Thursday, September 30, 2010

C is for Caterpillar!

This week we are learning the letter Cc. Today we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. and then, inspired by this blog, we made Caterpillars for the letter Cc. I found this interview with the author Eric Carle.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There Was an Old Woman.....

Nursery rhymes are part of the Kindergarten Core Knowledge curriculum. Honestly, many of them creep me out! Today we read, There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. If you don't remember it, it goes like this....

There was an old woman,
Who lived in a shoe;
She had so many children,
She didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth,
Without any bread;
She spanked them all soundly,
And sent them to bed
I am not an advocate for spanking children. That is my parenting philosophy- to each his own.
Reading it with my class sparked really great conversation. One student asked me why she had all those kids if she didn't know what to do with them. One suggested that since she was old, perhaps she was only babysitting! They all wanted to know why the kids were spanked and sent to bed. Many had theories on what terrible choices the children had made to get such a punishment. Some wanted to tell me stories of their spankings. I asked the class if they like this poem. Many answered NO! So, we came up with a solution. Since they all keep an illustrated poetry journal throughout the year, we crossed out spanked and changed it to hugged. We read the poem again and agreed that a hug before bed sounds much better then a spanking. I hope all 18 of my sprouts got a hug tonight!
I found this version that I like MUCH better!
By Jordan Riak
There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe.
She was a kindhearted mom
Who knew exactly what to do.
She raised all her children
With patience and love.
Never once did she give them
A spank, shake or shove.
Her children all learned
To be gentle toward others,
And good parents too
When they became fathers and mothers.
From their days in the shoe
They learned this about living:
Kindness, not force,
Is the gift that keeps giving.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

T is for Thankful!

Today was Apple Day in kindergarten. We spent the morning with 90 kids doing fun activities and crafts. I am exhausted but I want to thank all of the AWESOME parents that came in to volunteer. There is NO WAY I could have done it without you!!! I hope you had as much fun as your child!

Monday, September 27, 2010

T is for Torch

So.. I have to give an assessment 3 times a year and one of the components is vocabulary. One of the last pictures is of a torch. No one in my class knew what it was.. so I saw this idea from this AMAZING BLOG and thought what a great idea! We had just finished studying Tt. I read Tacky and the Winter Games and we talked about the torch. This book is a great read! It really shows kids how important it is to listen to and follow directions. Tacky hurts his teammates by not following directions. It is funny and of course ends with Tacky's silly behavior paying off in the end. The students drew and cut our their own lowercase t and added tissue paper and fire colored squares (left over from Elmer). I'll let you know in April if they remember torch!

Friday, September 24, 2010

F is for Friday (Full Moon)

Whew- It has been a very busy week. I am exhausted from testing and having obligations in the evening, and I have a cold! I don't know if it is the full moon, telling children SHHHhhhhhhhSHHHhhhSHHHHhhhhSHHhhh...... so I could finish up testing, the rain at recess or WHAT.. but I was grumpy and the kids were nutty(probably from me telling them to SHHhhSHHHHShhhh). By lunchtime I knew I had to scrap the apple writing lesson I had planned at 2:00. I knew we'd never make it through the lesson! At recess we played Duck, Duck, Goose with the class next door under the covered hard court and LAUGHED and LAUGHED! We had kids running in the wrong direction, running through the circle, running around the circle twice- It was mayhem. (Clearly we have to play again!) So by 2:00 I was up for some fun. I pulled out one of my favorite books, Miss Nelson is Missing. I told the class I read his book when I was a little girl and then I looked at the copyright and discovered it was written in my birth year (1977)! The class was impressed. We read about Miss Nelson and her terrible class and how one day the mean Miss Viola Swamp comes to substitute. I won't spoil the ending, but I enjoyed watching the students' faces as they discovered who Miss Viola Swamp actually was! We did a quick comparison between the two characters and we made a quick diagram using Power Point.

Then I read Miss Nelson is Back- just for fun. :)

Have an amazing weekend!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

J is for Jobs!

Everyone in my class has a job. The first few weeks of school I model each job and we take turns trying each job. Last week I assigned our first round of class jobs. The kids were VERY excited to learn which job they'd been assigned. Door holder and line leader are the most coveted jobs, but office helper and paper passer are very popular too. I was impressed and a little surprised at how seriously each student took their job responsibilities. This is our second week of class jobs. We switched jobs yesterday and I was happy to see the old job holder show the new job holder how to do the job. It was great to see such great cooperation. Watch out if you try to do someones job!! You will be reminded that, that is not your job! In order reuse my job chart year to year, each child gets a number. That number is written on a pencil and the pencils get rotated each week.

Our jobs are: line leader, door holder, paper, calendar, soap, library, bell work, desks, floor, rules, lights, weather, and office

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

Sayings are taught in kindergarten as part of our Core Knowledge Curriculum. They are typically challenging for many kindys to understand. A few weeks ago I was reading Little Miss Neat by Roger Hargreaves to my daughter Amelia at bedtime. This book series was a favorite of mine when I was in school and I am so happy that I can share the Little Miss and Mr. Men with my daughter and your children! They often have a lesson and Little Miss Neat fit so neatly (ha!) into the saying "A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place." I read about Little Miss Neat and her vacation and what happens when Mr. Muddle comes for a visit. I made a worksheet of the cover of the book and our new saying for the children to color and remember the saying. Then we watched our story come to life on YouTube!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A is for Apple

This week starts our study on Apples. I LOVE this theme... for a few moments I can pretend that the air is getting crisp, the leaves are changing colors, and I need an extra blanket on the bed. Of course reality hits at recess when it's 87 degrees and standing at car duty feels like 187 degrees!

We read Pick Me An APPLE! From Seed to Tree. We compared a grove to an orchard and talked about yellow, green, and red apples. We talked about the parts of an apple and labeled and colored this worksheet and we learned the song Follow Me to The Apple Tree by Jack Hartman.

Don't you just love when good ideas collide into something wonderful??!!

This summer I was doing some planning and I came across an idea of using a "story stick" to retell or sequence a story. I loved the idea and sent out a call to parents for donations. Luckily one of my parents works for Sherman -Williams and was able to provide paint stirrers!

Well... in math we are learning about patterns... and I was eager to use those paint stirrers so during my planning time I came up with this:

I had enough sticky back Velcro to make four stirrers. I am crazy with excitement at all of the possibilities! Alphabet, numbers, sequencing, schedules, writing webs, patterns..........
I just need to get more Velcro and then I will be attaching Velcro to EVERYTHING!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

W is for Weekend!

There is something special about calendar time on Friday mornings. I always tell my students that Friday is my favorite day of the week because it means the weekend is just around the corner. We talk about Saturday and Sunday and they always ask me if I will see them on the weekend. I say no, but that isn't really true this year. One of my students is also my neighbor so I might see him -especially since my daughter Amelia would love to be adopted into this great family of THREE boys! Another student is in the same Saturday morning gymnastics class as Amelia (it is a 3-5 class), and another student and I attend the same church. I love to see my students off campus. They are often shy and speechless at first. I know they must be surprised that I actually leave the classroom (quite honestly, I do usually spend a good chunk of time there on the weekend). I love being with my family on the weekend and recharging for the coming week. They always seem to go so fast! I don't dread Monday but as I sit here looking at the pile of school work I thought I'd have time to squeeze in.. I wish it was Friday night and I had the next two days off... But, I can't wait to hear about the adventures my 18 sprouts had over the weekend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

E is for Elmer Again!

We have just loved Elmer! The last two days we have been working on making our own patchwork and elephant colored elephant. We used paper squares to make a patchwork on one side of a folded paper and grey squares to make an elephant colored elephant on the other side. Then we carefully cut out ears that magically made legs! AND carefully cut a line that STOPPED (not cut off) to make the trunk. We taped the ears on and made eyes..

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

P is for Play

“A child loves his play, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.”
Benjamin Spock
American pediatrician

Most of what we do in kindergarten looks like work. We sit and learn on the carpet, we do seat work at our desk, we learn in small groups at the yellow table... but when we are playing we are working too...

Just Playing

When I am building in the block room, please don’t say I’m “just playing”. For you see, I’m learning as I play, about balance and shapes. Who knows, I may be an architect someday.

When I’m getting all dressed up, setting the table, caring for the babies, don’t get the idea I’m “just playing”. For, you see, I’m learning as I play; I may be a mother or a father someday.

When you see me up to my elbows in paint or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay, please don’t let me hear you say, “He is just playing”. For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I’m expressing myself and being creative. I may be an artist or an inventor someday.

When you see me sitting in a chair “reading” to an imaginary audience, please don’t laugh and think I’m “just playing”. For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I may be a teacher someday.

When you see me combing the bushes for bugs, or packing my pockets with choice things I find, don’t pass it off as “just play”. For you see, I’m learning as I play. I may be a scientist someday.

When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some “plaything” at my school, please don’t feel the time is wasted in “play”. For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I’m learning to solve problems and concentrate. I may be in business someday.

When you see me cooking or tasting foods, please don’t think that because I enjoy it, it is “just play”. I’m learning to follow direction and see differences. I may be a cook someday.

When you see me learning to skip, hop, run and move my body, please don’t say I’m “just playing”. For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I’m learning how my body works. I may be a doctor, nurse or athlete someday.

When you ask me what I’ve done at school today, and I say, “I just played”, please don’t misunderstand me. For you see, I’m learning as I play. I’m learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. I’m preparing for tomorrow. Today, I am a child and my work is play.

~author unknown

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

E is for Elmer

This week we are reading Elmer by David Mckee. It is a story about a patchwork elephant that makes all of the other elephants laugh. One day Elmer thinks that it is his patchwork colors the others are laughing at and makes himself elephant colored like the rest of the elephants. He soon finds out that the other elephants love his colors and find a way to celebrate their differences. It is a great book to celebrate diversity. If you go here you can paint your own Elmer online.

Friday, September 10, 2010

L is for Ladybug

In kindergarten Core Knowledge, we study many many poems and nursery rhymes. Ladybug Ladybug goes so well with learning the letter Ll, but I think it is a very scary and sad poem. It always disturbed me as a child... the house is on FIRE! The children are GONE! Ugh... I prepared my students before we read it... and then I showed them how we were going to illustrate it! We used red ink and our fingerprints to make ladybug bodies along the L and l. Then, we added legs and spots.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

C is for Centers!

I have been asked about the black stars in my Classroom Tour Slideshow. Those black stars help me manage my centers. Each center has a sign that indicates how many students can be at that center. Every student gets a green center star with their name on it. When it is center time students can choose their own center by Velcro-ing their star to the center sign. Sometimes the center will have a closed sign attached to it. I do not assign centers but I do ask my students not to repeat until they visit all of them. Around October all of my students get a clipboard with a center checklist. The checklist has two boxes one is labeled- Centers I Must Finish and the other is labeled Look What I Had Time To Do! Each has clip art next to it and a box. Student check off each center as they finish. They have to complete the first box before they can go to the centers in the second box. Here is a list of the centers I have in my classroom

Pocket Chart
Read the Room
Write the Room
Big Books
Core Knowledge

Look What I Had Time To Do!
Building & Legos
Play Dough
Flannel Board
Magnet Letters
Dramatic Play

Monday, September 6, 2010

G is for the Golden Rule

I teach in a Core Knowledge School and part of the curriculum is teaching the meaning of sayings. Last week we talked about the Golden Rule- Do Unto Others.... It is one of the easier sayings to explain and I like to start the school year off with it, since it often comes up in conflict resolution throughout the year in K! I believe building a class family is important and I want everyone in my class to feel safe. With 18 new personalities there are bound to be some bumps along the way as we all navigate our way through the new year. Along with discussing the saying I thought it was important to talk about hurting others, especially feelings. When a child hits or pushes it is a clear violation of the rules. It is easy to talk it through, role play, and remind that hands are for helping! I do not see a lot of hitting or pushing in my room. (thankfully!!) It does break my heart when I hear children squabbling (which is one of our vocabulary words!) and lashing out with hurtful words. Probably the most hurtful words in kindergarten are, "I am not your friend" or "You are not invited to my birthday party" (even if the birthday is in 6 months and there is no party). I wanted to address hurting with words, because lets face it.. sticks and stones .. is easier said then done.. Five year olds often think that sorry makes it better. I try the approach- tell the truth, make it right, apologize... but you can't take back the words you say. I found a great idea on another blog ( I can't find a link- I'll keep looking) using paper hearts to drive this point home. I cut out two large hearts and 36 little hearts. On one heart the class and I brainstormed about things that are nice and helpful that we can say to our friends. On the other heart we brainstormed and wrote words that are mean. The kids had no trouble coming up with phrases for either heart. When we filled up the sad heart, I asked the kids if words hurt us. Some said yes, some no. I asked if hurt words left marks that way hitting or pushing can? They all said no. So I crumpled up the heart and said that when anyone said something mean to me my heart feels crumpled. Then I smoothed out the heart and demonstrated how even if the person who hurt me said sorry, that I still had a wrinkle in my heart. I hope they understood the lesson. I gave them all two mini hearts and they drew a smiling face on one, and a sad face on the other and crumpled it to remind them of the lesson.

Friday, September 3, 2010

C is for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a favorite among kindergartners. Even the "coolest" kindy can't help but laugh when I read this story. I love to read it too! This week we made our own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom coconut trees and glued the letters of our name around it. Boy! It was a GREAT learning experience for all of us. I only had capital foam letters so it was quite challenging for some students to pick out the capital letters when they were expecting to look for the lower case letters. It was also interesting to see U turned upside down to make a lower case n and X slanted to make a t. We had to cut the ends off a few B's to make more E's! They looked great hanging up for Open House.

I hope everyone enjoys the three day weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

O is for Open House

Open House is tonight at 6:30pm. Please meet in room 108. Children are welcome to attend, but this night is really for the parents. I hope to see you there!