Saturday, February 26, 2011

President's Day

Our President's Day activities are usually spread out before and after our winter break. It makes it tough to continue a unit with a break in between, but with holidays, field trips, teacher trainings and other distractions, it was the only way to cover all the things we wanted to do.

I get tickled at the comments from the kids around Presidents Day (and election time). You can often hear the parents' political views through the children's comments. The last two years have been interesting, with many Obama comments. My favorite this year was not about Obama though. I have two large posters with Washington and Lincoln that I hang this time of year. One of my friends commented that the pictures were nice, but "we really need one of Ronald Reagan because Daddy says he was the best president!"

We made log cabins out of craft sticks glued on paper. The cabins were interesting this year because I got called out of the room right as I began to give instructions, so basically the kids used the materials to make their own versions of what a log cabin would be like.

We sang lots of songs about the presidents, including this one I wrote some years ago called Abe Lincoln Was His Name-O!

We learned a bit about money and the Presidents on the coins. Our favorite coin activity is placing drops of water on the coins. With just enough drops, the water forms a bubble over the top. The water also magnifies the writing on the coins, so that is pretty cool for the kids to observe, too. The kids can't get enough of this! After demonstrating in large group, I initially set up a station for 2 at a time, then added 2 more, but more and more continued to crowd in until the table was full!


It's pretty cool to put that last drop on and watch the bubble melt!

Some of our favorite reads for President's Day:
Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved BooksAbe Lincoln's Hat (Step into Reading)A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln (Picture Book Biography)Easy Reader Biographies: Abraham Lincoln: A Great President, A Great AmericanGeorge Washington -- Soldier, Hero, President (DK Readers, Level 3: Reading Alone)

George Washington Easy ReaderGeorge Washington: A Holiday House ReaderEasy Reader Biographies: George WashingtonA Picture Book of George Washington (Picture Book Biography)The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln (Picture Puffin Books)Wackiest White House Pets

Feel free to leave a link in the comments of YOUR favorite President's Day activities!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Guest Reader

We had a very special guest today..... a student from last year's Pre-K class came to read to my class! I was so proud that in a few short months in kindergarten she's learned to read an entire book with enough fluency to hold the attention of squirmy 4 and 5 year olds for an entire book. She choose the book Tiptoe Into Kindergarten by Jacqueline Rogers. (Appropriate, too!)

It was such a special experience for me to have her share her new skills ~ I was beaming with pride!

Thank you, Courtney, for coming to read to us!

Tiptoe Into Kindergarten

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Show and Tell......Here's Your Sign!

I have struggled recently with Show and Tell, or "Show and Hotel" as one of my little friends calls it. I have always advocated allowing children to bring whatever they wanted to share, as long as they talked about whatever the item was. My goal was language development.  
Until now.    

I seem to have a tough group this year who seemed to bring the same toys every week, and no one was willing to actually talk about what they were sharing. The audience was bored, the students were bored and I was frustrated.

I made an executive decision after one frustrating Friday that Show and Tell items should be related to our theme in some way. No toys, unless directly related. Period.

I goes against what I really believed in, but sometimes a teacher's just gotta do what she has to do. Our shares the following week were AMAZING! The kids were excited to tell about their items and the rest of the class couldn't pay close enough attention. For the last 2 weeks, our Show and Tell time has been quite enjoyable. And it seems, the kids really did like the change. For our Valentine/Post Office week session, there were even a few surprises for the teacher---what a treat!

One sweet friend brought these flowers and told the class about the meanings behind the different colors of roses.

Check out that neat retro mailbox brought by another friend. It was filled with photocopies of Disney stamps for each friend to take home.

Two friends brought candy for the teachers in heart shaped boxes.

Sometimes, when reflecting on the logistics of how we teach, we wonder if we are following the appropriate philosophy. Educational theorists have conflicting opinions, just like politicians.The trick is figuring out what works best for me, in my classroom, today. Tomorrow, I may need to adjust my teaching or classroom policies in other ways, but I think I'll be okay with this change. I think Bill Engvall would tell me.......

Just thought I'd share this cartoon about Show and Tell. You never know what kids will bring to share!

Thanks for stopping by!

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