Today has already been very busy for me. Today in my class we wore our pajamas. My class already went trunk or treating on Friday. This meant that my class was not wearing their costumes to school today. I wanted to do something different and fun. So, pajama day!
Since we were in our pajamas and finishing up our unit on the night sky, I decided to schedule a special snack for today… pancakes! The children had fun making pancake from scratch. I made a double batch of pancakes and they were gone when we were done. There was only 1 out of 17 children who did not eat the pancakes.
I also brought in a variety of sugar based candy (opposed to chocolate based… yes I know ALL candy is all sugar) to dissolve. We used gummy bears, sour patch kids, skittles and sweet tarts. We put them into water and vinegar to see how they reacted to the liquids. On Friday, we are going to do a similar experiment with candy pumpkins and candy corn. That time we will use water, vinegar, salt water and sugar water. I’ve done this in the past and it is really cool to see the candy pumpkins react… the wax coating will separate!
The boys came home from school and then carved their pumpkins. They were so excited that this year they got to wear their costumes to school. It sounds like there were a lot of fun activities for the kids and it went smoothly!
I’ll post pictures of the boys in their costumes and with their pumpkins tomorrow.
Hope you have a great Halloween… stay safe. We will try to stay dry!
This week we are learning about pumpkins in class. We are tying this into learning about Halloween which happens at night, ok it’s a stretch, but worth it!
We are reading stories about the life cycle of a pumpkin. Many of the children pointed out that both apples and pumpkins grow from a flower. They also mentioned that both have a stem and blossom end. I was please to see them make these real world connections independently.
We did a read the work activity with Halloween words. The children travel around the room with a recording sheet and find pictures on the wall. The pictures have the word written on them, the recording sheet has the same word in boxes. The children have to match the words and then illustrate to show the word.
For math we did a roll and cover. To do this activity the children had a sheet with pumpkins on it. The pumpkins had the numbers 1-6. They rolled a die and used a cube to cover the number on the sheet. This works on number recognition as well as number sense. Teaching children to recognize dot configurations for number is beneficial for moving forward in math as well.
We also created two class books this week. One was I am Jack O’___________. The children had to choose an attribute and color their pumpkin based on this attribute. We had everything from Jack O’Scary to Jack O’Pink and Jack O’Excited. The second book is based on the song/book Mary Wore Her Red Dress. We created a book ________ wore his/her Halloween costume all night long. The children had to write their name and then draw an illustration of themselves in their Halloween costumes.
I love creating class books that I can then send home for the parents to see. This is a great way to show progress and learning.
On Friday, we are having our Trunk or Treat and Halloween party. The children are excited for this fun day.
What a busy month this has been. I feel like the weeks are flying by and we will soon be posting about Christmas plans. Eek, never mind I’m not ready to go there yet.
This weekend we went out kayaking for 3 hours. Let me tell you that if you kayak correctly, you get a really good core workout. I was focusing on keeping my “paddle box” and not paddling with my arms as much. I could really feel it in my lower back and abs. We saw the blue herons, cormorants, blue jays and ducks. This was scheduled to be a fall leaf tour, but the leaves still haven’t changed here. I think this is going to be a very blah fall. The leaves aren’t changing, but they have started to fall off the trees. I hate falls like this. There is something magical about the colors of fall and when they don’t turn it feels like something is missing. This is one of the changes I was glad to have again when we moved to PA. I always missed the color changes when I lived in FL.
Today was one of “those days” at school. You have those days from time to time where you feel like it must be a full moon, but it’s not. I must be talking in a different language, but I’m not. Ummm ok it’s just an off day. Tomorrow we go on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. Today it is raining…. This means tomorrow we should be having a very muddy field trip. I will have 17 children and their families in a muddy pumpkin patch, oh joy! Oh and the temperatures have finally decided to drop into fall temperatures (Saturday we didn’t get out of the 40s!) My class is meeting at 10:30 it is forecast to be 39F at 10am and 42F by 11am. Cold and muddy. I think I’m pulling out my warm boots.
I hope life is treating you well in your little corner of the world.
This week we are learning about day and night.
The children completed a spill and spell activity with space words. In a zip lock bag, the children had a picture of a space word that has the word at the top, the word cut up into individual letters and letter cubes. They needed to read the word, at this age that means telling me what is on the picture. Then they needed to spill out the letter cards and put them in order to match the word on the picture card. After that, they had to put the letter cubes in order to spell the word again. (To do this activity with older children, do not put the word on the picture card and then have them write the word on a recording sheet.)
For art this week, they were given a black sheet of paper. I put large sheets of Styrofoam on the table. The children put the black paper on top of the Styrofoam and then used a pencil to poke holes into the paper. We then held the paper over a flashlight and could look at the constellation that they created. (For older children I would have them connect the dots to make an actual picture and then write about the story behind their constellation.)
We created a chart about the different things that you can do and see during the day and the night. It was interesting to see that many of the children said you only see lightning during the night time. Many children assume that once it gets dark out it is night time even if the the darkness is caused by a storm. One child did mention that you needed to turn on lights to see at night time.
We also used a flashlight to see why it changes between day and night.
We also touched on nocturnal animals to go with our poem this week. We will talk about this a bit more next week when we talk about bats.
Day and Night
They’re active at night.
They sleep while we play
They hunt in the dark.
They hide during the day.
Who are they?
Today was the last school day in September! It was our 16th day of school. Some days it feels like it has been a lot longer and other times I feel like I just started.
My aide and I stayed after school to get the classroom set up for our new month. Each month I pick a new theme for the month and base all our learning on that topic. September’s theme was changes. October’s theme is “the night sky’. We will learn about camping, stars/planets, day/night and nocturnal animals. (and pumpkins and Halloween).
I changed our dramatic play area from housekeeping to a camping scene. It will be fun to see how creative the children get playing there. They will work this week to create a mural of the woods at night to be the background for the area. We have a tent that we set up. Then I created a fire pit using a platter, rocks, paper towel tubes and tissue paper. We sorted through the foods and found hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and other camping foods. We created marshmallows to roast and make into “s’mores”. There is also a toy grill and cooking gear.
We are going to have bubble water in the sensory table. They will make mazes in the blocks area and you will now find all sorts of pumpkin, space, night and Halloween books around the room.
We finished switching the bulletin board to “Welcome to Our Patch”. Each child marble painted with red, yellow and orange. We then transformed those pages into pumpkins. They were then given either yellow or black paper and told to create the face of the pumpkin. These turned out too cute.
Our classroom door decoration was changed as well, but it’s not quite finished. This time we traced and cut out the children’s arms/hands. The children then wrote their name on the arm and decorated the hand however they wished. I cut out a bunch of stars and the children got to decorate it with glue so we could glitter the stars. The hands are towards the bottom of the door, and the stars towards the top. It says “Reach for the stars”
Can you believe that this is the last Monday in September? And, the first Monday in fall? This week in school we are finishing up our unit on changes. We are looking at the changing seasons and learning about apples.
We created a chart with things that occur during the four seasons. Then, as one of their “must do” centers the children are illustrating their own chart of the seasons. I was impressed with the details they were able to tell me about the four seasons. Summer was the one they had the hardest time listing different things other than it is hot.
We will read other stories about the season of fall and talk more about the changes we can observe based on the seasonal changes.
Today we started a STEM project. Did you ever wonder what is the best way to prevent apples from browning? We cut up an apple into 8 slices. We left two as the control slices. Then, we dipped 2 slices in water, 2 in vinegar and 2 in Sprite. We left them to sit about 5 min and then put them onto a plate. We will observe the changes over the week.
On Tuesday, we will taste test apples to see which apple color we like best (red, yellow or green). We will also begin our graph on how we like to eat apples (whole apple, apple juice, apple pie, applesauce or apple slices)
On Wednesday, it is Johnny Appleseed day. We will learn about Johnny Appleseed and make applesauce. I think I’ll bring in my instapot to speed up the process a bit since I only have the children from 9:15-12:15, I usually do this in my crock pot.
On Thursday, I will tell the story about the star inside the apple. We will also learn about the parts of the apple and how it grows.
We are also working on writing out names, recognizing numerals, one-to-one correspondence to 5 and ordering numerals.
I can’t believe that we are moving onto our next month and our next theme on Monday. Life moves fast
Each month I will pick a different over all theme for the month. Then each week we will look at a different aspect within that theme.
For the month of September, our first month of school, I choose the theme of changes. Oh and let me tell you we are having some major changes. Some of my students have never been in any type of school setting before. Others have, but it was not very structured and they were pretty much allowed to do what they wanted to do. That won’t work for me. While I know this is Pre-K and they need time to play, I’m pretty much known for developing a great structure and routine to my classroom day. We will get there!
For this first week, we are focusing on our names. I expected this to be a quick fun week knowing that I’d need to work on switching some children from writing their names all in capital letters over to writing their names with just one capital and the rest lowercase. I was shocked to see how many of my students did not even recognize their name in print, nevermind be able to write it. A few the struggle was the fact that they knew how to read their nickname, but I didn’t know that they were called by a nickname when I labeled everything in the classroom. Oh well, they will at least learn to read their given name.
Our poem this week is called Everybody Has a Name. We are working on learning this poem using echo reading. Having worked with K students so long and never having to actually teach this skill, I was surprised at how many children did not know how to just repeat what I said. It is getting better, but I still have some looking at me like I just read the line in a foreign language. Again… it’s week 1 and I know thing will get better as the year progresses.
Our 3 must do stations this were were covering their name with colored squares (these are being hung in the classroom), drawing a self portrait for our class-book, and illustrating the poem. Each week we will take a children’s book and rework it into a class book. This time around we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. We are rewriting it as Friend, Friend Who Do You See?.
Everybody Has a Name
By Jean Warren
Everybody has a name
Some are different
Some the same
Some are short
Some are long
All are right
None are wrong
My name is___________
It’s special to me
It’s exactly who
I want to be
This has been a great summer for us. Hershey, trains, mountain biking and lots more. But that time of year has come: back to school.
Today is the boys’ first day of school. They were up and ready to go. While there may have been a bit of nervous energy, they were excited to get back to it. Both boys enjoy school. They enjoy learning and exploring knowledge. Blake thrives off the routine of the school year. Colby was psyched to go see his friends and find new ones too.
It’s hard to believe that Blake is starting 6th grade. Sixth grade is such a huge transformation grade. This is the time where kids go from being kids to being a younger version of their adult self. Yes, I know they still aren’t even teens, but trust me this is the year that so much growing and maturing in personality and maturity happens.
Colby is starting 5th grade. While the change isn’t as dramatic from 4th to 5th there is still a change.
This will be Blake’s last year at the school he is in now. He will have 4 teachers instead of 2. This is the school’s way of getting them ready for middle school. Next year the boys will be in two different schools, they haven’t had that since Blake was in K and Colby in preK.
I can only hope that they learn, grown and mature. That they take on challenges. That they push themselves to expand their knowledge base and learn. I want them to make mistakes, failure is a good thing… it is the means to growth. I want them to hold their heads up high and know that they’ve got this…. no matter what this is!
When parents are getting their children ready to go back to school, they often think about getting clothes, backpacks, notebooks and lunchboxes. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, you will often get a list of supplies from your child’s teacher as well.
When picking out items for your child to use at school it is often worth spending a bit more now so you don’t have to replace these items later in the year. Over the years, my sons have had 3 backpacks. I let them pick out a fun/novelty backpack for preK but after that we switched over to a better quality backpack. Make sure the size of the backpack is proportionate to your child. We tend to get JanSport backpacks. The ones that we purchased when Blake was in K we still have and use to this date. This is smaller than the one they now use for school (we got those ones when Blake was in 4th grade). When you get a quality backpack it will last years. I had many years where children had cute backpacks, but by February they were destroyed (typically the zippers broke or the pack itself will tear)
Lunch boxes do tend to be something that we replace yearly. This is more because things will spill, the lining will tear or in other ways it will get ruined/destroyed. Again make sure you buy something that is proportional to your child’s size. I also always get reusable ice packs to put in the lunch box with their lunches. Make sure your child is able to open up all the containers you put inside their lunch. When packing lunches take into account the timeframe that your child will be given to eat. Most schools have about 25 min for lunch, but this includes getting into the cafeteria, sitting down, eating, TALKING, and cleaning up. Many children get frustrated when they have too much, or not enough lunch.
When getting clothes for school make sure your child is able to get in and out of the items independently, for bathroom purposes. Make sure you send your child in wearing clothes that they can move, work and play in. Do not send them in wearing clothes that they feel like they can not get dirty or play in. Your child will be sitting on the floor, going to recess, as well as the various special area activities (art, music, pe). Send your children wearing shoes that they can run and climb safely. Also, make sure you check out your school’s dress code.
Some of these things seem trivial, but to your child and their day it is major. School days may seem long to you, but the days are packed and busy. There is limited time for doing tasks, and you don’t want your child struggling with materials, clothes, or lunch items when they don’t have to the time to fumble through the process.
Yesterday I took the boys to their school. The teachers aren’t there, but it is an opportunity to find their classrooms. This year they are in the same biome (the school labels the hallways by biomes). Colby has the teachers that Blake had last year and Blake is just moving down the hall to 6th grade. Colby found two people from his class last year that are in class with him again this year. He is happy about that. At this time, Blake doesn’t know who is in his class, but those who know enough to contact are in his biome never mind his class. Oh well that will be good for him, meet and get to know other kids.
I know I haven’t talked about me job search in a while. I was contacted by three different preschools over the summer. I interviewed with all of them. Two of them I went back and taught a lesson. The third one offered me a position at my first interview, that was last Thursday. Yesterday I did a second interview at the other pre-school I was considering. I made a decision today. I accepted a job teaching kindergarten prep.
I will be working from 8:45-12:45. I decided this would be perfect for our family. I get to teach and have the fun and challenge of doing what I’m good at doing, but I’m also home when the boys get off the bus. I can do the grocery shopping, cleaning and other things during the week and we can still have our weekends to do fun things.
It will also give me time to do more work on my Teacher Pay Teachers store! I am looking forward to this change and less teaching stress.
I’m excited to take on this new adventure and step in my life.