Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What are the seasons of the year?

"The seasons of the year are winter, spring, summer, and fall!"

"The Season Song"I love coming back to school in January and starting our seasons unit in ELD to go along with our January snow unit in reading & math. By now my kiddos have seen 3 seasons in recent memory, and occasionally it snows in January so they can identify with what we're reading! We have a song and a project to go along with each season, and two years ago I combined it with a unit on clothing, colors, and patterns so we sorted seasonally-appropriate clothing as well.

To begin our unit I introduced "The Season Song" I got from The Mailbox. It's sung to (one of) the tune(s) of "Head and Shoulders." (Try singing it--if it doesn't work, try the other version!) For some reason, this is one of my students' favorite songs that we've sung all year. It's nothing special, but they love it! Maybe because we shout, "We like them all!" Then we talk about and/or sketch each season. On this day I had kids color & cut out flash cards with various season-related clip art.

We started with winter since that's the season we're currently in (although we haven't had any snow yet this year to prove it!) and it's the first season in the calendar year. Our winter chant is "5 Little Snowflakes" which is fun addition practice as well! They really seem to like this one, too. For the project we cut snowflakes out of coffee filters and taped them on the windows.

"Umbrellas" Chant
For spring we talked about all the flowers that come out (more on that when they actually start blooming!) and the weather we can expect--LOTS of rain! Our chant is a super-adorable one again from The Mailbox. I like to use the Smart Board to search "umbrellas" on Google Image search (ALWAYS with Safe Search ON!), then click "Search Tools" toward the top which will pop up a toolbar. You can click the "All Colors" arrow, and then select just one color in the drop down box. This will filter the results so you get just one color of umbrella. We go through all the different colors in the drop down box, practicing color words and talking about what our favorite colors of umbrella are. Then we look for patterned umbrellas, and talk about stripes, polka-dots, plaid, etc. (This is a great place to jump into clothing colors and patterns.)

For our project, we color paper plates cut in half, and tape a pipe cleaner handle on the bottom to make umbrellas! These look cute hanging on our lights. In years past I have (with 4th grade buddies) had kids trace and cut 4 raindrops and hang them from the bottom of the umbrella with string or ribbon. These turn out SUPER cute, but they are a TON of punching and tying! To do them independently with kinders would require lots of cutting prep, and then lots of tape.

Flip Flop with StripesI don't have a good summer song (yet!) so if you have any good ideas, please let me know! On our summer day we talked about places we like to go in the summer, and then graphed our favorites. Surprisingly, going to the park beat going to the beach, but our favorite was going swimming!

Flip Flop with HeartsFor our project, we made.... Flip Flops! I passed out file folders from the file folder graveyard in the office work room (I tore them in half at the fold). This would also work with cardstock, but I don't think construction paper would be stiff enough. The kids helped each other trace their shoes onto the file folders, and cut them out. Next, they colored their footprints. When they were finished, they brought them to the carpet and used their closed scissors (the rounded-tip ones don't really work, but we had enough sharp-ish pairs that it wasn't an issue) to poke three holes in the footprint. Doing this on the carpet allowed them to poke their own holes without poking their fingers. Sharpened pencils or skewers would also work. Finally, I passed out pipe cleaners, and we folded them in half, stuck the middle in the first hole and folded it down about a cm on the back. Then we inserted each end of the pipe cleaner into the two remaining holes and folded a little bit down on the back again. Some students chose to tape theirs so they wouldn't fall out.

Of course, when they were finished, most students had to take their shoes off and try on their flip flops! =)

"It Is Fall" Song
I had a sub the last two days so I could work on our ADEPT English testing in the hallway (such a huge blessing! I was able two test all the kiddos who weren't absent without giving up any instructional time!). She introduced our fall song and project. The song is sung to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down." The projects turned out amazing--they're so striking! The first day she had them watercolor paint a white page, swirling red, yellow, and orange to cover the whole page. This made a mess on the tables, but the kids seemed to enjoy it, and they followed directions fairly well (only one child used a color other than red, yellow, or orange). The next day, she had them sketch a tree with branches (no leaves) with a pencil, and then passed out black tempera paint and thin paintbrushes. We didn't use the straw method as indicated on the website, because it sounded way too complicated and messy! I love the way the trees turned out, and the kids were really proud of them!
Fall Tree
Here is the example I found on Pinterest from  That Artist Woman

I'm really enjoying this unit, but it's about time to wrap it up. Bathroom Unit, here we come!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Students

You know, it's nice when they tell you that you have a new student coming BEFORE the kids show up for class. I mean, really, you knew yesterday. How hard is it to send me an email?

Also, I NEED to know how they're going home BEFORE the bell rings!

Today is one of those days where I wish I was organized enough to put together new student bags at the beginning of the year. I definitely thought of it!

Now to go discover every little nook and cranny where I write my kiddos' names...

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Joys of Bilingual Education

URG! I hate it when you have a great plan and lots of activities that all go with a particular book, and then you can't find that book in Spanish ANYWHERE! No library, no bookstore, no coworker, and Amazon is asking $44 plus shipping if you want it this week! ACK! #guessI'mtranslatingtonight