Monday, May 23, 2011

A Few Fun Projects

We've had a fun and busy few weeks in kindergarten.  A few of our kids performed a Reader's Theater.  In our new reading curriculum, we have a reader's theater component.  We read books and practice fluency and expression.  Then, we can perform for our classmates.  It is so much fun for kids to have an audience.  Mrs. Zayats has been pulling groups of kids to make masks to go along with their reading.  Each child reads their lines, rather than simply memorizing. 

I also wanted to share this project that one of the girls brought in for show and tell.  She made a diorama at home with her sister.  When she brought it in to share, she told us all about the animals and toys she used.  She told us about the land and water, and what she thought the animals might do.  I loved the way she was able to express her ideas through art and story telling. 

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More From Our Poetry Unit

We shared many poetry books during our poetry unit.  Here are a few favorites from kindergarten kids.

I love this book because it shows how poems can be written about anything.  It is also a great book for young kids because their homes are things all 5 and 6 year olds know a lot about.  They have schema and background knowledge of their homes.  When they think about their homes, they immediately have mental images.  After reading this book, kids had many new poetry ideas.

This book tied in very well with our work on the 5 senses.  It was also a wonderful model for how writers use their senses to describe.

We wrote poems together.  This was written as a whole class.

Yesterday I shared our poems and paintings.  Here is the display in our hallway.  It is so colorful and makes me smile every time I walk down our hallway.  Each child picked their favorite poem, had it typed, and painted a picture to match.  They are absolutely stunning!

Many kids in the class really connected with poetry.  Often, kids will finish an art project and then ask if they can write a poem to go with it.  OF COURSE THEY CAN!!!  Art is such an inspiration for poetry.  Do you share poetry with your kids?  Ask the children's librarian at the Lynnwood Library to help you find a few poetry books that your 5 or 6 year old will enjoy.  I guarantee they will love the books you find!
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Painting Poems

This week we wrapped up our poetry unit. The kids really enjoyed writing poetry. It gave them the opportunity to be creative, have a lot of choice in their writing, and relax a bit with the idea of using conventions in their writing and staying in the lines. Poetry is a fun time to think outside the box.

There is a lot of modeling that happens in the poetry unit. I use samples of kindergarten poems from previous years to show kids different types of poems. We read lots and lots of poems, some rhyming and a lot of free verse poems.I also model the process I go through  to write a poem.  In kindergarten, we tend to focus on writing free verse poems. Rhyming poems are hard and we never want writing to be frustrating in kindergarten.

One of our final poetry activities was to select a favorite poem, from our poetry notebooks, and have it typed up. Then each child painted an illustration to match the poem they had written.

There were poems about submarines, flowers, gardens, and (of course) rainbows.

My favorite had to be the poem about the contents of a lunch box. If you have been in our classroom during lunch time, you know that the painting below shows this little girl's froggy lunch box.

Poetry writing was a great experience for our kindergartners. Everyone had the chance to feel successful in writing and we ALL love to paint!
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day Plaster of Paris Handprints

I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!  I've had a few people ask me how we made the plaster of paris handprints, so I thought I'd do a post to show you.

I started with some old movie film containers from Creation Station and LOTS of play-doh.  I filled the container with play-doh, to create a mold.  I had the kids press their hand into the play-doh, until it was flush with the surface.

I found that sentence strips fit perfectly around the container.

I bought the plaster at Lowe's.  For each handprint, I used two cups of plaster and one cup of cold water.

I mixed the plaster in a plastic bag.  I really hate the mess plaster makes.  This is a fairly mess-free method.

Once the plaster is all mixed, I pour it into the mold.

Then, it's time to wait.  I usually wait a few hours for the plaster to dry.

Once it's dry, I take the sentence strip off and pop the play-doh and plaster out of the tin.  It sounds complicated, but it's really as easy as making a mold and pouring the plaster.  I hope you enjoyed your Mother's Day gifts!
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bees Please!

For the last couple of weeks we've been learning about insects. The kids have been really fascinated with bees. We have watched a short video about bees. We've also read a few books.

As great as it is to read and watch videos about something, it's nothing like seeing the real thing. We are so lucky to have Mrs. Zayats working in our classroom, and she just happens to be a bee keeper. She and her husband have two bee boxes in their backyard. Today, Mrs. Zayats brought in a few frames from her hives to show us the bees' work up close.

This frame shows how the bees cap off an area to let the baby bees mature.

Some of the baby bees didn't make it last year. We removed some of the combs and saw the baby bees inside. (This was a frame from last year, so the bees weren't actually alive.)

This frame shows the way the frame would look when it is covered with wax and filled with honey.

This was such an interesting experience for us! The kids were really amazed and nature's busy work!

Thank you Mrs. Zayats!
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