 12, 2022

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing and peace filled Christmas Break.  Thank you again for all the generous gifts and warm  holiday wishes, I appreciate you thinking of me.

We continue moving along the alphabet, this week we focus on letter Oo by tracing and writing the upper and lower case letter, finding and circling the O's we see on a paper and making the sound of O.

We rang in 2022 with a sparkly are project and we are embracing this cold, winter month by making pretend snow, learning that snowflakes are frozen water drops that fall from the clouds and creating a snowman craft.

For math, we rolled large, foam dice then matched the number on the dice with that same number on the snowmen's bellies.  When we found the matching number, we covered it with a "snowball" (cottonball). 

Each day we practice spelling our first and last names, learning our mom's cell phone number, singing the days of the week, talking about which days we come to school, adding numbers and counting along on our calendar, making patterns, saying the Pledge of Allegiance and saying all the alphabet letters with key words and sounds.

Beginning on Thursday this week, we will now be going to the Computer Lab to work on letters, sounds, numbers and counting using the i-pads with Mrs. Maxwell. 

Dec. 14th

Posted on Dec 14, 2021

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 15th, all the preschool classes are celebrating "Polar Express" day.  Please send your child to school in Christmas pajamas.  We will have hot cocoa during snack and read "The Polar Express" story.

Thursday, Dec. 16th is our Christmas show of songs in the church at 12PM.  This is not a regular school day.  Please bring your child to school at 11:40 and then make your way to the church and find a seat.  Our class will be on the right side of the altar (Organ side) They should dress up in Christmas attire.  We will process into church as a class to sing our songs.  After the show, we will process out of church and back to our classroom.  Please come to our room to pick up your child after the show.  We are excited to sing loud and clear and spread our Christmas cheer!

Next Tuesday, Dec. 21st, we will join the rest of the school for pajama day.  So the children should wear their pajamas again on this last day of school before Christmas break.  

Dec. 1st

Posted on Nov 30, 2021

I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.  I was so happy to be back in school with our Preschool friends, it feels like it's been so long since we've been together in class.

As we begin looking forward to Christmas, there are many projects, crafts, stories and songs that will keep us very busy during these next few weeks.  This week we practice finding, tracing, writing, and making the sound of letter Ll.

In math we practiced patterning with red and white beads, or green and red beads on pipe cleaners and made little candy cane ornaments to decorate our classroom tree.  We will practice identifying numbers 1-6 by rolling a dice, counting the dots and then finding each number on our "Christmas Tree" work mats.  As we find the numbers, we will cover them with colorful pom-pom balls.

We will be learning about the Advent wreath in Religion.  As each week of Advent passes, each child will add a flame to a candle on the wreath they make in school.  I will be sending home a few other Christmas count down activities the children can do each day at home.

                      - PRESCHOOL CHRISTMAS MUSIC SHOW -   

Thursday, Dec. 16th @ 12:00 in the Church

This will not be a regular day of school.  Students should dress up in Christmas attire.  Parents should bring their child to school at 11:40 and then go find a seat in church.  Students will process into the church and sing their songs from the altar.  After we sing, we will process out of church and back to our classroom.  Please come to our room to pick up you child after the show.  We look forward to sharing our Christmas cheer with you!

Christmas break begins Wednesday, Dec. 22 - Wednesday, Jan.5th.  Class will resume Thursday, Jan.6th.


Posted on Nov 10, 2021

Time sure is flying by in Preschool.  We enjoyed celebrating all the tricks and treats of Halloween.  The children looked adorable in their costumes and loved having their parents join our classroom to hear us sing spooky songs.  Thanks for joining us.

We continue to move along the alphabet, focusing on a new letter with a key word and sound.  This week's letter is Jj.  Many of the children can independently spell their first and last names, so I've added their mom's cell phone number to their morning routine.  Please practice spelling your child's first and last name with them at home.

We are painting colorful projects and reading several stories that celebrate the vibrant season of Fall.  "Awesome Autumn" teaches all kinds of fun fall facts and about how this season appeals to our five senses.  The story "Scarecrow" gives us a great way to find words that rhyme as well as positional words like next to, above, between and below.

In Math we are counting the number of different Thanksgiving items we can find on an "I Spy" page then coloring that number to make a bar graph.  This helps us compare how many items there are, which had the most, which had the least.  So many good math skills at work here.

This week we proudly recognize and honor our brave American Military Veterans with a simple flip book and a red-white-blue heart craft. 

Thanksgiving break will be here before we know it!  I hope you all enjoy a peace filled holiday with your families.


Oct. 21st

Posted on Oct 20, 2021

We will celebrate Halloween on Thursday, Oct. 28th. Parents are welcome to come into our classroom at 8:15 to hear our class sing some Halloween favorites we've been learning this month.  This should only take about 15 minutes and then you can be on your way with the rest of your day.  Students should wear their costume to school this day and bring a small, wrapped treat to pass out.  We have 17 students in our class.  We will not eat any candy in school, but will send it home for them to enjoy with your permission.  Please send a snack and drink for your child to eat at snack time as usual.

In addition to spelling our first and last names, singing the days of the week, counting the days on the calendar, creating a pattern, saying the alphabet letters-key words-sounds and saying the Pledge of Allegiance each day, we also focused on letter Ff this week.  We practiced tracing and printing the letter with dry erase markers and colored a page of pictures that begin with the letter F.

In Math we've been working on one-to-one correspondence by counting small groups:

* We made a mini-book about Five Little Pumpkins sitting on a gate. This book went home Wednesday so you can read it with your child and practice counting the pumpkins.

* We had so much fun at circle time taking turns counting the stars on each lock and then finding the matching number on the key that opens each lock.  There are so many important skills practiced in this activity, it was a big hit with the kids!

* Using the story "Ten Timid Ghosts", we practiced counting backwards from 10 each time a ghost leaves the haunted house and runs to the forest.

Our craft projects this week were cute little pumpkins and ghosts that we hung up to decorate our classroom for Halloween.

Oct. 12

Posted on Oct 13, 2021

October is one of my favorite months.  Cool mornings, warm afternoons, colorful leaves, planning creative costumes and looking forward to all the tricks and treats of Halloween.  We are having a blast with all things "fall"  like pumpkins, spooky Halloween stories, and projects that help develop our fine motor skills and recalling characters and events in a story.

This past week we read the story Room on the Broom about a witch who loses her hat, bow, wand, and even brakes her broom!  Each time she lands on the ground to search for her missing item, she finds a new creature who helps her and comes along for a ride on her broom.  I hid the witch's missing items around our classroom and called on friends to search around and see if they could find them. The children are so curious and loved searching for the missing items.  We also colored, labeled and sequenced the animals in the order they appear in the story  to create our own witch brooms!

We are practicing our 5 Little Pumpkins poem, using our fingers to count down from five, repeating the rhyming words and remembering the actions as we memorize the poem.  We also have been using our imaginations and listening skills while we take a pretend "spooky walk".

In addition to reviewing all the alphabet letters, key words and sounds, we focused on finding the upper and lowercase Ee, tracing the letters, and using dry erase markers to practice printing them independently. 

Be sure to review upper and lowercase letters, numbers 0-10, and counting aloud with your child each day.

Oct. 5th

Posted on Oct 05, 2021

We had lots of fun "down on the farm" last week.  We listened to the story "Mrs. Wishy-Washy's Farm" about her animals escaping to the city where they found a hardware store and got messy with paint.  When Mrs. Wishy-Washy got her animals back home, she gave them all a bath in the big tub.  After hearing this story, each student got a pig to put in their zip-lock bag with some shaving cream and brown paint and made the pig very "messy", just like the pig in the story.  We used masks to be the characters as we sang along to "Old McDonald Had A Farm".

Last week's alphabet letter focused on Dd.  We read the story "Charlie the Ranch Dog" and sponge painted a dog brown and white to look just like Charlie.  Also, we practiced finding and circling upper and lower case D's in a tree.

As we begin a new month of October, we are getting excited for Halloween.  We are learning a new poem "Five Little Pumpkins" and using our imaginations as we take a pretend "spooky walk".

Many of the children are able to recognize and spell their first names without my help at circle time.  Thanks for practicing this skill at home. 


Posted on Sep 21, 2021

Our days in Preschool are so busy and the time passes quickly.  The children are all very aware of the daily routine. They are doing a wonderful job coming into the classroom, going to their lockers to put away their bags, taking out their folders, finding their name tags, getting a stamp on their right hands before going to their tables to work on centers.  

Last week we practiced sorting and gluing squares and triangles onto our papers for our Math lesson. To introduce the letter Bb, we read a story about a bear who made all kinds of things by blowing bubbles.  We also made a Bear craft and a Bumble Bee using our painted handprint.  Each student cut out strips of paper that had all the letters of their names and then glued them down in the correct order to spell their name going across an apple.

The children are being such good listeners to Mrs. Keller when she comes to our classroom for Library on Tuesdays. She always has a fun, memorable story to read and discuss.  We are also getting familiar with the long walk to the Gym on Wednesdays to play fun games with Mr. Mulchrone.  We try to make it outside on Thursdays to play at the park, which seems to be a favorite activity for everyone!

Please email or message me on the Dojo app if you have any questions. 


Parent Night slide Presentation

Posted on Sep 14, 2021

August 31st

Posted on Aug 31, 2021

Week of August 31st:

As we begin our second week in Preschool, I can see the children already becoming familiar with classroom routines, recognizing new friends and growing more confident in their new surroundings.  Definitely fewer tears which makes everyone feel better!

Thank you for your attention to the supply list, parent information and transportation forms.  Please accept the email invitation to our Class Dojo. You can add this app to your phone for easy access to pictures, videos, information and reminders about things happening in our class.  It also has a message feature that allows you to quickly text me a message.

Last week we read the sweet story about two friends, Little Blue and Little Yellow ,and when they hug they turn green!  I'm sure your child showed you their blue and green Play-doh balls that they could squeeze together and make green.  We continued this color theme with a simple pattern of repeating blue, yellow and green circles.  We also used the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom story to find the first letter in all our names and add them to our Chicka Chicka Tree.

The children were excited to have their hands painted and pressed onto white puzzle pieces for a fun, keepsake project. That will be a fun puzzle to put together at home and talk with your child about all the new things they are learning and doing at school.

I love finding ways to incorporate music and movement into our mornings so we've been learning a few fun songs that give the children opportunities to use creative movements and rhythm while singing along.  You can find Late Last Night by Joe Scruggs and Music, Music by Tumble Tots on Amazon Music if you want to listen at home too.

I look forward to a new week of adventures in Preschool.  Please email or message me on the Dojo app any questions or comments.


Welcome Letter

Posted on Aug 25, 2021

Welcome Preschool Parents,

          I want to extend the warmest welcome to you and your child to our Preschool classroom. My name is Janet Otto and I am delighted to have your child in my class. Although I am new to St. John Fisher this year, I am not new to education. For the past 19 years I have been teaching at St. Catherine’s in Oak Lawn where I taught 3 year preschool for 10 years, and then moved to 2nd grade.  I live nearby in Mt. Greenwood with my husband and have four adult children. I’m thrilled to be returning to my “roots” as a Preschool teacher.

            Alongside me is my wonderful teacher’s aide, Mrs. Diane O’Grady. Together, we will provide a nurturing, safe, fun learning environment for your little one. Our Preschool curriculum at St. John Fisher is designed to engage students in hands on learning, socialization, active play, academic skill building and creative activities that allow opportunities for each child to discover themselves, feel successful and develop a love for school.  Our role as your child’s teachers is to foster their creativity and curiosity, provide opportunities to explore, grow in independence, and how to be a kind and loving friend.  Our greatest hope is that they look forward to coming to school and are happy.

            At St. John Fisher we believe that parents are the first and most important teacher in a child’s life.  We strive for a good partnership between parents and teachers for the optimum growth of each child.  We want your preschool experience to be exciting and happy, therefore good communication between parents and teachers is essential.  Please share any information about your child that will help us make their school experience a positive one. 

            Please be sure to check my weekly Preschool Blog on the school website for information about things that are happening in our classroom.  I will also have a Class Dojo account as a way of communicating messages, photos and videos with you.  Specific information on how to add this class app to your smart phone will be coming to you in the coming days.  Please never hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns at  We are going to have a fabulous school year.