painting pumpkins and gourds

Gourds and pumpkins are great tools for learning.

We have used them for sorting and classifying.

Ordered them by size.

Weighed them.

Now it is time for them to make room for something else at the Investigate It Table.

Our pumpkins and gourds have one more job before they are relegated to the compost pile.

Remembrance Day poppies

A simple to prepare and make: beautiful poppies for children to make for  Remembrance Day.

In Canada we honour those who fought and died in service of their country every November 11.

This is a tough concept for many of my k-kids to understand.  It's a balance between learning to honour and respect the sacrifices that others made and make in order that they are safe, and honouring and respecting the children's innocence.  The innocence that people have died to protect.

Part of our learning about the sacrifices and sadness of war, is learning that many people were hurt and died.  Many of the soldiers were buried in fields of poppies.  In making and wearing poppies we remember them.

skeleton hunt in the forest

Looking for easy to prep, semi spooky outdoor fun?

Go hunting for bones.

a fall story to read and retell - in the forest

One of our favourite fall books to read is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.

It is a Halloween classic.

This year, we told the story with a twist.

spider web art project

We have been fascinated by spiders and their webs this year.

We made spider hats, twig leg spiders, trapped bugs in webs and wrapped them in "silk" before turning their insides into milkshakes and slurping them up.

We sang multiple versions of the Itsy Bitsy spider, and enjoyed Charlotte Diamond's beautiful song Spider Web.

We were inspired by Let's Lasso the Moon's spider web art project.

So inspired, we had to make our own version.

making a cardboard tree

I like having a tree in my classroom.  Not a real one (while that would be wonderful, we make do with potted plants) -- a two dimensional -on-the-wall one.

This year, it was time for the tree join the alphabet and the number line to have a make over.

Chihuly art - kindergarten style

Dale Chihuly is an American glass sculptor.  His work is awe and art inspiring.

Amazing glass sculptures that rise from the earth or water, or hang from ceilings - explosions of colour that celebrate life.

I knew that we had to make our own version in kindergarten.

changing the way we use our calendar

Last year I took the plunge and changed the way that we "do" calendar. (Thanks to (Matt Gomez and Mardelle Sauerborn who posted about their calendar journey.)

Instead of the traditional turn-the-date-over monthly calendar, I  put up all 12 months,  to create a living document of our year.

It was a learning curve as the kids and I figured out together how we wanted it to work. 

First thing that went up was all the birthdays.  Pretty important.

my goals 
I wanted the kids to see the passage of time.  The whole school year - not just the current month.   
I wanted to the kids to refer to the class calendar the way that I use my calendar at home - to see when events were going to occur.

E e is for elephant sensory activities

Elephants are such fascinating and amazing creatures that they cannot help but capture the imagination.

Add that to sensory play and the alphabet - and you’ve got a winning combination.

reggio inspired natural alphabet

You know how the universe sometimes nudges you to do something, change something.

For the last few years I have been taking things out of my classroom. Making it more simple, fewer colors, less clutter.  I want the kids and their work to be the focal point, and the classroom "decor" to be the background.  A background that supports independence, curiosity, imagination and learning.

This summer, I knew it was time for my classroom alphabet line to change to something more organic, more simple, more natural.

in praise of imaginary friends

Beekle, Bing Bong & Binker

This summer (which is coming to its close far too quickly), seems to be full of imaginary friends.

I don't think that I had one.  Unless when I am talking to myself ...

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
author and illustrator: Dan Santat
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (2014)

2015 Caldecott Medal Winner
New York Time Bestseller
#1 Indiebound Bestseller
Huffington Post Best Overall Picture Book of 2014
PBS Parents Best Picture Book of the Year

show and tell solution

3 clues and a brown paper bag

I finally found a way to do show and tell that I not only could live with, but actually like and enjoyed.

I had banned show and tell from my classroom for a number of years.  I could not stand the "bring and brag" that it often turned into.  And I could not keep my eyes from glazing over and the kids sitting attentively for another "this is a rock that I found on my driveway this morning" or "this is the toy that I got from McDonalds when I went with Grandma - it is very special to me".

I found other ways for the children to use their oral language skills and practice speaking in front of others.

This year, one winning smile accompanied by some gentle cajoling, and a bit of serendipity, resulted in show and tell that the shower-and-teller, the rest of the kids, and the teacher enjoyed.

pick 3 pinterest party - August

Happy August!

For us, August means that we are half way through summer holidays.  But I know that lots of schools go back this month.

I am joining for their Pinterest Linky party with 3 back to school pins that caught my eye and my fancy.

Stick and Stone - and sticks and stones

Looking for a sweet book about friendship?

Stick and Stone
author: Beth Ferry
illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April, 2015)


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