Everything You Need to Know You Can Learn in Kindergarten!

Come join our class of kindergarteners as we learn to work together, grow into voracious readers, become authors of our own original stories, and feed our natural curiosity about the world by developing as scientists.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

This is my first blog hop.
Here are the questions and my answers.

1. What state you are in: California.
2. Your current teaching position: Kindergarten
3. Your teaching experience: I have been teaching for eighteen years, eleven in first grade, three in kindergarten (going on 4) and four as a Reading Recovery teacher.
4. When you started blogging: I started blogging in April of 2012.
5. Share a blogging tip / blogging resource: I bring my camera to school everyday so I can document all of our projects. Then when I want to blog about something I have pictures ready to post.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's a topsy-turvy world

I've been at school several days helping my friend move into her new room. She's coming back to kindergarten after being in 2nd grade and out of the classroom as an intervention teacher. We were just finishing her bulletin boards when I got blind-sided. My awesome teaching partner just packed up and moved out. She was offered a position elsewhere and accepted. I don't blame her but we made a good team last year and had big plans for this coming year. Now I have to decide if I want to stay in my room and see who comes in to partner with me or move across the playground to my friend's room. It's important in kinder to have the right partner so I'm leaning towards moving rooms but moving is such hard work. And that would mean the rest of my vacation would be spent at school. Well, at least OUR bulletin boards are already done!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our Animal ABC Book

The cover - the letters are cut from extra painted paper

Earlier in the year, while we were studying animals, we made an animal ABC big book.  This project took some serious time but was well worth it.  My class loved to spend free time reading their ABC book.  Getting started - We brainstormed animals for each letter of the alphabet.  Sometimes there were debates over which animal would be best and why. We had to take a vote for some letters.  There were also letters that took some research - like x, for example.  Everyday we spent about 15 to 20 minutes doing interactive writing - "A is for alligator." until we had a sentence for every letter of the alphabet.  Next - we turned our attention to illustrating our book.  We went back to our brainstormed list and decided which colors we needed for our animals.  We made several pieces of  painted paper - using the chosen colors to paint white construction paper and then drag plastic forks through the wet paint to add texture.  After the paper dried, we traced animal tracers onto the back of the appropriate color of painted paper.  I decided to use teacher made tracers so that all the animals would be the perfect size for the book.  The students cut the animals out. Finally - they glued the pieces (some animals had more than one piece) and the interactive writing to the page along with the letter.  They added details to the animals with black crayons giving their page a finished look. We laminated and bound the book to add to our library.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Look Who's in our Room!

The cover of our first big book of the year
School's out for the year but I thought I'd post a few projects we did a while back.  Happy Summer!

At the beginning of the year we made a big book to help us learn each other's names. I love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom so we used that as a theme. The students drew a picture of themselves for their page. This was their first self-portait and looking back on it now its amazing the growth they've made as artists. In addition, the students made a coconut tree by cutting out and assembling preprinted pieces.  Next, they added the letters of their name climbing the tree. Finally, I glued a photo of each student in the middle of their page. At the bottom of the page, we added the shared writing..."I am -----". We made a table of contents for the book with each student's name and a thumbnail picture of them along with the page number where their contribution to the book could be found. We laminated our pages and bound them into a book for our classroom library.

Carolina's page - "I am Carolina."
Our table of contents - please forgive the glare - lamination doesn't photograph well

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Play Day Bounce House Fun

We discovered a perk to being afternoon kindergarten (there aren't many) ...but 7 bounce houses to ourselves...Awesome! We had so much fun!

Naythan kicking back in the bounce tunnel

Aileen with some good friends

Julissa bouncing while Erik plays basketball

Adamaris, Alex, and Fabian

Jayden and Jonathan going for a climb

Oops! Nothing but feet! Airborne Ivone

Adriana and Rosie catching their breath

Nestor, Adriana, and Carolina on top of the world

Rosie waiting to jump

Julissa and Naythan too tired to smile

Sherwood - just hanging out

Erik taking a break

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Clay Bowls - Fun and Functional

Jose's finished bowl

I got brave with the help of my partner teacher. We tackled a clay project with our kindergarteners. We made bowls. My daughter did this project when she was in first grade. She took a clay class at The Chartreuse Muse. I sat in on her classes and they made it look easy. So I found some small, hard plastic bowls at The Dollar Tree and bought six. We lined them with plastic wrap leaving a generous amount hanging over the sides. Next we cut a slab of clay for each student. Working with six students at a time, my partner and I guided the children in pressing their clay into the bowl, cutting the excess clay from around the rim of the bowl, and smoothing the interior with a damp sponge. We used a thin stick to write the student's name on the inside. My partner and I gently lifted the clay bowls out of the plastic ones using the plastic wrap. We then carefully peeled the plastic wrap off the bowls and set them on the counter to dry for a week. My partner fired them. Finally the kids painted their bowls and they were fired again. They turned out beautifully - the highlight of the class' open house projects.

Our bowls painted and waiting for a second firing

Our Home Grown Chicks

Last Thursday was open house and we had timed our incubating eggs just perfectly. They began hatching during class that day. We watched the first little girl emerge from her egg all wet and tired. We left her in the incubator to dry and when we returned for open house at 5, she had 3 friends. The next morning there were 7. We moved the dry chicks to a cage with a heat lamp, food, and water. By the time I took them home on Friday to babysit for the weekend, we had 11. They are so cute! My children named every last one- the yellow one above is named Omelet. We shared our chicks with the rest of the school- everyone had a chance to admire their cuteness- and then I took them back to J&S West today. Boo Hoo! What a great lesson!
The first chick to hatch

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bubbles Teach Science

Today in science we learned about bubbles. No matter what we used to blow the bubbles they always turned out round. We tried shaped cookie cutters, hand made pipe cleaner bubble wands, rubber bands, and screen strainers, among other things. We blew big bubbles, tiny bubbles, and every size in between and they were always round. We also learned how to catch a bubble without popping it. We were even able to stick a finger into a bubble without it popping. The secret is your finger has to be wet. If your finger is dry it breaks the surface tension of the bubble and it pops. Boy, did we have fun!

Tissue Paper Butterflies

Using liquid starch, we glued multicolored 2" tissue paper squares onto wax paper, covering it entirely. Students used one finger to hold down a corner of the tissue square making it is easier to keep it in place and straight while they brushed the liquid starch over it. The tissue should be completely wet but not dripping. Try not to let puddles of starch form. It really lengthens the drying time. I have the children place each square so that it overlaps the previous ones. It is important not to leave any holes if you intend to remove the wax paper later. When it dried, we used white glue and glued a butterfly outline (precut by me for my kindergarteners) onto the tissue paper side of the collage. The following day, we trimmed the excess paper from around the butterfly. Finally, if desired, the wax paper can be carefully pulled off of the back of the butterfly giving it a stained glass look. With kinders, I do this part myself. This last step isn't essential. They look beautiful with the wax paper left on too. We hung them in the window for open house.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Projects

I found this project on Mrs. Picasso's Artroom and loved it. I wish I had had the time to do it justice. I had to change it a little to fit my needs - a mother's day gift with little time. First I squirted three colors of paint into a pie tin making a simple design. Don't mix the paint. Next the kids put one hand into the pie tin, covering the palm and fingers with paint. Then they tapped their hands together gently, transferring the paint to the other hand but not mixing it. They made handprints in the shape of a butterfly onto white cardstock. After making the two butterfly handprints, the kids rubbed their hands together mixing the paint. And made one more print for the flower. Using the side of their fist dipped in red paint, a ladybug print was made. Hands were washed and while we waited for the paint to dry, we worked on the background. We tore green paper for the grass and glued it to a piece of 12" × 18" blue construction paper. Then created stems by gluing strips of green paper onto a different green colored stem. We glued that just under the edge of the grass. Then the kids traced leaves on green and cut them out. These were glued to the stems. To save time I took the butterflies, flowers, and bugs home and cut around them. The following day, my kinders glued them down to complete their collage. Finally, we used black sharpies to add details like the butterfly's body, spots on the ladybug, and lines on the leaves. I typed and copied the mother's Day poem on magenta paper, cut around it, and glued them on to the project. The students signed their name and took their gift home to mom. I really liked the mosaic frames on Mrs. Picasso's project I just didn't have time to add this part. Well, there's always next time.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Science Lab Fun

Using our sense of touch-Alex, Nestor, and Jayden

Using our ears-Jose
It's kindergartens turn in science! Yea! Our first lesson in the lab we explored some of the tools that scientists use. It was fun discovering how to balance the scales. We learned that sometimes things can be big but not weigh much. Our second lesson we explored our five senses. Our favorite center was the taste table. Check out the faces we made while tasting lemon and bittersweet chocolate! Thursdays are becoming our favorite day! We wonder what we get to learn today!
Jayden tasting lemon
Aileen tasting lemon
Fabian smelling cinnamon

Naythan tasting lemon
Eduardo tasting unsweetened chocolate
Alex tasting unsweetened chocolate
Mikkie tasting unsweetened chocolate

Incubating Eggs

Now that our butterflies have emerged from their chrysalides, we have begun a new adventure. We are learning to care for eggs and the chicks that hatch from them. We had a guest teacher give us a lesson on how to act as surrogate mother to our 18 eggs. Thank you, Heather. The eggs need to be kept warm (100°) for 21 days. We have an incubator. At that time, they will begin to crack their shell using a special tooth on their beak called an egg tooth. When they fight their way out the chicks' feathers will be wet. We will move them to a cage with a heat lamp, food, and water. Their feathers will dry quickly and we will have cute fluffy chicks! We can't wait!
Playing with chicks and ducklings

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caterpillar Collages

Caterpillar Collage

We made caterpillar collages in the style of Eric Carle this week. We used tissue paper squares (greens and yellows). We glued the squares to white construction paper using liquid starch. While that dried we painted tan construction paper with brown tempera using textured rollers. The next day we traced 5 small circles onto the back of our painted paper and cut them out. We also traced a leaf onto the back of the tissue paper and cut it out. We glued the circles in an overlapping line onto our tissue paper leaf. Finally, we added details with black sharpies.

Jose cutting caterpillar pieces

Naythan and Adriana

painting with roller

Alex adding details