Thursday, September 24, 2015

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.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

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.

Monday, September 7, 2015

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.

our class goals changed during the year
The kids wanted to fill in each day's square with "something important" that had happened during the day.  I regularly heard, "Ms Sandi, take a picture of this to put on the calendar".
Sometimes we had to decide together what to put on the calendar.
Sometimes we worked backwards; on the 110th day of school, they decided that they wanted to record every 10th day of school. 
Sometimes we glued new pictures on top of old pictures.  

It was the kids' calendar and was a living and changing record of our kindergarten life. 

The calendar became a classroom resource. 

The kids used it to see when birthdays are.  Because birthdays are important.  They also used it to count days to events as well as referring to it when chatting with each other about class activities. 

Parents referred to it to see when we had Pro D days or early dismissals or class events.  Parents chatted with their children, asking them about the pictures on the calendar. It became a vehicle for families to chat about their children's kindergarten lives.

I used it for planning.  I could see where we had been, and map out where we were going while seeing all the planned events quickly and easily.

I like the Mom's Planning Calendar.  They have a friendly picture on the top, the boxes are a decent size and they show when there is a full moon (in case I did not already know - ha ha!). 

Last year I found that the name of the month got "lost" in all the other text and photos.  This year I printed out the months and mounted them on the same colour heavy bond paper.  Hoping that they will be easier to find. 

This year's calendar is up and ready to go.

Looking forward to how our new year unfolds and how we choose to record it. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

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.

First - some story telling.

There is a fable about six blind men and an elephant.  Read it here.

Six blind men wanted to learn about elephants.  They each learned very different things from their observations.

The first touched the elephant’s big, firm stomach, and declared that an elephant must be like a wall.
The man who felt the elephant’s smooth, pointed tusk said that an elephant was like a spear.
The third man felt the elephant’s trunk.  He “knew” that an elephant must be like a snake. 
One of the men felt the elephant’s leg - and said that an elephant must be like a tree.

The fifth man felt the elephants ear and determined that an elephant must be rather like a fan.
The last man who was at the back of the elephant and touched its tail, was sure that an elephant was like a piece of rope.
This story is fabulous for retelling.  I wanted to be able to retell it with things that I had around the house or could make quickly and easily.  Quick and easy.

elephant - dollar store elephant
elephant’s stomach - wall - corrugated cardboard
elephant’s tusk - spear - pencil wrapped in brown paper; point coloured brown with a marker
elephant’s trunk - snake - dollar store toy snake
elephant’s leg - tree - piece of a tree branch 
elephants's ear- fan - homemade fan
elephant’s tail  - rope - piece of heavy twine

Add them all to a sensory bin  (mine was filled with decorator sand) - and listen to the story re-telling and new story creating.

Another not so quick and dirty elephant project is an elephant sensory bin.  

Create an elephant collection from thrift shops, international craft shops, and friends and family who travel to far off places and have room to sneak a small elephant into their bags before coming home.

Relocate the elephants to a decorative sand base sensory bin and watch the games that they play.  Enjoy children’s imaginations at work. 

Elephants can be sorted by size. In or out of the sensory bin.

Other elephant sensory activities
walk like an elephant - Martha Stewart
walk like an elephant - animal movement game - Craftulate

Check the rest of the activities in the Alphabet Sensory Activity series; click on the image below.

Contact Me BlogLovin RSS facebook Pinterest Twitter

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

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.

Friday, August 14, 2015

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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.

Monday, August 3, 2015

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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Book With No Pictures

Some school years are defined by a particular event or activity.

This year we all fell in love with the same book.

The Book with No Pictures
author: B. J. Novak
illustrator: no pictures!
publisher: Dial Books (September, 2014)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

book report: When Emily Carr Met Woo

Emily Carr is a well loved West Coast Canadian artist.

When Emily Carr Met Woo
author: Monica Kulling
illustrator:  Dean Griffiths
published by Pajama Press (May, 2014)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pick 3 Pinterest Party

When we are looking for inspiration, where do we head?   Pinterest!

I thought that I would join the the Pinterest Party fun hosted by Inspired Owl's Corner and Pawsitively Teaching.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Reggio inspired alphabet lines

I have been thinking about changing my alphabet frieze in the classroom for a couple of weeks.

Then numbers 1 - 6 fell down.

And that settled it!

The alphabet had to go.

Time for something new.  Time for something less manufactured and more organic.

I went looking for inspiration.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

trees like Emily Carr

Emily Carr (1871 - 1945) is a well known West Coast artist.  She is known for her paintings of First Nations villages, and the tall majestic trees that grow here on the Pacific coast.

We also love the forest, and we were inspired to paint trees like Emily Carr.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...