Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wonderful Worms


      Since it was Earth Day yesterday, this seemed like a good time to read our Wonderful Worms book.  I stopped at Walmart on the way to school and bought some big fat night crawlers. The kids questioned me about why they had a plate at their seat, since it was not snack day.  I read the book and showed a great video about the wonder of worms, then I gave each of them a night crawler on their plate to examine.  Some were eager to pick them up, but a few-- not so much.  We made charts to describe worms, they compared sizes, and gave them a name. It was great fun, and I got several hugs for being the best teacher ever -- and here are a few pictures.  Can you guess which ones were not worm lovers?

   

   


   

   

   

   Now they are writing "Worms are cool." 
   But also crawling around on the floor instead of sitting -- oh, well!

   

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Want to be an Astronaut (NOT!)

     

     Today at Valmead we had the privilege of having a real live astronaut at our school.  Not only was it cool having a celebrity, but he really knew how to keep an audience of little kids interested. Our astronaut, Duane Carey, flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia.



    He showed a video he made during his flight demonstrating how they ate and slept and used the bathroom in space -- all things the kids were interested in.
 
    

    He answered their questions, and when one little boy asked what it was like to blast off into space, he brought him up front and showed what it was like with vibrations and pressure. He told how the astronauts have to wear a diaper -- ew -- while they are waiting for the launch because they can't get up and go to the bathroom then.



    After the presentation, I took the children to the playground where they pretended to blast off into space and everything on the playground became a rocket ship.

   
   

   


   After playing, the children drew pictures and wrote stories about the astronaut. Some were so enthusiastic that they asked for more paper so they could write a second page!!


    




    On the way to the bus, one of my little boys said,"I want to be an astronaut when I grow up!" We are thankful to Mrs. Mood for arranging this inspiring event.

    


   

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Easter Egg

       

          Spring break is finally here!   
          It has been a busy, fun-filled week in kindergarten. We interrupted our insect study to concentrate on Easter for this week.  I read lots of good books -- everything from the Ressurection of Jesus -- the real reason for Easter -- to Easter Bunny and Ukranian egg decorating and egg hunts.
I brought my hand-painted Ukrainian eggs that I got when I went on a mission trip to Ukraine a few years ago. I read the Patricia Polacco book, "Rechenka's Eggs" 
   

        One of the highlights was coloring the eggs.  The children are always amazed to see the eggs dyed into beautiful colors. They all gathered around to table to see the transformation and make me feel like a magician.

   
     Look at all those boys!
      I took the eggs to the lunchroom and let them peel off the colorful shells and eat them. I was surprised that some have never seen a boiled egg before -- one brought the yolk to me to ask what it was.
    
     
      But the BIG EVENT was the egg hunt today.  I had several moms and other volunteers come  to hide hundreds of eggs in the school yard while we were at lunch. And, oh, the excitement!!








   Everyone had a big bag of candy-filled eggs to take back to the classroom. I let them sit down and feast on the candy -- they were all going home in an hour -- then they wrote about the egg hunt in their journals.   I love this one.

      I am looking forward to celebrating the Resurrection with my family, then working on my "to-do" list. I've signed my retirement papers, and I need to start figuring out what I am going to do with the tons of teaching materials I have accumulated over the past 45 years...
       Happy Easter!  He is risen!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat

       We celebrated Read Across America and the birthday of Dr. Seuss this week. I love sharing some of my favorite Dr. Seuss books with the class -- the same ones I read to my own children many years ago. One of my favorites is The Sneetches - I have a ratty old copy that used to be at my mother's house. Every time we came for a visit, the kids would get it out and ask their Grammie to read it to them. I read Yertle the Turtle and Horton Hatches the Egg and Green Eggs and Ham, and several others.  

   Dr. Stone, our school superintendent, came to Valmead and read a Dr. Seuss book to my class. Doesn't he look nice in his red and white hat?

  
       Mrs. Austin created a bulletin board so we could display a few stories written my my class.  I am so happy to see the progress they have made in writing. We write every day, and it is really paying off. Some are writing 2 or 3  pages at a time now.

        

   
  

     I found a cute little snack idea on Pinterest -- the class enjoyed this version of green eggs and ham.


     We also made hats -- the children like to wear them down the hall.


   A few parents came to our Dr. Seuss Parent Night on Monday -- everyone who participated had a good time, and the children all got a free book to take home. 
    Next week we will start learning about St. Patrick's Day and soon will celebrate the first day of spring and Easter.  The few warm days we had this week make us eager to be finished with the snow and cold.  The school year is 2/3 of the way finished -- just a little more than 60 days of school left, but still more to learn before they are ready for first grade!

   


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Days



  Watching my woods fill up with snow -- today is another Snow Day. Last week we had 2 Snow Days and 2 three hour delays. This week we will only have 2 days of school, because I expect the snow will cause a cancellation for Friday, too -- it's getting pretty deep out there.  Not like Boston, but deep for North Carolina. Snow days are fun at first, but then you remember that we will have to make them up, and that might mean no days off in March, April, May, and June.  That's a long, long time without a break.
      We only have 69 days left, and I still have so much that I need to teach them! But I am pretty proud of all they have learned so far.  Several of them have asked to write the morning message, and I am always a little surprised at how well they do.  Here's my helper this week.


      I am trying to give them more opportunities to practice reading -- the only way to build fluency and vocabulary is to READ MORE.  I love the Daily 5 -- it's the structure I use to teach them to read and write independently.  Here are a few pictures of them practicing to build stamina.




       I want them to enjoy books as much as I do, and I want them to be good readers!
       Next week we celebrate Read Across America and Dr. Seuss's birthday.  I have a stack of books I wanted to read this week, but I guess they will have to wait. I read "The Sneetches" yesterday, and they were totally sympathetic to the poor Sneetches with no stars.  My mother used to read that book to my children when they went to visit, so I have a warm spot in my heart for it. My assistant has been out this week, so it seems like the days pass quickly and I can't get everything done.
       I am glad to have some days to work on my house and practice my music.  I hate to lose our momentum at school.  But the snow is lovely!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

One Hundred Days Down and 80 To Go!


          Woohoo! We have been celebrating 100 days since day 99. There are so many fun ways to observe the 100h day that it took us 3 days!  One of my kids said, "This is the best 100th day EVER!"
I have a feeling that he hasn't had all that many 100th days...but I was glad they had fun.

         After 100 days, several of my kids have become pretty good little writers. One asked to write the morning message, and this is what he wrote all by himself.

       "I will teach you about the one hundredth day". I love how they sound out the words.

      They worked hard to make a necklace out of Fruit Loops.  I finally got smart after all these years and put the cereal and ribbon in a Baggie so we didn't have so many spills and they could eat the leftovers. Some chewed on their necklaces until there was nothing left but the string! Several made nice patterns -- I was impressed.




I appreciated out volunteer mom who helped!


     
       

   The absolute favorite activity was making a 100 piece snack.  I could hear them counting 23, 24, 25.... As they collected skittles, M&Ms, goldfish, Cheerios, etc.  yum.


   Speaking of food -- I also made 100 pancakes. The kids loved those, too -- told me I should be a chef! 


  And one last sweet activity -- these were not all on the same day -- I hid 100 Hershey kisses around the room and they tried to find all of them to put on the 100 chart.  They found 96 of them. So -- either I am a really good "hider" or someone stuffed them in their pocket!


     Everyone helped make a 100 link paper chain. Today I pulled off all but 80 links, and we will pull one off every day until school is out as we count down to summer vacation.


This was fun -- I gave them 100 red cups to build with. With all the academic requirements, they really don't get to do much building anymore. So they really liked the 100 blocks and 100 Legos and 100 cups.


We did several writing activities, including this one about how they would spend $100.  Sorry, Sweetie, but I am not for sale!!!

    Maybe this was the best 100th day ever -- and my last one -- and now on to Valentines  and presidents!