What's Going on Here...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January is OVER and I am SO BEHIND!!!

Getting back into some kind of normal after all the snow has been difficult! This week I am SO off schedule I don't know if I'll get back on track before school is out. I guess I have learned - and am still learning - to give myself permission to let some things go! We spend so much time and brain power making things "just so" - we pour our souls into it...it's hard to let our wonderful, well-planned, beautiful lessons go! What will the kids do without that particular lesson on...?! I KNOW you all get EXACTLY what I am saying.LOL  With that being said I did find some time to make a few pictures of our activities this week - a little math, a little science...but ALWAYS a LOT of fun!

These are the promised photos of my students building the "snowflakes" after viewing photos of real ones.

Aren't these absolutely amazing! I want to send these to the "folks in charge" with a message - We don't have to push little folks. Look what's in their little minds! Let them alone and guide them - these creations are proof that they have the potential to do great things if we'll give them time to develop!!! Ok...off the soapbox! :-)

After building with the real blocks, the kiddos recreated their snowflakes with black paper and pattern block die-cuts. These are displayed in our hall. While we are experimenting with this we use the matching color for each die-cut shape because they are easier for them to see. Next, we'll use all white paper die-cut shapes to build a snowflake. I'll post those pictures later.

 Another activity this week has been to learn how the animals change to survive the winter cold. This book -  Summer Coat, Winter Coat: the Story of Snowshoe Hare  illustrates "adjusting for winter" wonderfully well. You can make lots of comparisons to how people adjust as well. The kiddos love it!
I found a similar activity on Little Giraffes - the children took their rabbit and helped him "blend in" like Snowshoe Hare. 

Next, we created a fact page, writing about what we learned from the story. The children do all of it from start to finish. They choose the fact (I help them count the words), they sound out each word (I help by modeling letter strokes as they write), and they create their own artwork (to reinforce what we have written).
(My allies in crime, Mrs. Knight and Mrs. Scott have since "graduated" from kindergarten to teach elsewhere, but working with them to create this unit was a blast. I think of them each time I teach it.)

Another day we learn about animals that "move" or migrate for the winter. I like the differences in the illustrations. Each child's work is his own - no cookie cutter here! :-)
A great activity is to give each child a cup of "dirt" with a gummy worm inside. Layer "snow" on top of the dirt (whipped cream or something like it) and put in the freezer for a bit. Give each child a beak (clothespin) and ask them to find the worm - no fingers, but the "beak". This definitely demonstrates why the birds have to migrate and is tasty, too!

Next week, we will complete the last page...more pictures to come!


  1. If this is what you are calling "behind" then I am in BIG trouble! The pattern block snowflakes are incredible and I agree, children have to have time to create and design on their own-we have to exercise that muscle or what are we going to have in the end?
    I'm on your soapbox with you!

    I really like hiding the hare-our story this week for SF was Hide, Clyde so that is a great way to tie the two together. We have to struggle to find those connections but every now and then...

    I really like the pudding and the clothespin-they would have to get the point!

    Thanks, Suzan for the great ideas-I'm working on my February math and literacy centers now based on your ideas!


  2. Great work with the snowflakes! Kerri

  3. Thank you for sharing so many amazing ideas and pictures!I love your blog and think you deserve being awarded the Stylish Blogger award! I received it from several others and would love to learn more about you!