Open House Family Night!

Last week was so hectic! Thursday was our open house night for the 4 year old classes and I was busy finishing projects with the kids and working on gathering everything we needed for the night. The kids were also busy cleaning up the classroom. I gave each of them a wipe and let them go all around the classroom and clean! They LOVED it. They cleaned Meatball’s (our hamster) cage, the chalkboard, the doors, door handles, walls, tables, chair, shelves, the stage, EVERYTHING!

Open house was from 6:00-7:30. We started at 6 in the classrooms where families could look at the documentation posted around the room and in the hallway. The kids showed their parents around the room and explained how we did calendar, how centers worked, and enjoyed refreshments. Siblings came as well and loved exploring a brand new classroom. I made sure to have updated documentation posted around the room and in the hallways. I also updated everyone’s portfolio.

At 6:30 everyone went to the Fellowship hall (kind of like a cafeteria) I has a projector showing videos we had taken earlier in the year of various project and moments in the classroom. The kids and parents loved it. After we gathered everyone to the tables I introduced Mrs. Mary and she shared a story with everyone to introduce the project they were about to do! The story was Not A Box by Antoinette Portis, which is about a bunny  who has a box but it’s “NOT A BOX” it’s other things like a burning building or a rocket.

I wish we had an ELMO or some way to make the pages bigger so everyone could see the book better. But, everyone pretty much got the point. Then, I explianed what was going to happen next. They could work with either jus their family or as a table with more than one family. I had glue, brads, markers, crayons, tape, scissors, and paper at each table and the boxes, lids, yarn, pipe cleaners and staplers at the front of the room. Also, hot glue guns set up on a table for ONLY ADULTS to use.

They we stepped back and observed everything that happened (and took pictures, of course). It was just amazing. So many parents let their child take the lead by deciding what they were going to make, choosing the materials to use, cutting things out, etc. They made rockets, houses, cars, bird houses, a refrigerator, a table with food on it, a robot costume, dinosaurs and so much more!

 

I had a handout for the parents to take with them when they left and if they didn’t I just put a copy in thier cubby for the next day. Here is what it looked like.

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A couple days later I also sent home a survey for parents who came to fill out about how to improve.

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And that was about it! It was sucha great time and everyone enjoyed it! We had nothing but positive commments! 🙂 If you’d like to know anything else about it please don’t hesitate to send me a message or comment! Thanks and enjoy!

❤ Ali

 

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Through the Eyes of a Child

So, I tried something a little different with my kids today. I created a new classroom job-the photographer! They have always been interested in taking pictures and of course they all generally come out blurry and either REALLY close up or REALLY far away!

So, I give the photographer for the week a short lesson on the camera; the parts of the camera, how to turn it on, how to take a picture and keeping the camera still so the picture is clear. We talked about not leaving it on ALL DAY and keeping the camera safe so it doesn’t  break. P, the photographer for today, took her job very seriously. I’m pretty sure we got footage of her every move this morning. 🙂

I just went through the pictures she took and it’s just amazing. The things she thought were important enough to take pictures of, the things she noticed in the classroom and outside were amazing. If she didn’t get a good shot she would try again and she experimented with how a picture would look if she did a certain movement or held the camera a certain way.

 

Here are some of her photographs. . .:D

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Making number books
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Working together to organize the blocks shelf

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Snack!
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All organized!!
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Puzzle time

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We found a caterpillar!
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Planting Seeds
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She tried about 7 times before she could get a good picture of the lettuce seeds!
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Covering up the seeds!
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Watering them now 🙂
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Other classes seeds are starting to grow!

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These are daffodils the kids planted a couple weeks ago. Two of them finally bloomed today!!
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On the way to the playground!
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In line to go inside!

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The Golden Leaf!!
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Waffle Blocks!!

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Looking at the buds on the plant by the door.

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NOW–what to do with the pictures she took. . .

I brainstormed with one of my supervisors and she came up with having a display for the “Photographer of the Week”. At the end of the week she could pick 4 color photos and 5 black and white photos that she wanted to display and they would go on the board for everyone to see. And at the end of the next week when the new photographers pictures go up, hers would come down and be put in a photo album to look at later. So, now I am in the process of making the POTW board and figuring out how to organize all of the photos.

I also have a digital photo frame at home that I never use so I was thinking I could put a card in it of all the photos they have taken and hang that above the board.

I can’t wait to see how it all works out!! 😀

 

❤ Ali

I’m such a bad blogger

I feel like I have been neglecting my blog! (not that people read it) I really am doing a lot with my kids and it’s just hard to find time to sit and write about everything. I find myself posting things to my Instagram more than I am blogging. So, follow me on Instagram @peaceloveandteaching for up to date posts and I’ll continue to blog when I have the time.

i LAVA you <3

Well, I haven’t posted in a while! The last couple weeks, we have been busy with Valentine’s day and learning about VOLCANOES! SOOOOO much fun! We started the week off with a mentos and diet coke geyser! I got a geyser tube from my cooperating teacher when I graduated, it’s really cool and from Steve Spangler, and i haven’t used it yet! The kids loved it and it was a great way to get them interested in eruptions and volcanoes.

We also watched the Pixar short called “LAVA”. It’s about a volcano that wants someone to “lava” and he has a really catchy song too. You can look it up on YouTube but it’s not the actual video, it’s a music video. The whole thing is in the special features of the movie “Inside Out” I won’t spoil it for you in case you wan to see it, but it’s so cute and sweet. The kids loved it to and even pointed out some of the things we have learned about.

We discussed what a volcano is made of, what comes out of them, and the shape of a volcano: one of my kids described it as a “triangle with the top chopped off“.

After our discussion I introduced them to oil pastels. We talked about the colors we would need to made just the volcano part. They decided to use brown, black and grey. They drew the volcanoes with the pastels and used red, yellow, and orange paint for the lava. They turned out great!

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This is G’s view from the TOP of the volcano.
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I also let them experiment with baking soda, vinegar, and eye droppers. This is always a great go-to science activity. What 4 year old doesn’t like making things fizz up?!

We TRIED to make a volcano out of Legos. . . it didn’t work. It was very hard to get them to stay up and by the time we finished (even with my help) it didn’t look at all like a volcano. So, we decided to just make one out of sand on the playground. Each child had a part (collecting sand, molding the volcano and, adding pop rocks, baking soda, or vinegar). We found the pop rocks didn’t add too much more popping to the eruption but when they landed on the sand they popped in it and made holes. A pretty cool discovery.

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All those holes where the wet sand is are from the Pop rocks!!

That was the end to our Volcano week. I meant to show them the videos of real volcanoes erupting, but we just ran out of time.

Here are some of the books we read to further our knowledge!

Enjoy!

❤ Ali

BUSY BUSY BUSY (Shadows and Light)

I feel like I haven’t written in so long! Last week we were busy with Groundhog Day and learning about shadows and light. I set up a black light on the wall by my writing table a provided white paper and different color highlighters for the kids to write and draw. They LOVED how the light made the highlighters glow!I had fun playing with it too! 🙂

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Then I recycled a box that had our snack in it and put a piece of white paper inside and lined the height and width of it with unifix cubes. I set out our wild animal basket, some see through colored blocks and 2 flashlights. The kids put an object in the box, shined the light on it to make a shadow and used the cubes on the side to measure how tall it was.

We also were lucky enough to have the use of the school’s mobile light lab; which consists of an overhead projector, 3 flat light boards and different colored and shaped see through objects. I hung white butcher paper from the doorway in my room and had the projector shining light on it and let the kids experiment with making shadows with their bodies.

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It was so beautiful outside last week too, PERFECT for shadows! I had each child pick a block to take outside. Working together they made a tower in the sun. Using colored stones, rocks and wood pieces they filled in the shadow. It took a little explaining before some of them understood what “fill in the shadow” meant. They started by putting the stones on the blocks or on the ground around the blocks. While they filled in the shadow we talked about shadows, can you see through a shadow, can you see your face in your shadow, things like that. After they were done we left everything out and went to the playground for about 30 minutes. We decided to go check on our tower before going inside. In just 30 minutes the shadow had moved about 4 or 5 inches. The kids were amazed! I asked them how they thought the shadow moved.  I got answers like “the wind blowed it!”, “someone moved the rocks!” and “NO! The sun moved!!” We talked more about how light can make a show move and get bigger or smaller and experimented some as well.

We did a few crafts too. I laid out white paper and black paint. The kids were invited to paint shadows. And we also made groundhogs that we used on Thursday to go outside and see if they saw their shadows (unfortunately, they did).I set out pictures of real groundhogs, various sizes or brown circles and ovals, markers and glue. I was so bad with pictures this week that I didn’t get any of these projects!

By the time Friday came around I was going bananas! Never had a heard so much whining, from my class or me! So, after nap I decided to spend our whole afternoon OUTSIDE! It was a beautiful day! Fluffy clouds, the sun shining, 76 degrees-GORGEOUS! So we took our blankets out and had a picnic in the grass. We also took clipboards, markers and paper out and did an activity. They all laid down and covered their eyes and listened. The called out the things they heard-a car, a kid yelling, a train, a bird. Then they opened their eyes and drew one thing they heard.

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I thought that was a pretty ingenious idea. . . the kids however did not. The complaints started “I’m hot!” “The sun’s too bright.” “When are we going to the playground?” “I’m bored.”. . . Me: *in my head*”We are never doing anything fun again.”

We packed everything up and moved to a different spot-in the shade. There I told them they were to find something they could see and draw. I gave them an example of a light on the building next to us. I described the lines on the bottom of it and the circle on the top and the rounded shape of the whole light. If I were drawing the light, that’s what I would draw. I emphasized that I want to be able to tell what the picture is of when I look at it. I didn’t let them tell me what they were drawing either. I had to be able to guess. They surprised me. One had drawn the light I described, one drew a house across the street, one drew the church, and you could pick out certain key aspects of the subject of their drawing and tell what it was. The church had a cross at the top, the house had lines on the side for the siding, they actually paid attention to detail! SUCCESS!! 😀

Then FINALLY they got to go inside and “cool off” before finally going on the playground.

❤ Ali

 

Shades of People

At the beginning of the year we started our self investigations. We read a book called Shades of People.

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I’m going to copy and paste that documentation panel i made for this on here so you can see how I write them and what it sounds/looks like. Here goes . . .

 

Shades of People

We read Shades of People, which explores the many different shades of human skin, and points out that skin does not reveal what someone is like on the inside. This prompted a discussion about the different shades of our skin. Right away the kids noticed the differences and similarities in their skin.

“Mine is just like hers!”

“My arm is browner than his.”

“Ours is kinda close, but not really that much.”

I provided skin shade cards and prompted the kids to find a shade that matched themselves.

“Mine and his are the same!”

“Mine isn’t on here.”

“It’s kind of close to that one.”

Later I provided brown, yellow, white and black paint and prompted the children to mix colors together to get their shade of skin color. They started by picking the colors they saw in their skin and adding some to a plate to mix them.

“It’s turning white-brown.”

“I need more brown.”

“I need it darker. More brown.”

“I’m adding yellow because I like bananas.”

“Hey it’s turning my color a little bit. Or maybe pie.”

After they mixed them together they tested the color against their skin to see if they needed to add anything to it. They understood that adding white makes colors lighter and adding darker colors like brown and black makes colors darker.

After mixing the right shade they painted their hands and made hand prints.

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I hope that was helpful! If you have any questions please let me know!!

❤ Ali

Beautiful Stuff Project

At the beginning of the year we began our beautiful stuff project. The first thing I did was ask the children what they thought beautiful means. Those answers are on the left; the ones on the right are things they thought were beautiful. I particularly like that they think onions and teachers and both beautiful!

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I found some items around the room and outside that I thought were beautiful (ribbon, bead, shiny paper, a leaf, a stick, etc.). I put them in a brown paper bag and took each one out and showed it to the class. Most of the class agreed with me that most of my items were beautiful, but then I brought out the stick. . .

”A stick?”

“That’s not beautiful!”

“*laughter*”

Then came the meaningful conversation about how everyone can find different things beautiful, not everyone finds the same things beautiful and that’s ok.

Then, I gave them a job. They each got their own brown paper bag and were told to take it home and find SMALL things they think are beautiful and fill up the bag. They were all so excited to take their bag home.

They took it home over the weekend and on Monday they each took a turn pouring out their bag on a tray and showing their beautiful finds to the class.

After they all shared, we poured out all the items they brought and sorted them into three groups: art, home, and nature. I split the class into two groups and gave each group half of the items they brought in. They worked together to decided what box them item would go in.

We used the items to make the letters of the alphabet for our wall. Each child got to choose 2 letters to make. I cut black poster board into 6 sections and wrote the letter on it using white crayon. Some things had to be hot glued on because they weren’t staying on with regular glue. Surprisingly the shells and most of the rocks stayed on without any hot glue! They have been up going on 5 months and (KNOCK WOOD!!) nothing has fallen off any of them. OH! Also, I used command Velcro strips to attach the letters to the wall! Taping things to the wall in my classroom and in the hallway almost never works. All our humidity, even in the winter, makes sure of that.

Well, that’s about it. I LOVED this project! We regularly receive compliments about it and the kids love referring to it when they are writing.

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Documentation board for the entire project

We’re learning the letters in sign language too and so each week when we learn a new letter I take a picture of one of my kids making that letter then I print it in black and white and post it above that letter on the wall.

Enjoy!

❤ Ali