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Friday, February 24, 2012

2012 Highlights- so far- more to come!

I’m such a slacker!! It has been way too long since I have been on here.  I’m sorry!  Since it haS been awhile, I am providing some photo highlights of the past few months. 

Color Mini Unit

  I introduced our theme of “Changes” by doing a mini unit on color changes.  The children experimented with mixing water colors to form other colors.  They also experimented with mixing paints.  I gathered all of these ideas from the blog, Kindergarten Kindergarten .

Star Writers

  This year I have found that I have a few students who are really struggling with remembering to use capitals, spaces, and punctuation.  I decided to try to remediate this by focusing on my “Star Writer” Rules. While I had introduced these earlier in the year, I only had one little poster that I had hanging in the room. Plus, in the past, I had my students fill out a checklist after they would write a journal entry, ensuring that they followed all the rules. They would then just staple it to their entry and put it in their writing binder. This year, I decided to tie in a reward system of sorts.  Each time they complete an entry, I fill out the checklist and go over it with them.  If they are a Star Writer, they earn a colored rubber band (hair rubber bands from the Dollar Tree) to put on their pencil.  I am able to quickly look at their pencils (and my checklists, which I save) to see who is mastering proper sentence writing and who still needs some practice.  The children get really excited to earn the rubber bands.  I have provided you with the banner signs that I use and the Star Writer Check-off list. 

Star Writer Check Off List
Star Writer Rules

Pop Rock Descriptive Writing

  As part of our descriptive writing unit, I used the Pop Rocks unit posted on one of my favorite blogs: The Inspired Apple.    For the unit, be sure to visit the blog.  Below you can see some photographs of the students eating their Pop Rocks.


  Also inspired by, The Inspired Apple, I used Abby’s r-controlled pirate packet to teach the sound “ar” makes.   My student teacher and I dressed up like pirates and provided each student with an eye patch and pirate hat.  We even went on an “ar” word treasure hunt.  And yes, I did make my totally fun t-shirt!

Tissue Box Monsters

  I saw these on Pinterest and definitely knew I wanted to make some for/with my class.  I decided to make a couple to show to my class (actually- I gave my intern that job!).  I then made it an assignment for them to create one at home and bring in.  My intern is using the finished monsters as part of her descriptive writing project with the class. 

Seasons Mini Unit

  This was a seasons mural I had the students work on as part of our seasons mini unit. 

100th Day

  Best 100th day of school yet!  Wow, did we have fun.  This year I invited all the students to dress up like what they thought they would look like at 100 years old.  The results were splendid!!! So fun! 

  Throughout the day I provided good behavior with pennies.  Once the class earned 100 pennies, they all earned a special little treat (a new eraser).  They decided it would be quickest to count 100 pennies by skip counting by 10s ;)   .  I whipped up this tracker for them to use to keep track of their coins.  Each time they were rewarded with a penny, they had to add it to the cup and make a tally.  Once there were ten pennies/tallies, they had to start the next cup. It worked out great!

Valentine’s Day
   Valentine’s Day was a lot of fun this year too!  As the students entered the room, I infected each of them with “Love Pox,” an idea that I found on the blog: The Teacher Wife.  Each child was given little heart stickers on their face and a note that said, “Dear Mom and Dad, Don’t be surprised by the spots on my face.  At school a disease is going around the place.  By a hug and a squeeze we can spread this disease, SO open your arms and catch Love Pox, please! Love, ____ “
I also gave them a little sticker to wear that said, “I’ve got the pox……..the love pox.”

I also found my valentine idea on Pinterest and just had to make them.  I think they turned out really cute.  The kids really enjoyed them also.  They were thrilled with the cotton candy. 
Valentines Day Tags
 We played the following games (all Pinterest inspired):
Pin the Lips on The Teacher

Cupid’s Arrows

Candy Obstacle Minute to Win It


Be back soon with more!!  

Happy Teaching, 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pumped Over Pumpkin Mousse Pie!

  So, I had to miss our Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday, due to the fact that I had minor surgery.  I wasn’t going to miss all the fun though, so I planned a “How To” lesson, which required we make a pumpkin mousse pie!    Since it was the day before my surgery, I was on a liquid only diet so I couldn’t enjoy eating the pie, but oh did we have fun making it. Plus, the highlight for me is seeing how excited the kids are when they realize that they actually like the pie! 

         During this time of the year, Our writing lessons are all about. “How To” pieces.  This worked very well for the pumpkin mousse pie lesson. 

         Prior to starting , I explained to the students how we were going to be writing a book.  I told them that the book was going to be about how to make a pie.  They were pretty excited.  I went on further to explain that in order to be an expert to write the book, they need to have some experience making a pie.  When they found out we were making pies they were pumped.  I then told them the type of pie that we were making, which kind of deflated some of them a little.  Now, I have to say, my coworker and I used to do this lesson together with both of our classes.  The recipe came from her. I too was a little deflated the first time I found out what type of pie we were going to make.  I’m all about pie, however, I have never been a fan of pumpkin pie.  That being said, I made it, tried it, and LOVED it.  I enjoyed it so much that I have made it for my family Thanksgiving dinners the past couple of years.  Anyway, I digress!

         To begin, I gave each child the graphic organizer below. I explained how we were going to break this into four steps.  I asked them for suggestions on how to start each step.  We eventually agreed to start the different steps with the following key words:  “First,” “Next,” “Then,” and “Finally.”
How ToGO

         Once the students had their graphic organizer set up, we discussed the first step: “First, gather all of your ingredients.”  Since this was our first, “How To” piece,  I kept it simple!  While they were writing the first step, I pulled out all of the ingredients and told them about each one we were using.

         After the first step was written, we moved on to the “Next” step: “Next, mix the ingredients together.”  I called up volunteers to help pour the ingredients into the bowl.  Prior to putting in the ingredients, I walked around and had the children use their senses to investigate the pumpkin, ginger, and cinnamon.  They were all grossed out by the pumpkin!

         After the ingredients were mixed, we did the next step: “Then, pour the mix in the tins.”  I found individual graham cracker crust mini pies. They worked perfectly!  Each child was able to get their own mini pie.  Again, while I was pouring, the students were writing the third step.

         Last but not least, it was time for the last step: ‘Finally, eat it!”  Before I let them eat it though, I had them cut out the picture boxes and their writing.  They then glued each step (and the matching pictures) into the pie book template we cut and prepared ahead of time!

Then, it was time to dive in.  I definitely converted some!  I was getting emails from parents telling me how they were now adding pumpkin mousse pie to their Thanksgiving menu as their child wouldn’t stop talking about it! Love that!!  While I still had some that didn’t enjoy it, that was fine because they at least were willing to try it! 

                                      I’ve attached the recipe below!!
Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Happy Teaching (and Thanksgiving),

     Mindy Wolf