Saturday, April 29, 2017

Digital Stories for Mother's Day

Every year we have a celebration of our moms. The students write digital stories using the program Pixie as another way to publish their writing. They sound out their words to write the sentences, they use the paint option to draw the pictures. They choose the background music and narrate their story. On the big day I show them how to serve food using tongs and give them a pep talk on how their moms should not be doing anything that morning-they should be pampering them.

They make name placards, mom portraits and other crafts to show their moms. When they arrive the students take their moms by the hand and show them to their seats.

Then we play our digital stories. Here are some stills from my favorites this year:

They are so easily impressed. :) 

My mom likes all the colors of the rainbow.

I love you 100 mom.

She always says I love you more than anything.

I like to cuddle with my mom.

I love her more than chocolate.

My mom is honest.

My mom always says I'm a star.

My mom is helpful (she's helping an injured person-see all the blood. :)

I like that my mom has a mom too.

I am glad my mom voted.

So the kiddos are thankful not only for the things moms do for them like cooking and cleaning and driving them to school. They are also thankful for the cuddles, the bedtime stories and all the "I love you's".

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Very Hungry Kindergartner

Reflection is a difficult task for our little ones. They can't remember what happened last week, much less the beginning of the school year. This is an activity that went along with the story we read and gave them an opportunity to start reflecting on their time in Kindergarten.

We read the Very Hungry Caterpillar-the Eric Carle classic. Then I asked them to switch gears a little bit. We went over how people can be "hungry" to learn or can "devour" books and what those phrases meant. Then I asked them to think about what they learned over their year in Kindergarten and much like the caterpillar in the story--what would that help them become.

Here are some examples of what they came up with:

subtracting, science, math, adding-now I'm unique. :)

I really LOVED that is wasn't all just reading and math-some wrote that they learned about sharing and friendship too! :)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Teaching Empathy to Young Students

For the past few years, I have been cultivating resources to consciously teach empathy to my Kinder students. I feel like it's something that is often missing in our society today. We are spending our time taking selfies and brutalizing others in comments on social media. I want to make sure my students develop an ability to put themselves in others' shoes and think about how things will make people feel.

I do this in several different ways. I model with stories and often talk about how characters in the story feel. (These are just a few examples-there are tons of choices out there).

The first day of school from the school's point of view. It overhears students saying how much they hate school and it hurts the school's feelings.

                                         Mr. Hatch receives a box of candies and a note saying someone loves him that makes him very happy. However, he discovers it was meant for someone else.

Even though Bear does not like visitors and just wants to be alone, Mouse shows that he cares about him.

A beautiful story about a bus ride into the city and all the different kinds of people they meet along the way.

A little girl and her friends shun a new student because her clothes are hand-me downs and she's different from them. When the little girl ends up moving away the main character regrets the way she treated what could have been a potential friend.

The different colors have different personalities and have to band together stand up to a bully. It's ripe for discussion of how the colors are feeling.

I use videos like this one.

And I think all those discussions are working. We were at the science museum yesterday on a field trip and the students kept remarking that they felt sorry for the dinosaurs, that they were extinct now. They felt sorry for the trees in the rainforest. They will often come tell me when they think one of their classmates feels down or that they may need help with something. I love seeing them thinking about others and that our focus seems to be paying off!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Open-Ended Sloths

We are talking about the rainforest this week and get to learn about what I think may be one of the most interesting animals---the sloth! We read Eric Carle's book about the sloth and then set out to make our own. I gave the students half of a paper plate, squares of brown and manila paper and set them off to create their own sloths.