Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Whew! Holiday break is here! :D It's been quite exhausting this week between all the things that I need to do for the classroom and for the holidays! I went home yesterday and I ended up taking a nap! Yesterday, we celebrated the upcoming holidays with decorating gingerbread cookies and learning about the polar express and there were some gifts too! When the children came in this morning, there were gifts under the tree!
And as promised, here is a photo of the gingerbread houses on display!

We started the morning by doing some yoga poses. Today, I taught the class the cat pose!
T.S, D.K and A.K doing child's pose
G.A doing cat pose
Also on a related note--my donors choose project for a class set of yoga mats has been approved. Click here to check it out!
Decorating the gingerbread cookies was much more relaxed and organized than making the gingerbread houses! Here are some photos from yesterday:
T.S' mom works with T.D, A.K and T.S as they decorate their cookies
O.B and T.W decorate their cookies with mini candies
K.W, J.M, G.S and G.P decorate their gingerbread people
O.B's dad works with O.B, K.M and T.W
J.M and K.W
G.A uses the piping bag to add frosting
D.K and G.A adorn their gingerbread people with sprinkles
A.R finishes up her gingerbread cookie
O.S looks at his finished gingerbread cookie
A.R spreads frosting on her gingerbread cookie
G.P and G.S decorate their cookies

Special thanks to O.B's dad and T.S' parents for coming in to volunteer! The students really enjoyed your company. :) Thanks to all the families donated frosting and candy for the event!

Santa also came by today!

I want to wish everyone a happy, restful, refreshing and love-filled holiday break! If your family is traveling, I wish you safe travels! I know I say it so often, but I am ever so grateful for the warmth and support I've received from all families! It's been an amazing couple of months so far and I can't wait for what's to come in the new year! I sent home with each child-a little holiday bag (they are probably in their book bags) and in each bag there is a wrapped DVD I created using photos taken from the classroom and from each child's individual five senses stories and the class singing from the on the ground school assembly. I hope everyone enjoys watching! Each child also went home with a gift created for their families! Also, with a generous donation from PAL (Police Athletic League), every child went home with a gift from Santa! Nap blankets were also sent home to be washed. I also sent home a letter on Wednesday about things our classroom needs. We are in dire need of paper towels and tissue boxes. As of Friday, we have no paper towels and are on our last tissue box. Any donations would be appreciated greatly. :)

Remember to continue reading to your child every night! Also, for some fun and educational online activities, check out this website here, it was created by one of my colleagues from my last school in Queens. It's very early childhood friendly!

I'll be blogging now and then during the holiday break but mostly on personal happenings. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments. I will still be checking my email daily during the break.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Messy gingerbread fun

In my head, I thought creating gingerbread houses would be a relatively peaceful activity-holiday music playing in the background, students working together to place various candies on the houses, and that using a box kit would help to make it more organized. Boy, was I wrong! The students did work together and they had a lot of fun and the results were amazing, but the process was quite messy to say the least! I may have to rethink the activity in the future. A.R's mom suggested using pre-made cardboard houses, which would alleviate the biggest problem of today-unstable gingerbread houses due to consistency issues with the icing. It's actually quite hard to put together a gingerbread house. I have much respect for those complex and fanciful gingerbread houses now! In the end, I'm glad the class had fun and they really enjoy looking at the houses on display-the finished gingerbread houses have been nearly irresistible! I've wrapped them in plastic wrap and they will be on display tomorrow as well! A big thanks goes to the family members that volunteered today-O.B's mom, D.K's mom, A.R's mom and Stacy! I can't thank you enough for volunteering! The class had so much fun! :)
D.K's mom works with a small group on the roof of the gingerbread house
O.B's mom works with the kids to put the walls together
A.R's mom places icing on the gingerbread walls
Putting icing down on the foundation
T.D and T.S help hold the gingerbread walls
An adorable photo of the group that worked with D.K's mom
O.B and X.I put candy on the roof, G.A and G.P put candy on their side of the roof
Putting icing all over one side of the roof
The completed house that J.M, K.W, D.K, A.R along with D.K's mom and sister worked on
A.K and T.S put candy on the roof
The completed house that A.R, J.C, O.S and K.M along with A.R's mom work on
I will post a photos of all the completed houses tomorrow! I am crossing my fingers for a less messy adventure with decorating the gingerbread people!

Thanks to T.S' dad for coming in for a second time to do a read aloud!

I am super grateful for all the parent involvement this year! It has been wonderful and such an encouragement for the children to see the family/school connections. Thank you families for supporting our classroom! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Caves!

Two more days until holiday break!! :) I realized we lit the classroom menorah incorrectly yesterday so we corrected that today when we lit our second candle!

We started off the day with some simple yoga poses to calm our minds and bodies! We don't have access to the small gym from Wednesday to Friday but we made use of our classroom space.
We did some downward dog-

and some upward dog-
and tree (with individual modifications)-
and child's pose-

Tomorrow, we'll try out cat pose and/or camel pose. T.S showed everyone the happy baby pose, which is really fun to do, but we may have to save that one for when we're in the small gym for space purposes!
UPDATE: I have created a donors choose project request for 18 yoga mats so I'm crossing my fingers, we can get these before the end of the year! :)

We're finishing up the hibernation unit with the creation of our own caves! Winter has started and the animals are just about ready to hibernate! Using cardboard for the base and a toilet paper roll for additional support and a place to put the bear in, the students chose a variety of beautiful junk materials to create their caves.
The students mold the clay to create the foundation of their caves
J.M chose to put potpourri on her cave
G.P adds to her cave
K.W cuts up an old gift bow
G.A places packing peanuts on her cave
J.A placed a small box top at one end of his tube to enclose the cave, and "the bear will be warm"
O.B places a tiny branch from the fraser fir tree on his cave
G.S used part of an egg carton for the top of his cave

 Some of the completed caves:
The class is waiting for the glue to dry and the clay to harden and we will test out the caves with miniature teddy bears we have in the class! Hopefully, we will be able to tell stories about hibernation tomorrow using the created caves and the bears!
Tomorrow is also an exciting day because we will be creating gingerbread houses! The class has been itching to work on this project since they saw the boxes of gingerbread houses in our classroom! With the wonderful creativity the kids showed in building caves today, I can only imagine what's to come with the gingerbread houses! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Three more days until holiday break! :) It was still too cold to go outside for movement! It's been really deceptive because every morning the students look outside when we talk about the weather for the day and they always notice how sunny it is! We went to the small gym today and I tried out some simple yoga poses to warm them up. The whole class really took a liking to doing the postures! We tried out the downward dog pose yesterday and today, we tried out upward dog and tree poses. Yoga for young children is a great way for them to calm their bodies and minds and improve their flexibility and posture. I will research more child friendly yoga poses for the kids in the future and possibly put up a class set of yoga mats for my next donors choose project :) Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera into the gym but the next time we do yoga-I will definitely snap some photos!
In the morning, the kids also worked on a special surprise for their families! I would show photos but it's a surprise! ;)
We also talked about Hanukkah today! Today is the first day so we "lit" our first candle on our class menorah.

We also took turns spinning a dreidel!


We did some cooking today too! Our class made latkes/potato pancakes!
After I cracked the eggs, the class took turns beating them.

Then, we added some water. G.P and D.K measured water using our measuring cups. We then added in the potato pancake mix. I thought about using actually potatoes for this cooking adventure...but the recipe called for a lot of potatoes for us to grate! Even with so many hands, I worried we wouldn't have them done by snack time! After measuring and adding in the mix, we took turns mixing all the ingredients.
We let it sit for a bit and then, I fried them up on the electric griddle. The class got to hear the sizzle from the pan. With adult supervision, some of the kids, with my help, got to flatten some of the pancakes and move them around in the pan.

After the frying, everyone got a choice to try them!


Tomorrow, we will go back to talking about hibernation and use clay and assorted beautiful junk to create our own caves!