Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This is Teaching.

Contrary to what this blog may seem, I spend a fair portion of my day doing guided reading or small group math or journals with my students. We follow the common core standards. 

Today though, 9.5 days until summer, when I gave up and decided to have fun, I wondered why we aren't doing this every day. I mean, I really really wish this is how I spent my days. 

Two of my fellow teachers keep their sensory tables in the hallway, so I snatched them... along with my own, for a full outdoor sensory experience. Six kids went outside with me, and I was in one of those completely UN-frustrating moments when I truly was loving every single thing about my job. 

Sensory Table #1: Water bead gel & water

Sensory Table #2: Green sand & water.

Sensory Table #3: Water with funnel rack and pipes

I recently got this gutter for my ramps and pathways center. They loved it even more with water.

The only way they could figure out how to get the sea animals down though was to push them. Pouring water didn't seem to be a strong enough force. 

Oh hey, add some slimy water bead/gel to the animals before you pour the water, and it will slide right on down! Lesson in friction and weight? You bet!

Even filling a bottle with sea animals holds so many lessons. These are the things they don't even realize they are thinking! ha ha.

Spatial Skills: "Why do some fit in the opening and some don't?"
Problem Solving: "What happens if I turn it this way instead of the other way? Will it fit then?"
Science: "Where do they go when I drop them in there? Hmm... they sink to the bottom."
Science: "Look, the more I put in the bottle the higher the water gets. when I fit all of the animals in, the water overflows and spills out." 

Why did I love it so much? Because I hate trying to tell them what to learn. They figure it out for themselves pretty well!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saying Goodbye.

First grade. In some ways my students are ready. They are older and more mature. They are much more social and interested in each other's business. However, in other ways, I don't know if they'll ever be ready. First grade means having a desk. it means getting more independent work done and setting personal reading goals. First grade means more tests and more pressure. Even though our first grade teachers are great, these students are still children- small children.

Honestly, I pity them a little, because I've been through it all. I've moved up the ranks of every grade, I've sat quietly for years in school, and quite frankly, kindergarten is the best place to be. (Or, as one of my students told me just the other day, the SECOND best grade, because in pre-k you play ALL day).

So, every year I send them on to first grade, to a world of higher learning. I hope they make it without our blocks and animals and paint brushes. And I wonder to myself about a few of them, "Will today be the last day they ever build a castle out of blocks?"

Then, quite frankly, I breathe a huge sigh a relief. Selfishly speaking, I'm relieved that I don't have to go with them, that next year I will still have my light tables and water play and baby dolls.

Friday, May 10, 2013


I broke down and spent my money on this popcorn popper.
When we focus on our five senses, popcorn is a great cooking project. 

Can you see the popcorn? Yes! (Thanks to this popper!)
Can you hear the popcorn? Yes!
Can you feel the popcorn? Yes!
Can you taste the popcorn? Of course!
Can you smell the popcorn? Yes!

We made graphic organizer webs for each of our five senses. We wrote pieces about our experiences and illustrated them. A good time was had by all. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jenga Blocks

Dollar General sells the game Jenga for $3. Two to three sets added together make really great building blocks!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Puppet Days

It seemed like we should get excited about puppets before we visited the Marionette Theatre. First, I started by putting out all of my hand puppets. My students are more interested in creating than imagining though, so I added a puppet making station. One hundred paper bags later, we were all feeling pretty good about puppetry!

Puppet Making Station

Supplies for creating- pictures of different types of puppets

Books about puppets

The puppet center with a puppet theatre 

Cutting, making, creating a character

A final production!