Saturday, October 3, 2015

Apple Week

We spent a week learning about apples and ended our learning with a family trip to the apple orchard.  Here are a few highlights of our week.

We started off by making a little flip book where we drew an apple diagram, labeled the part of an apple, wrote about what apples an become and described the characteristics of apples.  We also tasted red, yellow and green apples and graphed our favorites. I, sadly, neglected to get pictures of these activities.

My preclinical student did a little bit of Ten Apples Up on Top.  This guy is stacking "apples" (foam blocks with apple stickers on them) on his head.  They started by predicting how many they could stack then tried stacking them.

I saw Kim at Domikiddos blog about these little personal apple pies.  I knew my kiddos would love them. I baked them on a disposable oven liner tray.  In the photo below, the pies are ready to head into the oven. The kids loved them!  

During centers, students had the opportunity to create an apple using Legos.  This group loves building, so when I saw this idea, I knew we had to give it a try.  It looks like I'm going to need some more Legos for other projects, because this was a hit.  I rounded up these Legos at the Lego Store in the individual bins, so I only got red, green and brown blocks in different sizes.  I also picked up some orange ones thinking we'll try it again with pumpkins.

My favorite activity (other than apple picking) was bobbing for apples.  Only 2 of my kids had heard of this, and no one had done it before. My aunt told me I had to do it with them.  I had never considered it before, but once I figured out logistics (Read "GERMS"), I was all about it.

Each child had his/her own container to bob in.  We had 4 children at a time come over.  It was fun to listen to them cheer for each other and give one another tips.  I chalk this one up to problem solving fun and life experiences!

On Sunday, families were invited to meet our team of 4 teachers to at the apple orchard.  We had a great weather day, partly cloudy and upper 60s- it was better than predicted.  Families heard a short presentation then were off to pick their apples.

Using the apples I picked at the orchard, the kids helped make applesauce on Monday.  I had the apples peeled and cut into slices.  The kids cut them up and dumped them into the crockpot.  I snuck a little cinnamon in at the end and we feasted at the end of the day.  It was a hit!

What do you do to make learning more hands-on and give your students experiences?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Family Portraits

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Todd Parr inspired art related to The Feelings Book.  Mr. Parr will be visiting our building in November, and my students and I are quite excited.  We are now in our family unit and are enjoying many of his family books.  This week we have been drawing our families with Todd Parr's artwork as an inspiration.  I wanted you to see different students' work, so the pictures you will see below in each step will be from a variety of students.

I worked with 2 students at a time on this project.  We started by counting how many people are in the child's family.  I then referred students to Parr's artwork and help them draw their families.  I am not an artist, so it is a minor miracle that they look like people!

After students drew their families, I traced their lines with permanent marker.

Once the tracing was finished, I invited students back to color their families.  Markers are available to make the drawings pop.

Finally, I used masking tape to tape them to a cardstock-weight mat to finish them off.

These will be hung in the hallway next week as we have Grandparents Day.  Our family unit fell at a great time this year.  I'm loving their work!!

Students were also invited to bring a family picture to display in our classroom library.  I have been collecting frames for directions and things over the past couple years, so as students bring a picture, they get to choose the frame the photo goes in.  We have about 3/4 of the photos back now.  Those who do not bring a photo will get to draw their family to add to a frame.  We might even just make a color copy of their work hanging in the hallway to frame in the room.

How do you celebrate families in your classroom?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Letters {September 27}

I'm linking up with Michelle from Big Time Literacy for Sunday Letters.

I hope you will pop over to Michelle's post and read others' Sunday Letters.  Have a great week!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Independent Reading: Beginning of the Year

At the beginning of the year, independent reading can be challenging for kindergarten children.  Their word knowledge is generally limited, and their stamina is not long.  I started my independent reading on the first day of school last year and loved the results.  This year, for some reason, I was not on top of that.  A lot of changes happened at the beginning of our school year, and I guess I just didn't feel ready.

Well, we started this week, and I think my kiddos are in love!  We started off by taking advantage of some beautiful late summer/early fall weather and reading outside.

We are able to go about 4 minutes, which I am totally thrilled with this early in kindergarten.  I had a couple students today begging to read longer- that makes my teacher heart happy!  I hope this class develops a love for books as much as last year's class had.  

Today a couple kiddos had the opportunity to get up and share a book with the class.  Those who did not get a turn today are anxiously awaiting their turn.  Our independent reading is off to a great start!

How do you instill a love of books and reading in your students?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Our Feelings Book

Last week I shared a little about what we were doing to in our room to learn about feelings.  One of the things we were doing was creating an iBook inspired by Todd Parr's feelings book.  Our book is now complete and published, and I couldn't wait to share the link with you.

I think my kiddos' art came out great, and they were so proud of their work.  You can read a little bit about the process to completing this book in my previous post.  Here are a few examples of completed work.

You can download our free book on your Apple device or view the PDF.  Thanks for checking it out!  Have a you tried digital books with your students?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Focusing on Feelings

We have been focusing on feelings in our room this week.  Many times, it is difficult for young children to express their feelings appropriately and even more difficult to "read" the feelings of others.

We read Todd Parr's book, The Feelings Book, and are working to create our own book about feelings.  Students are choosing a feeling then creating Todd Parr inspired art sharing their feeling.  We are using KidPix to create the pictures and type the sentences.  These will be exported to the desktop, emailed to my account then put into Book Creator to create a book.  I will share link as soon as the book is complete!

Because it is so early in the year and our book is going to be published in the iBook store, I am writing the sentence students dictate to me on a white board then they are typing it.  It is great typing practice for them!  Here a few pictures of them working.

The another thing we've been doing is a little fill-in-the-blank feelings book I made for students to focus on what the feeling "looks like".  On each page, students fill in a feeling word and draw that feeling on a blank face.  A second option for differentiation is included where students write when they feel that way.

What do you do to help your young students understand the feelings of them and others?

Monday, September 14, 2015

September Directed Drawings

At the end of last week, we started working on a directed drawing from Jennifer White at First Grade Blue Skies.  I purchased her directed drawing pack during the teacher appreciation sale last spring because we do not have an art teacher and I think my students need some art instruction.  My art skills are shaky at best, so I need a little help along the way, and this pack was perfect!  The instructions are easy for me to follow as I lead, and students are excited to see the project come together.

We started off this year with the bus project included in the packet.  I did each direction step-by-step on the SMARTboard, and students completed each step one at a time after watching me complete the step.  Their direction following was pretty good for the third week of kindergarten!

After completing the drawing with pencil, students used a black crayon to trace all the lines.  I then put the paint out one color at a time for students to add color to their work.

Below I am excited to share some of students' completed work!

What is your favorite art activity to do with your kiddos?