Monday, June 30, 2014


 Our theme this week was "Gardening" and it was the first week of our school's Summer Camp!! Who-hoo!

During summer camp, we always have a Yoga day where the school all together does a child centered yoga workout. The video we've been using is great because most of the poses are named after animals, like a lion... RAWR!

We also have splash day, where all the kids put on their bathing suits and we play outside in water tables and have a fun squiggly sprinkler to run through.

We read this week: My Garden by Kevin Henkes
                              Mortimer's First Garden by Karma Wilson
                              Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman 
                              Living Sunlight by Molly Bang
                              The Story of the Root Children by

Our question of the week was "What do you want in your garden?" This worked really well after reading the book "My Garden", because that's what the little girl talks about, flowers that can change color, chocolate bunnies, a jelly bean bush etc.

For our theme of the week, found worms outside and made them a habitat. We will observe them over the course of the summer and then put them back out in the woods in August. The kids really had fun digging for the worms! Here is a great step by step of what to do.

On TeachersPayTeachers I found a great FREE worksheet that not only makes a cool project, but really helps kids with those tricky teen numbers!

We planted seeds for flowers that hummingbirds will really like once they can go outdoors, and we watched a cool video about hummingbirds that talks about how they fly. It has great closeups of the birds. Worth a look!

We made hand print flower pictures.

Using toilet paper rolls, peanut butter and seed, we made bird feeders!

We played The Lady Bug game.

We wrote in our journals about what we would like to have in our own gardens.
 This summer we have some older kids on our class with us. While my kids are working on their journals, the older kids work on this reading log where they respond to the book we read in the morning.

And for Movie Friday we watched The Lorax! Yum, we had popcorn!!

Our song of the week was "Planting Time" (Row row row your boat), I found it here.

"Dig, dig, dig the earth (make digging motion)
Then you plant your seeds (pretend to drop seeds)
A gentle rain (Flutter fingers down)
And bright sunshine (Circle arms above head)
Will help your flowers grow."
(Hold one arm parallel to ground and move other arm up behind it with
fingers extended to represent a flower growing)

We had fun with all things outside this week!

I had a leaf nose! =]

The younger class grew grass this week! When it was all finished, they let us give it to the bunnies for a snack! =]

The games that we played this week at morning meeting were so fun!

We played "Alphabet Catch" with a beanbag. We toss the beanbag around the circle and the kids have to say the next letter in the alphabet. We started tossing it to the person next to use, once the kids get more comfortable with the game we'll stand in a circle and toss the beanbag across to friends.

"The Weather Changed" is a fun game. The kids decide on certain movements for weather, and we continually do the movements until the weatherman changes the weather. This week I started out as the weatherman, but I will have the kids be the weatherman too.

We played "1,2,3" which we have played before and is definitely a fan favorite! We stand in a circle and each child says 1,2 or 3 consecutive numbers starting with 1 up to 9. So for example: "1,2,3" "4" "5,6" "7,8,9" and the next child who would have to say 10 sits down and is out of the round. Then it starts back at one. My class really loves this one, and usually if we play it in the morning, I will hear them in centers or at their lunch tables playing their own facilitated versions of the game.

"Zoom" is a fun and quick game to play with a class of any age. First you need to pick a direction that the zoom is going to go around the circle. The person starting says zoom and turns their head the the person next, and it goes around the circle. Once the class gets comfortable with this game, I will record how long it takes us!

"Number Ball" is a lot like our alphabet catch in that we toss a beanbag to our friends. This game is a little different. The goal is to get to 30, but if the beanbag is dropped we have to start back at 1. I wonder if we will be able to get to 30 by the end of the summer?!

We are keeping up our work on our sight words! Every morning we go over around 10 of them. Once we've mastered them, they will go on our sight word wall! So exciting! We're working our way through the 220 Dolch sight word list.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Lorax: The Graduation Edition!

My class graduated last week, and it was such a special day that I would love to share with you!

This year my kids really developed a love for all things Lorax (by Dr. Seuss); books, movie, soundtrack, pictures... everything! So when we sat down as a class to figure out what we should do for graduation, they wanted to have a Lorax graduation! (I was A-OK with that!!)

First we decided what songs to sing. We decided that our "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" song would be perfect as well as two graduation songs that my class sang last year.

We worked on, "We Are Here to Graduate", to the tune of London Bridge. This is what we sing as we walk into graduation.
"We are here to graduate, graduate, graduate.
We are here to graduate, on this special day."

Then we learned "I'm a Little Graduate", to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot".
"I'm a little graduate, Aren't you proud of me?
I know my numbers and ABC's.
I made lots of friends and had fun too,
Now, I'm off to the big kid school!"

We practiced "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" that I found here
"Reduce Reuse Recycle
Are words that we all know
We have to save our planet
So we can live and grow
We might be only children
We have to try, you’ll see
We will save our planet

It starts with you and me!"

Then we needed to talk about a performance to do. Since we were going with a Lorax theme, what better thing to do than tell the story of The Lorax? I shortened the story and assigned each child 2-3 sentences as a part to memorize. We worked on it every day for 3 weeks and I know all my awesome parents worked with their children at home.

To go with their part of the story, I bought tracing paper and traced some of the illustrations from the Book. I turned them into a coloring page that the children colored. At our ceremony, when it was their turn to speak, they held up their illustration too! Their parents LOVED it!! 

I decided to turn the pages into a class book, so after graduation, I went back and wrote their spoken part on the page that they colored. It is something that I will treasure forever because I know how hard they all worked on their parts and I know that future classes of any age will love to see it.

I made little goodie bags with their names on them filled with necklaces, graduation bubbles and assorted candy that I handed to each child when they got called for their diploma. As soon as the ceremony was over it was so cute to see them tearing through their bags. They were so happy!

It was such an amazing afternoon and I was so, so, SO proud of my kids and all the hard work that they did. This was the order that we followed for our graduation ceremony.

"We Are Here to Graduate"
School Owner and Director Speeches
My speech. =]
Our Retelling of The Lorax
"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"
Graduate: Diplomas!
"I'm a Little Graduate"

Next week: Summer Camp!!

Painting to Music

 Our theme this week was "Painting to Music" and we focused on getting ready for graduation! This is one of my favorite themes, because it's so fun for the kids to listen to and react the the different genres of music.

We also spent time this week getting prepared for our graduation ceremony on Friday afternoon!

We read this week: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
                               Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
                               Oh, The Thinks You Can Think by Dr. Seuss
                               The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
                               The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
                               The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing

Our question of the week was "What was your favorite thing that we did in school?"

And we wrote in journals about this question too.

For our themes of the week,  we painted to 4 different kinds of music; Classical, Country, Rock and Blues. Each day the kids listened to the music for about a minute and then we talked about the way it made them feel. Then we talked about how those feelings should be be reflected in our paintings.

For classical music we listened to a playlist of Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, and we painted with purple, green and orange. Most of the kids said that the music made them feel sleepy.

For Country music we listened to a playlist of Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban. We painted with yellow, orange and brown. The kids really liked the country music!

For Rock music we listened to a playlist of The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. We painted with purple, orange and yellow. The kids just wanted to dance!! So, we had a little dance party after everyone finished their paintings.

For Blues music we listened to a playlist of Mississippi John Hurt and B.B. King. We used green, purple and blue paint. They told me that this wasn't really their favorite =/, but I enjoyed it!

For our practice activities, we matched shapes with worksheets from Summerbridge Pre-K-K. I love these books because they have such great worksheets for keeping the learning going at home over the summer as well as worksheets that I use throughout the year.

Dot-to-dots are such a fun way to practice counting! We did this really cool one of a cat from The Complete Book of Numbers and Counting.

Also from that book the kids followed a number maze from 1-20.

Practicing colors with raindrops is so fun! They kids have to use their letter knowledge and color words to complete the worksheet. This came from Alphabet, Colors, Numbers and Shapes.

We played beginning consonant sound Bingo!

We kept working on our sight words! Every morning we go over around 10 of them. Once we've mastered them, they will go on our sight word wall! So exciting! We're working our way through the 220 Dolch sight word list.

My new favorite thing is adding glitter to playdough. So pretty!

Landscapes! (X, Y, Z and 1-10)

 Our theme this week was "Landscapes" and we focused on reviewing the numbers 1-10, and the letters X, Y and Z. This week we also got ready for Father's Day!

We read this week:  Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
                                Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barret
                                I Love My Daddy by
                                I Love My Daddy by
                               The Night Before Father's Day by Natasha Wing

Our question of the week was "Why do you love Dad?"

For our themes of the week,  we took long walks outside and down our nature trail. Our school is in such a great location, and my classroom looks out on the woods behind us. The playground has trees and plants all around it and our nature trail goes down in to the woods, so we are always talking about the plants and nature around us.

We painted pictures of trees and forests.

One of the other teachers in our school made paint ice cubes by mixing some tempera paint and water together and freezing them with popsicle sticks in them. These were so fun! I had planned for us to paint outside, but the day that we were going to, we had torrential rain, so we had to make do with indoor ice painting! The finished products look so cool!

This was a neat alternative to just using watercolor paints I think. I will say that there is a small window of when the paint cubes are the perfect temperature. Once you pass that and they start to really melt we ended up with very wet paper and drips on the floor under our drying rack. I'm not afraid of a little bit of cleaning, and I actually think the "drippy" pictures are super cool! They remind me  of the style of paintings that my sister does!

For father's day, we drew pictures of our dads.

We wrote in our journals about why we love Dad.

And we made our gifts for Dad. This year I wanted to do something a little different, and something that my kids could use with their dads. First they drew and colored pictures on a page that I had drawn out puzzle pieces. Then I glued them to a piece of construction paper and then cut them out. I thought about having the kids cut them, but I realized that the curved cuts and the thicker paper would be really hard for them. Then I put the pieces in an envelope with a little poem glued on the front and tied it together with 2 chocolate chip cookies. When I talked to my kids the following Monday, they were all so excited about sharing a cookie and doing the puzzles with their dads.

The teachers in our school also hosted a "Donuts for Dad" breakfast.

Our song of the week was "We Are Here to Graduate", to the tune of London Bridge. We will sing this song while we walk into graduation. It's getting close!

"We are here to graduate, graduate, graduate.
We are here to graduate, on this special day."

For our numbers, I found these great review sheets for the numbers 1-10 in The Complete Book of Numbers and Counting.

For our letter activities, we reviewed writing and finding the letters that we are talking about; U, V and W. These pages came from Letters for Little Learners.

The letter of the week books have pages that you can make into a book. I picked from both to get my "favorites". Each week, we work on some of these pages, and each child at the end will have an alphabet book. I like to do these pages, because not only do they get more practice writing the letter, but they also have to finish the sentence on the page, which is really cool. It gets them thinking!
This week the "X" page came from Book 1, the "V" page came from Book 2, and the "N" page came from Book 2.

We also worked more on recognizing our review letters in the tongue twisters from Alphabet and Counting. We used this book to turn our letters into fun animals, but on the pages is also a little tongue twister. I printed it large and made a picture, then laminated them with contact paper. Using wet erase markers, we take turns finding the letters that are hidden!

We kept working on our sight words! Every morning we go over around 10 of them. Once we've mastered them, they will go on our sight word wall! So exciting! We're working our way through the 220 Dolch sight word list.

Speaking of sight words, from Confessions of a HomeSchooler, I got these great sight word pages. We continued this week with the words "you".

Our American Toads wanted to model this week. =]