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

Hibernation

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

 

http://www.amazon.com/Animals-Winter-Lets-Read---Find-Out-Science/dp/0064451658/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456781296&sr=8-1&keywords=animals+in+winter

 

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner


http://www.amazon.com/Over-Under-Snow-Kate-Messner/dp/1452136467/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1D67SQVZDY29AKRZ7QQW

Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky


http://www.amazon.com/Every-Autumn-Comes-Bear-Arnosky/dp/0698114051/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456781442&sr=1-1&keywords=every+autumn+comes+the+bear

 

Old Bear by Kevin Henkes

 

http://www.amazon.com/Bear-Board-Book-Kevin-Henkes/dp/0062089633/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456781402&sr=8-1&keywords=old+bear