Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving in Kindergarten

So... I love Thanksgiving in kindergarten. We do it BIG in our classroom [read some of my posts from last year here, here, here, here, & here].

Well, this year we kept it pretty much the same, but with some great additions. Here are some of the highlights:

Our Thankful Tree
Always one of my favorite things. The kids "take to" learning about thankfulness so easily. It's one of the things we lose as we grow-up... the ability to just simply admire the simple things in life.

Disguise the Turkey!
One of my great teammates came up with the idea of "disguising" the turkeys! They are, after all, trying to keep away from the hunters! So, each of the kinders "disguised" their turkeys at home and brought them back to school to share. The kids LOVED seeing them, and I loved getting families involved! Here were some of the really good ones:

Christmas tree disguise

Present disguise

Another Christmas tree disguise

Peacock disguise

Fairy princess disguise

Garden disguise

Football player disguise

Bat disguise

And of course... Our Kinder Thanksgiving Feast
A wonderful way to teach and celebrate a simple version of the First Thanksgiving. I love the community aspect of the meal, and seeing the kinders try new foods!

Happy Thanksgiving from our class to you!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How DO you cook a turkey?

This is one of my favorite things I do with the kinders each year. We do a big Thanksgiving unit in our classroom, so we have been learning all about the first Thanksgiving, current Thanksgiving traditions, turkeys, etc. We also have an amazingly adorable kindergarten feast the week of Thanksgiving! [Check it out HERE.]

This week, I pulled each one of my little ones and tell them this: "Let's pretend YOU are supposed to  bring the turkey to our Thanksgiving feast. I want you to tell me everything you would do." Then, I write down their words word-for-word. 

In a word, they are PRICELESS.

I thought I'd share them here -- I've bolded my favorites. [I mixed in a few of the cute pictures, too!]
  • Go to Baker's. Get a turkey. Go home and cook it. Eat it with your family -- that means sharing!
  • Catch it with a net. Pick up the net. Put a top on it so the turkey doesn't get out. Take it home. Cook it. Eat it.
  • Cook it with the stove. Check the time. Take it out. Cut it into 20 pieces and eat it.
  • Buy a turkey. Bring it home. Cut it with scissors. Put stuffing on it. Turn the oven to 60 degrees. Cook it for 4 hours. Eat it.
  • Kill it with a gun so it dies -- so that you can eat it. Take it home. Put peppers and tomatoes under it. Put cheese on top. Then, eat it.
  • Buy it at the store. Bring it to your house. Cut it a little bit. Put salt and pepper on it. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Take it out and let it cool. Then, eat it.
  • Go buy a turkey from the store. It should be around $5. Put it in a pan and put it in the oven. Cook it for 7 minutes. Eat it.
  • Find it in the woods. You know -- go in the bushes and use your eyes to find a turkey. Then, find it. Then, eat it.
  • Get a turkey out of the freezer and put it in your truck. Bring it home and cut it into 13 pieces. Take out the bones. Put all the pieces on a plate. Then, everyone eats it!
  • Look for a turkey outside. Take it home. Cook it. Eat it.
  • Buy a turkey at Wal-Mart. Put some vitamins on the turkey so it doesn't get sick. Bake it for 10 minutes. Carry it to the party, open it, and everyone will have a great feast.
  • Get a turkey at the store. Smooth it. Put it in a pot. Cook it in the microwave for 15 minutes. Take it out and let it cool for a little bit. Then, eat it!
  • Hunt for it. Cook it in the oven for 13 minutes. Cool it down. Add some pepper and eat it.
  • Go to the pumpkin patch. Pick a red turkey. Pet it. Put it in a pan. Put sprinkles on it. Put it in a 40 degree oven. Cook it for 100 days. Eat it.
  • Go get it from the store. Put it in a pan. Put it in the oven. Then, eat it.
  • You are supposed to add some like vinegar or something. You add stuffing on the bottom. You get the cold turkey at a store. You put it in the oven -- it has to be pretty hot. Don't forget to use that squeezer thing.
  • Mommy and daddy do it. 
  • Try to catch a turkey. Shoot it with a fun. Put it in the oven. Cook it until it beeps. Get it out and cool it. Put it in a bowl and eat it.
  • Buy it, put it in the oven. Take it out. Put the dressing on it.
The last one needs an explanation. We sent home paper turkeys last Friday and challenged the kinders and their families to "disguise" the turkeys to save them from becoming Thanksgiving dinner! The kids then brought them back to school to share. For example, this little girl disguised her turkey as a Christmas tree:

I think this last little guy got these things a little mixed up... I just laughed! :)
  • Put it in the oven for 5 minutes. Take it out and put clothes on it and color it with crayons so it looks like you. Then, bring it to school.
On the days when this job is really hard... and please don't be fooled by my love for my career, there are days when it is really hard... well, on those days, I need to read these and just remember to smile.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My new dream job

I love my job (I think you should know that by now).

But, I'm realistic. 

Do I think I could teach forever? Sure! But, do I think I could teach the way I do now forever? No. I currently pour 100% of my energy into my job. And I love it! I reap the benefits from that sacrifice with wonderful classes, fun-filled days, and a classroom I love walking into everyday. But, I'm realistic. I know that one day, when there's multiple children running around our house and I'm truly exhausted, I know I won't be able to teach the way I do. 

So, I got my Master's degree in something new -- Early Childhood Special Education. I wanted to open up my options just in case I ever needed or wanted a new career. However, it had to revolve around my love for children, passion for early childhood quality education, and interest and love for special education.

This morning, on the Today show, I saw my new dream job. This is it -- this is sooo what I need to do one day if I'm ever not teaching!!

Check out the website -- watch the short video. I hope it warms your heart the way it warms mine. If it doesn't, you should check because you might be dead. :)



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recent funny and happy things

We have had some great days in kindergarten lately. Here's a recap of the funny and happy things that have been happening in kindergarten lately...

Hilarious, random comment from a student...

Student: "Hey Mrs. Anderson, do you miss Michael Jackson?"
Me (quite shocked): "Sure."
Student: "Me too. Because I didn't see him never. And he died because he was a zombie."

Oh... and the story continued! Any primary teacher knows what you do when a kid says or does something really funny like this... you parade them to your teacher friends and make them tell them, too. 

Me: "What do you know about Michael Jackson?"
Student: "He was a really great singer."
Me: "Yes, he was. Did you know he was a good dancer, too?"
Student: "Yeah! Here's my favorite move." (spins and grabs his crotch - ha!)
Me: "Wow. So, tell me more about how he died."
Student: "Well, he was a zombie. But he was a good zombie. Like a zombie that killed the bad zombies."
Me: "Oh, I see. And how did he die?"
Student: "Duh. The zombie master."

Time to stop... this is just too funny!

Today, a little girl from the kindergarten classroom next to me went down a wet slide at recess. So, she headed into the health room to get new pants.

The health room para handed her a pair of blue sweatpants. 

The little girl looked at her, held the pants up to her shirt, scoffed and handed them back. She said, "Ummm... these are NOT going to work with this shirt." Ha!

My little author is back! She just keeps bringing these great little books in -- probably because I make such a huge deal of them. :) But, they are just amazing! It's like watching a little mind unravel the intricate nature of language right before my eyes.

Here's her latest creation -- seriously adorable! [Kinder translation provided!]

[The worm and her friend.]

[One day, there was a worm and she lived in the dirt.]

[And she met a boy worm and they ate leaves together.] -- See the bow on her head?!

[Until they were full.]

[And then an anteater was going to eat the little worms.]

[But, the anteater could not eat the worms because they were too wiggly.]

Random comment from the end of the day... honestly not related to anything we were talking about! (That's just how kinders think.)

Student: "Hey, Mrs. A, you know that kindergarten Thanksgiving feast we're going to have?"
Me: "Yeah."
Student: "Well, I can't eat mashed potatoes because of my gag reflex."

???? ha!

And, last but not least, a happy art project -- cute and successful! Last year, my class had so much fun decorating a poster based on the book Bear Snores On (see it here). It was for a school event. This week, Bear Snores On was our "book of the week" so I decided to have all of my kinders make a fun bear hibernation scene.

To say the kids loved it would be an understatement! They LOVED the fluffly "snow" (Elmer's glue + shaving cream). Plus, they turned out soooo cute!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween Candy Science

If you know me at all as a teacher, you know I live for science. I love it. It is honestly the most engaging, fun, memorable part of the day. 

With that being said, today was not a good day for an intense science lesson on the unit we've been working on -- paper. 

It's the day after Halloween. Two words for you -- candy hangovers. My little ones were some strange mix of excited, exhausted, and over-stimulated today. 

Inspired by this pin on Pinterest, we did some Halloween science. I originally planned it because I thought it would be a fun way for the kids to use some of their Halloween candy. However, it turned into a wonderful lesson full of questions, predictions, discussion, and exploration. It's definitely a "keeper" for future years.

And... NO, I'm not going to tell you all the results. You are going to need to try it for yourself!!! :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The runaway eye

So, this is seriously hilarious. An oldie, but a goodie. I'm pulling this one out of the vault for you... it's just a good story.

We were sitting around the dinner table last night and this story came up. I could not tell it without laughing out loud. I really need to go back and tell some of these old stories on my blog. I don't want to forget them, and I know they'll make someone laugh. So... here we go.

My second year teaching, I had an awesome little guy in my class with a unique medical history. He had a glass eye -- but honestly, you would never know! It was so real -- looked just like his other one. I moved when he looked different ways. None of the kids even noticed. In addition, he wore sports goggle-like glasses to protect it.

Because it didn't hinder him in any way, and because it was so realistic, there was no reason to have a discussion with the kinders. They didn't ever notice, and honestly, he was too young to explain and probably to truly understand why he had it. Having this eye was all he had ever known, so it was simply normal to him. No need to make a big deal with the class... he was just a normal everyday kindergartner with cool glasses. :)

The only "issue" he would ever have with his eye is that it would occassionally turn or maybe get a little uncomfortable. He was a very intelligent and responsible little guy, so him and I worked out a "deal" -- he didn't need to ask to go to the health room if his eye was bothering him. He could just wave to me and go out the door. Easy enough. No one noticed, no disruptions to the class, and best of all, he was developing great independent self-care skills.

Well, one day around Christmas, that all changed. One fateful day that I'm pretty sure traumatized one of my students for life.

The kinders and I were doing an art project. I love the last couple weeks in December at school -- a time when I feel fully comfortable embracing the season with my class through art projects, service projects, and gift-making. It was a warm and fuzzy type of day in our room -- Christmas carols playing on our CD player, kids singing while they were cutting and gluing, me complimenting students on their darling work.

My little guy with the eye suddenly stood up and quickly walked towards the door. No big deal. He was heading to the health room -- standard practice in our classroom. I moved along with other students and made a mental note to make sure he returned in a few minutes.

After about 2 minutes, I noticed one of my other students had turned ghostly white. I had noticed he had his hand over his mouth earlier, but attributed it to a sneeze. But, the hand hadn't moved. His eyes were bulging. His face was white. I walked over to him and asked him, "What's wrong, bud?"

No response. His mouth moved, but no words came out.

Hmm... curious. I asked again, "Are you sick? What's wrong?"

No response. He was seriously shocked. Just staring.

That's when I realized it. He sits directly across the table from my little guy with the eye. Everyone else in the class was coloring away, singing and laughing. Not this one. He was sitting with his hand over his mouth staring at the empty seat.

Oh no. What happened?

I told the teacher next door I was leaving for a minute and I rushed down to the health room.

When I reached the office, I found a couple more confused and shocked kids and a couple hysterically laughing co-workers.

Long story short... his eye fell out while he was coloring. Literally fell out. Imagine the little guy across from him's shock. He had no idea the eye was fake. Out falls his eye. BUT... not only did his eye fall out, in his rush to get to the health room, he dropped his eye in the hallway. Naturally, the round little thing rolled away from him. So, now we have a shocked little guy in my room who just witnessed his friend's EYE FALLING OUT and a couple more kids who just witnessed a kid chasing his eye down the hall.

So, after the laughter and the explanations died down, I pulled my ghostly white student to the side. I thoroughly explained to him that his eye could never fall out. However, it took a few days and a couple e-mails to his mom before he believed that that could never happen to him.

One of my funniest moments teaching.