Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preview of Five Senses Stories

I've been thinking of ways to weave storytelling into our daily learning and thought that using the five senses would be a great way to support storytelling. Using our five senses chart with sentence starters, "I smell, I hear, etc" I encouraged the class to think about the senses they used in their story. I modeled telling a simple story of eating dinner and smelling the cooked rice and hearing music from the radio in the background. It was also a great opportunity to try out using the flip camera! The flip has better video quality than my digital camera and has a handy USB, so in the afternoon we ventured to the school library to watch the videos on the SMARTboard. It was fantastic to see how proud each child was of their own story and some even complimented others' on their stories! After viewing T.S' story about walking to school with his dad, O.B turned to him and said "That was a nice story, T."

As part of a holiday gift, I will hopefully have all the videos compiled for everyone to take home! Until then, below is a preview. G.A tells a story about her dad buying cereal and then eating it and K.W tells about a birthday party for his cousin that included skating, games, pizza and cake!

While viewing the stories-I found the background noise to take away from the story. So in the future, Kacey or I will have to take the child telling the story into a quiet space for better sound quality.

Tomorrow is the first day of December-I can't believe how fast time has gone by! And I have a special surprise for the class tomorrow!! Can't wait!

Fully Funded!

I will post a longer blog post later tonight but I am so excited-I can't contain myself. Today, I found out that my donors choose project has been fully funded! Our classroom will be receiving another light table, prism blocks, agate table slices and an overhead projector! I am excited for all the kinds of activities and projects that we will use these new resources for! A big thank you goes to the donors-Ms. Rebecca (a former colleague of mine from NYC), Jessica S, Ann D, Jana, J. Anderson, M. Fisher, a best friend and one of my maids of honor, Lauren M. and to OO.com that donated on behalf of the Next Jump SA500 Charity Drive! This is wonderful news! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The terrarium

I introduced the terrarium to the class today! Everyone was excited to look at it and some were even more excited about the possibilities of adding bugs to it! It'll be a wonderful addition to our science center. I explained what a terrarium was and what was inside. We passed it around and while also looking at it, I encouraged everyone to smell it. 
X.I smells the terrarium
KW inspects the terrarium
T.D looks into the terrarium
A.R smells the terrarium
Many of the students said it smelled like a plant and some said it smelled like rocks. Most of the kids enjoyed looking at it more than smelling it! The terrarium did exude a musty and earthy smell.
I also brought a cranberry scented candle to add to our scent tray. The class enjoyed this scent much more! We passed around the candle to smell and discuss.

J.M said it smelled like cranberry sauce, J.A said it smelled like cranberry juice, T.S and D.K said it smelled like a candle and G.P said it smelled like flowers!

For center time today, I asked everyone to take some time to smell the different things in their centers! In the playdough center, I encouraged them to smell the playdough. K.W said the playdough smelled like food. In the art center, I encouraged smelling the oil pastels--they have a different scent from crayons!  In the math center, while counting various items from nature and some potpourri pieces, the students also took some time to smell the items.

Science center was open today and contained the basket of scented items.

Here is a video of D.K and T.S at the science center:
 In the video, T.S says the terrarium smells like basil!

Here is a video for the letter U!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Smelly!

It feels like its been a longer break than it actually was! The students came in excited and ready but we did notice many were quite tired. We got back into the swing of things by reviewing some structures and practicing classroom routines. We also changed everyone's seats so they have an opportunity to get to know other friends better!

Some of you may have noticed that your child went home with a big blue bag with 5 books inside-this is our PreK lending libary-every child's folder has more information on this. The bags with everything inside are due back every Friday. If the child does not return the bag, they will not be able to take another one home. We were able to get through half the class with bags-tomorrow the other half will be able to take home these books. Please also make sure you sign the contract for the lending library in your child's folder.

We are finishing up the five senses study and today we explored our sense of smell by smelling various scents. I had containers with coffee grounds, cinnamon, potpourri, parsley, cotton balls sprayed with perfume, tea bags, car fresheners with the scent of cupcakes, fresh towels and the beach. We passed around the scents to start the discussion of smelling.

Some of the scents were easier to identify than others. A.R was the first to identify the coffee and many of the students talked about how they smell it when grown ups drink it. It was surprising but a lot of the class enjoyed the scent of coffee. The cinnamon was also an easy one because we used it in cooking and with making applesauce play dough. With the perfume and the potpourri, J.M said it smelled like lotion, many said it smelled "good" and G.P said it smelled like flowers. The parsley was the hardest to pick up on and the class talked about how they didn't like the smell of it. The car fresheners were easy to identify because of the visuals on them, but many enjoyed the vanilla cupcake one!

In the science center, I opened all the scents for further exploration and provided clipboards for them to draw what they smelled.
Scent exploration in the science center
K.M draws the cupcake she smells
G.P draws the flowers she smells from the potpourri
Here are some video clips of some conferences I had with the students at the science center:



We also voted on our favorite scents:
The smell of coffee and cupcakes were the most liked!

Sorry for the late blog post this evening! I attended the free workshop about terrariums given at the Albany Public Library on Delaware Ave that I mentioned about last week! I saw Ms. Rebecca from the class' library visit and I thoroughly enjoyed creating a terrarium for our classroom!



I'll be introducing the finished terrarium to the class tomorrow! I'm so excited! :) With December upon us, I took out the orange, brown, yellow decor and opted for some holiday decor--

Also, I have updated the upcoming dates for December! Click here

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank you!

Thank you to all the families that came to parent teacher conferences. Kacey and I throughly enjoyed speaking with all of you about your children! If you were unable to make it to your meeting and would like another appointment, please speak to me and we can work out on a convenient time and date. On Monday, I will be sending home information about our classroom lending library. If you wish to participate, you may sign and we will send your child home with a bag with 5 books inside. They need to be returned on Friday and we will rotate bags so every child will get different books each time. :) When we get back, we will be talking about the sense of smell!

I will be participating in a Turkey Trot tomorrow! I'm crossing my fingers for no rain or snow! We wish everyone a restful and happy Thanksgiving break! We can't wait to hear what every child did over the break! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Feast

Super thanks to all the families that contributed to our wonderful Thanksgiving feast today! The class have been so excited leading up to today and they really had lots of fun sharing food with one another and our class visitors! Thank you to everyone had brought in food for our class and to all the family members that came to the feast and share food with us! It was a wonderful experience! The kids got to choose whether to wear their Native American headdresses or their pilgrim hats and they sat on a long table altogether just like the First Thanksgiving!
 


The class also made these turkeys to serve as centerpieces for our feast yesterday:

During our morning meeting, we talked about being thankful and what it means to be thankful. We went around and shared what we were thankful for. I wrote a sentence started to provide language support! Here are video clips of what the class is thankful for!



I just want to say how thankful I am to be an educator! I am incredibly thankful for all the students this year, while there are always challenges-every single day in the classroom makes me think deeper about teaching. Every single child continues to teach me and I am every so thankful for experiencing their learning first hand. I am thankful for all the wonderful families I met this year-thank you everyone for being so involved in your child's education-it is truly inspiring! And I am thankful for Ms. Kacey for being a thoughtful and supportive teaching partner. Having been in New York City all my life and moving up to Albany this year-it has been a bit of struggle to adjust but coming into school makes me less homesick everyday! :)

Today, each child received their report cards-you will find them in your child's folder. Please read them over and bring any questions and/or comments tomorrow at parent teacher conferences. Kacey and I are excited to have in-depth discussions with each family about each child! Tomorrow, we will also be sending home each child's blankets. Please wash them and bring them back on Monday.


Side note: Mr. Flynn was unable to visit our classroom today (it's been a hectic day), but hopefully soon he will come back to answer all the great questions the class came up with about ladybugs! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ladybug Questions

Sorry everyone-not much time and energy to write a full blog post tonight! My first ever Turkey shoot was thrilling! It was great to see such a great turnout and to see such excitement in the whole school community! I also enjoyed my cupcake at the end of the evening :) My evening was filled with Turkey shoot activities and cooking food for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast (11:00am-12:00pm)!

I will post tomorrow, but I do want to share something special from today! Having found a ladybug in our classroom Friday afternoon, the class had lots of questions about ladybugs! It was best to consult an expert--the school's science teacher, Mr. Flynn! The class loves visitors and love meeting new people so we wrote a letter to Mr. Flynn:

All the kids got to sign the letter and G.P drew some ladybugs on it for us! Mr. Flynn said he loved our letter and later on in the day, he came to our class to visit and give us some really neat tools to look at our ladybug better and lots of information about ladybugs!
Also, it's true--we tried to "feed" the ladybug to the spider but I guess ladybugs aren't in Spider-man's diet! Spider-man and the ladybug looked at each other and then Spider-man turned around and walked away. K.W hypothesized that Spider-man didn't eat the ladybug because they're friends and friends don't eat each other!
Mr. Flynn said he would come by again tomorrow to answer more of our questions. Tomorrow, we will do some shared writing and put all of our questions onto chart paper for Mr. Flynn! :)

Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow!! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Name puzzles and New Books!

Thank you to all the families that donated money for a great cause for the school's PJ day! Much of the class came in with PJs! :) The class had another fun packed Friday!

I made name puzzles for my kindergarten classes in the past-it worked well-the kids always thought it was fun and it helped students to recognize their name and the letters in their name as well as their friends' names. I thought it would be great to try out with the class! The name puzzles consist of a card with each child's name and individual post its-each with a letter of the name. The child has to put the name together with the help of the name card. The class loved them and they were so proud of making their name and then making their friends' names! The name puzzles are now a part of our writing center!

Also, you may have noticed that your child went home with 2 new books on Friday! These books were provided by a grant called RIF (Reading is Fundamental), which is a federal grant that gives books to children! On Friday, the class went to the school library to choose 2 brand new books to bring home with them! The kids loved being able to pick out their own books! They used the cover to tell what the book would be about to inform their choices! Afterwards, while waiting for their friends to choose, they sat in the library to read their books!


In preparation for our class' Thanksgiving feast, we made Native American headdresses--this week we'll be making pilgrim hats as well and the students will get to choose which ones they would like to wear at the feast!


While next week will be a short week-it's going to be quite a busy week. Tomorrow evening, Monday, November 21st from 5:30pm-7:30pm will be T.O.A.S.T's Annual Turkey Shoot out! All teachers will be there helping out with lots of fun activities! I will be helping out at the first grade hoop if anyone would like to come by and say hi! Make sure to stop with your children for lots of fun and tons of opportunities to win things!

Tuesday will be our Thanksgiving feast in the classroom! Parents and family members are invited to attend! Our feast will be from 11:00am-12:00pm. Report cards will be also be distributed!

Wednesday is no school for students. Parent teacher conferences will be taking place. We sent home a letter with the finalized conference times on Friday!

I am so excited for our feast on Tuesday! In preparation, I am learning how to roast my very first turkey! To brine or not, to stuff or not-I'm crossing my fingers for a delicious turkey for the class! Here is the updated menu for our feast. Let me know if you would like to contribute anything! :)
-Turkey
-Chicken
-Rice
-Mashed potatoes
-Potato salad
-Green beans
-Cranberry sauce
-Apple sauce or rolls
-Dressing
-Cherry pie
-Apple pie
-Apple/cranberry tarts

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Patterns!

K.W, G.A, and T.D at the science center listening for different sounds



















Ahhh! Sorry for the late blog post! I've been running some errands so I apologize for the short blog post tonight! The class made more sound stories today so I will be making those over the weekend and videos will be up by the end of the weekend :)
While continuing to work on sound, we learned about patterns today!
This is the chart we used, I created the first two patterns and the class worked on completing them
The last pattern we created together-its fish, spider, fish, spider, etc.



In the math center, the children created their own patterns. They were really proud to show them off!
 

The class is super excited about our Thanksgiving feast next week! So far we have on our list of food:
-chicken
-rice
-cherry pie
-pumpkin pie
-apple pie
-apple sauce or crescent rolls

Ms. Kacey and I will be bringing the following:
-potato salad
-mashed potatoes
-turkey (hopefully)
-corn
-green beans
-cranberry sauce

Please let us know if you would like any suggestions on what to bring or have any questions! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sound Stories

On our listening walk on Monday, I introduced the recorder as a tool we will be using in the classroom. Today, we used it to create sound stories! Having used our sense of hearing to hear various sounds both in and out of the classroom, the class used those experiences to support the creation of sound stories. I modeled drawing a story I wanted to tell and telling the story using sounds. These stories would then be recorded for the class to listen to as a class for sharing or at the listening center. These stories also helped me to "test the waters" for our future storytelling project. The stories were full of personality and personal interests. For support, I asked the students questions to add details to the stories. This activity took place in our art center. Here are some of the sound stories from our class. Sorry for the background noise--the science center was full of various items that made sound--so you may hear bells in the background. The class especially loves the different bells on the tray! You'll hear a lot of bells in the background.
 
 T.S
 
  G.P
J.M

D.K

I will upload more sound stories as they are created! :)

Ms. Kacey brought in x-rays from her family members! The class is learning the letter x and it was great for them to have a first hand experience looking at real x-rays especially at the light table!

Here is an adorable and educational video explaining x-ray to children via Sesame Street

I visited the local library today (the Delaware Ave. Branch) to check out some books and I found this free workshop available for adults on creating terrariums. All materials will be provided free of charge! I jumped on this right away because I've been thinking about creating a terrarium for the classroom!
The photo is a bit blurry but the date for this event is Monday, November 28th 5:30pm at the Delaware Ave. Branch library. You can go to the library to register or call 518-463-0254.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Building our teepee

I brought in a special surprise for the class today! Thanksgiving is coming up and I want to start integrating some mini lessons, activities and projects for the class to learn more about this holiday. Using these instructions, and with a donation of bamboo sticks from my mother-in-law and with the help of my husband, I was able to put together the structure of a teepee. I showed the students pictures of Native Americans and Pilgrims and gave a brief summary of the story of the First Thanksgiving. We will be reading a story about the First Thanksgiving later this week. I talked about how Native Americans lived where we live now a loooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time ago. I showed photographs and pictures and the class talked about their noticings-how there were no apartments, houses and a lot of trees! I introduced a picture of a teepee and talked about how Native Americans used them as homes.

Our project today was to decorate our teepee with things that were special to us, things that we're learning about or things in our world. I left it very open for the students because I want this teepee to be special to everyone in their own way. I drew my dog and wrote my name and together, everyone grabbed some markers and began making their own special mark on our teepee.

Here is a photo of our completed teepee, which will be open for the students to explore. I'll be placing some items related to Native American culture later on!


Here are some video clips of the students working on the teepee and the last one is a video I made with compiled photographs of students working on the teepee and then sitting in the teepee.



We continued working with sound. We played a game of guessing what made the sound with these items:



This week in the science center, a tray of items that create sound will be available for students to experiment with! Tomorrow, we will be creating stories with sound! I can't wait to hear what the class comes up with!