Transparency sheets seem like a thing of the past. Who remembers their teacher pulling out the clear sheets and putting them on the overhead projector? The classroom lights would dim and the squeaky marker would come out to scribble marks across the clear sheet for all to see. Elementary students would find it fascinating, while high schoolers would fight to stay awake. Those days are a thing of the past, but those clear sheets are a gold mine today when considering what to use on the light table in the preschool classroom!
Transparency sheets (or film) are flexible sheets of clear, smooth material. They are clear like glass but thin like paper. Some sheets have a printable coating for printing with inkjet or laser printers. Transparency sheets can be used as templates for preschoolers to trace letters, numbers, and shapes. The clear sheets can be used again and again on the light table with preschoolers using their best fine motor skills to place small manipulatives on the designs. Choose a favorite printable and print it out on transparency sheets instead of copy paper for an engaging light table activity.
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Using Transparency Sheets to Encourage Learning
There are many ways to extend learning with engaging activities using transparency sheets.
- Literacy – Write the students’ names or draw lines, zig-zags, and letters. Students place beads or other small counters over the lines.
- Geometry – Print geometric patterns on the transparencies. Children fill them with transparent pattern blocks.
- Shapes – print light table shapes. Students match small colored tiles to the coordinating shape.
- Counting – Print themed pictures with a number. Students count small manipulatives to match each number. (example: spiders on a web, apples in a tree, pumpkins on a fence, flowers in a pot)
- Find pictures of x-rays online and print them on transparency sheets for a Vet Clinic or Hospital dramatic play theme.
These Alphabet Practice Sheets work great with this!
Alphabet Practice Sheets$4.00
Students practice tracing and writing the alphabet letters. They begin to make the letter-sound connection by identifying words that start with each letter with these No-Prep ALPHABET PRACTICE SHEETS.
Types of Transparency Sheets
Sometimes it is hard to know what type of clear sheets to use on the light table. Light tables do not produce heat, so any type of transparency should work. Large, used scraps from a laminating machine could also be used with a permanent marker. Sheets with a sticky side to them should be avoided. They will leave an adhesive residue that can damage the light table. Suggested transparency sheets include:
- Write-on film
- Ink-jet film
- Laser printer film
Find the right transparency sheet for your activity and print on it like paper according to your printer’s settings.
Things to consider
- For text or pictures done by hand that won’t smear, use permanent marker.
- When using a printer, make sure to use the “transparency” setting to avoid smears and damage to the printout.
- Don’t have transparency paper? Plain thin white copy paper makes a fine substitute.
There are so many opportunities for the use of transparency paper in the preschool classroom. Deciding which one to use first may be the hardest part of the plan.
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