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kindergarten

dinosaur-fun

Yesterday, one of our kindergarten students brought in a dinosaur made of scrap metal.  He had received it as a gift over the weekend, and was so excited to show all of his friends at school.  He brought it into the classroom in the morning and the children instantly began talking about dinosaurs.  My teaching partner and I had them tidy up and meet us on the carpet.  We allowed the student to tell us all about the dinosaur and then had a sharing time for all of the children to tell us what they wished to about dinosaurs.  It amazed us how much they knew!  We knew it was a wonderful opportunity to begin some inquiry based learning! We could sat on the carpet listening to the students for hours, but instead, we decided to quickly set up a few activities for them to actively share their knowledge instead.  As the students were chatting on the carpet, and passing around the metal dinosaur, I set up the writing centre with pencil crayons, markers, pencils and writing paper so they could create stories with their knowledge.  I also got out a large piece of mural paper so we could paint a scene where dinosaurs may have lived.  In our book centre, I quickly gathered all of the dinosaur stories we had and put them in the centre of that carpet for the children to look at.

Later during the day, after nutrition break was finished, I set up some creative art centres for the students.  I had printed pictures of dinosaurs for the children to do marble painting, set out toilet paper rolls for them to make 3D dinosaurs and put out construction paper/glue/scissors/markers for them to create their own dinosaurs.  A small group of children also wanted to help finish the mural we had begun in the morning. 

By the end of the day, we had created a dinosaur mural displaying our art, read 2 non-ficiton books about dinosaurs, hung several stories the children had created throughout the classroom and had time to share all of their knowledge that they already had about dinosaurs.  The children were engaged in all of the centres throughout the day and are excited to continue to learn about dinosaurs.

a-remembrance-day-poem

Remembrance Day can be a difficult topic with young students.  In our Kindergarten classroom, we discuss who soldiers are, what they do for our country, what they have done for our country and ways we can show our appreciation and respect for them.  We make a wreath for our assembly.  We also try to make one art project for the children to display for the other students and then take home.

This year, we are doing a poem, Little Poppy: 


Little poppy
Given to me,
Help me keep Canada
Safe and free.

I’ll wear a little poppy,
As red as red can be,
To show that I remember
Those who fought for me.

We are centering the poem at the top of a white paper.  Below, you can have children do whichever form of art you wish.  You can sponge paint/cut & paste/draw, etc…a poppy or whatever symbol you want.  Once the artwork part is dry, you can glue the paper to a piece of black construction paper.

thanksgiving-art-ideas-for-kindergarten

A few people have requested art ideas for Thanksgiving that are not turkeys.  Below are three example of  activities.

One idea we use is to tie in healthy food to Thanksgiving.  Usually, there is alot of focus on family dinners at this time of year.  We collect grocery store flyers, and have children cut out pictures of healthy foods they would like to eat at Thanksgiving.  We then have the children use these pictures to glue to a large piece of paper.  Once it is dry, we either mac-tac it, or laminate it (depending on available resources) and send it home as their placemat for Thanksgiving dinner.

Another idea for Kindergarten (one you could use in any primary grade) is to have pumpkin seeds in your art centre.  The children can create pictures with these, or for older students, you could have pre-made pictures they can glue the seeds to.  To make the seeds more interesting, you can colour them with food colouring.

Finally, you could have dried leaves in your art centre.  The children can do leaf-rubbings to create beautiful Fall pictures.  These can also be laminated to send home as placemats.

learning-centres-in-kindergarten

A learning centre is also known as an activity centre.  Some of these are permanent (ie: reading corner), while others can be temporary and based on student interest (ie: boats in a water table).  Materials should be chosen based on the children’s developmental needs, as well as the potential for exploring and learning.  Open-ended materials are advised.  Centres should be well defined, organized, have an easy access to materials and allow for children to be involved independently within them. 

In Kindergarten, a classroom is organized around the learning centres.  The centres are how we provide a developmentally appropriate learning environment for our students.  They contribute to the development of oral language, social skills, learning, physical skills and inquiry.  They are places where children can explore, revisit, create, recreate based on pas experiences and build their knowledge.

Some examples of common learning centres in a Kindergarten room are a dramatic play centre, a sand table, a water table, a discovery table/centre, an open art centre, and centres for literacy and mathematics.

preparing-for-your-students

As we begin to prepare for the school year for our students, reviewing OSRs and FairStart files might be a great way to connect.  A few weeks before school starts I always like to send a little card in the mail to welcome them to school with a short little note attached.  Another ideas may be to call the home to say hello or to touch base.

Reviewing the OSRs would help to recall any personal information you may need to know like custody concerns, allergies, medical information, emergency information.  Some stuff my be documented in the office with the secretary, but I always like to have this information handy in my files as well for quick reference. As well, there is another set of eye looking over things just in case something was missed.

FairStart booklets may or may not have been completed early on in February.  It would be good to ensure all students have completed this process and to touch base with those who have not.  Another helpful piece of data to have is the print out of the scoring sheet once the Facilitator (SERT) has entered the information into the system.  It tells you what services the child has been recommended to if need be.  Again, it is helpful information to refer to especially when your begin assessments and need to have a handy cross-reference point.

games-day

Because it is the last week of school, my teaching partner and I wanted to make the time we have left with our kindergarten class fun and memorable.  Instead of doing traditional lessons, we decided to put out board games during literacy and math times today.  We divided the students into groups of 4.  We chose 5 games that the children could play independently, and 2 games that they may need assistance with.  That way, we could sit at those 2 games, if they needed help.

The children were so excited when they saw all of the games set up after recess!  They really enjoyed it and asked if we could do it again tomorrow.  Seen as it is the last week of school, I think we might do it again!

beach-blanket-bingo

Last week, I posted how our kindergarten class made leis to celebrate our school’s “Beach Day”.  Today, we used those leis as it was “Beach Day”!

We wore our leis all day.  Then, during the last 60 minutes of the day, our entire school met in the gym to play Beach Blanket Bingo.  Students were asked to bring a beach towel to use as their blanket.  Our class was paired with an older class so that each kindergarten student had a helper for the game to recognize the numbers and follow the rules.  That also left myself and my teaching partner free to handle any issues that may have risen (bathroom breaks, etc).  Our principal, as well as an EA who had organized the event, sat on the stage and called the numbers. 

Our class got recognition of our festive necklaces, which made the kindergarten children smile with pride!

making-leis

Next week, we are having a “Beach Day” at our school.  To help our children get in the spirit of summer, we made leis with our kindergarten students.

To begin the lesson, we all met on the carpet as a large group.  We showed them a few pictures of leis, and discussed what they are.  We then told the students we were going to make our own for our “Beach Day”.  Next, we reviewed different types of patterns by using our bodies as well as by drawing shapes in patterns on our whiteboard.  We used yarn, plastic needles, tissue paper flowers (easy to thread through), and straws (all white) to create the leis.  We did a quick demonstration to the large group so they could watch how to create the lei.   Then, we had them create patterns by threading the flowers and straws.  Some children did their patterns as a simple AB pattern (flower, straw).  Some children chose 2 flowers and straws to create an AAB pattern, and others chose 2 colours of flowers and straws to make an ABC pattern. 

It was a fun activity for everyone, and we had the opportunity to review and assess the students’ knowledge of patterns and we can wear them next week to celebrate the beach!