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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Building with Wooden Blocks

A few years ago I restructured my building center by separating my wooden blocks to be entirely by themselves. I love it and I refer to it fondly to my family as my "Engineering 101" center.

I encourage all teachers to do this. Think of it as "Back to Basics with Blocks". There is a lot that happens in this center which has 2 partners for the school day.

Here are some of the skills a teacher may see:

Planning
Organization
Balancing
Cooperation
Vocabulary
Communication
Negotiation
Imagination
Trial and Error
Symmetry

So there is language and math and social skills happening all at the same time. Both boys and girls love this center.

Here is the structure built today. It is a Chocolate Factory!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Counting by 5s

It is the end of March and we are trying to count by 5's! With our 4th Grade Buddies, we made a ladder by 5's to 50. It is all a matter of memorizing and recognizing numbers!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Garden ~ Planting A Rainbow

I am lucky to teach at a school that has garden plots designated for classroom gardening with the children. I have had the same small plot for about 12 years. It started out hard and rocky but it is now so cute and manageable.

This week we are planting. I used Planting A Rainbow by Lois Ehlert as our inspiration this year. We just left St. Patrick's Day and rainbows so it seemed just right for this Spring.

A letter went home to families asking for a small 6 pack of plants in the rainbow colors ~ one color per student. If a student was assigned the color green, then they were asked to bring in an herb.

It takes about 3 trips to the garden for 30 - 45 minutes. Arranging time in the day is difficult but worth it. I ask for parent volunteers to help. Some parents love to help. This year a dad helped us. Students love to plant their own plants. We found several worms and look at the roots abs water the plants. Kids love to garden!

All the gardens need to be ready on the same night the Middle School performs the Spring play.

Here are some pictures:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Black History Month Author Study

I have an Author of the Month each. Month during the school year. In February, I present African American authors. One of my favorite authors is Patricia McKissack. Her favorite book of mine is titled Flossie and the Fox. It is a great story and perfect for this age. There is some tricking involved in the story. It is a good introduction to the idea of "tricking" ~ leading up to those tricky leprechauns in March.

I ask my students to draw their favorite part of one of the books read that we read during the month. Then, at the end of the year, I bind them and send them home. It is a good collection and a good memory.

Here is the cover of the book:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Parent Volunteers

In January of each school year, the parents in my class sign up to come listen to the students read. By January, the kids are able to read the emergent readers with confidence. At this point we focus on fluency and expression. By March they are reading Dr. Seuss books with enthusiasm.

While parents help out with class parties and Field Trips, etc., this simple time (about 5 minutes per child) is such good practice. As I say every day~ we have to practice to get better at anything! I schedule this time once a week while the whole class is rotating in small literacy or math groups. I have a mandatory reading selection and then they can choose from a selection of easy readers.

I set the parent and student in the hallway with a basket of books and a timer. Both parent and student enjoy this time.

Here is a picture of Mother and Son ~ so cute!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fun Literature!

I love using two books to help get my class into St. Patrick's Day. Both are by beloved author Tomie dePaola.

They love the idea of "tricking" and the humor. Also, I have never met a student in 16 years who knows what a leprechaun's true job. Do you?

Get your "Irish" accent and have fun!

Leprechaun Traps

Today was the day to bring in the Leprechaun Traps. We celebrated St. Patrick's Day today and here's how it went:

1. The students were assigned the task to create a Leprechaun Trap. See previous post this week.

2. This morning a Leprechaun left green footprints on the tables. He also left a rhyming message on the morning message board that he lost his hat (Dollar Tree) in our room.

3. While out of the room, a Leprechaun messed up the room. Kids love this and it is so funny how they quickly put the room back together.

4. Each student had the opportunity to show and tell their trap. The best part was when the students gave "compliments" following their presentation. Example: I like the way you used marshmallows.

5. Then I let the class walk around and look at and ask questions ~ so great!

I highly recommend this project! So much fun in the classroom! I hope enjoy seeing a few traps.

Mrs. H

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Odd and Even Numbers

I saw a pin recently regarding odd and even numbers posted by The Teacher Wife:Bulletin Board Ideas. I loved the idea of Odd and Even Street. I created a rhyme for the activity:

1, 3, 5, 7, 9 are the odd numbers - they're so fine!

2, 4, 6, 8, 10 are the even numbers - let's do it again!

This activity helped my students learn odd and even numbers in a "snap"!

I adapted this idea to create each street on a large 11 x 14 manilla paper on two different days. Each activity took one sitting each with our 4th grade Math Buddies. We created Odd Street first. Today we completed Even Street with our Buddies.

I recommend this activity!
Mrs. H

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

CVC Word Practice

Using a simple idea and few supplies students can cut consonants and make CVC words for word families. Here is an example of a "flip book" that we made today. With each flip of the beginning consonant there is a new CVC word to read. Later they wrote the words on lined paper.

Great practice in decoding! This also satisfies 3 items on the Daily 5 list ~ read to self, read to someone else, and write words!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to Catch a Leprechaun

We are back from Spring Break and trying to adjust to Daylight Savings this week. In class we are jumping right into St. Patrick's Day and my "How To" Unit. This coincides with our Writer's Workshop theme for the month.

The class has been assigned a family project at home to create a Leprechaun Trap. On my school website, I posted a link for the parents to get "inspiration". I love all holidays and especially this one ~ maybe because it only lasts a week?!

Here is the link I used:
http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/to-catch-a-leprechaun-710897/

The traps are due on Friday, March 16th. We will celebrate on Friday. I can't wait to see them. Each student will be expected to tell at least 3 steps on How To Catch a Leprechaun. Below is a copy of the student paper.

Meanwhile back in class we are working on verbally expressing "how to" tell Mrs. Hurlburt to write the letter of the week. This is always good for a laugh ~ be specific and give details!

On Tuesday we watched a You Tube video on How to Wash Your Hands.

http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-wash-your-hands/

After watching many, I chose this because it had a nurse and it seemed official.

Then a few students retold the steps. Finally, they wrote in their journal and drew a picture. I added Post it Notes to their journal paper. I thought this would help with the idea of using "steps".

I like reading the book How To Build a Home by Maria Fleming to further help teach a step by step process.

I was pleased with the process today.
Mrs. H

Friday, March 9, 2012

One Ingredient Ice Cream Experiment

Besides strolling leisurely on the beach and sitting peacefully reading something other than child development and lesson plans, we decided to try that One Ingredient Ice Cream that is popular on Pinterest. Have you seen it? It has one ingredient ~ the banana. The comments on Pinterest have been positive and so with a bowl full of the humble banana, we followed the recipe ~ not once, not twice, but three times.
We followed the recipe two times per instructions: cut up banana, freeze the banana, put in blender and pulverize, and enjoy. The blender here has seen better days and I am sure it is use to just blending a few cocktails. This process of blending frozen banana was a challenge for the blender. The instructions mentioned that "when the bananas rise above the blades, it will be done".
Well, it took a lot of prodding and pushing with a utensil to get to this point. The result...was interesting...and awful...bitter...yucky. Both times it ended with disappointment.
With our teacher determination, we found another recipe that roasted the bananas prior to freezing. We had a few bananas left so we tried again. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and roast cut up bananas for 40 minutes. Prior to roasting, sprinkle with brown sugar and dabs of butter. We had a packet of sugar from the Piggly Wiggly Deli and some ICBINB in a tub, so we used that. I just couldn't set the oven for 400 degrees ~ that would be making this crazy recipe even crazier! I set the oven at 350 degrees. When the buzzer buzzed after 40 minutes, the aroma was heavenly and the appearance of the bananas was pitiful. They were brownish and had shrunk in size ~ duh! So we popped them in the freezer and waited for the frozen state of banana.
Finally! Time to blend it up. I felt sorry to have to do this again to the blender. Just as before, Elizabeth worked the machine and got the mixture to the "creamy" state. It was the color of coffee ice cream but not in a good way. It tasted just like bitter roasted bananas. Another failed experiment!
In conclusion, we won't be trying this again. I suggest you don't either. It was a fun experiment to do with my science teacher daughter and we will remember it fondly. We did try putting caramel sauce on it but that did not help. What's that saying? Fool me once, shame on you - Fool me twice, shame on me!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Break March 2012

My school has an early Spring Break and this year my daughter, Elizabeth, and I headed to Cape San Blas, Florida for a much needed rest at the beach. She is a Science teacher at the same school and we love the beach. It was my hope to begin a blog during this time...so here I go!
I have been teaching Kindergarten for 16 years and besides loving my 3 daughters and loving my husband of 34 years, it is my passion in life.
I am thankful everyday that I am a teacher. I am exhausted at the end of the day but I find joy in all the trials and tribulations too. I need to rest up because it is so busy in the classroom this time of the year! Here is a photo of the beach ~ so peaceful and quiet ~ perfect!