Thursday 26 March 2015

The BEST thing about Easter

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Easter is approaching and it can be  difficult to explain the history of Easter to little ones.  Years ago an amazing family, of a student I was teaching, gave a book to me for my own child (I only had one at the time).  'The Best Thing About Easter' is the most amazing book for talking about Easter with kids!  It is from the perspective of a child who, just like many other children, and adults, loves so many things about Easter - chocolate bunnies, eggs and egg hunts, dressing up in fancy clothes, even spending time together with family.  But the narrator realizes that while all these things are great, Easter is so much more.  The language is kid friendly and the message is simple - Easter is sad, but also happy because of the new life of Jesus and through Jesus.

Here are some ideas for simple Easter crafts.  Here we are rolling 3 different colored marbles on our crosses.

Here is our finished product, once we cut out our crosses and placed them on our cards.

 Here we are making eggs.  Dip pastel colored yarn into glue and wrap it around a small balloon (water balloons work well).  This was great fine-motor practice!  They also required lots of patience, but they turned out great!

We sprayed them with hair spray and gave a coating of podge before we popped the inner balloon.  The yarn held it's shape, and here is our final product!
I placed some Easter words at the felt board and the students began sharing stories of their own experiences with egg hunts and receiving palms at Church, as well as other aspects of Easter.  I love the felt board center because it allows the students to use imaginative play and allows for vocabulary building.    Felt play also enhances fine-motor eye-hand co-ordination and manipulation, and engages students in the development of oral language through speaking, listening, story-telling and enhancing vocabulary.  Some students chose to use the recording sheets as a follow-up which was great since they were now writing about the stories they had just shared with their peers! 

Happy Easter!

Friday 2 January 2015

Looking Back...Christmas, Looking Forward...A New Year (and celebrating Character Virtues)

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We made some great ornament crafts this year for the holidays.  One of our ornaments was a pasta shell paper plate ornament.  This was so simple to make.  All you need is a study paper plate, pasta shells, an old Holiday card and spray paint (we used gold).  The kids glued the pasta around the edge of the plate (great fine-motor activity), and cut out the Holiday card.  I spray painted the plate and the students attached the middle image.  We punched a hole and later attached ribbon.

My daughter made this beautiful poinsettia with pumpkin seeds.  It's on a hard circular backing.

Christmas was great, and now we look forward to our new year!  New beginnings are full of so much potential and opportunity.  If you haven't focused very much on Character Education, it's a great time to start!  Our School Board teaches Character Education.  Each month we focus on a different character virtue and look for students who exemplify this virtue.  We teach students what it means to be responsible, caring citizens and look for these traits and celebrate them in our students.  Talking about `character matters`allows students to then put into practice acts of kindness, compassion, caring for others and allows them to be self-reflective learners and think about how they treat others and how they, in turn, want to be treated.  These are values they will carry with them their whole lives.  

Our school honors the students who`ve exemplified the virtue of the month with a certificate.  I`ve made a little pack that includes the virtues we focus on each month, as well as MANY, MANY more!  I wanted each student to be recognized for the good that they do in the class and school community.  The students are always showing goodness in action.  

Friends helping friends do up zippers.

Friends helping friends tidy-up (even if they didn`t make that mess).

Classmates sharing materials at a variety of learning centres.

Students consistently participating in P.E. and showing good sportsmanship in cooperative games.

Click the image above for the Awards and Certificates pack.

I wanted to recognize all of these good actions and more.  Recognizing students` good deeds and actions allows them to feel good about themselves and good about helping others.  This pack has over 70 pages of Student Awards and Certificates.  It includes awards for the monthly virtues my school board focuses on, but it also has SO MUCH MORE.  There are enough awards to allow you to recognize EACH STUDENT in your classroom for the goodness that they bring!  Hopefully it can help start the New Year on a positive note! 

Happy New Year!

Sunday 16 November 2014

Race-way Ordinal Numbers FREEBIE

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We started talking about ordinal numbers around Halloween as we were singing and acting out the all-time favorite poem "Five Little Pumpkins."  To extend the children's learning in this area we thought of other times when we would use ordinal numbers - they mentioned when lining up to go to library, gym, etc. and also in a race!  I brought in my son's Wheelies Rampway and that's exactly what we did - had a race! 

The kids took turns racing their cars down the ramp way.  We made note of which car came in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th.  It was a really fun way to teach ordinal numbers!  We filled out our response sheet writing out our ordinal numbers.  You can do this activity with any type of ramp (the kids could even make it themselves).  If you'd like a FREE copy of the recording sheet, race on over and click the image below!

There are 2 different recording sheets depending on if you're working on numbers 1st to 5th, or 1st to 10th.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Thanksgiving FREEBIE!

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This is a super quick post to share a FREEBIE with you!  We celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada a few weeks ago.  I just love, family and friends...what a great way to spend the day and reflect on all our blessings!  We made our very own hand-print turkey with all the fall colors.  This was a super-easy and quick activity that the kids enjoyed.  It even got them talking about 'cornucopias' which they were somehow fascinated with...the look of them and the actual sound of the word!  

I know that the American Thanksgiving is quickly approaching for friends and families just south of us.  If you'd like your own copy of the hand-print poem printable, just click the image below.  

Sorry I'm late with this post for all the Canadian followers and bloggers, but at least you can store it away for next year!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday 30 October 2014

Happy Halloween in the Haunted Cafe

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 This post is to share a Halloween Freebie with you!  The kids have been having so much fun in the weeks leading up to Halloween.  We carved the pumpkin that we picked on our recent Pumpkin Patch Trip.  It's actually much bigger than it looks.  It took both my E.C.E. and myself to roll it across the floor and somehow haul it onto the table!  There was lots of goop (pulp) and many seeds to scrape out.

The kids have also been having a great time at our Haunted Cafe.  My wonderful E.C.E. Mrs. Caruso set this one up for the kids.  They have been taking turns playing different roles:  customer, chef (some in the witch role), server, etc.

Even my daughter and her friends have been busy playing before their own school day starts!

At the end of each month we discuss what we learned and what we liked.  Many of the students chose to write about the Dramatic Centre.  Here we are using our phonetic writing in our Memory Books.

"I liked the Haunted Cafe Dramatic Centre."

"I liked the Haunted Cafe."

If you would like to create a Haunted Cafe in your Dramatic Centre, here is a little FREEBIE for you...A poster/sign and menu.  Simply purchase the cauldron, plastic spiders, insects, etc. at your local dollar store.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday 9 October 2014

Kindergarten Learning Goals

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I made the Ontario Kindergarten Learning Expectations into large posters for a friend of mine who teaches K at another school within our School Board.  Her Principal wanted to see all the teachers talking with students about what the expectations were and wanted them posted visually in the class.  She wanted staff going over 'Success Criteria' with students so that students knew what was expected of them.  In her school, some teachers have a 'Learning Goals' wall or bulletin board.  I thought this was a great idea, since giving students the vocabulary for what they are expected to do helps them focus their learning.  Posting the expectations serves as a visual reminder for students for what the expectations are.  A lot of the learning in Kindergarten happens around the room at a variety of learning centres.  So instead of placing the learning goals on a board, I've placed them around the room at the various centres.  This helps students remember how to use the centre and what they should be doing at that particular place in the classroom.

The curriculum document has so many great examples of what that expectation might 'look like.'  For example, the expectation 'communicate in writing, using strategies that are appropriate for beginners" is very general.  As a class we talked about what that might look like and came up with our own success criteria (blank page provided in the package).  We wrote it out together and posted it at our Writing Centre (which is not the only place where writing takes place, but it seemed appropriate).

This is our Building and Blocks Centre.  It has blocks of various shapes, sizes and textures, as well as 3-D solids and a variety of play materials such as dinosaurs, animals, etc.

 This is our book shelf.  Here we talked about looking at pictures to help us gain an understanding of what the text might say.  We talked about conventions of print (front cover, directionality of text, etc.), and I see the students remembering what to do when selecting a book.  They will follow the print with their fingers, look at the pictures to help them figure out text, and their sense of story when 'reading' has improved too!

 I have a math wall where I like to post pictures of the children engaging in mathematical exploration.  This past month we worked on sorting and classifying.  Our learning goal was placed on our Math Wall and our pictures and text demonstrate our learning goal in action.

I would love to hear if anyone else uses or posts learning goals in their classroom, and in what format?
Tomorrow is Friday and it's our Thanksgiving long weekend!  Enjoy!

Wednesday 24 September 2014

All About Me

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We've been busy getting to know each other!  I put together this pack as we were doing all of our activities together, so it's finally ready just now!  It has so many great activities!  Check it out by clicking the image below.

Included in the pack are a bunch of class graph templates.  Here is our 'How do you get to school?' graph.  We are learning to sort and organize our data.

There are many Rhyme and Chime Poem pages with writing prompts.

An All About Me Glyph, Mobile and Craftivity with Writing Booklet.

And lots of fun little Roll and Cover games to quickly assess your student's knowledge of basic skills (colors, letters, numbers, shapes)!

...and so much more!!!!

Have a great week!