Sunday, January 25, 2015

celebrate: art and kindergarten alumni

This week we have been painting faces like Mr. Picasso.

That is celebration enough in itself.

This year, our Picasso painting has an extra element worthy of celebration.

We had extra artist help four mornings last week.

Rachel helped the kids paint their faces,

choose where their eyes, mouths and ears would go,

and she helped the children draw their hair.

Rachel helped the kids find their inner artist - her passion for enjoying and creating art was contagious.

Rachel is one of my kindergarten kids from a few years ago.  This is how I remember her.

I am celebrating seeing Rachel, and so many of my other "kids" grow up and become wonderful adults.

big and small
personal and professional

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Monday, January 19, 2015

celebrate: floppy ears and a happy tail

This week's celebration is all about four feet and fur.

Please meet the newest member of our family - Mitsy.

Mitsy is a rescue dog from our local SPCA.

In her short time with our family we have learned that Misty
• loves cuddles and affection
• is wary of men, but will warm up given time and space
• was brave and played with other dogs at the dog park (after hiding in a corner for 20 minutes)
• is now a dog park fan
• tolerates going in the car, but does not like it
• loves forest walks
• is fascinated by running water

big and small
personal and professional

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

colourful tissue paper winter trees

White snow and blue skies are not something we see a lot of here in the winter.

But that does not stop us from making colourful tissue paper winter trees.

This was a multi-step, multi-day project, just as my friend Barb from Grade ONEderful said it would be.

First we painted the sky ( 11 x 14" paper) with watered down blue tempera paint.  We have been into painting with sponges when filling in bigger spaces - sponge painting is fast and can create interesting textures.

While our blue sky paint was drying, we glue cut up tissue paper squares onto white paper.

As a concession to our kindergarten-ness, I made three different tree templates for the kids to choose from.  They could focus their gluing on the tree spaces rather than filling up the whole paper.

 The trees (and trunks that I had created) were glued on.  We talked about composition and placement.  And then the kids glued them where ever they wanted to!

The last step was adding white or silver snowflakes to the sky. (We have our fingers crossed that we will see some snow this winter!)

Single colour trees, multi-coloured trees, striped trees, and even cut down trees - they look awesome and add some much needed colour to the grey dreariness outside.  

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Friday, January 16, 2015

winter trees

Circles and rectangles make fine looking winter trees.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

celebrate - love and thankfulness

I like to end the school week by celebrating our classroom  community.

Every Friday afternoon, we dim the lights and sit in a circle on our carpet.

We pass around a bell, or a First Nations drum, or a singing bowl - something that is good for bringing  sound to our gathering.

On Friday we passed a rainstick around the circle.  

As each child has a turn with the instrument, they say something that they are thankful for.

The rainstick went around the circle until it came to one of my little guys.

In his most heartfelt voice: "I am thankful for my mom.  She is sooooo beautiful.  When she puts on makeup to look pretty, I just can't stand how beautiful she is."

My heart skipped a beat.

And he passed the rain stick to the next child.

I am joining with Ruth Ayres Writes and the Celebrate community to celebrate the big joys, the little achievements, and young boys who love their mamas fiercely.

Friday, January 9, 2015

new year, new look, new one little word

It's a brand new year (+ 9 days).

And the blog has a brand new look. Well, if not brand new, seriously updated. Big thanks to my friend Barbara Leyne who worked her design and techie magic.

A brand new year means a new one little word (OLW).

This year's word decided itself just before Christmas.  But I did not seem to have the words to tell the story behind it.  I am not sure yet if I do.

The OLW that chose me for 2015 is integrity.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines integrity as "the quality of being honest and fair".

Google states that integrity is "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. synonyms:  honesty, probity, rectitude, honour, good character, principle(s), righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness. 

All good things.

And if I have no control over the integrity of decision makers (but I have and use my vote), I do have control over the integrity of the person I see in the mirror.

I don't know if I experienced more joy in 2013, demonstrated more kindness in 2015, or will have more integrity this year.

But, the intention is there.

Happy New Year.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Frozen inspired sensory bin

We have been singing "Let it go, Let it go, I can't hold it back any more" for a year now.

I have helped sort out many who gets to be Elsa and who gets to be Anna disputes - I suggest that each of their personalities and powers are much too big for one person  - and remember, in our class, we are good at sharing.  Sometimes it works!

It was time to bring Frozen into the classroom (a bit)  - introducing, a Frozen-inspired Sensory bin.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

6 penguin books to love

Penguins have got to be the the coolest critters waddling the earth.

They definitely know how to capture the imagination of authors and mere mortals alike.

A mere mortal, I love reading penguin books with my kindergarten kids.

Here are six of my faves.  They are all penguin books, but most are not really "about" penguins. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

elf class book

The kids looked so freakin' cute in their elf hats and ears that I just had to take pictures.

And if we take pictures, we might as well use them in a class book.

I wanted to make a book that was worthy of my kids' elfin charm (and use their developing reading and writing skills appropriately.)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

elf hat and ears

Every Christmas needs some elf ears.

At least in we do in my kindergarten class.

This year we "elf"ed ourselves - with elf hats.

Monday, December 15, 2014

sparkly Christmas sensory bin

Christmas has sparkle.

And a little (well, a lot) of magic.

So, what do you put in a Christmas sensory bin?

Sparkle - and a little bit of magic.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

outdoor decorating for Christmas

A bright sunny afternoon (rare in a part of the world where winter is grey and rainy).

About 50 children.

A bunch of Christmas tree decorations.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bear Stays Up for Christmas: read and play

One of the many joys of Chrismas is sharing Christmas books with children.

Books that capture the magic of kindness and giving. Books that remind us what the season is about.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas
written by Karma Wilson
illustrated by Jane Chapman
published by Simon and Schuster, 2005

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Starry Night sensory tray

Sometimes things are so simple and glaringly obvious, I just don't see them.

We have been thinking like Mr van Gogh and painting Starry Night.  The movement of the swirling wind, the twinkling stars.  

We talk about how you can almost feel the movement that Mr Van Gogh was trying to paint.


There's the word.

And the simple and glaringly obvious - a Starry Night sensory tray.


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