Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bear Snores On project

If you have not read Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, stop reading this and go check it out. No, forget that -- go buy it! It is a classic. Bear is hibernating and sleeps through a forest party in his den. 

It's one of my all-time favorite teaching books. It has rhyming text, repetitive text, surprise endings, great sequence... and best of all, Karma Wilson has a whole series featuring Bear and his friends.

Our school is having a special community day at a local store. The store is "revealing" window displays for each classroom. Each teacher chose a Winter-themed book to decorate a tri-fold board to display in the window. 

My class chose Bear Snores On... and we are SO proud of how it turned out!

I made the characters in the den, and each kid made a snowflake for the sky. The whole class worked on the trees and snow for the den [shaving cream + Elmer's glue]. 

Kindergarten Thanksgiving -- Part 2

MORE Thanksgiving goodness...

We make these bracelets to tell the story of The First Thanksgiving. Each color represents a part of the story (white for the Mayflower's sails, blue for the ocean, green for the new land, black for the hard winter, brown for the turkey, red for the cranberries, yellow for the corn, and orange for the pumpkins).

The kids LOVE it, and I love how it helps them remember the story. You can find the poem to go along HERE on Dr. Jean's website. 

After our feast, we wrote a list of the foods we ate, drew our plates, and labeled them. They turned out awesome -- and their parents loved seeing what they tried!


Lastly, we compared foods the Pilgrims and Indians ate at their feast and the foods we ate at our feast. The kids loved hearing about the foods they ate at the first Thanksgiving (picture on the left). But, we had a lot in common (middle picture)!

11 more months until next year. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kindergarten Thanksgiving

I absolutely love Thanksgiving in kindergarten. I'm kind of obsessed with it -- and it has turned into a huge two-week unit every year. It is quite a production, and it's one of my favorite times of the year.

Here's a re-cap of some of my favorite parts:

We started the week by discussing what it means to be thankful. After reading books, the kids each decorated a leaf with something they're thankful for. We all loved our Thankful Tree!

Later in the week... the kids could use the tree for ideas when we were writing...

 ... like when we did these adorable thankful turkeys.


With my Team Time (older students), we made these Thanksgiving plates with a "recipe for caring." We drew our favorite Thanksgiving foods and labeled them with acts of caring.

And then, of course, it was time to learn about and celebrate The First Thanksgiving. (This is my favorite day of the year!!!)

There is something so sweet about a long table of 30 kindergartners. It's nostalgic and heart-warming. Their little manners and wide eyes simply melt my heart.

Each kid made a cute patterned placemat...

...and of course, dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians!

We filled up each kid's plate with all the traditional foods... turkey, potatoes, rolls, corn, green beans, stuffing, pumpkin pie... we had it all!

Thanksgiving in kindergarten never fails. The kids try new foods, use their best manners, and absolutely love the feast. And, I get to gawk at how stinkin' cute they are. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday Mailbox

Monday mailbox... a few days late!

 More beauties from my little artists - they just crack me up! [Translation provided for those of you who do not read "kinder writing" fluently.]

That, of course, is me on the left. :) My talk bubble says "I love K-State Purple." Above her head: "I love you Mrs. A." Too cute.

On the back... "Mrs. A, K-State Purple is my favorite color." ATAGIRL!

Even though she has a Nebraska shirt on... this picture just made me laugh! I love the details.

Now, this picture perplexed me for a few minutes. As you can tell, this little girl is an amazing artist. I just couldn't figure out the "boobs" on the men! Then, I realized... we've been learning about the Pilgrims, the Indians, and the First Thanksgiving. Now, although still hilarious, it makes more sense! Note the blond pilgrim with her tongue out... of course, she's sick because she doesn't have any food! So cute.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to cook a turkey

For your reading pleasure... a step-by-step "recipe" from my kindergarten class.
This is how you cook a turkey… 
By: Mrs. Anderson’s Kindergarten Class 2012 

1. Get a turkey (shoot one with a bow and arrow, buy it at the store, or get one from a farm) 
 2. Get the turkey ready (pull the feathers off, take the legs off, take the arms off, take the beak off, cut it in half) 
3. Make it taste good (salt, broth, green stuff, brown sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, and pepper) 
4. Put it on a tray 
5. Put it in the oven (12 degrees for 2-91 minutes… until the oven goes BEEP!) 
6. Take it out of the oven 
7. Cut the turkey (using a sharp knife or a sword, cut in on it’s back down the middle, cut 2-14 pieces for everybody or 45 pieces if it’s really big) 
8. Squeeze the turkey (and spray it with chicken juice) 
9. Set the table (with silverware, plates, napkins, chicken nuggets, corn, the turkey, mashed potatoes, and drinks) 
10. Eat it (with a fork or your hands!) 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The First Thanksgiving (pt. 3 of many)

A few memorable quotes from this morning...


Mrs. A (while reading a pilgrim book): "Boys and girls, what do you think he is hunting for?"

Student 1: "Turkey?"

Student 2: "Deer?"

Student 3: "Dinosaurs?"  (after all... if was as long time ago!)


Student 1: "Did you know Friday is Black Friday?"

Student 2: "Yeah, everybody wears black."

Student 3: "And they have an extra Thanksgiving!"


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another inspirational read

Another inspirational read for you. Yet another reason why I do what I do... and why I'm reaching for the goals I'm reaching for.
Professionals can make a difference in the lives of parents of children with special needs.

You have the opportunity to…

…not be intimidated when we blow off steam. The great challenge for you is to give us the opportunity to fall apart once in a while.

…decrease our profound sense of loneliness. You will often be the ONE person who will say, “Tell me more.”

…help us know our child. Help us know how to say the words, how to tell others. You can take us into our children’s lives.

…help us recognize and celebrate our victories. They are often too small for the “normal” population to appreciate. You know that awful sounding “grunt” make by our child is truly a miracle. Often it is only you who knows that a new movement is significant and indicates a renewed sense of hope.

…remind us how far we have come. You can highlight these changes and celebrate the growth.

…allow us those moments when our souls fall into deep despair.

…give us space to be in that dark place. It is one of the greatest “interventions” you can give us.

…help us feel hope. We must feel hope if we are to get to our next appointment, or to face the next birthday party, or to use the words “special needs.”

Take the opportunity.
[Adapted from: Fialka, J. (1996). You can make a difference in our lives. DEC Communicator. 8.]

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The First Thanksgiving (pt. 2 of many)

Student 1: "Mrs. Anderson, if the Pilgrims came on the Mayflower... how did the Indians get here?"

Mrs. A: "Well, the Indians already lived here in America."

Student 1: "Yeah, but where did they come from?"

Student 2: "Did they come on a boat, too?"

Mrs. A: "No. They lived in America for a very long time before the Pilgrims came."

Student 2: "Oh, so maybe they came on a boat a long time ago."

Student 1: "Or, maybe they walked."

[Very inquisitive... very intelligent questions! And so difficult to explain! Just the way I like our discussions to be - challenging, student-directed, and natural.]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A unique insult

A child coming to me crying and pointing a finger at another child is a frequent occurrence. So, naturally, this is not something that surprises me. However, I have to say this was the most unique one I've heard in a while...

Student: "Mrs. Anderson! He said something really hurtful!"

Mrs. Anderson: "Well, why don't we use an 'I Feel' statement with him?"

Student: "Okay. (Turns to other student) I feel sad when you say I want to marry Lady Gaga."

Lady Gaga has officially become an insulting word in my classroom. :) Hilarious.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thai Chicken and Noodles

Comfort food (n): Food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being; typically with high carbohydrate content and associated with childhood.

This recipe is one of my comfort foods. It fits all the above criteria. 

  • It makes me feel good -- and just makes me happy when I'm eating it.
  • Carbs. Yum.
  • I visited my aunt every summer when I was a kid, and every time she made this dish for me. It always reminds me of her.
  • My only copy of the recipe is on a faded piece of newspaper... and there's soy sauce spilled on it.
See? Comfort food.

It is soooo good, and super easy. Plus, it proves you CAN make something delicious with Ramen noodles!

Keep reading below for the recipe and more pictures...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The First Thanksgiving (pt. 1 of many)

The discussions have just begun...

Student: "Mrs. Anderson, did you know that the Indians only ate mashed potatoes? That's it!"

I have no idea where that came from... but it made me laugh out loud.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bowling for sight words

This literacy workstation has been a hit in our classroom this week! And, the best part is... it's fun for everyone. It's a great "inclusive" workstation because my students with disabilities can work on motor and eye-hand coordination, while other students work on reading and writing star words. Perfect.

My classroom bowling pins happen to look like turtles, but you could use regular pins, empty cans, pop bottles, etc. Anything works! Just label your "pins" with targeted sight words, copy the recording paper, and away they go!

Click HERE or on the picture above for a printable of the recording paper.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Memorable quotes from this week

For some reason, my kinders were extremely funny this week. Must be the election -- it seemed to be making everyone nuts! :)

A few memorable quotes from this week...

Mrs. A (on election day): "Well, boys and girls. We will not be going to the gym today for lunch because there are some grown-ups in there doing something very important. Does anyone know what they're doing?" (we were a polling site)

Student: "Working out?"
Mrs. A: "We are going to be doing this activity in the hallway by the office. We all know the office is an important place, so we need to be quiet. What kinds of important things do they do in there?"

Student 1: "Write letters."

Student 2: "Talk."

Student 3: "Have a lot of lonely time."

MORE kinder presidential chatter

A summary of what my kinders know about the president. All of the responses are student-generated... and some of them just made me giggle! :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kinder presidential chatter

It's safe to say I know each and every one of my students' parents' political stances.

We had a "mock election" at school today -- and it was wonderful. I can't wait to hear our school's results on Wednesday!

My favorite parts:

  • The discussion about the president's job.
  • The hilarious things the kids said about the president and/or election.
My students' favorite parts:
  • The sparkly American flag pencils they got.
  • The "I voted" stickers.
  • Putting the ballot in the "special box."

It was so much fun -- and I loved giving the kids this responsibility. It really empowered them, and they were so interested in the president and the election (in other years, my students are not really interested in the president at all).

It fueled some great questions...

"Are we voting for a new principal?" (answer... "No, just a president.")

"Does he move into the White House tomorrow?"

And, of course, sparked some great quotes...

"Barack Obama makes people not believe in God."

"My mom said Mitt Romney only likes rich people."

"Mitt Romney has like a million kids."

Just a priceless day all around. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Embrace the madness

Halloween week in kindergarten = madness.

Fight the madness?

No, embrace it! I'm all about channeling that excitement and energy into some positive, cognitive experiences.

Here's one way we did it...

On Nov. 1, each kinder was invited to bring 4 treats from their night of fun. First, we sat in a big circle and sorted our candy by many, many attributes (all student-generated attributes... chocolate/no chocolate, one piece/many pieces, color of wrapper, etc.).

Then, we ate our candy, kept the wrappers and sorted them by beginning letter.

We ended up with a fun class book -- A-Z Trick-Or-Treat. The kids love "reading" this book at the library center.

I got this idea from a teammate of mine who got it from another teacher! All I can say is Thank Goodness! It is a lifesaver the day after Halloween!

Some letters had a lot... some had none (so we made up our own candy!)

Like I said... embrace the madness. :) It might lend itself to a great lesson!

Friday, November 2, 2012

My little scientists

I. love. science.

It's no secret. I'm kind of obsessed with teaching science.

Over the last 4 years, I have had some wonderful experiences in my district -- and I am so blessed and thankful for these experiences and the knowledge I have gained.

In turn... my KINDERS love science. They talk about it all the time -- and I love the "carry-over" throughout the day.

Well, over the last couple weeks, we have been exploring different types of fabric in science. We've felt, talked about, and compared different types and their uses.

Today, we went on a classroom "fabric hunt." The kids took labels around the room and marked the items they saw that were made of fabric. They then used their science notebooks to record what they found.

I came home this afternoon and threw my coat on the couch. That's when I saw this...

I have no idea when/how it happened, but one of my little scientist labeled my coat hanging behind my desk... and I brought a little piece of science home with me today.

I love my little scientists :)