Saturday, January 26, 2013

Astronauts & Opposites

We are learning about space and opposites.  Below are some of our centers and activities.

At the art center, we are drawing pictures of an outside scene (playground, park, house, etc).  After the picture is drawn, it is folded in half.  1/2 is painted with black liquid watercolor to show night.  The other is left white (day).  You can see the before paint and after paint below.  After the paint dried, students put star stickers on the night side.

At our science center, we are coloring the sun and planets, cutting them out and gluing the planets to black construction paper.  The sun is attached with a brad so the planets can "orbit" around the sun.

We are practicing standard and nonstandard measurement.  There is a picture of a rocket and an astronaut.  Each picture has a line down the middle.  Students measure using: cubes, erasers, links, counting bears and a ruler.  There is a recording sheet for students to record their measurements.  They are doing a great job!

Last week I posted my "spaceship" creation.  As promised, here are the kiddos in action.  The "astronaut" gets to wear the costume and spend time in the spaceship.  The laptop (out of commission) with headset and phone are "mission control".  I have not heard any arguments (I was shocked!), and the kids are excited to take many turns at each roll during their time at the center!

We will finish up with space and opposites this week.  The StarLab is coming, so we will visit that next week.  Friday is the 100th day of school!  What are you up to next week?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Out of This World Breakfast

My students came in this morning to a little extra special treat to go with their regular breakfast.  We serve breakfast in our rooms daily to all students free of charge.  I try to sneak in food projects where I can with breakfast to save the mess later, and it is easier to do it one-on-one or in small groups during this time.

Our theme for this week and next week is space.  First, I found these fish crackers at a Pepperidge Farm outlet.  They were only a dollar and I knew I could come up with something.

Off to the Dollar Tree I went and found black plates (outer space).  I bought apples to use as "moons", but forget them at home, so settled on bananas.  I cut the bananas in half longways.  Students then got stars, a planet and a rocket Goldfish crackers.  Below is the finished treat.

My kiddos enjoyed playing with their food before eating it.  It was a good way to start a Friday!

Do you have ideas for a fun (preferably breakfast appropriate) snack with a transportation theme?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Delay and a Celebration

The kids were off Friday (teacher work day) and Monday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), then had a 2 hour delay today.  It is C-O-L-D here!  We haven't had a delay or snow day this year, so this was a whole new experience for them.  They thought it was so cool to have centers in the afternoon instead of in the morning.  Ahh, the little things in life...

As for our celebration... I have a student in my class who has limited use of her right hand (and she is most definitely right-handed by nature).  She receives OT and PT weekly per her IEP and has certainly adapted to her situation well.  She has been struggling to zip her jacket independently, which I think even as an adult would be tough with one hand!  Usually the cafeteria staff is very helpful in getting is zipped prior to recess.  One day last week, when our normal cafeteria worker was out, a staff member told this little girl that she needed to learn to do it on her own. I picked her up from lunch in tears.  Poor girl!  Give her a break; she really does try!  So, I chatted with the OT who said she'd work on it today (which didn't happen thanks to our 2 hour delay...she'll be in on Thursday) and until then, she gave a suggestion of having her get it up as high as she could so she could use her right arm to hold the coat against her body.  In the meantime, I asked another little girl who usually sits near her to help her get it started, and she happily agreed.  Problem solved; yay teamwork!  Today, at the end of the day, Miss B came running over to me (only time I'd allow running in my room!) saying "Miss Hennon, I zipped my coat ALL BY MYSELF!  I bunched it up just like you said, and it worked!"  So proud!  You go girl for being persistant and not giving up- a lesson for us all!

What are you celebrating in your classroom?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hot Pots: Paint Your Own Pottery

My students, their families and I had the opportunity to paint our own pottery Thursday night at our local paint your own pottery studio!  I used to secure funding for our trip.  I love painting at Hot Pots, and I knew it would be something many of my students would not otherwise have the opportunity to do.  The staff at Hot Pots is very kid-friendly and gives me a great deal to bring my students and their families.

Miss M hard at work!

Mr. C and his mom working on his heart.

Finished painting and waiting to be fired.  Each one is certainly unique!

Have you used  If so, what have you posted projects for?  If not, you should definitely check it out!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prepare for Launch

We are launching a two week unit about space on Tuesday.  This is the first year, in my 7 years of kindergarten, that I have had a space theme.  I didn't have many resources and wasn't too excited about it.  We had a teacher work day on Friday, and the ideas started flowing while I was working.

I knew I wanted to make a rocket/spaceship for my dramatic play center. Not being the most creative person who can visualize these things, this was a challenge.  I wanted to be able to use it again next year, but not have something huge to store.  This is what I came up with:

I used an overhead projector to trace a rocket on a gray shower curtain. I cut out a hole (window) for students to look out.  I then taped the shower curtain to a stove box using packing tape.  A hole was cut in the back of the box for students to enter and exit the rocket.  The U.S.A. is created using foam and our Ellison.  I will just take the shower curtain off the box to store for next year.

To the side is a "command center" with an old broken laptop, a head set and a phone.  The student "astronaut" has an astronaut uniform jacket and helmet with a head set.  Looking forward to sharing pictures with you next week as students explore this center!  Our curriculum puts a huge focus on theme vocabulary, so I'm hoping this will bring out lots of conversation and vocabulary!

A colleague requested a little math game I made (not sure where the original idea came from...most likely pinterest!) to go with our space theme.

The game includes numbers 0-20.  The numbers are to be cut apart and placed in a pocket chart.  I use a Target $1 bin pocket chart (which I also recently saw at Dollar Tree!).  Behind 3 numbers, you had a little alien card.  Students must guess (using number names) which cards are hiding an alien card.  The game ends when all 3 alien cards are found.  I uploaded it on TpT as a freebie.

What ideas do you have for a space theme?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Penguins: Nonfiction

We spent the three days after our Christmas Break learning a little bit about penguins.  We tried making flip books for the first time, and I wanted to share how they turned out.  I think my students did a nice job with them!

For each section, we talked about what we wanted to write.  The sentence(s) we decided upon were then modeled on the SMARTboard with help from students.  Everyone had the same sentences in their flip books.  They were very proud to take their books home on Friday!

Features labeled:  head, eye, body, flipper, feet

Most penguins live in the cold.  Some like warm places.

Penguins eat fish, squid, octopus and krill.  

Baby penguins come from eggs.  They are called chicks.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Parent Gift

We made footprint snowmen on canvases for our parent gift this year.  I had requested a couple boxes of canvases through with thoughts of many projects that I could create with them.  After thinking about different possibilities for parent gifts this year, I decided to be adventurous!

We started by painting the blue background on the already primed canvases. The bottom of the canvas was left white to look like snow.  Next, thanks to the help of our preschool secretary and her daughter, the footprints were done in an hour.  After allowing the footprints to dry, students added the features to their snowmen.  Students used a pencil to write "Let It Snow"; I traced over their writing with a silver paint pen.  Then they used a Q-tip to paint snowflakes.  Finally, I added ribbon from Hobby Lobby (30 ft. for $1...1 spool did the whole class).  Students created their own wrapping paper with bulletin board paper and wrapped their creations.

This project was a bit time consuming because it took many days to create (lots of drying time!), but I think they turned out great!

Do you make a parent gift? What are your ideas?