Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord!

Well... It's Sunday.  You know... the day that "Sunday Night Nervous Belly" usually strikes.  (I've called it that since I went through student teaching.  The "weight on your back" feeling of knowing you have to finish prepping for the instructional week ahead.) But, my dear sweet kinder-blogging friends, it is SUMMER! AHHH!   Don't you just LOVE summer break?  I do!   I love feeling a bit less stressed than usual... and often find my mind pondering multiple, un-related things all at one time.  Like a "Smorgasbord" -- A little bit of this... A dash of that... And a whole bunch of random.  So in celebration of "Sunday Smorgasbord" thinking (compliments of "Fab*u*lous in First") here are some of my random thoughts from today:

Random Thought #1
Only two weeks until I am in sunny Las Vegas with my bloggy friends... filling my brain with new kinder-info!  I'm getting ready to pre-print and bind my session handouts to take with me.  And look-y here!  That wonderful DeeDee Wills has created these (below) snappy little binder/packet covers so that we can all be organized...and classily-cute at the same time!  Click on the pic to get your free download!  (If you are going to Vegas sure to sign up for the "I Teach K" blogger meet-up.  See my post from last week!)
Just click on the image above to be linked to DeeDee's page.  
You can choose what format you would like to download there!

Random Thought #2
I love cute jewelry!!!  What gal doesn't, right?   The only thing that can be better than cute jewelry is INEXPENSIVE, cute jewelry!   Take a look at these super cuties I got this week!! (Pictures aren't the best...I just snapped them off with my iPhone quickly!)

Every set (necklace AND earrings come together) was $8 or less!!! Shut the front door, right?!  My super secret jewelry supplier can be found at   Girls, give me an OH YEAH!!!  (If anyone places an order, be sure to send me pics of your favorite finds!  They have purses too!!!)

What are your random thoughts for today?  
Share them with us!  Link up by clicking on the Sunday Smorgasbord Button at the top of this post! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Add a Little Art Enrichment!

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My school was one of the very last in the state to end this year, so I am just now enjoying my second week of summer break.   May was crazy.  You know how it is... crazy-in-a-good-way.   I did my best to focus all my energy on making every last day with my kinder-babies count!  One of my favorite end-of-the-year activities is our...

 If you have been following my blog for a while, you probably already know that over that past few years I have worked to create my own type of "art enrichment" program called "Artist of the Month."  Every month we devote one half-day to learn about a specific master artist, his/her unique style of art, his/her master works, and special techniques.  This program originated in my I truly do love art... both creating art and simply appreciating the great art works of others.   With the help of my best friend (who is also one of my instructional assistants -- I know! Right?! How blessed am I?!),  we have developed what we believe to be a pretty outstanding program.  (And one of the best parts is that it's actually a realistically "do-able" program for ultra busy teachers too!)   Each month, we begin our "Artist of the Month" time with a multi-media SmartBoard presentation which introduces the kiddos to the focus master artist, his/her background, famous works, special techniques and mediums, etc.  (All age-appropriate of course! For example, we do study Vincent VanGogh.  We do NOT discuss how he cut off his ear at the K level!)

These are some pics from our Vincent VanGogh introduction.   Note that we like to keep our introductions engaging!  On this day, our principal agreed to dress up like VanGogh!  Notice his palette and straw hat with lit candles (Ok, ours are battery-powered!).

(These pictures are from our Mondrian day.  We brought yellow, red and blue to life, didn't we!  Hee!  Don't I look good in a blue wig?!  Ack!  We extended the lesson with Mondrian inspired cookies before diving into creating our own Mondrian styled works!)
 After that, we are fully inspired to create our own works of art using the style and techniques we just learned about.  We spend the next hour with our sleeves up... creating our own breathtaking masterpieces!  I can not express how much THE KIDS love this program.   (To my surprise it is often the sport-minded boys who most often ask, "Can we have Artist of the Month today?")  Every month I post the kiddos' masterpieces in my classroom "Kinder-Gallery" (an area above the lockers in my room).

When we switch out the gallery displays and take down the prior month's art, I do NOT let the kids take home their art.  I keep it until the end of the year because we hold our big "Kinder-Gallery Art Show."    This is THE BEST!   Not only do we take over the gym and turn it into a realistic art gallery; art matted and hung everywhere, clothed tables with fancy "champagne" glasses full of grape juice and "artsy" foods like grapes and cheese & crackers, and classical music filling the air.... but we also do something else that is extra-"techy"-special!   In May, we break the kiddos into small groups based on their favorite artists and each group makes their own artist mini-movie on one of our iPads.   The day of the show, we invite friends and family to our room (it's wall to wall, standing room only folks!) where we show the mini-movies...and then invite everyone to see our own master artist inspired art works at the show.  The movies are AWESOME!  I can not post them online, due to privacy issues.  But it you are interested, email me and I will give you access to view them!  :)  I can walk you though what you need to know to create your own.  You'll be amazed!

We began implementing this program during the 2011-2012 school year, just in my class.   The first grade teacher saw how much the kids and parents LOVED the program...and we expanded it to include both kindergarten and first grade this past year.   After seeing it in action, the third, forth, fifth and seventh grade teachers at my school have asked us to help create and implement the program in their rooms!   I'm so excited!!!  And actually.... SO blessed that my friend/assistant loves art as much as I do and is now spear-heading the program!
If you are interested to learning more about how to add a little art enrichment into your kinder-schedule, be sure to post a comment or email me!  I would be happy to share our ideas, and resources with you!  Below you will find a few pics from our Kinder-Gallery Show.  Enjoy!

Piet Mondrian Inspired Art

Art inspired by Freida Kahlo.  Can you believe how well 5 year olds can draw birds!? Crazy good!

Check out these Georgia O'Keefe kindergarten works!   :)

Water lilly inspired works.  Thank you Claude Monet!

POP ART inspired by Andy Warhol!  These were a little freaky...but this kids LOVED them!  They were SO different than anything else they had ever created before!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

You Gotta' Join Us!!!

  Yes, YOU!  Did you know I have the secret of how to RE-CHARGE your teaching?    It's true!  If you are looking to invest in becoming the BEST teacher you can be.... You have to join me and the BEST KINDER-TEACHERS in the country for the SDE "I-Teach K" conference in Vegas!    Are you planning to go?   Or... are you daring enough to get in on planning a last minute summer get-away that will change you as a teacher FOREVER?!
  Just do it!  
And then be sure to join us for an awesome K blogger meet-up!  Check it out!
Thank you to The Teacher Wife for the cute button!
Don't forget to RSVP for this meet-up {here}

See you there!