Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mentor Texts to use in Writing Workshop for Adding Details

Kimberley over at Funky First Grade Fun is having a linky party to share Mentor Texts for Writing Workshop.  I love this idea and cannot wait to check out what the other teachers are posting, but here are a few of my personal favorites.  I tried to narrow it down to just a few ( I could go on and on) 

Currently in my kindergarten classroom we are teaching the students how to add details to their stories.  Most of their story is told through the picture so our focus has been on using wordless books to show the students how to tell a story through pictures.  Here are some of my favs:

By Barbara Lehman

By Jae Soo Liu

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman

by Istvan Banyai

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Funny Story . . . and A NEW TOP TEN LIST! Best Halloween Movies

One of the things I love about teaching kindergartners is that I never know what will come out of their mouths.  The things they say are unexpected, brilliant, thoughtful and hilarious! 

Take our calendar time today.  During calendar we have a class meteorologist that gives a weather report.  Our classroom windows face the front of our school and I've shown the students how you can use the flag to tell if it is windy outside. Last week one of my students noticed our flag was at half staff.  I told the students that when someone important passes away the flag is flown at half staff to show respect and to honor that person.  The students asked who it was and we called the front office to find out. A former Washington governor passed away and he was over 100 years old.  Today one of my students noticed the flag was at half staff again and announced to the class, "Somebody died!"  All the students rushed over to check the flag and confirm this statement.  Yep, the flag was at half staff. The students and I called up to the front office to see who had passed away.  They couldn't remember when I called so the students began to speculate which important person it could have been. One insightful young lady suggested it could have been the man who built our school.  He was a very important person because he made a school for us.  Several other students offered up their suggestions and the reasons why this particular person was important.  Then one little voice came from the group.  "It could of been Justin Bieber.  He is very important and the flag would be put half way down for him."  The rest of the students agreed that this was true and that the flag was flown at half staff for Justin Bieber.

I later found out the flag was at half staff today because of a soldier that lost his life.  I think I'll let my students think it was Justin Bieber. The reality is a little too sad and I needed to smile today.

Now for my top ten.  I LOVE this time of year.  One reason is because my oldest daughter celebrates her birthday, but I mostly love this time of year because I LOVE Halloween. 
I LOVE watching the leaves turn color and fall from the trees. 
I LOVE when the sky turn bright blue but the air outside is cold and crisp. 
I LOVE getting out my cozy sweaters and my boots. 
I LOVE going to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin to carve and get fresh apples for apple tarts. 
But mostly I LOVE Halloween and that fact that there are scary movies on to watch.  Now when I say scary I should clarify that statement by saying I like the suspenseful movies, NOT gory. 

Here are my favorite Halloween movies:

Shaun of the Dead (OK this one has a little gore, but it's SOOOOO good I can look past that)

Halloween (the original)

The Birds

Rosemary's Baby ( AT one time I thought I was having Rosemary's Baby)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (dammit Janet, I love you)

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (OK, not scary but you can't tell me you don't LOVE watching this too)

Young Frankenstein



The Walking Dead (So while not technically a movie, this is a TV show I look forward to more than any other)

The Shining

Was that 11?  Oh well. What are some of your favorites?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Owl Art

We have had a busy week learning about nocturnal animals.  Every Friday I do some kind of project with my students.  Call it a celebration for working so hard during the week.

I must warn you with a disclaimer - I am not a messy person.  I don't like getting messy or dirty or messy & dirty.  That being said I am learning to overcome my fear.  So on Friday we dove headfirst into Owl art.  (The Friday before I made crockpot applesauce with them)

Here are some of my students using a apple peeler, corer, slicer to get the apples ready for the applesauce.

We began with black paper because owls are nocturnal.

Then the students added a branch premade by my fabulous student teacher.

Then they drew a circle for a head and an oval for a body.  We have had many art lessons on using lines and shapes for our pictures. Some students even added a moon and stars which I loved because in Writer's Workshop we have been talking about adding details to show the story through our picture.

Then students got to tear paper to add as the feathers.  I liked the tearing because it worked their fine motor skills, required no scissors and the tearing made the paper look "fluffy like an owl" according to one very wise kindergartner. After the entire body is filled in the student made feet, a beak and eyes.

This owl looks like it is either landing or taking off!

I love the colors used in this owl.

Look at the eyes - according to the artist "he's looking for food"

I got this idea from a FANTASTIC website Mrs. Brown's Art Class.

I think I am learning to get messy in order to help my students be creative.  In two week we are launching Pumpkinpalloza! Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I'm Back . . . .

 Hello blogging friends!  I'm so sorry that it has been OVER A MONTH since I was able to chat with you. I have been fully engaged in the world of teaching kindergarten and I'm sure most of you will be able to understand that when I get home at the end of the day I barely have enough energy to make dinner and play with my girls, much less get onto the computer. 

However it is a quiet, rainy afternoon here in the northwest and I am listening to the Seahawks get hammered by the Falcons and thought it was a perfect opportunity to catch you all up on what has been happening in my small corner of the world. (And to avoid watching my beloved Seahawks make any more defensive mistakes)

First of all welcome to my new followers.  Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and check out my blog.  I really will do better to update more often.  In fact I'm working on a very nice top ten list for Tuesday. I also have some classroom pictures to share with you all and some kindergarten math stations I'm working on.

For now I will share with you what I have been up to since my last post.

It seems that every weekend our family has been busy, busy busy.  Frankly I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love this time of year.  I love when the air gets a little cooler and the leaves start to change color and the apples appear at the farmer's market.

I started at the end of August getting my classroom set up and doing some small renovations around our house.  Mr. M's dad build us these beautiful cabinets.



Made these with the help of my wonderful Mother-in-law

My girls loved them so much we made some for their room

Then I spent whatever time I had left when I wasn't remodeling my kitchen or laundry room to work in my classroom.  (I will post more pics later this week, promise!)

Classroom library

My All About Me board for Open House

September began by going through what I refer to as the seven pillars of hell . . or the Warrior Dash.  It was tough, but I made it through and am even signing up for next year.  There was a 30% hill grade to "run" up and fire to leap over and ropes to climb and mud to swim through and logs to "jump" over.  But I did it and enjoyed almost every minute of the journey.

Before the race (notice how nice and clean we are)

After . . .perfectly muddy!

My sister & I (she ran the race 3 months pregnant!!)

Then the next weekend I went camping with my Dad and sister.  It's the first time we've been camping together in over 20 years.  We were rained out, but had 24 hours of camping fun.

The weekend after that Mr. M, Maddie and I ventured up north to Seattle.  We left the little one at home with Grandma & Grandpa.

Maddie & Mr. M on the waterfront

Enjoying a coffee at the Market

Maddie at the sculpture garden.

See I told you I've been busy.