Tuesday, July 15, 2014

book report: The Art of Clean Up

Last year's kindergarten kids were an amazing group of human beings.

They had delightful quirks, loved words and language, made me laugh, were kind to each other, were Pokemon mad, needed visual intrigue ... so many qualities that made us a community that loved each other.

Cleaning up was not one of those qualities.

So when I saw this book at an early childhood workshop, I figured it would be great for our class. 

We could finally get on the same page about clean up - find some motivation - it would be great. 

I bought the book without really looking at it.

It wasn't about cleaning up at all.  It was not going to help our classroom be neat and tidy - whatever the subtitle.

I'm still glad I bought it. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

children - an investment in the future

#kinderblog14  challenge:  week 1

Write the post that has been in your head (or your drafts folder) for a while now. You know the one. The one you write while you drive to work, or while you are in the shower. What is the question, or issue, or opinion, or emotions, you have been chewing on for a while now?

Well, here goes.  This post was born on the picket line, walking for the rights of wee goslings to have their learning needs met. 


One of the first pieces of art that I bought was a beautiful  Benjamin Chee Chee print titled Learning.

As wee goslings enters the world, they need the care and love of bigger geese in order to learn and survive.  

When my goslings joined our family they needed me (and their dad) to keep them safe, fed, warm, clean and loved.  

But what if parents are not  able to be responsible for a life other than their own....

As goslings get bigger, they need to experience more of the world.  They need to move, explore, question, and figure things out, while their basic needs of safety, food, health, clothing, housing and love are still being met.  

As their "range" gets bigger, goslings need a community of adults.

This is where, as a kindergarten teacher, I become part of a community of  adults who contributes to the well being of children.  

I do my best to provide them with a safe environment where they can explore who they are and grow their abilities.  

But what if I cannot meet all their learning needs....

Some of my goslings need Speech and Language Therapy.  Some have specific sensory needs.  Some have been through more trauma in their 5 years than should be allowed in a life time.  Some experience the world through a different framework than is typical. Some have health issues.  Some do not understand danger. 

Their needs require a bigger community of care. Beyond the resources of a classroom ... to the resources of a  school, to a school district.

I guess that it is called "allocation of resources".  Some of my goslings need resources allocated to them. 

But what if the school/school district does not have resources available ....

And that's where I get political.  Doesn't it depend on how we look at it:  expense or investment?

We all have a responsibility to invest in children's learning.  (Just looking at the education system here -  there are many other communities responsible for a child's well being.)

Invest - as in - look forward. Contribute now, dividends later. 
We all have a responsibility to be part of a caring community for every child - irregardless of the child's gender, religion, sexual orientation, special need, or their parent(s)' ability or inability provide for their needs.  

It is our responsibility as citizens to invest in our children.

Through our time, energy and our tax dollars. 

All of us.  For all of them.

ps  I think my Benjamin Chee Chee print is going to find a place in my classroom. 

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

sandcastles: books and activities

When we were having our annual end of the school year family day at a local beach, I visited with a couple of kids who were building sand castles.

The moat was dug.  Water was being transported to fill the moat.  Seaweed and shells were decorating castle walls.

I was reminded of a beautiful book all about Kate, a girl who built a sand castle.

Kate's Castle
author: Julie Lawson
illustrator: Frances Tyrell
Oxford University Press, 1992 
 Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2005
age range: 5 - 7
sadly out of print

Sunday, June 22, 2014

how to make a pizza

with 20 mini chef helpers

On Thursday we made pizza.

There are some important steps to be followed.

Step 1:  chef hat
make sure official portrait is taken

Step 2:  dough
we pre-made in the bread maker

Step 3: sauce
very important that each mini chef has a turn to spread the sauce

Step 4:  cheese
a turn for everyone is important here too

Step 5: bake in the oven

Step 6:  eat
don't expect any left overs

We did have clean hands while making the pizza 
- the hand sanitizer proof is in Step 3.

There are some great free pizza printables out in blogland.

Our Little Monkeys has a Pizza Tot Pack.  

Living Life Intentionally has a 40 page pizza pack based on the book Pete's a Pizza.   

Feel hungry now?

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

book report: The Little Red Hen Make a Pizza

The Little Red Hen is an industrious member of the poultry family.

First she made bread.  With no assistance whatsoever.  (She consumed the entire loaf herself.)  

Not content to sit and digest, the Little Red Hen heads to her cupboards to decide what to make next.  

A can of tomatoes inspires the next culinary project - pizza.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ice cream activities for children

I am sure that there is someone out there who doesn't like ice cream..

But I have not met him or her yet.

Ice cream has an intrinsic interest value for kids (it's yummy!), so it's a perfect vehicle for some grow-your-brain (and feed your stomach)  activities.

ice cream books and literacy connections

Looking for ice cream books to read?  JDaniel4's Mom put together a collection of 10 of 
her favorites.   

Who can resist an ice cream Cat in the Hat?  Coffee Cups and Crayons gives you the details.  

A couple of kindergarten-kid read alouds did not make her list:   Simply Delicious and Ice Cream Bear.

Ice cream is not the only food that kids like.  We read this poem  in my kindergarten class when we learn about ice cream.  Print your free copy. 

let's play ice cream

My kindergarten kids spent hours playing in our ice cream sensory bin.  I was so grateful that all the ice cream concoctions that they created for me were calorie free!

The ice-cream-scoop-on-the-cone is a variation on the egg and spoon race; fun gross motor fun and focus building from The Preschool Toolbox

Welcome to the ice cream shops  Lots of fun working and shopping at Learning 4 Kids

Ice cream play dough good enough to eat!  Wildflower Ramblings shows you how. There is a linky with lots of great ice cream play dough recipes and ideas at the bottom of the post. 

ice cream art

These sparkly pom pom ice cream ornaments from Lines Across were created as Christmas ornaments.  I think they are gorgeous any time of year. 

Puffy paint seems a perfect fit for creating ice cream art.  Teach Preschool shows you how.  

These Theibaud inspired ice cream cones from Art BKE feature a pastel decorated background, painted ice cream cones, and puffy paint ice cream. 

More texture and collage from the Sugar Aunts - fork painting cones and  tissue paper ice cream.  

learning with ice cream

Erin at Royal Baloo creates oodles of free learning printables.  She has an ice cream series that include  letter sound, numbers, sight words and rhyming words.  Time to get printing!

Graphing is a natural fit for learning about ice cream.  Teach Preschool shows a variety of types of graphs.  What's your favorite flavor?

More printables - this time from Gift of Curiosity - a Montessori style color gradient, visual discrimination activity.  

Learning quantity, with a touch of subitizing, with this counting and number activity from  Learn With Play at Home.  An extra bonus is patterning and sorting with the scoops of ice cream.

It's easy to practice connected dots in a ten frame with the correct number with this printable from Early Years Fun.  

let's eat ice cream

One of the fabulous things about ice cream is all the amazing flavors.  No Time for Flashcards shows you how to set up a "blind taste test".  Sign me up - but I think I will need a bowl of each to truly be able to guess the flavor. 

Do It Yourself Ice Cream version one:  ice cream in a coffee can.  First caffeine, then ice cream; you could almost say the coffee can had super powers. Brought to you by Two-Daloo.

A gift that would be fun to put together to give away, or to get:  a make it your self ice cream kit.  Brilliant thinking from Mama. Papa. Bubba.

Mama Miss throws a whole party to make ice cream sandwiches.  I hope I am on the invite list for her next ice cream extravaganza.  

I lived in a part of the world with serious winter for 27 years and I can't believe that I never did this.  Obviously, I had a sadly deprived childhood!  If you have snow, you can ensure that your child experiences snow ice cream.  I Can Teach My Child shows you how.  

Ice cream can be made in a plastic bag.  Living Montessori Now has a child friendly printable instruction sheet. 

for more ice cream fun ...

Artsy Craftsy Mom has an Ice Cream Craft Round Up
rubberboots and elf shoes' ice cream pinterest board

Some fabulous bloggers  (97 of them!!) from the kids bloggers network  have joined together to bring you LOTS of great activities to enjoy with your kids.  

Click on the link right below.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

giant butterfly wings

One of our end of the school year traditions is that we make huge butterflies.

They flutter down the school hallway - and stay there all summer, ready to welcome us back to school in the fall.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

creating a butterfly snack

Our butterflies emerging from their chrysalises are worthy of celebration.  

How do kindergarten kids celebrate?  They eat!

A big thank you to my friend Maureen who runs an amazing adult-child drop in centre and shares her fabulous activities at Maureen's StrongStart, for this butterfly celebration snack.

We started with pretzel sticks, craisins and easy peel oranges.

I showed the kids what Maureen made at her StrongStart centre.  

They were inspired, and set to work.

Before I had time to take more pictures of them creating, our tables were full of butterflies.

We had
butterflies with long antenna

butterflies sipping nectar with their proboscis  

butterflies with cranberry wings and strong antenna

and a very fancy butterfly.

The kids were pretty pleased with their butterfly creations.

And then gobbled them down like turkeys.


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Monday, June 9, 2014

book report: Waiting for Wings

Today we read Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert.

Because the wings we were waiting for arrived.  

this year our butterflies fluttered about us on the grass, visiting a bit longer before flying away

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

purple sensory bin

I have always thought of purple as a bit of a flamboyant colour.  

A bit out there - and probably not totally respectable.

But I love it. 

When my teaching pal suggested that we make purple sensory bins, I was all over the idea. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

growing sprouts

We are learning about seeds and roots. 

We like to eat.

We like short term gratification.  (Although we do practice longer term gratification - planting potatoes and pumpkins). 

Solution:  let's grow some sprouts. 

I had a sprout seed mix from my local health food store - a mixture of a variety of beans and lentils.

We watched a "how-to" video.


First job was to let them soak in water over night.
The seeds needed a "bath" in fresh water 4 times a day. We have a special sieve-like lid that fits on mason jars (also from the health food store).  Our daily class helper was ready to take on this additional responsibility. 

By day 2 we were seeing wee roots. 

More water baths and bigger roots.

Then they began to sprout.

Ready to eat.

Some of the kids tried them.  

One little who is usually very fussy with her food wanted to try "one".  Then she asked if she could have "two".  Then she asked for "more" and took a handful.  

I thought that they tasted like garden peas from a pod.  Delicious.

I think we will do some more sprouting next week.  Maybe I will have to share with a few more kids!

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