Thursday, 13 April 2017

Bunny Brunch

     Easter has a way of sneaking up on me and I often find myself scrambling to fit it all in before it's time to move on down the bunny trail!

     Despite this year's short notice (aka poor planning!), I still managed to pull a few "rabbits" out of my hat!
   
The whiskers appear when you add syrup!

     The trick to these little critters is to make the pancakes at home and then layer them between sheets of wax paper in your crockpot.  Bring the crockpot to school (which means you get to leave the griddle, mix, eggs, oil, etc. at home!), plug in and set to the warm setting.  Easy Peasy!

     And if you have generous parents who offer to help, ask them to buy and cut up the melon and/or strawberries.  Big time saver!

     Add a few rabbit ears, oval-shaped plates, cute napkins & table cloths and abracadabra - it's a bunny brunch!



     You can assemble the plates for the children or let them build their own bunny face!

     Who doesn't love pancakes?



Happy Easter and thanks for stopping by!

Jackie

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

     We just finished a cool project that I wanted to share with all of you!  It comes to us from our Project Lead the Way program in our unit on structure and function. This year we coordinated with our art teacher, which was a wonderful opportunity for a true STEAM collaboration. 


Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


     To begin, the art teacher explored the process of mark making with the kindergartners and showed the children samples of various brushes. 


Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


     Some were even made of hay and natural deer hair.  They also were given a paper brush and asked to cut slits into the brushes to help them think about how different angles make different marks. 
     
     They then used these brushes to make marks and explore how the amount of paint and the features of the brush affect their art.   


Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


     Back in the classroom, we asked children to think about designing a brush that would first of all, function well, and secondly, make the kinds of marks they were interested in making. We then brainstormed a list of materials that they might use and drew design sketches.


Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


     The next day, we reviewed our designs, talked a little about the engineer design process (mostly about frustration and perseverance) and got to work.  They really enjoyed making the brushes and while a few did go for "pretty," most were intent on making a functional brush.


Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


     I noticed a big difference in the brushes they created this year! The background, built by the art teacher, was crucial to what they brought to the design process.  This taught me a lot about STEAM work and how content works together with process.  If they are not thinking about the particular object's function, then they are just making stuff!   

     The following week, the children brought their brushes to art class to test their designs.  The teacher modeled making his favorite mark, a flower-like shape. 


Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

     The children then chose their favorite mark and got to work.  They each made several marks and then selected their favorite! 



Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project
   
     When they returned to the classroom, they evaluated their designs and named one thing they might add or change if they were to redesign their brush.  They were very thoughtful about what worked and what didn't.  

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project
Find the design and evaluation pages here:

     Their work was then mounted and displayed for parents to view at our school's annual STEAM Expo.  Parents enjoyed seeing their child's work and finding out more about this project.

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


     We even invited families to "Make Their Mark" to provide an interactive component to our exhibit.

Kindergarten STEAM: The Paintbrush Project


     I truly enjoyed this project and learned a TON in working together with the art teacher! How can you coordinate with one of your special area teachers to design and carry out a project?

Thanks for stopping by!

Jackie

       


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Sunday, 19 March 2017

When the Leprechaun Comes Marching In

     While March 17th was intended to be about St. Patrick, the leprechaun has now taken center stage and even seems to have upgraded his status to one that rivals Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.  My own kids were even known to call it  "Leprechaun Day," when they were young.
     In the classroom this can be a tricky time for teachers! We want to feed children's interest and imaginations, yet we don't necessarily want to spend all month looking for leprechauns as children gather evidence in the form of lint specs found on the carpet.
    So here are some activities that I have found, that allow me to embrace the fun and magic of the season, while keeping the leprechaun "fever" in check.

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic


     At the beginning of the month, I introduce a seasonally-themed attention getter and line-up song that infuse fun and imagination into our daily routines.

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
You can find this FREEBIE here:

     Green and shiny things are added to centers and are available throughout the month of March. Pretend play naturally arises from the children's work with the materials they find there!
 
St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
Play dough with shiny loose parts


St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
St. Patty's day themed sensory table

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
shades of green to explore in the art center

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
pots and gold for counting, measuring, and comparing
    
St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
shamrocks in the science center for observing and drawing

     Penny investigations, using mini pots of "gold," are done in small math groups and used to practice skills such as counting, fair shares, measuring, estimating, predicting, missing addend, and more!  Lucky, the math mascot found on each page, guides children through each investigation by asking "math talk" questions. 
  
St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
You can find this here:

     Guided drawings of leprechauns using Arthub provides great fine motor practice!  The children add their own details making each one unique! 

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic

They also write about what they would do if they caught a leprechaun. 

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
Find this FREEBIE here:

     Sight words are practiced using this fun game where children take turns reading a word in hopes of finding the "pot of gold" that is hidden behind one of the cards.

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
You can find this FREEBIE here:

     As the big day draws closer, the magic really begins! With one day to go, we find a poem, some cups, and markers in our snack basket.  The poem invites us to decorate the "hats" and leave them overnight.

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic
Find the poem and directions here:


St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic

     The next morning, the children are surprised to find these "shrunken hats" sitting atop a little bag of gold.  

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic


     In the afternoon we go hunting for more gold.  Each gold piece is hidden with a 100 grid number card. As children find each card, they bring it to the 100 chart and place it in the matching pocket.

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic

Find the number cards here:

     The gold, which is an assortment of pennies, plastic coins, chocolate coins, and candy go into their bags.  

St. Patrick's Day Fun and Magic

     In the end, rather than stifling their imaginations, I've chosen to fuel them and incorporate the magic of the season into their play and learning.  What works for you when the leprechauns come marching in?

Thanks for stopping by!
Jackie
   
     
     





     
     
       

     

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Classroom Call Backs (Attention Getters)

     Ever stop to count the number of times you have to get children's attention throughout the day? Neither have I! But I would guess we're talking double digits. Multiply that by 5 days in a school week and your clap/clap/stomp, lights out, or "All set/You Bet," gets real old by the end of the first week! So if your "Macaroni Cheese/Everybody Freeze" isn't as "chill" as it once was, you might need to add a few more attention getters to your teacher's toolbox!
     So to help meet my own attention getter "quotas," I created some call and response rhymes/chants for each month of the school year.
Here's how they work:




      In September, I'll introduce the two call backs and use them repeatedly until the children know them well. When October arrives, the same rhymes/chants are altered slightly to reflect a seasonal theme providing a novel, but consistent routine for gaining children's attention.  For example, in the “Ten Up on Top” call back, children are "holding up" apples in September, pumpkins in October, pies in November and so on. With the "head and shoulders" call back, children "freeze" like different seasonal characters such as scarecrows, monsters, or turkeys.  Even within a month such as October, there is lots of opportunity for variation as you can substitute "candy corn" for "pumpkins"  or "mummy" for "monster." 


You can get the March FREEBIE here:

Classroom Call Backs (Attention Getters)



or the whole set here:


Classroom Call Backs (Attention Getters)



You might also like these:

   
Have fun with those Kinders and thanks for dropping by!

Jackie

 



    





  



    

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Class Cheers

    When I was pregnant with my first child, I noticed pregnant women everywhere! Certainly pregnant women were nothing new, but I was tuned-in in a way that I had never been before. Positivity is like that too! The more you look, the more you’ll find! 
    While there are lots of ways to reinforce positive behavior, I’m not a fan of many of them.  Mostly because there is often a flip-side to these techniques where something is taken away or witheld when behavior is not-so-positive.  There’s a lot of see-sawing and keeping track and I have a hard time being consistent and equitable.  Maybe that’s just me! 
     Class cheers, however, are something I can really rally around!  They encourage me to look for the positive and, together with the children, celebrate accomplishments, good deeds, kind words, and more! They are also just plain fun and the kiddos light up like a Christmas tree when the cheer is for them!


Class Cheers



     So, if you’d like a few cheers in your “back pocket,” I’ve written one for each month of the school year allowing you to introduce a new seasonally-themed cheer from September to June. Use these to recognize individual children, partnerships, teams, or even the whole class while building classroom community and creating a positive learning environment. 

You can get the March Cheer FREEBIE here:


Class Cheers



or the whole set here!


Class Cheers


You might also like this:




Thanks for dropping by!

Jackie



   


  
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