Saturday, September 16, 2017

Many simple acts of kindness

To make a difference
Look to do the simple things. 

When I try to think of things to include in this blog, I sometimes miss the little, spontaneous ways I connect with my students.
 I believe it is still so important to hold hands with our children.  When the students line-up, I try to rotate who is first.  I don't specifically chose a line leader.  So whoever is first in line, I hold their hand and teach them a little hand game.  I gently squeeze their hand and ask them to pay attention to how my hand is 'talking' to their hand.  One little squeeze or two little squeezes, wiggling all my fingers or just tapping with one finger, I say that their hand should 'answer' my hand back. 
Without talking with voices, we are connecting in a special way.  
Some days when my mind is elsewhere, the students give my hand a gentle squeeze AND a smile!

Or how the children teach me about how important those little things are, such as it seems when I am having a particularly stressful day, one little dear will give me a quick hug or even say "I like your.....uh, button."   Without really knowing it, THEY are teaching me about enjoying those little things.

Image result for enjoy the little things in life quotes 

I  like to share information with my families with little notes handwritten.  I tell the children that I love to write moms and dads and love to get a note back from them too.  The more I get excited, the children get excited so they don't worry when they see I have written a message on their papers or give them a note to go home in their school bag.  I also try to make sure that I send notes about GOOD things so they don't think a note is bad news.
I also send messages through texting with a Remind app.  (formerly Remind 101) I like how the parents can use the texting back option which was added a few years back.  Though a 10:00 PM or even 2:30 AM text message, startles me with worrying what could be wrong!!  Remind also has the option to set an "I am or I am NOT available time span."

I was contacted to share an informative poster.  I'm new at this but it has a message that connects with me.

 It's because.....
Hand-in-hand we grow!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Follow-Up Patriot Day, 9-11-17

This is a good thing.
Let there be peace on earth,...

After our Pinwheels were displayed for a full 24-hours, we helped collect them.  The ground was so dry that some pinwheels blew away.  I was lucky that all from my class were safe. 

I had painted the pencils red, white and blue so it was easy to distinguish which were my class pinwheels.

Prior to our celebration, I had taken a picture of each student holding their own pinwheel.  I trimmed the pictures and the students glued them on the inside of a card.

They also had a picture of the display around the flagpole to glue inside the card.  

The students pinwheels were placed in a large zip bag with their card and a description of our Pinwheels for Peace celebration.

"Patriot Day     Pinwheels for Peace
Dedicated to all our First Responders every day. 

On September 22, 2001, a tragedy occurred in the United States.  Thousand of police officers, fire fighters and ambulance medics responded to help the people in emergencies.
This day is remembered as a thank you for all they do everyday.
Fire fighters are called to fires to rescue people.  They also rescue pets.  Sometimes fire fighters go to accidents to rescue by cutting cars open.
Police officers help by keeping us safe.
Ambulance medics help when people need to go to the hospital in emergencies.
We are making pinwheels to honor and remember all who help keep us safe everyday.  We wish you to be safe too.
Our wish is for peace everywhere.

*The siren means they are on their way to an emergency.  Move back out of the ways  Cars move to the side of the road to let them pass easily.
*People stand still, close to your house to allow them to hurry to help.
*911 is ONLY for emergencies, when help is needed right away to save a  life.
*Smile at police officers, fire fighters and those in uniform."

So "let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bb is for Bear and Buttons

Bears, buttons

My favorite story to begin with is Corduroy by Don Freeman.  Remember Corduroy lost his button on his overalls and he began searching everywhere.

 Paperbag Puppets for retelling

Button sorting
Over the years, I have requested buttons from my families to fill my tins and tubs.  With the generosity of many, the children have a lot to sort through.  At first, when given free exploration time, they enjoy the feel and sound of the buttons randomly examining them.  Some then sort by color, size and shape.  Buttons continue to fascinate them.  They begin to look for details that others may not have noticed before. 

I love the story The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid.
Grandma has a button box.  There are buttons with two holes and four holes and some with shanks.  So many different kinds of buttons and ways to sort them. 

Other bear stories:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.  The more you read it and use choral reading, the children will be able to imitate and practice reading by looking at the pictures with memorized phrases and rhythm.

Our first Show and Tell experience is with bringing their own teddy bear.  Students who don't have their own bear can borrow a bear from parents, siblings, grandparents, neighbors, etc.  I also have a large tub filled with bears who love to be a friend for the day.

Where's My Teddy? 
by Jez Alborough 
My Friend Bear by Jez Alborough


Any version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" or better yet, TELL the story.  Ham it up and the kids will love it.

Count and pattern with color sorting bears.

Use bear pattern cut outs and make matching cards with letters to match capital to capital, capital to lowercase, letters to initial sound pictures, numerals to sets, colors to color words.
Go on a bear hunt with Dr. Jean .

Have you ever watched "Cosmic Kids Yoga"?  I just found that Jaime has a bear hunt story with yoga positions. 
I use the yoga stories, peace out and meditations when they come in from recess to calm down and focus.

Raffi's song of "Teddy Bear Hug" is a great calm song to listen to while the children bring their bears in the room to start the day.

You've gotta do the Teddy Bear game with your bears,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, show your shoe.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, that will do. (bow with your bear)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, climb the stairs.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn out the light.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say good night.  (Cuddle your bear and give him a kiss on the nose.)

Letter Identification
  • Clip cards from Making Learning Fun. These cards show a bear with a capital letter and students put a clip on the cave with the lowercase letter.  You can make these self-checking by putting a dot on the back of the card for the correct match. 
  •  Print cards with button shape.  Write letters on cards to match letters and beginning sounds.

Hand-in-hand we grow!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Patriot Day

September 11  Patriot Day

Pinwheels for Peace
Each  year our school has celebrated September 11th as a rememberance day and a day to honor our first responders in our community.  Each grade level is given a precut 6-inch square of red, white, blue wrapping paper.  Students color and decorate the backside.  The squares for kindergarten are divided into four triangular sections, drawn on the diagonal to designate areas to decorate.  

The squares are laminated and cut slits toward the center.  

The corners are pinned to the center and secured with a pin then attached through the eraser end of a pencil partially sharpened. (We partially sharpen the pencils so they can be poked in the ground easily.)

On Monday morning, students are given their PINWHEEL and we meet outside at our school flagpole.  The principal welcomes our guests of local firefighters, police, EMT first responders.  All together we recite the pledge of allegiance and show our appreciation by raising our pinwheels to the wind.  
We leave the pinwheels for the day for the community to admire.  It is pretty impressive.

Kindergarten students have also traced and cut out their hand shapes and we've made a large flag at the end of the hall.  
God Bless the USA
Hand-in-hand we grow!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

More Apple Ideas

Counting Apples and Letter activities and crafts

Let's try saving seeds to use as counters.
  • Use number cards or roll die to use the seed count.
  •  Make number lotto (bingo) cards and use apple counters, bottle caps or rings to mark number shown or called for number recognition.

  • Make apple picture cards to show the Sequence of eating an apple.
  •  Apple puzzles
 Cut red, green and yellow apple shapes using die cuts.  Cut each into 3 pieces.  Put the pieces in a small zip bag for each student to assemble to make the apples whole again. It's not as easy as you may think for our little ones.  Great for part-to-whole practice.
Vowel sounds
  • Do you like to eat apples and bananas?
"I like to eat, eat, eat, Apples and Bananas.
I like to eat, eat, eat, Apples and Bannanas
Change the vowel sound to long vowels:
I like tee eet, eet, eet, Epples and Benenes
I like tee eet, eet, eet, Epples and Benenes 
I like tie  ite, ite, ite, Ipples and Bininis
I like tie  ite, ite, ite, Ipples and Bininis 
I like to ote, ote, ote, Opples and Bononos
I like to  ote, ote, ote, Opples and Bononos
I like to  ute, ute, ute, Upplus and Bununus
I like to ute, ute, ute, Upplus and Bununus"

Ok, I'm not sure how to write those long vowel changes correctly.  Hope you got it.  Find Raffi in Concert CD and he sings it much better.

Letter Identification
  • Where is Johnny Appleseed.  Letter identification.  This is a free TPT idea by Amy Lattin.   
Lay out letter cards and place a picture of Johnny Appleseed BEHIND one of the cards.  Students can guess which card Johnny is hiding behind by naming the letter.

  •  Apple prints are fun. 
  • This is an oldie but a goodie easy apple craft using squares for leaves and apples.  (There's a name for this but I forgot what it's called at this moment.)

Hand-in-hand we grow!

Friday, September 8, 2017

A is for apples

It's time to get out all those teacher apple gifts.

Apple, apple, /a/, /a/, /a/          

Sounds like Fun CD from Discovery Toys has a wonderful song that calmly practices the initial sounds of the alphabet.
There is also a free Ipad app that you can use.  
Do you know the story of the "Little House with no doors"?  You must have an apple and sharp knife as you tell the story.
Once upon a time there was a little boy who grew tired of all his toys and games.  He asked his mother, "What shall I do?
  "You shall go on a journey and find a little red house with no windows or doors and a star inside.  Come back as soon as you can."  

So the boy started out on his journey and he found a little girl and he asked her, "Do you know where I can find a little  red house with no windows and doors and a star inside?"  
"Ask my father, the farmer, he may know."  So the little boy found the farmer and asked him, "Do you know where I can find a little red house with no windows and no doors and a star inside?"  The farmer laughed and said, "I've lived many years but I've never seen anything like it -- go ask Granny-- she knows everything!"
So the little boy asked Granny, "Please Granny, where can I find a house with no windows and doors and a star inside."
"I'd like to find that house myself, it would be warm in the winter and the starlight would be beautiful.  Go ask the wind-- maybe he knows."
The wind whistled by the little boy and the boy said, "Oh, wind, can you help me find a little red house with no windows and doors and a star inside."  The  wind cannot speak any words but it went on singing ahead of the little boy until it came to an apple tree and shook the branches.  Down came a beautiful red apple. (Show your apple)  
The little boy picked it up and looked at it.  It was a little red house that had no windows or doors.  "I wonder," said the boy.  He took out his jackknife from his pocket and cut the apple in half. (cut apple sideways)  
How wonderful!  There in the center was a star holding little brown seeds.  He ran home and showed his mother.  "Look, I found it!"

Position words
Cut out apples and worms.  Give students two apples and one worm.  Tell them to put the apples side-by-side, put the worm above the apples, below the apples, between the two apples, at the bottom of an apple, at the top of one apple, over the two apples, etc.

Pick out your favorite stories about apples.
The Apple Pie Tree 
Ten Apples Up on Top

There are so many FREE and ready to print for a small fee apple activities on TeachersPayTeachers, Pintrest and just google ideas for kindergarten. 

MATH activities
Make or print trees and use apple erasers or red painted lima beans as counters. 

  • Roll a die or use number cards to tell how many apples to put on your tree. 
  • Addition number sentences can also be used.  (paint  lima beans yellow or green to show two sets--though real trees don't have two colors/kinds of apples)
  • Practice 'take away' (subtraction), how many are left?
  • How many more?  Students roll die and count out apples.  Ask how many more do you need to have 10 apples?  
Reading sight words printed on apple shapes.  
Make a memory game with sight words, letter match, shape match, letter and beginning sound pictures.

There will be more soon...keep watching because...
 Hand-in-hand, we grow!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

P is for Pizza

Next week we will be teaching/reviewing the letter Pp with writing and initial sound practice.

"P", pizza,  /p/

I love to do Dr. Jean and Raffi's "I like to eat pepperoni pizza" song.
"I like to eat, eat, eat, pepperoni pizza.
I like to eat, eat, eat, pepperoni pizza."

I've made a pizza flip book to substitute the long vowel sound for each verse.  
Long a - "A lake tay ate, ate, ate paperana pazza..."
Long e -  "E leek te ete, ete, ete pepperene pezze..."
Long i -  "I like ti ite, ite, ite, pippirini pizzi..."
Long o -  "O loke toe ote, ote, ote, popporono pozzo..."
Long u -  "U luke tue ute, ute, ute, puppurunu puzzu..."
(I will also use this pizza book when we practice our long vowel sounds.)

These two pizza stories are fun to read and the kids LOVE them.  A boy named Pete becomes a pizza in Pete's a Pizza by William Steg.   I do explain to help some students' understand that the little boy is rolled, patted, baked as his dad pretends that he is the parts of the pizza.  
Pizza Pat by Rita Golden Gelman is a cumulative rhyming pizza version of "the house that Jack built" style.

For Math practice, I made felt pizza topping cutouts.  I took the idea from Dr. Jean and tweaked it for my supplies.  I had felt scraps rather than using fun foam.

Green rectangles- green pepper
Yellow triangles - cheese 
Brown ovals - sausage
Cream - mushrooms
Large Red circle - sauce
Gold circles painted with red sharpie - pepperoni
Black circles - olives
I didn't want to use red felt for my pepperoni pieces because my sauce is red.  I had gold scraps of felt and used a red Sharpie to color and some brown dots for my pepperoni pieces.  It had to look real to me.
I used a hole punch on a black strip of felt and cut out the olives.  I had to punch a piece of sandpaper to keep the punch cutting through. 
I also made oval sausages and rectangle green pepper pieces.  I wanted the kids to have to tell me the name of the shapes since rectangle and triangle are words they mix up. 

Recipe directions cards 
Cards will direct how each student will build their pizza and practice how to read a picture key.  I made cards in differentiated levels to practice and challenge students.

Following directions, coloring and counting 
Students can make a pizza with felt toppings then record on a card so another student must build by following their directions. 
Pizza puzzles
Students can design and color their favorite version of pizza.  Students can cut apart or teacher cut into pieces and then share their puzzle with classmates to put it back together.
Each year I seem to add and substitute activities.
I don't always do every activity, it depends on my group and their needs.

Hand-in-hand, we'll grow. 

I think I'm having pizza for dinner!