Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Christmas Party

We start the morning with the K-4 kids choosing between 5 
"theaters" to go to for a movie.  I showed the movie Frozen
for my room and it was such a fun time! { It isn't showing up in 
this photo however.}  I loved listening to the kids laugh 
and we all sang the songs together.  Such fun!
After recess in the gym, the party began with 
three fun games!  Here they are fishing for 
candy canes.
They balanced a snowball on a spoon in a relay race.
Then they tried to use team work to keep a 
small ball from falling.
Santa surprised us and came to the classroom! 
There were smiles all around.
The lunch was delicious!
These Rudolph gift/treat bags were very cute!

We played musical gifts.  The girls passed a girl gift and when the music 
stopped, whoever was holding the gift got to keep it.

We ran out of time, so most of the boys got to rip into 
those gifts at the same time!  Fun!

A deck of bird playing cards from the teacher will help them remember
 the birds' names for years to come and to teach others about birds.  
I also sent home a list of Math card games for them to play with 
family and friends.  Combining birds and math? It seems like a win-win!

Chimney Swifts?

My grandma made these gingerbread houses years ago 
and they were just given to me, so I brought them to school.  
The kids loved them!  One boy looked in the chimney and 
said, "Well!  There are no Chimney Swifts in this chimney!"  
That was pretty funny! In case you didn't know, Chimney Swifts 
are a unique bird that sleep in chimneys, but otherwise 
they fly all day long without stopping.  They eat, drink 
and bathe while flying!  That is such and interesting 
bird behavior!

A Christmas Tree Decorated with Birds

The kids made birds to decorate the tree.  We have 
Northern Cardinals,American Goldfinch, 
Great Horned Owl, Black-capped Chickadee, 
Bald Eagle and a Snowy Owl as a topper!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bird Videos We Love!

Here are some interesting videos that we have enjoyed.  They begged me to put them on the blog, so that they can watch them with their family!  Click on the title and it should come up.

The Hidden Beauty of Pollination

Feeding the Rufous Humminbird out of Your Hand

Feeding Frenzy - It shows many birds at a feeder in Indiana in the winter.  The kids were very excited when they saw it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finally! SNOW!

Here they are lined up at our door waiting to come in!

These kids are SO happy playing in the snow!

They are pretty silly too!

Handprint Winter Birds

This is my favorite bulletin board of the year.
The kids dipped their hands in paint and I helped them print a bird.  Then after the paint dried they added the details with crayons.

Another Great Drawing!

This is a really good raccoon drawing by a five year old boy!
 These kids seem to surprise me nearly everyday!

Elementary Christmas Concert

All dressed up for the concert!
This is probably the largest crowd that these little ones have ever sang for.  They seemed a little nervous.  The kindergartners sang a song about a gingerbread house and they sang along with the K-4 choir.  They did a great job!  I was really proud of them!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Teddy Bear in a Stocking

I like the way they designed their candy canes too.

These kids love to do artwork and so do I.  Here are their stockings with teddy bears.  I gave them the instructions first.  Then we listened to and sang along to Christmas music as they worked.  It was so much fun!  Times like that are some of my favorite moments of being a teacher.

Learning to use glue is tricky for kindergartners.

I have noticed that they often stand when doing projects.

He is carefully cutting out his candy cane.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lists of Activities for Your Child

Here is the link to my Wiki Space:  Armour Kindergarten Wiki Space - click here

On this site I have come up with many ideas to help you get your child outside or help your child think of something to do when they are bored.  When my children were young, I kept a list in the cupboard of activities for them to do when they were bored.  Then I would add to it.  It was very helpful to me and hopefully this site will be helpful to you!

You might find these two lists helpful:

Boredom Busters - A list of what could your child do when he/she says, "I'm bored, Mom!"

Nature Activities - I thought of many outdoor activities for your child!  As you know, I really think its important for kids to be outdoors as much as possible.

Mega Math

Mega Math has some awesome math games for your child!  Some are geared for the upper grades, so check them out first. Take note of what we are working on in school and you can set your child up to play a math game that will reinforce what I am teaching.  I will try to remember to let you know, which ones to work on each week.  We did this one today and they enjoyed it while learning place value.

This week we are working on place value and the numbers 11-20.  Here is their assingnment:

Click on this link to Mega Math

Go to: 
  • Country Countdown
  • Block Busters 
  • Do level G.  They will probably be able to do H and I as well.

"Name the Bird" Game

Kenn Kaufman is a birder and the author of many field guides and other books.  He wrote a book titled Kingbird Highway.  He commented that he played this game with his family at the supper table when growing up.  The game was called "Name the Bird Game".  

We play this game in school everyday before we dismiss to go home.  It is very simple and quite fun!  The rules are simple.  You take turns naming a bird, but you can't copy anyone else's bird.  We try to use the full name of the bird like "Canada Goose" rather than just "goose".  My students strive to learn new birds for the game, so that they can come up with a new idea to surprise their friends!  This game makes students more aware of the many different kinds of birds there are.  After all, there are about 10,000 different kinds of birds in the world!  

At first you may not be able to go far, but soon mom and dad starting looking up birds to surprise their child and then the child shares it at school.  Of course, the parents also begin to learn new birds from their young child.  How beautiful is that?   The learning gets passed back and forth.  This is also a great game for those long car rides!

The kids are soaking up all of this bird knowledge and their vocabulary is soaring!  Here are some examples from this week's "Name the Bird" game:

Painted Bunting
Indigo Bunting
Gray Catbird
Neotropic Cormorant
Northern Harrier
Bald Eagle
Golden Eagle
Harpy Eagle
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Red-tailed Hawk
Great Gray Owl
Burrowing Owl
Blue Jay
American Robin
American Goldfinch
Black-capped Chickadee

Journal Entries

This boy can't seem to stop drawing Bald Eagles!

I'll take that as a big compliment!  The 
Bald Eagle with my hair was pretty clever!

Hot Cocoa Party

We had our first hot cocoa party yesterday and the kids were giddy with excitement!  The way I do my discipline is that I "catch them being good".  Most children respond well to this.  Then I will occasionally reward them with a hot cocoa or popcorn party just for being good and following the rules.  This doesn't always work every year, but most of the time it does.  Hey!  If someone did that to me, I think that I would also strive to do my best too!

If you would like to donate hot cocoa or mini marshmallows, that would be really nice!

During the hot cocoa party a boy said, "This warms me up from my head to my talons."  Some of us have birds on the brain!

A Passion for Birding

We watched a short 14 minute video today about why people like birding.  It had many birds in it too and I believe they knew all of them, but one.  Here is a link for the film from The Field Musesum titled "A Passion for Birding".  I think that you may enjoy this film as well!

Taking Care of Yourself

Our health lesson this week is about personal hygiene and we are talking about getting ready for school in the morning.  The children made a poster that says, 
I will take care of me.  
  • wash my hands and face
  • comb my hair
  • eat breakfast 
  • brush my teeth
  • wear clean clothes

Since they are so interested in this it is now a good time to help your child learn these life skills, so that they will become a habit and they may be more willing to do them each morning.  :)

What Kindergartners Are Thankful for...

The first grade teacher read "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to her students and kindergarten students on Friday morning.  

The Grinch stole all of the presents and the food from Whoville hoping to stop Christmas, but he quickly learns that the Whos are thankful even without gifts.  The students drew a picture of what they were thankful for.

OS:  Grandpa, Grandma, Jesus and my friends
A.H.: my family, food and my pets
G.W.: Santa and my house
M.S.L.: trees, cats, birds, sun, my friends, my family, grandma and grandpa
N. I.: Daddy, Mommy, myself, and my sisters and friends, the president, and Santa
G.B: birds, the Grinch, owls and my friends
L.F. my family, grandmas and grandpas, my friends, my aunts and uncles
J.W.: Christmas trees, birds, a Green Jay, friends, zombies, my family
B.G.: stems, volcanoes, houses, Jesus dying for our sins, and my parents
S.B.: the sun, clouds, Northern Cardinals, my sisters, houses, cats, my horse, my mom and dad
L.W.: my house, school, family, friends, grandma and grandpa
M.J. L.: Santa, my class, my family, the sun, the moon, and presents

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Many Bald Eagles in Our Area!

Looking from the parking lot towards the dam.  It was 9:30 AM 
when I took this photo.  I don't know if they would all be in that 
vicinity in the afternoon. 
I thought that you may like to know about the Bald Eagles that are at the local dam.  It has one of the largest congregations of Bald Eagles in the state each winter.  One reason is because of the open water that supplies them with fish.  The Karl Mundt National Bald Eagle Refuge is also in that area.  To learn more about Bald Eagles, check out the "All About Birds" site.

I forgot to take a count last weekend, but two weeks ago I counted 85 Bald Eagles.  There may be even more showing up!  The dam is 30 miles away, so it might just be a nice day trip for you.  You can watch the eagles fly over the water to fish - sometimes 4-6 eagles at a time.  They also sit in the tree between the parking lot and the powerhouse as well as in the tree across from the parking lot.  Ducks and gulls also hang out there. 

If you are in the mood for an outing while the weather is somewhat nice, this might be the trip for you!  Don't forget your camera and if you'd like to know of another viewing area on the other side, email me.  I think it is worth the drive and that the children would really enjoy it!   I have more photos of local birds on my Flickr site.
Looking east across the river from the parking lot.

This pair has already started building their nest.  
It is down river from the parking lot.

Bald Eagles are an impressive bird with their 6 1/2 foot 
wingspan.  The eagles that are all brown are the young ones. 
 It takes about five years for immatures to attain their 
adult plumage.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Active Learning

The way our day typically goes is that I teach a lesson for about a half hour and then they do more "hands-on" kind of learning.  Today I had a five stations set up where they could work with a partner or partners for 10 minutes and then the moved on to the next station.  

Working like this teaches the students to learn to work in a group and get along.  They also learn from each other.  At the beginning of the year, this is very difficult for them to do, but now they do much better and they are all engaged in learning. It goes quite smoothly and they seem to like it.  Sometimes they think that they are playing when really they are learning.  The lower elementary teachers have to be a little sneaky sometimes!

Today's stations: 
  • work on sounding out words with the teacher
  • make play-dough numbers 6-10
  • use pattern blocks to pictures
  • read the past kindergarten books 
  • make the reading words with magnetic letters
You can see the different groups throughout the room.

They love to use the play dough - even if it is to 
make numbers!

This one got them thinking because the magnetic letters 
were all capital, so they had to adjust.

Patriotic Songs

I enjoy hearing them sing!

I have taught the kindergartners eight different patriotic songs and they know most of them quite well. They are:

  • This Land is Your Land
  • You're a Grand Ol' Flag
  • America the Beautiful
  • God Bless America
  • This is My Country
  • America
  • Star Spangled Banner - still working on that one
  • Proud to be an American - just starting that

Handprint Christmas Trees

A dozen little trees.  Each as unique as the little artist 
who designed them.
I had the kids dip their hand in green paint and I helped them make a Christmas tree with their handprints.  Then after I put some glitter garland on each tree the kid's used Q-tips to add lights or ornaments to their own tree.  I thought they looked grand!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Decorating the Tree

They each put on three little ornaments.

They did it!  A pretty, little tree!

Christmas Tree Drawings

Awesome Christmas trees!
That is a really good Santa drawing by 
5 year old Gabriel!