Saturday, January 29, 2011

Favorite Classroom Books About Diversity

Next week our Social Studies unit of study will be on Diversity.  This is one of my favorite units to teach because it includes some really great children's books like these.....

One of my very favorites. 
 A walk around a neighboorhood teaches a little girl
that we are all beautiful shades of brown.

This book teaches that celebrating the uniqueness of others
can make beautiful things happen.
I love the friendly, colorful illustrations in this book.

This heartwarming story celebrates the special talents
in each and every little being that sometimes, at first glance, are overlooked
This book was illustrated by a Kindergarten classroom
You can't beat an oldie but a goodie from our friends at Sesame Street.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Happy Earth Song

Today after a great lesson about recycling and taking care of our planet, A. became so inspired that he composed a song about it.  I can't think of a better public service announcement than a cute Kindergartener singing about loving the Earth!


video

Nice day when the trees are open...
Nice day when the trees are open...
Nice day when the trees are open...
Cause it makes my heart PROUD!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sweet Jeano

Goodbyes are tough.  This week one of our dear classroom friends, Jeono, moved to another school in our district.  No advanced notice.  No visit from the parent. No phone call.  No note in the backpack.  Just a call from the registrar first thing on Thursday morning with the sad news.  I hate it when that happens.

After sharing a tear or two before the morning bell with my classroom intern, Ms. Brown, I knew that we needed to gently tell the class and embrace the moment in order to have closure.  The kids needed it. Ms. Brown and I needed it.

We gathered our little guys on the rug and told them.  And then we talked.  We talked about the best parts of Jeano that Mrs. Pearce could share with his new teacher.  Here's what some of my friends had to say...
  • He was always kind to everybody.
  • He shared his castle with me in the sandbox.
  • He was always good.
  • He was a friend to Andrew.  (Said by Andrew in 3rd person).
  • He will always have us in his heart.
Then we sang "The More We Get Together" and we moved on with our learning day with a little more smiles than tears.  Later, we made a card to send to him at his new school with everyone's picture and autograph.

His new teacher called me to talk.  It was wonderful.  I was able to share every single wonderful word that my little ones had to say about Jeano.  And that was plenty.


“Saying goodbye doesn't mean anything.
It's the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it.”
                                                                                                    Trey Parker

Saturday, January 22, 2011

100th Day Fun

Yesterday we celebrated the 100th day of school.  From the first day of school this year I have promised my Kinders that on the 100th day we would have a pizza party and do some other really fun activities.  And we certainly did!  Highlights of our day together....

Bonding over a 100's chart early in the morning.


J. gets ready to pop a piece of bubble gum in his mouth. 
We all chewed bubble gum 100 times and then practiced blowing bubbles.
 

Our literacy selection for this week was "The Little Red Hen."  On Monday Mrs. Larremore at Chalk Talk: A Kindergarten Blog featured a 100's day activity based on the book "The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza" in which a huge, 100 topping pizza is created.  I could not believe the timing of the coincidence and altered my lesson plans to incorporate her activity.  I love it when this happens. Thank you, Mrs. Larremore, for your inspiring idea!

D. displays the book.  If you have never read it check it out!!

Here is our 100th day pizza from beginning.....


to middle....

to end!

We carried on the pizza theme by making our own english muffin pizzas.  Yum!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shhh....We're Hibernating Here!

I wanted to share with you another fun winter tradition in my classroom. In order to give my Kinders a good idea about the length of time that an animal might hibernate in the wild, we let a bear have a long winter's nap in our classroom.  Got your curiosity up?

Here is our bear....ferocious looking isn't he?

Mr. Bear got lots of hugs and kisses
before he went into his "cave" for hibernation.

In you go.....night night Mr. Bear!

We will keep Mr. Bear nice and cozy in our classroom
until we let him out again in the spring. 

Until then....sweet dreams~

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Brrr....Blubber!

One of my all time favorite--super easy--Winter science experiments is "Blubber."  It is a tradition in my classroom every year when we talk about Winter animal coverings....particularly those animals in an arctic habitat like the whale, walrus and seal....who need that thick layer of oily skin to protect them from frozen temperatures.

All it takes is a can of Crisco (or another brand of vegetable shortening),
an eye dropper and a cup of water.

Each child applies some of the shortening to their forearm.
 
Once the Crisco is applied, place a few drops of water on top.

The water beads up nicely on top of the Crisco shortening. 
This represents the insolubility of oil and water. 

I love this shot of my Kinders observing their arms up close. 
They remind me of little seal pups all in a row!

One of my Kinders wondered during the discussion if our own Florida manatee has blubber.  They actually don't.  But I was amazed at her critical thinking on the subject as it relates to our beloved sea cow (who looks a little like a walrus if you think about it).

A great expansion activity on "Blubber" is this experiment I found on the Gulf of Maine Aquarium's site. "Blubber Gloves" is super easy and way cooool, too!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oh The Things They Will Say....What's in a Name?

Today during Reading instruction we were busily categorizing words with the sound of /l/ in them.  One category contained words that begin with /l/; one for words with /l/ as a final sound; and a category for words that have /l/ somewhere in the middle. 

The activity was going along really well, especially when we discovered that many of our names contain the sound of /l/. Lillian, Tyler, Danielle, Collier, Riley, Miller, Lance, and Lexi just to name a few.  And then B, (who hasn't an /l/ anywhere in his name) raised his hand to contribute to the group,  And boy did he ever when he excitedly exclaimed, "Mrs. Pearce I know someone ....Will Ferrell!"

Now how can you top that?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ice Ice Baby!

Living in North Florida, we almost never see sleet or snow.  And usually the only ice we see comes in the crushed or cube forms to keep stuff cold in the blazing hot Florida sun.  So you can imagine how much fun it is for my Kinders to observe large chunks of ice.  But we have to make our own. And that's just what we did this week in a cooperative Science activity with Mrs. Stallings' KG class next door.


First we started with a large cake mold of frozen water

Then a middle size bowl of frozen water was placed on top of it


Finally a smaller bowl of frozen water was placed on the very top


Then we dropped food coloring on the ice so that
we could easily see the ice melting

Using more than one color added some learning magic

As the ice melted, the colors mixed to create new colors.
This added a cool learning element to the lesson that we had not anticipated. 
Don't you just love it when that happens?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We're Baaack.....and Busy as Bees!

Well, the second half of the school year is underway and there is one word for our week so far....busy!  I think these photos do a great job capturing lots of active learning fun....


Creating sets of play dough shapes
 
Examining a nest up close

Castle construction underway!



Exploring kaleidocopes and magnets

Working together to build a big floor puzzle

Creativity abounds in the Writing Center

Sorting pictures by beginning sounds is lots of phonics fun!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Five Reasons to Love Going Back to Kindergarten After Winter Break

I usually post my recap at the end of an exhausting and exhilarating week spent teaching Kindergarten.  But since I haven't been in the classroom in over two weeks, I decided to capture some of the wonderful reasons why I look forward going back to my Kinders after the long winter break.

1. Greeting my little ones at the door with hugs, hugs and more hugs.
2. Watching them proudly show off new haircuts, tennis shoes, and lost teeth.
3. Seeing how much they have grown!  I am always amazed at the growth spurt that happens during the winter break.
4.  Marveling at how quickly my students settle back into our learning routine with just a little (gentle) nudging and lots of loving reinforcement.

For my last reason I consulted my husband, who is the Principal of a neighboring elementary school in our community.  He summed it up perfectly....

5.  I look forward to seeing my students (all 579 of them) because I miss "their happy." 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Teacher...I Am The New Year

I found this poem by an unknown author and I love its message for the new year.  As I read it a second time, I substituted the words "life" and "living" with the words "teacher" and "teaching."  The poem immediately became even more meaningful to me and I wanted to share it with you.  Blessings to you on this first day of 2011.  Thank you for following my blog these last 5 months!

LIFE I AM THE NEW YEAR

Life I am the new year.
I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
I am your next chance at the art of living.

I am your opportunity to practice
what you have learned about life
during the last twelve months.

All that you sought
and didn't find is hidden in me,
waiting for you to search it out
with more determination.

All the good that you tried for
and didn't achieve
is mine to grant
when you have fewer conflicting desires.

All that you dreamed but didn't dare to do,
all that you hoped but did not will,
all the faith that you claimed but did not have --
these slumber lightly,
waiting to be awakened
by the touch of a strong purpose.

I am your opportunity
to renew your allegiance to Him who said,
"Behold, I make all things new."

I am the new year.





for the use of the cute clip art image found at the beginning of this post)