Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Celebrating Christmas

Here are some ways we celebrated in our classroom!

One of my favorites ever year is making curly-bearded Santas. Curling the paper is a new skill the the majority of the kids, so it's great watching their pride when they see that they can actually do it!

In the art center, I put out green playdough with Christmas cookie cutters and some glass abstract shapes.

They started out just making Christmas trees, but soon expanded to more imaginative uses of the materials, like creating this face!

For writing, we wrote letters to Santa. I wasn't sure if they'd understand what to do, but even my scribblers did well and stayed engaged! This child asked for (candy) lips, a (toy) Pikachu, shark, man and horse, a fish tank and seeds (for the fish?), and Santa. :)

We made name trees, too. I had them first count the letters in their name, and then showed them how to cut a square in half to make triangles. I passed out the squares and there were so many kids who said, "I don't have enough!" It took them a while to figure out they would in fact have enough, once they made triangles!

On the last day of school before break (a quick half-day), we played musical chairs, pin the nose on Rudolph, and decorated cookies.  I baked the cookies ahead of time, and they picked the ones they wanted.

I provided sprinkles, marshmallows, and crushed candy canes for them to use. They frosted with popsicle sticks. It worked, but next year I think I'll just use sprinkle shakers. I ended up having to throw out all the leftovers (and there were a LOT), because kids were licking them fingers and then reaching in the cups for sprinkles. It was still fun though!

Monday, December 29, 2014


November Weeks 1-4

Wow, I'm so far behind on posts! Time to catch up!

We just learned about hibernation! The kids are so into anything involving nature, and especially scary animals like bears!

In teams of 2, we made bear dens from paper bags. They had a surprisingly hard time with this. Luckily, we had lots of spare bags handy for re-dos. :)

Many kids decided to add snow and bears from tissue paper and brown construction paper.

When we finished, we lined up our dens in the science center to play with later.

There are some wonderful life-like animal figures available on Safari, Ltd.

We also read The Hat by Jan Brett and made Hedgehogs in hats. They turned out really unique! Hedgehogs keep turning up in our picture books and kids love talking about them.

We also experimented with spirals and silhouettes in a winter scene art project and wrote stories about the characters and setting afterward. Challenging but fun! They did great with the spirals!

Behind the science center, I added some information and pictures about animals that hibernate and adapt in the winter. This generated a lot of discussion during centers and also in the morning during settle-in time.

Ptarmigan is another word that was new to them (Surprising because they're all over the place up here!). We learned the word in August and I was happy to hear the kids using it as soon as they saw this poster!

After a few days, I also added some animal feet/tracks books and pictures.

As well as some animal lacing cards.

Book List

These are our favorite hibernation books!

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft & Richard G. Van Gelder


Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky


Old Bear by Kevin Henkes


Friday, November 14, 2014

Collage Art

I apologize for not posting in a while! I'm taking a Curriculum Development class at the moment and it motivated me to create a detailed Curriculum Map for the year! So I've been spending tons of time on that. I've also been working on differentiating my reading groups more. So I spent 10 hours last weekend doing that!

Anyway, here is one way I recently integrated writing with art. 

I started with some scrapbook paper I picked up for $1 in a clearance bin. I modeled the steps for collage-making and had the kids partner-talk about what they wanted to make.

It was so cool to see ALL the kids so engaged and all working at their own developmental writing levels.

This is a boat (with a big motor) that one child made.

One hiccup we had was students doing an entire drawing on the white side of the collage paper, and gluing it with that side up (pattern side down). Next time I'll definitely take the time to address that in my modeling.

I displayed the different patterns spread out on a table and allowed students to use as little (or as many) as they would like.

Writing levels are all over the place in Kindergarten! Here is a student who is still working on forming letters.

And here's a student who is in the "random letter" writing stage.

Here's one of my kiddos who sounds out words. Ever since this activity, she wants to label everything!

These turned out pretty awesome and were definitely worthy of displaying! They also made great assessment pieces!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


On Halloween day we partied! We did a jack-o-lantern color-by-letter found here.

We played musical chairs..which is always a favorite!

And we played "Pin the nose on the witch!"

We read our favorite Halloween books and joined our school's costume contest in the gym.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Unit 2 Math Centers

Here are the math centers I'm using for my unit on patterns and comparing/ordering numbers 0-5.

The first five were also included in my Unit 1 centers. See this blog post for details on them and how they are organized. These centers are still popular, and appropriate for their level of math skills right now. With the limited hours in a day, I don't see a point in creating more centers when these are still perfectly good. :)

And here are the new ones!

The 2 games above can be purchased at Lakeshore Learning. They make some great stuff!

This one I invented. I honestly believe that using beautiful materials with interesting textures like these have a calming effect on the children. Every time I look over at a child working on this center, they are working so peacefully. I have them place a glass "treasure" on each dot, and then line up the numbers from 1-10.

Here is my open-ended center for the unit. The kiddos are allowed to do whatever they wish with the pegs and pegboards, but to my delight, they typically end up creating some pretty intricate patterns!