Saturday, March 23, 2013

Highlights From My Week...

I had a good week!  Ahhh... That feels so nice to say!  I mean, I truly, truly love my job.  I feel blessed every week to be able to do what I LOVE as my profession....but let's be honest...Not every week is a "good week."   But this week... I had a lot of just plain "fun!"   (And it was even "Assessment Week" believe it or not!?!)   Let me share some of the highlights from my week with you....

#1)   Artist of the Month

If you have followed my blog for a while, you already know that every month my class participates in a special art enrichment program that I call "Artist of the Month."   It's a program that I developed myself, with the help of one of my friends, to provide my students with the opportunity to learn about master artists.  Ya' see... I LOVE art.  Not that I'm an expert myself... I'm just a skilled "doodler" by nature...but I do truly have a deep appreciation for art!  And...  I wanted to share that with my kinders!  So... with a "love" in my heart, and an idea in my head, I "recruited" one of my BFFs to help me make my dream come alive!  Well... over the course of a year and a half, the program has continued to grow and improve... and my BFF... well that wonderful gal has literally taken on the entire project and made it IN.CRED.IBLE!  So now, every month she magically just shows up in my room with an AWESOME multi-media presentation on a different "master" artist.  She often dresses up in costumes (or recruits other school parents to "suit up") to spark the kiddos curiosity, and then presents a background on the artist, a show of his/her artwork, discussion of the artist's style/mediums, and then walks us through a step by step re-creation of one of the artist's most famous works.  The kids LOVE it!  It's amazing.  They beg for "Artist of the Month" day!   This month we learned about Edgar Degas.  Check out a few pics from our "Artist of the Month" day....

Mrs. Koenig (best friend...turned instructional assistant...and art specialist) and our guest ballerina model.

Isn't she beautiful?  So blessed to have a talented ballerina at our school who is willing to come in and model for us!  She taught us a few ballet positions too! The kids were amazed to see how she could stand "on point!"    (Wish I could do that!) I was too mesmerized to remember to take a picture of that!

First we learned to sketch in pencil.  Then we outlined using Sharpies.  (Do you know how many kiddos said, "My mom says I'm not allowed to use permanent markers!"  LOL)

 Next we used chalk pastels to color onto scrap paper...then used tissues to transfer the chalk onto our drawings.
Almost done!
Shucks! I forgot to snap a pic of our completed projects in our classroom "Kinder-Gallery!"  (I'll get one tomorrow and add it!  Check back!)

#2) Fun-Friday Theme: Walking with Jesus... Palm Sunday

First of all, let me remind ya' all I work in a private Christian school.  (BLESSED!)  Ok... now another note for ya, in case you are not familiar with my weekly schedule, I have a incredibly rigorous (yet VERY hands-on and differentiated) Monday - Thursday schedule.  (Do you know about our LEAP program?   More on that in another post!) So I deem my Fridays "Fun-Fridays."  Now don't let the name fool 'ya...they aren't just fun and games.   Ok.... they are a LOT of fun and games....but all of the fun and games practice curricular skills and standards!  Not to mention when you just call the day "Fun Friday" all the kids just inherently believe it is FUN....even if you are working them hard!  Gotta love 5 and 6 year olds!  Each week I select a special children's book or learning theme to focus on and we do ALL of our activities (cooking, science, social studies, math, computer name it!) around that theme.   Well... I had today's activities all planned out. It was supposed to be "Community Helper Day".... but at about 7pm last night... I changed my mind!  (Do you ever do that...or am I the only CrAzY one?!)  I was thinking about how our spring break begins next Thursday and how the timing of that really limits what I am able to do in regard to "teaching" about Easter.  So... I decided to totally re-plan the day to "teach" my lil' darlings more about Jesus' journey to the cross....specifically about Palm Sunday.   I won't go into every detail, as I know that many of you teach in public schools and can not teach these things (I taught in a public school for the first 10 years of my career), but I will share some highlights....

Easter Art Project

The kiddos painted the background with bright watercolors, then cut out the black silhouette hill and crosses.  BEAUTIFUL!

We watched this very age-appropriate Easter video on YouTube.  (This video is very child friendly/developmentally appropriate in regard to Jesus' death on the cross.)

This was our "highlight" of the day.  We re-enacted Jesus' journey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. 
Here we are at the beginning of our journey into Jerusalem! 
When I look at this picture, the first thing I think is, "Nice donkey." LOL.
The second thing I think is, "Seriously, Holly?  Why did you think you could pull off bright blue Rockstar jeans?  Hee!)  
The third thing I think is... Thanks Mrs. Kidd!  You rock as Jesus!  Nice beard!

Thank you to my teaching-buddy, Mrs. Kidd, for playing the part of Jesus in our skit.   (That woman will do anything if you give her a costume! LOL!)

Here we are waving our "palms" as Jesus
enters the city.

Our 6th grade "buddies" helped us out by playing the parts of the Pharisees and other Jerusalem townspeople. 
"Jesus"  is getting ready to turn over the tables in the temple where people
are selling and cheating others out of money.   It was quite dramatic!  The kiddos will definitely
remember THAT part of the lesson!
Well... considering it was VERY last-minute... the skit went incredibly well.   When the kids go to church on Sunday.... they will totally understand what "Palm Sunday" is all about! If you are interested in having the script for the skit, just comment below.  I will send it to ya!  
What were your highlights
from this week? 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring/Easter Themed Color-By-Code Packet

Well.... Look what a "snow day" does for ya?   As you probably know...I started the morning off by whipping up a quick Easter Bunny Themed Color-by-Number FREEBIE to celebrate my extra "day off" thanks to a little unexpected ice storm!  Well... the more I thought about it...the more I realized that I could really use a few more of those color-by-code type of activities to use this month for morning work and math enrichment times.  So I whipped up a few more!  Actually 25 in total!   Click below to take a look at my latest TPT packet which includes 5 spring/easter designs... ALL of which are "differentiated" to include the following skill pages:
1. Color by #
2. Color by #/Number Word Combo
3. Color by Number Word
4. Color by Color Word
5. Color by Sum (Addition problems to 5) <-- Common  Core "MUST" for Kinder-Kiddos!

 Below are a couple of "peeks" at two
of the 25 pages!

Wanna just try out the color-by-code worksheets? 
Check out the FREEBIE below, in my last post!

Bunny Color-By-Number FREEBIE!

Woke up this morning, showered, got dressed, was all ready to walk out the door....and THEN.... I heard the guy on the radio say, "We've got a list of school delays and cancellations a mile long!"  I was like..."WHAT?"   Well... un-be-knownest to me we had a little ice storm last night and the roads were an icy mess!   NO SCHOOL!!!   Well...since I was already up and ready for the day, I thought I might as well whip up a celebratory FREEBIE!  I love using "color by number" pages as morning work in my classroom as the kiddos enter and wait for announcements.   They love them too!   So here ya go!  Enjoy the freebie!

Click on the image above to download your FREEBIE!

Friday, March 15, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans!

Here is a peek at what "Fun Friday" looked like in my classroom today!   We celebrated St. Patrick's Day today.   Another fun-filled Friday! 

We started our St. Patrick's Day studies by teaming up with our 6th grade "Big Buddies."  We watched this awesome little YouTube video on the origin of St. Patrick's Day.   (We are a Christian we are able to celebrate the REAL reason for St. Patrick's Day, in addition to the fun traditions!)
Next, we made Trinity Shamrocks with the help of our buddies. 
We just LOVE our buddies! 
After lunch, my teaching partner, "Leprechaun Kidd,"  read the kiddos this story....
(Hat... Dollar aisle at Target! Gotta love the dollar aisle! I was wearing a super cute hat too...
but of course I never get in pics because I'm behind the camera!)
Then, we made some super-cute leprechaun puppets.  (Shoot!  I forgot to snap a pic of these!)  After that,  we just happened to find a note from a leprechaun!  Yep!  Tiny O'Riley himself left us a note to let us know he was in the building...and planning some leprechaun shenanigans for us!   We found a scavenger hunt "clue"... and began a hunt for gold!  (All leprechaun poems, notes and scavenger hunt materials can be found in my "St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans" TPT packet!)
The kids LOVED it!!!!   Here are a few pics of us "hunting" through the school:
(Check out our "Kinder-Gallery" display for this month above the kiddos heads.   Our artist of the month was Frida Kahlo.  Can you believe how incredible the kiddos bird art is?!  More about "Artist of the Month," later if anyone is interested!)
Woo-Hoo!  We found the rainbow....and "gold" at its end!
(My plan was to put rainbow colored Twizzlers in the bag with Rolos for gold...but guess what??  Yep... grocery store was out of them!  Had to settle for "X-tremes" rainbow candy strips! It worked ok! The baggie "topper" is in my TPT unit.)
Since we were in the gym.... we played a game of "Find the Leprechaun!"  I divided the munchkins into two teams...and numbered them off.  (Each team had 12 kiddos...numbered 1-12.)   We spread out 60 paper plates all over the gym.... Then have the kids close their eyes and face away as someone hides a leprechaun (picture of a leprechaun) under ONE of the plates.   Next, I call out two numbers.  (Example: "Numbers 1 and 2!")  And the children with the numbers 1 and 2 on BOTH teams race out to see which team can find the leprechaun first.   I love this game because you can control its pace.  You can make it go slower by calling one number/student at a time.... or call multiple numbers to speed up the "finding."  Again... directions and picture for this game can be found in my "St. Patrick's Shenanigans" TPT packet. 
Oh!  Did I mention the random leprechaun shenanigans that occured all day?
Next, we did some "Lucky Charm Math" using this great TPT packet from "Bizzy Teaching"....
Common Core Aligned St. Patricks Day Lucky Charms Graphing
(So fun!)
We ran out of time for "Leprechaun Snacks".... Rainbow cupcakes and Leprechaun Floats. (See St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans Unit)   So we skipped right to making our "Hocus Pocus Hats!"   Let me tell you... these hats are incredible!  I've made them a few times...and the kids freak out when they find the shrunken hats!   If you haven't tried HAVE to do it!  Even at home with your kiddos!  Heck... do it yourself just to see it even if you don't have kids!  (Again... details in my TPT unit!)  The way I do this is I have the kiddos decorate the hats on one day...then I take the hats home and "shrink" them... and bring them back and set them on the kids nametags again...and leave a note from the leprechauns telling how and why they shrink the hats!  

These were just a few of our St. Patrick's Day Fun-Friday activities!  If you are interested in any of the activities you see above, check out my St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans TPT Unit. It's on sale now!  Just click on any of the above pics or links!
What do you do to celebrate St. Patty's Day? 


Saturday, March 9, 2013

It's Friday Night and I'm hookin' up with my blogging buddy from Doodle Bugs Teaching to bring you five random happenings from my week!
#1 - We had a spectacular "snow day" on Wednesday.  Can ya' give me a "Woot!  Woot!"  ?!
(I am refusing to think about what that means for June...ugh!  Can you say June 14th?  Yep!  Last student day. Ouch!)
#2 - Enjoying my "15 minutes of Fame!"  Ok... actually it's more like 31 seconds...but hey, you don't get to make a commercial everyday!  (Check out my last post for details!)
#3 - Riding the rollercoaster between excitement and panic, as I watch the L.E.A.P. (Literacy Enrichment & Achievement Program) I developed at our school EXPLODE!!!!   Seriously... we are busting at the seams!  We have twice as many registrations as we have space for!  Love that it shows that our program is ROCKIN'....(and oh my gosh!  It is truly sooo much fun!)...but it gives me anxiety to think about how we are going to double our program size by fall!  Eeks!  I gotta say... Our L.E.A.P. staff is AWESOME!  This group MAKES the program!  Love my co-workers!!!
#4  - Had another great "Fun Friday" today.  Today's theme was "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."  We have the kiddos convinced that Fridays are nothing but SHEER FUN.... when in reality they are chock-full of awesome cross-curricular learning!  We compared/contrasted versions of the 3 Bears, sorted & graphed gummi bears, made porridge, created porridge recipes, and even played "Bear-O" (bear themed "bingo").  Oh yeah... did I mention squeezing in a visit from our Junior Achievement teacher, a half hour real marionette show from a traveling puppet show, and makin' snow ice cream!   (I've been promising my kiddos snow ice cream since January....but today was the first day we had enough snow!) 
#5 - I'm setting up a FaceBook page for my blog.  Hmmf!  I need some tips on what to do next!  Any suggestions?   Leave me a comment or on my blog on search out my Facebook page and "like" me!  I need friends, people!  Hee!
Be sure to check out Doodle Bugs Teaching Blog and share your "Five for Friday!" ... Even if it is past Friday!  (They accept "late work! Hee!)
   Click HERE!   

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dr. Seuss Day!

We had a GREAT day in kindergarten on Friday celebrating "Read Across America Day" in full Dr. Seuss theme!  Here are a few peeks at our fun frenzy.   (Yep!  More costumes!  Hee!)
Here I am ("The Cat in the Hat") with my two teaching side-kicks,  "Thing 1" and "Thing 2!"


Yum!   Super Seuss Snacks!
Added in some kinder-math by making a class graph entitled "Do You Like Green Eggs and Ham?" when we were finished snacking! 
Thing 1 and Thing 2 entered the room (as a surprise!) and were C.R.A.Z.Y!
They were jumping, hopping, throwing balloons!   I wish I could have recorded the kiddos' faces! (Next year I'm SOOO going to whip out my FLIP cam!) For the first 10 seconds they were TERRIFIED... then they couldn't stop laughing when they "recognized" who the crazy characters were! The "Things" continued their antics throughout the afternoon, even autographing kids hands with #1 and #2 (Not sure what mom and dad will think of having #2 "tattooed" on their hands! HA! Get it?)   At the end of the day the "Things" busted out of my classroom when the bell rang and jumped and ran down the hallways and scared the parents to death! Hee! It was SO much fun!
 A peek at one of my student's Seuss-y Center Craft-ivity!

We met with our "Big Buddies" in the morning and watched "The Sneethes" video on the SmartBoard...then did some buddy-reading.  My kinder-kids LOVE their "Big Buddies!!"
Also participated in our school-wide "Munch-N-Read" in the afternoon!   (Yes, I know.  The kids probably were so full at the day's end that they passed on supper!)

 Thing #1 read aloud to the kiddos.  We did a few YouTube videos on the SmartBoard too.   The kids were awesome at comparing/contrasting "The Cat in the Hat" YouTube vs. book versions. (Gotta hit those Common Core standards whenever ya get a chance!)
Little Selby hugs me at the end of the day and whispers in my ear, "Today was the BEST day EVER!"   Sweet baby-child melts my heart!  
(Gotta admit...She says this every Friday...but seriously...can you EVER hear that statement too much?!?!    Gotta love being a kindergarten teacher!)
Hooray for Fun-Fridays!