Monday, December 27, 2010

New Post in the New Year!!

All to soon Christmas break will be over! January is going to be a busy month in K! Along with winter things, we'll be learning about the beach and oceans to prepare for our Beach Day! I've posted some pics from last year's Beach day for you to enjoy!

See you in 2011!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We caught our Gingerbread men!!

Here they are getting ready for the oven!

Mmmm... Crispy Chewy Gingerbreadmen!

Oh no! They are gone!!!

Found them in our room!!

What fun!!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas in our room!

I made a fireplace! ;) I bought some brick paper at Mardels, the heavy kind. I used our puppet stage and stapled it on, hope it stays!! Then I used black paper and cut yellow flames. My afternoon kids made some stockings today to go around it. They LOVED it!! My coteacher made gingerbread smelling playdough, very fun!! Hope you are enjoying your first few days of Christmas in the classroom! It's going to fly by, so hold on to your Santa hat!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You Can't Catch Me!!!

It's time for the Gingerbread man!! This is another one of my favorite activities in K! We'll make a big Gingerbread man and hope he doesn't run away! ;)
Christmas begins in our classroom on Mon. I know the calendar still says November, but we only have 3 weeks of Christmas fun, so we've gotta get going! As I've said before, check out the Jan Brett web site for a very yummy gingerbread recipe. We usually double it to have enough for our big class. We'll decorate him with candy left over from the teepee treats. I usually sprinkle some crubs on the floor and leave the oven door open so it looks like he crumbled a bit as he runs away. We go all over the school looking for him! It's always such fun! Another craft we'll be doing with the gingerbread theme is a construction paper gb man and decorate him with real candy, again teepee treat left overs! We'll also be reading Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends along with other Gingerbread variations this week. You have to check out The Gingerbread Girl book, too cute!!

My co-teacher and I changed out the room on Tues. At our school we have inservice the week of Thanksgiving with no kiddos. Personally I'd rather be teaching. I think I have a bit of ADHD and really have trouble sitting or working on tasks that don't involve movement. Guess that's why I teach K, huh!? ;) So, we were able to take a break from our sitting typing tasks and work on room decore.
We took down the teepee and added a manger in dress-up. I'm going to get some blue and brown fabric and let the kids dress as Mary and Joseph. I also have several fun Christmas hats and headbands with Christmas things on them for the kiddos to dress up too. Housekeeping is going to be a Gingerbread sweet shop. We took out all the healthy food and left cookies, cupcakes, and some icecream stuff I found at the target $ spot for our shop. A few years ago I found a gingerbread man apron and hat at Kohls. I saw the apron the other day for $8.99, so they still have it. It's too cute, and they love to wear it! Waste not want not, right! The left over "indian bead" pasta is going to be ornaments on a construction paper Christmas tree in crafts. Our table toys will be the Little People Nativity set, always fun.

Two more of my favorite things for this month, What God Wants for Christmas, family life today, and One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Grahm. We'll begin the boxes from What God Wants for Christmas on Dec. 1. As we open each box, we will put the piece under the Christmas tree. At the end we will have the Nativity and see that God wants us! One Wintry Night is a beautiful story about how God rescued us! As I've said before, a must read this time of year!

More to come in the coming weeks! This really is the MOST wonderful time of the year!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Turkey Cookies and Amber Lamb the Pilgrim

This is such a busy month in K! We have been working every day on something new. ;)

Yesterday we made Turkey cookies. They turned out very cute! You use fudge stripes and nutter butter cookies, icing, candy corn, and twizzlers. "Glue" the nutterbutter down with icing onto the fudge stripe cookie. Put the nutter butter down far enough so you will have enough room for your candy corn feathers. Then put a candy corn beak on the face and a red twizzler waddle next to it. Then use 4-5 pieces of candy corn for the feathers along the back. they turned out cute. You can also use mini m and ms for the eyes if you'd like. We are saving them for Friday's feast. Just a note~ candy corn disappears after Halloween, so stock up early if you want it for something. I had to learn the hard way!!

Tomorrow we are making mini corn muffins and Monday we made butter. I get the jiffy corn muffin mix and follow the directions. For the butter, we put heavy cream in a jar and we all had a turn to shake it up! It was fun watching it turn into butter! Thursday we are going to make mini pumpkin pies. I buy the pumpkin pie mix and just follow the directions. I don't bake it in the pie shell, I put it in a 9 x 13 pan. We'll chill it and on Friday we'll scoop it into mini crusts and top with whipped cream. Then Friday morning before our feast we'll make cranberry punch. I use cranberry juice, vanilla ice cream, and 7-up. It turned out really yummy last year.

I've included a picture of Amber Lamb the Pilgrim for you. Amber Lamb comes each week to help us learn our Bible lesson. She has a heart you can put things in, so she "hides" things in her heart. These past few weeks we've been discussing God's provision for the Pilgrims and Thankfulness our character trait for the month. If you've never read Squanto, the Miracle of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to read it this time of year. I believe Family Life puts it out. It's the wonderful story of how God prepared Squanto to be a helper to the Pilgrims! This week we'll be discussing how God prepared the way for the Pilgrims as they followed His call to head to America.

May your Thanksgiving time at school and at home be blessed!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Indian Bead Necklace (pasta) and ice cream cone tee-pees!

My fingers are multi colored right now. Just finished dying the pasta for our Indian necklaces! It's probably about 1/4 of a cup of rubbing alcohol not a 1/2. Should have written that down last year!! Oh, well, fly by the seat of our pants, LOL! Just a note, the wagon wheel pasta really takes the color the best. Also, tried purple again this year and it still turned out sort of blackish. Hm... Anyone out there have a good idea for purple? ;) Tomorrow lots of good fine motor lacing!! We did the ice cream cone teepees too. You really need to make the powdered sugar mixture thick. I made the kiddos really goop it on! ;) Next week I'll "glue" their names on the cones for their place card.

Fun times!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

November! Gobble, Gobble!!

We eat turkey, We eat turkey,
Oh, so good! Oh, so good!
Always on Thanksgiving, Always on Thanksgivng.
Yum, yum, yum! (Sing it to Are you sleeping?)

November, November! I can't believe that it's November!!
Each month brings so many changes to our room, and this month saw MANY!
Housekeeping is now a Thanksgiving Feast and Dress-up is going to be dressing up Pilgrim and Indians with a tee-pee! My co-teacher's father-in-law made us one for the kiddos. I've always wanted one!! :) One of my favorite books is Eve Bunting's "A Turkey for Thanksgiving". I have the cutest stuffed figures that go with the book and the kiddos can use it to retell the story. My co-teacher made some yummy smelling pumpkin playdough for us to use in our playdough center. And this week our journal is going to be "How to cook a turkey." It's always so fun to hear how the kiddos think a turkey is made. ;)

We have lots of crafts for this month too! This week, we are making a finger print turkey. I have a turkey pattern that you cut out and glue onto a small paper plate. Heading to Lakeshore again this weekend and going to buy several of their multi color stamp pads. The kiddos will color the plate and head brown and then use their finger prints to put colors on the turkey feathers.

On Friday we are going to have a multi craft day during center round up. Fridays are fun days and we do only centers. ;) At one center we will have colored pasta for an Indian necklace. I did this last year. You buy several different types of pasta. Then I put it in a large gallon sized baggie with some rubbing alcohol and several drops of food coloring. Shake it up until you get the desired color. I added quite a bit of alcohol maybe a 1/2 cup, but you just have to eye it. ;) Then the kids string it on to yarn and make a colorful necklace. The next center will be the ice cream cone teepee decorating. For this use sugar ice cream cones and make a paste with powdered sugar and water. I buy several kids of candy for them to stick to their teepees. Then I print their names off on card stock and "glue" them on with icing for their place cards at our feast!

The K kiddos are now Pilgrims and Indians. ;) On our feast day, Nov. 19, they will dress up in kid made Pilgrim and Indian costumes. It's always such a fun time!!

The week of the feast, we will be making most of our food. I always say our feast is sort of like the Charlie Brown feast. :) We'll make corn muffins, butter, pumpkin pies, and cranberry punch. Our Mom's are bringing deli turkey and popcorn to top it all off! It's such a fun time. Next to each plate we put 5 kernals of corn. This is a reminder of what the Pilgrims had that first hard winter.

Of course we have LOTS of new poems and songs too! Dr. Jean's Happy Everything C.D. has one of our very favorite songs Albuquerque Turkey. Such a fun song! Check it out! There several other Thanksgiving songs on this C.D. too.

Thankful Hearts!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

OCTOBER~ Teddy bears, changing leaves, and pumpkins, oh my!!

O-C-T-O-B-E-R, October is in the fall!

Wow, we've been in school for 38 days today. It's hard to believe the first 9 weeks of school is almost over! The K kids have been enjoying the changes of fall here in Oklahoma. We've been watching the leaves begin to change and we are enjoying the cooler fall weather! We've also been working hard at school. We've been making lots of fall crafts. Today we started making a paper plate pumpkin. We use the small paper plates and then use our fine motor skills to squish up little pieces of tissue paper to cover the pumpkin. Then we cut out a stem to finish our pumpkin off. On Friday, we are going to do a BIG task, painting leaves for our fall leaf wreath. This is one of my favorite fall crafts! One of our great Mom helpers cut out 8 leaves on the ellison die cut per child. We are going to set up at the table in our "Learning Corral". In trays we are going to have several different fall colors of paint. I have some really cool rollers from Lakeshore that the kiddos can roll into the paint and roll onto their leaves. :) The same great helper Mom is cutting out the middle of a regular sized paper plate. The kids will glue their 8 leaves onto the plate once the leaves are dry. It makes a very fun colorful fall leaf wreath! I posted some pics of the ones we did last year last Nov. too, so you may have seen them before. :)

At the beginning of this month, we had a Teddy Bear Picnic! Such a fun time! Each child brought their teddy bears and we went outside on a BEAUTIFUL fall day and had yummy snacks with our teddy bears. The kids made teddy bear ears so they would be in disguise. For the teddy bear ears, we cut the circle out of the middle of a small paper plate and left a sort of tail on the bottom so we could glue it around a headband. Then the kiddos colored the background of their ears and glued yarn pieces all over the ear. We use Aleen's tacky glue for our craft projects, and I love it!! Their headbands turned out cute. :)

Well, I said last time that I would share my love for phonics! :) I've taught 3 grades at our school, Pre-K, K, and 1st. 1st grade was my longest trek, and I saw SO many benefits from a strong phonics curriculum. We use ABeka phonics at our school. It starts with the basics in Pre-k and then builds each year. In K we begin using blends to make and read words. We drill those blends each day! In Jan., we will begin doing reading groups and the blends they have drilled really begin to hit home. :) I'm already so impressed at how well my students are making and reading words. In first grade we build a little more. They have phonics charts with special sounds for words to help them read and spell. Many of these special sounds help us to even read sight words, so the Dolch word list becomes very small! It's exciting to see these kiddos take off and use the rules and sounds they practice. It's even more exciting to see them become GREAT readers and spellers. I LOVE phonics!!

Okay, another soap box this month. We work hard in our K, but we play even harder, and that balances it all out. :)

Enjoy the changes in your seasons wherever you are!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Poetry and Play Important in a Kinders Day!!

Three years ago I moved from first grade to Pre-K/K. I did Kindergarten in the morning and Pre-K in the afternoon. I knew when I moved "down" that I wanted to have a developmentally appropriate enviroment. In college I spent the majority of my time in our lab school in Pre-K and K, so I re-visited many of the ideas I'd learned there. Again, I'll put a plug in for my favorite college text book by Mary Mayesky "Creative Activities For Young Children". I poured over this book the summer before I started teaching Pre-K/K. So many great ideas for a developmentally appropriate classroom. She discusses classroom set up, importance of play, ideas for crafts, cooking, and TONS of poems and songs. My book is the 4th edition. It was a great help in beginning my program.

I love to hear the kiddos as they have some "free" play in housekeeping or dress-up. They are able to use their imagination and build their social skills with each other. At times these centers are something special like a resturant, store, or bakery, but other times it's just a place where they can explore. Last year we did a unit on Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales. Our dress up center had a stage and the props were things to act out the Nursery Rhymes and Fairty Tales we'd studied. It was so cute watching them use their imaginations and play!

Below is a quote from Dr. Jean's website about poems and I would say songs too.

"Children forget many things, but when you put a rhyme in their hearts it will be there forever!

Here are eight great reasons for integrating poetry in 2008:

Poetry develops oral language.
Poetry develops auditory memory.
Poetry helps children make print connections
Poetry develops phonological awareness (rhyme, rhythm, alliteration).
Poetry enhances fluency.
Poetry develops vocabulary.
Poetry sparks children’s interest in reading.
Poetry helps children fall in love with language.
According to the National Institute for Literacy, “Poetry is especially suited to fluency practice because poems for children are often short and they contain rhythm, rhyme, and meaning, making practice easy, fun, and rewarding.”

Okay, I've been on a soap box today! :) Next time I'll tell you about my LOVE for phonics!! ;) I've added some "play pictures" for you to enjoy!

Oh, by the way, another fun and rewarding learning experience is cooking. We put this in our curriculum at least once a month. A creative way to incorporate science and math!! On Monday, we begin our study of apples. We are going to make Crock Pot Apple Sauce. We'll be using an apple peeler/corer which is always fun for the kids to use.

Learning is fun! Let's keep it that way!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Faux Cow Rug and Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom Tree

I had this picture in my last post. When I found out that I was going to have a "Learning Corral", I really wanted a faux cow rug, but didn't want to spend the $ on one. I mentioned it to my Mom, who is also a teacher, and she said we can make one! She'd seen on a design show how they'd made a faux rug out of some vinyl flooring. Mom is very crafty! ;) So, we were on the hunt for some cheep flooring. The piece we got we found at Lowes. We tried to get it for free with the "poor teacher story", and we did end up getting it discounted, but not free. :) Anyway, Mom used a box knife to cut it out. Then we painted the back white, the front was wood patterned, and put the black spots on it. I LOVE it!! It's so fun in my reading center.
In my other reading center, in "Center Ranch", I have a Chicka-chicka Boom, Boom tree. My friend Stacie helped me make that. I have a green bistro umbrella as the base. Stacie put a large paper tube over the pole, a carpet tube works best but we didn't have one. Next she tied several paper bags with twine up the pole. She cut out leaves to put on the bottom of the umbrella. I love it too! Great friends and family have been such a great help in making fun things in my classroom!

There are days when I'd like to curl up with a good book in either of my reading centers! Hope you have a nice place to read too!

Happy Day!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Adventures In The New School Year!

The first full week of school is done! What a busy, but fun week. ;) Isn't teaching fun?! It's the job that never gets old! Each year we get a new group of kiddos to love! This year's kiddos have really been enjoying singing the songs on the Dr. Jean c.d.s. They sing them while they work and while they are at centers! It's fun to see that they are loving it!

Our classroom has been redone this year. Due to an increase in size in our K program, the school put a door in an adjoining room so we would have more space! This room is "The Learning Corral", and the old room is "Center Ranch". It gives us SO much more space to move!

The first day of school was an exciting one! We made Smart Cookies to start our year out right! Go to Dr. Jean's website and go to the monthly activities for the recipe. One little boy said, "These are the best cookies I've ever had!" This group has a ton of enthusiam and a love for everything!

Hope everyone has a great year!! I'm ready for fall and all the great fall projects ahead!!

Happy Learning!

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's summer, why am I thinking about school! ;0)

We are out of school and what do we think about, sitting on a beach, sipping cool drinks, or soaking up the sun? No, we are thinking about what will be happening the next year at school! Every time I go into Mardels during the summer, I find myself looking at all the new decorations, posters, banners, borders, and games in the school section! I even found a lot of cute things 1/2 off recently!

I found out this week that we'll be expanding our K a little next year. To have room for a larger class of K kiddos, my aide is now going to be a team teacher with me and we are going to be using another room for some of our work. So, now I'm thinking of ideas for this other room! I've decided to call it "the learning corral". I'm thinking that I'll put some type of fence up to give it a corral feel. My classroom has a cowboy theme, so this will go great with that. I think another trip to a few of my favorite teacher stores will be in order soon! I'll post pics as soon as I start working on the new space. I'm hoping that there will be a door installed in the wall so we can have easy access to this new room. It will be a great new adventure!!!

Hope your summer days are not flying by too quickly! ;)

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's over...

Summer is here! Hope you are enjoying your time off. My K kids ended the year with a wonderful graduation program. We shared some of our favorite poems and nursery rhymes with family and friends! One song that is a favorite to sing at the end of the year is "Leaving Kindergarten". It is sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies~ "Come and listen to a story 'bout what we did this year.
We've been working very hard, and we think it's clear.
We've learned a lot of stuff, and we've made some real good friends.
Now we're leaving Kindergarten but the learning doesn't end!
First Grade,
Bigger numbers,
Bigger words,
All day!!
That's all,
Bye Folks,
See ya later!!"

I hope everyone enjoys their time off! More updates soon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Handprint pillow case and Mother's Day card

Here's our keepsake pillow case. ;) It took two days! My aide painted hands and then I got all the names on them. Whew! They turned out cute. ;) The Mother's Day card was another craft from the Mailbox big book of arts and crafts. Love that book!!

We are down to 10 days! Graduation is coming fast! Better get to work soon!

Counting down...