Tuesday, January 31

Love Connections!

I think one of the best parts of teaching is watching our students make connections between what they're learning. Last week's combined theme of snowmen (postponed from our snowed-out week) and Chinese New Year provided an interesting background for connection making! Check out this adorable writing project we completed after reading Snowmen All Year by Carolyn Buehner (you can download the paper from Fabulous in First right HERE)...
If I had a snowman all year we would go to the Chinese parade and see the dragon.
And I saw a dog! Gung Hey Fat Choy!
This had me giggling to say the least. I love connections! Other snowman ideas follow...
...play at the park. 
...ride a rollercoaster.

...vacation to Hawaii. It was fun with the snowman.

We will go to ballet. We are dancing.

...go to the park and play with me, my mom, and dad.
My brother will make this.

...play games on my DSiXL.

...read under a tree.
In addition to the snowmen, we did work on Chinese New Year projects. Here is how the lanterns, dragon puppets, red packets, and tangrams turned out...

All-in-all a fabulously fun week! This week we're moving on to groundhogs...only five today said they had ever heard of Groundhog's Day before. But, they loved hearing about the tradition. There are a number of groundhog freebies available right now...check out Miss Kindergarten and First Grade Blue Skies for starters!

Keep smiling...and thanks for reading! 

Sunday, January 22

Our week...Take 2...with dragons

Click for printable
Last week was a wash. No fault of the kids. No fault of mine. Blame the weather. Five inches of snow and three snow days later (no--I'm not kidding--five inches of snow stops this area in its tracks)...we will start our week over. But..with a little Chinese New Year flair added in!

Monday is the first day of the Chinese New Year. I have scavenged the web for activities and think the kids will love spending time learning about the traditions as well as making lanterns and dragon puppets. In the process I stumbled on some other awesome ideas that I will be working on adding to our classroom too! I am loving these sight word jewels...now that the snow is gone and I can get out of my driveway and to the store I have just the project to work on during the football games this afternoon! Check out this link to Fairy Dust Teaching for directions.
I will post pictures when I finish mine...and snap shots of the kinders working on their Chinese New Year projects.

I can't wait to have colorful lanterns hanging around the room! Gung hay fat choy!

Should I be concerned that there is snow mixing in the with rain outside my window right now? Good grief...

Sunday, January 15

Not Again!

As planned, I read Martin's Big Words to my kinders on Thursday. They were very engaged during the whole story, but disappointed with the ending. I explained that while it did have a sad ending, it was a true story...that even though we might be sad about it, we still remember Martin Luther King today for what he did for our country.  They seemed to reconcile with that idea and moved on to their projects.

On Friday, however, when I read Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, it was apparent that they were still discontented with this little bit of American history. As soon as I read, "On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King was shot" there was a collective..."Not Again!"...as though they believed it would end differently. Maybe next year one biography of Dr. King will suffice!

So while I had hoped to see my kinders write something like "Thank you!" in their birthday cards for Martin Luther King Jr., I ended up with many that looked like this:

 :/  Kindergarten projects like these should probably go home with a disclaimer!

Wednesday, January 11

MLK Project

It's that time of year...time to teach about Dr Martin Luther King Jr.  Here's a sneak peak of what we will work on tomorrow. After reading Martin's Big Words, we will make a project with many of those "big words" from the book. Students will trace the words and then glue the sheet inside of a 12x18 piece of construction paper that is tri-folded so that the ends just meet in the center. On the outside, students will glue different color die cut handprints to the edges of the construction paper flaps so that they overlap as if holding hands.  I love that is is kinder-simple, but very representative of what MLK stood for. What do you think? I will update with pics of how they turn out tomorrow...for now...here's my sample and an insert sheet download freebie.

MLK Dream

On Friday, we will read Happy Birthday Martin Luther King and then make birthday cards as shared by 1st Grade with Miss Snowden. 

**Updated! :) I thought you would like to see how the kids' versions turned out! Here are a few...

Chin Up (don't worry...not P.E. style)

How does that song go..."don't worry, be happy"...that's about all I remember of it. I've decided that is my theme song for the rest of this year. It definitely beats singing "put one foot in front of the other...and soon you'll be walking 'cross the floooooooor, just put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walking out the door" (you know...from that red-headed Santa Clause Christmas cartoon). By the way, that is exactly what I was singing to myself in the car on the way to work this morning. I know...corny...but it is what popped into my head and got me going out the door.

I know I just said yesterday that I am loving this class and loving going to work each day...still true! Just finding it hard to keep my chin up as the talk of RIFs and copy budgets and program cuts keep ramping up. The state legislature is busy at work (making much more than me by the way while they do it...just saying) making next year's budget all the worse. Not to mention, the seniority list came out...and after four years teaching guess who is still 3 from the bottom? Mmmhmmm. Sooo, with a hubby retiring from the Navy in T minus 3 months...let's just say I'm feeling it.

I know I'm not the only teacher in "blogland" facing a looming RIF or an unemployed husband. What's sad is how often I read it. But, as I was sharing my silly stories in my last post...and immediately had a couple of responses...it was clear. Keep your chin up...keep smiling. Positive energy trumps depressive inertia every time. Soooo, I decided I needed to write something positive each and every day...or at least do something positive...even if it's just to smile when I really want to cry. Smell the flowers...blow out the candles. Smell the flowers...blow out the candles. And smile. You'll feel better. (I'll let you know how that goes...) In the meantime, I fully intend to enjoy every second I have left with this amazing group of kinders.

UPDATE:  No RIF!  My job is safe one more year.  And hubby (after five months of looking) finally signed employment papers for a new job…it just won’t start until October.  But, as Pete the Cat says…”It’s all good!" 

Blessed thoughts,

Tuesday, January 10

Seagulls and Senior Moments

It's January. My class is doing well. It is so nice to get up each morning and head into the classroom looking forward to the day. We are 75 days into the year and I am having so much fun. We have even maintained choice in Daily 5 (by this time every other year I have removed choice and instituted a set rotation). In fact, behaviors are quite in the norm and very well managed with the clip chart. I find myself wondering if using the clip chart would have worked wonders for my more challenging classes of years past...or if I am really just blessed with an amazing class this year. Either way...with a class of 24 all day kindergarteners...I'll take it.  Soon I need to post updated pics and projects...for now here are a couple of cute stories for you...

Do you have seagulls at your school?  Enough of them hang around our school that one might think we were seaside...don't we wish? While we do not have a lovely ocean view, we are near enough to inlets off of the Puget Sound and to the Hood Canal that numerous seagulls find it worth the short flight to hang around the playground in hopes of nabbing dropped crackers. Today however, one particularly pesky seagull managed to nab an entire sack lunch. Our students have recess before lunch and so take their lunches outside with them (placing them in bins until the whistle blows). The gutsy gull picked up a full paper sack out of the lunch bin and took it up to the roof. My little kindergarten buddy could only stand there and watch as his lunch flew away. Poor guy had to settle for a bean burrito hot lunch. When I asked him what had happened to his lunch later, his response was a simple..."a bird stoled it."

I had to laugh (but I really hope it doesn't happen again). The biggest laugh this week was on me though. While I admit that I am not exactly young...coming up on celebrating the second anniversary of my 39th birthday...I'm not exactly old either. Imagine my chagrin at receiving a Senior Living magazine in the mail yesterday...yes, sadly addressed misaddressed to me. My husband is still laughing. Me...not so much. Now how did that happen??

More later...keep smiling!