Monthly Archives: March 2010

metamorphosis

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Today we did an easy project that depicts life cycle of the butterfly.  Here’s what you need:  Paper, glue, white rice, macaroni pasta, shell pasta (medium size), and bow tie pasta.  What I did was cut the paper (I used green) into a large circle and divided the circle into quarters with a back permanent marker.  I had a simple illustration showing how the butterfly starts as an egg, becomes a caterpillar, goes into a cocoon, and then comes out a butterfly (something we’ve already gone over and read many times).

From this the children glued one piece of white rice into the upper left quadrant, one macaroni pasta into the upper right quadrant, a shell pasta into the lower right quadrant, and lastly a bow tie pasta in the lower left quadrant. In each space the children also labeled the items with the words:  egg, caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly.  I had the words written out and they just copied them.  I know I could have used the word “pupa” instead of “caterpillar” and “chrysalis” instead of “cocoon” but I choose not to as the majority of the books we’ve read don’t use those words and I didn’t want to confuse the children!

They really enjoyed this project and many got a kick out of “reading” the words to me as they went over the process!  After we were done I realized that perhaps the children could have colored a scene around each item to put them in a more natural setting.  Or we could have glued the “egg” onto a leaf, the “caterpillar” on a small stick or leaf, the “cocoon” on a small twig, and the “butterfly” onto a fake flower.  Oh well, the children enjoyed it anyway!  They couldn’t wait to take them home so they could “read” them to their parents!

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quickfire activities

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Okay, I’m putting out a question to all of you:  Do you have any quick, no prep activities to do that can be done in as little as 5 to 10 mins and involve letters or numbers?

I schedule my circle/morning message time for right before snack.  I usually give us about 20 mins to do what we need to do.  Some days we take all 20 mins – others we don’t.  I would like some easy activities to do with my class on those days where we finish early and have 5 to 10 mins to spare before leaving the room for snack.  It would be great if these activities could involve letters or numbers – or some other educational purpose.

I welcome any and all ideas – I can always tweak them to make them my own!  Please leave a comment and let me know what you do in your class when you only have a few minutes and need to keep the kids busy !  Thanks!  🙂

escaping the cage…

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If you’ve been a reader of my blog from the beginning you might remember this post where I likened my school to a prison and ranted about our lack of natural outdoor space for the children!  If you haven’t read it – feel free to do so now.  The land across the street that was supposed to be turned into a parking lot, but due to financial reasons, it has been left untouched and covered in weeds ever since they tore that building down – until this week.  This week workmen showed up and started leveling the ground, placing little flags all about, and putting in a sprinkler system!  Yes, a sprinkler system!  Imagine our surprise and excitement – a sprinkler system can only mean one thing….GRASS!!!

So, I had to inquire with Ms. Lezze-Faire about what was going on.  I learned that yes, they were indeed still planning on putting in a parking lot.  However, they are also going to put grass in an leave some play space for the children!!!  I was soooo happy to hear this!  🙂  As much as I wish they would create an awesome and creative natural play space for the children I know they won’t – but I will be happy with the patch of grass they are willing to give us!  It’s a pretty big piece if land – so I’m hoping for a good size grassy area with (fingers crossed) some trees!

Rumor has it that by mid-summer we’ll have a good idea of how much space the kids will get.  Until then we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed and our eyes open to what they’re doing!  I’m just super excited that by next school year we’ll have a new outdoor space to explore!  🙂

it happened one night…

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Well, it happened again this year…the leprechauns broke into our classroom and left us a mess, along with some goodies, for St. Patrick’s Day!  The children were super excited and spent a good 10 mins running around the room laughing and screaming with delight!  Too cute!  All the green toys were out and had been played with and enjoyed.  All of our green crayons and markers had been used on the green paper we’d had in our room.  And the blue and yellow paint we’d used for our art project had been used and nice green paintings were left on a table.  Not to mention our blocks (which are kept in a green box) were spilled out all over the rug!  Our foam shamrocks that we use for sorting were sprinkled all over the floor!  And two tiny, green leprechaun hats were left in our room along with some green cookies and a shamrock pin with each child’s initial in gold glitter!

After cleaning up the mess they’d left for us we decided to go hunt down those pesky leprechauns to return the hats and ask them why they left such a mess in out room!  And, as you might already know, you can’t go on a Leprechaun Hunt without first making a pair of Leprechaun Finders!  To make our Finders we stapled two toilet paper tubes together, attached some green cellophane to one end and a piece of green yarn to the other so it could hang around our neck, and then decorated them with green markers and shamrock stickers!

After completing our Leprechaun Finders we went on a walk around our school to see if we could find some Leprechauns!  Try as we might, we didn’t see any!  Imagine our disappointment!  We looked in, under, and around things and came up empty!  They children concluded that leprechauns are REALLY good hiders!  🙂

It was a fun day full of excitement!  The children told everyone they saw about how they leprechauns broke into our room while were were sleeping at night and played with everything and left a mess!  And they showed off their pins like they were treasure!  They were super excited that the leprechauns knew their names and put the right letter on their pin!  It was a great day – one we won’t soon forget!

sewing?

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So, I’ve been given some embroidery thread, large needles, (both plastic and metal with blunt tips), clear plastic canvas,  fabric (linen colored – not sure what kind though), and 4 plastic embroidery hoops (maybe 5 or 6 inches across).  Obviously, these things are used for sewing.  The person who gave them to me wanted me to “use them with the kids in my classroom”.

I was very excited (as I always am when I get free or very cheap things for my room)!  However, I’ve never sewed with 4 year olds.  So, I’m writng this to ask any of you if you have done sewing projects with your class and what did you do?  Or do you know of someone who has?  Any links or pictures would be appreciated!  Where should I start?  I’m kinda lost – I don’t sew (but have ALWAYS wanted to learn) so I’m excited about this and willing to take any advice!  Leave a comment or a link – thanks!  🙂

it’s been too long

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Well, I’m back – and before you can say it – I know I’ve been gone too long – almost a month!  I don’t really have any good excuse.  I’ve been sick (twice) and Ms. Bennet has been sick – and out almost a week.  And all the kids have been getting sick.  So I’ve been a bit stressed and really, really tired and haven’t felt like logging on and posting about anything!  But I’m back – and I have to say I’ve missed my blog!

First, an update on Jumpy.  Well, there really is no update – he hasn’t been back to school since that first week and the office hasn’t heard or been able to contact the family.  I’m hoping they found a school that could better meet his needs and that they are happy.  And, as horrible as this is going to sound, I feel a bit relieved.  I was worried about how I was going to handle his situation (and his possible special needs) while still giving the rest of my class the attention they need.   Don’t get me wrong, I would have given it my best attempt – I don’t back away from challenges – I’m just glad I didn’t have this one extra thing on my plate right now.

On another note, Progress Reports went out this last week!  I’m always dreading progress report time (I do them 3 times a year:  December, April, and again in May) because I fear that the children won’t show any progress!  I was happy with how all the children performed!  I have about 5 (out of 20 kids) who I feel will not be ready for Kindergarten.  I recommended they do another year of Pre-K.  I’ll see how their parents respond to this suggestion next week.  I can’t force a child to learn.  Those few children lack focus and give up really easily.  I’ve been asking their parents to help them at home (don’t know if they are or not) but little to no progress has been made.

So, now that I’m finally feeling human again (and not sick and exhausted) I’ll try to post somewhat regularly!  Spring break is here (we don’t close for spring break – we just don’t do academics) and the sun is supposed to be out all next week!  We are doing a unit on bugs/insects and the weather will help us so that we can explore outside to see what we can find.  Thanks you for being patient while I’ve been gone!  Like I said before:  It’s good to be back!  🙂