Space Learning Party

Last we met our Behavin’ Raven goal of 21 and today we celebrated with our first learning party! Behavin’ Ravens are small slips of paper teachers pass out when they notice students following our school rules: safe, respectful, learner. Our class has learning parties when we reach our goals as a fun way to do projects and learn about topics the kids are interested in. I love digressing from our normal curriculum and enriching our day to day with something special. 

Many of the kids are interested in space so that was the theme of our learning party today.

We began by watching a silly video of NASA  scientists sing and dancing. We read a variety of fiction and nonfiction books.

We created our own fictional solar system. 

    
 
The kids invented their own planets based on what we learned about the planets in our solar system.

Our name rockets soared to the sky and gave us good practice with counting, letters, and fine motor skills. 

 
We made a galaxy in a bottle with water, food coloring, and baby oil. We will keep it at our safe seat to use to help us calm down. 

 
We got super creative and used shapes to create our own silly aliens. What could life on other planets be like? 

   
The kids were very creative! All in all a very fun day!

Breath+Movement

We are are cultivating our physical and mental strength through coordinated breath and movement. Basically we are using a very secular approach to yoga in which we concentrate on the movement and position of our whole bodies while systematically breathing slowly and deeply. We have learned the easy pose, mountain pose and volcano pose. 

  
 
We are also working on moving from pose to pose slowly and purposefully. The children are building focus and concentration skills. It is interesting how through breath and movement our class finds these little pockets of silence that are anything but empty. 

Here are the children using volcano pose to join hands and connect to each other physically and mentally. I wish you had been there-joy resonated all around us! 

    
 

Celebrating 100 Days of Learning!

imageToday was our 100th day of learning in kindergarten! We celebrated this special day with a variety of learning activities relate to the number 100.imageimage

We began with a story about the 100th day of school and got all gussied up with 100 day ribbons.

We played a number recognition game where we colored certain numbers on our 100 charts in he shape of 100.

We made fruit loop necklaces-a fun way to practice counting skills as well as hone our fine motor skills.

We also made artwork using the number 100 and turning it into something else.

All in all a fun day of learning!

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“Leave room for the butterflies”

My teaching philosophy has been the concise, but unfortunately prosaic, “Over prepare, then go with the flow”. This mantra has served me well in teaching and in life but I stumbled across some new words to live by, or teach by, “Leave room for the butterflies.” I read this phrase in the context of a flower arranging tutorial in which it was delightful appropriate. But the more I think about it, “leave room for the butterflies” is an apt analogy to inspire those of us who facilitate learning opportunities for little ones. When planning, organizing and scheduling, always be on the look out for the butterflies that flit across the classroom. The butterflies might be the little learners themselves who tend to flit rather than walk. The butterflies might be a teachable moment, a joke that gets us all giggling, or a topic a child wants to learn more about. A butterfly might be that lightbulb moment when understanding flashes through a child’s mind and onto their face in the form of a lightning grin. Many an amazing learning or bonding moment was never part of my painstaking penned lesson plans, but flitted into our day unplanned but powerful.
I hope to always leave some room in my heart, my mind, and my lesson plans for the butterflies.
“Leave room for the butterflies”…words to teach by.

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Thankful Books

What are you thankful for?

The kids answered this question today by creating pocket books filled with things they are thankful for. First we defined thankful and brainstormed people, places, and things we were thankful for. The kids had some great ideas; everything from family members to earrings came up in our discussion.

I showed the kids how to fold and create a book with pockets. They drew and cut out things they were thankful for and put them in the pockets. The children worked hard to copy the phrase, “I am thankful for…” on their books as well as label their pockets by stretching out the words and writing the sounds they hear.

The kids really enjoyed this opportunity for creative self-expression. We also practiced being respectful listeners to our friends as they shared their book with the class.

Please ask your child to share their book with you!

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Great Reads for Kindergarten

Kindergarteners love books! They get swept up in stories with humor or suspense and are equally spellbound by nonfiction books on a variety of topics. Thanks to a PTA voucher I was able to expand our classroom library with some great reads for kindergarten.

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Earlier this year I had a parent request for a list of books beloved by the kindergarten age group. Without further ado, here are five kindergarten book series or author suggestions. I will make more suggestions as the school year goes on!

1. Pigeon books by Mo Willems
Pigeon has many hilarious escapades such as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!

2. Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems
Also from the comic genius, Mo Willems, this series has simple story lines with a great message. The text is more straight forward so they are very readable for independent readers.

3. It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
Todd Par books combine open minded and empowering messages for kids with colorful illustrations and humor.

4. The Wall by Eve Bunting
A more serious story that is great for Veteran’s Day.

5. Anything Pete the Cat
Kindergarteners just love Pete the Cat. Adults can appreciate the mellow attitude Pete models for the kids as he survives various wardrobe malfunctions.

Happy reading!