MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Enjoy the holiday season with your family and friends and we will be back after the New Year!
Friday, December 21, 2012
Teaching in a multi-age classroom gets a little tricky on special days like today. Some general education teachers invited our students to their classrooms so we actually ended up with only 3 students for most of this final half-day before Christmas vacation. We read The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst and let the students decorate their own gingerbread cookies. In this version, the girl is made with lots of candy to make her especially sweet so she won't want to run away. With so few students, we just let them have at all the decorations they wanted. This is what they ended up with:
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Just some quick pictures of our gifts for the students parents. Santa came to visit us at our morning program and he read the book 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to the whole school. We made a mini-book for each student and re-read it together. Then we used baby food jars, construction paper and cotton balls to make a Santa face. We filled the jars w/ red tissue paper to give him Rosy cheeks.
We read Frosty the Snowman and again used baby food jars to create a decorative jar using the children's hand print wrapped around the bottom of the jar so each finger is a snowman. We did a similar craft last year using a plain bulb ornament.
In order to safely wrap these glass gifts, we used a brown lunch bag and had the student cut Christmas images out of wrapping paper and printed gift tags made by Mrs. Moody. This was a great activity to work on cutting and planning for size and space usage.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
This week is a crazy week in the world of a primary school. So we are embracing the excitement by celebrating a little differently each day with one of our favorite Christmas books. Today is How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. We only had our K/1 students this morning because the 2nd graders were off carolling at the VA hospital.
We started by reading the story and making our own connections booklet. The students needed to identify the Grinch's feelings at the beginning and the end. They then made a page giving an example of what makes them feel grumpy and happy. This was a great writing activity and I was very proud that they were all able to come up with their own ideas and reasons to support their answers. We brainstormed other words we could use to describe his feelings as well.
We then watched the movie and with a little "pinspiration" I came up with a cute little craft that we turned into ornaments to be taken home. All you need is a small paper plate, green paint, red and white paper, a cotton ball and google eyes. The students painted the plate green to make his face, and then used their fine motor skills to rip paper to make the hat, eyes and mouth.
For math, I found 2 great math activities. One is a dice game for addition and the other is using the 100s chart to color a surprise (a Grinch face). I modified the dice game for my younger students by whiting out 7-12 and adding a 1. I gave them a dot dice to count sets and record their data. The other students used 2 die; one dot and one with a number to practice counting on for addition. They all recorded their information by coloring in one square for each sum they got until they filled one whole column. This is slightly different from the directions on the page.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Thinking Win-Win is a tricky thing for 5, 6 and 7 year-olds to understand. As we study the 7 Habits of Happy Kids, we are trying to find real situations to put the students in to help them practice these abstract skills we are teaching. Our school psychologist comes to our classroom once a week to teach a social skills lesson. Since she is expecting, we decided it would be fun for the kids to throw her a surprise baby shower and give her gifts. We talked about how they won't be getting any gifts because the party is not for them, but how they will "win" because it will feel good to do something for someone we care about. They were just beside themselves with excitement as we made cards for her with all the items they thought that she should have in order to be prepared (habit #2: begin with the end in mind) for the arrival of her new baby. (The cards were adorable!) She also is not finding out the sex of her baby so the kids made predictions and used pink or blue paper based on their prediction. She was so surprised when she came into the classroom and the kids just lit up because they kept the secret and the surprise was a success. They were also so proud to read their cards to her and help her to be prepared. What a great lesson!!
Friday, December 7, 2012
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner is one of my favorite winter stories. We used this book as the base for our first literacy and craft activity.
We read the story and while we made our pine cone snowmen we brainstormed ideas for the adventures each one would have. You can find the directions for the craft activity here.
The students were then asked to write a short story detailing the adventures their snowman would take. We used printed snowmen to help them see that the character they chose will be the same character through the story. We then used transitional words (first, then, next, finally) to help lead their ideas and make a story. Here is an example from "The Adventures of Daisy" by Alexander. "First, Daisy will go sledding. Next, Daisy went skiing on a giant mountain. Then she went down the mountain to the finish line. Finally, she had hot cocoa and candy."
I will put the free template for the story on my Teachers Pay Teachers store soon.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
I will openly admit that Darcy has lead the effort on our blog so far. I am making it my new year resolution to be more involved :) I was very nervous to get started and to be honest, I don't really know what to write a lot of time! I will start with sharing some of the blogs that I follow. I get so many ideas from these lovely bloggers and most of them have a teacherspayteachers page that allows you to access all of their cool stuff!
Each week we write a short newsletter home to families giving tidbits about our week and what we are looking forward to in the next few weeks. We are beginning to wonder if this is truly the best way to communicate with families as these newsletters are often still in their take home folders on Monday morning. Starting this month we will be changing to a monthly newsletter. I've also been playing around with our classroom website available to parents through the district website. I'm trying to include pertinent information for our classroom that is included in every newsletter. We still only have one official blog follower, but I would like some feedback from anyone who happens upon our little blog. How do you communicate with families?
Also, check out our parent website. What would you add/change/remove?
Also, check out our parent website. What would you add/change/remove?