Friday, October 29, 2010

R is for Read-A-Thon!

Today we had a Read-A-Thon to raise money to help cover the bus costs for our spring trip to Lion Country Safari. Our class was the TOP WINNER for kindergarten! We raised $142.00! WAY TO GO!! Here are some of the activities and books we read today. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

We read Ghosts on the House! by Kazuno Kohara. This is a new book for me- I picked it up at the library because I LOVE the illustrations. It is black illustrations on orange paper with white translucent tissue paper ghosts. After I read the story we made our favorite scene from the book.

We also Read Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. It is a spin off of the book The Big Turnip. We enjoyed watching all of the Halloween characters work together to pull the big pumpkin off the vine and eat pumpkin pie!

We made Jack-O-Lantern window decorations using clear contact paper, pumpkin cut outs, black construction paper, and yellow tissue paper. This craft had a lot of directions and steps! I think everyone was happy with the results.

After lunch we read Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins by Dianne Ochiltree. We talked about doubling numbers while we counted the pumpkins. Then we made 10 Little Pumpkin fingerprints with a poem. I just love how these turned out!

To end the day we read Goodnight Goon A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex. This book gave us an opportunity to learn new words: petrify and parody and we compared Goodnight Moon to our spooky parody. We decorated wooden Halloween ornaments that were donated to our class while we ate snack and watched The Ghost Family Costume Party on

Thursday, October 28, 2010

F is for Friend

Jessica by Kevin Henkes is part of our reading curriculum. This story is close to my heart because I had two imaginary friends (Nina and Joey) until I started kindergarten. My daughter Amelia has followed in my footsteps and has an imaginary mother (Christina), father (unnamed), and brother (Inja). They do not appear all of the time but they always seem to be around. Ruthie has a friend named Jessica that only she can see. When she starts kindergarten she gets a great surprise and finds a best friend named (you guessed it!) Jessica! Today for shared writing we used our imagination and made our imaginary friend. We shared our friend and told the class about them. I typed a sentence and displayed it on the screen. We read back all 18 sentences and then I printed them out and cut the words apart. The class had to glue their sentence back in order. One of my favorites is "My imaginary friend is named Hiccup."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

M is for Mom

Today I was just Mom. It was Amelia's Fall Festival at her preschool so I took the day off to help out and just be Mom. It was a wonderful day. I am anxious to hear how my kindys did with their first substitute!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

R is for Road

We studied Rr a few weeks ago but we didn't have time to make a paper craft to go in our ABC Book. I had a hard time coming up with an idea and story for Rr. I like to be careful about what I choose because there are so many great books for children and so little time to read them! I decided on Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. When I introduced the story I shared with the class that this book was written by the same author as The Little House. My most observant students pointed out right away that the illustrations of both books were similar. The children enjoyed the story and cheered Mary Ann on as she dug the cellar in just one day! This is a good story to talk about encouraging others to do their best and living up to your word. We made R- roads and illustrated the page to look like the city and country pages of the book. We glued a little Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann on our Road.

Monday, October 25, 2010

C is for Computer Lab

WE DID IT! All 18 of my sprouts logged into their computer in less then 10 minutes. Now, they can't all log in themselves.. Ctrl, Alt, Delete .. is tricky.. BUT with a little help everyone logged in and enjoyed playing Jump Start Kindergarten and collected carrots. Oh! And no one cried.. not even ME :) If you are puzzled as to why this is BIG HUGE FANTASTIC news.... These are the steps to just log into a computer in my district.

1. Wiggle mouse to wake up computer
2.Press Ctrl, Alt, Delete
3. Click in user name box
4. Backspace to erase previous users user name
5. Type user name combination of last name and first initial- sometimes a number too
6. Click in password box
7. Type your 6 digit password (the numbers are hidden and show up as dots)
8. Click OK

NOW... they have to go to the correct folder, select a game, and sometimes SIGN IN ALL OVER AGAIN.

Due to testing in the lab this was only our 4th visit to the lab. I am PROUD!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

P is for Pumpkin Play Dough

This weekend Amelia and I made pumpkin play dough. I was hesitant at first because I remember homemade play dough in my preschool class when I was 4. It was smelly and gritty. And, because homemade play dough is requires cooking.. and I am not the best cook. But, I need some creative and fun ways to keep my kindys busy this week... 1-because it is the week before Halloween and 2- I need to finish up assessment for report cards! We made 3 batches, 1 for home, 1 for my class, and 1 for Amelia's class. I am sure my kindy kids will have lots of fun playing with this very yummy pumpkin spice scented play dough. I got the recipe here-- but there are tons online. I am going to trying glitter in the winter holiday batch!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Adventures in Kindergarten This Week

What a Busy Week! Things I want to remember... and things I'll never forget!

-E sharing her dog rescue story and the awe and admiration her friends showed her as she told the story.

-M recalling the day a blue bead mysteriously got stuck in her nose and the heroic efforts of our school nurse.. she told the story as if it happened year ago- when it was actually last month!

-J proudly showing off his 2nd missing tooth of the year!

-L enthusiastically shouting "forever green!" when reviewing which trees stay green all year.

- T telling me all about his favorite place (Disney World) while we conferenced during writing workshop.

-D smiling and confident while reading back his writing to me.

-G and H telling me about their star wars sharing plan.. just in case they ever have a play date at each other house.

-B telling me that I looked pretty when I smiled for my school picture.

-A clutching her visual schedule during pumpkin day and letting it go easily when I pointed out we are not following the normal routine today.

-L's new baby brother!

-J's amazing progress over the last year.

-H inviting me to his football practice.

-A's blue nose from smelling the blueberry scented ink.

-R sad because her mom had to work on Pumpkin Day and A comforting her.

-Z helping D when he was anxious about seat work

-Watching B clutch his shell as he works and plays.

-G showing me his handsome school picture smile

-B convinced that I live at school after discovering my mini fridge

Friday, October 22, 2010

P is for Pumpkin Day!

Today was our class Pumpkin Day! Thank you to all of the Mom's that volunteered. I couldn't have done it without you! I hope you had as much fun as we did!

We had 4 activities:

Pumpkin Data
Children used cubes and measuring tape to measure their pumpkins. Predicted and explored how many ribs and how much their pumpkins weigh, and explored the inside of their pumpkin. They also measured themselves in pumpkins!

Taste Test

First we read Grow A Pumpkin Pie!
and then we tasted a pumpkin cookie, pumpkin pie, and a pumpkin lollipop. We graphed our favorites and explored mini pumpkins and read Halloween books while we waited to switch activities.

Pumpkin Life cycle

We read From Seed to Pumpkin and then made a pop up pumpkin life cycle. I found the activity here.

Pumpkin Parts Brace Map

We read Pumpkin Pumpkin and then cut, glued, and labeled the parts of the pumpkin to make a brace map. I got the idea here. I really like Thinking Maps. I am going to work on incorporating them more in my lessons.

Then... after math.. after all of the volunteers went home... We carved the PUMPKINS! The kids were great scooper's and watched patiently while I cut out the Jack-o-lanterns. We put mini lights in them, and I let 3 students at a time go into the bathroom and close the door to see our Jack-o-Lanterns light up in the dark. After a very busy morning and a very wild afternoon, Mrs. Dillon (our principal) ended up being our health teacher! Thankfully, I got a good report when I picked them up! :) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Zero the Hero

In math we have been studying numbers 0-5. We have learned that zero means nothing and something. We read part of this book, Zero Is It Something? Is It Nothing? and looked at the ways zero changes a number. Then we watched School House Rock, Zero My Hero! We looked at numbers ending in zero and made our own Zero The Hero! I found old stale Cheerios left over from snack so we used them to decorate our heroes.

D is for Dragon

This week we studied the letter Dd in phonics.

I can't take any credit for this idea... I straight up copied it from here.

I LOVE the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. I like stories that are not the typical princess stories where the girl is always getting rescued. This time Elizabeth rescues the prince and then comes to find out he wasn't worth it after all. It is a humorous and clever story and a good quick read. After reading it we made paper dragon D.

Can you see the time on the clock?.. that is 6:26 PM!! And teachers only work "part-time"!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

T is for Tree

We have been learning about trees this week. We learned about the roots of the tree and enjoyed watching Peep and the Root Problem. We talked about the parts of the tree and read

I found these great web sites about trees- This web site is from the University of Illinois and is an audio guided lesson about trees. This web site is a real life time lapse of a deciduous tree in Michigan. Great for my southern kindys!

In Core Knowledge we talk about Deciduous trees and Evergreen trees. I found this great book about the temperate deciduous forest. What a great opportunity to learn new vocabulary!

We drew a deciduous tree and an evergreen tree as well!

Monday, October 18, 2010

B is for Boo!

Halloween is in the air! We are heading into the most favorite time of year for my little goblins! Today we read 10 Timid Ghosts. This is a great counting backward book and fits in great with our math unit this week. While reading this book we discussed what timid, clever, brave, and angry mean and what sorts of things make us feel that way. We also identified rhyming words throughout the text. To finish off the day we made ghost hand prints. The kids were very excited to use chalk, get their hands in paint, and add googly ghost eyes!

****** A photo of Apple Day was in yesterdays paper! *******

My Baby Can't Read....

The other night Amelia and I were watching the end of the Good Night Sprout show and I was trying to convince her that THREE bedtime books were enough for tonight-- Mama's eyes are tired.. when a commercial for Your Baby Can Read came on TV. Amelia watched as the baby pointed to his pants when presented a word.. and we listened as a toddler read a list of flash cards, and we watched a preschooler read something out of a very thick book.... I ushered Amelia to bed where she exclaimed.. "Mommy, why can't I read.. if those babies can?" I immediately without even thinking about it.. said, "Babies are not supposed to know how to read". She accepted that answer and we read Little Miss Star, Bedtime for Francis, Jeannie's Hat, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas ( I know it was 4.. she is really cute and convincing). The next day I thought about the My Baby Can Read trend. I've had parents tell me that they have started using it with their littlest one at home and I have had a parent tell me that their child got discouraged about his own reading after seeing the commercial of babies reading. I am a skeptic.. and I think 3 easy payments of whatever is too much for a bunch of flashcards and DVD of words.. (I admit I have never seen more then just the commercial so there may be more included. ) I am sure it works for some parents and some kids.. I have kids that come to kindergarten reading so I assume someone worked with them or they are lucky to be natural readers. The truth is... I don't think that babies should be reading. I think the time that is spent being presented with flash cards could be better spent on other skills. I am hesitant to post this.. because I don't like to cause waves.. and I don't really know who is reading my blog... but I do think that I owe it to the parents that are worried because their baby can't read.. It's OKAY. My baby can't read either. I have recently felt a little pressure to measure Amelia against other 3 year olds because she started preschool this year. Just like when moms bragged about when their baby took the first steps or got the first tooth.. it seems I am in a reading race! Well, Amelia can't read. I am glad she can't read! Toys I don't want her to have all mysteriously are for ages 5 and up or 2 and younger... I can make a shopping list, read a novel.. without worrying about her reading it. I will be excited and thrilled and proud when she learns to read but I don't see any reason to push it. To me, there is a lot of time to be a serious student with pressure to learn and a precious short time to be a child with only the work of play.

Friday, October 15, 2010

S is for Stripes

Lately, I have noticed that some of my sprouts are laughing and teasing at others when they feel something is too babyish for big 5 year old kindys. It has caused some hurt feelings and a few tears. I have recently stuck up for Sesame Street, Dora, the entire Sprout network, blankies, and riding with training wheels.. so I thought A Bad Case of Stripes would be a good conversation starter about being true to yourself. Predictably, everyone loved the story of poor Camile who suffers from a bad case of stripes because she denies herself Lima beans so others will not laugh at her.. it is only when she is true to herself that she is cured of her aliment. I am not sure everyone could relate but I did get great feedback and many sprouts came up with examples of how they have pretended to like or not like something so they were not laughed at. We decided to make striped S to put in our alphabet book. Here is the online story read by Sean Astin.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

P is for Peanuts

As part of our unit on plants we learn about George Washington Carver. Apparently everything you need to know you DO learn in kindergarten... and I learn more every year. Before 2004 (the year I started teaching kindergarten) I had never heard -or at least never remember hearing- about George Washington Carver. Turns out he was really smart and saved the farms in the South. Here is his wiki page.. go ahead and read up! He invented many things we use today... ink, shaving cream, bleach- AND thought of over 300 ways to use peanuts. Since I have no peanut allergies this year we made homemade from scratch peanut butter. We read, From Peanut To Peanut Butter and then got started! Most of the kids had no idea how to shell the peanuts. They were creative with their methods.. although I did remind them not to put the shell in their mouth. We made about a cup of peanut butter and I was surprised that everyone liked it and asked for more. Here is a good video clip about George Washington Carver that is easy for young kids to understand.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

M is for Math Centers

This is what math centers looked like today. I let everyone choose their own partners and I passed out math manipulatives and activities. My only directions were, "Share, take turns, whisper, clean up." I thought I'd spend the time calling kids to me to start report card assessment. Instead I got involved in what my kids were doing. I have to say I was really impressed! I saw counting, sorting, patterns, world problems, measurement... I also saw cooperation, turn-taking, sharing, kindness, and teaching. I stopped to take photos because I realized I made it through the bumpy ride that are the first weeks of kindergarten! Every August I repeat my mantra.... "It will be great by October.... It will be great by October" - October is here.. and it is GREAT! :) I hope all of my fellow kindy teachers are breathing a little easier now that it is October!