Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gingerbread Men


Notice the sideways stickers on the dark brown one...
Every time I do a artsy kind of project with this large class, I can tell it will not turn out the way I planned.  With 27 kids, it is impossible to guide everyone at the same time.  This week we started our Gingerbread Man theme, and I am excited to take part in a gingerbread man exchange organized by "Learning with Mrs. Parker" in California.  We were to make 25 gingerbread men and send them out to other classes all over the United States -- even one to a class in Germany.  I looked at lots of ideas, but with so many kids, I thought simple would be better.  Color it, put on 4 stickers and 3 buttons -- what could go wrong?  Well, about half of them put the stickers in the wrong places -- even though there was an outline on the hands and feet for them to follow.  They colored them lots of weird patterns and colors. Not all are proficient with scissors --  we knew some would have amputations if we let them cut them out, and we didn't want to risk that since we were mailing them..

So, not anything fancy, but the kids were proud of them.  After I helped them rearrange stickers and buttons -- and cut off the out-of-lines crayon marks -- they looked kind of cute. . We are going to put the ones we receive on a bulletin board -- I'll take a pictures!!
I am thankful to have some volunteers to help prepare the Christmas craftivities -- but I know we will not be able to make as many as we have in previous years when we had a smaller class.  I don't know what the policymakers are thinking when they allow such large classes in kindergarten.  We all do the best we can, but there is no way to do the coaching and conferencing and guiding that we want to do.  On the bright side -- most of them are able to read and write a sentence or two, and it does get easier after Christmas...if we can survive until then!  I have laryngitis this week, so trying to teach when I can't speak above a whisper is quite a challenge!!  I thank God for my wonderful assistant!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanks for Thanksgiving

             Thanksgiving slipped up on me this year.  We just finished the Veteran's Day celebration and realized that we only had 6 days to do Thanksgiving!!  During these 6 days, I had only 2 planning periods because of  meetings, a concert, and the computer teacher's absence during the time I am supposed to have 40 minutes to work in my room without children present. Besides my lack of planning time, my assistant has NO planning time because she has to go to 4th grade to do intervention during that precious 40 minutes.  So, my crafty projects were extremely limited this year.
             I am blessed to have a talented and creative assistant, because the artsy- crafty things are not one of my strengths, to say the least.  Here's my kind of craft, purchased pre-cut with adhesive on the back.  All I had to do was pass out one piece at a time, demonstrate where to stick each part, and -- voila!  It's a turkey!! Thank you Hobby Lobby! The kids thought it was great, and I didn't have to cut out 27 sets of turkey parts.
    In the past, we have made lots of things -- including Native American vests cut from brown paper grocery bags and a headband with feathers.  But with 27 kids, it was just too overwhelming to think about.
   Back to my precious assistant --- in her "free time" -- whenever that was -- she cut and folded all these Pilgrim girl bonnets and Pilgrim boy hats -- with a little bit of help from a parent volunteer.. They looked so cute! But if you want to see some fabulous costumes, click on Reagan Tunstall's link  --- she is my inspiration --- for another year!  Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits must have a LOT of volunteers!

    And when I realized that I had forgotten about making the bracelets to help the children practice retelling the First Thanksgiving story, she got right on it and assembled 27 kits with the right color of beads and pipe-cleaners in each Ziploc baggy. She is incredible!!
   They are wearing the bracelets in the picture, but I forgot to get a close-up, so I'm using a similar one from Pinterest.

  We got to hear most of them retell the story as we twisted the ends together to make a bracelet at the end of the day today.  I also remembered the "Let's Find Out" activity and we watched that on the big screen at the end of the day.  I even squeezed in directions for making a hand print turkey this morning and they drew them on the back of their morning worksheet.  They wrote and illustrated an  "I am thankful for... book and sang a couple Thanksgiving songs from the Dr. Jean CD.

  I got our computer teacher to install Google Earth on my computer so we could see where the Pilgrims traveled. That was pretty cool.

    I read several Thanksgiving books, including these, but just didn't have time for some of my favorites in these 6 days of celebrating.

  Now that I see it all written here, I guess we covered it pretty well!!

  We have more time for Christmas, and I've already put the Thanksgiving books away and replaced them with Christmas books.  Can't wait to start on our gingerbread men -- we are doing an exchange with children in 26 classes across the country -- plus one class in Germany. That will give us another opportunity to look at maps and globes as we see where our gingerbread men will come from.
  And I can't wait to share "Pete the Cat Saves Christmas."
  But first I need to clean my house and cook a turkey for my family!  Time -- slow down!!!

  I am especially thankful this year for my blogging friends who have inspired me -- thankful that this huge class is finally starting to "get it" -- thankful for parent volunteers -- thankful for all the TPT stuff that I have bought -- and especially the freebies -- and thankful for the love of my family and their understanding when I work late many days, hog the computer, and don't cook for several days in a row.  God has blessed me greatly, and I am SO thankful for 5 days to try to catch up during Thanksgiving break!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Learning to Give

   It is time to think about GIVING...

We packed up some boxes for Samaritan's Purse today.  Parents were very generous, and we got enough to fill about 4 shoe boxes.

The children took turns choosing items to put in a box for a girl or a box for a boy.

I think it is important to teach the children that there are children around the world who don't get many gifts, and we can share with them.

Thank you, Operation Christmas Child for giving us an opportunity to give and the learn about children around the world!

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Veteran

Veterans Day 2012

I took my favorite veteran to school this week --- my husband!  Mr. Spencer spent 25 years serving his country in the Army, and although he has been retired for about 20 years, I still get a thrill out of  seeing him in his uniform.  He brought pictures of the foxhole he stayed in when he was in Vietnam, his helicopter, and his tent in Saudi Arabia. The kids were fascinated and had lots of questions.

They were especially interested in his medals --- I had him to bring the display case full of medals, and one little boy sat staring in awe.

This is a story written by one of my children --- I thought it was great!  It says, "This man is a hero."

Veterans, we salute you and thank you for your service.