Welcome to my Kindergarten...where we are growing and learning and blooming everyday!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wind Sock Ghosts

This is so simple and yet so much fun! Kids love to move their ghosts and make wind noises!

Hurry up Halloween!

Field Trip!

The Good News: My school gets the first showing of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at The Puppetry Arts Center each year.

The Bad News: It is November 1st!

So, out with Halloween and in with Christmas but just a little bit of Christmas. We have to get back to class to begin The Story of the Pilgrims and all about The First Thanksgiving.

Here we are on the bus! My students would be happy to just ride around the block a couple times!

Apples and Pumpkins

I love to teach literacy and math using apples and pumpkins! This is right up any Kindergarten teacher's alley!

Here are some skills/concepts:
Life cycle
Venn Diagram
The 4 Seasons
The 5 Senses

Pattern Block Jack-o-Lanterns

Here is our attempt at tracing pattern blocks and cutting pattern blocks to add to our pumpkins. This was very challenging but the result was good!

We will continue tracing and cutting pattern blocks!

Pattern Blocks for Scarecrows!

You got to love Scarecrows in the Fall. We practice learning the pattern blocks in class. It takes many weeks to add the names of hexagon, trapezoid, and rhombus to their vocabulary.

Here we had fun building a scarecrow with pattern blocks. This was challenging and we built him from the bottom up. The students followed along an example on the Smartboard.

Sponge Painting Leaves

Time to think about and learn about Fall! The students work on their cutting skills by cutting out 3 types of leaves. They cut leaves that are curved like the oak leaf and leaves with sharp curves like the maple leaf.

I cut a kitchen sponge and the kids learn to gently press paint all over the leaves...up and down and all around!

Here are some good examples!

We also memorize a Fall Poem:

Leaves are falling to the ground
Red, yellow, green, and brown.
Falling here, Falling there
Soon the trees will be all bare!

The Magic of m&ms!

It never gets old or goes out of style. To help with the skill and concept of sorting, one has to have a bag of m&ms. I use a regular sized bag for the whole group demonstration. Then in small groups, I hand out the smaller fun size bags and the kids get started! Here they are learning how to graph and loving it!

August 2012 ~ There is Work To Do!

Here is my classroom as of August 2012. We have to "pack up" everything in boxes in May/June before we leave for the summer. Such a terrible awful task. Likewise in August, we have to empty all those boxes and "set" the room back up. It is a labor of love. No one but teachers really understand this process.

Then after some blood, sweat, and tears, things start pulling together.

The room is set...now bring on the new students for this year!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Garden Update ~ Growing a Pumpkin!

In March we planted our classroom garden. You can see that post and photos from 3/21/12. We took one more look at the garden before leaving for the summer. To our surprise, we have a beautiful and healthy pumpkin vine ~ complete with fancy flowers! We also have red ripe strawberries and our summer squash is also blossoming.

Due to some construction on our campus, we had not visited the garden in the past few weeks...nor had we watered. So, you can imagine how excited we were to see the vine.

All of this we will now leave to the weather and the chipmunks. We have crossed our fingers that we will return in August to find little pumpkins.

End of the Year

It's hard to believe that it is that time to say "good-bye" to each other. All my students learned so much and we all grew up so much. Yes, we all bloomed in different ways and at different times!

As part of the many End of the Year activities, we reflected on the year together. We created our last Bulletin Board with "Advice" for the next class. These drawings and memories are so cute and heartfelt.

Here is one of my favorites. It is advice to "raise your hand" in Kindergarten. Such good advice!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I know it is a week early but we celebrated Mother's Day in the classroom ~ May is so busy! It is a time honored tradition in Kindergarten to have Mommies come to the room for a special snack and to give our gifts of love.

This year we created little flower sticks for each cupcake. I liked this idea because it personalized a cupcake that were all alike. I had intended that we watercolor the flowers but time didn't allow us this week. What I do like is that it is obviously kid created. I didn't hear any Mommies complaining!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Zoo Animal Reports

On April 20th we took a fun Field Trip to the Zoo. I used that impending trip to begin our unit on non-fiction writing. Using the Zoo website as a resource for the report, parents were able to read the information and help their child create a simple report. The main goal of a project like this was to hope the student would become a sort of "expert" of their animal plus learn how to organize information.

Prior to the assignment I had to teach them how to "label". We used our kid friendly science books to see how to label. We labeled the parts of a flower. We labeled our class pet ~ Swimmy, the turtle.

I also used a form from a teacher blog on Pinterest ~ firstgradeowls.blogspot.com ~ I love this form! Students were able to organize their information and parents were able to "know what to do" and how to help.

Today all the reports were due and I was so pleased with the results and the wonderful displays. My students were so proud of their posters!

When my students have a presentation using a visual, I like for the other students to offer compliments and to ask questions. The compliments really help to foster community and help the student feel good about their work. Peer compliments are a " good thing"!

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Wedding of Q and U

Have you ever planned an entire wedding by going to The Dollar Tree? I am always glad I have this store nearby to fulfill my teaching wish lists. On my recent wish list were special items for The Wedding of Q and U.

In the past I have shown the super cute videos of other classes acting out the ceremony for these two letters. This year I decided to take the leap and do this in class. I had to start from scratch and Pinterest provided many resources. I took a little of this and that and designed my own ceremony.

First I began with making the Q and U. I got black for Q because it is a consonant and for the black tuxedo look. Then I chose red for U because she is a vowel. I decided that Q was the male and U the female. Just made sense to me. I cut out the letters on put them on a foam poster.

Then I needed flowers and ribbon and
bubbles and cookies and napkins. I also got white crepe paper and bells to decorate the door.

I made invitations from pretty stickers and the blank side of a 4 x 6 index card. These were handed out in the morning.

I used music from a Mozart CD and we were ready. I asked for two volunteers to help "hold up" the Bride and Groom.

Following the ceremony the class blew bubbles as Q and U recessed down the aisle. They had the first dance - Mr. Eric's Big Silly CD - and then all joined in for dancing on the carpet.

I did write out vows and there is a photo of that below.

I highly recommend this fun activity! They will remember that QU together make the sound of /kw/.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Non-Fiction Labeling

I really like the idea of labeling in Kindergarten. At the beginning of the year we use labeling in as part of Writer's Workshop. It is an important part of pre-writing.

Now that it is Spring, labeling is so easy compared to writing a whole sentence! As part of our Non-Fiction Writing Unit, I am teaching my students to label ~ just like in Science Books.

Today is the second time we have
labeled the parts of a flower. The first time was in conjunction with our Weekly Reader. That was simply filling in the blanks. This activity is so much more meaningful because they are "building" and labeling their own flower.

They did a great job!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Answer is ???

Thanks to Pinterest I saw an idea that I just love! Imagine this...as the teacher, I get to give my students an "answer" and they have to give me the Math Sentence ~ either addition or subtraction. It is genius! And fun!

I have found that students get addition very quickly and need more time to think about subtraction. This simple idea has really increased my students' skills with thinking about Math.

Here is my Answer Board. I change the "answer" daily which is easy to do because I can just slip in another number. We began subtraction last week and we will continue this until the end of school.

Yesterday the "Answer" was 1. Currently, the rule is to use numbers
0 - 5. I will increase the highest number to 10 next week.

The possible combinations are:

0 + 1 = 1
1 + 0 = 1
2 - 1 = 1
3 - 2 = 1
4 - 3 = 1
5 - 4 = 1

Give it a try!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Today we celebrated Earth Day by reviewing our pledge to save water while we brush our teeth. We reviewed the 3 Rs ~ Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce and how we try to do this at home and in school.

We can't have a celebration without making a headband! Then for snack I brought in our Earth Day Snack ~ Dirt and Worms, of course!

I made it even easier this year by getting unrefrigerated chocolate pudding snack packs, gummi worms, and chocolate graham crackers. Last night I crushed the crackers because I wanted to show my students and tell them that it was "dirt".

I love this age! Even as I was eating the "dirt" they believed me and then they loved that trick! Each student sprinkled "dirt" on their pudding cups and added the worm.

So simple and so fun!