Thursday, May 31, 2012

No blog post tonight!

Today was beautiful! I went out for a run after work and had lots of fun attending J.C, D.K and T.S' tball game (photos to come!). I love to see the kids outside of school and see them participating in extracurricular activities. If there any events, games, recitals, etc. that I can attend-I would love to support! :)

Reminder-tomorrow is school spirit day (the last one of the year)! :) 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Drafting our dioramas

Sorry for the late blog post again-had to run some errands! I stopped by the shoe store to pick up the shoe boxes for everyone's dioramas!

We started off our day by heading to the school library for the last day of RIF (reading is fundamental), a grant which allows each student to take a book home to keep! Every child chose a book to bring home!
T.D and K.W reading their books from RIF
D.K and G.S read Inch by Inch
I love storytelling-it really gets the creative juices flowing in kids! It's also very individual, personal and unique! I wanted to start storytelling with allowing the kids freedom in creating their stories with art. Dioramas are a great blank canvas for that-because they can draw, paint, sculpt, or use any medium for that matter to depict their story. I started by showing the students, my draft for my diorama and then my diorama. The children were fascinated with my diorama and were even more excited to learn that they'll be creating their own. D.K insisted that I left my diorama at school for them to view.
Me hiking my dog in the state park
We focused on adding details, which the kids were great with! Without being told to (since they aren't needed in the diorama), several students labeled the items in their stories!
G.S "I ride on the train"
A.R "I'm in N's house. These are the decorations in the house. I'm going to get strawberries in the house"
D.K "My dad and I went fishing. The train went by" (Click on the photo see his dad and him in the lower right hand corner)
X.I "I'm going upstairs and I play with my toys"
T.D (I didn't get a chance to document her telling me the story---will fill in tomorrow!)
O.S "J.C was looking for me and then he found me"
G.A "I was going to the park. When I was going to the park, I saw a flower. I went on the swings and the slide"
A.R "The sun is coming out. The flowers are growing. I put water on them"
T.S "I'm on the subway with mom and dad" (Check out how T.S labels passenger on the top right hand corner!)
K.W "I'm jumping into the pool"
J.C "It's me and my dad in the car. M and I were having gum. My mom said we have to spit the gum out when we get home"
O.B " X.I and I are having a play date. We are in X.I's grandpa's house. We are playing with the toys"
K.M "I'm riding the bike. Mommy is watching me. There's a spider" (Look for the spider on the bottom right corner!)
T.W "I'm with A. We are playing on the bed"
J.M "I'm in the pool with my sisters. This is the trampoline" (The trampoline is purple/black in the lower left hand corner)
G.P "I go to school with my mom and my friend"
 Tomorrow, the children will get to begin working on their dioramas by creating the background!

The dioramas will lead into our oral storytelling unit. This is the storytelling unit I worked on with Nia Isoke last year and mentioned on the blog earlier in the year. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Newt King

Short blog post tonight-there's flooding and puddles around the house!
Even though it was only 5 days off, it seemed like forever since we saw the kids! We were able to go outside for a bit in the morning before it rained in the afternoon.

Over the long weekend, everyone's plants grew a lot! We noticed that the corn plants became especially tall! The students documented the changes in their plants in their plant journals!
We also got to add watermelon and pea seeds to our seed collections!


The tadpoles have fully formed two hind legs! If you look closely-you can see them!
I also collected a big rock from my mother in law's garden and placed it in the tank for the soon-to-be frogs and newts to enjoy. The newts took to it quickly and enjoyed laying on it. T.D noticed it and commented, "It looks like Simba from The Lion King!"-I thought it was such an adorable comparison. I've grown fond of the newts-originally, I was going to let the kids release the frogs and newts once the frogs were fully formed, but I think I might keep the newts around longer!

Our butterflies have gotten bigger as well! We will be releasing them this Friday! :)

We will begin the first step to creating our dioramas by sketching our stories and adding details!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day weekend recap

Hope everyone had an excellent extended Memorial Day break! I was able to go back to the city for a day to visit my old colleagues from my last school in Queens. It was amazing to go back, see some of my old students and my friends! I sat in for a little in Ms. Anna's room. We were on the kindergarten team together last year and we've talked about the change going into prek. She's doing such amazing things!
The block center in Ms. Anna's room
The kids doing some shared reading!
Her classroom
One of the bulletin boards-you can see similarities in the avid photography in the classroom!
Ms. Merril's classroom (also PreK)-her classroom has a puppet theater!
It was also my sister's birthday-Happy birthday Ashley! We went out to dinner in Little Italy! She loves pasta!
My sister, Ashley and I
Over the weekend, we went to my husband's aunt's lake house up near Rochester by Conesus Lake. We went hiking both at Stony brook State park and at Letchworth State Park. The gorges were absolutely beautiful! I took over 120 photos from hiking! The views were incredible!
Stony brook State Park
A family photo at Stony brook State Park

Brian and I at Letchworth State Park

A view of the gorge at Letchworth State Park
Not sure if T-ball season is still going on, but Kacey and I would love to attend any games the kids are playing--so if your child is playing T-ball or any sport for that matter, let us know the date/time/location of the game and we will try to make it out! We would love to support the children outside of school too! :)

When we return tomorrow, we will be starting our storytelling unit-starting with dioramas!  :) Can't wait to hear about everyone's breaks!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Clothing Pin Butterflies

Butterfly update-all four caterpillars have fully transformed into butterflies! The last butterfly emerged at the end of the day! 
One of our butterflies flapping its wings-you can also see a butterfly on the left clinging to the net
With the rain, we didn't get to go outside for outdoor fun but we had a lot of fun indoors! We made a lovely craft project with coffee filters, clothing pins, markers, pipe cleaners and water. This craft can be done at home too for more butterflies!

First, the kids decorated their individual coffee filters with markers. When the design was completed, we sprayed water on the filters to create an interesting and colorful effect.
A.K decorates the butterfly wings with dots
X.I also creates dots for the wings
D.K wanted to stick with orange and black for the monarch butterfly
G.A creates zig zag lines and dots
O.B drew yellow zig zag lines and yellow dots
K.W draws free form brown lines
G.S creates a variety of different lines and dots
T.S sprays his coffee filter!
X.I sprays his coffee filter
A close up of X.I's coffee filter/butterfly wings
While, we let the coffee filters dry, the kids decorated the body of the butterfly (the clothing pins).
J.M's clothing pin/butterfly body or thorax
D.K drew eyes on the sides of the clothing pin
With a pipe cleaner, the kids twisted them around a marker to make it curly and then twisted it on the clothing pin for the antennae.
When the coffee filters dried, they were folded back and forth (sort of like an accordion) and clipped into the clothing pin and then spread out to create the wings!
D.K's monarch butterfly
D.K snapped this photo of J.M, K.W, G.S and G.P's butterflies
O.S' butterfly
J.C's butterfly
Tomorrow is our trip to the New York State Museum. I sent a letter home in each child's folder with a reminder to dress accordingly with the weather. Last time I checked, it seems like the rain will hold off until we get back to school, but just in case make sure your child wears comfortable shoes that will protect them from rain :)