Monday, May 18, 2015

learning how to tie knots

My student teacher is a cub leader.

Her cub pack just won a knot tying challenge.

I figured we should put her knot tying teaching abilities to good use in kindergarten.

Miss Jane cut a rope into 18 inch long pieces.  (Actually, one of her Cub Scouts did it for her!)

Sticks and drift wood are perfect for tying together, or using as an anchor for the rope.

The fisherman's knot was class favourite.

Sometimes new knots were "invented".

And other times, the rope became a snail's shell.

There are a number of online knot tying tutorial if your knot tying is not quite to Cub Scout standard.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

insect sensory bin

Insects have captured our imaginations.

We have had numerous snails, spiders, and wood bugs visit our classroom in various containers.

Since the kids seem to have a need to play with bugs, it was time for an insect sensory bin.

This bin was embarrassingly simple to put together.

We started with a chunk of moss (donated by a local forest) and some wood stove pellets.

Animal feed (rabbit?) pellets, or gravel would have worked just as well.  I just happen to have a  hundred pounds of wood pellets in my basement.

Added some drift wood, sticks, an old roots, and some tree blocks. 

A friendly assortment of rocks.

And a bendable stick bridge.  A pet store (rodent section) find that a wonderful colleague told me about. 

Finally, the stars of the bin -- the bugs.  The insects are a combination of dollar store and Toob bugs.  The kids like realistic looking insects, not cutesy ones.  They tell me that they are too grown up and sophisticated for cutesy bugs.

The insect bin is reinvented each time the kids play with it.  

Sometimes the bugs hide in the moss.

Bugs hiding in the pellet mountain.

Bugs ready for attack.

Bugs outside the bin.

"It's a bug fort, Ms Sandi".

Fascinated by insects, or totally freaked out by bugs, this is a super-easy bin to create that won't sting, bite or freak anyone out.

Follow Sandi @ rubber boots and elf shoes's board bugs 'n creepy crawlies on Pinterest.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

pumpkin seed measuring

We are in the middle of planting seeds and growing thing.

And my student teacher, Miss Jane, decides that seeds are not just for planting - they are for measuring.

Pumpkin seeds, to be exact, are good for measuring.

The kids' first task was to use the seeds to measure a glue stick.

Even non-standard measurement can be standardized. Miss Jane and the students  agreed that the pumpkin seeds needed to be touching ends and that they all needed to be used length wise so that our measurement was accurate.

Next measuring task was a pencil.  A bit more tricky since our pencils are not the same length.  We realized that they would have different numbers of pumpkin seeds. 

One friend needed to measure the perimeter of his pencil.

Our student teacher introduced pumpkin seed rulers.  Click on the photo to print a copy of the rulers.

At 10 pumpkin seeds long, it made for much faster measuring than individually placing pumpkin seeds.

The kids found interesting things in the classroom to measure.

Olivia is 9 pumpkin seeds long.

I loved how the stick measurer used both the pumpkin seed ruler and the individual pumpkin seeds.

Measuring the dinosaur was a three person co-operative effort.

More perimeter work.

The kids recorded their measurements on this handout created by Miss Jane.  Click on the photo to download a copy.

I usually do some non-standard measurement activities in the fall (with pumpkins, believe it or not!). Click [here] to see what we do in the fall - and get our free printables.

It was fascinating to see how the kids responded with greater curiosity and sophistication (in a kindergarten sort of a way) to similar activities.

Thanks for the learning fun, Miss Jane.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

eggshell Lorax planter

It is always a good day to remember to take care of the earth.  

Dr. Seuss' book The Lorax reminds us of the importance of protecting the trees and keeping the air and water clean and safe for living things.

Read the book, and make an eggshell Lorax planter.

what do you need?
small yellow pompoms
small googly eyes
yellow yarn moustaches 
(I made them out of pre-cut rug hooking yarn)

I put craft glue on the eggshell for the kids, and they transformed an eggshell into the Lorax.


They look pretty good with everything glued on.

The Lorax reminds us of the importance of taking care of the earth.

One way we can take care of the earth is to take care of plants. (And we think the Lorax would look pretty spiffy with green hair!)

Fill the eggshell with potting soil.

Add seeds (we used grass seeds).

Put the Loraxes on the windowsill, water and wait for the them to sprout green hair!

click on the graphics to see other rubber boot and elf shoe Lorax activities

Remember,  unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot ...

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tap the Magic Tree - read, retell and create

Trees are pretty amazing organisms.

They start from a tiny seed. Some grow into majestic edifices.

They create energy from sunshine.

They are self perpetuating.  Doing what they can to ensure the survival of their species.

And they give us oxygen.

Most impressive.  And important.

We were chatting about the importance of trees as part of our Earth Day lets-take-care-of-the-earth learning.

One of the books that we visited was Tap the Magic Tree.  A wonderful, interactive book - read our [book report].

Tap the Magic Tree
written and illustrated by Christie Matheson
published by Greenwillow Books (August 2013)

A book that is perfect for interactive retelling.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tree of Life - inspired by Mr Klimt

This week we "met" Mr Klimt.

We learned that he liked to paint in a long smock and sandals (and not much else!).

He used a lot of gold in his paintings.

And we all love the feel of the curves and swirls in his Tree of Life.

My plan was to paint our versions of Tree of Life the same way we did a couple of years ago.

But that was then, and this is now.  And this year's class is not the same as the kids a couple of years ago.

And it is all good.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

celebrate - generous hearts and art appreciation

A poster of Mr Klimt's painting Tree of Life is on the white board.

The gold paint is on the counter.

The tables are scattered with the vibrant colors of oil pastels.

Vivaldi is playing in the background.

Twenty little artists are creating their own works of art.

Sharing colors.  Sharing ideas.

And then one voice above the rest  ...  Ms Sandi - can I walk around and admire everyone's work.

And he did.

This week I celebrate generous hearts and art appreciation.

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