Saturday, December 25, 2010

"Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near.
Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we.
Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand."
from "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" by Dr. Seuss, 1957
Wishing you a magical Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I love to cozy up with a good book (or two) during the Winter Break.  I just finished reading a novel called "Lakeshore Christmas" by Susan Wiggs. Interdispersed within the book are well-known quotes, prose and small passages about the holiday season.  One such piece, "The Christmas Credo" by Daniel Roselle, immediately touched my heart and I wanted to share it with you.

At Christmas time I believe the things that children do.

I believe with English children that holly placed in windows
will protect our homes from evil.

I believe with Swiss children that the touch of edelweiss
will charm a person with love.

I believe with Italian children that la Befana is not an ugly doll but a good fairy who
will gladden the hearts of all.

I believe with Greek children that coins concealed in freshly baked loaves of bread
will bring good luck to anyone who finds them.

I believe with German children that the sight of a Christmas tree
will lessen hostility among adults.

I believe with French children that lentils soaked and planted in a bowl
will rekindle life in people who have lost hope.

I believe with Dutch children that the horse Sleipner
will fly through the sky and fill the earth with joy.

I believe with Swedish children that Jultomte
will come and deliver gifts to the poor as well as to the rich.

I believe with Finnish children that parties held on St. Stephen's Day
will erase sorrow.

I believe with Danish children that the music of a band playing from a church tower
will strengthen humankind.

I believe with Bulgarian children that sparks from a Christmas log
will create warmth in human souls.

I believe with American and Canadian children that the sending of Christmas cards
will build friendships.

I believe with ALL children that there will be peace on earth.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five Reasons to Love This Week

Boy...this week went by very fast.  Parent conferences, end of term assessments, and our Winter Holidays party made it a jam-packed time.  I have finally slowed down to reflect, and here are my top five reasons to love teaching KG this week.
1. Sitting across from a parent in a conference and watching his face beam as I tell him just how much his little boy has blossomed during the past three months.
2.  Being visited all week long by former students.  They showered me with homemade cards, cookies, a used teddy bear, and an entire bag of mini Snickers (my favorite candy bar).
3.  Singing and dancing over and over again to "Milton the Dancing Christmas Mouse" by Jack Hartmann.  If you have never heard this song, check out this link.  It is adorable. My students love it and ask for it again and again.
4.  Reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and taking delight in hearing my students recite the story along with me.
5.  Giving (and getting) great big goodbye hugs from my Kinders to last two whole weeks.  Our Winter Holiday break began this afternoon at 1:15 pm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Holiday Trip Around the World

What moves faster than a spinning dreidel and is more powerful than eight reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh?.......the holiday "trip" around the world that our Kinders took last week.  Every teacher on our KG team adopted one holiday custom, developed a fun learning activity about it, then rotated among each classroom to present the lesson. We learned about Hannukah, Kwaanza, La Posada, St. Lucia, and the tradition of the Christmas tree. Whew!

St. Lucia wreath from Sweden

Kwaanza woven placemat 

Paper plate poinsettia from Mexico

Chanukah menorah

and the traditional Christmas tree

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Holiday Storybooks for Cozy Reading

I don't think anything can get more cozy than to gather on the learning rug to read a story on a cold December day before the Winter Break begins.  Even here in North Florida where the weather can be 78 degrees one day and 50 degrees the next (which is pretty chilly by Florida standards)! 

Here are my classroom favorites that I read (and reread) at this time every year.

Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
(I love the illustrations in this one by Cheryl Harness)

And a new favorite counting book that I just discovered last week:

Christmas For 10 by Cathryn Falwell

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Five Reasons to Love This Week

Here are my top five reasons to love teaching Kindergarten this week:

1.   One of my students was out for a week because his Grandpa passed away.  When he came back he was showered with so many hugs I thought he was going to be smothered.
2.  I discovered a new book, "You Are Special" by Max Lucado.  One of my parent volunteers brought it in to share with the class.  It is one of the most touching stories I have ever read to my students.  I am ordering a copy for my classroom library right after I finish this post.
3. A parent lovingly baked about 50 dough ornaments for the kids to paint.  She even made some out of rice flour for my student who has Celiacs and should not come in contact with wheat products.
4.  When I sat down to help a student assemble a paper plate menorah, he immediately began to sing the "Chanukah Song" by Adam Sandler.  Too cute was he.
5.  I intoduced the concept of the special "Santa Cam" installed into our classroom ceiling where Santa and his elves can take a peek at any time to see how we are learning and behaving. It is actually part of the surround sound system in the room but the kids stare at it in awed wonder anyway. I love the magic of Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I just received the best news!  Alexis Brett from just recognized my blog in an article she wrote on the "Top 100 Classroom Blogs."  I am humbled and so excited.  This is a huge affirmation that I am indeed onto something pretty magical here. 

Here is a link to the article.  I am looking forward to checking out the other blogs featured in the article.  What a great resource.  Thanks Alexis!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh The Things They Will Say.....Double Dipping

This past week Science was all about germs.  We learned that germs can be bacteria or viruses.  We learned (and practiced) how to thoroughly wash our hands while singing the ABC song twice through and not missing the crevices between our fingers.  We learned how to cough and sneeze appropriately.  We learned that during meal times we do not share the same fork, spoon, straw, napkin, or glass.  And the big one that caught many by double dipping your carrot sticks, apple slices, potato chips, or fondue.

I was happy to witness my Kinders carrying out the strategies I taught them all through the week.  I saw them cough into their sleeves.  Ask for tissues politely and discreetly.  Wash their hands with expert agililty.  And then R. really applied his newfound knowledge.  While making a Christmas Bear puppet he summoned my attention and anxiously announced, "Mrs. Pearce!  B. is double the glue!"  You see my Kinders share little plastic pots of glue on their table and use their pointer fingers to dip and stick.  In this case I guess B. was taking a dip, stick, dip. 

This proved to be a sticky teaching moment for me.  I pondered....Is double dipping in the glue pot a germ spreader, too? 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Five Reasons

I am going to try a new blog ritual today.  At the end of every week, I will list 5 reasons why I love teaching Kinders.  I think it will be a good way for me to intentionally recognize the wonder of the grade level that I get to experience every day.  Here goes.....!

1.  Simply changing the classroom calendar from November to December ignites excitement like no other.
2.  Deep belly-giggles every time I annouce the title of the song. "Alphardy" by Dr. Jean.
3.  Watching a student be greeted so warmly by her friends after being out with a nasty case of strep throat.  They ran to the door when they saw her enter and one friend even gently helped to take off her coat.
4.  Seeing five year old eyes light up when I passed around a bowl full of Cinnamon potpurri and asked "Do you smell Christmas?"
5. Warm December hugs.  What more can I say.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh The Things They Will Say....Brain Gas

We were having a terrific time story-mapping "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" yesterday.  My Kinders were brainstorming where and when the story took place.  It was one of those magical lessons where you know there is some mighty good Bloom's Taxonomy stuff going on.  Some of my students thought the story took place in the daytime because the kids in the book were at school with the teacher.  Some thought it took place in a zoo where animals live.  Maybe they were on a field trip.  Some thought it was in the daytime because Mr. Carle painted the pictures on a white background.  Except for the white dog on a black background 'cause that was at night. 

After about eight minutes of this lively discussion, B. had reached his brainstorming limit.  He raised his hand to speak and said, "I have had enough.  My brain is out of brain gas!"

I asked B. what we needed to do to fill his brain back up.  He didn't have a response.  And I think that was a first.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey lurkey doo and

Turkey lurkey dap

I eat that turkey

Then I take a nap.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

My Kinders have responded very well to a classroom incentive I like to refer to as "Warm Fuzzies."  It involves a glass jar and LOTS of craft poms.  Each time wonderful group behavior is displayed, a craft pom (warm fuzzy) is put into the jar.  I drew a line on the jar about half-way up.  If the warm fuzzies reach this line....the class gets an ice cream party.  Later, when the warm fuzzies reach the top of the jar....a pizza party is the ultimate reward!

I use this incentive tool to target group behaviors that I want the kids to work on together.  Walking quietly in hallway.  Transitioning quietly and independently between classroom activities.  Using great table manners in the lunchroom.

One of the most recent warm fuzzies my kinders received was for behaving so responsibly in the library that they were allowed to check out a library book.  (A privilege that is normally not given to Kinders at our school until January).  I made a REALLY big deal about this warm fuzzy.  I picked a yellow fuzzy and described its golden color as though it were an Olympic medal.  I let the classroom leader of day stand on a pedestal stool to put it into the glass jar.  We ooohed and aweed.  And then the remarks started about how good getting this warm fuzzy felt.

B:  "I feel like a 1st grader!"
A:  "I feel like a 2nd grader!"
E:  "I feel like a high schooler!"
C:  "I feel like a college student!"
I:    "I feel like ice cream!"

My class is now one warm fuzzy away from an ice cream party and are licking their lips in anticipation.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hats Off to Learning Fun

About a month ago we recognized National Red Ribbon Week at our school.  Each day students were encouraged to dress up in different themes to celebrate making healthy life choices.  One of the days was Hat Day and my Kinders were too cute.  I forgot to post the pictures sooner, so here they are later!







And the silliest of them all....Mrs. Pearce!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I is for Ice Cream

This past week we celebrated the letter I and both of its cool sounds.  The KG teaching team surprised our Kinders with a culminating activity to end our week.  We invited Carlos the Scientist to come visit us and make ice cream using liquid nitrogen.  (insert ooohs and awes).  We are very fortunate to have the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University nearby to our school.  They have an excellent educational outreach program that is FREE!  It is a wonderful way to bring field trip opportunities to our students; particularly in these economically precarious times (I tried to say that as delicately as possible).

Now on to some fun photo highlights of our yummy learning experience....

To begin, Carlos showed the kids how to use
safety gear before beginning an experiment.
The experiment began with typical ingredients for homemade ice cream.
Milk, half and half, vanilla extract and eggs.

Next, Carlos adds the liquid nitrogen to speed up the freezing process

 There is some science magic going on here!

The finished churn needed and
ready to serve within 5 minutes!

Thumbs up for the best ice cream EVER! 

What a delicious way to learn about Science and the letter I.  I don't think our Kinders will ever forget Scientist Carlos.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oh The Things They Will Say.....Supersize

B. is a cute little blond haired boy in my class with an raspy voice unique for a 5 year old.  He is always excited to come to school each day and cannot wait for one learning activity to end before anxiously anticipating the next.  He taught the whole class to sing "My Country Tis of Thee" at Calendar Time and loves to share his experiences with everyone.  B. had a very good learning week.  He (almost) managed to stay in the green zone on our behavioral chart every day. 

On Friday morning I encouraged my Kinders by telling them that I just knew we were going to have a great day to end our learning week.  At this moment B. couldn't resist sharing his latest excitement.  He stood up from his chair, ran over to me and said, "Mrs. Pearce!  My Poppy said if I stay on green today he is going to supersize my surprise!"

Now that's one surprise I can't wait to hear about on Monday.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's Pumpkin Time!

We have had loads of pumpkin fun during the past two weeks. 
Here are some highlights.

Our pumpkin patch was packed with paper bag pumpkins
We enjoyed a Five Little Pumpkins rhyme extension activity

Check out this cute little jack o'lantern created
for our family homework activity

We used a glyph like this....

to create pumpkin faces like this

Before creating our classroom jack o'lantern,
we practiced drawing different combinations of shapes

Then it was time to carve our pumpkin....

Happy Halloween!